[This is a quick summary of the second chapter of my book, Not So Different: Finding Human Nature in Animals on play and recreation. The thesis of the book is that we can better understand human behaviors by studying their equivalents in other animals.] Isn’t playing a pointless distraction for an animal? At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be any … More What is the value of play?
A new study of woodpeckers adds nuance to the relationship between brain power and social interactions. … More From Woodpeckers to Apes: Competition Drives the Correlation between Brain Size and Group Size
Researchers have catalogued body language in bonobos, providing key insight into the evolution of human language. … More The Body Language of Bonobos and the Evolution of Human Language
It’s becoming increasingly clear that animals do a great deal of social learning, which gives insight into how humans became culturally modern. … More Social Learning in Animals: Implications for the Evolution of Human Intelligence
Fear is a powerful motivator. It’s also a very interesting social behavior that can be either genetically programmed, socially learned, or both. … More Dominance Status Affects the Transmission of Fear
On November 15th at 4:30p, I will be giving a lecture regarding how the study of animal behavior and human evolutionary history provide powerful clues of how to design a criminal justice system that works with our inherent nature instead of against it. … More The Biological Foundations of Justice
Last week, Ken Ham put out a blog post denouncing the thesis of my book, that human and animal behaviors are not as different as they may appear. In case you haven’t heard of him, Ken Ham is the main force behind Answers in Genesis, a Christian ministry devoted to the literal interpretation of the Bible … More Response to Ken Ham: Yes, Humans and Animals are “Not So Different”
That “guilty dog” look is the product of millions of years of evolution and is actually a sophisticated social communiqué. … More Borrowed Signals: A Discussion of the “Guilty Dog” Look
I recently completed a small book tour through California promoting Not So Different: Finding Human Nature in Animals and the San Francisco Public Library shot a high-quality video of the talk. I’m really happy with how this turned out, except that the Q and A was cut off. There were some VERY insightful questions and a … More Video: My Book Talk at the San Francisco Public Library
The “pain grimace” is quite similar in many mammals, but where did it come from and why do we do it? … More Why do We and Other Animals Wince When in Pain?