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[…]

The Nature of Evolution: Selection, Inheritance, and History

Evolutionary tree / OneZoom Lecture by Dr. Stephen Stearns / 01.12.2009 Edward P. Bass Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Yale University Introduction Biological evolution has two big ideas. One of them has to do with how the process occurs, and that’s called microevolution. It’s evolution going on right now. Evolution is going on in[…]

The History of Life: The Views of Aristotle and His Predecessors

By Dr. John S. Wilkins / 08.05.2016 Honorary Research Fellow University of Melbourne Nature versus Humanity Before there was a literate, and philosophical, historical record, humans existed at least some 80,000 years. Around 12,500 years ago in the region surrounding Anatolia in modern Turkey, agriculture slowly began (the Neolithic Revolution, which spread across Eurasia over[…]

Proper Activity, Preference, and the Meaning of Life – In Search of a Definition

By Dr. Lucas J. Mix / 12.04.2014 Theoretical Biologist Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Harvard University Abstract Both popular and scientific definitions of life must account for the possibility of the sub-optimal operation of some function. Identifying the function in question and the criteria for optimality will be necessary steps in crafting a definition[…]

How Many Genes Does It Take to Make a Person?

Do we contain the most elaborate set of instructions? / Shutterstock By Dr. Sean Nee / 10.18.2016 Research Professor of Ecosystem Science and Management Pennsylvania State University We humans like to think of ourselves as on the top of the heap compared to all the other living things on our planet. Life has evolved over[…]

Can Great Apes Read Your Mind?

Bonobo Jasongo at Leipzig Zoo has a hunch about what you’re thinking. MPI-EVA By Dr. Christopher Krupenye / 10.06.2016 Postdoctoral Researcher in Developmental and Comparative Psychology Max Planck Institute One of the things that defines humans most is our ability to read others’ minds – that is, to make inferences about what others are thinking.[…]

Hydrothermal Vent Hypothesis on Abiogenesis (Origin of Life)

NOAA Photo Library/Flickr By Dr. Arunas L. Radzvilavicius / 08.15.2016 Theoretical Biologist University College London For nearly nine decades, science’s favorite explanation for the origin of life has been the “primordial soup”. This is the idea that life began from a series of chemical reactions in a warm pond on Earth’s surface, triggered by an[…]

Why You Shouldn’t Want to Always Be Happy

In life, happiness can seem fleeting and elusive, something just out of reach. Steve Corey/flickr By Dr. Frank T. McAndrew / 08.12.2016 Cornelia H. Dudley Professor of Psychology Knox College In the 1990s, a psychologist named Martin Seligman led the positive psychology movement, which placed the study of human happiness squarely at the center of[…]

The Evolutionary Purpose of Colour

By Azriel ReShel / 06.30.2016 Colour vision in humans and why its important Nothing delights the senses quite like colour. The iridescent blue of the waves on the ocean, the bursts of coloured flowers in a sea of green, or the breathtaking hues of sunset, affect our minds and our bodies. Colour enhances life and[…]

Darwin’s ‘True Century’ Was Delayed Until Animal Biographies Illuminated Social Evolution

Over the last fifty years, long-term studies following individual animals over entire lifespans have allowed insight into the evolutionary influence of social behaviour – finally fulfilling the holistic approach to evolution first suggested by Darwin, argues the author of a new milestone work on mammal societies. 06.14.2016 All animals live in a form of society,[…]

Evolutionary Theory and the Ultimate–Proximate Distinction in the Human Behavioral Sciences

Wikimedia Commons      By (left-to-right) Dr. Thomas C. Scott-Phillips, Dr. Thomas E. Dickins, and Dr. Stuart A. West Scott-Phillips:  Senior Research Fellow in Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, Durham University Dickins:  Professor of Evolutionary Psychology, University of East London West:  Professor of Evolutionary Biology, University of Oxford Abstract To properly understand behavior, we must obtain both[…]

A Virtual World of Paleontology

By Dr. John A. Cunningham, et.al. Postdoctoral Researcher School of Earth Sciences University of Bristol Volume 29, Issue 6 (2014) Highlights • Computer-aided visualization and analysis has revolutionized the study of fossils. • Fossils can now be characterized in three dimensions and in unprecedented detail. • The resulting digital reconstructions can be used in rigorous[…]

Cross-cultural Research, Evolutionary Psychology, and Racialism: Problems and Prospects

debate.org By Dr. John P. Jackson Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies Roy R. Charles Center for Academic Excellence College of William and Mary Abstract Philosophers defending evolutionary/cognitive accounts of racialism argue that cross-cultural psychological research has discovered similar patterns of racial reasoning around the globe. Such research, they hold, simultaneously supports the existence of an underlying[…]