Are humans hardwired for monogamy?

Evolution steered humans toward pair bonding to ensure the survival of genes. But humans tend to get restless.

  • Monogamy is natural, but adultery is, too, says biological anthropologist Helen Fisher.
  • Even though humans are animals that form pair bonds, some humans have a predisposition for restlessness. This might come from the evolutionary development of a dual human reproductive strategy.
  • This drive to fall in love and form a pair bond evolved for an ecological reason: to rear our children as a team.
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What are the psychological effects of consuming violence online?

Can our bodies tell the difference between recorded violence and real life danger?

  • "The internet is an exciting and a dangerous place," says journalist and documentarian Sebastian Junger.
  • He argues that because of thousands of years of evolution, our bodies react to seeing decapitations on screens as if they were happening in front of or to us.
  • According to Junger, the internet is too new for us to really understand the long-term effects it will have on our lives.
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William Shatner: Empathy must be taught

What a group of orphaned elephants can teach us about emotion and learned social skills.

  • Empathy is defined as the act of recognizing, understanding, and being sensitive to the feelings and experiences of others.
  • Sharing a story about young elephants at a nature preserve, William Shatner argues that empathy is a learned skill, not an inherited trait.
  • "That has to be learned, and I don't think it's any different from a boy to a girl. You have to walk in the shoes to experience what the other person is experiencing."
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Garjainia put the ‘hyper’ in ‘hypercarnivore’

A head built for meat-eating.

Image source: Foth et al/Wikimedia Commons/Petekub/Shutterstock/Big Think
  • A new analysis of fossils from the 1950s reveals an awesome predator.
  • Pre-dating the dinosaurs, the erythrosuchids were voracious "hypercarnivores."
  • Think terrifying crocodiles on steroids.
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#4: What makes someone gay? Science is trying to get it straight. | Top 10 2019

Taking the fourth spot on Big Think's 2019 top 10 countdown is the question: Evolutionarily speaking, is being gay still something of an enigma?

  • Big Think's fourth most popular video of 2019 features bioethicist Alice Dreger. She presents the idea that heterosexual people have been less interesting to scientists than gay people in terms of why they exist. This is because, evolutionarily speaking, being gay doesn't lead to a higher "higher reproductive fitness" — meaning, it doesn't lead to more babies.
  • Huge and rigorous studies have proven the fraternal birth order effect: Statistically, if a mother has lots of pregnancies of males, every successive male child will be a little bit more likely to be gay. This is because the mother's immune system appears to react to the male fetus' hormones and may dampen them down.
  • The Western view of gay and straight isn't the definitive definition. In Samoan culture, there is a third gender: fa'afafine. These are boys who are raised as girls; they become women culturally and partner with men, although they don't change their physical anatomy.
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