Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

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

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

Parasites better watch out for parasites!

Posted 30 Aug 2018 / 0

Science “This parasitic ‘love vine’ is sucking the life out of freeloading wasps” A plant evolves to parasitize the parasitic structure of an animal parasite that targets another plant. You can’t make this stuff up folks: it’s nature…

A Minor Post, Coevolution, Parasitism, Uncategorized

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

Professor Jensen’s Guide to Urban Cycling

Posted 22 Aug 2018 / 0

Welcome to Brooklyn: it’s a great place to cycle if you know how to do so safely. In August of 2018 I was asked to give a one-hour workshop on urban cycling as part of Pratt’s new student orientation program. I figured that I should condense my thoughts on the why, how, when, where, and Read More

A Major Post, Altruism, Pollution, Pratt Institute, Sustainability, Sustainable Transportation, Urban Planning

Alan Rabinowitz, 1953-2018

Posted 07 Aug 2018 / 0

Photo of Alan Rabinowitz speaking in 2010 courtesy of Kris Krüg via Wikimedia Commons It was with great sadness that I learned that Alan Rabinowitz died of cancer on August 5th. There’s a great tribute to him on the National Geographic site: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2018/08/alan-rabinowitz-big-cat-champion-news/ A Brooklyn-born kid who used frequent Bronx Zoo visits to overcome a severe stuttering Read More

A Minor Post, Activism, Conservation Biology, Felids, Obituary, Population Genetics, Web

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

PBS’ Deep Look on mole crabs

Posted 11 Mar 2018 / 0

Here’s another great Deep Look on one of my favorite creatures, the Pacific Mole Crab. As usual we get amazing video of behaviors that are really easy to miss… even if you like to mess with these critters on the beach.

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Marine Ecosystems, Predation