Why Do So Many Tourists Inundate Venice and Other Fragile Places?

The Puzzle of Mass Tourism     The city of Venice has recently announced a plan to control the overwhelming number of tourists clogging this tiny Medieval city, especially during high season, which runs from April to September, and during Carnevale in February. There will be no attempt, for now, to limit the number of arrivals, just a system to discourage people from making short visits during the busiest times. As of January 16th, 2023, a visitor must make a reservation online if they want to visit the city but not stay…

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Monkey Fake News

When the Public is Fed the Wrong Information About Primates     A recent article about Japanese macaque monkeys went viral, even getting exposure on Stephen Colbert, because of its provocative headline: “Love Triangle Challenges Reign of Japan’s Monkey Queen.” But that idiotic headline, based on inaccurate reporting, was simply fake news. I know this because as an anthropologist, I spent many years observing and searching about macaques and the reporter doesn’t seem to have any idea how these animals operate. When someone is educated and experienced in a profession or a…

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Sex Unites Us

Our Species Has Spent Its History Mating with Anyone Close By     In graduate school for anthropology many decades ago, I learned that the phylogenic tree of human evolution was best represented by a sturdy central trunk. That trunk embodied the singular path of our species but there were also several weak branches sprouting off the truck that had withered and died. The roots of that central trunk were the first bipedal hominids, Australopithecines living about 4.5 million years ago, and the top canopy was Homo sapiens sapiens, modern humans. But…

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Footprints Show Humans in the Americas over 20,000 Years Ago

The Enduring Story of Human Wanderlust     A recently calculated time frame for a series of ancient human footprints at White Sands National Park, New Mexico, is bringing people, especially anthropologists and archeologists, to their feet.   These footprints were discovered in 2009 by park staff; turns out there are thousands of preserved human other animal footprints — mammoth and giant sloths, for example — all over White Sands. But The United States Geological Survey has just completed working out the age of human prints, and their date of 23,000 years old significantly changes…

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