Category Archives: Articles

Do humans form genetically similar social groups independent of kinship?

Proponents of kin selection as the most parsimonious explanation of how cooperation evolves face a problem when it comes to humans: counter to the predictions of kin selection theory, humans aim a fair amount of altruism at non-kin. While we … Continue reading

Posted in A Major Post, Altruism, Articles, Behavior, Cooperation, Genetics, Group Selection, Human Evolution, Kin Selection, Psychology, Radio & Podcasts, Reciprocity, Social Networks, Sociology | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Do cancer cells play cooperate in the Prisoner’s Dilemma?

PLoS One “Prisoner’s Dilemma in Cancer Metabolism” What is interesting here is that cancer cells must cooperate with each other in order to out-compete somatic cells against a staggering cost-to-benefit ratio. Generated by the extreme inefficiency of anaerobic metabolism, this … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Articles, Cooperation, Game Theory, Health & Medicine, Quantifying Costs and Benefits | Tagged | Leave a comment

Hawaiian crickets converge on the same solution to eavesdropping parasites

The New York Times “On Separate Islands, Crickets Go Silent“

Posted in A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Behavior, Coevolution, Convergence, Evolution, Host-Pathogen Evolution, Natural Selection, Phylogenetics | Leave a comment

Cath Dennis publishes non-computerized classroom adaptation of Axelrod’s iPD Tournament

I have corresponded with Cath Dennis of the University of Aberdeen, as we both share an interest in how to bring some of the foundational work exploring cooperation into our classrooms. She has just published one of her classroom activities — … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Articles, Cooperation, Evolution Education, Evolutionary Modeling, Game Theory, Reciprocity, Teaching Tools | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Our review paper on Late Pleistocene Extinction Modeling published in QRB!

I am proud to announce that a paper on which I am co-author, “A review and synthesis of late Pleistocene extinction modeling: Progress delayed by mismatches between ecological realism, interpretation, and methodological transparency“, has been published in the June 2014 … Continue reading

Posted in A Major Post, Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Biodiversity Loss, Climate Change, Community Ecology, Ecological Modeling, Extinction, Modeling (General), My publications, Predation | Leave a comment

Apparently I should stop holding my breath for the Google Translate “dolphin” module

The Chronicle of Higher Education “Dolphin Talk and Human Credulity” Great short here (and further evidence that TED Talks entice scientists to lose their heads and say unfounded things). Anyone who has carefully watched a child learn to talk comes to realize … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Cognitive Ability, Communication, Human Uniqueness, Language Evolution, Linguistics, Phenotypic Plasticity, Web | Leave a comment

0.5% to 3%: Do we now have a better sense of what makes people smart?

The Economist “A potent source of genetic variation in cognitive ability has just been discovered” A new gene variant, KL-VS, appears to account for up to 3% of variation in IQ score; this would be a radical discovery given that … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Cognitive Ability, Gene by Environment Interactions, Genetics, Intelligences, Web | Tagged | Leave a comment

David Haig suggests that babies cry at night to prevent siblings

Science News “Babies cry at night to prevent siblings, scientist suggests” What’s particularly interesting here is not just the parent-offspring conflict proposed but also the conflict between mothers and fathers that is implied in this theory. In fact, it seems that … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Human Evolution, Parent-Offspring Conflict, Sexual Conflict, Web | Leave a comment

Cognitive Ethology and Cat Companionship

The Chronicle of Higher Education “Animal Magnetism” I still think that we would be appalled and offended if we could literally read the inner emotional dialogue of a cat, but I have to agree with the main contention of Barash … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Belief, Consciousness, Data Limitation, Divergence, Emotion, Fluidity of Knowledge, Hypothesis Testing, Neuroscience | Tagged , | Leave a comment

If sloths endure costs to maintain closed-loop agricultural systems, why can’t we?

