What's new in the study of
NEWS -- read it! (newer items at the top; use find to search list)
- ground-sleeping chimps?
- who is surprised that diet and early weaning relates to human population growth?
- What causes chimp aggression? Bonobos?
- orang nests as good as birds?
- gorilla tool use image
- math genius or idiot savant?
- new images of primate brain circuits
- where are my penile spines?
- guidelines for chimps in research
- gorilla genome decoded-- a lot like chimps and humans. No kidding..
- genetic differences among chimps is considerable --less so for humans
- coming attraction-- in red. (also proposed to drive evolution of red cones)
- theory of mind in chimps? Or not so much?
- tarsier communication-- a good lesson
- primate puberty, diet and implications : no surprises here
- human vs chimp brains-"prefrontal cortex Synaptogenesis"
- more on possible interbreeding among our ancestral cousins-- not so surprising.
- more on bonobos and testosterone levels and mating. And more...
- orangs hunting slow lorises?
- transition from claw to primate nail-47mya?
- walking fish?
- several items including chimps' sensitivity to their audience's knowledge
- more on diet- elephants as homo erectus prey?
- diet, brain size and cogntion--in older people (complements same in juveniles. See~235 below and diet topic notes)
- did the unique social lives of primates evolve in concert with diurnal living and predator dangers?
- young gorillas and silverback out for a stroll in in Bwindi Natl Park, Uganda?
- what happened to our fur coat? Before or after bipedalism (<4 mya)? More.
- Primates that work together .... are human.
- Pointing ravens!
- Maybe we can't be too smart?
- It takes brains to throw feces? Or just to hit the target?
- what's the optokinetic effect? See notes on the Kellogg video.
- More on FOXP2 function in man and mouse , and update.
- chimps play too!!!
- more on the genetic differences between chimps and humans (older on FOXP2) and this.
- more on the grandmother hypothesis--can it matter which--paternal or materal-- cares for the children?
- elaboration on human family "tree"
- Leaving claws behind...nails evolve.
- Way better than average review of new "Planet of the Apes."
- Reassessment of Lucy's bipedalism
- Project Nim documentary again--another misguided ape language "project."
- chimps "understand" liquid quantities? "Folk" understanding perhaps--especially very young fold --but not yet conservation of liquid.
- when were the first humans?
- not really new but highlights individual differences-- the Ruthian variation driving natural selection
- human mutation rates and the "male mutation bias"
- Chimps reported to have insight (Kohler is shocked!)
- Bipedal? The better to punch you out! (But some bogus ideas on efficiency.)
- Alex the parrot and other birds
- Pedogogy in non-humans? Not so much..
- Chimps go to Disneyland-- coming soon.
- nothing to crow about-- your tax money at work
- chimps communicate with 66 gestures! (Kids communicate with 10,000 words and infinite sentences)
- More on chimp "awareness"
- Neanderthals being right handed is news?
- interesting on the origin of the human mind-- but is it anything new?
- bonobos talking up good food?
- more on attractiveness of faces
- chimps as research subjects? (also see ethics notes.)
- evolution of human birth , compare with chimp birth and video.
- non-human primates and death
- chimp and bonobo social brain compared
- Models of human evolution based on DNA (fig 1)
- Or maybe male chimps are not the thugs Goodall thought?
- primate aggression and the bonobo (with video)
- Our Bushman ancestors?
- Human penises and brains-- due to deleted genes? (link to paper in Nature; ) other info
- observational learning in orangutans-- interesting but no surprises. Thorndike tried to assess this in various species but failed.
- blonde capuchin tools
- killer chimps
- neanderthal animation and factsheet
- the scent of fertile women?
- a healthy gorilla diet-- how hard can this be to figure out?
- interview with bonobo watcher
- who produces the greatest sperm counts? Why?
- photos of rare endangered primates
- genetic differences in chimp-human brains enable increased energy production
- Same sorry story about declining orang habitats..
- New book on the evolution of the human head by Daniel Lieberman, 2011.
