Dr. Dietrich Stout (Emory Anthropology) interviews Dr. Marcela Benitez about her work with Capuchin monkeys and her interest in their social behavior. Dr. Benitez is a postdoc at GA State University and will join Emory’s Anthropology Department as an assistant professor in January 2021.
Dr. Mel Konner (Emory Anthropology) is interviewed by Dr. Lynne Nygaard as part of CMBC’s “Inside the lab” series. Dr. Konner speaks about his upcoming course “Evolution of Childhood” and his research interests.
Dr. Christina Rogers Flattery (PhD 2019, postdoc at Harvard) reflects on her experience as a CMBC Certificate student during her time at Emory.
In his interview with the BBC Dr. James Rilling presents his research on hormonal and neural changes men experience during fatherhood, including lower testosterone and higher oxytocin during early fatherhood.
The interviews with Dr. Rilling and other experts in the field covers the topic of fatherhood and its challenges broadly, listen to the full interview online.
The Netflix show “Babies” featured Michelle Lampl as one of over 30 scientists. The docuseries about the first year in an infant’s life included Lampl’s research on growth spurts as part of Episode 3.
Read more on the Emory News Center.
Since 2007, Emory University has partnered in the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative (ETSI) with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Buddhist community, to realize their vision to incorporate science into the monastic curriculum. Emory Anthropology Department professor Carol Worthman has spearheaded the neuroscience track from its inception, orchestrating a 6-year curricular development and pilot phase, and then implementing it at the 3 biggest monastic universities in south India. “In December, 2019, we celebrated the successful roll-out of the entire 6-year ETSI curriculum in the monasteries at a gathering with His Holiness, the monastic community, and ETSI leaders in Mundgod, India. We also graduated the first cohort of monastics to complete the 6-year program. These were historic undertakings for the monastic community, and especially for monastic students and the many senior monastics who work to realize the goal of monastic science education and already are productively exploring fresh ideas and insights from these distinctive perspectives.” (Carol Worthman)
The events not only celebrated ETSI milestones, but also inaugurated a new debating hall at one of the big monasteries and, most importantly, marked a 600th anniversary of Je Tsongkhapa, founder of a major school of Tibetan Buddhism to which His Holiness belongs. Photos show the interior of the vast new debate hall, celebration of graduating classes, and presentations by Worthman of reflections and the neuroscience books ETSI has produced. Also included is a view of Drepung Loseling prayer hall (the Dalai Lama’s home monastery), where ETSI were held for the first 3 years until a large science center was built. The photo of illuminations at Drepung honoring the anniversary show that monastics really know how to celebrate!
Anthropology professor Debra Vidali and four other faculty across campus recently published an Op-Ed in the campus newspaper on the need to remedy — for both intellectual and moral reasons — the glaring absence of Native American faculty, students, staff, and programming at Emory University.
The Department of Anthropology at Emory University (Atlanta, GA) invites applications for three tenure track positions to begin Fall 2020. For this cluster hire, we seek scholars at the assistant or associate level who are engaged in cutting-edge research in any area of biological anthropology. To complement existing departmental strengths, we are particularly interested in scholars engaged in field and/or lab-based research in the areas of behavioral/human ecology, genetics, human biology, paleoanthropology, prehistoric archaeology, primatology, and scientifically-based medical anthropology. Candidates should be willing and able to regularly teach a large introductory course in biological anthropology or human biology along with courses in their area of expertise and be willing to mentor undergraduate and graduate students. Candidates must have a doctoral degree, excellent research record, and a demonstrated commitment to teaching.
Applications should include cover letter, curriculum vita, research statement, teaching statement, a statement about teaching and mentorship of students of diverse backgrounds, and complete contact information for three references. The Department of Anthropology, Emory College and Emory University embrace diversity and seek candidates who will participate in a climate that attracts students of all ethnicities, races, nationalities, genders, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Applications will be accepted through November 1, 2019. To apply for this position, please visit https://apply.interfolio.com/66080 and submit your materials free of charge through Interfolio. Please direct questions regarding the search to Committee Chair Dr. Craig Hadley at email@example.com. Questions regarding applications may be directed to Lora McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emory University is an equal employment opportunity and affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply.
