All posts tagged with behavior

Probabilistic calls of the titi monkeys

2 minute read

A fascinating paper in Science Advances today looks at the way that a small platyrrhine monkey species conveys information about predators in its vocal commu...

Link: Long-read on Cayo Santiago

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The New York Times Magazine today has a long-read article about Cayo Santiago, the island just off Puerto Rico where a large colony of rhesus macaques was in...

Link: Archaeology of nonhuman tool use

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Scientific American is previewing an article by Michael Haslam from their March issue, “The Other Tool Users”. The article focuses on the use of archaeologic...

Did hominins associate with antelopes?

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Last summer in the South African Journal of Science, faunal specialist Shaw Badenhorst published a short commentary with an interesting question for early ho...

Notable: Chimpanzee corpse cleaning

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Notable: van Leeuwen, Edwin J. C., Katherine A. Cronin, and Daniel B. M. Haun. 2017. Tool use for corpse cleaning in chimpanzees. Scientific Reports 7:44091....

Link: Bonobo female coalitions

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Nice article by Natalie Angier about recent work on bonobo social behavior: “Beware the Bonds of Female Bonobos”.

Grief among cetaceans

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Traci Watson from National Geographic reports on a study of behavior in whales looking specifically at how members of social groups react to the death of an ...

Link: Prairie dogs kill ground squirrels

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Ed Yong writes about a long-term study of prairie dog sociality that demonstrated a surprising behavior among females: they kill dozens of ground squirrels: ...

Crows respect their dead

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Carl Zimmer writes in the NY Times today about an experiment with crows. John Marzluff and colleagues from the University of Washington have been examining a...

Music and monkeys

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BBC Earth is running a story by Colin Barras looking at the origins of music in ancient humans and possible perceptual preadaptation to music in other primat...

Notable: Culture and compressibility

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Notable paper: Tamariz, Monica and Simon Kirby. 2015. Culture: Copying, Compression, and Conventionality. Cognitive Science 39:171-183. doi:10.1111/cogs.12144

Notable: Hadza foraging by random walk

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Notable paper: Raichlen, D. A., Wood, B. M., Gordon, A. D., Mabulla, A. Z., Marlowe, F. W., & Pontzer, H. (2014). Evidence of Lévy walk foraging patterns...

Notable: The cranial injury of Qafzeh 11

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Notable paper: Coqueugniot H, Dutour O, Arensburg B, Duday H, Vandermeersch B, Tillier, A-M. (2014) Earliest Cranio-Encephalic Trauma from the Levantine Midd...

Monkey pyrophiles

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Nicole Herzog and colleagues spent half a year following a troop of vervet monkeys during the controlled burn season at Loskop Dam Nature Reserve in South Af...

Kebara hyoid still speaking

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In an open access article in PLoS ONE, Ruggero D’Anastasio and colleagues take a closer look at the internal structure of the hyoid bone from the Kebara 2 Ne...

Muriquis and human behavior

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Smithsonian magazine has a long profile article about my UW-Madison colleague Karen Strier: “Humans would be better off if they monkeyed around like muriquis...

The scope of bonobos

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National Geographic has an excellent article by David Quammen about the science of bonobo behavior: “The Left Bank Ape: An Exclusive Look at Bonobo Behavior”...

Primate mating patterns

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Ecology, diet, competition, and ease of movement all affect the size of primate groups. The structure of primate groups is primarily affected by the mating s...

How do primates move around?

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The diversification of the first primates from other early mammals took place partly because the ancestors of the primates came to inhabit a unique environme...

A Neandertal mortuary in Spain?

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El Pais has a fascinating story about the Paleolithic sites in the Lozoya river valley: “A Neanderthal trove in Madrid”.

Quote: Jerison on animal intelligence

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Harry Jerison, famous researcher of brain sizes across classes and orders of animals, commented on the relation of “encephalization” to the intelligence of a...

Perils of talking to apes

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Barbara King comments on Koko, Kanzi and Panbanisha, “Thoughts On Three Famous ‘Language Apes’”.

Neandertals lacked mental eminence

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If you care about Neandertal behavior and haven’t read this 2004 article by John Speth, you really should treat yourself: “News flash: Negative evidence conv...

Chimpanzee watching

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Captive chimpanzees do clever things, but how deep is their planning? Michael Balter describes a research study following how one chimpanzee harasses zoo vis...

Testosterone, fatherhood,

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Daniel Lende has done a nice interview with Northwestern University anthropologist Lee Gettler (“On Testosterone and Real Men: An Interview with Lee Gettler”...

Magical psychology

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I enjoyed this article by Mo Costandi: “Sleights of hand, sleights of mind”.

Primate extractive foraging and tool use

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An important difference among some primate species is their ability to get foods that are hidden or protected by natural defenses. A little cleverness may yi...

Mailbag: Could autism genes be adaptive?

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I have always wondered if autism could be an adaptive mutation. However, since I myself have autism, and specifically one of the more fortunate types of auti...

Brain scans and gene scans

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Wray Herbert notes the fallacy of interpreting fMRI and other brain imagery as especially meaningful: “The Brain Is Not an Explanation”. I’m pointing to this...

Field primatology

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Noah Snyder-Mackler’s continuing series in the NY Times’ “Scientist at Work” blog has been providing a journal of his fieldwork on gelada baboons.

Mental mismatches

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A Primate of Modern Aspect (“The sexuality wars, featuring apes”) writes about some of the reactions to the new book, Sex at Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of...

Bitwise consciousness

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Carl Zimmer writes about theories of consciousness in today’s Science NY Times, and describes the work of my Wisconsin colleague, Giulio Tononi.

