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Dead men do tell tales. By William R. Maples and Michael Browning. New York Doubleday. 1994. 292 pp. ISBN 0-385-47968-9. $14.95 (paper)

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pologists, for example, will undoubtedly
cringe at the equation, C = kP2/AN, where
C = cultural evolutionary level (but Graber
never defines clearly what he means by the
term), P = population size, A = area, and
N = number of societies. Via this equation,
and at a macro scale, Graber seems to be arguing that a large scale society is not only
more complex from the viewpoint of political,
economic, and social stratification, but these
also depend upon a more complex “cultural
system” for their conceptual underpinning
and interplay. Graber is not asserting that
any particular “culturalobject” such as a kinship terminology is more or less complex
when comparing a largz scale with a small
scale society, but that the number ofparts and
organization of the “cultural system” is more
complex. As Graber notes, “. . . would we not
expect their subsistence technology to intensify only if, when, and to the extent that their
density began to increase? Similarly, would
we not expect their social structures to grow
more . . . complex only if, when, and to the extent that they began living in larger
societies?. . . [Alspects of culture. . . often
can be interpreted quite effectively as ‘superstructural’-that
is, as largely epiphenomena to underlying technological and socialstructural changes” (p. 125).
The strength of this book is that Graber
has begun the task of formallylmathematically grappling with the implications of the
regularities addressed by these questions;
the weakness (if it can be called that) is that
the processes responsible for the regularities
are not addressed by the mathematical formalism. The book will be of particular interest to those interested in the relationship
between population dynamics and macro societal changes. The book has a minor typographic error on each of pages 59 and 61
( r Pinstead of -rp) and mislabeled curves in
Figure 7.7, a s well as one data point that is
i n error in Figures 7.6 and 7.1.
Maples and Michael Browning. New York:
Doubleday. 1994. 292 pp. ISBN 0-38547968-9. $14.95 (paper)
1995-96 Annual Editions in Biological Anthropology contains 41 articles, only one of
which focuses on forensics. A notable exception among textbooks is Michael Parks’
(1996) Biological Anthroplogy, in which one
of 15chapters is on the subject. Is the underrepresentation of forensic anthropology due
to the applied nature of the subject matter?
Is it too close to medicine? Or perhaps it is
just too grisly? At any rate, it has been hard
to know what to recommend to students who
want to know more, especially in a small
department in which forensic anthropology
is not in the curriculum. Now, Maples and
Browning‘s book provides a remedy.
Maples is a professor of physical anthropology at the University of Florida and curator
of the C.A. Pound Human Identification Laboratory at the Florida Museum of National
History. (Keen-eyed primatologists may also
recognize him as the author of papers on cropraiding Kenyan baboons, published in this
journal.) Browning is a Miamijournalist with
a good eye for clean, clear writing. As the
Anyone who has taught a n introductory
course in biological anthropology will know
the youthful fascination with forensic anthropology. The attraction is easy to understand. Whether it’s “searching for” Butch
Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in Bolivia, or
closer to home, determining who’s buried in
John Wilkes Booth’s grave, the subject
makes for compelling reading. (Presumably,
it is the same attraction that keeps selling
each new mystery novel by Aaron Elkins, in
which the hero is the resourceful “skeleton
detective,” Gideon Oliver, physical anthrop ~ l ~ ganswer
y ’ ~ to Indiana Jones).
What is to explain the sparse treatment
this subject receives in introductory biological anthropology textbooks, as well in published readers? Most of these cover the
subdiscipline little or not at all; e.g., the
Department of Anthropology
University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California
book's subtitle suggests, they have collaborated on a collection of memorable cases over
16 chapters which are well-illustrated with
60 black-and-white photographs (noneexcessively gruesome). Chapters either focus on
key cases or on broader topics such as cremation, suicide, dismemberment, etc. Most valuable are down-to-earth descriptions of what
is t o be found in a forensic laboratory (a surprising mixture of high and low technology)
and what goes on there (e.g., a somewhat poignant, step-by-step protocol of the treatment
of MIA remains). The result is totally readable but makes no pretense of being anything
scholarly. There is no bibliography, and the
index is just a computer-retrieved listing of
proper nouns. Still, in paperback it is a
Maples is first and foremost a bones man.
When he does stray into soft tissue (e.g.
brains) he is less convincing, and his reluctance to call upon DNA testing until late in
the book is notable. He is persuasive in advocating skeletal evidence, sometimes movingly so: " . . . the sheer power of human
bones: the power to bear witness to the truth
beyond death; the power to avenge the innocent; the power to terrify the guilty." He
writes graphically with relish, and articulates the case for forensic anthropology
(which does not equal forensic pathology, the
province of medical examiners). Occasionally, his pride edges over into self-promotion,
but this flaw is trivial in the face of the wealth
of information he provides, from the mundane (e.g., to calculate rate of decomposition,
one week in air equals two weeks in water
Byrne, R (1995) The Thinking Ape: Evolutionary Origins
of Intelligence. New York: Oxford University Press.
268 pp. $52.50 (cloth).
Holton, G (1996) Einstein, History, and Other Passions:
The Rebellion against Science at the End ofthe m e n t i eth Century. New York: Addison-Wesley. 240 pp.
$14.00 (paper).
Horgan, J (1996) The End of Science: Facing the Limits
ofKnowledge in the Zhilight ofthe Scientific Age. New
York: Addison-Wesley. 308 pp. $24.00 (cloth).
equals eight weeks underground) t o the macabre (e.g., the most efficient tool for do-ityourself cutting up of a corpse is a hacksaw).
The cases cited range from sometimes bizarre anecdotes t o meticulously documented
sleuthing. The longest chapter traces the
eventual solution of a particularly tricky
murder-suicide, based on 10,000 bone fragments. Some of the subject matter is enlivened by the Famous Name factor (Robert the
Bruce, the Elephant Man, etc.), especially
when Maples has been involved first-hand:
showing that President Zachary Taylor was
not poisoned by arsenic or that the body of
the conquistador, Francisco Pizano, on display for centuries in a Lima cathedral, was
an imposter. The most stunning case is the
penultimate one presented, the identification of the remains of the Romanov family,
executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918 but recovered only in 1992. Interestingly, of the 11
persons present and presumed killed, only
two cannot be identified from the bones; one
is the Princess Anastasia. (If she's still alive,
she is 95 years old!)
As a primatologist, I cannot comment authoritatively on the factual details of the test
(although I now know the differencebetween
autolysis and putrefaction), but anyone in
biological anthropology will gain from it and
it should go onto any introductory book list
for undergraduates.
Departments of Sociology, Gerontology,
and Anthropology, and Zoology
Miami University
Oxford, Ohio
Reynolds, LT, and L Lieberman (eds.) Race and other
Misadventures: Essays in Honor of Ashley Montagu
in His Ninetieth Year: Dix Hills, Ny: General Hall. 432
pp. $65.95 (cloth).
Russell, SA (1996) When the Land Was Young: RefZections on American Archeology. New York: AddisonWesley. 230 pp. $23.00 (cloth).
Shore, B (1996) Cultural in Mind: Cognition, Culture,
and the Problem of Meaning. New York Oxford University Press. 428 pp. $35.00 (cloth).
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paper, maple, michael, tales, dead, isbn, 1994, new, browning, york, 292, men, william, doubleday, 47968, 385, tell
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