Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

A cool (new-ish) IPD game theory simulator!

Posted 25 Oct 2018 / 0

Back in 2011, I worked with a talented Pratt Digital Arts graduate student name Jean Ho Chu to create a flash-based game that allowed players to explore Robert Axelrod’s seminal iterated prisoner’s dilemma simulations. I think that our game was pretty valuable, mostly thanks to Jean’s many innovative graphic and interactive creations. But culture ratchets Read More

A Minor Post, Cooperation, Educational Software and Apps, Game Theory, Teaching Tools

When it comes to considering sex and gender, don’t forget sex determination

Posted 22 Oct 2018 / 0

Scientific American “Beyond XX and XY: The Extraordinary Complexity of Sex Determination” I teach about sex and gender in a lot of my courses. For some courses, such as Evolution or The Evolution of Sex, these are basic concepts that need to be established in order to study reproductive behaviors. For other courses, such as Breeders, Propagators, & Read More

A Minor Post, Information Design, MSCI-362, The Evolution of Sex, Sex and Reproduction

Break not the ungulate culture of migration

Posted 27 Sep 2018 / 0

Science “Is ungulate migration culturally transmitted? Evidence of social learning from translocated animals” Wow, this is super cool. We often think of humans as exclusively cultural, but it is only the extent to which we rely on culture that makes us unique. That doesn’t mean that culture’s not crucial to the learning of other animals, whose Read More

A Minor Post, Conservation Biology, Cultural Evolution, Mammals

Humans arrive, other mammals shrink

Posted 27 Sep 2018 / 0

Scientific American “Mammals Shrink When Humans Migrate In” Another really cool infographic from Scientific American. What I really find interesting here is the difference between the recent arrival of humans (Australia, the Americas) and places where humans just innovated culturally (Africa, Eurasia). Those large mammals species that coevolved with our emergence as a highly-cultural species seem Read More

A Minor Post, Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Conservation Biology, Evolution, Extinction, Human Evolution, Mammals, Natural Selection

Scientific American drops special issue on “Science of Being Human”

Posted 20 Sep 2018 / 0

Scientific American just released a great special issue on The Science of Being Human. It’s one of those nicely-integrated issues that Scientific American has become really good at creaating: from the graphics to the flow of the article topics, everything fits together into a nice three-part structure that explores a diversity of issues surround human evolution and our resulting Read More

A Minor Post, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Human Uniqueness, Periodicals

Don’t blame people for being obese (blame their neighborhood)

Posted 06 Sep 2018 / 0

Science News “Artificial intelligence spots obesity from space” Wow, if you are the kind of person who tends to put a lot of stock in “personal responsibility”, maybe you don’t want to read the brief article above. Because it is an amazing piece of evidence that individual human behaviors are highly influenced by the environments that Read More

A Minor Post, Behavior, Environmental Justice, Gene by Environment Interactions, Health & Medicine, Urban Ecology, Urban Planning

Mom: “Eat my sh*t and then help your younger siblings”

Posted 06 Sep 2018 / 0

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences “Responses to pup vocalizations in subordinate naked mole-rats are induced by estradiol ingested through coprophagy of queen’s feces” Okay, we all knew that naked mole rats are weird. The inbreeding, the eusociality in a mammal, and… well, the look. But this is a new wrinkle. Apparently mom is sending Read More

A Minor Post, Behavior, Kin Selection

Mom leaves, offspring get buff and work together

Posted 06 Sep 2018 / 0

Science News “When this beetle mom disappears, her children become stronger and nicer” There are so many cool aspects to this study! First, it is amazing that lab evolution can produce this dramatic a change in both anatomy and behavior. These results are kind of like what we observe in artificial selection scenarios: there’s a lot Read More

A Minor Post, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Competition, Cooperation, Kin Selection, Parenting

We aren’t the only gardeners on Madgascar

Posted 06 Sep 2018 / 0

Another cool find from Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment: mouse lemurs appear to have a mutualistic relationship with a variety of plants that they use for food and protection! National Geographic “The Surprising Reason Tiny Lemurs ‘Grow’ Their Own Gardens” Biological Journal of the Linnean Society “Mouse lemurs (Primates: Cheirogaleidae) cultivate green fruit gardens “

A Minor Post, Coevolution, Human Uniqueness, Mutualism, Primates

All it takes to get a little specialized is a small increase in group size…

Posted 30 Aug 2018 / 0

Nature “Fitness benefits and emergent division of labour at the onset of group living” Another Corina Tarnita study that elegantly converts empirical observations into an insightful model. If it doesn’t take a lot for already-social species to harness the power of “division of labor”, that begs an important question: why don’t more species show this Read More

A Minor Post, Cooperation, Group Selection