Archive for evolution

Episode 24 Pubic Hair Grooming as Cultural Practice with Lyndsey Craig

Lyndsey Craig (photo courtesy of Ms. Craig)

Anthropology graduate student Lyndsey Craig examines pubic hair removal practices across 72 societies, and how the practices are tied to cultural concerns about hygiene and sexual activity.

Whereas most literature on public hair removal practices focus primarily on Western cultures, in particular how women are included in and affected by marketing, pornography, and pop culture, Craig and biological anthropologist Dr. Peter Gray performed historical, cross-cultural research across dozens of non-Western societies. They found that whether and how pubic hair was removed depended on a diverse array of cultural messages about hygiene, fertility, sexuality and beauty.

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Episode 19 The Culture of Teeth with Dr. Julia Boughner

Dr. Julia Boughner (photo by and included with permission from Dr. Boughner)

What do cultural practices have to do with how our teeth and jaws develop? Biological Anthropologist Dr. Julia Boughner works with dentists and oral surgeons to answer the question: why do modern humans in industrialized nations face dental problems that don’t affect primates, modern hunter-gatherers, and previous generations of humans? The key may be in what we eat and how we prepare it.

Over the course of hundreds of thousands of years, our jaws have become smaller and weaker as our preferred foods became softer as humans (and our hominid ancestors) used hands, fire, and tools to do the work jaws used to do. Dr. Boughner explores evolution (and its misperceptions), science journalism, and how anthropology can be integral in developing safer and more effective dentistry.
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