New CARTA Series: From Molecules to Societies

The latest series from CARTA explores the development of several important distinctly human characteristics that range from molecules, to metabolism, anatomy, disease, and behavior.

In Episode One, UC San Diego professor Carol Marchetto discusses how a comparative gene expression analysis of human and non-human primates revealed differences in the regulation of a class of transposable elements LINE1 retrotransposons between species; University of Southern California professor Joseph Hacia discusses studies profiling phytanic acid levels in red blood cells obtained from humans and captive non-human primates all on low phytanic acid diets; and Emory University professor James Rilling discusses the difference of arcuate fasciculus between human and non-human primate brains and how the specialization of speech has helped humans evolve.

In Episode Two, Emory University professor Dietrich Stout discusses an evolutionarily motivated definition of technology that highlights three key features: material production, social collaboration, and cultural reproduction; UC San Diego professor Pascal Gagneux discusses how recent comparative genome studies have revealed that this polymorphic system is ancient and shared between humans and non-human primates, this despite the fact that none of the great ape species carries all four ABO blood types; and University of Utah professor James O’Connell discusses food sharing, evaluates one hypothesis that focuses on males acquiring big game meat and marrow to provide for mates and offspring. The other hypothesis surrounds how certain kinds of savanna plant food set up the forager interdependence which propelled all aspects of life history change.

In Episode Three, Arizona State University and University of Utah professor Polly Wiessner addresses intergroup ties between humans, chimpanzees and bonobos and explores some of the possible evolutionary developments that contributed to the human disposition to form mutually supportive external bonds, and then discusses the impact of social ties on coalitionary action; UC San Diego professor Rafael Nuñez discusses the comparative analysis of “quantity” and “number”, and the implications it has for debates about the origins of other human special capacities such as geometry, music, and art; and UC San Diego School of Medicine professor Nissi Varki discusses the incidence of carcinomas, including the rarity of occurrence of common human carcinomas in captive chimpanzees.

Explore these programs on more, visit CARTA: Comparative Anthropogeny: From Molecules to Societies.

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