Contents 2004-2024

Volume 102, 202

Volume 101, 2023 

North Africa is a key area for understanding cultural processes that led to the pan-African emergence of the Acheulean, which is considered a major technological advance and a key turning point in human evolution. Unfortunately, little is known about this topic in this vast area due to the scarceness of well-dated archaeological sites and in-depth lithic studies. In this issue are presented the techno-economic behaviours from Thomas Quarry I – Unit L (Casablanca, Morocco), which is the earliest Acheulean site of North Africa unambiguously dated to 1.3 Ma. Technical projects evidence the complexity of the mental templates as well as the flexible structure of the operational schemes and are characterised by a high diversification of the stone knapping productions, which once again question the uniformity of the African Acheulean. 

Volume 100, 2022 

Special issue The power of  100

Nothing magical, but rather special. One hundred… “100”… is a round number that arouses a feeling of perfection. But 100 also has a particular power: with just three numbers in sequence, it can enclose stories full of meanings and insight. Like those of the (few) humans who manage to celebrate their 100th birthday, or the events that have characterized the centuries that preceded us and, hopefully, those to come. 

This year we have our own 100th to celebrate: the 100th issue of the JASs. There are tens of thousands of scientific journals today, so what’s special about ours? Is the story behind these 100 volumes worth telling? ... continue

Volume 99, 2021 

Next questions in Molecular Anthropology

The last conference of the Italian Anthropological Association (AAI), held in Padova in September 2019, closed with a roundtable aimed at discussing what would be the next questions in Biological Anthropology. Here we expand on a subset of the topics touched during that conference, wondering what could be the next questions in Molecular Anthropology, and asking their perspective to several experts in the field  ...  continue

Volume 98, 2020 

Reshaping the flagship initiatives of the Italian Institute of Anthropology in the new pandemic world

The dramatic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on human societies has prompted us to reshape the two flagship initiatives of the Italian Institute of Anthropology (ISItA), the “Manifesto of Human Diversity and Unity” and the Open Access Initiatives (Oasis)... continue

 Volume 97, 2019 

Grasping the genetic determinants of human adaptations: the “Kings of the Mountains” (Sherpa) case study 

Considerable biological and cultural adaptabilities represent some of the main strengths of the Homo sapiens species and probably the cornerstone on which our amazing evolutionary success is based. These characteristics have provided key prerequisites for anatomically modern humans to spread all over the world and to effectively colonize a variety of environmental and ecological contexts, which triggered diversified metabolic... continue

Volume 96, 2018  

The Manifesto of Human Diversity and Unity,  eighty years after the Italian racial laws

On July 14, 1938, the “Manifesto della razza” was published in “Il Giornale d’Italia” with the title “Il Fascismo e il problema della razza” (see Appendix). This document claimed the existence of a “pure Italian race”, in the biological sense of the term, which would have remained substantially unchanged for more than a thousand years years and whose “Aryan” origin preserved (Gillette, 2001). ... continue

Volume 95, 2017  

A Cover Story for a Nature cover: genetic signature of human expansions into Eurasia revealed by a panel of worldwide high coverage genomes 

We are an African species, and as such it is clear that in order for Homo sapiens to be present in all habitable lands worldwide, some major expansion must have occurred at some point during our evolutionary history. The so called “Out of Africa” expansion (OoA), being crucial to the for- mation of all modern non-African human populations, has long been subject of study and debate in the broader field of Human Evolution... continue

Volume 94, 2016  

What made us human? Biological and cultural evolution of Homo sapiens

The science of human evolution has recently been changing rapidly, and we know that Homo sapiens is the last surviving branch of a once-luxuriant tree of hominid species. Until very recent times, our lineage shared the planet with several other human species, such as those containing Homo neanderthalensis, Homo erectus and Homo floresiensis. Following its biological and anatomical birth in Africa around 200,000 years ago Homo sapiens spread around the world, following multiple paths of expansion that ... continue

Volume 93, 2015  

Our diversity and the Italian Constitution: do we really need human races?

