Behavioral Biology

Category archives for Behavioral Biology

Tales of the Ex-Apes

Jonathan Marks’ new book is called “Tales of the Ex-Apes: How We Think about Human Evolution.” I’ve got to tell you that when I first saw the title of this book, the letters played in my head a bit. Tails of the Ex-Apes. That would be funny because apes don’t have tails. Or Tales of…

A kiss is not a kiss…

The authors of a new paper note that “one of the principal ways in which we interact using our faces is kissing.” This reminds me of an old National Lampoon joke on how the French were famous for inventing sex acts with the face. But I digress. This paper looks at neural imaging responses of…

Bernie Sanders’ Essay

Bernie Sanders’ famous essay is below. I will reserve comment but I’d like your opinion on it. I will say that the press is handling this rather badly, at least at present, taking quotes with zero context, not addressing the meaning of the essay as a whole. Sanders says it was poorly written. Is it?…

And by “my” penis I mean “your” penis, of course. This is a perennial question. For some reason, which I do not understand, the feminist perspective (note: I’m a feminist) is often to belittle the question, but really, that isn’t fair. It is not that difficult to imagine how anyone would come to a question…

Do genes make you gay?

Of course they do. To the extent that genes make you anything in particular, though the role of genetics in human behavior is pretty limited. You’ve probably heard about the newly reported research in which a genetic link was found to homosexuality in a study of gay brothers. Kelly Servick has a good writeup on…

It has long been known by humans that female mammals can be attracted with the call of a young in distress. There is a famous documentary film of the Hadza, a foraging group in Tanzania, in which this method is used by young boys to trap Dasssies (rock Hyrax). First you catch a baby Dassie…

The Fall Olympics #Sochi2014

Remember the Fall Olympics in Vancouver? That was the year that skaters … not the racing ones but the dancing ones … were falling all the time as if they had some kind of special extra slippery ice on the skating rink. Well, this year, at Sochi II, we are witnessing the Fall Olympics mainly…

Whitey Bulger has finally been convicted of a small percentage of all the bad things he is said to have done. The Boston Globe has the details. James J. “Whitey” Bulger, the notorious Boston gangster who rampaged through the city’s underworld for decades before slipping away from authorities and eluding a worldwide manhunt for more…

Does parasite load really matter?

In behavioral biology there is a fair amount of attention to individual quality, which may be determined by genes or parasite load or energy balance, or some interaction among these (and other) factors. Individual quality is honestly indicated by some trait or behavior; a large bright thing hanging of your head, a long bout of…

Humans appear to have a great deal of variation in sexual orientation, in what is often referred to as “gender” and in adult behavior generally. When convenient, people will point to “genes” as the “cause” of any particular subset of this diversity (or all of it). When convenient, people will point to “culture” as the…