Current Anthropology 1964

Ascher, Robert and Hockett, Charles F. The Human Revolution. Current Anthropology, June 1964. Volume 5 (3): 135-147.

In this article Ascher and Hockett attempt to provide a “narrative account of the evolution of our ancestors from proto-hominoid times to the earliest fully human stage” (147). Proto-hominoids are the ancient ancestors of contemporary hominoids, and studying their fossil record gives many clues about adaptations that have happened since their extinction, and why those adaptations were selected. The authors state that they are attempting to “reconstruct human evolution” through two types of evidence: the archaeological and fossil record and through observation of our “nearest nonhuman cousins, other hominoids of today” (136). The observations are then used in a comparative analysis, in which they propose the most likely path of development from human ancestors down to the groups we can observe today (136). The theory behind it is natural selection; if the traits were passed on to Homo sapiens, they must have been adapted for at some point in our extensive history.

Accordingly, the article is divided into stages in which each phase of human evolution is given a detailed (and often cautious) reconstruction. The authors place a heavy emphasis on language evolution, and they meticulously outline the progress from the closed call system of the proto-Hominoids, (where certain calls equal specific, important environmental changes), to a mixed open call system where the sounds are blended, to chattering, then to the ancestors of the languages we speak today (141). The development of language serves as the background to their other arguments. For example, chattering evolved because bipedal proto-hominids did not need to carry things in their mouth and therefore had the first opportunity to create more complex speech. In the “Proto-Hominoids” section the authors switch freely from their theories on stages of trait acquisition to narrative accounts such as “Occasionally they would pick up a stick or stone and use it as a tool…they carried other things too, in mouth or hands or both…and at least the females, perhaps on occasion the males, carried infants” (138). In this quote we can see not only their attempts at reconstruction, but this is also a prime example of their cautionary approach. The adding of qualifying phrases like “probably” and “perhaps” makes the article seem less dogmatic and open to the possibility of change. Their main hypothesis on the proto-hominoids is that their communicative behavior was still limited to a closed call system (139).

The next sections, “Out of the Trees” and “Carrying,” outline the transition from proto-hominoid to hominid, as well as explain the adaptation to bipedal walking. With climactic changes in the East African Miocene, the vegetation was thinned and the tropical forest was turned into a savanna. The hominoids had to be able to move from grove to grove and carrying food in the hands made survival possible while in search of a new grove (140). They state that carrying was the primary impetus for bipedal walking, and when their mouths were not needed for carrying, they began chattering (141). Chattering is an adaptation that the authors think was a result of the change in their environment. With the small bands of hominids traveling extensively, searching for food and fighting off predators, they needed a more flexible vocal-auditory form of communication than the instinctive call systems (142). The authors are convinced that all the crucial developments (language acquisition and bipedalism primarily) had been achieved by the beginning of the Pleistocene, or about one million years ago (145).


Weston LaBarre, Frank B. Livingstone, and G.G. Simpson offer the primary comments and critiques on The Human Revolution. Generally all three have issues with Hockett and Ascher’s taxonomic and phylogenetic status of gibbons, which the commentators see as much less important and not as worthy of comparative analysis as the authors do. They also question the use of the comparative method, saying that averaging is not the best way to conduct a reconstruction of this magnitude. Livingstone even goes so far as to say that they have created an “’unspecialized, generalized ape,’ which was rather unadapted to any way of life and just waiting around for its turn to evolve” (150).


The authors’ replies are brief, but their basic response is that they are not changing their theories any time soon because they, like the rest of the anthropological community, are waiting for further archaeological evidence before they change their reconstruction of human evolution. They address each concern specifically and politely, with a representative example of their replies in their response to the commentators concern over “reconstruction [of proto-hominoid lifestyles] via averaging” (151). They challenge their apprehension of this method by saying that unless a “more reliable method can be achieved” theirs is the best way to attain their goal of reconstruction.

EMILY WELCHMAN Loyola University Chicago (Kathleen Adams)

Brace, C. Loring. The Fate of Classic Neanderthals: A Consideration of Hominid Catastrophism. Current Anthropology February, 1964, No. 1: 3-43.

In this article Brace gives a history of the perceptions of the Neanderthal over time in this article. He argues that the Neanderthal has been denied a place in the ancestry of Homo sapiens sapiens due to anti-evolutionary views perpetuated from the time of its discovery. He also presents his own four-stage evolutionary theory. Brace draws on historical anthropological writings on the Neanderthal, especially the works of Boule, Schwalbe, Weidenreich, and Weinert as support for his ideas.

Brace claims the Neanderthal has suffered many misperceptions since its discovery in 1856. Virchow asserted that it is nothing more than a modern human suffering from many pathological conditions. Brace, however, believes that the Neanderthals greatest detractor was Boule, the key investigator of the La Chapelle Neanderthal find. Boule helped to create the persistent caveman caricature of the Neanderthal. Heavily influenced by Cuvier’s catastrophism, Boule believed the Neanderthal became extinct and had no part in modern human ancestry. Boule’s theories were commonly accepted and persist, despite evidence to the contrary, such as the incorrect dating of the Grimaldi skeletons.