- do mother chimps "mourn" dead infants? Or is this anthropomorphic empathy at work?
- Recent find of human tools at 127K years ago in UAE.
- Orangutan genes
- Project Nim film (one more sorry tale of the efforts to transform apes into humans by lame psychologists)
- another dog with extensive human vocabulary. (use of HBC) ; more dog talk video
- interesting quantitative (but not novel ideas) on significance of body size of human and chimp neonates
- continuing saga of Neanderthals and other cousins
- more on testosterone, dominance, and other correlates
- a little bit more on earliest (39 mya) primates
- like monkeys, Neandertals maybe not as smart as previously thought? But they are not slow to develop!
- tools and female chimps/bonobos
- More on monkey business with mirrors; also see 'tamarins" below.
- Chimpanzese 401-- squawk like a chimp! See related videos there. Some gorillas too. Would anyone think chimps talked about humanese like this?
- Kanzi back in the news-- same old stuff
- tamarins not so smart-- how surprising is that?
- violence, murder, and war among primates- when did it begin?
- all you want to know about primate penis size
- More on why it is outrageous to keep chimps as pets or human companions-- more on the case of Lucy
- what's the chimp's point? I or you?
- chimps estimate liquid quantities-- how surprising!
- video bit of curious chimp from NG.
- good bye Neanderthals-37K years ago
- just another story about neoteny and chimps
- more on carnivorous bonobos
- Older origins of primates?
- chimpCam.. the video chimps
- Humans active in their own evolution? How surprising is that? Not so much--see Mark Baldwin.
- Hands and feet evolve
- Big differences in chimp-human Y chromosomes.
- Light my fire (or what's she smoking?)
- or is it diet and longevity that distinguishes modern humans....?
- "empathy distinguishes modern humans...."
- update on language genes, 11/09 , same story here.
- more on primate finger length and its significance
- chimp empathy?
- Lucy's grandmother, Ardi 4.4mya, discovered in Ethiopia?
- Animal metacognition? (Compare with E. C. Tolman!)
- Were we knuckle walkers? (lots of refs on walking)
- Human's closest relative? (according to John Stewart show)
- Orangutans like acrobats-- this is news?
- Chimps remember trees too!
- More on Little Joe-- now employed! But nothing new here; this research was done in the 1930s with chimps- in the famous "chimpomat" studies.
- Laughing primates ; swimming orangutans!
- mirror neurons mirror monkey attention-- no surprise since its via eye movements
- more on primate eye evolution; not such a new principle but good appplication of it (cf. heterochrony)
- Gorilla intelligence?
- Congolese Wildlife Authority- monitors mountain gorillas (click on video)
- Gorillas on Nightline (several links to videos)
- More about out of Africa origins of modern humans.
- Neanderthal pelvis reconstructed! (compare with existing primates)
- Old ovaries; new eggs? And on a related matter, poor prenatal nutrition may bring about genetic changes in the fetus-- evoking--but not really supporting-- ideas of the long discredited Lamarckism. (And a quote from an MD ironically named Weissmann!). The study of epigenetics- non DNA changes in gene effects-- is booming.
- Pregnant captive orang video.
- Interview with Wrangham on primate diets and their importance in NYT, 4/21/09. See diet notes for more.
- Bonobos rate their food! The article's end shows why scientists are skeptical of claims about bonobo "language" --gross exaggeration! Recall the claim that Kanzi has the comprehension of a seven year old child and the strength of seven men! (The actual calls are here.)
- Dogs admitted to Harvard-- an upgrade? (video)
- Even bonobos hunt monkey meat. Those little devils!!
- Chimp trades meat for sex? Not really news but a good photo and data. Another report. Full paper on the topic.
- Probably not a big deal but maybe some of the variation in humans was evolved in Africa pre- migration into other regions of the world.
- New stone blade tools found at 500,000 years ago! Lots of implications for brain and language speculation. See daily notes.
- These chicks know what counts!
