May 31, 2016

What I wrote @Forbes and @mental_floss in May

In case you missed it, here's your monthly roundup of skeleton-newsy stuff I've written for a general audience:



May 26, 2016

Bones - Season 11, Episode 16 (Review)

Bones - Season 11, Episode 15 (Review)

Bones - Season 11, Episode 14 (Review)

May 25, 2016

New book of essays on human biology has exactly ZERO contributions by women

A book called Life: The Leading Edge of Evolutionary Biology, Genetics, Anthropology, and Environmental Science came out just over a week ago. And among my Facebook and Twitter feeds, people are very, very not happy with it:


Yes, a book with 23 different contributors to 18 different essays on the wondrous diversity and evolution of human life on this planet... does not include one woman or one person of color.  It's a veritable petri dish of white dudes in a field that, sure, includes lots of white dudes, but includes plenty of diversity, especially on the anthropology side of things.

Given the fact that the book appears to be a collection of essays and interviews from a website called, I do wonder if that strongly influenced who was included in this volume.  After all, women are less likely to put themselves out there on the internet because of gender-based trolling (more like name-calling, questioning their expertise, and death and rape threats).  And as women are still less likely to be tenured professors, it may be that the male heavy-hitters in this volume are at a stage in their career where they can risk writing for or being interviewed for a website.

Or maybe it's just old-fashioned sexism?  According to a 2012 profile of John Brockman at The Guardian, "the roll call of current and deceased members of the Edge salon runs to 660. It's a predominately male crowd, with women accounting for only 16.5% of the members." Ouch.

Anyway, as is my typical response to this, I mostly just want to snark on the table of contents... who wants to help?  Here's the TOC and a couple of my own suggestions below.  Post yours in the comments! Or heck, check out the Amazon comments and add your own there.

Real Contents (from
  1. Evolvability by Richard Dawkins
  2. Genomic Imprinting by David Haig
  3. A Full-Force Storm with Gale Winds Blowing by Robert Trivers
  4. What Evolution Is by Ernst Mayr
  5. Genetics Plus Time by Steve Jones
  6. A United Biology by E.O. Wilson
  7. Is Life Analog or Digital? by Freeman Dyson
  8. Life: What a Concept! by Freeman Dyson, J. Craig Venter, George Church, Dimitar Sasselov, Seth Lloyd, and Robert Shapiro
  9. The Gene-Centric View: A Conversation by Richard Dawkins and J. Craig Venter
  10. The Nature of Normal Human Variety by Armand Marie Leroi
  11. Brains Plus Brawn by Daniel Lieberman
  12. Mapping the Neanderthal Genome by Svate Pääbo
  13. On Biocomputation by J. Craig Venter, Ray Kurzweil, and Rodney Brooks
  14. Engineering Biology by Drew Endy
  15. Eat Me Before I Eat You: A New Foe for Bad Bugs by Kary Mullis
  16. Duck Sex and Aesthetic Evolution by Richard Prum
  17. Toxo by Robert Sapolsky
  18. The Adjacent Possible by Stuart Kauffman (with an introduction by John Brockman)
Modified Titles:
3. A Full-Force Storm with Gale Winds Blowing, or: Women, Amiright?
8. Life Includes Women: What a Concept!
9. The Y-Chromosome Centric View
10. The Nature of Man Variety 

Oh, and if you are a woman doing research in human biology, broadly conceived, consider adding yourself to this list, so at least the next editor will have binders full of women to contact:

May 3, 2016

Upcoming talk in San Diego on Roman diet - May 5

I'll be in San Diego to give a talk at SDSU on Thursday, May 5.  If you're around, the talk is open to the public.  Here's some more info, on the lovely flyer made by the SDSU Association of Anthropology Students:

May 2, 2016

Who needs an osteologist? (Installment 37)

Welcome back to Who needs an osteologist?, where this installment is a northern European double-header!  These images come by way of Jessica Seebauer, who appears to be on a jealousy-inducing tour of some awesome northern countries right now.

First, this subadult skeleton is on display in the National Museum in Copenhagen, Denmark:

Thaaaat's not where those leg bones go!

But wait... enhance, enhance, enhance... is there something going on with the clavicles?  I can't honestly tell if they're mis-sided or just flipped slightly:

Notes Jessica, "what makes it almost ironic is that on the wall across from the subadult display, there was a decal illustration of an anatomically-correct skeleton." Ouch.

And then from the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, Norway, comes this female Viking skeleton with a definitely mis-sided clavicle:

And here's the full picture for context of the male and female Viking remains:

Clavicles are hard, yo.

Previous Installments of Who needs an osteologist?

May 1, 2016

Bones - Season 11, Episode 13 (Review)

And my latest review.  Hopefully I'll remember to post links here from now on...

'Bones' Season 11, Episode 13 Review: The Monster In The Closet

Bones - Season 11, Episode 12 (Review)

And here's my review of the Bones episode...

'Bones' Season 11, Episode 12 Review: The Murder Of The Meninist

Bones - Season 11, Episode 11 (Review)

With the craziness of the physical anthropology meetings, I forgot to post my reviews of the second half of the Bones season here.

What I wrote in April for @Forbes and @Mental_Floss

In April, I wrote the following stories for Forbes and mental_floss (excluding my Bones reviews, which have their own posts here).

  • 26 April - Just How Old Is C-Section Birth?  I revised a post I wrote a while back for mental_floss, particularly in light of the news that the first direct evidence of C-section was found in an 18th century Hungarian mummy.
Coming up in May... more Bones reviews, pathological case studies, and a post on interesting ancient recipes, to name a few.

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