Biological anthropology articles from across Nature Portfolio

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.

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News and Comment

  • Comments & Opinion
    | Open Access

    Digital technology is increasingly important in people’s lives, particularly for new parents as it allows them to access information, stay connected to peers and offers them seductive solutions for improving infant sleep and parental well-being. Digital technology has been developed to support parents in the following four ways: (1) providing digital information on infant sleep, (2) offering targeted support for night-time care, (3) managing infant sleep and (4) monitoring infant sleep and safety. Evidence on the effectiveness of these strategies is varied and there are concerns regarding the reliability of information, use of personal data, commercial exploitation of parents, and the effects of replacing caregiver presence with digital technology.

    • Helen L. Ball
    •  & Alice-Amber Keegan
  • 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