- Why are chimps so much stronger than us humans? Is there a trade-off with precision? Here' another informative article on the issue of chimp strength..
- Human astrocytes differ from rodents'.. (but what about monkeys and apes?)
- Primate color vision origins
- Animal kingdom's sexiest ape! (ABC Nightline)
- If you go down to the woods today......avoid the apes.
- Primate genes on and off and on....?
- Chimp as terrorist!???
- irrelevant but interesting-- a pink dolphin
- Baboon promiscuity at the zoo (Keep in mind it is a zoo and baboons vary a lot.)
- earliest "homo" footprints, 1.5m years in Kenya
- genes leading to ape-homo x diversity?
- more on Neanderthal DNA-- minimal mating with humans but share FOXP2, unlike chimps.
- Orangutan whistles, recorded. Male orang call, too.
- Chimp attacks woman; shot. More on the sorry aftermath here and here (not for squeamish)! (There's a circulating TV program on the "animal' channel called "chimp attacks." and now legislative primates get into the act. )
- More on evolution of skin color (but neglects role of dietary sources of vitamin D) See topic notes soon on this.
- Clever tool users--(but still overhype?)
- No Cy Young awards for Neanderthals! (They don't seem to throw so well.)
- Tool use is monkey business too! (Note reasonable comments on trial & error as well.)
- What triggers puberty?
- Genetic diversity and mate choice-- role of culture
- who decides where baboons have dinner? (Also see related stories.)
- more on Alex and his cognitive abilities (May have to thru library to access this?)
- more on the biology of prosopagnosia (I wonder how this works out in sexual attraction?)
- more on human attraction -faces
- the human pelvis evolves
- evolution of war? Could it be adaptive? Not for gorillas in the way.
- Language genes - first FOX2P, now CNTNAP2. And even hearing genes....
- human sex, attraction, & red-- any relation to chimp butts or color vision?
- bonobos hunting? What beasts!
- remarkable flexibility of neural control of movement
- more on evolution of human diet-- cooking again
- Can you recognize your friends? Chimps can -- not butts about it!
- living with baboons?
- more on developmental prospagnosia
- Tool use & Reasoning without language?-- the New Caledonian crows are at it again. (Look at the video, too.)
- Great example of how genes, evolution, and behavior go together- "fingering." (The scientific report itself in is the Sept. 5 issue of Science.)
- testosterone and child care? (Not that surprisisng.)
- non-human primate (NHP) beer drinkers! (Pen-tailed treeshrew & slow loris)
- placenta influences brain size
- Lost gorillas found?
- Sex difference genes in primates go way back. More on the matter...
- Overview of ape-human differences. Should chimps be persons?
- Energy use- climbing vs walking
- Lemur history
- Gibbons sing! No kidding!
- Why are humans not like chimps? (Science magazine; need UNH access.)
- Human pregnancy shifts the trunk's center of mass anterior to the hips. Here we show that human females have evolved a derived curvature and reinforcement of the lumbar vertebrae to compensate for this bipedal obstetric load. Similarly dimorphic morphologies in fossil vertebrae of Australopithecus suggest that this adaptation to fetal load preceded the evolution of Homo.
- Orangutan conservation?
- Interesting study but somewhat dubious logic as portrayed in this brief report anyway. (See Lashley circqa 1951 "Serial order...in behavior")
- Are Japanese chimps really so smart? (Or is the proper control group two-year old high imagery kids! ) See the Lab.
- More on apes use of an HBC.
- Mountain gorilla conservation suffers
- Monkey business, monkey stew?
- Chimp tools is a hot topic- see this account. Would it be interesting if these particular chimps have different numbers of starch digesting genes!
- Continued support for "out of Africa" theory -- origin of humans
- "Stone age feminism?"-- another decline of Neanderthal story
- Beauty, mate attraction, and face symmetry. (nothing really surprising but has a good bibliography)
- endangered primates
- interview with Frans de Waal on the topic of morality and his new book.
- Tool-using crow caught on UTube.
