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CAS in the Media Arts and Sciences Media Headlines

Gilman scholarship students heading abroad

Four WSU CAS undergraduates recently received the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship toward study abroad programs of their choice. Cougs will use the funding to study in Taiwan, Italy, Kenya, and Japan.

“The Gilman scholarship is a federally funded initiative and the top study abroad award in higher education,” said Tiffany Prizzi, senior advisor in International Programs-Global Learning. “Besides looking great on a resume, this award is an open door to international opportunities and consideration for post-graduate awards, such as the Fulbright and Rhodes scholarships.

Students receiving the award, their year in school, their major, and their intended study abroad destination are Ryan Lewis, senior, Anthropology and Chinese, one semester in Taiwan; Ramiro Lopez-Guerra, junior, Social Sciences, one month in Florence, Italy; Darya Maysam, junior, Animal Sciences and Mathematics, 6 weeks in Kenya; and Jarely Aragon Ramirez, senior, Linguistics and Political Science, one semester in Nagasaki, Japan. All the students are from Washington state.

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WSU Insider

WSU Emeritus/Emerita Society gives awards, grants to undergraduate researchers

Members of CAS in anthropology, English, earth sciences, mathematics, and psychology are among those who received awards from the Washington State University Emeritus/Emerita Society for their research in arts and humanities.

“It’s a pleasure for the members of our Society to recognize the great research projects that our students are undertaking in subjects that span so many disciplines at WSU,” said Larry Fox, retired veterinary science and animal sciences professor. He represented the organization at the April 13 ceremonies where the seven students were honored. That event was hosted by the Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement.

“This year’s award and grant recipients’ research and scholarship projects are among the best we’ve seen, and we look forward to seeing their work continue,” Fox said. “We wish that our support will help with that.”

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WSU Insider 

Were These Beetles Once as Valuable as Gemstones?

The discovery of 2,000-year-old, iridescent green figeater beetle (Cotinis mutabilis) jewelry at two sites at Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah may help solve a long-standing historical mystery.

For years, archaeologists have debated why decorative metals and semi-precious stones have never been uncovered in the American Southwest from the period 500 BCE to 500 CE, when Basketmaker II society was in the thick of an agricultural revolution. It’s a major exception to a universal cultural shift from hunting and gathering to agriculture with which those artifacts are almost always associated.

William Lipe.

Archaeologist William D. Lipe, a professor emeritus at Washington State University in Pullman, agrees that the iridescent beetle adornments from Bears Ears were prestige goods and status symbols. But, he says, the artifacts, which date to around 70-60 BCE, are by no means the first ones associated with Basketmaker II society. It’s just that archaeologists have historically interpreted objects made of perishable materials as less valuable than those made from metal or stone, in part because they were less likely to survive the last 2,000 years than the decorative metal and stone goods of other early agricultural societies.

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Atlas Obscura
Real Clear Science

Ask Dr. Universe: Did dinosaurs eat humans?

If you looked inside a T. rex mouth, you’d see some 12-inch teeth. That’s longer than my tail!

Aaron Blackwell.

I asked my friend Aaron Blackwell if dinosaurs used those big chompers on humans. He’s an anthropologist who studies human biology at Washington State University. He told me dinosaurs and humans didn’t live at the same time.

“Dinosaurs died out 65 million years ago—before there were even primates,” Blackwell said. “So, they could never have eaten a human or even a monkey.”

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Dr. Universe

A man’s world? Not according to biology or history.

Many of us look at the stranglehold that gender-based oppression has on our societies and wonder if there was a time when men didn’t have this much power, when femininity and masculinity didn’t mean what they do now. When we search for powerful women in ancient history, when we try to identify precedents for equality in the distant past, perhaps we also betray our longing for an alternative in a world in which we fear there may be none.

Patriarchy—giving all power and authority to the father—can sometimes seem like a vast conspiracy stretching into deep time. The word itself has become devastatingly monolithic, encompassing all the ways in which the world’s women, girls, and nonbinary people are abused and unfairly treated, from domestic violence and rape to the gender pay gap and moral double standards. The sheer scale of it feels out of our control. But how old and how universal is it really?

Linda Stone.

Historians, anthropologists, archaeologists, and feminists have been fascinated by this question—and as a science journalist, I’ve been preoccupied with it for years.

In most cases, matrilineal societies are framed as unusual circumstances, “beset by special strains, as fragile and rare, possibly even doomed to extinction,” as Washington State University anthropologist Linda Stone puts it. In academic circles, the problem is known as the matrilineal puzzle. Patriliny, on the other hand, is seen to need no explanation. It just is.

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National Geographic