Sex and Evolution?

I like Michael Stoddart’s books in general–he has some great contributions to make and is one of a few popular scientists promoting olfaction. While reading his most recent book, I have been a bit frustrated by the simplistic view of human evolution and behavior. A recent Guardian piece by him “Smell evolution and the sexContinue reading “Sex and Evolution?”


The Scent of a Man

A new study (published here) suggest that scientists unable to replicate  behavioral studies in rats and mice may be due to the presence of male researchers. The presence of male experimenters produced a stress response in mice and rats equivalent to that caused by restraining the rodents for 15 minutes in a tube or forcing themContinue reading “The Scent of a Man”

Is there a connection between dietary repetition and food preferences?

A Science News Post (brought to my attention earlier in the summer by @elizabethjrowe) presents research trends in food science: the pairing of retronasal olfaction and taste reception in studying flavour and the knowledge pairing of culinary experts and scientists within a relatively new journal Flavour. I am glad that food sensation (for lack of a betterContinue reading “Is there a connection between dietary repetition and food preferences?”

The piggy smell of Eurasian genetic landscapes

Between 6000-4000 years ago (according to study published in Nature Communications), indigenous Mesolithic hunter-gatherers acquired pigs from Neolithic farmers immigrating to Europe. I have been interested in Pleistocene pigs for a while (and their continued association with humans into the Holocene). The reason for my interest is that pigs produce a lot of androstenone (aContinue reading “The piggy smell of Eurasian genetic landscapes”

The Onges of the Andaman Islands and urban smell decay

A recent study by Ramesh Sahani on the changes to nutrition and body metrics (anthropometry) in the Onges of the Andaman islands shows that rapid forced settlement of a foraging population results in highly negative outcomes. Their body metrics now fall in line with overweight/obese body metrics and their diet has shifted radically: protein is nowContinue reading “The Onges of the Andaman Islands and urban smell decay”

The Use and Misuse of Allostatic Load in Bioanthropology

I have noticed a recent trend in bioarchaelogy referring to odontoskeletal stress markers as measures of allostatic load. Allostatic load was first described by McEwan and Stellar in 1993. They argue (quite well and rightly) that the concept of homeostasis (or internal maintenance of system functioning) fails to consider the complex biological negotiations over timeContinue reading “The Use and Misuse of Allostatic Load in Bioanthropology”

Clandestine trysts and human evolution

Recent advances in the field of paleogenomics (the study of ancient genomes) have uncovered the story of inter-species mating in those early days out of Africa before dispersal into Eurasia. Prior to these studies we’ve had little evidence supporting either cultural interaction with archaic humans or inter-breeding. Clandestine trysts or common practice? The draft sequence ofContinue reading “Clandestine trysts and human evolution”

Race and Anthropology in European Origins

In the US, our focus on race is centered on the enslavement of Africans and the consequences of those actions. The past 11 years have been wrought with new aspects of race and race relations. After 9-11, the often ill-treatment of anyone who appeared to be Arabic corresponded to the surge of emotions surrounding theContinue reading “Race and Anthropology in European Origins”