Brace comments on Schwalbe’s three-stage evolutionary theory; which included the Neanderthal as ancestors of modern humans. However, according to Brace, in the early twentieth century many were opposed to the strange-looking Neanderthal being placed in the ancestral tree, and his ideas were largely ignored.

Brace views Weidenreich favorably. Weidenreich’s morphology dating techniques have been criticized, which he used in addition to the preferred geological method. Brace believes that Weidenreich’s methods allowed for more exact dating, and prevented hoaxes such as Piltdown to escape unnoticed.

Brace is also favorably disposed to the work of Hrdlicka. Hrdlicka saw the possibility of Neanderthal ancestry in the Homo sapiens line. He viewed Neanderthal morphology as a selective response to their harsh environment, not a cause of decreased intellect. Hrdlicka’s ideas were also largely ignored according to Brace.

As World War I and II swept over Germany and the Nazi regime took power, German anthropology was disrupted. The only voice present at this time was Weinert, who believed that Boule’s work was incorrect and that his singular focus on La Chapelle became detrimental to further discovery.

Brace uses the works of Schwalbe, Weidenreich, and Weinert to form his own evolutionary theory. Brace believes that the first stage of evolution included the australopithecines; the second, pithecanthropines; the third, Neanderthals; and the fourth, modern Homo sapiens.


Those who replied take issue with Brace’s use of physical and morphological evidence. Agogino finds Brace’s analysis welcome, but his contemporaries are not so easily convinced. Brothwell, Le Gros Clark, Coon, Farmer, Genoves T., Givens, Howell, Howells, von Koenigswald, Kurth, Montagu, Muller-Beck, Narr, Tobias, and Weckler all find fault in his interpretation of the morphological data. They also question his absolute stance against the earlier work on the Neanderthal and Brace’s easy acceptance of the ideas of Schwalbe, Weidenreich, and Weinert.


Brace begins by noting that he has gained approval from those outside of the anthropological community, and that his strongest detractors lay within. Brace claims that the paper was an attempt to draw out the sources of the prevalent ideas on the Neanderthal in attempt to awaken the anthropological community. He provides more support for his evolutionary ideas by both clarifying them and providing more fossil data examples. Brace uses other readily accepted but scientifically faulty cases to help justify his interpretation of the Neanderthal data, and the place of the Neanderthal in the family tree of modern humans.

AMANDA HITTERMAN Loyola University Chicago (Kathleen Adams)

Bunzel, Ruth L. and Anne Parsons. Report on Regional Conferences. Current Anthropology December, 1964 Vol. 5(5): 430, 437-442.

In this article, Ruth Bunzel and Anne Parsons discuss the events of the 1961 American Anthropological Association meeting, as well as the 1962 Peace Luncheon held under Margaret Mead. The point of these meetings was to encourage anthropologists to focus their research and skills on current world affairs, particularly nuclear war. As a result of these meetings, six conferences throughout the country took place to discuss the role anthropologists can and should play in world affairs.

The majority of the article focuses on these regional conferences, which included people who participated in reading and commenting on a booklet about alternative policies of nuclear deterrence. The point of this was to see if anthropologists could come to any consensus over this issue. After describing the structure of the conferences, Bunzel and Parsons list participants’ comments on deterrence strategy. These ranged greatly, with some feeling anthropological research could not offer insights to this issue at all. The authors then discuss how anthropological research in general is relevant to world affairs. This discussion is broken up into three categories, including research on basic issues of war and peace and conflict resolution, research on immediate international problems, and ideas for improving anthropological influence in world affairs. Each category contains a list of about ten ways anthropologists could use their skills to enhance understanding of world affairs, particularly warfare.

Bunzel and Parsons conclude this article by summarizing the purpose of the conference and participants’ final comments. They conclude that there was no real unanimity of opinions on the issues, but that anthropologists did have something to say and that the issues were still relevant to anthropological concerns. The anthropologists also agreed that they especially had something to say about two particular areas, including conflict resolution and problems of emerging non-Western nations. They felt that their role lies more in creating models for the study of problems rather than doing direct research. Bunzel and Parsons end with the thought that anthropologists have a personal responsibility to work towards world affairs.


This article is followed by the comments of Margaret Mead and Rhoda Metraux. For the most part, Mead and Metraux are in agreement with the report of Bunzel and Parsons, but they are surprised that a few issues were left out of the discussion. One of these is the issue of what anthropologists have in terms of resources, methods, and techniques in order to tackle these questions of nuclear deterrence and other world issues. Another concern is that none of the American anthropologists questioned what other anthropologists around the world are saying and doing about these issues. The commentators also make the point that rather than focusing on the difficulty of the subject matter, anthropologists must figure out how to set aside emotions and deal with the issue for the good of scientific research. Rather than world problems being issues of opinion, they are issues of methodology (442). According to Mead and Metraux, it is not if we will study global issues such as nuclear deterrence, but how.

