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Rhesus Moms coo over their babies (awwww)

We all knew that all primate moms are generally awesome, but now a new study has found that Rhesus Macaque moms do the same sort of bonding stuff with their babies that human moms do; stare at their faces, cuddle, make faces at them…you know, the stuff that moms and babies think are really fun but grosses everyone else out. *joke*

Everybody say it with me now…awwww….


Researchers saw mothers actively searching for the infant’s gaze, sometimes holding the infant’s head and gently pulling it towards her face, as this mother macaque does.
children · technology

Robot love

A baby monkey in the U.K. gets a stuffed surrogate mom with a mechanical heart while her mom recovers from a c-section, so the little DeBrazza baby can lie against the toy and be comforted by her “mom’s” heartbeat. Awwww…..

Teams in Italy and the U.K. are currently developing a robot kid. This robot has been programmed to learn how to crawl, walk, an move, using the leading theories today of child development. The best part, the schematics on how to make the kid are open access, meaning ANYONE who has serious robotics training could potentially make and teach this robot kid. They hope this will speed the development of the robot, including developing nerves and sensing skin for the kiddo. My favorite part in the film clip (see link), is when the robot gets “falls asleep.”

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The outer limits…of humans

I’ve been collecting some weird stuff that doesn’t necessarily correlate directly to humans and culture, but they all do in a roundabout, sideways, too-cool-to-not-mention sort of way.

For starters, some researchers have found evidence that humans have taste buds for calcium. I wonder if there is a difference between cultures who practically live off milk compared to those who don’t.

Also, there is a cool YouTube video about parasitic worms that can actually recreate or at least mimic the genes of their host insect to the extent that they can send messages to the insect’s “brain” and make the insects do what they want, including commit suicide by jumping into a body of water so the worm can escape, essentially turning the bug into a zombie. As the researcher mentions in the video, this has implications for human parasitic diseases (which I can’t remember right now but if you watch the video he will explain it better).

Getting back into the traditional “Anthropology” stuff, German anthropologists have been able to genetically trace bones from the Bronze Age to a pair of men living in a village nearby the cave where the bones were found, making this the longest family tree in history.

As a cool example of the power of motherhood and how much dogs have evolved to be co-habitants of humans, a dog in Argentina rescued a newborn baby abandoned in the ghettos/favelas. The dog was a new mother herself, and after the dog’s owner discovered the baby cuddled in with the pups, he alerted authorities and the baby’s 14-year-old mother came forward. Unfortunately the media attention is actually freaking the dog out a bit, so leave her alone!

Also, for all you star gazers out there, a Top 10 of ancient astronomy observatories throughout the world (interestingly, the Mayan pyramids made it on there, the Egyptian pyramids did not).

Finally, for all you visual or historical anthropologists, a cool article on the history of the daguerrotype, and links to other articles about cool photographic inventions.

behavior

News highlights from last week

Scottish penguin knighted as part of 30-year service to Norwegian military. Technically it’s the third penguin to serve as the Norwegian mascot, but still, well earned I’m sure (too bad it’s not an emperor penguin).

Cemetery remains of two different cultures separated by several thousand years found in the same spot in the Sahara Desert (apparently much greener once). One woman and her two kids were buried on a bed of flowers; how sweet is that? Awww…

Mayan portal to the world of the dead FOUND! No, really.

Roman empress’ head found too ( not the actual head, just the oversized marble carving of it).

Mothering style can turn on nurturing genes in female mice. First off, who knew there were genes for nurturing?