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David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
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Bryan Cranston
Actor
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Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
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Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
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Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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Pushing the origin of speech back by 20 million years

A new study finds evidence of an important neural speech pathway in macaques.

Image source: Sergey Uryadnikov/Shutterstock
  • Researchers find traces of something like our arcuate fasciculus in macaque brains.
  • Since the last ancestor we shared with macaques was 25-30 million years ago, this would push speech way back.
  • The study suggests human speech began in the auditory cortex and eventually extended to include the executive-function areas of the brain.
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Capuchin monkeys have refined their tool use over 3,000 years

Not only do these monkeys use tools, they're developing new, better tools to adapt to their environment.

NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images
  • Archaeologists dug into the ground of an area of a Brazilian national park known to be frequented by capuchin monkeys.
  • They found that over the past 3,000 years, the stone tools that the monkeys use have evolved and changed, marking the first time this kind of development has been observed in a non-human species.
  • The findings underscore the intelligence of the capuchin monkeys and serve as a parallel to our own development.
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Why the 'alpha male' stereotype is wrong

Big and strong? That's not what makes an alpha male, says primatolgist Frans de Waal.

  • The cultural notion of an alpha male as a strong, mean aggressor is rampant but wrong. The reality is more complex.
  • Frans de Waal notes two types of alpha males: Bullies and leaders. In chimpanzee society, the former terrorizes the group while the latter mediates conflict.
  • The reign of alpha male bullies usually ends poorly in the wild. Chimpanzee bullies get expelled or even killed by their group, while leader alphas are somewhat democratically kept in power, sometimes for as long as 12 years.
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Why people (and chimps) throw temper tantrums

Primatologist Frans de Waal explains the primal instinct that unites humans and chimpanzees.

  • Humans throw temper tantrums when they feel frustrated, lose power, or sense a threat to their status or security.
  • Chimpanzees exhibit the same behavior; alpha male chimps who lose their status throw tantrums to elicit sympathy from their group, hoping to have their power restored.
  • But that tactic almost never works, notes primatologist Frans de Waal. An important lesson for humans from chimps.
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