Anthropology-related articles from the National Geographic Virtual Library

From remains found in Tanzania, Kenya and Africa through to temples in Turkey and tribes in Papua New Guinea, National Geographic’s coverage of anthropological research is as wide in its reach as it is accessible.

Read on for sample Anthropology articles, and feel free to get in touch if you would like a trial set up for your institution.


Wilhelm G. Solheim

“The results of those excavations, now in their seventh year, have been astonishing, but have only unfolded slowly as the analysis of our finds proceeds in our laboratory in Honolulu. As we started to receive our carbon-14 dates, we began to realise what a truly revolutionary site this was.”
New Light on a Forgotten Past



Froelich G. Rainey

"Excavations indicate that Ipiutak existed at least 2,000 years ago and possibly much earlier, making this the oldest as well as the most highly developed Arctic culture yet found…"
Discovering Alaska’s Oldest Arctic Town



Louis Leakey

"It was painstaking work, but after several days we had all the pieces out and began putting our fossil jigsaw together. At last we could see what we had: Mary had discovered a nearly complete skull of Procunsul africanns, an early Miocene creature which many scientists believe represents the common stock leading to both man and the apes. It was the first time anyone had found so nearly complete a specimen of an early fossil apelike creature. A new door in the study of man’s past had opened."
Adventures in the Search for Man



Eduardo Matos Moctezuma

"By the end of last summer, we had found 53 offerings, containers filled with gifts to propitiate the gods. Each of these offerings provided an abundance of artefacts. The included skulls and deities, shells, coral, copal (incense), and artefacts of many sorts from all over Mesoamerica. Typically, one contained 200 objects in addition to 2,000 stone beads and required five weeks to excavate with a spoon and brush, and to sketch and classify."
New Finds in the Great Temple



Hon. Gardiner G. Hubbard

"With these flints are found bones of animals, with probably a few human bones.  From these remains we gather that man had not only learned to defend himself from the wild animals about him, but probably to use their flesh for food and their skins for clothing."
The Effects of Geographic Environment in the Development of Civilization in Primitive Man



Jamie Shreeve

"Even if Ar. Radmidus is a hominid, was it really bipedal? Before Ardi was found, such a question would have been unthinkable. Among higher primates, only hominids are bipedal, ergo all hominids must be bipedal."
The Birth of Bipedalism



George Agogino and Cynthia & Henry Irwin

"One morning, almost seven feet upstream from where the main mammoth skeleton had lain, we found a new clue: the animal’s axis vertebra, that is, the neck bone that lies second back from the base of the skull. Had our primitive hunters severed this section of the neck for their feast? Clearly it had not been shifted by water, for the bone lay upstream from the skeleton."
Wyoming Muck Tells of Battle: Ice Age Man vs. Mammoth



Alexander Marshack

"A bone knife that shows no evidence of wear on its edges, and was therefore probably used for ceremonial or ritual purposes, has an engraved doe on one face, with serpentine lines suggestive of water above its head. One the same face of the knife there is the familiar symbol of an ibex head with one crossed-out horn and three abstract flowers in bloom. The images seem to represent spring in the foothills, just as those on the Montgaudier deer antler apparently represent spring in the lowlands."
Exploring the Mind of Ice Age Man



Richard Leakey and Alan Walker

"This skeleton, the best preserved of an early human ever found, gives us definitive evidence of the size and anatomy of Homo Eructus, a species intermediate between the first upright-walking hominids and modern man. Moreover, it may help explain whether early humans evolved from apelike ancestors gradually or through abrupt changes in brain size and body shape."
A Fossil Skeleton 1,600,000 Years Old



Jamie Shreeve

"None of the researchers had dared to think it at first, but it was clear they had found the skeleton of a single individual as complete as Lucy but unlike her or anything else that had ever been seen. While most of the other bones at the site showed signs of being ravaged by hyenas after death, the hominid skeleton was miraculously untouched."
The Evolutionary Road



Lee Berger

"So rather than being the legendary mother of us all, Lucy may be just another branch on our family tree. And that branch may be a dead end: Lucy may have given rise to Australopithecus boisei, a robust australopithecine with big teeth and strong jaws that died out about a million years ago."
The Dawn of Humans: Redrawing our Family tree?



Mary Leakey

"The hominid footprints attested, in my considered opinion, to the existence of a direct ancestor of man half a million years before the earliest previous evidence – fossils unearthed by Dr. Donald C. Johanson and his party in the Afar triangle of Ethiopia beginning in 1973."
Footprints in the Ashes of Time



BiruteĢ M. F. Galdikas

"Although she later slowed down considerably, her initial performance was amazing. Within weeks, she was using signs and stringing them together to ask for edibles or contact."
Living with the Great Orange Apes



Charles C Mann (Turkey)

"Bewilderingly, the people at Göbekli Tepe got steadily worse at temple building. The earliest rings are the biggest and most sophisticated, technically and artistically. As time went by, the pillars became smaller, simpler, and were mounted with less and less acre. Finally the effort seems to have petered out altogether by 8200 B.C. Göbekli was all fall and no rise."
The Birth of Religion: The World's First Temple