The authors did not reply to the comments made by Mead and Metraux.

ALISON SZOPINSKI Loyola University Chicago (Kathleen Adams)

Bunzel, Ruth L, and Anne Parsons; Mead, Margaret and Rhoda Metraux; Omer Stewart; and Stanley Diamond. Anthropology and World Affairs as Seen by U.S.A. Associates: Report on Regional Conferences; The Need to Popularize Basic Concepts; A Revolutionary Discipline Current Anthropology December, 1964 Vol.5(5):430-442.

This series of short articles tackles three aspects of current anthropology, as interpreted by three different American anthropologists. The first article by Bunzel and Parsons examines a series of conferences designed to create a strategy for dealing with the threat of nuclear war, held at the suggestion of the American Anthropological Association. The second article, written by Stewart, suggests that the notion of war is a part of a cultural complex, which can be changed or abandoned. The final article by Diamond elaborates on the concept that anthropology in a noble discipline, able to see beyond government propaganda and realize the importance of cultural variation.

Each of these articles reflects current events in the United States at the time they were written, specifically during the Cold War, and the resulting involvement in Vietnam. The fear of nuclear war was a paramount concern among all people, and the loss of culture experienced by American involvement overseas was a primary concern of anthropologists.

In their discussion , Bunzel and Parsons describe the attempt to reach a group consensus on alternative policies to influence the shaping of national policy. A series of conferences were held, with the opportunity for anthropologists to participate by developing a statement of position with respect to papers presented on formulating alternative strategies. The result is noted as being a consensus to reject the framework and value system of the strategy thinkers. Further to this, anthropological research that could provide insight to problems of peace and international stability were discussed.

The commentary by Mead and Metraux examines the role of the anthropologist in discussing world affairs, specifically that he/she is only capable of discussion of topics of which they have knowledge and interest. They also examine the need for a methodology that will allow anthropologist to become participants and observers in their own culture, rather than in another.

Stewart’s article presents basic concepts of anthropology, including war as a culture complex, with the intention of expressing outrage that at one of the aforementioned conferences detailed by Bunzel and Parsons, anthropologists expressed that they should have nothing to do with theories of use or non-use of atomic bombs in world affairs. Stewart further chastises all anthropologists for their apathy, and cites further cases of injustice that the anthropological community has been slow to rectify, including the assertion that African-American citizens of the United States are in many ways inferior to the Caucasians. He concludes that complete disarmament of all states should be desirable to the anthropological community, as it encourages the growth and flourishing of culture. He discusses the shift in paradigm needed for anthropologists to become activists, and likens it to the shift in the scientific community, towards the acceptance of Einstein’s theories.

Finally, Diamond’s article discusses anthropological theory as a revolution in the science of culture. He discusses the study of non-mainstream cultures, and likens anthropologists to citizens of the world, being that they have an awareness of global issues, allowed by their profession. As a result of this, he suggests that anthropologists should not be taken in by government propaganda. He launches a lengthy discussion of philosophy, as it applies to revolutions in anthropology, discussing the Age of Discovery and Enlightenment, as well as the work of more contemporary theorists, including Malinowski and Morgan. He concludes that the role of the anthropologist is to apply critical knowledge of the past to find peace in what is essentially an intercultural society.

Each of these authors argues that anthropologists need to have a larger and more vocal role in the determination of national policies as they specifically relate to nuclear war. They build a case and point for disarmament, and the adoption of new theoretical perspectives that will allow for greater participation in matters of national policy.

AMBER OTKE-ROPOTAR Okanagan University College (Diana E. French)

Chang, Kwang-chih. Prehistoric and Early Historic Culture Horizons and Traditions in South China. Current Anthropology December, 1964 Vol.5 (5): 359, 368-375. Solheim II, William G. Pottery and the Malayo-Polynesians. Current Anthropology December, 1964 Vol.5 (5): 360, 376-406.
Grace, George W. The Linguistic Evidence. Current Anthropology December, 1964 Vol. 5(5): 361-368.

Together authors Chang, Solheim II, and Grace make up the Movement of the Malayo-Polynesians: 1500 B.C. to A.D. 500. These articles attempt to trace the movement of the Malayo-Polynesians in ancient periods. Each author focuses on different materials. Chang looks at archaeological evidence, Solheim uses ancient pottery, and Grace focuses on linguistic analysis. Although their topic is the same, the authors do not arrive at the same conclusions.

First, Chang divides the settlements of the Malayo-Polynesians into five cultural horizons and four traditions based on archaeological evidence from the time ceramics and agriculture first appear to the Han Dynasty. He defines horizons as locations connected by the similar cultural traits and traditions as chronological cultural stages. The horizons are, Corded Ware, Lungshanoid, Geometric, Eastern Chou, and Han. Each horizon is subdivided into the categories of horizon markers, distribution, chronology, and historical connections. The traditions are Southwestern, Nuclear Neolithic, Southeastern, and North China Bronze Age. Each of these is subdivided into the categories of characteristics, chronology, distribution, and probable history of development. He concludes that most major shifts in horizon and tradition begin in the north and move south.

