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Current Biological Anthropology News and Events, Biological Anthropology News Articles.
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Like humans, chimpanzees can suffer for life if orphaned before adulthood
A new study from the Tai Chimpanzee Project in Ivory Coast and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, shows that orphaned male chimpanzees are less competitive and have fewer offspring of their own than those who continue to live with their mothers. The remaining puzzle is, what is it that their mothers provide that keeps chimpanzees healthy and competitive? (2020-09-18)

How a giant short-faced bear reached the California Channel Islands
Researchers at the University of Oklahoma, the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, University of Oregon, and others report the unexpected discovery of an isolated short-faced bear toe bone from California's Channel Islands, presenting a puzzling scenario for how the largest mammalian carnivore to ever walk North America ended up in an island cave. (2020-09-16)

Chimpanzees show greater behavioural and cultural diversity in more variable environments
An international team led by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) has investigated the influence of environmental variability on the behavioural repertoires of 144 social groups. The scientists found that chimpanzees living further away from historical forest refugia, under more seasonal conditions, and found in savannah woodland rather than closed forested habitats, were more likely to exhibit a larger set of behaviours. (2020-09-15)

Researchers reveal a much richer picture of the past with new DNA recovery technique
Researchers at McMaster University have developed a new technique to tease ancient DNA from soil, pulling the genomes of hundreds of animals and thousands of plants -- many of them long extinct -- from less than a gram of sediment. (2020-09-10)

The oldest Neanderthal DNA of Central-Eastern Europe
A new study reports the oldest mitochondrial genome of a Neanderthal from Central-Eastern Europe. The mitochondrial genome of the tooth, discovered at the site of Stajnia Cave in Poland, is closer to a Neanderthal specimen from the Caucasus than to the contemporaneous Neanderthals of Western Europe. Stone tools found at the site are also analogous to the southern regions suggesting that Neanderthals living in the steppe/taiga environment had a broader foraging radius than previously envisaged. (2020-09-08)

Natural pest control saving billions
Biological control of insect pests - where 'natural enemies' keep pests at bay - is saving farmers in Asia and the Pacific billions of dollars, according to University of Queensland-led research. Dr Kris Wyckhuys from UQ's School of Biological Sciences said biological control involved the careful release of an exotic natural enemy from a pest's native habitat. (2020-09-03)

Biological control agents can protect soybeans from Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS)
Recently, Mirian Pimentel, a PhD student, and a group of plant pathologists at Southern Illinois University, discovered a promising new tool to fight sudden death syndrome (SDS). They observed that several biological control agents (BCA), or beneficial fungi, were able to substantially reduce the growth of the causal pathogen agent of SDS. In some cases, these agents even overgrew the pathogen, parasitized it, and displayed evidence of ''feeding'' on it. (2020-09-02)

Following African elephant trails to approach conservation differently
Elephant trails may lead the way to better conservation approaches. 'Think of elephants as engineers of the forests. Elephants shape the landscape in many ways that benefit humans. We're talking thousands of miles of trails. If we think about the loss of elephants over time, then we will see the forest structure change and human activities also would shift.' (2020-08-31)

Daylight study reveals how animals adapt between seasons
Scientists have discovered how a biological switch helps animals make the seasonal changes crucial for survival, such as growing a warm winter coat and adjusting body temperatures. (2020-08-27)

COVID-19 human milk studies should continue without stopping breastfeeding
It is not easy to conduct human milk research during a pandemic. Yet despite the consistent lack of quality evidence for transmission of viral RNA from breast milk, some leaders are pushing ahead by altering public health and clinical practice guidance, according to E.A. Quinn, associate professor of biological anthropology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. (2020-08-25)

Research links Southeast Asia megadrought to drying in Africa
Physical evidence found in caves in Laos connects the end of the Green Sahara, when once heavily vegetated Northern Africa became a hyper-arid landscape, and a previously unknown megadrought that crippled Southeast Asia 4,000 to 5,000 years ago. Scientists at the University of California, Irvine, University of Pennsylvania, William Paterson University of New Jersey and other international institutions explain how this major climate transformation led to a shift in human settlement patterns in Southeast Asia. (2020-08-21)

UA research finds relationship between COVID-19 deaths and morbid obesity
The prevalence of morbid obesity in a population is associated with negative outcomes from COVID-19, according to an analysis by researchers at The University of Alabama of morbid obesity data and reported COVID-19 deaths in the United States. (2020-08-20)

