Tag Archives | Primatology

The Tendency to Go Bananas When Reaching Middle Age…

A curious story has emerged which suggests new research shows chimps and orang-utans also have a ‘midlife crisis’. The Daily Telegraph picks up the story:

Human behaviour studies have revealed the well-established trend that our level of happiness declines after childhood until middle age, when we gradually begin to feel more content again.

Now researchers have found that the same “u-shaped” pattern is also seen among chimpanzees and orang-utans, who are most satisfied with life in their earliest and latest years but reach a “nadir” in middle age.

[...]

The researchers examined behavioural reports on more than 500 captive apes compiled by their keepers, researchers or other volunteers who were familiar with them throughout their lives.

Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, they reported that the animals’ happiness was generally high in youth, declined in middle age and rose again into old age.

While the study does not rule out the influence of cultural forces on our mood, it suggests biological factors could partly explain the distinctive u-shaped pattern.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Ebola Outbreak in Uganda

Photo Credit: Thomas W. Geisbert, Boston University School of Medicine

Via the BBC:

Public health officials in Uganda are battling an outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus. There have been 14 confirmed deaths at the time of this writing:

Officials say most are linked to one family, who may have contracted the virus while attending a funeral.

Another suspected infection, at Kampala’s Mulago hospital, is also being investigated by doctors, says the BBC’s Catherine Byaruhanga in the capital.

Ebola is one of the world’s most virulent diseases. A form of hemorrhagic fever,  Ebola can incubate for up to three weeks before symptoms emerge, which begin with fever, rashes and head and body aches followed by bloody vomit and almost always death.  There’s no cure, and 90 percent of those infected die within two weeks of the onset of symptoms.

While an international outbreak is always a possibility in the age of global travel, most Ebola outbreaks end very quickly.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Russia Sets Up University Institute To Study Yeti Sightings

WampaKevin Makice writes on Wired:
As geeks, we are encouraged to suspend our disbelief while simultaneously challenging everything we see and hear. In the words of Agent Mulder, we want to believe, but our geek roots are firmly planted in the scientific method. That tension is possibly being resolved on one front. The Russians are establishing a scientific institute on the study of yetis, hairy ape-like creatures rumored to inhabit the Himalayas. Officials in coal-mining region of Kemerovo Oblast announced plans today to open a Yeti Institute at the Kemerovo State University, a 38-year-old higher education entity in western Siberia. KSU boasts 31,000 students and is best known for reviving regional languages, like Shor. Yeti researcher Igor Burtsev reportedly claimed that 30 Russian scientists are currently studying yetis, or Abominable Snowmen, and the Institute could allow them to better collaborate.
Continue Reading