Next Solheim attempts to trace the migration of the Malayo-Polynesians using ancient pottery. He recognizes the pottery traditions of Sa-Huynh-Kalanay, Bau-Malay, and Novaliches in Southeastern China. He focuses on the pottery designs, materials, tools, location and the period of the pottery. Solheim also comments on the spread of the Southeastern pottery traditions. He then discusses the new method of analyzing pottery manufacture in which archaeological sites are compared on the basis of many manufacturing traits instead of just one. The manufacturing method is subdivided into distinct elements and compared statistically to Southeastern Asia, Indonesia, Melonesia, and Micronesia. Finally, he reevaluates his 1953 pottery study with his new evidence. He concludes that his original assumptions about pottery style migrations are correct, but a few of his ideas regarding the amount of contact between various cultures are incorrect.

Third, Grace locates the migration patterns of the Malayo-Polynesians through Austronesian language differences. Within this language he looks at the sub-categories of Polynesian, Fijian, Rotuman, Eastern Austronesian, and Kadai-Austronesian. Grace notes that linguistic analysis has no standard method for evaluating the dates of linguistic shifts. He chooses to use the less trusted methods of lexiocostatistical and glottochronological analysis. Grace compares his use of these methods with analysis of Dyen, Thomas, Healey, and Elbert in the Philippines. He also discusses their mistakes while using these methods. He concludes that migrations after approximately 1500 B.C. led to the spread of Malayo-Polynesian languages in Southern Asia.


Those who reply to the articles mostly have issues with Grace’s use of lexiocostatistical and glottochronological analysis. Commentators Capell, Cowan, Dyen, Fischer, Haudricourt, Healey, and Kahler, do not trust these methods and seek to remind Grace that such linguistic analysis is still very unstable, and should be used to draw inferences, not conclusions. Hackenberg, Milke, and Suggs comment on the importance of work in an area where little research has been done. Milke and Sorensen disagree about the location of various horizons and traditions in the articles of Chang and Solheim. They also seek to establish that other divisions also existed.


Grace recognizes that most problems stemmed from linguistic strategy disagreement. He acknowledges the uncertainty of of lexicostatistical and glottochronological studies but feels that linguistic studies need to advance with new methods. Solheim states that the authors are not attempting to cover all the evidence of South China. He also clarifies his data regarding the pottery. Chang notes that his analysis is a working hypothesis, and not final.

ALEXIS JORDAN Loyola University (Kathleen Adams)

Dozier, Edward P. The Pueblo Indians of the Southwest: A Survey of the Anthropological Literature and a Review of Theory, Method, and Results. Current Anthropology April, 1964 Vol. 5(2):79-97

Dozier asserts that Pueblo studies have mirrored the general growth of the field of anthropology (92). In his article, he examines and reviews pertinent literature and selected studies on the Pueblo Indians of the Southwest (specifically the Zuni, Hopi, Keresan, and Tanoan groups) in order to delineate the main contributions of Pueblo studies to the overall development of anthropology. Dozier looks at studies carried out by other anthropologists, such as Fewkes, Parsons, and Sapir, on Pueblo archaeology, linguistics, ethnology, and social anthropology.

Dozier explains that important work in archaeology began in the Southwest around 1880 and focused on taking inventories of particular sites. In the 1920’s archaeology and archaeological method began to focus more on the temporal and spatial dimensions of cultures. By the 1950’s there was a fusion of archaeological interests with ethnology and social anthropology.

Dozier next discusses the first documentation of Pueblo languages, which consists of word lists compiled by U.S. army officers around the 1850’s. The lists only described the surface relationships between the Pueblo languages; later a comparative method was developed by Indo-European linguists in order to assess more distant relationships between the languages and assign them to their rightful language families. At this time, more emphasis was placed on classifying languages instead of describing them, and lexical data such as dictionaries were also lacking (82). At the time the article was published, the studies of Pueblo languages had begun to focus on more complex aspects of the languages such as sorting behavior and paralanguage features.

Regarding social anthropology, Dozier explains that the Spanish were the first to provide greatly detailed accounts of Pueblo life during the 17th Century. Then in the 19th Century Fewkes and others began doing meticulous ethnographic work on the Pueblos. The early Spanish documents consist of descriptions of cultural traits while later work attempted to explain Pueblo social structure through participant observation, sampling, and statistical analysis. Anthropologists also looked at Pueblo culture and personality as an aspect of social life. Through fieldwork anthropologists attempted to compile a list of psychological characteristics and personality-shaping factors of the Pueblo groups.

