Biological anthropology

Biological anthropology is the subdiscipline of anthropology that investigates the origins and evolution of hominins. Techniques include both the analysis of fossils and the behaviour, morphology and genetics of living humans.

Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • News & Views |

    An enduring puzzle in evolution is the maintenance of costly traits. Šaffa et al.1 examine phylogenetic evidence for the origins of genital mutilation/cutting (GM/C) in human societies, and find that these practices probably emerged multiple times during the past 5,000–7,000 years, and that female GM/C arose only after male GM/C was present in a society.

    • Mhairi A. Gibson
  • News & Views |

    Taking advantage of natural variation present in six populations of wild orangutans, a new study correlates population density with multiple facets of individuals’ vocal phenotype and demonstrates that sociality influences vocal plasticity in great apes.

    • Ammie K. Kalan
  • Comments & Opinion |

    Kimberleigh Tommy is a PhD candidate and science communicator, based at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in South Africa, where she studies hominin functional morphology as it relates to locomotion. She has won numerous awards for both her science communication and research; most recently she was named one of The Mail and Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans making a difference in their fields as well as a recipient of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science South African National Young Talents programme awards. We asked her about her background, her interests and her hopes for the future.

    • Luíseach Nic Eoin
    •  & Kimberleigh Tommy
  • Comments & Opinion |

    Research centres in low- and middle-income countries are routinely circumvented in the production of cross-cultural research on human behaviour. Where local contributions are made, collaboration is rarely equitable and often uncredited in co-authorship. Efforts to decolonize the social sciences will remain inadequate until these norms are overturned.

    • Mark Urassa
    • , David W. Lawson
    •  & Caitlyn Placek