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Washington State University
College of Arts and Sciences Anthropology

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 …

Dr. Universe: Why do apes walk on their knuckles?

Dr. Universe.A lot of apes walk on their knuckles. Gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos use their knuckles for stability and balance.

That’s what I found out from my friend Nanda Grow, an anthropologist and wildlife biologist at Washington State University who studies primates.

“Gorillas and chimpanzees both do knuckle walking, but they do different kinds,” she said. » 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 …

Meet the new faculty of fall 2020

College of Arts and Sciences - Washington State University.Meet the college’s newest faculty, whose disciplinary expertise—from origin of life and supermassive black holes to political psychology, ancient economics, and interdisciplinary art—enriches and expands the arts and sciences at WSU. » More …

Sniffing out patterns

Jaime Chambers.Dogs and humans have been inseparable for many millennia. Dogs eat, sleep, play, and work with us in relationships so intimate that we call them people, family members, and, as novelist Spencer Quinn puts it, members of “a nation within a nation.” Or so it would seem to your typical American dog owner.

In fact, says WSU anthropology graduate student Jaime Chambers, “the ways we interact with dogs are extremely varied” once you start looking at the relationship across cultures. » More …

Enhancing research, creative activity in arts and humanities

title textEleven of WSUs most innovative scholars and artists have been selected for faculty fellowships and mini-grants from the Center for Arts and Humanities (CAH) and the Office of Research.

Representing seven academic units and totaling nearly $78,000 in direct support, the funded projects include the creation of new international musical collaborations, investigations of interracial marriage in the historical American West, sustaining arts-based » More …

Non-tobacco plant identified in ancient pipe for first time

Ancient smoking pipes.People in what is now Washington state were smoking Rhus glabra, a plant commonly known as smooth sumac, more than 1,400 years ago. The discovery, made by a team of WSU researchers, marks the first-time scientists have identified residue from a non-tobacco plant in an archeological pipe.

“The research casts doubt on the commonly held view that trade tobacco grown by Europeans overtook the use of natively-grown smoke plants after Euro-American contact,” said Shannon Tushingham, assistant professor of anthropology. » More …