The Biology and Psychology of Good and Bad Behavior

Tipping the balance of behavior: Social neurons and asocial neurons / Image by ZEISS Microscopy (Creative Commons) In Behave, Robert Sapolsky offers an inspired synthesis of how biology shapes human behavior—both the good and the bad. By Dr. C. Brandon Ogbunu / 12.01.2017 Assistant Professor of Evolutionary Biology University of Vermont The re-emergence of Neo-Nazi ideology; crowd-funded[…]

Hundreds of Pterosaur Eggs Help Reveal the Early Life of Flying Reptiles

Alexander Kellner (Museu Nacional/UFRJ) By Dr. Elizabeth Martin-Silverstone / 11.30.2017 Postgraduate Research Assistant in Palaeontology University of Bristol A hoard of fossilised pterosaur eggs discovered in China is helping scientists gain a rare insight into the extinct flying reptiles. Newly released research into over 200 eggs and 16 embryos from the pterosaur Hamipterus, including the first computed tomography[…]

Exploring Genetic Causation in Biology

By John McLaughlin / 07.02.2015 PhD Candidate in Developmental Biology Hunter College City University of New York In both popular culture and the technical literature in biology, the word “genetic” is ubiquitous. Despite its common usage and universal recognition, discussions centered around this concept usually leave its meaning taken for granted. We have the vague[…]

Primate Vocalizations are Much More than Gibberish

Chimpanzees use alarm calls to inform each other of danger. / Ronald Woan, Flickr Nonhuman primates clearly do more than just screech meaningless sounds at each other, but what are the limits of their communication? By Jay Schwartz / 08.25.2017 PhD Candidate in Neuroscience and Animal Behavior Emory University A chimpanzee is strolling along a[…]

Prehistoric Humans are Likely to have Formed Mating Networks to Avoid Inbreeding

Early humans seem to have recognised the dangers of inbreeding at least 34,000 years ago, and developed surprisingly sophisticated social and mating networks to avoid it, new research has found. 10.05.2017 The study, reported in the journal Science, examined genetic information from the remains of anatomically modern humans who lived during the Upper Palaeolithic, a period when modern humans[…]

When Evolution is Not a Slow Dance but a Fast Race to Survive

Afghan refugee Maimuna, photographed in Kabul in 2016. Photo by Hedayatullah Amid/Epa/REX By Wendy Orent / 11.08.2017 Anthropologist We all know what Neanderthals looked like: the beetling brow ridges, thick nose, long skull, massive bone structure – and probably red hair and freckled skin. You might do a double-take if you saw one on the subway,[…]

Evolutionary Diets, Modern Food, and Malnutrition

By Neil Schoenherr / 11.01.2017 Senior News Director, Law and Social Network Washington University, St. Louis Malnutrition problems can be traced to poor-quality diets lacking in diversity, a recent phenomenon in evolutionary history, according to a new paper from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. “Earlier diets were highly diverse and nutrient[…]

Wallacea: A Living Laboratory of Evolution

Sulawesi, part of the biogeographical region of Wallacea, is home to tarsiers – tiny, goggle-eyed creatures look more like mammalian tree frogs than monkeys. Ondrej Prosicky/www.shutterstock.com By Dr. Jatna Supriatna / 10.15.2017 Professor of Conservation Biology Universitas Indonesia The central islands of Indonesia – between Java, Bali and Kalimantan (also known as Borneo) on the west[…]

Evolutionary Geneticists Spot Natural Selection Happening Now in People

As genes are favored or phased out, human evolution continues. ktsdesign/Shutterstock.com      By Dr. Molly Przeworski, Dr. Joe Pickrell, and Hakhamanesh Mostafavi / 09.11.2017 Przeworski: Professor of Boiological Sciences Pickrell: Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Mostafavi: PhD Student in Biological Sciences Columbia University Human evolution can seem like a phenomenon of the distant past which applies only to[…]

How the Flu Changes within the Body May Hint at Future Global Trends

What can a single person’s flu infection tell you about how the virus changes around the world? / Xue and Bloom    By Dr. Jesse Bloom and Katherine Xue / 06.27.2017 Bloom: Associate Member, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; Associate Professor of Genome Sciences and Microbiology Xue: Doctoral Student in Genome Sciences University of Washington Evolution is usually[…]

