Anthropology

Baboon Study: Sociable Moms Have Healthier Young

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 13, 2003   View Article

Female baboons that enjoy the close company of others raise more successful offspring than do baboons who lead a more solitary life, according to results from an ongoing, long-term research project in Kenya.

“Social animals actually seem to spend a lot of time forming social bonds. They invest so much [effort] it’s hard to imagine that [social bonds] don’t matter. But no one had ever shown that they did,” said Susan Alberts, a biologist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and researcher behind the study.

Why Did Ancient Britons Stop Eating Fish

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: September 24, 2003   View Article

When cattle, sheep, pigs, and wheat arrived on the shores of Great Britain about 5,000 years ago, fish quickly fell off the Neolithic menu, according to an analysis of human bones scattered throughout the island.

The research helps resolve a debate over whether the adoption of domesticated plants and animals introduced to Great Britain from the European mainland was a gradual or rapid process, said Michael Richards, an archaeologist at the University of Bradford in England.

Biologists Study Evolution of Animal Cooperation

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 9, 2003   View Article

Survival of the fittest is a simple reality in the game of life. Successful play necessarily requires a degree of selfishness, but across the animal kingdom species have evolved social behaviors. Why? Do they enhance survival?

“Many of us are really fascinated with the wide spectrum of social behavior we see across the diversity of animal taxa,” said Janis Dickinson, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California at Berkeley.

Elusive African Apes: Giant Chimps or New Species?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 14, 2003   View Article

A mysterious group of apes found in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo in central Africa has scientists and conservationist scratching their heads. The apes nest on the ground like gorillas but have a diet and features characteristic of chimpanzees.

The apes are most likely a group of giant chimpanzees that display gorilla-like behavior. A far more remote possibility is that they represent a new subspecies of great ape. Researchers plan to return to the region later this month to collect more clues to help resolve the mystery.

Cannibalism Normal for Early Humans?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 10, 2003   View Article

Genetic markers commonly found in modern humans all over the world could be evidence that our earliest ancestors were cannibals, according to new research. Scientists suggest that even today many of us carry a gene that evolved as protection against brain diseases that can be spread by eating human flesh.

Loggers vs. “Invisible” Tribes: Secret War in Amazon?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 12, 2003   View Article

East of the Andes Mountains, deep in the Amazon River Basin in the southeastern region of Peru known as Madre de Dios, loggers congregate in the village of Monte Salvado. The loggers come from throughout the region to Madre de Dios to extract mahogany from the forests.

Close to the village of Monte Salvado, across the Las Piedras River, lies a newly-created reserve for indigenous people. Anthropologists believe these indigenous people are living in voluntary isolation from the rest of the world. Though they may know the outside world exists, they want nothing to do with it.

Do They Really Look Like That? The Science of Dino Art

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 11, 2003   View Article

Every few years a dinosaur leaps from the signature yellow border of National Geographic Magazine and captures the fascination of readers. This month a skull of Tyrannosaurus rex shatters a bone of its prey—another dinosaur.

Cool, but is it realistic? Is that picture with T. rex’s teeth glistening with the blood of the dinosaur it just devoured a scientifically accurate interpretation of dinnertime 75 million years ago?

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach