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

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 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

The Substrate of Mind

The Substrate of Mind The likelihood of a transition to a planet dominated by non-biological intelligence is essentially dependent on one large philosophical assumption: that the substrate of intelligence and consciousness is unimportant.  Although I contend that this is currently an unanswerable question, the answer may define our future. Full Article: The Substrate of Mind … Continue reading The Substrate of Mind

The Human Neocortex

The Human Neocortex In How To Create A Mind by Ray Kurzweil, the importance of the human neocortex is explored.  What is important about the human neocortex?  How did it evolve in our species?  The answer to these questions can shed light on one of the most important evolutionary developments in the history of life on Earth. … Continue reading The Human Neocortex

The Curiosity Announcement

The Curiosity Announcement When Dr. John Grotzinger told NPR that the Mars rover had made a discovery “for the history books” everyone overreacted, including me.  Unfortunately, Curiosity did not discover microbial life, but they did discovery complex chemical compounds (e.g., carbon, chlorine).  This discovery, although still disappointing for many, raises a few very interesting questions.  … Continue reading The Curiosity Announcement

Did Curiosity Discover Life On Mars?

Did Curiosity Discover Life On Mars? John Grotzinger, Curiosity’s chief scientist, recently revealed to NPR that the Mars rover has made a discovery “for the history books.”  Is it life?  There are several lines of evidence indicating that it is.  This would be the biggest scientific discovery of our generation.  If Curiosity did discover life, … Continue reading Did Curiosity Discover Life On Mars?

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

Shoulders of Giants

Shoulders of Giants Everyone is influenced by the accomplishments, thoughts and beliefs of the generations that preceded them.  As Sir Isaac Newton stated “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”.  The following is a list of the top 10 modern scientists who have influenced my perceptions, ideas and … Continue reading Shoulders of Giants

An Evolutionary Success!

An Evolutionary Success! Evolutionary biologists have recently revealed a phylogenetic tree which depicts the evolutionary relatedness of all birds.  Specifically it also reveals information about the tempo of bird evolution as well as the geographic locations of important diversification events.  These findings have important relevance, not only to understand the natural history of life, but … Continue reading An Evolutionary Success!