Post List

  • August 28, 2010
  • 03:40 PM

Social vs Physical Causality Cognition in Chimpanzees and Bonobos

by Michael Long in Phased

Esther Herrmann (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany) and coworkers have found that, relative to each other, bonobos possess a superior grasp of social causality, while chimpanzees possess a superior grasp of physical causality. This news feature was written on August 28, 2010.... Read more »

  • August 28, 2010
  • 10:09 AM

High-Protein Diets Harmful to Bones? Nah!

by Steve Parker, M.D. in Diabetic Mediterranean Diet Blog

Contrary to accepted wisdom, high  protein intake does not seem to be harmful to mineralization of bone, according to Seattle-based researchers reporting in the American Journal of Clinical Nutriton.  Mineralization of bone is important because higher bone mineral content generally translates to lower risk of fractures. A consistent criticism of low-carbohydrate diets in the past is [...]... Read more »

Beasley, J., Ichikawa, L., Ange, B., Spangler, L., LaCroix, A., Ott, S., & Scholes, D. (2010) Is protein intake associated with bone mineral density in young women?. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 91(5), 1311-1316. DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.28728  

  • August 28, 2010
  • 05:00 AM

Links between animal cruelty and domestic violence

by SAGE Insight in SAGE Insight

Is animal cruelty a “red flag” for family violence? investigating co-occurring violence toward children, partners, and pets From Journal of Interpersonal Violence This week in the UK a nation of animal lovers were horrified at the CCTV footage circulated on YouTube that caught a woman throwing a cat in a wheely bin. For all who [...]... Read more »

  • August 28, 2010
  • 03:20 AM

Why EO Wilson’s Latest Eusociality Paper Fails

by Johnny in Ecographica

The argument presented in the paper is that inclusive fitness theory is an extraneous, unnecessary concept that has failed to provide insights into the evolution of eusociality.

Here are a few of the reasons why I think that their argument fails:
... Read more »

Nowak, M., Tarnita, C., & Wilson, E. (2010) The evolution of eusociality. Nature, 466(7310), 1057-1062. DOI: 10.1038/nature09205  

  • August 28, 2010
  • 03:00 AM

Importance and Exposure – Measures of Road Network Vulnerability?

by Jan Husdal in

The paper calculates several indices for link importance and site exposure for the Swedish road network, based on the increase in generalized travel cost when links are closed. [ ... ]... Read more »

JENELIUS, E., PETERSEN, T., & MATTSSON, L. (2006) Importance and exposure in road network vulnerability analysis. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 40(7), 537-560. DOI: 10.1016/j.tra.2005.11.003  

  • August 27, 2010
  • 11:09 PM

Be a Man and Get Some Help!

by Ultimo167 in Strong Silent Types

Hammond et al. (2010) challenge the assumption that the more a man aligns himself with (traditional) masculine ideals, the less likely he will be to engage with preventative health services.... Read more »

  • August 27, 2010
  • 07:59 PM

When is it a good idea to cheat?

by Iddo Friedberg in Byte Size Biology

Think about standing in line to the bus. If everyone cooperates, we get on the bus faster, but some of us may be forced to stand. On the other hand, shoving your way to the beginning of the line will assure you a good seat, albeit at the expense of glares from your fellow-passengers, and maybe a few altercations along the way. In evolutionary terms, selfishness seems like a sounder strategy than cooperating. After all, if you manage to gain a better position for yourself in life’s pecking or........ Read more »

  • August 27, 2010
  • 06:19 PM

Serendipitous astronomy

by Emma in we are all in the gutter

Within the constellation of Ursa Major, about 134 million light years away, an almighty collision is occurring between two galaxies. As the clouds of gas and dust are swirled together an intense burst of star formation is triggered, but is that all that’s been awoken? Has this galactic merger also provided a hidden central black [...]... Read more »

Perez-Torres, Miguel A.; Alberdi, Antxon; Romero-Canizales, Cristina; Bondi, Marco. (2010) Serendipitous discovery of the long-sought AGN in Arp 299-A. Accepted for publication in Letters to Astronomy and Astrophysics. info:/1008.4466

  • August 27, 2010
  • 04:46 PM

Do scarab beetles get to join an exclusive visual sensory club?

by Michael Bok in Arthropoda

Animal visual systems are evolutionarily tuned to exploit environmental light towards the purposes of spatial perception, navigation, and intraspecific communication. We predominately experience visual information based on variations in the intensity and the wavelengths of incoming light; perceived as brightness and colors. Other animals however, especially the arthropods, also rely on an additional visual modality with which to perceive their world. They are capable of detecting and discrimi........ Read more »

  • August 27, 2010
  • 04:40 PM

Walking sub-optimally is the way forward

by Carl in The motor chauvinist

Today we’re going to do something a little different. I’ve been posting a lot about reaching movements, because that’s what I’m most interested in, but it may surprise you to learn that humans do actually have the capacity to move other parts of their bodies as well. I know, I’m as shocked as you are… so! The paper I’m going to cover is about the regulation of step variability in walking. It’s a little longer and more complex than normal, so strap yourselves in.Walking is a hard ........ Read more »

  • August 27, 2010
  • 03:50 PM

Not the origin of genome complexity

by Razib Khan in Gene Expression

Over the past decade evolutionary geneticist Mike Lynch has been articulating a model of genome complexity which relies on stochastic factors as the primary motive force by which genome size increases. The argument is articulated in a 2003 paper, and further elaborated in his book The Origins of Genome Architecture. There are several moving parts [...]... Read more »

