Genetic Differences Among Monkeys in Tanzania Show Troubling Pattern

An endangered monkey species in Tanzania is living in geographical pockets that are becoming isolated from one another. The situation, researchers say, is mostly driven by the monkeys’ proximity to villages and the deliberate burning of forests to make way for crops and pastures. An international team, led by Maria Jose Ruiz-Lopez, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oregon,…

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Wired For Habit

We are creatures of habit, nearly mindlessly executing routine after routine. Some habits we feel good about; others, less so. Habits are, after all, thought to be driven by reward-seeking mechanisms that are built into the brain. It turns out, however, that the brain’s habit-forming circuits may also be wired for efficiency. New research from MIT shows that habit formation,…

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Signs of Democracy Seen in Typically Authoritarian Baboon Society

When it’s time to travel, wild olive baboons make democratic decisions about where to go, even though they live in hierarchical societies. The discovery is a surprise, researchers report online today in Science, because large, alpha males typically get their way—pushing subordinates aside to get food or mates. But when choosing where to travel, a baboon’s social rank or sex is…

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Chimpanzees May Know When They Are Right and Move to Prove It

Chimpanzees are capable of metacognition, or thinking about one’s own thinking, and can adjust their behavior accordingly, researchers at Georgia State University, Agnes Scott College, Wofford College and the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York have discovered.  Their findings, published June 6 in the journal Cognition, suggest chimpanzees share with humans the capacity for metacognitive monitoring, which reflects…

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Chimps That Hunt Offer a New View on Evolution

Studies of hunters and gatherers — and of chimpanzees, which are often used as stand-ins for human ancestors — have cast bigger, faster and more powerful males in the hunter role. Now, a 10-year study of chimpanzees in Senegal shows females playing an unexpectedly big role in hunting and males, surprisingly, letting smaller and weaker hunters keep their prey. The results do…

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