February 24, 2006

The "Eskimo Snow Hoax"

That the Inuit of the Arctic regions have 40, 100, or some other number of words for snow is a persistent urban legend. David Mendoza passes on a funnier version of it:

The Great Inuit Vocabulary Hoax is anthropology's contribution to urban legends. It apparently started in 1911 when anthropologist Franz Boaz casually mentioned that the Inuit—he called them "Eskimos," using the derogatory term of a tribe to the south of them for eaters of raw meat—had four different words for snow. With each succeeding reference in textbooks and the popular press the number grew to sometimes as many as 400 words.

(Tip of the parka hood to Tommy Mac.)

Reid Farmer at Querencia updates us on Kennewick Man.

Moira Breen at Progressive Reactionaries has links for more Kennewick Man information.

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