Skip to main content Skip to navigation
CAS News Arts and Sciences Headlines

African farmers’ kids conquer the marshmallow test

Barry Hewlett
Barry Hewlett

Children of Nso farmers in Cameroon know how to master the marshmallow test, which has tempted away the self-control of Western kids for decades. In a direct comparison on this delayed gratification task, Cameroonian youngsters leave middle-class German children in the dust when challenged to resist a reachable treat while waiting for another goodie, a new study finds.

While Nso values and parenting techniques generally characterize small-scale farming populations, especially in Africa, hunter-gatherers are another story, says anthropologist Barry Hewlett of Washington State University in Vancouver. Traditional hunter-gatherer groups value individual freedom and consider everyone to be relatively equal, regardless of age. Parents usually don’t tell their kids what to do, and children show little deference to parents and elders.

Find out more

Science News

Is the Moon House an American Stonehenge?

William Lipe
Lipe

Imagine that you live in isolation on a beautiful mesa with a small band of subsistence farmers. Your territory is rugged and difficult to traverse, with steep slopes, deep canyons, and sandstone cliffs, and is strewn with boulders, hoodoos, balanced rocks, and other obstacles. Even the flat places are uneven and covered with piñon, cedar, shrub oak, yucca, cactus, and scrubby dessert plants.

Such was life for the ancestral Puebloan people, often called the Anasazi, who inhabited southeastern Utah. Their cliff-dwelling stage lasted between 1150 and 1300. During this span, they built and decorated a complex on a plateau called Cedar Mesa. In the 1960s, archeologist Bill Lipe of Washington State University dubbed it the “Moon House”. The name stuck. Throughout the structure, its walls carry decorations that may indicate that those who lived there carefully watched the sky.

Find out more

Astronomy Magazine

Huffington Post

Graduate students win NSF research fellowships

Three Washington State University College of Arts and Sciences students have been chosen for National Science Foundation graduate research fellowships. The prestigious awards have trained generations of American scientists and engineers, including Nobel laureates.

The College of Arts and Sciences’ honorees are:

Avery Anne Lane, an anthropology student from Tucson, Ariz., who is working on a master’s in Courtney Meehan’s biocultural anthropology lab.

Shawn Trojahn, a biology master’s student from Virginia Beach, Va., who is looking at the global decline in biodiversity in the vulnerable mangrove forest, a habitat affected by logging and water pollution.

Lindsey Marie Lavaysse, a psychology master’s student from San Francisco, is focusing on occupational health and safety threats to vulnerable populations like pregnant and minority workers.

Find out more

WSU News

WSU looks for practices to thwart antimicrobial resistance

Robert Quinlan

Washington State University scientists are addressing growing global concern about the spread of antimicrobial resistance in Africa, where the World Health Organization predicts that, by 2050, drug resistant tuberculosis and other bacteria could lead to the deaths of 4.15 million people each year.

Their work identifying practices that lead to bacterial transmission could help save African lives and prevent the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria to the U.S. and other parts of the globe.

Doug Call, a professor in WSU’s Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, Robert Quinlan, a professor in the Department of Anthropology, and Mark Caudell, a postdoctoral fellow, are the lead authors of a recent study in PLOS One investigating how human behavior, cultural context and living conditions in Tanzania affect the transmission of antimicrobial resistant bacteria from livestock to humans.

Find out more

WSU News

Science Newsline

 

Computer models find ancient solutions to modern problems

d’Alpoim Guedes

Washington State University archaeologists are at the helm of new research using sophisticated computer technology to learn how past societies responded to climate change.

Their work, which links ancient climate and archaeological data, could help modern communities identify new crops and other adaptive strategies when threatened by drought, extreme weather and other environmental challenges.

In a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Jade d’Alpoim Guedes, assistant professor of anthropology, and WSU colleagues Stefani Crabtree, Kyle Bocinsky and Tim Kohler examine how recent advances in computational modeling are reshaping the field of archaeology.

Find out more

WSU News

Phys.org

ScienceBlog

Popular Archaeology

Health Medicine Network

NewHistorian

Association for Computing Machinery

Paste Magazine

Treehugger