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September 2021

Herman Pontzer – Evolution, Activity, and Aging in Human Energy Expenditure

Evolution, Activity, and Aging in Human Energy Expenditure Herman Pontzer Duke University Metabolic energy expenditure, the combined activity of our 37 trillion cells, and shapes our daily energy requirements and affects our health. Conventional wisdom, born largely from clinical studies in industrialized populations, has held that daily energy expenditures are similar for closely related species, increase at a constant rate with body size through growth and development, and are strongly affected by physical activity levels. Recent work, including research with…

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September 27 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

October 2021

James Holland Jones — Cultural Evolutionary Dynamics Under Structural Uncertainty and the Consequences for Coupled Diffusion Processes

Cultural Evolutionary Dynamics Under Structural Uncertainty and the Consequences for Coupled Diffusion Processes James Holland Jones Earth Systems Science, Stanford University The COVID-19 Pandemic has laid bare the social vulnerabilities that make epidemics larger, more deadly, and more difficult to control, both within the US and internationally. Differential vulnerability by social attributes (e.g., race, socioeconomic status, gender) leaves the overall population at greater risk for severe outbreaks than would be the case in less unequal populations. While health researchers have…

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October 4 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Damian Caillaud – Behavioral ecology: an important tool to protect threatened gorilla populations

Behavioral ecology: an important tool to protect threatened gorilla populations. Damian Caillaud, UC Davis Conservation measures are often based on survey data and demographic projections, rather than behavior ecology studies. However, animal behavior research often provides key information explaining why some populations are threatened with extinction. For example, aspects of the ranging behavior and social structure of mountain gorillas strongly reduce population growth, even in the absence of feeding competition. In other studies, we found that home range persistence hinders…

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October 11 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Idan Blank – The relationship between language and executive functions

Idan Blank UCLA Department of Psychology Two cognitive capacities that “make us human” are our ability to communicate via language and our executive functions (working memory, cognitive control, inhibition, etc.), both unparalleled in the animal kingdom. Language comprehension is mainly carried out by specialized mechanisms that are language-specific and are not engaged in other high-level cognitive functions; in contrast, executive functions constitute a general resource that is shared across diverse cognitive domains. Are these two capacities related to one another?…

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October 18 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Sarah Hill – Cytokines as a mediator of condition-dependent behavioral strategies

Sarah E. Hill Department of Psychology, Texas Christian University A growing body of research finds that the activities of the immune system – in addition to protecting the body from infection and injury – also influence how we think, feel, and behave. Although research on the relationship between the immune system and psychological and behavioral outcomes has most commonly focused on the experiences of those who are acutely ill (i.e., sickness behavior), theory and research in the evolutionary sciences suggests…

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October 25 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

November 2021

Cody Ross – Social networks, network-structured economic games, and a toolbox for fine-scale, comparative research

In this talk, I review challenges of collecting and analyzing human social network data. I first discuss trade-offs between the use of roster-based and name-generator-based tools for studying cooperative networks, and highlight the potential of roster-based, network-structured economic games (e.g., the RICH economic games introduced by Gervais 2017) to address anthropological questions. I then introduce the DieTryin R package, and illustrate its improved scalability over roster-based methods. In cases where network data are collected via self-reports, rather than via experimental…

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November 1 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

David Raichlen – Evolutionary links between physical activity and brain health

Recent work suggests physical activity can have important beneficial effects on the aging brain, however the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. An evolutionary-neuroscience approach may help us better understand these mechanisms and can provide a foundation for developing novel interventions to improve brain aging. Here, we suggest that, from an evolutionary perspective, physical activity mainly occurred during foraging, which combines aerobic activity with cognitively demanding tasks (e.g., spatial navigation and executive cognitive functions). Thus, mechanisms linked to neuroplasticity, including hippocampal…

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November 8 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Melissa Emery Thompson – The Gray Ape: What Can Chimpanzees Tell Us About Human Aging?

Melissa Emery Thompson Evolutionary Anthropology, University of New Mexico Given their close evolutionary relationship to humans and lifespans that can extend into their 60s, chimpanzees are a uniquely informative comparative model for the evolution of human aging. Here, I will review early findings of the first focused study of aging in wild chimpanzees. Chimpanzees share key similarities in physiological, physical, and social aging with humans, but they show a remarkable lack of evidence for aging pathologies. This evidence helps support…

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November 15 @ 12:00 pm

Bernard Koch – White Supremacist Trees in An Academic Forest: Does Anybody Hear Them?

Bernard Koch, UCLA Sociology In this paper, we quantify the enduring legacy of scientific racism both within academia and online. Hereditarian arguments correlating race and IQ have been used to justify regressive social policies since the 1950s, and this literature remains active within academia today. We characterize a tight collaboration community of authors promoting these arguments within academia over decades, and show that they are diverse with respect to gender, age, race, and geography. Moreover, while their papers are cited…

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November 22 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Dominic Cram – Cooperation, health and ageing: lessons from weaver-birds, meerkats and honeyguides

Cooperation in the natural world can, at first glance, appear puzzling: why should an animal cooperate when doing so is costly, and would benefit a competitor? In this talk, I will address this question by investigating links between cooperation and animal health using field studies of wild birds and mammals. I will first test whether cooperatively breeding societies (whereby ‘helpers’ forego breeding and instead assist raising others’ young) are maintained because cooperation lightens overall workloads, improves health, slows ageing, and…

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November 29 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
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