The New York Times “The Sloth’s Busy Inner Life” This is a great story about how paradoxical behaviors can be understood through appreciating mutualisms. If you don’t understand the benefits of algae to sloths and sloths to algae,  you can’t understand … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Closed Loop Systems, Coevolution, Community Ecology, Composting, Mutualism, Predation, Quantifying Costs and Benefits, Tropical Forest | Leave a comment

Okay, I admit it: I am a bit of a Neanderthal

The Economist “The genetic contribution Neanderthal man made to modern humanity is clearer” Although this article makes a bigger deal than it should about the “human construct” of the species concept (evolutionists are already well aware of the gradations of isolation … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Articles, Evolution, Extinction, Genetics, Homo species, Human Evolution, Human Uniqueness, Phylogenetics, Speciation | 1 Comment

Model evidence that third party punishment only makes sense in tight-knit groups

Proceedings of the Royal Society B “High strength-of-ties and low mobility enable the evolution of third-party punishment“

Posted in A Minor Post, Altruism, Articles, Behavior, Evolutionary Modeling, Punishment, Reputation, Social Networks | Leave a comment

Understanding the cascading effect of carnivore loss… before we lose all the carnivores

NPR Morning Edition “When Big Carnivores Go Down, Even Vegetarians Take The Hit” Science “Status and Ecological Effects of the World’s Largest Carnivores” Both of these articles are great for introducing the idea of trophic cascades as well as how trophic … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Articles, Biodiversity Loss, Community Ecology, Conservation Biology, Data Limitation, Ecological Modeling, Keystone Species, Long Term Ecological Research, Predation, Radio & Podcasts | Leave a comment

Once considered clear, the line between ecological and evolutionary time scales is becoming more blurry

The Chronicle of Higher Education “What Darwin Got Wrong” Great article on the importance of better understanding rapid and/or fluctuating evolution! The number of applications to applied human issues is fascinating.

Posted in A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Climate Change, Coevolution, Community Ecology, Fluidity of Knowledge, Freshwater Ecosystems, Host-Pathogen Evolution, Interactions, Invasive Species, Natural Selection, Pollution, Population Genetics, Predation, Resistance Evolution in Parasites, Rivers & Streams | Leave a comment

In bird reproduction, parasitism and cooperation coevolve

Science “How Cooperation Defeats Cheats” Science “Brood Parasitism and the Evolution of Cooperative Breeding in Birds” Live Science “How Birds Cooperate to Defeat Cuckoos” It is fascinating that being a cooperative breeder is both attractive to parasites (because they can achieve better … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Altruism, Articles, Coevolution, Cooperation, Cooperative Breeding, Phylogenetics | Leave a comment

Curiosity and culturomics

The Chronicle of Higher Education “Erez Aiden Contains Multitudes“

Posted in A Minor Post, Articles, Cultural Evolution | Leave a comment

Are MOOCs just the clunky starting place for a more evolved form of new teaching?

The Chronicle of Higher Education “Innovation in 2014: Welcome to the Evolution“

Posted in A Minor Post, Articles, Higher Education, Teaching | Leave a comment

Scientific American “Tiny Plants” article provides a primer on the inter-relationship between ecological and evolutionary change

I am always on the lookout for great popular science articles to assign to my students. What makes a popular science article great? Well, to start with it should address concepts that are core to my classes (admittedly, this definition … Continue reading

Posted in A Major Post, Adaptation, Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Biodiversity Loss, Climate Change, Coevolution, Conservation Biology, Ecology, Experiments (General), Extinction, Habitat Destruction, Interactions, Macroevolution, Marine Ecosystems, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Pollution, Resilience, Sustainability, Terrestrial | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Would a different term make us better appreciate ecosystem services?

The Chronicle of Higher Education “Who Is Conservation For?” This article takes an interesting turn when it suggests that our inability to appreciate and value ecosystem services stems from… well, the term “ecosystem services”. It is common to blame scientists … Continue reading

Posted in A Minor Post, Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Biodiversity Loss, Climate Change, Conservation Biology, Ecosystem Services, Habitat Destruction | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Caterpillars weaponize nicotine

The Economist “Caterpillars that blow nicotine at their enemy” I love the combination of genetic manipulation and “arena of death” wolf-spider gauntlet that led to these findings.

Posted in A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Host-Pathogen Evolution, Interactions, Parasitism, Predation, Resistance Evolution in Parasites | Leave a comment