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College of Arts and Sciences Archives

A healthy sense of disgust can prevent sickness

Kid holding his nose.You might want to pay attention to those bad, queasy feelings. New research co-author by WSU anthropologist Aaron Blackwell  suggests that disgust could be the body’s way of helping humans avoid infection.

“We found that people with higher levels of disgust had lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers that were indicative of having bacterial or viral » More …

Breastfeeding while COVID‑19 positive

An infant.Breastfeeding women who have COVID-19 transfer milk-borne antibodies to their babies without passing along the SARS-CoV-2 virus, according to a new study.

“The results indicate that it is safe for moms to continue to breastfeed during a COVID-19 infection with proper precautions,” said Courtney Meehan, a WSU anthropology professor and co-author on the study published » More …

Women influenced coevolution of dogs and humans

A woman with a dog.Man’s best friend might actually belong to a woman.

In a cross-cultural analysis, Washington State University researchers found several factors may have played a role in building the mutually beneficial relationship between humans and dogs, including temperature, hunting and surprisingly—gender. » More …

Archeologists identify marigold residue in ancient Maya flasks

Ancient paneled flask.WSU scientists identified the presence of a non-tobacco plant in ancient Maya drug containers for the first time.

“While it has been established that tobacco was commonly used throughout the Americas before and after contact, evidence of other plants used for medicinal or religious purposes has remained largely unexplored,” said anthropology postdoc and research lead Mario Zimmermann. “The analysis methods » More …

Ancient blanket made with 11,500 turkey feathers

Turkey feathers.“Blankets or robes made with turkey feathers as the insulating medium were widely used by Ancestral Pueblo people, but little is known about how they were made because so few such textiles have survived due to their perishable nature,” said Bill Lipe, emeritus professor of anthropology at WSU and lead author of a new paper in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.

Lipe and a team of archaeologists analyzed an approximately 800-year-old turkey feather blanket from » More …

War songs and lullabies behind origins of music

Horns in a marching band.Love is not the reason why we sing and create symphonies—at least not the primary reason, according to a new evolutionary theory of the origins of music.

“Sex and mating are a part of the story, but music seems to expand far beyond that particular domain,” said Ed Hagen, WSU evolutionary anthropologist and a co-author of a study recently published in the journal Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

“The sexual selection hypothesis doesn’t really explain » More …

Blackwell to lead new human biology program

Aaron Blackwell.An expert in human evolution and immune function development, Aaron Blackwell, associate professor of anthropology, will direct the new human biology degree program at WSU, consisting primarily of courses in anthropology and biological sciences.

CAS launched the four-year, interdisciplinary bachelor of arts program this fall to help meet global demand for skilled professionals in health, social and environmental sciences and public policy. It melds approaches and content from social and biological sciences to provide students a vibrant understanding of » More …

Examining risks, benefits of breastfeeding during COVID-19

Woman with infant. COVID-19 has brought with it new questions related to the benefits and/or potential risks of breastfeeding during this pandemic. Is the SARS-COV2 virus present in breast milk and could it be transmitted from mom to baby? Could antibodies found in breast milk actually help protect babies from the SARS-COV2 virus?

Researchers at WSU are leading a new nationwide study on COVID-19 and infant feeding to help answer these questions. Their work could ultimately help scientists better understand how COVID-19 affects the health and immune responses of mothers and » More …