Dozier next talks about culture change brought about by internal cultural forces, diffusion, and contact with other cultures, including whites. He explains that the Eastern Pueblo groups borrowed certain things from white American culture while maintaining continuity within their own culture, while the Zuni and Hopi Pueblos simply rejected white American culture altogether. Finally Dozier talks of the present state of the Pueblos of the Southwest, highlighting the shift from subsistence farming, to a credit system, to the incorporation of Pueblo Indian groups into the cash economy, and the introduction of radio and television, among other changes.

In sum, Dozier explains that in the early studies of the Pueblo Indians archaeologists, linguists, and social anthropologists were concerned with taking inventories, classifying languages, and describing cultural traits, respectively. He then describes how, as time progressed, these methods were abandoned for more complex methods that focused on more complex dimensions of cultures and their members. Dozier maintains that anthropology as a whole follows this same trajectory.

ELIZABETH SCHERGEN Loyola University (Kathleen Adams)

Hockett, Charles F., and Robert Ascher. The Human Revolution. Current Anthropology June, 1964 Vol.5 (3):135-166.

Charles F. Hockett and Robert Ascher have attempted to show the transition from our pre-human ancestors to our human ancestors. They first described the “Neolithic Revolution” and the “Urban Revolution” as examples of recent rapid development our human ancestors went through, and how the latter was dependent on the occurrence of the former. They use a number of different types of evidence such as archeological, fossil and geologic records. They also utilize the directly the directly observable physical ways of life of humans and our closest relatives; chimpanzees, guerrillas, orangutans, gibbons, siamangs. The reasoning is that all of the contemporary hominids are continuations of pre-hominids. However, with evolution it is sometimes hard to determine which stage preceded which. Was the lung of the lungfish at one time a swimming bladder, or is the current swimming bladder of the teliosts a former lung. This example can be related to why our ancestors left the trees for the ground. They were not trying to become human, just trying to stay alive. Hockett and Ascher claim that the reason for this was not even their choice. They propose that as the forest groves diminished, the weaker bands got pushed out by the stronger bands; that our ancestors were in fact the losers in the fight for suitable territory.

This was a very important step in our ancestors’ evolution. Being condemned to open country freed their hands from climbing and made them available for carrying. The first thing they would have carried were infants and small twigs over short distances to be used as tools. Bipedal locomotion also freed their hands and allowed for the transportation of scavenged food. The authors then propose how tools may have led to the use of weapons. Also, one of the least obvious but very important developments that came about with the carrying behavior is memory and foresight. The idea of carrying a tool without any immediate need for it became a very important step. What this meant was that they remembered that this tool had been helpful and may again be useful in the future. Being able to carry objects in their hands also freed the mouth from carrying. This was now available for chatter. Upright posture also may have made the standard dorsal approach for coitus relatively awkward and may have led to the frontal approach. This in turn may have promoted more interpersonal relationships and the eventual domestication of the male.

The authors then describe the possible process for the opening of the call system, through the process of blending and the repositioning of the pharynx. Another important developmental process was in conception. The ever-increasing size of the brain and skull increased the difficulty in parturition. This led to earlier birth, but created a longer period during which the child was helpless. This placed increased demand on child care as well as making it beneficial for the father to provide for, and support the mother and eventually teach the child the skills required for adult growth.


In general, the commentators seem to be appreciative of the article and the gap it fills in the literature on human evolution. Many would like to see greater discussion on specific topics. Corrections on various points are also offered, and covered topics such as the type of game early hominoids were capable of hunting. There were also some corrections on the relatedness of modern non-human hominoids to us. Some of the suggestions made were that there should have been greater use of technology. The role of fire on jaw and tooth development as well as the importance of grooming on the social structure should have also been covered here.


Hockett and Ascher are grateful for some of the clarifications offered, as well as the suggestions. With some of this new information they withdrew a few of their previous comments. There is a list of corrections and omissions in the reply section. They however did note their distress at the criticism of two biologists at their use of the “Romers Rule”.

FRASER BOULTON Okanagan University College (Diana E. French)

Hsu, Francis L.K. Rethinking the Concept “Primitive”. Current Anthropology June, 1964 Vol. 5(3):169-178.

The article indicates the obsolescence of the term and the negative concepts often associated with the term ‘primitive’. Hsu’s survey of thirty books written in the field of anthropology from 1953-1963 form the basis for his argument, which is that the use of the term ‘primitive’ is inconsistent, ambiguous, and provides no empirical, theoretical, or practical validity. In this study, the author builds upon Lois Mednick’s briefer but similar study.

In categorizing the different meanings, the survey reveals that more than one hundred and fifty different applications of the term ‘primitive’ exist. The majority of the meanings found in the books include simpleness, antiquity, undesirable, and inferiority. Hsu uses several examples to suggest that the primitive-civilized dichotomy that exists in anthropological writings and study is problematic, negative, and undesirable.

