The Advanced Apes Podcast with Dr. Jonathan Marks

The Advanced Apes Podcast with Dr. Jonathan MarksFor the past few years, biological anthropologist Dr. Jonathan Marks has been a tremendous influence to me academically.  I love his books What It Means To Be 98% Chimpanzee, and Why I Am Not A Scientist.  Last week I had a chance to interview him for a The … Continue reading The Advanced Apes Podcast with Dr. Jonathan Marks

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Are Chimpanzees Cultural?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhacaxJ240Q For the past two months I, along with my two friends Alicia Herbert and Drew Hewitt, have been working on launching a new YouTube channel. We want this channel to be educational and focus on evolutionary and environmental science. Our first video is on chimpanzee culture. If you have any thoughts or comments, I … Continue reading Are Chimpanzees Cultural?

The Real Culture Wars

The Real Culture Wars When we think of culture, we tend to think about material products of human civilization and/or variation of traditions, rituals, and beliefs between different human populations.  And of course, these are products of human culture.  But does culture distinguish humans from all other animals?  Are any other animals cultural?  If so, … Continue reading The Real Culture Wars

The Importance of Evolutionary Anthropology

The Importance of Evolutionary Anthropology As an evolutionary anthropologist, I am constantly confronted with the public perception that anthropology has no practical utility.  Throughout America and Canada, there is a disturbingly negative perception of anthropological inquiry.  This is why Governor Rick Scott was confident to proclaim that anthropology was not a vital interest to the … Continue reading The Importance of Evolutionary Anthropology

The Adaptation Program

The Adaptation Program Yesterday, I read a famous scientific article on adaptation by evolutionary biologists Stephen J. Gould and Richard Lewontin, titled “The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm: A Critique of the Adaptationist Programme” (Gould & Lewontin, 1979).  Gould & Lewontin criticize what they call the “adaptationist programme” school of thought within … Continue reading The Adaptation Program

What Is More of a Threat to Science: Scientific Racism or Unscientific Creationism?

As an evolutionary anthropologist, I am uniquely situated within science to encounter racist and/or creationist thought.  Evolutionary anthropology produces the authoritative story of who we are and where we came from.  As such, it is impossible to de-politicize the subject.  It is also impossible to achieve complete objectivity.  The narrative evolutionary anthropologists construct of our … Continue reading What Is More of a Threat to Science: Scientific Racism or Unscientific Creationism?

Building The Genetic Bridge

Building The Genetic Bridge Scientists have discovered a gene that is unique to humans and plays a significant role in language and speech.  This may be one of the first functional genes identified that makes us different from the great apes.  However, we should expect to find other genes that play a critical role in … Continue reading Building The Genetic Bridge

What Is Happiness?

What Is Happiness? What is happiness?  Academically, the concept of happiness has confused me for several years now.  So over the past few months I have been familiarizing myself with the “happiness literature” to attempt to find out what scientists know about what makes us happy, and why. Full Article: What Is Happiness? on The … Continue reading What Is Happiness?

The Sixth Mass Extinction

The Sixth Mass Extinction Humans have been reorganizing the global ecosystem ever since we first migrated out of Africa.  This has led to world organized around one species of megafauna, instead of a world organized around several megafauna.  As a consequence, we may be living through a mass extinction event 80,000 years in the making. … Continue reading The Sixth Mass Extinction

A Great Crisis

A Great Crisis Social scientists have established that humans experience a U-shaped happiness curve throughout their life.  Middle-aged individuals seem to be less happy than other individuals regardless of socio-cultural or economic factors.  A recent study has revealed that this may be a shared pattern with great apes.  Over 508 captive chimpanzees and orangutans were … Continue reading A Great Crisis