We anthropologists do not always think in the same way. There is nothing strange in this. Integrating different lines of evidence - whether it be paleontological, genetic or cultural - is necessary to really understand human evolution. Considering how ambitious and sophisticated this approach is, it is hardly surprising there are gray areas which, inevitably, will give rise to different views.However, we all agree on one important point: the biological diversity that we observe today within and among human populations not only provides us... continue

Volume 92, 2014  

Open data, Science and Society: launching Oasis, the flagship initiative of the Istituto Italiano di Antropologia

The Open Data philosophy has gained considerable momentum in recent years, both in society and the scientific community. The accessibility via web of open data from the public sector has remarkably increased in the last decade, although there are substantial differences among nations ( The expectation of many citizens, organizations and pressure groups (the so called “open government” movement) ... continue

Volume 91, 2013  

A Cover Story for a Nature cover: milking in the prehistoric ‘Green Sahara’

Central Sahara is one of the African hotspots for the study of the emergence and development of pastoralism during the Early Holocene. Recent research carried out in the Tadrart Acacus (SW Libya) added significant information on the first appearance of domestic livestock in the area, the building of a pastoral identity and the development of a full pastoral economy, based on the exploitation of secondary products, including dairying. The chemical analyses of pottery residues excavated at Takarkori rock shelter together with ... continue

Volume 90, 2012  

The first modern Europeans

The discovery of new human fossil remains is one of the most obvious ways to improve our understanding of the dynamics of human evolution. The reanalysis of existing fossils using newer methods is also crucial, and may lead to a reconsideration of the biological and taxonomical status of some specimens, and improve our understanding of highly debated periods in human prehistory. This is particularly true for those remains that have previously been studied using traditional approaches, with only morphological descriptions and ... continue

Volume 89, 2011  

Human corpses as time capsules: new perspectives in the study of past mass disasters

Looking at the corpses of past natural catastrophes can change completely the conception of how to study human bone remains. The recovery of the Herculaneum victims of the 79 AD Vesuvius eruption was an opportunity for me to adopt a new approach in the study of human skeletons and their context of discovery. During two years of field work, my first aim was to investigate the effects of pyroclastic surges ... continue

Volume 88, 2010  

Bantu-Khoisan interactions at the edge of the Bantu expansions: insights from southern Angola

For a human population geneticist, an interest in Africa hardly requires an explanation. With the highest time depth of human history and over 2000 linguistic groups spreading across highly diverse geographical settings, Africa harbors a tremendous variety of genetic patterns that remain to be explained. My own interest in African populations started with São Tomé, a tiny plantation island located ... continue     [download the poster]

Volume 87, 2009  

The life histories of fossil hominins 

In recent years a number of research projects concerning the evolutionary history of South African Plio-Pleistocene Hominins have been devoted to the reconstruction of specifi c aspects of the biology of these species. Th e increased number of fossil remains recovered and the use of new methods and new technological analyses have made it possible to extract a relevant amount of new information which until recently was completely unknown. One example of this, for instance, regards the lifestyle ... continue   [download the poster]

Volume 86, 2008  

Digital Morphology: modelling anatomy and evolution

Th e morphology and anatomy of a biological structure can be seen as a structural and functional system, the fi nal results of evolutionary pressures and stochastic processes related to the actual physical and physiological environment of its components. Th e current imaging techniques (digital anthropology) and the multivariate approaches to the study of geometric covariation (geometric morphometrics) provide a quantitative exploration of the extant and extinct human variability. Such tools... continue   [download the poster]

Volume 85, 2007  

The genetic history of Italy: a male perspective

My research interests are related to the processes influencing the distribution of genetic variation across human populations. Th is has led my investigation across a number of different fields, from history to anthropology, using research tools offered by genetics. I am particularly interested in Y-chromosome markers to investigate population genetic history in order to provide new prospective and test alternative hypotheses. As part of my research I have also been involved in the molecular analysis of fossil remains... continue .  [download the poster]

Volume 84, 2006  

Primate conservation and taxonomy

he 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity revived interest in taxonomy. Coupled with the advancement of molecular techniques and how species are considered, this led to a true revolution of primate taxonomy and systematics which is today fundamental for setting objective conservation priorities. However even the relatively well-known order Primates show that biased taxonomic knowledge and assessments make it difficult to arrive at any firm conclusions regarding conservation priorities. Past interest in ... continue . [download the poster]

Volume 83, 2005  

The power of the few

The quest for reconstructing Classic Maya noble history is becoming ever more popular in the academic community. Still, Maya biographic research is mainly warranted by the intricate written records on Maya courtly life provided by epigraphy. In recent years, bioarchaeological research has increasingly provided direct evidence which adds to the written biographies of the Maya past, even though its contribution is still limited to the few kings and queens whose skeletal remains ... continue  [download the poster] [supplement

Volume 82, 2004  

African Pygmies, a more complicated tale

Everyone knows that Anthropologists are continuously in search of characters which make humans different and, even more, of the micro-evolutionary reasons behind the biological variation of our species. Therefore, the special interest generated by African Pygmies in our field of research is hardly surprising. In fact, these populations are strikingly different from many others in one of most noticeable external characters, stature. African Pygmies are also peculiar from... continue 

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