Two new books tackle the question of life and sentience and, together, they make a strong argument that neither may be as improbable as we thought. … More How Likely is Intelligent Life?
Psychological profiles of Donald Trump are hampered by lack of personal access, but can we learn something from an evolutionary analysis? … More Does Trump Fit the Evolutionary Role of Narcissistic Sociopath?
Rhesus monkeys have an intricate social structure. There is a dominance hierarchy, meaning that not all individuals enjoy the same rank in the group. This also effects the value that individuals gain from each of their relationships. Obviously, having powerful allies is of great value. And to maintain a powerful position requires allies. These are all … More The Value of Social Relationships During Aging in Female Rhesus Macaques
A new study resolves an old dispute. Cat mothers DO recognize their own kittens by smell, even if they don’t favor them in retrieval tests. … More Cats Can Find Their Own Kittens by Smell; They Just Don’t Care
New research confirms that marmoset calls vary in different groups, showing that the calls are learned, not strictly biologically programmed. … More Even Marmosets Develop Regional Dialects
New research reveals that dog have an understanding of what you can and can’t know based on what you can see. This argues that they may have a “theory of mind.” … More Dogs Understand the Concept of Different Perspectives
[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