Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Further evidence that Hamilton was wrong about eusocial insects

Posted 11 Nov 2012 / 0

Current Biology “Social Evolution: When Promiscuity Breeds Cooperation” Current Biology “Promiscuous Honey Bee Queens Increase Colony Productivity by Suppressing Worker Selfishness” What I find so fascinating about this study is that relatedness can actually under some scenarios undermine cooperation, and that when proper policing of cheating is possible, less-related individuals may have more incentive to Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Cooperation, Hymenoptera, Punishment, Superorganisms

Bacterial societies defy selfish gene predictions

Posted 10 Sep 2012 / 0

MITnews “Weapon-wielding marine microbes may protect populations from foes“

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Altruism, Competition, Cooperation, Evolution, Microbial Ecology, Mutualism, Superorganisms, Web

Prominent evolutionary biologists weigh in on whether humans can evolve into a ‘superorganism’

Posted 22 Jun 2012 / 0

io9 “Could Humans Evolve into a Giant Hive Mind?” What I find fascinating about this nice journalistic piece is the biases in particular scientists that it exposes once it asks for uninformed speculation. Most prominently, Joan Strassman betrays her biases about relatedness (we have to be highly related to be a superorganism, period) and the Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Cooperation, Human Uniqueness, Prediction, Superorganisms, Web

NY Times provides perspective on E.O. Wilson’s “The Social Conquest of Earth”

Posted 13 Jun 2012 / 0

The New York Times “Lessons from Ants to Grasp Humanity” Funny how the media likes to trot out Jerry Coyne whenever someone questions Darwinian orthodoxy. I cannot entirely blame Coyne for how he is quoted, but his quotes never seem to offer much a substantial critique. The bit on religion is interesting here: Wilson seems Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Books, Cooperation, Group Selection, Superorganisms

Richard Dawkins on E.O. Wilson’s “The Social Conquest of Earth”

Posted 12 Jun 2012 / 0

Prospect Magazine “The descent of Edward Wilson” First comment on this: what’s up with the ad hominem attacks on Wilson implying (not-so-subtly) that he is somehow slipping (look here for another example) in his old age? Given the massive departure that Dawkins has made from science in his writings on religion, he is the last one Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Books, Cooperation, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, Superorganisms

David Sloan Wilson on Richard Dawkins on E.O. Wilson

Posted 12 Jun 2012 / 0

The Huffington Post David Sloan Wilson blog “Richard Dawkins, Edward O. Wilson, and the Consensus of the Many” This is a very clear articulation of the history of multilevel selection. If only all biologists (in particular those who do not work in areas investigating altruistic behavior) could be compelled to read this; a lot of Read More

A Minor Post, Cooperation, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, Superorganisms, Web

Martin Nowak and Roger Highfield’s “SuperCooperators”

Posted 03 Nov 2011 / 0

Martin Nowak has accomplished a lot for a mid-career scientist. His theoretical work exploring how cooperation evolves has illuminated the importance of a great number of evolutionary mechanisms. He has also been unafraid to tackle real-life problems of cooperation, including questions like “why do we get cancer?” and “how did language evolve?”. Nowak likes to Read More

Altruism, Books, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Ethics, Evolutionary Modeling, Game Theory, Group Selection, History, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Kin Selection, Language Evolution, Multilevel Selection, Mutualism, Punishment, Reciprocity, Religion, Superorganisms, Sustainability

Science in Art & Design: Justin Taylor’s “The Gospel of Anarchy”

Posted 07 Oct 2011 / 0

There are so many science books that I want to read that I frequently neglect to read fiction. This is too bad, because good fiction can be as rich with interesting hypotheses about human nature and evolution as any book illuminating evolutionary theory. Towards the end of thinking about how my field informs and can Read More

Books, Cooperation, Cultural Evolution, Evolutionary Psychology, Fiction, Group Selection, Happiness, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Multilevel Selection, Pratt Institute, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Science in Art & Design, Superorganisms

Robert Trivers and colleagues on Nowak, Tarnita, and Wilson’s “The evolution of eusociality”

Posted 13 Oct 2010 / 16

One of the most difficult things about being the only full-time biologist on the Pratt Institute campus is that I do not have the opportunity to discuss serious science in my field with colleagues or guest speakers. To help alleviate this problem, I have my friends who are at serious research institutions on the lookout Read More

Adaptation, Altruism, Articles, Behavioral Ecology, Cooperation, Data Limitation, Evolution, Game Theory, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Multilevel Selection, Sociology, Superorganisms, Talks & Seminars

The Quest for the Perfect Hive

Posted 07 Jun 2010 / 0

Gene Kritsky is a renowned bee biologist, so when I learned that he had written The Quest for the Perfect Hive: A History of Innovation in Bee Culture, I rushed to get ahold of it. I am very interested in species that form superorganisms (bees, wasps, ants, naked mole-rats, humans), and I have been slowly Read More

Animal Domestication, Books, Coevolution, Cultural Evolution, Reviews, Superorganisms