Termite-fishing chimpanzees provide clues to the evolution of technology
Unlike chimpanzees in East and West Africa, who use a single tool to extract termites, chimpanzees in Central Africa's Congo Basin use tool sets--puncturing sticks or perforating twigs plus fishing probes--to harvest the insects from underground nests or towering earthen mounds scattered across lowland forests. (2020-08-19)

Monkeying around: Study finds older primates father far fewer babies
Older male rhesus monkeys sire fewer offspring, even though they appear to be mating as much as younger monkeys with similarly high social status. Sperm quality or quantity, or the survival of infants, may decline with the age of the would-be father, the new study suggests. A new study from Washington University in St. Louis has implications for understanding some age-related aspects of male reproductive health in primates, including humans. (2020-08-03)

Neandertals may have had a lower threshold for pain
Pain is mediated through specialized nerve cells that are activated when potentially harmful things affect various parts of our bodies. These nerve cells have a special ion channel that has a key role in starting the electrical impulse that signals pain and is sent to the brain. According to a new study by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany and the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden people who inherited the Neandertal variant of this ion channel experience more pain. (2020-07-23)

Archaeologists use tooth enamel protein to show sex of human remains
A new method for estimating the biological sex of human remains based on reading protein sequences rather than DNA has been used to study an archaeological site in Northern California. The protein-based technique gave superior results to DNA analysis in studying 55 sets of human remains between 300 and 2,300 years old. (2020-07-17)

For chimpanzees, salt and pepper hair not a marker of old age
Silver strands and graying hair is a sign of aging in humans, but things aren't so simple for our closest ape relatives--the chimpanzee. A new study published today in the journal PLOS ONE by researchers at the George Washington University found graying hair is not indicative of a chimpanzee's age. (2020-07-14)

Running in Tarahumara culture
Running in Tarahumara (Rarámuri) Culture. The Tarahumara (Rarámuri) are a Native American people from Chihuahua, Mexico, who have long been famous for running, but there is widespread incredulity about how and why they run such long distances. Tarahumara, like many Native American peoples, consider running, along with other endurance-based activities, to have important social dimensions, such as a spiritually vital form of prayer. (Current Anthropology) (2020-07-06)

Does 'mommy brain' last? Study shows motherhood does not diminish attention
'Mommy brain' is a long-held perception that mothers are more forgetful and less attentive. A new study shows that mothers are equally as attentive, or more attentive than, non-mothers. (2020-06-23)

Otago researchers discover the origins of the beloved guinea pig
New University of Otago research sheds light on guinea pig domestication and how and why the small, furry animals became distributed around the world. (2020-06-15)

We're not all equal in the face of the coronavirus
HLA genes, responsible for the adaptive immune system, differ between individuals. Thousands of possible variants have been identified. Not all of them are equally effective in fighting new viruses. The frequency of these variants varies from one population to another. In a study to be published in the journal HLA, scientists have pinpointed those that are potentially the most effective against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. They have also brought to light significant differences between populations. (2020-06-10)

Pitt researchers' new material allows for unprecedented imaging deeper in tissues
A team from the Department of Chemistry has established an approach for the creation of a metal-organic framework material that provides new perspectives for biological imaging. (2020-06-09)

Largest, oldest Maya monument suggests importance of communal work
A University of Arizona discovery suggests that the Maya civilization developed more rapidly than archaeologists once thought and hints at less social inequality than later periods. (2020-06-03)

In chimpanzees, females contribute to the protection of the territory
Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, extensively studied several neighboring groups of western chimpanzees and their findings reveal that females and even the entire group may play a more important role in between-group competition than previously thought. They found that even though adult males seem important in territory increase, territory maintenance and competitive advantage over neighbors act through the entire group in this population of chimpanzees in the Taï National Park. (2020-05-27)

Cultural diversity in chimpanzees
Termite fishing by chimpanzees was thought to occur in only two forms with one or multiple tools, from either above-ground or underground termite nests. By carefully observing the techniques required to termite fish at ten different sites, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, created a catalogue of behaviours for each chimpanzee in the study. (2020-05-26)