- Washoe, 42, dies of natural causes. (Does using ASL signs mean using ASL?) Visit Washoe's home.
- The 25 most endangered primates...
- Did Neanderthal's have red hair? (See more on skin color below) Did they talk? Compare with apes?
- The latest on chimp-human genetic differences --up to 6+%?
- Why did the monkey cross the road? To run amuck? What to do?
- review of Baboon Metaphysics -- anthropomorphism run rampant or insight into baboon minds?
- Real sperm competition!
- Mountain gorilla conservation and tourism video. Recent problems.
- Bad news baboons!
- Why are human babies "smarter" than apes-- if they are? Read the original on 512BB.
- What are genes?
- How does hearing work?
- Alex the parrot dies! More on Alex and his intelligent behavior.
- More on genes and human diet (starch conversion genes? ). Compare with chimps.
- Why would a monkey pee on its foot? (recall Life in Trees lemurs!)
- Genes for color vision found in nocturnal aye-aye. Why haven't these genes mutated much in 60+ million years?
- Genetic similarity saga continues!
- Bonobo cooperation and sex
- Background on Nadia Kohts' husband.
- Speculation on origins of chimp gestures and human language (watch video too!)
- What are they smoking in Des Moines these days? (OK this hardly is news!)
- Interesting-- But can't dogs do this too?
- Still more on gorilla and human genes.
- No more breeding research chimps.
- New monkey, ape, human ancestral fossil at 29 mya.
- social and sexual factors shape primate brains (no kidding!)
- Specific human memory genes?
- Vacinate gorillas for ebola?
- Can a chimp have a legal guardian? (See links too.)
genes - varied like chimps not humans .New chimp
DNA studies suggest 3 groups + bonobo.
- More on evolution of lesser pigmented
skin -- even later coincident with farming?
- review of
chimp tools and cognition -good photos at NYTimes.
- Humans - adapted to run marathons!
- Monkey genome sequenced;
where do they fit in the primate
tree? What's next?
- A Chihuahua walking with a Great Dane more than 50 times its mass.
The extreme diversity in body size among purebred dogs is greater than that
of any other mammalian species. Researchers have identified a gene that helps
explain this size diversity. . Photo:
Deanne Fitzmaurice Science, April 6, 2007. Compare with these two.
- Primates designed to recognize faces? (See Gomez, 2004 and video notes
on prospagnosia, too.)
- Monkey 'tool' use? Links to recent apes tool uses too.
- Aspinall's gorillas in trouble
rates to maturity are very important in the overall understanding of species!
- Female chimps prefer the competition for
sex with them!
- This is not the first human finger an ape's bitten off!
- Greater cooperation in
bonobos than chimps? and more.
- Humans acquired pubic lice
from gorillas? More info at NYT.
- Mountain gorilla birth--
an account of tough life in the Congo
- our tiny
primate ancestors -- not really that new but interesting graphics also
see Texas primates of 43mya.
- chimps have been using stone nut crackers for 1000s of years-- but what
does this mean? Not what this article suggests...
what is really interesting is why they haven't progressed over this time?
- more on the diet-fish-brain connection (see diet
notes list for more)
- report that chimps observed using sharp sticks as spears Not
that big a deal?
(We've seen video on chimps and maybe orangs using sticks as probes.)
- Stress and primates -- too much free time?
- Little Joe returns to the Franklin zoo!
- Still another way to estimate timing of human evolution and migration --
a gut estimate!
- Interview about lemurs
- Even more and more on the Hobbit- at least this report shows the logic
of the inquiry..
- Monkey terrorists?
- Chimp sexual harrassment?
- Reality TV- pregnant Czech gorilla
- Hobit fans fight back!
A new species??? (see below for previous discussions)
- Contagious cancer in
canines? (Not really a primate issue but one of the most widely read papers
in 2006 reveals the power of DNA analyses.)
- Fine tuning "out of Africa" dates -- See "children of Eve" video notes
- More early homo Sapien tools
- Holy Harry! What would Harlow think of these "attachment
- New milk genes discovered!
changes within several thousand years. (reference)
- Jane Goodall: The Woman Who Redefined Man. Dale Peterson. xii + 740 pp.
