Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

Predicting Future Evolution (Spring 2019)

Posted 10 May 2019 / 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, Anthropogenic Change, Coevolution, Evolution, Evolution Education, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Human Evolution, Lesson Ideas, MSWI-260C, Evolution, Prediction

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

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

Different hominin species not so species-like it seems

Posted 30 Aug 2018 / 0

Science “This ancient bone belonged to a child of two extinct human species” It’s amazing what can be discovered by looking at ancient DNA. It will be interesting to see how robust this finding is: is this just a rare occurence that we happened to find, or will additional evidence suggest that hybridization between hominin Read More

A Minor Post, Homo species, Human Evolution, Speciation

Is sexualization of women driven by the structure of our economy?

Posted 30 Aug 2018 / 0

PNAS “Income inequality not gender inequality positively covaries with female sexualization on social media” This study kind of blew up my head (well, at least blew up the preconceptions in my head). It would seem so logical to predict that gender inequality would be the main cause of the sexualization of women on social media. Read More

A Minor Post, Competition, Economics, Human Evolution, Human Nature, Sexual Competition, Uncategorized

Can a realistically-parameterized model tell us why our brains are so big?

Posted 30 Aug 2018 / 0

Nature “Sizing up human brain evolution” Nature “Inference of ecological and social drivers of human brain-size evolution” This is an interesting study that I simultaneously think is really cool and has some major flaws. What’s cool about this study is that it trys to get at this question with a model that’s (reasonably) constrained by observed parameter Read More

A Minor Post, Allometries, Articles, Brain size, Cognitive Ability, Evolution, Human Evolution, Individual-based Models, Modeling (General), Neuroscience, Uncategorized

My entry on the evolution of play will be added to the massive Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Posted 24 Jul 2018 / 0

I have been in a bit of a publication lull for the last few years. It isn’t that I haven’t been engaged in a variety of scholarly activities, it is just that it has been awhile since any of them have reached the publication phase. I am hoping that things will begin to pick up Read More

A Major Post, Adaptation, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Communication, Cooperation, Emotion, Empathy, Evolution, Evolutionary Psychology, Human Evolution, MSCI-261, The Evolution of Play, My publications, Periodicals, Play, Psychological Adaptation

Predicting Future Evolution (Fall 2017)

Posted 10 Dec 2017 / 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, Anthropogenic Change, Coevolution, Evolution, Evolution Education, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Human Evolution, Lesson Ideas, MSCI-260, Evolution, Prediction, Resistance Evolution in Parasites

Why Artists & Designers need Scientists: Exhibit A

Posted 22 Oct 2017 / 1

I have always had a prediliction to root for the little guy, but sometimes you actually need to be the little guy to see how little guys are treated. And at Pratt, a behemouth of art and design, science is the little guy (or if you prefer, gal… in our department our most presigious scientists Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Art & Design, Behavior, Cognitive Bias, Cultural Evolution, Evolution, Evolutionary Psychology, Fashion, Gene-Culture Coevolution, Genetics, Happiness, Human Evolution, Industrial Design, Pratt Institute, Psychological Adaptation, Science in Art & Design