James Rilling, Professor in the Anthropology Department at Emory University, used functional magnetic resonance imaging to scan grandmothers brains while they looked at images of their children, their grandchildren as well as unrelated adults and children.
“When grandmothers viewed photographs of their grandchildren, they particularly activated brain regions that have previously been associated with emotional empathy, suggesting that grandmothers may be predisposed to share the emotional states of their grandchildren,” Rilling tells USA Today. When looking at picture of their adult children, areas of their brain associated with cognitive empathy where activated.
Recently discovered cave paintings and bone carvings offer new perspectives on long-held questions about art’s origins—not to mention the nature of art itself.
The paintings of Pigs were discovered on limestone walls of the Leang Tedongnge cave on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. The question about what the oldest record of art is necessitates a definition of art, and leads us to the question of what the creation of art tell us about humans and their abilities at the time. The full article is available online.
This week, the Society for Cultural Anthropology’s Fieldsights Blog won the 2021 New Directions Award, presented by the General Anthropological Division, a sub-section of the American Anthropological Association. Scott Schnur, a doctoral candidate in the Emory Anthropology Department, is a member of the graduate student collective who helps edit and write for the blog as part of SCA’s Contributing Editors program. Schnur has been a contributing editor since 2018, and in 2021 became the section editor for Member Voices, a section of Fieldsights.”I became interested in working with Fieldsights because of their commitment to open-access publication and the public-facing nature of the work. The site is a great forum for experimental writing and multi-media pieces which are engaging with important issues in the discipline and pushing it new directions,” he said. “Congratulations to everyone in the program and the editorial board!” Fieldsights has been published since 2012 and has a global readership.
Anthropologist Dietrich Stout decodes the brain’s “alphabet” and “grammar” for action to study behavioral evolution and measure the complexity of human technologies based on the making and use of different types of Stone Age tools.