Chimpanzees more likely to share tools, teach skills when task is complex

Chimpanzees more likely to share tools, teach skills when task is complex

New Arts & Sciences research finds that chimpanzees that use a multi-step process and complex tools to gather termites are more likely to share tools with novices. The study helps illuminate chimpanzees’ capacity for prosocial — or helping — behavior, a quality that has been recognized for its potential role in the evolution of human cultural abilities.

Digging Kazakhstan’s past helps students find themselves

Much more than an archaeology course, a six-week summer field practicum on the history of Central Asia, led by Michael Frachetti, PhD, associate professor of archaeology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, offers students from all disciplines the opportunity to immerse themselves in the past and present culture of Kazakhstan.

Himalayan Viagra fuels caterpillar fungus gold rush

​Overwhelmed by speculators trying to cash-in on a prized medicinal fungus known as Himalayan Viagra, two isolated Tibetan communities have managed to do at the local level what world leaders often fail to do on a global scale — implement a successful system for the sustainable harvest of a precious natural resource, suggests new research from Washington University in St. Louis.​

Déjà vu all over again? Cultural understanding vs. horrors of eugenics

Scientific efforts to explain feeblemindedness, delinquency and racial inferiorities date to the Spanish Inquisition. And while the horrors of Nazi Germany exposed fatal flaws in science’s quest to build the master race, the ethical dilemmas posed by the science of eugenics are far from behind us, warns an anthropologist from Washington University in St. Louis.

Study looks at impact of neighborhood, family environments on Latino youth violence

Research has shown that youth violence is a major cause of injury and death among Latinos. However, there is little understanding of violent behaviors of youths within various Latino ethnic subgroups such as Puerto Ricans, Cubans and Mexicans. Lorena Estrada-Martínez, PhD, assistant professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, recently examined how family dynamics and neighborhood racial/ethnic composition and socioeconomic status (SES) impact youth violence among Latino subgroups. “Higher levels of youth independence can reduce the risk of violence in primarily Latino neighborhoods,” Estrada-Martinez says. 

Bodies at Play: Japan Embodied seminars resume Sept. 23

Japanese body art, elaborate tattoos, fashion and pre-modern pornography are among topics to be explored as the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis opens its fall seminar series. The Japan Embodied: New Approaches to Japanese Studies seminar series opens at 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, in Room 18, Busch Hall, on the Danforth Campus with a free, public program on body ornamentation in Japanese culture.

International Festival set for March 6

Song, dance and dishes from a variety of nations represented by students at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis highlight the 17th annual International Festival Sunday, March 6 at the 560 Music Center. The event, which is open to the public, begins at 5 p.m. with a food tasting of 11 different dishes. This year’s theme is “1 Community, A World of Traditions.”

Israeli law scholar Amnon Rubinstein lectures, Oct. 5-6

Amnon Rubinstein, a leading scholar on constitutional lawRubinsteinin Israel, will discuss Western culture and Israeli law in free public lectures Oct. 5 and Oct. 6 at Washington University in St. Louis. Rubinstein, a longtime member of the Israeli parliament and founding dean of the nation’s top-ranked law school, is a recipient of the prestigious “Israel Prize” for his work on constitutional law. 

Palin’s appeal rooted in Alaskan culture

DarnellPart of the mystery of Sarah Palin is part of her appeal to Republican “outsider” voters who admire her qualities of independence and against-the grain political orthodoxy, says Alfred Darnell, Ph.D., visiting lecturer in political science.
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