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.
What does a dolphin have in common with a fruit fly?
To determine what goes on during sleep, a trio of Penn experts studied sleep function across phylogeny—that is, the evolutionary development of species—to find the origins of the need for sleep.
How one gene in a tiny fish may alter an aquatic ecosystem
Linking genomics to evolution to ecology, the work takes an unusual approach to reveal broad implications of how species adapt to their local environment.
How do individual decisions affect group decisions?
Postdoctoral fellow Colin Twomey looks to fish behavior to explore the dynamic between individual and group decision-making.