Houghton Mifflin, 2006. $35. (read review).
- New papers on
primate communication --broadly considered. The December issue of the Proceedings
of the Royal Society-Biology, available online via UNH library has several
articles of interest on role of faces, odors, and vocalization in social/sexual
communication and bonding. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society
B: Biological Sciences
Issue: Volume 361, Number 1476 / December 29, 2006
Issue Title: Theme Issue ‘The neurobiology of social recognition, attraction
and bonding’ organized by Keith M. Kendrick
- summary on attraction research--biology and/or culture?
What about chimps?
- One more report that
Neanderthals did not interbreed with human ancestors for way over 400,00
years. this conflicts wiith another report that
perhaps they did. Of course it may be that some did and some didn't! But
how fast did Neanderthals grow? It's apparently a story
told in their teeth.
- raising gorillas at the Columbus zoo;(recall Gorilla video)
- Goodall, coffee, and chimp conservation.
with Kanzi? Interesting but Pullum is right on questions and opinions. Why?
- Human vs chimp eyes --
we follow those eyes (cf Joint
attention and gaze studies)
- Human sexual behavior --recent survey.
- Still more on chimp-human "regulatory" gene differences
brains vary by diet?
- Human neanderthal common ancestor over 400,000 year ago?
- More on the "hobbit" -- just a microcephalic human?
Here is the latest
- Sleep, your hippocampus and
grades! (Humans have relatively large ones --
one on each side!)
- Monkey cops
- women dress differently
during ovulation? Can this be true?
- Nuts and bolts of human brain evolution-- excellent overview of
gene changes. And Time magazine has a cover story on human evolution too!
- chimp culture or just learning?
- New Dehli strangler strikes again!
- Lucy's baby found! (not really-- but a very complete fossilized 3 year
old Australopithecus afarensis.)
- the latest on Neanderthals
- Interesting interview with deWaal
- Why do chimps cross the road?
- Yet another gene
difference between humans and chimps etc.
- primate species IQ rank? Do they have
shared cognitive skills?
- human vs chimp semen?
- Feathered dinosaurs?
-- or at least a very
- more on human-ape
immune cell differences
- Starling bird song - interesting regarding sexual selection but
hardly evidence for recursion. Nor is this paper that informative about
avian pattern matching or counting abilities that underly these data.
- Ohio State primate affair! (See earlier item.)
- A good reason not to be a Spanish socialist?
But could it be worse than....?
- Police hunt gang of killer chimps!--
not exactly a man-hunt! More.
- Attractive women can be distracting!
- What's the possible connection between specific
gene on the X chromosome, early experience and violence? (Serotonin
of brain functions goes way back before hands and language?
- Older bipedal versions
of Lucy discovered. (See also the BBC
Gestures? No big surprise.
- why primate color vision? Not
for ripe fruit? Even more on this social/sexual story!
- still even more on human and ape genetic
- child and chimp helping behavior compared
- Darwin's finches beak
-- the story of new adult neurons.
- Whose is reproducing and who is not? Does
it matter? Across the globe, people are choosing to have fewer children
or none at all. Governments are desperate to halt the trend, but their influence
seems to stop at the bedroom door. Are some societies destined to
become extinct? Hardly. It's more likely that conservatives will
inherit the Earth. Like it or not, a growing proportion of the next
generation will be born into families who believe that father knows
in Europe were killed off by the advance of modern humans thousands of years
earlier than previously believed, losing a competition for food and shelter.
Sex or just BS?
- More on diet and brain expansion
-- nothing really new but some nice links.
- Ape menopause?
(Long an unanswered question!)
- Baboon attacks!
(sounds like the bear problem here)
- Gordon M. Shepherd, "Smells, Brains and
hormones," NATURE 439 (12 Jan. 2006), 149-151.
