News of the WeekAnthropology

Misconduct Alleged in Yanomamo Studies

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Science  29 Sep 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5488, pp. 2251-2253
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5488.2251

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Although few of them have read it yet, anthropologists are nervously awaiting the publication of a new book that charges some prominent researchers with professional misconduct--and much worse--in their studies of the Yanomamo, a native people in the Brazilian and Venezuelan Amazon. Darkness in El Dorado accuses anthropologists of creating a false picture of the Yanomami, manufacturing evidence, and perhaps setting off a fatal measles epidemic. The contretemps is not likely to end soon, although it should at least become better informed once the book is published.