The author reasons that the misuse of this term is linked to habit, but most often is due to oversight on behalf of anthropologists. To enforce his thesis, Hsu adopts Herskovits’ idea of cultural relativism. He implies that cultural relativism further suggests the need for avoiding judgment while studying different societies and cultures of the world. The most significant problem with applying the concept of ”primitive”, according to Hsu, is when it is used to determine the inferiority or superiority of entire societies or cultures. Hsu questions why ‘westerners’ do not scrutinize our own culture. He attributes this lack of cultural inquiry to a fear threat the results would reveal.

In the conclusion, the author suggests that there are many ways of classifying peoples, and anthropologists must progress in their approach to method. He indicates there are more refined, specific ways of categorizing people that include traits, descent, inheritance, religion, rituals, and organization of state. Hsu warns that if anthropologists continue to use the term and concept of ”primitive”, it will inhibit theoretical goals, and ultimately hamper the further progress of anthropology.

JAY JOHNSON Okanagan University College (Diana E. French)

Ju-Kang, Woo. Discovery in Shensi Province, China: Mandible of Sinanthropus Lantianensis. Current Anthropology, 1964. Vol.5 (2): 98-101.

This article describes the finding of a “fossil human mandible” (98) which the author places in a new species of Sinanthropus called Lantianensis. The fossil was discovered on July 19, 1963 by a field team from the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology, Academia Sinica near Chenchiawo Village in Lantian County, Shensi Province of Northwest China. The mandible was found in reddish clays that have been dated by stratographic and associated fossils to the Middle Pleistocene age. The associated material includes mammalian fossils such as a red dog, tiger, and boar along with a quartz pebble which shows evidence of “artificial chipping.” (98) These specimens along with the mandible are pictured within the article.

Compared to other Sinanthropus fossils finds (such as pekinensis) found prior to lantianensis but dating to the same time period, the lantianensis is the best preserved mandible. What separates the Lantian mandible from pekinensis is “a smaller angle of inclination, a greater difference between the height of the symphyseal part and that at the level of the mental foramen, and a larger angle of the molar rows . . .” (99). The teeth size is intermediary between the pekinensis sexes, however based on height and thickness of the mandible, Ju-Kang describes the mandible as female.

The mandible was found very well preserved with only one tooth, the right first premolar, lost prior to death. However, several teeth including the canine, premolars and molar from the left side were damaged during the excavation. The loss of the right premolar was probably due to periodontal disease where the gum recedes away from the tooth. Other teeth on the right side of the mandible show the beginnings of this disease. However, the teeth show no signs of cavities. Based on the great wear of the teeth, the mandible was from an older adult. In addition, the mandible lacks both third molars. With the assistance of x-ray, Ju-Kang found no evidence that the specimen ever had its third molars during life, which gives evidence that the lack of third molars began with early man (101). This fossil contributes to our understanding of the evolution of man for it shows that morphologies found today were present in the past. The Lantian mandible helps shine some light on the evolution of dental morphologies such as the loss of the third molar is an ancient phenomenon.

MELISSA ZOLNIERZ Loyola University Chicago (Kathleen Adams).

Kwang-Chih Chang. Prehistoric and Early Historic Culture Horizons and Traditions in South China. Current Anthropology December, 1964 Vol.5 (5):359-360, 368-376.

This article characterizes the culture and traditions in South China up until 200 B.C, using cultural evidence such as pottery discovered up until the Han Civilization. The author begins with a brief history of the discovery of artifacts, starting with stone implements and bronze objects found at the surface, followed by the discovery of geometric-stamped pottery and more stone implements after the introduction of modern methods of excavation.

The author details the major horizon markers for each cultural period and outlines the distribution, distinctive features, developmental processes, historic connections and chronological order of each one. On the basis of the evidence in this article, a clear depiction of the five cultural horizons and four traditions of South China prehistory are presented.

LORISSA ZOOBKOFF Okanagan University College (Diana E. French)

Kwang-chih Chang, George W. Grace and Wilhelm G. Solheim II. Movement of the Malayo-Polynesians: 1500 B.C. To A.D. 500. Current Anthropology December, 1964 Vol.5(5):359-389.

This article seems atypical in that it is in essence three separate and distinctly different papers, written by three authors working in parallel, rather than as a single synthesis presented of their collective works. Nevertheless, it is still designed to be digested as a single coherent entity with each subsequent segment bolstering the position delineated by the last. The authors utilize this format to effectively and holistically incorporate three unique methodological standpoints into their overall presentation.

The first segment, authored by Kwang-chih Chang, focuses upon providing a brief historical sketch of the southern Chinese archaeological record. Specifically, the emphasis is placed upon evaluating the current evidence he uses to define a total of five distinct cultural traditions and four distinct cultural horizons from within this region. The identification of these discrete archaeological units is then used to provide the basis by which a model of interpretation can be applied to the archaeological history of Neolithic China.

Following this is the article written by Wilhelm G. Solheim II which compares styles of pottery and associated manufacturing technology within this region in an attempt to trace the migratory patterns of Malayo-Polynesian speaking peoples. He attempts to trace these patterns by examining the pottery styles, initially recognized as developments of prehistoric Southeast Asia, and then investigating evidence of a diffusion of these traits to other locations in Asia.

