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 »
Herrmann, E., Hare, B., Call, J., & Tomasello, M. (2010) Differences in the Cognitive Skills of Bonobos and Chimpanzees. PLoS ONE, 5(8). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012438
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
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 »
DeGue, S., & DiLillo, D. (2008) Is Animal Cruelty a "Red Flag" for Family Violence?: Investigating Co-Occurring Violence Toward Children, Partners, and Pets. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 24(6), 1036-1056. DOI: 10.1177/0886260508319362
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 »
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
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 »
Hammond, W., Matthews, D., Mohottige, D., Agyemang, A., & Corbie-Smith, G. (2010) Masculinity, Medical Mistrust, and Preventive Health Services Delays Among Community-Dwelling African-American Men. Journal of General Internal Medicine. DOI: 10.1007/s11606-010-1481-z
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 »
smith, J., Van Dyken, J., & Zee, P. (2010) A Generalization of Hamilton's Rule for the Evolution of Microbial Cooperation. Science, 328(5986), 1700-1703. DOI: 10.1126/science.1189675
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
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 »
Brady, P., & Cummings, M. (2010) Differential Response to Circularly Polarized Light by the Jewel Scarab Beetle . The American Naturalist, 175(5), 614-620. DOI: 10.1086/651593
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 »
Dingwell JB, John J, & Cusumano JP. (2010) Do humans optimally exploit redundancy to control step variability in walking?. PLoS computational biology, 6(7). PMID: 20657664
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
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 »
Ropelle, E., Flores, M., Cintra, D., Rocha, G., Pauli, J., Morari, J., de Souza, C., Moraes, J., Prada, P., Guadagnini, D.... (2010) IL-6 and IL-10 Anti-Inflammatory Activity Links Exercise to Hypothalamic Insulin and Leptin Sensitivity through IKKβ and ER Stress Inhibition. PLoS Biology, 8(8). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000465
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
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
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
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 »
Crowe SL, & Blair RJ. (2008) The development of antisocial behavior: what can we learn from functional neuroimaging studies?. Development and psychopathology, 20(4), 1145-59. PMID: 18838035
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 »
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 »
Schleupner, C., & Schneider, U. (2010) Effects of bioenergy policies and targets on European wetland restoration options. Environmental Science . DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2010.07.005
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
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 »
Graves PM, Deeks JJ, Demicheli V, & Jefferson T. (2010) Vaccines for preventing cholera: killed whole cell or other subunit vaccines (injected). Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online). PMID: 20687062
Dhillon S. (2010) DTPa-HBV-IPV/Hib Vaccine (Infanrix hexa): A Review of its Use as Primary and Booster Vaccination. Drugs, 70(8), 1021-58. PMID: 20481658
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