Human Brains “Evolve,” Become Less Monkey-Like With Age

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 12, 2010   View Article

Brain regions that grow the most outside the womb are the same areas that expanded the most during evolution from monkeys to humans, a new study says.

As the human brain matures, it expands in a “strikingly nonuniform” fashion, according to researchers who compared MRI scans of 12 infant brains with scans of 12 young adult brains.

Chimp Gangs Kill to Expand Territory

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: June 21, 2010   View Article

Some gangs of chimpanzees beat their neighbors to death in bids to expand their turf, according to a new study.

While scientists have long known that chimps will kill each other on occasion, the finding shores up a long-held hypothesis that humans’ closest living relatives sometimes turn to violence to annex valuable parcels of land.

Oldest Primate Fossil in North America Discovered

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 3, 2008   View Article

A newly found species small enough to fit in the palm of a hand is North America’s oldest known primate, according to a new study.

Christopher Beard, a paleontologist at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, recently discovered fossils of the 55-million-year-old creature on the Gulf Coastal Plain of Mississippi.

Human Ancestor Had Lime-Size Brain

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 14, 2007   View Article

An extraordinarily complete skull of a 30-million-year-old human ancestor once held a brain about the size of a lime, according to a new study.

The skull—of a species related to apes, humans, and monkeys—is evidence that the more advanced and bigger brains of African primates developed later than previously believed, researchers said.

Baboons, Birds Remember Hundreds of Photos

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 7, 2006   View Article

Pigeons and baboons can remember hundreds of images and store them in their brains for at least a year, according to a new study.

Over a five-year period pigeons in the test were able to learn and recall between 800 and 1,200 photographs before maxing out their thumb-sized brains.

Uncaring Chimps May Shed Light on Humans, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 26, 2005   View Article

The recent outpouring of support for victims of natural disasters may be the sign of a uniquely human trait: Chimpanzees-our closest living relatives-are apparently indifferent to the needs of others, according to a
new study.

The research probes the question of why humans have altruistic tendencies.

Wild Gorillas Use Tools, Photos Reveal

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 30, 2005   View Article

Researchers have observed and photographed wild gorillas using sticks and stumps to navigate a swampy forest clearing in the Republic of the Congo. The images provide the first documented use of tools among wild gorillas.

In one instance, a female gorilla named Leah tried to wade across a pool of water but found herself waist deep after just a few steps. She retreated, grabbed a branch sticking out of the water, and used it to gauge the water’s depth before wading deeper.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach