anthropology

The Discovery of the Neanderthal Man

The Discovery of the Neanderthal Man

On February 4, 1857, German anatomist Hermann Schaaffhausen publicly announced the discovery of the remains of an extincted prehistoric species of human, the Neanderthal man, whose remains were discovered by amateur naturalist Johann Karl Fuhlrott in the German Neander Valley. From Belgium over Gibraltar to Düsseldorf Actually, the remains found in the Neander Valley were not the first known pieces of the Neanderthal man. Around 1829, Neanderthal skulls were discovered in what…
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Mary Leakey and the Discovery of the false ‘Nutcracker Man’

Mary Leakey and the Discovery of the false ‘Nutcracker Man’

On July 17, 1959, British paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey discovered the first fossil of the Paranthropus boisei at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania. Mary Leakey was born as Mary Douglas Nicol , the daughter of the then well-known landscape painter Erskine Edward Nicol and the hobby painter Cecilia Marion Frere, who lived for years in France in the Dordogne. Frequent visits to prehistoric and archaeological sites in France aroused her interest in such topics even as…
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Robert Redfield and the Folk-Urban Continuum

Robert Redfield and the Folk-Urban Continuum

On December 4, 1897, American anthropologist and ethnolinguist Robert Redfield was born. Redfield‘s ethnographic work in Tepoztlán, Mexico is considered a landmark Latin American ethnography. From his studies of Mexican communities, Redfield developed a theory (1956) of a folk-urban continuum, to account for the differences between folk society and urban society. Early Years Robert Redfield was the son-in-law of University of Chicago sociologist Robert E. Park. In 1923 he and his wife…
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Colin Turnbull and the Forest People

Colin Turnbull and the Forest People

On November 23, 1924, British-American anthropologist Colin Turnbull was born. Turnbull came to public attention with the popular books The Forest People on the Mbuti Pygmies of Zaire and The Mountain People on the Ik people of Uganda, and one of the first anthropologists to work in the field of ethnomusicology. Early Years Colin Turnbull was born in the London borough of Harrow His parents were Helen Dorothy Wellesley Chapman (1894-1977) and John Rutherford…
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Earnest A. Hooton and Physical Anthropology

Earnest A. Hooton and Physical Anthropology

On November 20, 1887, Jewish-American physical anthropologist Earnest Hooton was born. Hooton investigated human evolution and racial differentiation, classified and described human populations, and examined the relationship between personality and physical type, particularly with respect to criminal behaviour. Education and Academic Career Earnest Albert Hooton was born in Clemansville, Wisconsin, USA. He was educated at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, where heearned his BA in 1907. He won a Rhodes Scholarship to…
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Clark Wissler and the Normative Aspect of Culture

Clark Wissler and the Normative Aspect of Culture

On September 18, 1870, American anthropologist Clark David Wissler was born. Wissler devised the age-area concept which held that the age of cultural traits could be found by correlating the diffusion of those traits throughout their associated area. He was the first anthropologist to perceive the normative aspect of culture, to define it as learned behavior, and to describe it as a complex of ideas, all characteristics of culture that are today…
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Louis Laurent Gabriel de Mortillet and Man’s Prehistoric Cultural Development

Louis Laurent Gabriel de Mortillet and Man’s Prehistoric Cultural Development

On August 29, 1821, French archaeologist and anthropologist Louis Laurent Gabriel de Mortillet was born. De Morillet was the first to organize man’s prehistoric cultural developments into a sequence of epochs. Based on the idea that older specimens of man were more primitive structurally and culturally, he created a ladder-like model of the evolution of man. This model was the basis for the idea of linear evolution of men. De Mortillet was…
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Davidson Black and the Peking Man

Davidson Black and the Peking Man

On July 25, 1884, Canadian anatomist and paleoanthropologist Davidson Black was born. Black is best known for his postulation of the existence of a distinct form of early man, Sinanthropus pekinensis, popularly known as Peking man and now Homo erectus pekinensis. It is believed that Davidson Black already enjoyed to collect fossils along the banks of the Don River when he was a child. Further, he probably became friends with First Nations…
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Ruth Benedict and Cultural Anthropology

Ruth Benedict and Cultural Anthropology

On June 5, 1887, American anthropologist and folklorist Ruth Fulton Benedict was born. Benedict’s theories had a profound influence on cultural anthropology, especially in the area of culture and personality. Her major contribution to anthropology, compares Zuñi, Dobu, and Kwakiutl cultures in order to demonstrate how small a portion of the possible range of human behaviour is incorporated into any one culture. Ruth Fulton Benedict first attended lectures at the New School for…
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The Native American studies of Horatio Hale

The Native American studies of Horatio Hale

On May 3, 1817, American-Canadian ethnologist, philologist and businessman Horatio Hale was born. Hale studied language as a key for classifying ancient peoples and being able to trace their migrations. He was the first to discover that the Tutelo language of Virginia belonged to the Siouan family, and to identify the Cherokee language as a member of the Iroquoian family of languages. Horatio Hale attended Harvard College and in 1834, he published…
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