- Converging methods on face perception
cells (Science, 2006, vol.311)
evolve too!-- Just as human hands compared with our cousisn apes' hands tells
a story of our evolution, so does the
evolution of our feet.
- Big balls, little brains? -- at least for some bats!
(OK, this is a bit of trivia but the comparison of relations among body part
size is a useful tool in examining aspects of the evolution of species. See
the brief comments on chimps and "sexual
selection".. The more general term for such comparisons is allometry.
Results are often expressed in terms of a regression
equation, expressing body part size (e.g. brain size) as a function of
overall body size.
- Same gene makes zebrafish
golden and some humans white? (This is a complex and important issue
enabling our ancestors to populate not only equatorial zones but northern
climates and high altitude regions. It relates to diet
and developmental damage resulting from too little or too much ultraviolet
radiation from the sun, as well as loss of hair in humans, along with apparently
an increase in sweat
glands. The recent fish gene finding does not address these other issues
but is a part of the entire untold story. See Jablonsky
NG, and G Chaplin (2000) Evolution of human skin color. Journal of
Human Evolution, 39, 57–106. for more. What about chimp skin?
It seems largely white beneath their hair but blotchy and darker on some
exposed surfaces. Look at this bonobo
There are even claims
of personality correlates of pigmentation -- though they don't seem to be
very strong effects..Recent
gene comparisions suggest that lighter skin is a relatively recent development
in human groups, perhaps evolving independently in European and Asian groups.
- About lemurs
- A few fathers and many mothers in human
reproductive history? "Medieval Irish warlord boasts three million
- Mirror neuron deficits
dialects - birds have them,, why not monkeys?
- Koko nipple
fetish case settled out of court! (see video notes for more.)
- New exhibition
on Darwin at the American Museum of Natural History, NYC.
- Are healthy people more attractive?
- Monkey mathematics!
attack victim speaks out
- Oldest anthropoids ~50 mya
- World's Oldest Party
- Gorilla uses tools!
Interesting but no big surprise other than the supposed age of 2.5, which
is much earlier than tool use by chimps..
- More on chimp
aggression and warfare.
- Koko had a toothache!
(But don't believe everything about her ASL.)
primate brains: chimps and humans differ?
- More on diet and brain development in
primates (More on this issue here.)
- Even more on ape and human brain genes!
- Chimp genes compared
with ours! (New paper in Nature; BBC
feature; excellent review of recent findings
The Scientist. ). There's also news about Clint,
who donated DNA.
- cognitive evolution a byproduct?
- Out of Africa confirmed.
DNA sequenced -- 75,000 year old Iraqi Neanderthal
- NOVA on recent 3 foot tall human discovery (Homo
floresiensis) (good photos, video)
- Who knows when they ovulate?
- Functions of orgasms?
- human mating and attractiveness (no
- Survival of the
Fattest (new book)
- Apes in Iowa??
- early ape or human ancestor?
- Chimps scream meaningul!
(no surprises here)
- Oldest bone
protein DNA extracted from 75000 year old Neanderthal --same as human.
- Oldest bipedal
fossil at 3.8-4 mya.
- chimps attack
humans! (See below for gorilla
attacks!) More and more!
- Even more on eating meat
in human evolution - a review!
- Koko in the news
(For less interesting info on Koko, see PBS.
Look for the latest on Koko's supposed Hawaiian retreat.)
- oldest human fossils
re-dated to 195,000 years ago
- even more on mate
attraction - it must be Vday! but note the function of senses.
- Update on MR
- Facial attraction
- Superbowl ad chimps?
- How smart are those scary crows?
- Genes that control the
size and complexity of the brain have undergone much more rapid evolution
in humans than in non-human primates.(ditto)
on dogs vs chimps (see 47).
- Monitoring mountain
gorilla habitat demise.
- HIV and primate
genetics - humans not resistant.
species? Miniature Homo floresiensis discovered on island near Java.
- More on chimps' termite tools!
recent common human ancestor only a few thousand years ago?
