Friday, September 17, 2010

Around the web: mating and marriage

The "Around the Web" series highlights informative websites, and also targeted blog posts and news articles, relevant to the courses I teach. This semester I teach Anth 143: Biology of Human Behavior, an introductory-level course that covers the basics of evolution, behavioral biology, and the interaction of biology and culture. My hope is that these posts are useful not only for my current students, but other people hoping to gain background or insight into these topics.

This week we covered mating and marriage systems. However, I combed through my enormous bookmarked list of interesting posts and articles, and found very little. So I decided to beef up this week's "Around the web" with a few selections that every student should read, regardless of whether it relates to this particular class. But first, SCIENCE!

Mating and marriage

First, Greg Laden reviews and reflects on a very cool PLoS Genetics paper on polygyny and human diversity here. This is well written and defines a few important terms for intro anthropology students.

Here is a link to material on polygyny from a course taught by Robert Quinlan at Washington State University. Great information... and mentions the Dogon of Mali and Strassman's test of the Polygyny Threshold Model, which we discussed in lecture. This is great for review or clarification.

Some interesting food for thought from Savage Minds on the "end" of marriage (said with lots of foreboding).

Resources for learners

These articles don't particularly fit into any of the categories of this class, but are resources I want you to have. So here you go:

First, the frivolous but fun: the San Diego Ape Cam and Panda Cam. Also, the physics of mega shark vs. plane. Just click on it, trust me.

The science behind why chimpanzees are not pets, by a truly excellent scholar Brian Hare. We'll be watching a film that features his work later in the semester, Ape Genius.

There are a lot of people who first found their love of science through reading Stephen Jay Gould. So here is a link to the unofficial SJG archive.

Now for some links on learning:

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