The Human Canvas: Exploring Body Modification Throughout Time

Permanent body modification is a unique and variable practice among humans that is not observed in other mammals. It has a long history and can be traced back thousands of years across various cultures and civilizations. Practices such as tattooing, scarification, piercing, and branding have been documented in ancient societies around the world.

In this latest series from CARTA (The Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny), “Body Modification: Anatomy, Alteration, and Art in Anthropogeny,” researchers explore historical and contemporary practices like tattooing, piercing, finger amputation, and cranial modification. The series examines the ‘when’ and ‘where’ of permanent body modification and the motivations behind it.

Despite being costly and risky, permanent body modification is regularly performed today. This series uses a scientific lens to explore the cultural and personal justifications and social pressures around body modification.

Watch: Body Modification: Anatomy, Alteration, and Art in Anthropogeny.

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