Thursday, March 31, 2011

Knowledge-base Tool Kit: What's with all this not Getting "Africa" Right?

It is a familiar name for one of the largest tectonic plates on the planet and something that primary school kids can easily place on the map. There are very few places on the globe where the name "Africa" has not been heard, yet it seems to be the most inexplicably misconstrued and misused name. Thanks to basic geography lessons in schools, kids can pretty much get the basic idea of Africa right; so why can't full grown adults?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Revisiting Body Proportion Indexes of Ancient Egyptians specimens

The question of ancient Egyptian body proportion indexes first appeared on this site under the discussion ""Demic Diffusion" Dynastic models: R.I.P", wherein the strengths and weaknesses of certain published journals was visited upon. It appears to be a topic that recurrently finds its way into internet forum discussions, usually through the initiation of reactionary elements within Eurocentric ideological circles in order to explain away what looks to be a consensus observation, i.e. the generally "tropical body proportions" of pre-dynastic and Dynastic ancient Egyptian specimens, which has also been described by some observers as "Super-Negroid" body proportions. Amongst the authors cited here earlier on, Sonia Zakrzewki's work, "Variation in Ancient Egyptian Stature and Body Proportions". Well, we will take another look at this publication, in light of some idea circling in cyberspace, about "tropical body plans" having no phylogenetic basis—which in this case, is recent ancestry in tropics—and is merely a function of adaptation to dietary quality. Note: Please click on all images to get greater resolution.