July 2011 Archives

The Mermaid's Tale blog site (contributors Ken Weiss, Anne Buchanan, and alumna Holly Dunsworth -Ph.D., 2006) is currently ranked number 11 of 227 evolution blogs listed on the Nature magazine blogs site (at http://blogs.nature.com/)  The Mermaid's Tale blog can be found at http://ecodevoevo.blogspot.com/

Drs. David Puts, Lisa Welling and Robert Burriss, along with Dr. Khytam Dawood (Penn State Department of Psychology) published their paper "Men's masculinity and attractiveness predict their female partners' reported orgasm frequency and timing" online ahead of print in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.  This work was covered in an article in The Economist, which can be found here.

In July 2011, Drs. David Puts, Coren Apicella (Harvard University), and Rodrigo Cárdenas (Penn State Department of Psychology) published their paper "Masculine voices signal men's threat potential in forager and industrial societies" online ahead of print in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

On July 19, 2011, the Human Behavior and Evolution Society awarded Dr. David Puts the Margo Wilson Award for the best paper published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior in the past year.  Dr. Puts received the award for his paper "Beauty and the Beast: Mechanisms of sexual selection in humans," which was covered in The Economist in an article that can be found here.

Daniel will be collecting malaria drug resistance data and epidemiological data concerning monthly numbers of Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax infections.  National data will come from the Vector Borne Disease Training Center in Phra Phutthabat, Saraburi Province.  Then he will travel to a regional office in Mae Sot for data concerning Tak Province, a province that has historically had the heaviest malaria burden in Thailand.  Finally he will go to Tha Song Yong district, along the Myanmar-Thailand border, to collect village-level data. 

Graduate student John Starbuck will attend the 39th Annual National Down Syndrome Congress in San Antonio, TX from August 3-8th, 2011. John will use the 3dMDface photographic system to collect images of children with Down syndrome and their siblings to expand his dissertation dataset.

Graduate student John Starbuck recently had a paper accepted for publication in the Journal of Contemporary Anthropology. Details about this paper are below.

On the Antiquity of Trisomy 21: Moving Towards a Quantitative Diagnosis of Down Syndrome in Historic Material Culture

John M. Starbuck

1Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802


            Down syndrome was first medically described as a separate condition from other forms of cognitive impairment in 1866. Because it took so long for Down syndrome to be recognized as a clinical entity deserving its own status, several investigators have questioned whether or not Down syndrome was ever recognized before 1866. Few cases of ancient skeletal remains have been documented to have Down syndrome-like characteristics. However, several forms of material culture may depict this condition. Within this paper the history of our understanding of Down syndrome is discussed. Both skeletal remains and different forms of material culture that may depict Down syndrome are described, and where relevant, debates within the literature about how likely such qualitative diagnoses are to be correct are also discussed. Suggestions are then made for ways in which a quantitative diagnosis can be made to either strengthen or weaken qualitative arguments for or against the diagnosis of Down syndrome in different forms of historic material culture.