Science is finally making real progress on the question of how our species achieved a mostly nonviolent social harmony. … More The Decline of Violence in Homo sapiens
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
A population of Mountain Gorillas recently underwent a complete upheaval in the most central aspects of their gender-based social structures. If they can do it, so can we. … More What Mountain Gorillas Can Teach Us about Gendered Behaviors
Professor Con Slobodchikoff’s life work with prairie dogs has revealed that their complicated system of calls can communicate sophisticated and detailed information. … More A Career Studying the Sophisticated Vocabulary of Prairie Dogs
(A longer discussion of animal communication can be found in my book.) Mandrills are, literally, one of the most colorful creatures on earth and certainly the most colorful primates. Their striking faces are matched only by the bright coloring of their hindquarters. (Their genitals are colorful, too, if you must know!) The coloring is part … More The Birth of a Cultural Meme: The “Do Not Disturb” Gesture in Mandrills
In the popular coverage of science, the question is sometimes raised, “Are humans still evolving?” Some high-profile science figures such as Sir David Attenborough, and even some biologists, such as Professor Steve Jones of University College London, have said that, “evolution is over” for humans, at least in the developed West. This view is wrong. … More Yes, Humans Are Still Evolving
It is readily apparent that humans are, by far, the most intelligent species on the planet. How this came to be, however, is anything but clear. Our substantial cognitive abilities are made possible by our enormous brains. When it comes to brain size (relative to body size), humans have the largest brains of any vertebrate. … More Is Violence What Made Humans Smarter than Other Animals?
The practice of genealogy, researching one’s ancestors and family tree, has exploded lately. Ancestry.com has become a huge success, boasting millions of subscribers and a net worth well over half a billion dollars. Many, if not most, families in the US have at least one person actively researching the long-forgotten twists and turns of their … More The Meaning and Meaninglessness of Genealogy