Katharina Hamann with an international team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, Harvard University and the Michigan State University found that sharing in children that young is a pure collaborative phenomenon: when kids received rewards not cooperatively but as a windfall, or worked individually next to one another, they kept the majority of toys for themselves. One of humans' closest living relatives, chimpanzees, did not show this connection between sharing resources and collaborative efforts.
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Together We Are Strong - Or Insufferable
How do we as individuals prompt our fellow humans to behave socially? This is one of the central questions relating to social dilemmas in game theory. Previous studies assumed that it is almost impossible to control cooperation in large groups. Nonetheless, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology have now demonstrated that each of us can exert an influence on the cooperative behaviour of others. However, the possibilities available to the individual are limited in this regard, particularly in the context
Pair Bonding Reinforced in the Brain
In addition to their song, songbirds also have an extensive repertoire of calls. While the species-specific song must be learned as a young bird, most calls are, as in the case of all other birds, innate. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Seewiesen have now discovered that in zebra finches the song control system in the brain is also active during simple communication calls. This relationship between unlearned calls and an area of the brain responsible for learned vocalisations is important for
The Early Chimp Gets the Fig
How do our close relatives, the chimpanzees, acquire sufficient food when times are lean? By studying wild chimpanzees in the Taï National Park in Côte d'Ivoire researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, provide a clear example of how great apes can acquire extra energy needed to maintain large, costly brains. They show that chimpanzees make their sleeping nests more en route to breakfast sites containing fruits that are more competed for by other daytime fruit-eaters than other
Synapses Always on the Starting Blocks
While neurons rapidly propagate information in their interior via electrical signals, they communicate with each other at special contact points known as the synapses. Chemical messenger substances, the neurotransmitters, are stored in vesicles at the synapses. When a synapse becomes active, some of these vesicles fuse with the cell membrane and release their contents. To ensure that valuable time is not lost, synapses always have some readily releasable vesicles on standby. With the help of high-resolution, three-dimensional electron microscopy, scientists at the Max
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