DURHAM, N.C. – Sixty-three percent. That’s the proportion of mammal species that vanished from Africa and the Arabian Peninsula around 30 million years ago, after Earth’s climate shifted from swampy to icy. But we are only finding out about it now. Compiling decades of work, a new study published this week in the journal Communications Biology reports on a previously undocumented extinction event that followed the transition between the geological periods called the Eocene and Oligocene. That time period was marked by… read more about The Climate-Driven Mass Extinction No One Had Seen »

Jonathan Pertile describes the joys of volunteering in the puppy kindergarten read more about Tales from a puppy kindergarten dorm volunteer »

DURHAM, N.C. -- We put “save the chimps” on t-shirts and posters. But you’ll never see anyone walking around in a shirt that says “save the chimpanzee lice.” People seem to be more aware of the plight of endangered gorillas than of the gorillas’ gut worms, or are understandably more enamored with mouse lemurs than their mites. Our closest animal relatives face a precarious future: Half of the world’s roughly 500 primate species are at risk of extinction due to human activities such as hunting, trapping and deforestation.… read more about If Endangered Primates Disappear, So Will Their Parasites. That’s Actually a Problem »

The fall 2021 cohort at the Duke Canine Cognition Center’s Puppy Kindergarten sat -- and stood, and laid down -- for their class portrait Wednesday. Fearless, Dunn, Ethel, Gilda and Gloria are part of a long-term study at the Duke Canine Cognition Center funded by the National Institutes of Health on the cognitive development of potential service dogs.  The puppies come from Canine Companions in California, which raises puppies to be trained as service dogs for people who need help with mobility, hearing and other… read more about They're Puppies Now, But They're the Service Dogs of the Future »

DURHAM, N.C. -- If you’ve ever suffered from a sore jaw that popped or clicked when you chewed gum or crunched hard foods, you may be able to blame it on your extinct ancestors. That’s according to a Duke University-led study of the chewing mechanics of an ancient human relative called Homo floresiensis, which inhabited the Indonesian island of Flores before our species arrived there some 50,000 years ago. Not much more than three feet tall, the hominin’s diminutive size earned it the nickname “the Hobbit,” after… read more about The Hobbit’s Bite Gets a Stress Test »

DURHAM, N.C. -- Most of us remember a time when we could eat anything we wanted and not gain weight. But a new study suggests your metabolism -- the rate at which you burn calories -- actually peaks much earlier in life, and starts its inevitable decline later than you might guess. The findings were published Aug. 12 in the journal Science. “There are lots of physiological changes that come with growing up and getting older,” said study co-author Herman Pontzer, associate professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke… read more about Metabolism Changes With Age, Just Not When You Might Think »

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 »