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.
Faced with extreme weather events and unprecedented environmental change, animals and plants are scrambling to catch up — with mixed results. A new model developed by Carlos Botero, assistant professor of biology in Arts & Sciences, helps to predict the types of changes that could drive a given species to extinction.
Researchers led by Kenneth M. Olsen in Arts & Sciences used a new imaging technique to reveal a takeover strategy that has worked for weedy rice over and over again: roots that minimize below-ground contact with other plants.
Nearly five years after his death, colleagues of Washington University in St. Louis anthropologist David “Tab” Rasmussen are recognizing his contributions by listing him as first author on a primate evolution paper published March 26 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Washington University researchers have mapped the regions of the brain in mormyrid fish in extremely high detail. In a study published in the Nov. 15 issue of Current Biology, they report that the part of the brain called the cerebellum is bigger in members of this fish family compared to related fish — and this may be associated with their use of weak electric discharges to locate prey and to communicate with one another.
A review published in the Nov. 9 issue of Science explores the complexity of evolution’s predictability in extraordinary detail. Jonathan Losos of Arts & Sciences takes on a classic question posed by Stephen Jay Gould in an effort to fully interrogate ideas about contingency’s role in evolution.
Biologists at Washington University in St. Louis have published a first-of-its-kind look at the physical characteristics of lizards that seem to make the difference between life and death in a hurricane, as reported July 25 in the journal Nature.
Natural selection acts on behavioral traits, says evolutionary biologist Jonathan Losos, who helped lead a replicated field experiment with anole lizards on eight small islands in the Caribbean, as reported in the June 1 issue of Science
It’s easy to make up a story to explain an evolved trait; proving that’s what happened is much harder. Here scientists test ideas about cooperative breeding in birds and find a solution that resolves earlier disagreements.
Evolution educators continue to face resistance from parents, lawmakers and school boards. And a recent Pew Research Center survey on science and society shows that one-third of the population denies evolution. The Institute of School Partnership, through Darwin Day and other programs, help K-12 teachers bring this core concept to their classrooms.