Apr 16 at 4:04pm by Aileen
A research scientist at UMich School of Public Health has established through interviews with 475 undergraduates that humans exchange resources (or merely clout) for sex, just like penguins, hummingbirds and other species of beings on this planet. His paper, “Young Adults Attempt Exchanges in Reproductively Relevant Currencies,” is published in this month’s Journal of Evolutionary Psychology.
Not that the idea of trading sex for resources is something unheard of in human society. Or even that in cultures where marriages are arranged among parents and grandparents before the young are old enough to walk, the arrangements are all about relative wealth and social standing – things considered valuable in the societies.
It is interesting that biologists (yes, the evo-psych folks too) have just recently figured out that their traditional reliance on exclusivity in sexual selection as a primary mechanism of directional evolution is not nearly as cut and dried as they long assumed it was. Given that cheating on spouses and general promiscuity have turned out to be fairly rampant in birds and beasts – the beauty of that peacock’s tail or the size of that ape’s manly parts doesn’t prevent lesser males from getting their genes into the pool after all…
There’s a reason we call it “The Oldest Profession.” Turns out, it’s even older than humans!
Feb 13 at 6:06pm by Aileen
Part 3: Items 21-30
Getting us past the halfway point in this series of things odd and quite possibly unknown, I’m going to go with some odd and interesting plant and animal facts, including an in-development “designer” breed of cat that just might steal my heart away from Maine Coons…
21. Did Tom Sawyer know these were under the raft?
These 7-foot, 220-pound Mississippi paddlefish are among the world’s biggest freshwater animals. Kin to sturgeon, they’re popular sources of meat and roe for caviar.
22. Designer Way to Help Endangered Tigers
Meet the Toyger! Breeding programs began in the 1980s to develop a breed of house cat that strongly resembles the mightiest of big cats. In 1993 Toygers were first registered with the International Cat Association [TICA], and now boasts grand champions. Must. Have. One…
Read the rest of this entry »
Jan 11 at 6:06pm by Aileen
They call it “geophagy,” but we all know it as just plain dirt-eating. Dogs do it, horses do it, children do it regularly too. Now a study of chimpanzee dirt-eating by a research team from the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris has demonstrated actual health benefits of the practice.
Down to Earth Remedies for Chimps: Eat Mud reports that the research team collected samples of soil eaten by chimpanzees, along with samples of the plants they were eating at the same time and analyzed the material for bioactive properties. Moreover, they found that by ingesting a certain type of dirt along with the leaves of T. rubescens trees, anti-malarial properties in the leaves became active when they did not become active when ingested by themselves.
Dec 5 at 5:05pm by Aileen
Tetsuro Matsuzawa of Kyoto University has once again embarrassed humans by testing chimpanzees against human adults on ‘working memory’. The chimps consistently beat college students in a computer game of remembering numbers, using the same test for both the chimps and the students. As Matsuzawa said…
“No one can imagine that chimpanzees — young chimpanzees at the age of 5 — have a better performance in a memory task than humans,” he said. “Here we show for the first time that young chimpanzees have an extraordinary working memory capability for numerical recollection — better than that of human adults tested in the same apparatus, following the same procedure.”
The research was published in the journal Current Biology.
Aug 29 at 4:04pm by Aileen
That high pitched, musical sing-song gibberish that mothers use to engage their infants has a name I never knew, despite my extraordinary fluency in the language – it’s called “Motherese.” At least, according to researchers at the University of Chicago. Who report that observations of free-ranging macaque monkeys living on an island near Puerto Rico show these monkeys also speak Motherese!
“The calls appear to be used to elicit infants’ attention and encourage their behavior. They also have the effect of increasing social tolerance in the mother and facilitating the interactions between females with babies in general. Thus, the attraction to other females’ infants results in a relatively relaxed context of interaction where the main focus of attention is the baby.”
And you thought it was just pointless, silly gibberish, didn’t you?