Evolutionary Biology

Neurophilosophy

Category archives for Evolutionary Biology

Imaging language evolution

A comparative neuroimaging study performed by researchers from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Oxford, provides clues to how human language evolved. In the past, it was believed that the increase in brain size during human evolution occured mainly to accomodate our complex linguistic abilities. But the findings…

Tune in to the evolution of music & sociability

Yesterday’s Sunday Feature on BBC Radio 3 was program about the evolution of music, by Ivan Hewitt. It isn’t available online yet, but should be uploaded onto the Sunday Feature page soon, and will remain there for a week. The progam features linguist Steven Pinker of Harvard University, who argues that music is a kind…

Earliest land vertebrates had a colourful view

Some 365 million years ago, during the early Devonian period, the Sarcopterygian (or lobe-finned) fish emerged from the sea and gave rise to the first terrestrial tetrapods. During the course of their evolution, the tetrapods became adapted to life on land. One big challenge faced by the earliest tetrapods was how to interpret the rich…

Horses for courses

Left lateral view of the whole horse skeleton, from the Handbook of Animal Anatomy for Artists (1898, 1911-25), by Wilhelm Ellenberger, Hermann Baum and Hermann Dittrich. From the Veterinary Anatomical Illustrations at the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections (via BibliOdyssey). I’ve just submitted this fantastic post about the evolution of the horse, by Brian Switek,…

NY Times on creationist filmmakers’ deception

The New York Times has an article about how Richard Dawkins, PZ Myers and Eugenie Scott (director of the National Center for Science Education) were duped into appearing in Expelled, a film that puts forward the case for intelligent design and depicts science as something that limits freedom of thought. PZ has written about the…

Language evolution & science literacy

Just posted on the Seed website is an article about the evolution of language by Juan Uriageraka, from the October issue of Seed Magazine. Most of the article concerns the role of the FoxP2 gene in the brains of songbirds. (I discussed this gene earlier in the week in my post about echolocation.) Also on…

Diet & brain evolution: another item on the menu

At some point in the distant past, there was a dramatic increase in brain size in our hominid ancestors. From approximately 2 million years ago, to the present day, brain volume in the hominid lineage has increased by a factor of 3.5: the brain of Homo erectus had a volume of about 400 milliliters, while…