Four Stone Hearth #84 is Gelada-ful

image from the BBC


The new, Four Stone Hearth #84! (Gratuitous Gelada Edition), is up at A Primate of Modern Aspect, and it’s especially Geladicious! If you don’t get it, you’re just going to have to go check it out, this itinerant web carnival of all things anthropological. (And, no, it’s not a reference to a delicious frozen dessert…)

I especially liked Eric Michael Johnson’s post, Bonobos and the Emergence of Culture, on Susan Savage-Rumbaugh’s TED lecture, Susan Savage-Rumbaugh on apes. It’s not a long comment, but check out the discussion as well. It’s really intriguing to watch the commenters struggle to dichotomize biology and culture when the bonobos are making a mangle of them. I do think Savage-Rumbaugh is over-invested in the argument that bonobos are specifically human-like (Comparison with Tasmanians? Ouch. But the bonobos are very cute when roasting marshmallows and learning to drive a golf cart). The fact that bonobos are ‘culture susceptible,’ shall we say, is sufficient to make a mess of biology v. culture and to highlight the way that the ‘extended mind’ concept can help us think about brain enculturation to build basic cognitive capacities. Johnson writes:

I challenge you to watch Kanzi build a fire and perform activities that require precise hand-eye coordination (including the making of stone tools) and conclude that this is a difference of kind rather than merely a difference of degree.

Also interesting is Zinjanthropus’s own post, So… Did knuckle walking evolve twice?, about a case of convergent evolution. Krystal D’Costa does a really nice ethnography of gold in the South Asian community, based in NYC: Sometimes All That Glitters Is Indeed Gold (JH3). And Beast Ape has a short but well cited piece on baboon fathers sorting out paternity of their female friends’ kids, Friendship, fatherhood, and MHC in baboons; it suggests baboon daddies are likely not able to sniff out their own offspring.

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