Friday, January 4, 2008

Friday's Primate Party

ROFL. Good one, dude.

I do hope that last week's casualty was honoured like this anonymous monkey in India. (It seems cruel to stop the other monkeys from taking the body away though).

On a much lighter note, the BBC reports that orangs show an involuntary behaviour that resembles contagious laughter.

Dr Marina Davila Ross from the University of Portsmouth commented,


"What is clear now is the building blocks of positive emotional contagion and empathy that refer to rapid involuntary facial mimicry in humans evolved prior to humankind."
I've definitely seen dogs laugh before, but apparently they were thinking more along the lines of an ancestral primate rather than an ancestral mammal.

Speaking of which, kudos to the BBC for the following:


"an ancient primate ancestral to both humans and modern apes".
There is much confusion amongst our creationist friends over whether we are or ain't descended from no monkeys. The question of "if evolution is true, how come there are still monkeys?" still raises its ugly head on a regular basis (who the hell is teaching these people biology?). So it's good to see a mass media outlet specify the nature of this relationship.

BBC, you are forgiven for your recent transgressions. I still love you.

5 comments:

  1. "The question of 'if evolution is true, how come there are still monkeys?' still raises its ugly head..."

    You must be joking! People can't really think evolution means that on a certain day in the past, all the monkeys simultaneously transformed into humans.

    Although I'm starting to see now why these people believe a "higher being" must be involved....

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  2. Not joking, sadly.

    I only started to really look into this in detail after a creationist website quoted one of my papers completely out of context (long story, described here if you're interested). There is a huge amount of ignorance out there, either wilful or inflicted on the innocent by parents and teachers.

    Terrifying.

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  3. I'm am not at all an evolutionary biologist (though many of my friends are), but don't dogs have some social traits adapted for living with humans? Like awareness of human emotion or something? If so, could that explain dog laughter independently of a shared, laughing mammal ancestor? Am I getting too serious for a post labeled silliness?

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  4. That is a really good point! I'm obviously too constrained by my training in phylogenetic relationships to have thought of that!

    Isn't it funny how distance from a problem sometimes makes someone better at solving it?

    I actually have a couple of posts that have both science and silliness tags. Comments on either part of the equation (or both) are equally welcome!

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  5. Another link to "how come there are still monkeys" idiocy.

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