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  Charlie Brown, a two-year-old spaniel, loses focus under pressure in an experiment at the Duke Canine Cognition Center. A new study by Duke researchers finds that extra stress and stimulation can make hyper dogs like Charlie choke but gives mellow dogs an edge. Credit: Video by Emily Bray, Duke Canine Cognition Center People aren’t the only ones who perform better on tests or athletic events when they are just a little bit nervous -- dogs do too. But in dogs as in people, the right… read more about Stress ‘Sweet Spot’ Differs for Mellow vs. Hyper Dogs »

  Video shows the 3-dimensional computer model of the oldest known Old World monkey skull, believed to be 15 million years old. Video courtesy of Fred Spoor of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. The brain hidden inside the oldest known Old World monkey skull has been visualized for the first time. The creature’s tiny but remarkably wrinkled brain supports the idea that brain complexity can evolve before brain size in the primate family tree. The ancient monkey,… read more about Old World Monkey Had Tiny, Complex Brain »

Valerie Sheares Ashby, a professor and chair of the chemistry department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH), will be the next dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences at Duke University beginning July 1, Duke President Richard H. Brodhead and Provost Sally Kornbluth announced Thursday.Ashby will oversee the university's core academic units, which offer courses and degrees across the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.  She succeeds Laurie Patton, who will be the new… read more about Valerie Ashby to Become Arts & Sciences Dean »

A little more than two months after the TV-star lemur known as Zoboomafoo died at age 20, his fifth grandbaby -- a girl -- has been born at the Duke Lemur Center.Her name is Isabella, and she's doing great.Her grandfather's real name was Jovian, and his legacy lives on in seven surviving offspring and five grandbabies, as well as syndication of 65 beloved episodes of the PBS children's show Zoboomafoo that Jovian starred in from 1999 to 2001.Isabella is a female Coquerel’s sifaka, a type of lemur found only on the island… read more about Zoboomafoo's Granddaughter Born at Duke »

Duke alumnus Aaron Sandel is a PhD student in Anthropology at the University of Michigan. He writes from Ngogo, in the center of Kibale National Park in Uganda, home to 200 chimpanzees, the subjects of his dissertation. A National Geographic Young Explorers grant in 2013 got him through the angst of finalizing a dissertation project. Now, he studies angst, or at least the closest thing to it: friendship and the transition to adulthood in male chimpanzees. When he's not focused on following a chimpanzee, his forest daydreams… read more about Alumnus Aaron Sandel - National Geographic Young Explorer »

  For chimpanzees, just like humans, teasing, taunting and bullying are familiar parts of playground politics. An analysis of 12 years of observations of playground fights between young chimpanzees in East Africa finds that chimps with higher-ranked moms are more likely to win. The results come from an analysis of daily field notes recorded from 2000 to 2011 at Gombe National Park in western Tanzania. Stored in the Jane Goodall Institute Research Center at Duke University and also at The… read more about Chimps With High-Ranking Moms Do Better In Fights »

During her junior year at Duke, Prim Siripipat '03 felt her tennis career was coming to an end.She had played since she was 7, training alongside a young Andy Roddick and rising as one of the top ten players in the United States by the time she was 17.But years of rigorous training and competing took its toll. Siripipat had three surgeries during that junior year -- on both of her shoulders and her left knee -- and she began thinking about her career options as she prepared to leave Duke."I knew I wanted to stay in sports… read more about For the Love of the Game »

In this 1965 photo from the Jane Goodall Institute Research Center at Duke, Goliath the alpha male gently interacts with an infant (age and identity unknown) while a female and her male infant sit very nearby at right.  (© the Jane Goodall Institute / Hugo van Lawick, Feb. 1965) Nearly four decades of observations of Tanzanian chimpanzees has revealed that the mothers of sons are about 25 percent more social than the mothers of daughters. Boy moms were found to spend about two hours more per day with other… read more about Boy Moms More Social in Chimpanzees »

In a long-term study of interactions between chimpanzees in the famous Gombe National Park in Tanzania, researchers have found that males who consistently bully females tend to father more babies with their victims."Unfortunately it's true," said Anne Pusey, chair of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University. "But it does help us explain the pattern of male aggression we've seen between males and females in more than 50 years of observation."Although chimpanzees are genetically the closest relatives of humans, it's… read more about In Chimpanzees, Long-Term Bullying Makes More Babies »

Numerous studies have linked social interaction to improved health and survival in humans, and new research confirms that the same is true for baboons.A long-term study of more than 200 wild female baboons from the plains of southern Kenya finds that the most sociable females –- measured by how often they engaged in social grooming relative to their peers -- live two to three years longer than their socially isolated counterparts.Socializing with males gave females an even bigger longevity boost than socializing with other… read more about Lady Baboons With Guy Pals Live Longer »

The government of Argentina is awarding the Dr. Luis Federico Leloir Prize for international cooperation in science, technology and innovation to Richard F. Kay, professor of evolutionary anthropology, who has worked with Argentinian colleagues for 23 years. The prize is named for the Argentine doctor and biochemist Luis Federico Leloir (1906-1987) who received the 1970 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Kay will receive the award from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation on November 17th, in Buenos Aires. read more about Richard Kay to receive Argentinian science prize »

When Bob Cieri first arrived at Duke, he envisioned becoming an ecologist who worked in the field, not someone who’d flourish in a lab. All that changed during his four years at Duke. Now, three years out and happily ensconced in his first year of graduate school in biology at the University of Utah, Cieri recently was lead author on a published study that started as his honors thesis at Duke. The study theorizes that human society advanced when testosterone levels dropped and people started being more cooperative. The… read more about Lead Author Learned to Love Research at Duke »

An evolutionary anthropology student is discovering that playing games with service dogs may shed light on how humans evolved. Junior Ben Allen's research this summer at Canine Center for Independence (CCI) in California is sponsored by the Duke Canine Cognition Center and Associate Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology Brian Hare’s lab. As a pre-veterinary student from Devon, Pa., Allen said he enjoys his research because it allows him to interact directly with the dogs and study their behavior. Eventually Allen, who is… read more about Ben Allen: Researching Dogs to Learn About Humans »

Modern humans appear in the fossil record about 200,000 years ago, but it was only about 50,000 years ago that making art and advanced tools became widespread. A new study appearing Aug. 1 in the journal Current Anthropology finds that human skulls changed in ways that indicate a lowering of testosterone levels at around the same time that culture was blossoming. "The modern human behaviors of technological innovation, making art and rapid cultural exchange probably came at the same time that we developed a more cooperative… read more about Society Bloomed With Gentler Personalities and More Feminine Faces »

PhD candidate India Schneider-Crease collects a urine sample from Talisman, a male gelada baboon (seen sitting on the rock to her right) in the Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia. Schneider-Crease’s research examines tapeworm infections in gelada populations in order to identify the factors contributing to tapeworm susceptibility, and how tapeworm infections affect fitness. read more about India Schneider-Crease (PhD candidate) – Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia »

Sophomore Emma Wellbaum spends her days at the Duke Lemur Center learning about group dynamics in primitive primates.The prospective evolutionary anthropology and environmental sciences and policy double major is conducting an independent study with Julie Teichroeb, visiting assistant professor of evolutionary anthropology. They research leadership and group progression in red ruffed lemurs and black-and-white ruffed lemurs."Eventually we're going to be doing some trials that look at foraging efficiency and spatial position… read more about Emma Wellbaum: Close Watching of Lemur Social Dynamics »