- Out of Africa, once, twice, and three
times? (And back a couple?)
- more on the creation of sign language (NSL)
- even more on ape-human
- more on chimp-human gene
gorilla prepares for lung surgery!
- Brain evolution genes
identified. Some nice photos revealing changes in folding complexity.
- Among a troop of savanna baboons in Kenya, a terrible outbreak of tuberculosis
20 years ago selectively killed off the biggest, nastiest and most despotic
males, setting the stage for a social and behavioral transformation unlike
any seen in this notoriously truculent primate. (From the NY Times report.)
Also see the original.at www.plosbiology.org.
- More on chimp-human
genes from Dr. Paabo.
Not coincidentally, there's a discussion of this FOXP2 gene in birds elsewhere
(also see the Jarvis webpage.) If you
go to Paabo's website, check out his papers and follow the link "DNA
from the beginning."
- New baby orangutan at the San Diego Zoo. Maybe on the webcam?
- Gene mutation discovered separating larger
chimp masticatory muscles from corresponding Homo X muscles. This fits with
a number of other findings indicating a major change in diet about 2.4mya.
- Here's a report
of a study on the social organization of lowland gorilla groups. An interesting
method of assessing gorilla age is illustrated.
- Another factor in dietary change is cooking. (See Wrangham reading.). New
research suggests human ancestors may have been cooking meat even 1.5
mya. (Cooking often makes nutrients more available to digestion -- external
rather than internal food processing.)
- There's more discussion
on the dietary shift to meat by our ancestors abour 2.5mya. Meat-tolerant
genes offset high cholesterol and chronic diseases in human ancestors, according
to a new USC study. Without them, researchers say, the species could have
been ‘wiped out’ millions of years ago.
- Another adolescent male gorilla escapes
from zoo, attacks child, and is killed. Recall Joe
- An analysis
of teeth and other 6 million year old remains found in Ethiopia "may
.. represent the first species on the human branch of the family tree just
after the evolutionary split between lines leading to modern chimpanzees and
humans," said Yohannes Haile-Selassie, curator and head of physical anthropology
at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in Ohio, who led the study."
This species was small-brained, apparently bipedal with small non-apelike
- New fossil brain cast suggests evolution of brain organization preceded
later size increases. An endocast of a 2 to 3 million year old fossil Astralopithecus
africanus suggests visual areas declining in size. Presumably the reduction
in visual brain space was accompanied by an increase of nearby functions of
visual cognition, facial recognition and social communication. See BBC article
- Multiple Ebola Epidemics Devastated Apes
The Ebola virus is a truly horrific killer, inducing raging fevers and widespread
hemorrhaging, and -- in it most lethal guise -- killing more than 80% of its
victims. Since the 1995 outbreak in Zaire that grabbed worldwide attention,
central Africa has suffered nearly a dozen more deadly outbreaks. In addition
to the obvious human toll, many researchers estimate that Ebola has killed
thousands of great apes in recent years and may push them close to extinction
within the next decade. As a result, public health experts and conservationists
alike are urgently trying to pinpoint the source of the continuing epidemic.
In a study reported in the 16 Jan 2004 Science, Leroy et al. (http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/short/303/5656/387)
tested tissue samples from human and animal victims of five outbreaks in western
central Africa (between 2001 and 2003). They found that each outbreak was
caused by a genetically distinct virus, and that many localized epidemic chains
could be distinguished. Thus, a large proportion of the ape populations in
this region have probably died as a result of multiple rounds of Ebola virus
infection in the past four years. As noted in an accompanying News story by
G. Vogel (http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/short/303/5656/298a), some
think the geographic pattern of outbreaks suggests that apes are catching
the disease primarily from other apes, while others argue that an unidentified
natural carrier like bats may be a source of new infections. Nevertheless,
both sides seem to agree that surveillance of animal mortality could help
to predict and prevent future human Ebola outbreaks.
- Monkey vocalizations and human speech share left-brain processing. The left
temporal lobe in both species seems specialized
for species specific vocalizations.
