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Evolution — Select Articles and Presentations

Why Charles Darwin Delayed For Decades Before Publishing His Bold Ideas On Evolution. Did Darwin wait twenty-one years to begin presenting his most groundbreaking arguments to the world because he feared being called a heretic by the Church of England? Yes, maybe so! But maybe not.

Humans And Animals Share Non-Verbal Expressions And Gestures, Or So Said Darwin, And So Say Many Other Scientists. What do the facial expressions of humans, primates, cats, dogs, elephants, mud turtles, and albatrosses have in common? Charles Darwin had ideas. So did (and do) many other scientists.

Intimacy Across Cultures and Species. Do rats and pygmy chimps dream of electric kisses?

The Human Ape. Our animal nature is undeniable. But is beastly behavior inevitable?

Darwin in Love. Charles Darwin, who of all people should have known better, married his first cousin. Did his love for Emma color his later works?

Scientists May Have Found The Evolutionary Roots Of Human Vision. New research suggests that the design of the visual processing system of Madagascar’s gray mouse lemur holds secrets about the origins of vision for humans and for primates around the world.

Wind Creates Evolutionary Changes In Flying Insects, Depriving Them Of Flight. The first scientist known to be intrigued by flightless insects was the twenty-two-year-old Charles Darwin when, in January of 1831, he visited the Portuguese-held island of Madeira off the coast of Morocco.

Estrus, and the Evolution of Mean Girl Behavior. Competition among ancestral women for mates might have been fierce. 

How Some Songbirds Have Evolved to Play Their Terrible ‘Darwinian’ Cards. Here’s an evolutionary riddle: Should the investment that parents make in their offspring benefit the parents or the offspring? If the answer is “offspring,” must all benefit equally? If not, which one should the parents favor?

Monogamy in New World Monkeys … And in Humans. A species of New World monkeys seems to have found a tidy solution to the infidelity “problem” that many mammals face.

A Scientist’s Bakers Yeast Showed How Quickly Evolution Can Happen. At first glance a dish of baker’s yeast in 2020 has little to do with starving pregnant women in Holland in the winter of 1944-1945. 

Do Animals Know Mother Love? Darwin assumed that emotions like mother love are available to at least some animals.

So Long “Homo Stupidus.” Hello, Intelligent, Compassionate, Neanderthals? Studies illuminating what it may have been like to be a Neanderthal child have helped upend the idea of Neanderthals as brutish, sub-human, and lacking the “right” cognitive stuff.

Partial Deafness Helps African Naked Mole-Rats Hear At All. Every naked mole-rat is nearly deaf. Scientists have searched for a survival function to the impairment.

Facial Recognition Development in Wasps Hints at a Mystery of Human Evolution. Scientists have long wondered how prehistoric humans quickly unstuck themselves from the Stone Age and rapidly became as intellectually and socially capable as modern humans. Recent discoveries about wasps may hold a clue.

Video: Yes, Man Are Apes — As Are Women. (Below) Ask any ethnologist or anthropologist and he or she will assure you that humans are great apes. We share about 98.8 percent of our DNA with chimps and bonobos, which together make up the pan-species. This means that humans have the same reproductive imperatives that animals in general—and pans in particular—have. The job of the male is to spread his seed as widely as he can. The job of the female is to be selective about whose seed she receives. Which is to say that humans’ biological blueprint lays out dramatically different sex roles for men and women. Human men may not think in terms of fathering as many babies as possible, but their hormones make them go whole hog for copulation at almost any opportunity. On the other hand, women’s hormones lead them to be choosy and even to recoil at times in disgust. And therein lies one explanation for the many recent headlines about sexual misconduct by men.