13 Ways to Help

  1. Do the work to educate yourself. Don’t force other people to do the labor for you.
  2. Listen with an open heart and mind when someone tells you their story. Believe them.
  3. Examine your biases. Work to overcome them.
  4. Commit to being anti-racist. Tolerance isn’t enough. Don’t accept excuses for racist behavior.
  5. If you make a mistake, own up to it.
  6. Use your platform and privilege to spread knowledge.
  7. Seek out Black scholarship. Use it, teach it, elevate it.
  8. Donate
  9. March
  10. Buy from Black businesses
  11. Contact all your politicians from local to state to federal
  12. Register to vote AND vote in every election you can
  13. Take care of yourself

Resources

Bias training & Anti-racism

How to help

Defund the police

Scientists and academia

Other

Organizations

My commitments

  1. Mindfully select guests to ensure a diversity of voices are heard on the podcast
  2. Ask each guest questions about the following topics (depending on their areas of expertise):
    • The current state of diversity and inclusion in academia as a whole and biological anthropology in particular. How has it changed? How far do we have to go? What can individuals do to help?
    • Biological anthropology’s historic role in defining race and propagating racism. Biological anthropology’s current efforts to push back on racism.
    • Biological anthropology’s relationship with descendent communities and study populations.
    • Race determination and forensic anthropology.

Dr. John Verano carefully excavating human remains from an archaeological dig. Photo courtesy of Dr. Verano.

Summary

Dr. John Verano of Tulane University wades into forensic anthropology and bioarchaeology. He discusses some of the realities of working with the recently deceased before switching gears to talk about a giant sacrifice site that he’s been working on in Peru. Plus, find out what mummies smell like.

Recommendations

Reference articles

Dr. Becker with Illimani in the background. Courtesy of Dr. Becker.

Summary

Dr. Sara Becker of UC – Riverside studies the Tiwanaku culture of Lake Titicaca. She specializes in understanding hierarchy and labor patterns via physical activity markers on the bone. She combines modern ethnographic methods with archaeology and biological anthropology to understand ancient cultures.

Recommendations

Extra educational photos

Frost’s Mechanostat (Utah Paradigm)

Image from Wikipedia.

The above figure illustrates how bone responds to stress. Below a certain threshold of strain, humans will lose bone. In the adapted state, bone mass will remain constant. Once sufficient loads are placed on bone, cells will respond by building bone. If the loads exceed the mechanical limits of the bone, fracture will occur.

If you’d like to learn more about bone modeling and remodeling, I strongly recommend this article by Robling and Turner.

Unilateral asymmetry in arm wrestlers

Arm wrestler Matthias Schlitte. (Image from Croatia Week. Used solely for educational purposes.)
Arm wrestler Jeff Dabe. (Image from the Huffington Post. Used solely for educational purposes.)

Reference articles

Dr. Billeck, courtesy of himself

Summary

Dr. Bill Billeck is the program manager for the National Museum of Natural History repatriation office at the Smithsonian. Dr. Billeck explains how repatriation works, what it’s like working with tribes, and shares some stories.

Recommendations

Reference articles

Baby capuchin riding on mother’s back. Photo courtesy of Dr. Jack.

Summary

Dr. Katharine Jack of Tulane University talks about non-human primates, reproductive strategies, the importance of collaborative science, and what to do if you run into a capuchin in the wild.

Recommendations

Reference articles

Dr. de la Cova working at the Smithsonian. Courtesy of her personal collection.

Summary

Dr. Carlina de la Cova of the University of South Carolina discusses forensic anthropology, historical bioarchaeology focusing on marginalized groups, and the overlap between the two.

Recommendations

Reference articles 

Dr. Scott Williams in his office at NYU. He’s standing in front of his vintage German illustration of Proconsul, a Miocene primate

Summary

Dr. Scott Williams of NYU talks about transitional fossils, the evolution of different postures and forms of locomotion, old books, and new ideas.

Recommendations

“March of Progress” — The original Time-Life Illustration by F. Clark Howell.
From Dr. Williams’ personal collection.

Reference articles

Dr. Juengst at work in the field

Summary

Dr. Sara Juengst of UNC – Charlotte talks about bioarchaeology, trepanation, pre-Columbian Titicacans, power structures detected via human remains, field work, and potatoes. 

Recommendations

Reference articles

Juengst, Sara. (2018). Complexity and Power: A Bioarchaeological Analysis of Socioeconomic Change on the Copacabana Peninsula, 800 BC–AD 200. Bioarchaeology International. 2. 1-19. 10.5744/bi.2018.1013.

Juengst, Sara & Hutchinson, Dale & Chávez, Sergio. (2017). High altitude agriculture in the Titicaca basin (800 BCE-200 CE): Impacts on nutrition and disease load: High Altitude Agriculture in the Titicaca Basin. American Journal of Human Biology. 29. e22988. 10.1002/ajhb.22988.

Murphy, Melissa & Juengst, Sara. (2019). Patterns of trauma across Andean South America: New discoveries and advances in interpretation. International Journal of Paleopathology. 10.1016/j.ijpp.2019.09.004.

Juengst, Sara & Chávez, S. & Hutchinson, D. & Chávez, K.. (2015). Trauma in the Titicaca Basin, Bolivia (AD 1000-1450). International Journal of Osteoarchaeology. 10.1002/oa.2469.

Juengst, Sara & Chávez, Sergio. (2015). Three trepanned skulls from the Copacabana Peninsula in the Titicaca Basin, Bolivia (800 BC–AD 1000). International Journal of Paleopathology. 9. 10.1016/j.ijpp.2014.11.005.

Dr. Watkins’ recommended book.

Summary

Dr. Rachel Watkins of American University talks about the current state of race in biological anthropology. We discuss the importance of diversity and problems the field is currently facing. See below for a link to her article.

Recommendations

Reference articles

Watkins, Rachel. (2019). An Alter(ed)native Perspective on Historical Bioarchaeology. Historical archaeology. 53. 10.1007/s41636-019-00224-5.

Summary

Dr. Levy talks about cold adaption in ancient and modern populations. She explains the three-part system that helps keep us warm: cultural adaptions, short-term changes in the body, and evolutionary changes to the body’s structures. Along the way, we discuss Bergmann’s Rule and Allen’s Rule. Both help to explain why groups living in certain climates have the proportions they do. Dr. Levy also shares her innovative methodology to help measure brown fat deposits that aid in non-shivering thermogenesis.

Recommendations