Dr. Moscovice and Dr. Jaeggi research the sexual behavior between female bonobos and their implications based on social behavior and hormones.
Read the Full Article on Science Direct. Hormones and Behavior.
Sex for cooperation: New insights help to explain why same-sex sexual interactions are so important for female bonobos
Among our two closest phylogenetic relatives, chimpanzees remain by far the more thoroughly-studied and widely-recognized species, known for their high levels of cooperation especially among males, which includes sharing food, supporting each other in aggressive conflicts and defending their territories against other communities. In contrast, insights into the social dynamics of wild bonobos are available from only a small number of long-term field sites, and bonobos are probably best known for their diverse sexual behavior, which together with their proposed peacefulness between communities and co-dominance between the sexes, has led to their nickname as the ‘hippie apes.’ The stereotype of bonobos as hyper-sexual is an over-simplification, but it does capture a fascinating aspect of bonobo social behavior. Bonobos are one of the few species in which all adult members of one sex engage in habitual same-sex sexual interactions that occur at similar or even greater frequencies as opposite-sex interactions. In the wild, all adult females perform same-sex genital contacts, known as genito-genital rubbing (or GG-rubbing) on a regular basis with many other females in their community. In contrast, male bonobos rarely engage in same-sex sexual behavior. There are several theories to explain the function of same-sex sexual behavior in bonobos, including as a way to reduce social tension, prevent aggression or form social bonds. However, none of these theories can explain why such behavior occurs so frequently only among females.
To clarify why same-sex sexual behavior is so important specifically for female bonobos, we collected behavioral and hormonal data for over a year from all adult members of a habituated bonobo community at the long-term LuiKotale field site in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In addition to our focus on sexual interactions, we identified preferred partners for other social activities such as giving support in conflicts. We also collected urine to measure the hormone oxytocin, which is released in the body in other species after friendly social interactions, including sex and helps to promote cooperation.
We found that in competitive situations, females preferred to have sex with other females rather than with males. After sex, females often remained closer to each other than did mixed sex pairs, and females had measurable increases in urinary oxytocin following sex with females, but not following sex with males. Among same-sex and opposite-sex pairs, individuals who had more sex also supported each other more often in conflicts, but the majority of these coalitions were formed among females. “It may be that a greater motivation for cooperation among females, mediated physiologically by oxytocin, is the key to understanding how females attain high dominance ranks in bonobo society” explained co-lead author Surbeck.
For humans as well, alliances between members of the same sex provide many benefits, including mutual social support and sharing of resources. There is also historical and cross-cultural evidence that such alliances are often reinforced through sexual interactions. “While it is important to not equate human homosexuality with same-sex sexual behavior in animals, our study suggests that in both humans and a close phylogenetic relative, the evolution of same-sex sexual behavior may have provided new pathways to promote high levels of cooperation” states co-lead author Moscovice.
Just in time for fathers day Jim Rilling’s (Emory Anthropology) fatherhood research is in the spot light of both Emory News and GPB. The Emory News article Five surprising facts about fathers highlights some of the overlooked challenges that fathers face based on a research project done in collaboration with Craig Hadley (Emory Anthropology). Dr. Rilling previously collaborated in research that was published in 2017 by Dr. Jennifer Mascaro (Emory School of Medicine). She investigated the difference in behavior when fathers interact with daughters or sons, such as a focus on social vocabulary for girls and achievement for boys.
In the GPB interview with Virginia Prescott Rilling gets the chance to talk about the work and findings in detail, the interview is available online.
Now what should you give dad? According to Rilling, subjects found quite some enjoyment in sharing their fatherhood experience.
Dr. Knauft presented his work at the biennial conference of the The Society for Psychological Anthropology (SPA) in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico in early April. He explored how the practices of dream yoga and deity-identification among practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism produce qualities of consciousness that Western psychologists have recently recognized as “lucid dreaming.” (Psychology Today)