24 votes
Accepted

Do any people in South Africa traditionally spend two days together praising wrong-doers to help them?

The story in question was originally attributed not to an anthropologist, but to a childhood memory! Consider the Babemba tribes of southern Africa, where the social structure includes only an ...
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17 votes
Accepted

Does swearing give people the impression that you are from a lower social class?

It's certainly not universal. In the UK, swearing is relatively common among the upper and lower classes and aversion to swearing is a primarily lower middle class trait. This has been studied ...
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13 votes
Accepted

Were early hunter-gatherers monogamous?

It looks like there's no direct evidence from any pre-Neolithic culture about their sexual or marital arrangements. However, the proxy evidence is a bit more extensive: In a comparative study of 190 ...
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11 votes

Are high temperatures the cause of nudity being not unusual amongst the Daasanach?

Other sources indicate a less innocent explanation: nudity is the penalty for not undergoing female genital mutilation. Amongst females, only those who've undergone it are allowed to wear clothing, ...
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10 votes
Accepted

Did Cargo Cults involving the imitation of western society exist?

The article In John They Trust, by the Smithsonian confirms that such cargo cults exist. Imitation of western societies: Chief Isaac Wan, a slight, bearded man in a blue suit and ceremonial sash,...
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10 votes

Of all humans ever born, did most men not become fathers?

This is not my area of scientific expertise. I cannot say if this study by Wilder et al is correct or not, but I can read the study and compare their conclusions to Baumeister's. Wilder et al ...
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8 votes

Did Margaret Mead say that a healed femur is the earliest sign of civilization?

(Posting this as a self-answer because it's too large for a comment, but not accepting it because it's conjecture) Daniel R Hicks commented that he heard this "around 1980." Indeed, it ...
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7 votes

Are there no matriarchal societies?

According to the US Indian Health Service page Navajo Nation Traditionally, the Navajos are a matriarchal society, with descent and inheritance determined through one's mother. Navajo women have ...
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  • 98.3k
7 votes
Accepted

Are high temperatures the cause of nudity being not unusual amongst the Daasanach?

See Women’s Worlds in Dassanetch, Southern Ethiopia, Institut für Ethnologie und Afrikastudien, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität (2005). Unlike boys Dassanetch girls start wearing clothes from ...
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  • 98.3k
6 votes

Do any people in South Africa traditionally spend two days together praising wrong-doers to help them?

Short answer: This is most likely nonsense. Ubuntu roughly denotes "a quality that includes the essential human virtues: compassion and humanity"(1), and while it is sometimes opposed to victimisation ...
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5 votes

Were hunter-gatherers peaceful egalitarians?

To expand on my comment, the 'egalitarian' part of the question has been mostly dealt with on hist.SE, and the answer depends on your definition of egalitarian as well as the hunter-gatherers involved....
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  • 49.7k
4 votes

Is the hominid skull discovered in Petralona 700,000 years old?

According to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History the skull is "Between 350,000 and 150,000 years" old Some further notes on the morphology and dating of the Petralona hominid Journal of Human ...
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  • 98.3k
4 votes

Was there a giant red-haired race in North America?

As is often the case, No, but with a grain of truth. There was a tribe which was described in legend as "red-headed cannibals" by the oral history of the Paiute tribe: the Si-Te-Cah. According to ...
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  • 3,046
4 votes

Is the story of a divine miracle at Mt. Sinai, witnessed by a national audience, unique among cultures or religions?

Christianity points to its founding on the Day of Pentecost, described in Acts 2, when an entire group not only observed a miracle but each one personally participated in it. The event is ...
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  • 141
3 votes

Can people castrate reindeer by biting off the testicles?

From a pure physical perspective, it's plausible. There are at least two cases of women removing human testicles just by grabbing them and pulling and at least one case of the woman using her teeth to ...
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  • 5,926
3 votes
Accepted

Is a large percentage of human communication non-verbal?

Per Philip Yaffe in 2011, "In the 1960s Professor Albert Mehrabian and colleagues at the University of California, Los Angles (UCLA), conducted studies into human communication patterns. When their ...
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