News

DURHAM, N.C. – Antibiotic resistance, which the CDC calls one of the world’s most urgent public health crises, is now being found in the guts of lemurs, our distant primate cousins. In a new study appearing Aug. 9 in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, Duke researchers have found evidence for antibiotic resistance in the microbiome of lemurs living close to humans. And the closer the contact, the more antibiotic resistance they found. The research team, graduate student Sally Bornbusch and Christine Drea,… read more about Drug-Resistant Bacteria Found In The Guts Of Lemurs Who Live Around Humans »

Michael Tomasello, the James F. Bonk Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, has been awarded the David E. Rumelhart Prize, one of the most important prizes in cognitive psychology. The Cognitive Science Society award honors a team or individual who makes a “significant contemporary contribution to the theoretical foundations of human cognition.” Established in 2001, it includes a monetary award of $100,000 and is funded by the Robert J. Glushko and Pamela Samuelson Foundation. Tomasello, who received his… read more about Michael Tomasello Awarded Cognitive Science Prize »

Millions of people returning to the workplace means millions of pups left home alone – some of them never having experienced their people being gone all day. “This is something that's a big deal for a dog, if you have been around home most of the time and now you're going to go back and be gone 40-50 hours a week,” said Brian Hare, a professor of evolutionary anthropology and the co-director of the Duke Canine Cognition Center. Hare studies how dogs think and solve problems. He discussed the effect on dogs of their people… read more about Preparation Can Help Dogs Cope with Their People Returning to Work »

Gabby Cooper discusses the importance of interdisciplinary opportunities at Duke read more about Dance and EvAnth »

DURHAM, N.C. -- You know your dog gets your gist when you point and say “go find the ball” and he scampers right to it. This knack for understanding human gestures may seem unremarkable, but it’s a complex cognitive ability that is rare in the animal kingdom. Our closest relatives, the chimpanzees, can’t do it. And the dogs’ closest relative, the wolf, can’t either, according to a new Duke University-led study published July 12 in the journal Current Biology. More than 14,000 years of hanging out with us has done a… read more about You Can Snuggle Wolf Pups All You Want, They Still Won’t ‘Get’ You Quite Like Your Dog  »

When he was an undergraduate political science student, Kerry Haynie was never taught about the 1921 Tulsa massacre. Nor was there much discussion about the role of race in the founding political documents of this country or much examination of how race influenced public services such as sewer lines and zoning. In one sense, a lot has changed. In 2021, Duke’s faculty includes a strong lineup of leading scholars who examine how race is embedded in issues that cross all the schools of the university. This fall, many of… read more about University Course Raises Race as a Central Element of Undergraduate Education »

DURHAM, N.C. – Special diets, exercise programs, supplements and vitamins -- everywhere we look there is something supposed to help us live longer. Maybe those work: human average life expectancy has gone from a meager 40-ish years to a whopping 70-something since 1850. Does this mean we are slowing down death? A new study comparing data from nine human populations and 30 populations of non-human primates says that we are probably not cheating the reaper. The researchers say the increase in human life expectancy is more… read more about Sweeping Analysis Concludes There’s No Cheating Old Age »

DURHAM, N.C. -- What makes preschoolers eat their veggies? Raise their hand? Wait their turn? “Because I say so” is a common refrain for many parents. But when it comes to getting kids to behave, recent research suggests that the voice of adult authority isn't the only thing that matters. Around age three, fitting in with the group starts to count big too. That’s the finding of a new study by Duke University researchers showing that, by their third birthday, children are more likely to go along with what others say or do… read more about Sometimes, Even 3-Year-Olds Just Want to Fit in With the Group »

It typically takes a few years for an academic’s impact to extend beyond their immediate circle. Alma Solis, a second-year Ph.D. student in the Nunn lab, has already helped make academia a less intimidating place for hundreds of students across the country. Her efforts were recognized this Friday, April 30th, with the Evolutionary Department’s first Mossé Outreach Award. “Alma has been here a short time, yet she is already having a positive impact in my lab, the department, and beyond to the university and surrounding… read more about Ph.D. Student Alma Solis Wins 2021 Mossé Outreach Award »

DURHAM, N.C. – Fruits and veggies are good for you and if you are a lemur, they may even help mitigate the effects of habitat loss. A new study sequencing the genome of four species of sifakas, a genus of lemurs found only in Madagascar’s forests, reveals that these animals’ taste for leaves runs all the way to their genes, which are also more diverse than expected for an endangered species. Sifakas are folivores, meaning that the bulk of their diet is composed of leaves. Leaves can be difficult to digest and full of… read more about Flexible Diet May Help Leaf-Eating Lemurs Resist Deforestation »

Four senior faculty members, including Medical School Dean Mary Klotman, have been named Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS). The recipients — all women — represent four of 252 total members elected this year. Founded in 1780, the Academy honors exceptional scholars, leaders, artists, and innovators and engages them in sharing knowledge and addressing challenges facing the world. “We are honoring the excellence of these individuals, celebrating what they have achieved so far, and imagining what they… read more about Dean and Three Senior Faculty Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences »

DURHAM, N.C. -- Female baboons may not have bills to pay or deadlines to meet, but their lives are extremely challenging. They face food and water scarcity and must be constantly attuned to predators, illnesses and parasites, all while raising infants and maintaining their social status. A new study appearing April 21 in Science Advances shows that female baboons with high life-long levels of glucocorticoids, the hormones involved in the ‘fight or flight’ response, have a greater risk of dying than those with lower levels… read more about Stress and Death in Female Baboons -- as Measured by Hormones in Poop »

DURHAM, N.C. -- Some guys have it all: the muscle, the power, the high social status, the accelerated aging. But wait. Faster aging? Who wants that? For male baboons, it’s the price they pay to be at the top. New research appearing April 6 in eLife by Jenny Tung, associate professor of evolutionary anthropology and biology at Duke University, and her colleagues shows that male baboons that climb the social ladder age faster than males with lower social standing. If a male drops in social status, his estimated rate of… read more about A Male Baboon’s Dominance Gives Him Babies, but Costs Him Years »

Herman Pontzer explains where our calories really go, and what studying humanity’s past can teach us about staying healthy today. read more about Duke Researcher Busts Metabolism Myths in New Book »

The Office for Faculty Advancement has awarded seed grants to 14 faculty-led projects exploring new ideas and expanding existing initiatives to promote an equitable and inclusive academic environment at Duke. The theme for this cycle was "Confronting Racism and Bias: Fostering an Inclusive Community." Faculty Advancement Seed Grants provide a financial head start for novel faculty development initiatives within academic units. 2021-22 Faculty Advancement Seed Grants Art, Art History and Visual Studies Anti-Racist Pedagogy… read more about Seed Grants Help Faculty Lead the Way in Confronting Racism and Bias »

DURHAM, N.C. -- When you think about what separates humans from chimpanzees and other apes, you might think of our big brains, or the fact that we get around on two legs rather than four. But we have another distinguishing feature: water efficiency. That’s the take-home of a new study that, for the first time, measures precisely how much water humans lose and replace each day compared with our closest living animal relatives. Our bodies are constantly losing water: when we sweat, go to the bathroom, even when we breathe.… read more about Humans Evolved to Be the Water-Saving Ape »