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Our favorite stories of 2016 — and yours.
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Since SAPIENS launched on January 28, we have published more than 150 articles. Choosing our favorites is no easy task, thanks to the amazing work of so many anthropologists and journalists. But here are 10 stellar pieces, chosen by our readers and the editorial team.
Readers' Top Five
1. American Confederates and the Origins of Archaeology in the Amazon Basin
Southerners who settled along the Amazon River after the Civil War stumbled upon rich soils for their plantations—but they also discovered an even richer past.
2. The Half of the World That Doesn't Make Out
Surprisingly few societies have romantic kissing in their repertoire.


3. The Double Life of Kale
The current kale craze in the United States might sound downright crazy to East Africans.


4. When Did Sex Become Fun?
Sexual reproduction has been around for 2 billion years. But when did sex for pleasure arise? And how much did penises have to do with it?


5. Rules of the Underworld
We often think of gangs, mafias, and drug cartels as chaotic and lawless. But rational rules govern the underworld to create a dark order.
Editors' Top Five
1. In Deforestation's Wake, Wild Animals Turn Troublesome
The destruction wrought by the expansion of large-scale oil palm plantations in West Papua is transforming once-wild animals into problematic pets.
2. The Perennial Power of Ritual
Rituals soothe, excite, and unite people throughout the world. But how exactly do they work, and what makes them so meaningful?


3. The Darkest Truths
After the Nazis' three so-called Operation Reinhard camps swallowed more than a million and a half Jewish lives, the camps were themselves destroyed. Forensic archaeologists are finally exploring what lies beneath the earth—but not without resistance.


4. Can an iPhone App Help Save an Endangered Language?
As the world’s Indigenous languages fade away at an alarming rate, some people are turning to technology to preserve their ancestors’ native tongues—and the cultural knowledge held in them.


5. Rubber Barons' Abuses Live On in Memory and Myth
Indigenous South Americans who lived during the rubber era weave fact and myth to pass down their collective memories as both witnesses and survivors.

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