Researchers call for new approach to some mental disorders
Depression, anxiety and PTSD might not be disorders at all, according to a recent paper by Washington State University biological anthropologists. In the paper, the researchers propose a new approach to mental illness that would be informed by human evolution, noting that modern psychology, and in particular its use of drugs like antidepressants, has largely failed to reduce the prevalence of mental disorders. (2020-05-26)

Similar to humans, chimpanzees develop slowly
Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, have systematically investigated developmental milestones in wild chimpanzees of the Taï National Park (Ivory Coast) and found that they develop slowly, requiring more than five years to reach key motor, communication and social milestones. This timeframe is similar to humans, suggesting slow maturation of the brain. (2020-05-26)

Women with Neandertal gene give birth to more children
One in three women in Europe inherited the receptor for progesterone from Neandertals -- a gene variant associated with increased fertility, fewer bleedings during early pregnancy and fewer miscarriages. This is according to a study published in Molecular Biology and Evolution by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany and Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. (2020-05-26)

Earliest evidence of Italians' genetic diversity dates back to end of last glacial period
Around 19,000 years ago, after the Late Glacial Maximum, the surprisingly heterogeneous diversity of Italians' genomic background started to develop. It is the first time that a group of scientists manages to go that back in time in retracing Italians' genetic history. (2020-05-21)

Research shows even animals benefit from social distance to prevent disease
Microorganisms living inside and on our body play a crucial role in both the maintenance of our health and the development of disease. Now researchers at UTSA have uncovered evidence about the importance of maintaining physical distance to minimize the spread of microbes among individuals. (2020-05-11)

New research determines our species created earliest modern artifacts in Europe
Blade-like tools and animal tooth pendants previously discovered in Europe, and once thought to possibly be the work of Neanderthals, are in fact the creation of Homo sapiens, or modern humans, who emigrated from Africa, finds a new analysis by an international team of researchers. (2020-05-11)

The oldest Upper Paleolithic Homo sapiens in Europe
A research team reports new Homo sapiens fossils from Bacho Kiro Cave, Bulgaria, that are directly dated to approximately 45,000 years ago and are in direct association with stone tools, the remains of hunted animals, bone tools, and personal ornaments. They document the earliest known Upper Paleolithic Homo sapiens and push back in time the start of this major cultural transition in Europe. Their stone tools unearthed at the site link Bacho Kiro Cave to finds across Eurasia as far east as Mongolia. (2020-05-11)

Neandertals were choosy about making bone tools
Evidence continues to mount that the Neandertals, who lived in Europe and Asia until about 40,000 years ago, were more sophisticated people than once thought. A new study from UC Davis shows that Neandertals chose to use bones from specific animals to make a tool for specific purpose: working hides into leather. (2020-05-08)

Music and filmmaking can transform undergraduate student perceptions of dementia
Undergraduate arts and music departments may represent untapped resources for building up the workforce needed to care for older adults, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. (2020-05-06)

Cultivating cooperation through kinship
Extensive cooperation among biologically unrelated individuals is uniquely human. It would be surprising if this uniqueness were not related to other uniquely human characteristics, yet current theories of human cooperation tend to ignore the human aspects of human behavior. This paper presents a theory of cooperation that draws on social, cultural, and psychological aspects of human uniqueness for which current theories have little or no explanation. (2020-04-30)

New findings highlight threatened status of forest elephants
Conservation efforts for the African forest elephant have been hindered by how little is known the large animal, according to researchers. In a new study, an international team of researchers now estimates that the population of the species is 40 to 80% smaller than previously thought. (2020-04-29)

High-altitude adaptations connected with lower risk for chronic diseases
High-altitude adaptations in the Himalayas may lower risk for some chronic diseases, according to a research team including faculty from Binghamton University, State University of New York, the University of New Mexico, and the Fudan University School of Life Sciences. (2020-04-23)

New algorithm to help process biological images
Skoltech researchers have presented a new biological image processing method that accurately picks out specific biological objects in complex images. Their results will be presented as an oral talk at the high-profile computer vision conference, CVPR 2020. (2020-04-21)

Milk pioneers: East African herders consumed milk 5,000 years ago
Animal milk was essential to east African herders at least 5,000 years ago, according to a new study. The research is important for understanding the history of milk drinking worldwide. (2020-04-15)

Reframing biosecurity governance as an experimental space, including as relates to handling COVID-19
Biological science and its applications are rapidly evolving, and to keep up with emerging security concerns, governance of biosecurity applications should evolve as well. (2020-04-09)

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