Cave discovery holds clues to earliest Homo sapiens in Europe
Ancient DNA from 46,000-year-old bone fragments and a tooth reveals this group likely overlapped with Neanderthals for thousands of years.
New feathered dinosaur was one of the last surviving raptors
Dineobellator notohesperus lived 67 million years ago. Steven Jasinski, who recently earned his doctorate from the School of Arts and Sciences working with Peter Dodson, also of the School of Veterinary Medicine, led the effort to describe the find.
Illuminating interactions between decision-making and the environment
With a unifying model based in game theory, Andrew Tilman, Joshua Plotkin, and Erol Akçay of the School of Arts and Sciences inform dynamics in fields as diverse as ecology and economics.
Genes play a role in dog breed differences in behavior
Border collies are highly trainable, greyhounds love to chase, and German shepherds make good guard dogs. While the environment plays a role, traits like these are highly heritable. A new study identifies 131 genetic variants associated with breed differences in behavior.
Fruit flies’ microbiomes shape their evolution
In just five generations, an altered microbiome can lead to genome-wide evolution in fruit flies, according to new research led by Paul Schmidt and postdoc Seth Rudman of the School of Arts and Sciences.
Hunter-gatherers agree on what is moral, but not who is moral
In determining whether there is a universal concept of moral character, research could provide insight into ways to improve our interactions with one another.
A society’s cultural practices shape the structure of its social networks
Biologists Erol Akçay and Marco Smolla used mathematical models to show that societies that favor generalists, who have a wide range of skills, are less well-connected than those societies that favor specialists, who are highly skilled at a smaller number of traits.
Small horned dinosaur from China, a Triceratops relative, walked on two feet
Auroraceratops, a bipedal dinosaur that lived roughly 115 million years ago, has been newly described by an international team of researchers led by Peter Dodson of the School of Arts and Sciences and School of Veterinary Medicine.
How superstitions spread
Superstitious beliefs may seem irrational, but they catch on in a society. Using an evolutionary approach to studying the emergence of coordinated behaviors, Erol Akçay and Bryce Morsky showed how a jumble of individual beliefs, including superstitions, coalesce into an accepted social norm.
Bacterial population growth rate linked to how individual cells control their size
Developed at Penn, a theoretical model from a new area of research at the interface of math, physics, and biology describes how individual parameters can influence population-level dynamics.