- Olfactory genes inactivated as primate vision
evolves into full trichromatic human color vision. (The general inverse relation
between olfactory and visual sensory brain is not new but this study indicates
the genetic correlates of this change.)
- The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), one of the
of Health (NIH), today announced the first draft version of the genome
sequence of the chimpanzee and its alignment with the human genome. All of
the data have been deposited into free public databases and are now available
for use by scientists around the world. For more on the scientific rationale
for sequencing the chimp genome, go to: www.genome.gov/Pages/Research/Sequencing/SeqProposals/ChimpGenome2.pdf.
It appears at first glance that the genomes are over 99% similar but that
relatively large differences are in areas
devoted to smell, hearing, and digestion -- none of which should be surprising.
we have identified a class of neurons that are unique to humans and our closest
relatives, the great apes. These are large spindle-shaped cells located
in anterior cingulate cortex. Anterior cingulate cortex is reduced in both
size and metabolic activity in autistic patients versus control subjects .
The activity of the area is also reduced in patients with attention deficit
disorder and depression. The activity in this area is increased in patients
with obsessive-compulsive, phobic, post-traumatic stress, and anxiety disorders.
Area 24 appears to be an interface between
emotion and cognition.
- Flies evolve (along with mate preferences)
- A United Nations-sponsored meeting in Paris this week will indicate whether
humanity has the wherewithal to save our closest
cousins in the animal kingdom from extinction.
- Chimps evolve (NYT, Nov.25)
love -- the chemistry!
- Flirting raises hormones -- no kidding!
- early tool find of 2.6 mya suggests tools->diet->>>brain
- monogamous birds
less monogamous than previously thought. (Similar issues arise in primate
- Human brains more "active"
than chimp's brains? This genetic activity suggests much greater brain differences
between species than other organ differences like the heart or kidney, where
gene activity levels are quite similar.
- Monkey minds learn to control tools?
Monkeys learn to control a robot arm by thinking about it. Watch!
Find out more
at Duke University.
- Can cooking be a biological trait of humans? This
is a follow-up on the Wrangham readng in TO.
- Do chimps
laugh like humans?
- Little Joe from the Bronx, a.k.a. "The scientist" and "Don
Juan" escapes from Franklin Park zoo.
the trail of the African mystery ape
- obituary of Patricia S. Goldwin-Rakic
-- studied functions of primate
- Bwindi Gorillas
Form New Group and the economic potential for tourism.
AllAfrica.com, September 29, 2003
- Effects of supplemental fatty acids (cod
liver oil) in maternal diet on brain size and cognitive abilities of her
children. (This interesting article goes along with the discussion of the
role of meat iin diet (above), and interestingly the speculative "Aquatic
Ape" theory of human evolution which postulates an intermediate group
of ancestral hominids who lived along shores, with a diet of seafood. Most
scientists are skeptical of this but there are some unexplained issues in
human evolution including human fat layers, tear ducts, and hair reduction.
At the very least this illustrates the complex relationship between reproduction,
diet, brain size and cognition. Even though differences in the study are not
large, in terms of evolution, a small advantage in reproductive fitness can
multiply itself over generations resulting in a significant species difference
-- in this case perhaps brain size.) Perhaps even more important, this susggests
what a poor diet might to an infant's brain.
- Papa baboon looks out for his
- Lucy - relation between her Australopithecus
afarensis teeth and Homo x teeth suggests change in diet to meat.
- Lucy - relation
between body size and behavior? Implications of sexual dimorphism
- On obtaining information
from humans: Dogs 1, Chimps 0
- Listen and watch the Orangs on NPR
- Sex, brain and birth -- any connection?
- More on "mirror
neurons" in primates.
- sea lion memories
- Monkey math - homologous brain networks in
- Air force chimps retire.
- Genes for brain
- Gene similarity
between chimps and humans less than previously claimed (but not much less)
- Are we all decended from a single cell as Darwin conjectured? Recently a
microbiologist, Carl Woese, proposed an alternative.