Hauser update

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The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on an “internal document” from the Marc Hauser investigation: “Document Sheds Light on Investigation at Harvard”. T...

Stress on Sapolsky

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Jonah Lehrer in Wired has a long profile of Robert Sapolsky and his work on stress in baboons: “Under Pressure: The Search for a Stress Vaccine”

Better than a finger in the eye

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Michael Balter writes in Science about a meeting called “Culture Evolves”: “Probing Culture’s Secrets, From Capuchins to Children.”

Hare/Woods interview

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The science page of the NY Times has a conversation with Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods. Woods’ new book is Bonobo Handshake: A Memoir of Love and Adventure in...

Bonobo corpse encounter

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A short piece in Pan Africa News by Takumasa Yokoyama and Satoshi Yasumoto reports on their observations of a bonobo group after the discovery that one of th...

Evolving swarm bots

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Robot swarms programmed with genetic algorithms to “evolve” their behavior:

Flu blues

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Will the swine flu lead to the next big evolutionary change for humans? No. But it has already begun to affect the way people interact with each other. I wan...

Protolanguage proceedings

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Edmund Blair Bolles has posted some entries about the proceedings at a protolanguage conference. There’s much of interest there, but I’ll give a provocative ...

Dog psych

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Time magazine has a nice article by Carl Zimmer, which profiles anthropologist Brian Hare, who’s been busy studying dogs:

Army ant chimpanzee toolkits

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A nice story about Crickette Sanz’ and David Morgan’s work with chimpanzees of the Goualango Triangle, and the tools they use to forage for army ants:

Handedness in ancient hominins

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Michael Balter writes about the work of Liverpool archaeologist Natalie Uomini, who is studying the evolution of handedness by experiment and attempting to f...

Religion and evolution book showdown

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William Saletan reviews Robert Wright’s book, The Evolution of God, with some discussion of Nicholas Wade’s upcoming book, The Faith Instinct: How Religion E...

"We have ways of changing behavior"

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Ann Althouse points to a “chilling locution” in a Wall Street Journal story about health spending: “Nearly 10% of Health Spending Due to Obesity, Report Says”

Whale societies

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Wired’s science blog has a piece on cetacean culture and communciation: “Whales might be as much like people as apes are”. Dalhousie University researcher Ha...

"Our brains are fluid and plastic"

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For some reason, it’s “bash evolutionary psychology” week. First, Sharon Begley writes a 7-page essay in Newsweek, “Don’t Blame the Caveman.”, and now David ...

Pleasurable homology

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A long time ago, I got into a very heated argument with somebody about whether animals feel pleasure. I don’t think we disagreed really in the particulars – ...

Alloparenting after Hrdy

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Sarah Blaffer Hrdy has written a new book, Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding to be released this spring, and the New York ...

Deceit on display

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Natalie Angier enters a nice article on deception in animals, focusing on primates.

IQ, brain size and genetics in children

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Dienekes points to a study by Marieke van Leeuwen and colleagues, in which they assess the phenotypic correlation between IQ and brain volume in a sample of ...

Group celebrations: an "evolutionary urge"?

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There’s no end of bunkum just-so stories about the evolution of human behaviors. Not saying they’re all bunkum, just that many are, particularly when they’re...

Oliver Sacks in NY Review of Books

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Oliver Sacks reviews the new book, Hurry Down Sunshine in the current New York Review of Books. It’s an interesting read, coupled with Sacks’ own experiences...

Quote: Darwin on the eyebrows

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Darwin, in The Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals, p. 222-223, referring to the muscles involved in furrowing the brow during a frown:

Stickleback sex

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The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel prints a nice article about the work of my UW colleague, Jenny Boughman. Boughman studies adaptation and mating behavior in st...

Working out how smart brains work

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Scientific American Mind has an interesting article in the September issue, called “High-aptitude minds”. The article ponders explanations for how smart brai...

Bobsleds, no; sprinting, yes

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If you’re interested in athletic performance and genetics, read Daniel Macarthur on ACTN3, sprinting, and Jamaica:

Politics and evolution, reverse-wise

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I missed this op-ed by David Barash when it came out last month. It is an argument that commentators on the political left would prefer to ignore evolution j...

Worms do calculus

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Another sign I’m not expecting enough of my students: “Worms do calculus to find food”:

Darwin, emotion, and WALL-E

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Jonah Lehrer went in to WALL-E (an enormously entertaining movie) and came out thinking of Darwin’s Expression of Emotion in Man and Animals:

Cousin marriage and flatus?

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At Mixing Memory, Chris describes a study that is just twisted enough to make you want to be a psychologist:

Not the parrot sketch

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The New Yorker has a fascinating article about Irene Pepperberg and the way people are grieving over her deceased parrot, Alex:

Buller on Buller

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On the subject of objections to Buller's book, I should point out that Buller himself has a website where he has additional work and some responses to criti...

Evolutionary psychology responds to Buller

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A reader forwarded me a reference to this website, which is a placeholder for present and future critiques to David Buller's book, Adapting Minds : Evolutio...

Buller on mating preferences

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Chapter 5 of David Buller's Adapting Minds : Evolutionary Psychology and the Persistent Quest for Human Nature is mostly about the critique of studies that ...

Buller on massive modularity

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Chapter 4 of David Buller's Adapting Minds : Evolutionary Psychology and the Persistent Quest for Human Nature is a critique of the concept of massive modul...

Buller on mental adaptations

11 minute read

I'm reading through David Buller's Adapting Minds : Evolutionary Psychology and the Persistent Quest for Human Nature. It's a back-burner read for me; I pic...