Evolution of the Ego

By Anneloes Smitsman / 06.24.2017 Human Identity and Tribal Consciousness Psychiatrist, Carl Jung, founder of the School of Analytical Psychology, once said: One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. To better understand this process, it may be helpful to consider the development of modern ego perception[…]

Neuromechanics of Flamingos’ Amazing Feats of Balance

How do they do while sleeping what we can barely do at all? Carlos Bustamante Restrepo    By Dr. Lena Ting and Dr. Young-Hui Chang / 05.23.2017 Ting: Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Rehabilitation Medicine, Emory University Chang: Professor of Biological Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology If you’ve watched flamingos at the zoo – or if you’re[…]

Scientists Publish First Comprehensive Map of Proteins within Cells

[LEFT]: In epidermoid carcinoma cells, that the protein SON (green) is localising into nuclear speckles, a substructure in the nucleus. [RIGHT]: SEPT9 (green) localizes to actin filaments in epidermoid carcinoma cells. The first analysis of how proteins are arranged in a cell has been published today in Science, revealing that a large portion of human[…]

Brain-Imaging Modern People Making Stone Age Tools Hints at Evolution of Human Intelligence

The stone flakes are flying, but what brain regions are firing? / Photo by Shelby S. Putt By Dr. Shelby S. Putt / 05.08.2017 Postdoctoral Research Fellow The Stone Age Institute and The Center for Research into the Anthropological Foundations of Technology Indiana University How did humans get to be so smart, and when did[…]

Is Humanity Naturally Good? Exploring Richard Dawkins’s ‘Selfish Gene’

Lecture by Dr. Alistair McGrath at the Museum of London / 04.04.2017 Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion University of Oxford What is the future of humanity? Nobody knows. For a start, we might suffer the same fate that is thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs – an ‘extinction event’ caused by collision[…]

Get Up Stand Up: A Brief History of Sedentarism and Why Movement is Good Medicine

By Tony Federico Journal of Evolution and Health (2016) Introduction Sedentary behaviors, like watching TV, have been have been linked to an increased risk of all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality independent of other risk factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, cholesterol, diet, and waist circumference [1]. While it is unknown how much actual sedentary[…]

Using the Placenta to Understand How Complex Organs Evolve

Developing lizard embryo beneath placental tissues. Oliver Griffith By Dr. Oliver Griffith / 03.23.2017 Postdoctoral Associate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Yale University Considering how different they look from the outside, it might be surprising that all vertebrates – animals with a backbone – share the same, conserved set of organs. Chickens, fish, human beings[…]

Those Pearly Whites: The Archaeology of Teeth – Their Historical and Anthropological Value

Upper teeth of a Neanderthal who lived about 40,000 years ago. Debbie Guatelli-Steinberg By Dr. Debbie Guatelli-Steinberg / 03.02.2017 Professor of Anthropology The Ohio State University “Show me your teeth and I’ll tell you who you are.” These words, attributed to 19th-century naturalist George Cuvier, couldn’t be more correct. The pearly whites we use every[…]

‘Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue’: Basic Transmission Genetics

Genetic transmission is the mechanism that drives evolution. DNA encodes all the information necessary to make an organism. Every organism’s DNA is made of the same basic parts, arranged in different orders. DNA is divided into chromosomes, or groups of genes, which code for proteins. Asexually reproducing organisms reproduce using mitosis, while sexually reproducing organisms[…]

Ancient DNA Reveals Genetic Continuity between Stone Age and Modern Populations in East Asia

In contrast to Western Europeans, new research finds contemporary East Asians are genetically much closer to the ancient hunter-gatherers that lived in the same region eight thousand years previously.  02.01.2017 Researchers working on ancient DNA extracted from human remains interred almost 8,000 years ago in a cave in the Russian Far East have found that[…]

The Evolution of Gratitude

By Dr. Malini Suchak / 02.01.2017 Assistant Professor of Animal Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation Canisius College “Thank you.” Two simple words, among the most repeated on a daily basis. When I travel to a foreign country, it is one of the first phrases I learn, just after “hello.” When children start making verbal requests, their[…]