August 21, 2013 |
Although our human ancestors climbed down from the trees millions of years ago, our feet have retained the type of flexibility seen in today's tree-dwelling primates, new research shows. For about 80 years at least, scientists have been under the impression that human feet are special. Studies comparing human and chimpanzee footprints in the 1930s suggested that human feet were much stiffer than those of other apes. Humans have arches in the mid-foot region, as well as rigid outer edges, leading scientists to conclude that our mid-foot regions weren't capable of touching the ground, unlike those of our ape relatives.
July 18, 2013 |
Great apes have a lot in common with Marcel Proust, it turns out. Their long-term memories can be provoked by the equivalent of dipping a madeleine in a cup of tea. In this case, chimpanzees and orangutans remembered how to find tools that would help them get a banana or frozen yogurt, three years after being exposed to the task just four times, according to a study published Thursday in the review Current Biology. The apes also were able to remember a similar scenario from two weeks earlier, even though it was presented only once, the researchers found.
June 7, 2013 |
What do a chimpanzee, a bonobo and a toddler all have in common? They all use gestures to communicate. By studying hours of video of a female chimp named Panpanzee, a female bonobo named Panbanisha and a little girl with the initials GN, a team of psychologists hope to gain some insight into how spoken language evolved in humans. Skeletons can be fossilized, but language cannot, the researchers noted in a study published this week in Frontiers in Psychology. To figure out how it came to be, they looked for similarities between the three closely related species to infer ways that our common ancestor would have communicated more than 5 million years ago. Science and Health: Sign up for our email newsletter “This is one line of evidence for the gestural foundation of human language evolution,” the wrote.
June 6, 2013 |
A 55-million-year-old fossil of a mouse-sized primate has been identified as a crucial evolutionary link in the chain that led to apes and humans. Four inches long, with a 5-inch tail and protruding eyes, Archicebus achilles probably thrived for millions of years during a warm period of Earth's history, feasting on insects and leaping around in canopies of trees that surrounded a tropical lake in what now is China, according to a report published online Wednesday by the journal Nature.
May 29, 2013 |
Ever let out a groan, bang your fist or scratch your head in frustration when life didn't go your way? Maybe you were forced to wait in line for a restaurant table, or you raced to the movie theater and found the show sold out. Well, the same holds true for our closest living animal relative, the chimpanzee. In a study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One , researchers concluded that chimps and bonobos both get emotional when life serves up bummers. A three-minute wait for food, or a surprise helping of boring old lettuce instead of delicious banana slices, can inspire an epic tantrum of moans, screams, body scratching and hand banging, according to Duke University researchers.
May 23, 2013 |
Customized TV Listings are available here: www.latimes.com/tvtimes Click here to download TV listings for the week of May 19 - 25, 2013 in PDF format This week's TV Movies SERIES Invasion In this new series, wildlife ecologist Karl Malcolm leads a team on missions to stop dangerous animals that are encroaching on human territory. In the opener they're in Florida on the hunt for a giant Burmese python, the Nile monitor lizard and a small but deadly snail.