News

Lemurs from species that hang out in big tribes are more likely to steal food behind your back instead of in front of your face.  This behavior suggests that primates who live in larger social groups tend to have more "social intelligence," a new study shows. The results appear June 27 in PLOS ONE.A Duke University experiment tested whether living in larger social networks directly relates to higher social abilities in animals. Working with six different species of lemurs living at the Duke Lemur Center, a team of… read more about Social Animals Have More Social Smarts »

Jingzhi Tan (PhD, 2013) takes a selfie with a juvenile bonobo at Lola Ya Bonobo sanctuary outside of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Bonobos were an important component of Tan’s doctoral research on the evolution of human cooperation. read more about Jingzhi Tan (PhD, 2013) – Lola Ya Bonobo, DRC »

On the shore of Lake Tanganyika, Emily Boehm (Ph.D. candidate) comes across Gremlin and her son Gizmo. This very successful female chimpanzee and her adult daughters are all subjects in Emily's dissertation research on reproductive behavior. read more about Emily Boehm (PhD candidate) – Gombe National Park, Tanzania »

Professor Doug Boyer (left) and PhD candidate Gabe Yapuncich (right) teach stratigraphy to students during fieldwork in the Wind River Canyon in Wyoming. Yapuncich’s doctoral research involves estimating the body masses of fossil primates and other early mammals that have been recovered from Paleocene and Eocene deposits in Wyoming and Montana. read more about Gabe Yapuncich (PhD candidate) – Wind River Canyon, Wyoming »

Daniel Gonzalez-Socoloske (PhD, 2013) poses next to an Antillean manatee at San San Pond Sak Wildlife Refuge in Panama. This young female was the first, and so far only, manatee to be successfully captured and radio-tagged in Panama. Her movements were tracked by satellite for 45 days before the tag broke off. Gonzalez-Socoloske studied the foraging ecology of Antillean manatees for his doctoral research, and is actively engaged in the conservation of these marine mammals. read more about Daniel Gonzalez-Socoloske (PhD, 2013) – San San Pond Sak, Panama »

PhD candidate Kara Walker (right) consults with a colleague while tracking chimpanzees at Gombe National Park, Tanzania. read more about Kara Walker (PhD candidate) – Gombe National Park, Tanzania »

PhD candidate Gabe Yapuncich (in red shirt) gets a little exercise while reburying a Paleocene fossil mammal quarry in the Crazy Mountains Basin in Montana. Yapuncich’s doctoral research involves estimating the body masses of fossil primates and other early mammals that have been recovered from Paleocene and Eocene deposits in Wyoming and Montana. read more about Gabe Yapuncich (PhD candidate) – Crazy Mountains Basin, Montana »

Scientists have identified two new species of mouse lemur, the saucer-eyed, teacup-sized primates native to the African island of Madagascar.The new study brings the number of recognized mouse lemur species to 20, making them the most diverse group of lemurs known. But because these shy, nocturnal primates look so much alike, it's only possible to tell them apart with genetic sequencing.The new mouse lemurs weigh 2.5 to 3 ounces (about 65 to 85 grams) and have grey-brown fur. "You can't really tell them apart just looking… read more about DNA Says Lemur Lookalikes Are Two New Species »

Rising temperatures and shifting rainfall patterns in Madagascar could fuel the spread of lemur parasites and the diseases they carry. By combining data on six parasite species from ongoing surveys of lemur health with weather data and other environmental information for Madagascar as a whole, a team of Duke University researchers has created probability maps of likely parasite distributions throughout the island today. Then, using climate projections for the year 2080, they estimate what parasite distributions might look… read more about Parasites of Madagascar's Lemurs Expanding With Climate Change »

Two years of painstaking observation on the social interactions of a troop of free-ranging monkeys and an analysis of their family trees has found signs of natural selection affecting the behavior of the descendants. Rhesus macaques who had large, strong networks tended to be descendants of similarly social macaques, according to a Duke University team of researchers. And their ability to recognize relationships and play nice with others also won them more reproductive success. "If you are a more social monkey, then you're… read more about Networking Ability a Family Trait in Monkeys »

You're standing in line somewhere and you decide to open a pack of gum. Do you share a piece with the coworker standing to one side of you, or with the stranger on the other?  Most humans would choose the person they know first, if they shared at all.  But bonobos, those notoriously frisky, ardently social great apes of the Congo, prefer to share with a stranger before sharing with an animal they know. In fact, a bonobo will invite a stranger to share a snack while leaving an acquaintance watching helplessly from behind a… read more about Bonobos Share With Strangers Before Acquaintances »

Evolutionary anthropologist Brian Hare gives you the sense that if anyone is going to discover what it is that makes humans different, it will be this guy. He easily draws you into a thought-provoking conversation about how humans think, process emotions, and engage in problem-solving and reasoning. His research compares the behavior and thinking of humans to other primates such as chimpanzees and bonobos (our closest relatives) and to non-primates such as dogs. He aims to tease out how we're different from other animals,… read more about Brian Hare on Sanctuaries, Service and Psychological Games »

Jenny Tung's favorite spot on campus is Duke Gardens. It's quiet, tranquil -- a perfect place to get rid of stress. Though Tung studies stress and other behaviors and their affects on health, she said she is not sure how well her research influences her own behavior.In the summer of 2012, Tung, 30, returned to Duke -- where she earned her undergraduate and graduate degree -- to be an assistant professor in the department of evolutionary anthropology. She studies baboons and rhesus macaques, exploring how individuals'… read more about Jenny Tung: Ready to Test Stress »

PhD candidate Lauren Gonzales (in pink windbreaker) works with colleagues to sort fossils from the La Costa locality in Patagonia, Argentina. Gonzales studies the role of evolution in sensory anatomy in the major adaptive radiations of primates. Her fieldwork in Argentina is focused on improving the representation of early South American fossil primates. read more about Lauren Gonzales (PhD candidate) – La Costa, Patagonia, Argentina »

Ruth Steel Mock (PhD, 2012) tries to locate a radio-collared mouse lemur in the Beza-Mahafaly Reserve of Madagascar, as part of the undergraduate research she conducted before coming to Duke. read more about Ruth Steel Mock (PhD, 2012) – Beza-Mahafaly, Madagascar »

Evan MacLean (PhD, 2012) spends some quality time with a couple of juvenile bonobos at Lola Ya Bonobo, Democratic Republic of Congo. As these bonobos get older, they will be integrated into a mixed age, mixed sex group and will be free to roam vast expanses of nearby forest on their own. MacLean’s doctoral research on the evolution of animal cognition involved a broad, phylogenetic comparative approach, of which bonobos were but a part. read more about Evan MacLean (PhD, 2012) – Lola Ya Bonobo, DRC »

In the four years since the more than 1,600 members of the Class of 2012 arrived at Duke, they have been changed by their university experience in ways large and small.  Below are stories of nearly two dozen students who will graduate Sunday.  Some have discovered unexpected intellectual passions or talents for making a difference in the local community.  Others have had extraordinary experiences abroad.  Five of these students were interviewed by Duke Magazine in 2008 about their hopes and expectations for a Duke education… read more about Senior Stories 2012 »