anthropology

Bronisław Malinowski – the Founder of Social Anthropology

Bronisław Malinowski – the Founder of Social Anthropology

On April 7, 1884, Polish anthropologist Bronisław Kasper Malinowski was born. Malinowski is widely recognized as the founder of social anthropology and often considered one of the most important 20th-century anthropologists. Early Years Bronisław Malinowski was the son of the Krakow linguist Lucjan Malinowski. When he was thirteen years old, his father died. In his youth he received strong influences from Ernst Mach,[6] a philosopher oriented towards natural science, and from linguistics. Malinowski earned…
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Ales Hrdlicka and the Origin of the Americans

Ales Hrdlicka and the Origin of the Americans

On March 29, 1869, Czech anthropologist Ales Hrdlicka was born. Hrdlicka is known for his studies of Neanderthal man and his theory of the migration of American Indians from Asia. He was the one of the first scientists to argue the Americans originated in Asia and came across the Bering Strait, and participated in numerous archeological expeditions which contributed a great amount of information and physical evidence. “While the anthropologist is thus…
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Charles Gabriel Seligman and the Hamitic Hypothesis

Charles Gabriel Seligman and the Hamitic Hypothesis

On December 24, 1873, British physician and ethnologist Charles Gabriel Seligman was born. Seligman‘s main ethnographic work described the culture of the Vedda people of Sri Lanka and the Shilluk people of the Sudan. He was a proponent of the Hamitic hypothesis, according to which, some civilizations of Africa were thought to have been founded by Caucasoid Hamitic peoples. Charles Gabriel Seligman studied medicine at St Thomas’ Hospital. He later worked as a…
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The Discovery of the Taung Child

The Discovery of the Taung Child

On November 28, 1924, workers at the Buxton Limeworks near Taung, South Africa, showed a fossilised primate skull to Raymond Dart, an Australian anatomist and anthropologist, who described it as a new species in the journal Nature in 1925. The fossil was soon nicknamed the Taung Child and the new species was named Australopithecus africanus – the “southern ape from Africa” – and described by Dart as “an extinct race of apes…
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The Social Theories of Lewis Henry Morgan

The Social Theories of Lewis Henry Morgan

On November 21, 1818, pioneering American anthropologist and social theorist Lewis Henry Morgan was born. Morgan is best known for his work on kinship and social structure, his theories of social evolution, and his ethnography of the Iroquois. Interested in what holds societies together, he proposed the concept that the earliest human domestic institution was the matrilineal clan, not the patriarchal family. During the 1840s, Lewis Henry Morgan befriended Ely Parker of…
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Paul Broca’s research in the Causes for Aphasia

Paul Broca’s research in the Causes for Aphasia

On July 9, 1880, French physician, anatomist and anthropologist Paul Broca passed away. He is best known for his research on Broca’s area, a region of the frontal lobe that has been named after him. Broca’s Area is involved with language. His work revealed that the brains of patients suffering from aphasia contained lesions in a particular part of the cortex, in the left frontal region. This was the first anatomical proof…
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The Forgery of the Piltdown Man

The Forgery of the Piltdown Man

On December 18, 1912, the discovery of the skull known as Piltdown man, the first important fossil human skull ever to be unearthed in England was announced at a meeting of the Geological Society of Great Britain. The specimen, known as Piltdown man, occupied an honored place in the catalogues of fossil hominids for the next 40 years. But in 1953, thanks to some rigorous scholarly detective work, Piltdown man was revealed…
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Louis Leakey and the Human Evolutionary Development in Africa

Louis Leakey and the Human Evolutionary Development in Africa

On August 7, 1903, Kenyan paleoanthropologist and archaeologist Louis Seymour Bazett Leakey was born. Louis Leakey‘s work was important in establishing human evolutionary development in Africa, particularly through his discoveries in the Olduvai Gorge. We’ve already had posts about his wife Mary Leakey, as well as two other famous women, whose life is connected with Louis Leakey: Dian Fossey and Jane Goodall. Having been a prime mover in establishing a tradition of…
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Johann Friedrich Blumenbach and the Human Races

Johann Friedrich Blumenbach and the Human Races

On May 11, 1752, German physician, naturalist, physiologist, and anthropologist Johann Friedrich Blumenbach was born. He was one of the first to explore the study of mankind as an aspect of natural history. Frequently called the father of physical anthropology, Blumenbach proposed one of the earliest classifications of the races of mankind. He divided humanity into five races: Caucasian, Ethiopian, American, Mongolian, and Malay. Johann Friedrich Blumenbach was born in Gotha and…
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Margaret Mead and Modern Anthropology

Margaret Mead and Modern Anthropology

On December 16, 1901, American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead was born. She was both a popularizer of the insights of anthropology into modern American and Western culture and a respected, often controversial, academic anthropologist. Her reports about the attitudes towards sex in South Pacific and Southeast Asian traditional cultures amply informed the 1960s sexual revolution. Maggie was a short little lady with immense courage-a first of a kind-took nothing for granted and…
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