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

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

Super Volcanoes: Our Biggest Threat?

Super Volcanoes: Our Biggest Threat? There are few natural disasters that pose a threat to our species.  However, super volcanoes have devastated the global biosphere in the past and if one were to occur today, it would seriously destabilize our civilization.  At the moment our knowledge of super volcanoes is impoverished but current evidence suggests … Continue reading Super Volcanoes: Our Biggest Threat?

Communicating With Bonobos

Communicating With Bonobos Panbanisha (Nov 17, 1985-Nov 6, 2012) died recently from a cold at The Great Ape Trust.  Her entire life was a linguistic experiment that taught us a great deal about the linguistic capabilities of apes, and also what separates our species from the great apes.  Future research into the origins of language, … Continue reading Communicating With Bonobos

An Idea to Change All Ideas

An Idea to Change All Ideas Ray Kurzweil is a prolific inventor and futurist that believes that humanity is reaching a new epoch in the history of the universe, life and humanity: the technological singularity.  The technological singularity is a predicted point in time when humans and technology will completely merge to create a new … Continue reading An Idea to Change All Ideas

Can There Be Another Jane Goodall?

Can There Be Another Jane Goodall? Charles Darwin, Louis Leakey and Jane Goodall are all evolutionary pioneers and intellectual pillars of contemporary evolutionary thought.  However, their discoveries and contributions to the various evolutionary fields were uniquely historically contingent.  Is it possible for any modern day evolutionary academics to make comparable breakthroughs? Full Article: Can There … Continue reading Can There Be Another Jane Goodall?

A World With More Than One Human Species

A World With More Than One Human Species For most of our species existence we shared this planet with other humans (i.e., Neaderthals, Denisova).  They co-existed in many regions throughout Eurasia for tens of thousands of years.  What was their relationship like?  And what would our world look like today if there were more than … Continue reading A World With More Than One Human Species

Decoding Our Family

Decoding Our Family In 2000 we sequenced the human genome.  Over the past decade primatologists have decoded the genome of all great apes (chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos and orangutans).  Now we can compare, contrast and learn more about our genetic relationship with our closest relatives.  Throughout that time we have learned a tremendous amount about their … Continue reading Decoding Our Family

Evolution of Primate Sleep

Evolution of Primate Sleep Throughout my young career as a primate researcher I have focused on sleeping patterns in two different species (chimpanzees and ring-tailed lemurs).  This research has helped me piece together some of the most important patterns and trends that have characterized the evolution of primate sleep. Full Article: Evolution of Primate Sleep … Continue reading Evolution of Primate Sleep