11 January 2009

What anthropologists do...

An anthropologist, an archaeologist, and a paleontologist walk into a cave.

The archaeologist pulls a roll of string out of her left pocket and a handful of little stakes out of her right. She begins marking off identically-sized square sections across the floor of the cave. The paleontologist rushes to a corner of the cave yet unmarked by the archaeologist, and starts unpacking his jackhammer, saying "You fool! You won't find anything of any value that close to the surface."

The anthropologist is staring at the mouth of the cave. Eventually, the archaeologist stops laying string and asks the anthropologist "Well, are you just going to stand there all day, or are you going to do anything?"

"Oh, I'm already working," replied the anthropologist. "I'm trying to figure out what is motivating our hosts to fill up the cave entrance with rocks."

My friend Sabine sent me this joke in response to a discussion about the difference between anthropology, archaeology, and paleontology. Thanks!

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