Wise Guys

A wandering mind with feet to match. I've always been a hippie, recently a nerd, but mostly a primate.
This blog may contain disturbing or gory images, mostly related to conservation issues like hunting or animal abuse. Proceed with caution if you are sensitive.


What Makes Humans Special?

Hallmark traits of the human body did not all arise anew in our species. Instead they emerged piecemeal in our forebears over millions of years. Many of these traits seem to have helped support two defining trends in our evolution: upright locomotion and tool use.

Source: scientificamerican.com

(via theoriginofthespecies)

Map of science in the journal Nature,
SEED and Discover Magazines by W. B. Paley

[This image] was constructed by sorting roughly 800,000 scientific papers (shown as white dots) into 776 different scientific paradigms (red circular nodes) based on how often the papers were cited together by authors of other papers. Links (curved lines) were made between the paradigms that shared common members, then treated as rubber bands, holding similar paradigms nearer one another when a physical simulation had every paradigm repel every other: thus the layout derives directly from the data. Larger paradigms have more papers. Labels list common words unique to each paradigm.

The project site can be found here, along with a ton of other fantastic work by Paley. Seriously - his art is gorgeous, and allows for visualization of vast swaths of data.

Primatology news published today! Insight into the nature of warfare in chimpanzees.

From the article on Science Daily

Of all of the world’s species, humans and chimpanzees are some of the only to engage in coordinated attacks on other members of their same species. Jane Goodall was among the first to introduce the occurrence of lethal inter-community killings and since then primatologists and anthropologists have long debated the concept of warfare in this genus. Research theories have pointed to increased gains and benefits of killing off competitors and opening up increased access to key resources such as food or mates. In contrast, others have argued that warfare is a result of human impact on chimpanzees, such as habitat destruction or food provisioning, rather than adaptive strategies.

New research from an international coalition of ape researchers, published September 18 in the journal Nature, has shed new light on the subject, suggesting that human encroachment and interference is not, as previous researchers have claimed, an influential predictor of chimp-on-chimp aggression.

-From Science Daily

According to this new study by Wilson et al (2014), chimpanzee warfare can be linked more directly to evolutionary pressure than to recent anthropogenic impacts on their environment.

Variation in lethal attacks are associated more strongly with clade (Eastern vs. Western chimpanzees and bonobos), population density, and the number of males in a group than with human influence. Male population density and age ratios have also been studied in humans, most notably by Mesquida and Wiener (1999, article here), so it is no surprise that chimpanzee warfare follows similar patterns. These studies leave behind an interesting question: if war serves an evolutionary purpose, is it simply through increased mortality of aggressive males? Or are there longer consequences of heightened violence that we have yet to understand fully?

Original paper here: Wilson et al., 2014. ”Lethal aggression in Pan is better explained by adaptive strategies than human impacts”. Nature 513: 414-417.


by Dona Tracy

(via cacajao)



Just three more weeks until the book comes out! I can’t wait. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at some of the fun stuff inside.

Preorder: Amazon, Powell’s Books, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound

Looks amazing! 

(via theoriginofthespecies)

Game of Thrones: A very serious TV show about bloody battles and people dying at weddings

(via tumblrofthrones)



i left my 2015 dian fossey calendar in ga so i had to order a new one

sapiens-sapiens: yesssssssss support my babies. support all of them 


also if u ever use amazon, use the http://smile.amazon.com/ link and choose dian fossey gorilla fund international and everything you buy goes to support them



I laughed way too hard at this. 

(via scientistsarepeopletoo)

In this opinion piece, I will refrain from actually stating my opinion, opting to instead dither between reiterating the points of the authors and regurgitating vague environmental catchphrases like “we need to do something…”

Excerpt from my upcoming novel, “I Thought Being a TA Would Be Fun - Instead I’ve Been Marking Brain Farts for Fifteen Hours”.