The last presentation is based upon linguistic studies of this area as carried out by George W. Grace. In his research he openly admits that the principle flaw in the form of linguistic analysis he has adopted for this region is in its inability to provide for any form of an absolute date to be isolated. However, he states that there is still ample evidence to form a working hypothesis around the concept of Malayo-Polynesian languages being distributed widely throughout this region at some time in the past. He believes this occurred most likely as a result of the relocation of Malayo-Polynesian speaking cultural groups before 1500 BC.

MIKE D. LOGAN Okanagan University College (Diana E. French)

Jacobeit, Wolfgang. Intensification of International Cooperation in the Field of European Agrarian Ethnography. Current Anthropology June, 1964 Vol. 5(3):179-189.

Jacobeit’s article is in response to the Six International Congress of Anthropological and Ethnological Science decision to encourage the research support for historical agricultural implements. Representatives from a number of interested disciplines were approached in order to create an inventoried list of agricultural implements from each their own country’s museums. An article was then planned to be published expounding agricultural implements with illustrations. This would make the information gathered a future resource. Jacobeit believes this task to be tedious and overwhelming. Financial costs also need to be taken into consideration, where in this case, Jacobeit believes to be too high for the Copenhagen Secretariat.

One good example he draws from is a similar project undertaken by the Institute for the Ethnology of Germany academy of Sciences in Berlin, which took seven years to inventory all of German Democratic Republics farming implements. Jacobeit is also skeptical that the Copenhagen Secretariat would have the manpower needed to undertake this large of a project. He begs the question if there could be other ways to encourage international cooperation in order to benefit agrarian ethnography. As it appears as of now, agrarian ethnography lacks the necessary cooperative organization with each other to banter relevant mutual interests. Conferences regarding agrarian ethnology do not meet on a regular basis. This makes sharing information difficult, which country is working on which farming implement?

The Copenhagen Secretariat is working on such sharing of information to be circulated. A number of advantages to this are pointed out. Collective research could be directed by an international body that could delegate ethnographic studies of importance. Coordination on an international scale worked for such other organizations like the Hungarian ethnologists who had experts contribute from Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Rumania, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, in their study of cattle breeding and pastoral life. Jacobeit believes that after there is better organization and collaboration by the Copenhagen Institute, it would be possible to request the compiling of an inventory of agrarian implements.


The commentators recognized the importance of intensifying cooperation as the author suggested. This would result in intensifying local research which would produce better results for comparative studies. Scholars are encouraged to meet those who wish for the same objectives. This is somewhat urgent due to the disappearance of folk material culture. Of course, commentators also suggested opening up agrarian ethnology to outside of Europe to the Near East, which was the cradle of agriculture.


In Jacobeit’s reply, he feels encouraged by the commentators. He reiterates that his objective was to appeal to his peers to find and create practicable means for more intensive cooperation. He also states that world wide cooperation is not something he objects to.

GINGER JACK Okanagan University College (Diana E. French).

Maquet, Jacques J. Objectivity in Anthropology. Current Anthropology February, 1964 Vol.5: 47-55.

Maquet’s article discusses the question whether or not anthropology is a true science. He asks how anthropology is supported and uses amongst the data Africa as the main example. He admits that anthropology is not the most popular discipline, however, his main argument discusses that anthropology is the accumulation of knowledge and that same knowledge is applied to all disciplines.

The thesis argues by supporting anthropology in general. He discusses the ‘history’ of anthropology and the discipline itself in seven parts: “the existential situation of anthropologists in the colonial system, anthropological studies during the colonial period, anthropology and sociology, the social perspective of anthropology, inductive anthropology, deductive anthropology, and is anthropological knowledge scientific?”

Each mini article offers explanations to myths, problems, and points out the qualities surrounding anthropology. Each is also synchronic with the other mini articles, thus, he offers a brief history as well. Maquet uses ethnographies from Africa and information from throughout the discipline to validate his thesis, and concludes his paper by admitting that there continues to be a problem within the anthropological discipline.

BERNICE SAMPSON Okanagan University College (Diana E. French)

Naroll, Raoul. On Ethnic Unit Classification with CA Comment. Current Anthropology October, 1964 Vol.5(4):283-312

Raoul Naroll’s article addresses the problem of defining “tribe” and “society.” He begins by giving the best-known definitions for these words, with tribe or society as the basic culture bearing group–“that group of people whose shared, learned way of life constitutes a whole ‘culture’ rather than a mere ‘subculture’ on one hand or a culture are or culture cluster on the other” (283). He illustrates this problem of defining tribe or society by listing definitions given by several historically prominent anthropologists, such as Radcliffe-Brown and Evans-Pritchard. In studying these varying definitions, he is able to isolate six possible tribe-defining criteria: 1.) Distribution of particular traits being studied 2.) Territorial contiguity 3.) Political organization 4.) Language 5.) Ecological adjustment 6.) Local community structure. Each of these six criteria presents numerous problems.

Rather than define whole societies based on the six traditional criteria, Naroll proposes the use of a “cultunit.” A cultunit is an “ideal type” defined as, “people who are domestic speakers of a common distinct language and who belong either to the same state or the same contact group” (286). In short, it is “the culture-bearing group.” Narroll delineates four types of cultunits. The Hopi type is a group of people who have no state but speak a common language and are interconnected through contact links. The Flathead type is a group of people who belong to a state and whose members all speak a common language. The Aztec type is a group of people who belong to a state where “mutually unintelligible dialects occur and who are domestic speakers of the lingua franca of the state” (287). Finally, the Tarascan type is one in which people belonging to the state do not understand each other and speak a language other than the lingua franca (287). These types take into consideration linguistic and state boundaries.

Naroll acknowledges that his cultunit concept has some difficultues. He recognizes that the cultunit’s focus on linguisitic data poses some problems. Naroll also explains that it is difficult to define cultunit in regards to time, rather than space. He separates societies, which have no written historical records, classifying these as Paleoethnography (pre-1492), Aboriginal (post-1492 societies that are still politically independent), and the Colonial period (post-1492 and post-European conquest), and those societies that keep written records.

The remainder of Naroll’s article explains how to apply the cultunit cross-culturally. Within each cross-cultural survey, there may be variation regarding which specific cultunit is used, however Narroll believes that in the most cases, the cultunit will be a helpful tool in tandem with statistical methodology.


The comments are quite varied. Some applaud Naroll for his useful exploration of this topic, however, they believe that the cultunit concept remains rough and needs further development. Others appreciate Naroll’s work on the problem of defining an ethnic unit (294). Still others question whether the cultunit is applicable to defining whole societies.


Naroll attempts to clear up misunderstandings arising from his article’s ambiguities. He acknowledges that he fails to clarify how to use the concept (309), that he also encountered some problems, and that he “still was not satisfied” (307). However, he also attacks some commentators’ proposals, underscoring problems with their definitions, and arguing that the cultunit remains the best way to classify whole societies.

JOANNA SFONDELES Loyola University Chicago (Kathleen Adams)

Naroll, Raoul. On Ethnic Unit Classification. Current Anthropology October, 1964 Vol.5(4):283-311.

Naroll discusses some of the problems he feels result from using basic terms in relation to defining a culture-bearing unit. Two terms he suggests that are problematic are tribe and society. He begins by defining these terms as they are presented in the literature, noting that while tribe has become associated with or used to describe a non-literate culture bearing unit, it could also be used to indicate a group of people who share a common language and unite for purposes of defense. A society on the other hand is described as a basic culture bearing unit, that is, it is said to include all cultural variants present within communities which occupy a specific area based on geographics, share a language, and a somewhat similar economic system. The author points to a common characteristic shared by both of these concepts and their definition, that is the idea of a common language. For Naroll the problem is that of the inadequacy of using language alone as a determinant of boundaries. Another point of contention is that of the nature of the unit, should it be based on large or small areas, local communities or political groups. He notes the six criteria used to define entire societies and units of comparison, they are; 1) distribution of particular traits being studied, 2) territorial contiguity, 3) political organization, 4) language, 5) ecological adjustment and 6) local community structure. He proposes a new unit, the Acultunit which he divided into four taxonomic classes suggesting them as an aid to anthropologists doing comparative studies.

This new concept of the cultunit uses three of the six criteria mentioned; they are language, territorial contiguity and political organization. Naroll’s four distinct types are the Hopi type, the Flathead type, the Aztec type and the Tarascan type. He indicates that these types emerge when the boundaries of linguistics and communication links are considered. The concept is presented rather as a standard reference to tackle the problem of sampling in cross-cultural surveys. In addressing the cultunit in time and space he feels it satisfactory to use time units such as centuries, decades, etc. stating that although the development of a theory in historical periodization is of importance, he does not choose to consider it.


Responses given to Naroll’s concept of cultunit as a culture-bearing unit when considering cultural comparative studies were largely negative. While most acknowledged the need to address the issue as an important and recognizable one, they were nonetheless dissatisfied and at times confused, labeling his attempt as inadequate and unclear, citing that his newly suggested term will generate the same difficulties as those preceding it. Despite the negative responses, he was acknowledged for bringing attention to this methodological and theoretical problem.


Naroll replies to each of the fundamental questions raised by those commenting on his article. He maintained his position on the usefulness of the cultunit in cross-cultural surveys, noting that the composition of traits which he chose were key to periodizing the operational unit definition. Where he felt there were problems raised and suggestions made on how to better deal with them, they are acknowledged, while others are strongly criticized by him for both their opinions and suggestions, despite recognition for breaking ground and opening the door for further work.

CHARLENE HAYNES Okanagan University College (Diana E. French)