Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Fantastic piece on nature/nurture by Patrick F. Clarkin in TVOL

Posted 23 Sep 2017 / 0

There’s a lot that has been written about the nature/nurture dilemma, perhaps because misconceptions about the role that genes and environment play in biological development are so persistent. Patrick F. Clarkin recently published a couple of wonderful short essays on the topic: This View of Life “We Are Not Hard-Wired“ This View of Life “Evolution Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Cultural Evolution, Development, Epigenetics, EvoDevo, Gene by Environment Interactions, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Genetics, Human Evolution, Language Evolution, Phenotypic Plasticity, Psychological Adaptation

Predicting Future Evolution (Spring 2017)

Posted 08 May 2017 / 2

One of the activities that I regularly have my students complete in my Evolution course is called “Future Evolution“. The activity sends students on what most evolutionary biologists consider a fool’s errand: to try to predict the future evolution of some particular trait in some particular species. Making such predictions is really difficult for these basic reasons: Read More

A Major Post, Adaptation, Animal Domestication, Anthropogenic Change, Coevolution, Cultural Evolution, Evolution, Evolution Education, Human Evolution, Lesson Ideas, MSCI-260, Evolution, Prediction, Uncategorized

Gregory Tague to speak about Art & Adaptation at Pratt Institute

Posted 12 Apr 2017 / 0

Why do people make art? Given that human art-making emerged tens of thousands of years ago and is such an integral part of most human societies, why we make art is an important question. Philosophers have been trying to answer this question for a long time. More recently, scientists have begun to explore explanations for human Read More

A Major Post, Adaptation, Archaeology, Art & Design, Communication, Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Evolution, Department of Mathematics & Science, Emotion, Empathy, Evolutionary Psychology, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Human Uniqueness, Memetic Fitness, Multilevel Selection, Play, Pratt Institute, Psychological Adaptation, Social Networks

Support the mighty Bombardier Beetle’s quest to have its genome sequenced!

Posted 20 Mar 2017 / 0

A good friend and former colleague of mine, Aman Gill, now works on Bombardier Beetles. And the Bombardier Beetle is in the running for a unique award: having its genome sequenced. How will the Bombardier Beetle win this award? Well, folks, we are pretty well into the new millenium by now, so you probably have Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Behavior, Convergence, Evolution, Experiments (General), Genetics, Natural Selection, Public Outreach, Science (General), Uncategorized

Predicting Future Evolution (Fall 2016)

Posted 10 Dec 2016 / 0

One of the activities that I regularly have my students complete in my Evolution course is called “Future Evolution“. The activity sends students on what most evolutionary biologists consider a fool’s errand: to try to predict the future evolution of some particular trait in some particular species. Making such predictions is really difficult for these basic reasons: Read More

A Major Post, Adaptation, Animal Domestication, Anthropogenic Change, Coevolution, Cultural Evolution, Evolution, Evolution Education, Human Evolution, Lesson Ideas, MSCI-260, Evolution, Prediction, Resistance Evolution in Parasites

Predicting Future Evolution (Spring 2016)

Posted 10 May 2016 / 0

One of the activities that I regularly have my students complete in my Evolution course is called “Future Evolution“. The activity sends students on what most evolutionary biologists consider a fool’s errand: to try to predict the future evolution of some particular trait in some particular species. Making such predictions is really difficult for these basic reasons: Read More

A Major Post, Adaptation, Animal Domestication, Anthropogenic Change, Coevolution, Cultural Evolution, Evolution, Evolution Education, Human Evolution, Lesson Ideas, MSCI-260, Evolution, Prediction, Resistance Evolution in Parasites

It’s good to remember how fast things change, culturally & biologically

Posted 11 Apr 2016 / 0

The Pratt Institute Chemistry, Machinery, and Engineering buildings in 1950 (image courtesy of Pratt@125) A colleague of mine (Daniel Wright) sent around this image from Pratt Institute’s 125th Anniversary photo time line collection. It’s a pretty amazing testament to how quickly things can change in a culturally-evolving environment. These buildings still stand at Pratt: in Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Architecture, Climate Change, Cultural Evolution, Pratt Institute, Science in Art & Design, Sustainability, Sustainable Pratt, Sustainable Urban Design

What can be made by mimicking biological “assemblies”?

Posted 09 Apr 2016 / 0

A student in my Ecology for Architects course sent me the link to this TED Talk by Neri Oxman about some of her projects at the intersection of design and biology. I think that my student meant for me to watch it, and perhaps might have been interested in my thoughts, but the talk struck such a Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Architecture, Closed Loop Systems, Fashion, Film, Television, & Video, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Science in Art & Design, Sustainability

Like to forage for mushrooms? Beware the Amanita!

Posted 15 Mar 2016 / 1

This short video, which came to my attention via the Scientific American “Observations” blog, does a nice job of explaining how an invasive mushroom species (Amanita phalloides) is causing new hazards for wild foragers in Northern California. The video is pretty basic — and a bit dramatic — but it does a good job of Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Film, Television, & Video, Fungi, Invasive Species, Mutualism, Survival, Temperate Forest, Temperate Rainforest

I visit Pratt’s Poetics Lab focused on play

Posted 18 Feb 2016 / 0

Last week I had the privilege of being a guest of Pratt’s Poetics Lab course, whose focus this semester is on play behavior. The course involves a number of different faculty and hosts a bevy of guests but is the brainchild of course coordinator Ira Livingston. My job was to introduce the biological and evolutionary approach to understanding Read More

A Major Post, Adaptation, Evolution, Evolution Education, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, Play, Pratt Institute, Uncategorized