Whitney KD, & Garland T Jr. (2010) Did Genetic Drift Drive Increases in Genome Complexity?. PLoS Genetics. info:/10.1371/journal.pgen.1001080

  • August 27, 2010
  • 03:36 PM

New link between exercise and weight loss uncovered?

by Greg Laden in Greg Laden's Blog

A recent paper provides the groundwork to establish a way for exercise to diminish appetite. Or, more likely, for sedentary behavior to increase appetite. Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...... Read more »

  • August 27, 2010
  • 03:31 PM

Peace and Conflict, Part 3 – Conflict Resolution

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

In the last of this series on peace and conflict, we are looking at the question, How can an intractable conflict be resolved or at least transformed into a benign conflict? The attempt here is to use dynamical systems theory or chaos theory to look at the question of intractable conflicts. As mentioned before, an [...]... Read more »

Vallacher, R., Coleman, P., Nowak, A., & Bui-Wrzosinska, L. (2010) Rethinking intractable conflict: The perspective of dynamical systems. American Psychologist, 65(4), 262-278. DOI: 10.1037/a0019290  

  • August 27, 2010
  • 12:00 PM

Silver Spoon Hyenas: Maternal Social Status Affects Male Reproductive Success

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

Figure 1: A mother hyena with her cubs.

Early developmental experiences can have significant implications for the growth, behavior, survival, and reproductive success of an individual. In many species, one of the most important factors that affects an individual's early development is the maternal environment. However, mothers not only provide an environment for their offspring, but also half of their genes, making it difficult to separate the effects of nature and nurture when investigating d........ Read more »

Höner, O., Wachter, B., Hofer, H., Wilhelm, K., Thierer, D., Trillmich, F., Burke, T., & East, M. (2010) The fitness of dispersing spotted hyaena sons is influenced by maternal social status. Nature Communications, 1(5), 1-7. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1059  

  • August 27, 2010
  • 11:41 AM

It’s just a little pre-digested; it’s still good, it’s still good.

by Laelaps in Laelaps

If you want to know about the life and habitat of a woolly mammoth, there is scarcely a better place to look than in its dung. Found frozen in the permafrost or extracted from the intestines of well-preserved specimens, mammoth coprolites are fecal records of the plants which existed in the animal's local environment and [...]... Read more »

VANGEEL, B., APTROOT, A., BAITTINGER, C., BIRKS, H., BULL, I., CROSS, H., EVERSHED, R., GRAVENDEEL, B., KOMPANJE, E., & KUPERUS, P. (2008) The ecological implications of a Yakutian mammoth's last meal. Quaternary Research, 69(3), 361-376. DOI: 10.1016/j.yqres.2008.02.004  

van Geel, B., Guthrie, R., Altmann, J., Broekens, P., Bull, I., Gill, F., Jansen, B., Nieman, A., & Gravendeel, B. (2010) Mycological evidence of coprophagy from the feces of an Alaskan Late Glacial mammoth. Quaternary Science Reviews. DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2010.03.008  

  • August 27, 2010
  • 11:08 AM

Neuroscience of Murder and Aggression: Brain Imaging

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

This is the fourth in a series of five posts looking at aspects of murder and antisocial behavior.  The first post provided an overview of the topic.  The second examined relevant epidemiologic research and the third focused on recent genetic research.  This post will look at recent brain imaging research.Brain Tutor Screenshot of Orbitofrontal CortexKey brain areas in violent behavior include the frontal lobe and the amygdala.  The inferior portion of the frontal lobe is vul........ Read more »

  • August 27, 2010
  • 10:28 AM

Please explain the end of kin selection

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

As an evolutionary biologist, I’m very familiar with the idea of kin selection. When I saw a paper titled “The evolution of eusociality” in the table of contents of Nature, and read the abstract saying, “Kin selection? Don’t need it,” I thought to myself, “Ooooh, this is big.”

I’ve read blog posts about it on Plektix and Wired. I listened to first author Martin Novak being interviewed on the Nature podcast.

Novak does a good job of explaining why kin selection is invoke........ Read more »

Nowak, M., Tarnita, C., & Wilson, E. (2010) The evolution of eusociality. Nature, 466(7310), 1057-1062. DOI: 10.1038/nature09205  

  • August 27, 2010
  • 10:22 AM

Bog Versus Biofuel

by Journal Watch Online in Journal Watch Online

Could our growing thirst for biofuels swamp efforts to restore Europe’s wetlands? Not necessarily, finds a complex new analysis of how conservation, energy and farm policies can collide. But exactly how policymakers set the rules may make a big difference to the cost and effectiveness of efforts to protect and expand mires, marshes and bogs. […] Read More »... Read more »

  • August 27, 2010
  • 10:00 AM

Stop Targeting Lasers on My Chromosomes!

by Sara Klink in Promega Connections

The phases of the cell cycle, particularly that of mitosis, were taught in college as part of my studies in biology. The cell cycle is a fundamental process for all organisms and constantly happens within our bodies. While cells generally spend most of the time in interphase, many scientists focus on what happens as the [...]... Read more »

Baker, N., Zeitlin, S., Shi, L., Shah, J., & Berns, M. (2010) Chromosome Tips Damaged in Anaphase Inhibit Cytokinesis. PLoS ONE, 5(8). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012398  

  • August 27, 2010
  • 10:00 AM

Vaccine styles for specific diseases

by James Byrne in Disease Prone

What are the different types of vaccines and how are they made? There are a number of different types of vaccines and each have been developed for different reasons, to prevent different types of disease and to do specific jobs once inside the body. I’ll talk more about the body’s response next week but for now we can just look at the vaccines.... Read more »

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