NEW! Evolutionary Tidbit of the Moment
In seemingly unrelated languages from every corner of the globe, the word corresponding to "mother" contains a sound like /ma/, as in "amma," "mama," or "ima." Father words tend to have the /pa/ or /ba/ sound, like "appa," "abba," "baba," or "papa." A discarded hypothesis held that the words for "mother" and "father" had remained largely unchanged from a proto-language from which all modern languages evolved.
The currently favored explanation is that these are the first sounds infants are able to make, with /m/ being slightly easier (and thus developing sooner) than /p/ or /b/, explaining why the primary caretaker (usually the mother) tends to be referred to by words which sound like "mama" in languages all the world over.
Category Archives: Theory
I was critiqued in a recent NSF grant proposal review that, while I elegantly integrated signaling & cultural consensus theories in my research design, my statements that (1) signaling theory derives from evolutionary biology & (2) that no one has … Continue reading
Wrangham (2009) & McClenon (2006) describe the campfire in evolutionary history as something like a social nexus. Wrangham says it’s where hominids came to & learned to tolerate each other. McClenon says it’s where hominids developed their relaxation skills, by … Continue reading
In my friend Bria Dunham’s piece, “The Role for Signaling Theory and Receiver Psychology in Marketing,” I came across this line: In women, facial masculinity may serve as a cue of sexual attitudes and behavior due to the underlying association … Continue reading
The image Patrick Clarkin uses in his 6th installment of the “Humans are (Blank) -ogamous” is so excellent that I have to repost it & give props to Patrick, a biological anthropologist at UMass Boston. In this series, he explores … Continue reading
Smartphones are like cigarettes are like junk food are like chewing your nails or doodling. Right. What do they have in common? Easy. Things we do when we’re bored. Bored in my class? Doodle. There were some amazing Jurassic landscapes … Continue reading
Hear that robin singing in the morning? Smell the white blossoms on the natural rose bushes near the woods? See the turkey vultures soaring high – in communicative harmony with one another? Note this: The same forces accounting for these examples account for everything you see when you look in a mirror. Your are part of this magnificent natural world. This insight is, for my money, what makes Darwinism a truly spiritual approach to the world.