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News/Press releases

Contact: Sandra Jacob (e-mail: info@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]eva.mpg.de, phone: +49 (0) 341-3550 122)


February 15, 2018: Dramatic decline of Bornean orangutans
© Serge Wich

Global demand for natural resources has reduced the number of orangutans by more than 100,000 animals in the last 16 years

Nearly 50 years of conservation efforts have been unable to prevent orangutan numbers on Borneo from plummeting. The latest data published by a team from 38 international institutions, led by researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) and Liverpool John Moores University in Great Britain, suggests that between 1999 and 2015 the total number of Bornean orangutans was reduced by more than 100,000 animals.

Link to press release

Original publication

January 24, 2018: Modern human brain organization emerged only recently
© MPI EVA/ S. Neubauer, Ph. Gunz (License: CC-BY-SA 4.0)

Homo sapiens fossils demonstrate a gradual evolution of the human brain towards its modern globular shape

In a paper researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, reveal how and when the typical globular brain shape of modern humans evolved. Their analyses based on changes in endocranial size and shape in Homo sapiens fossils show that brain organization, and possibly brain function, evolved gradually within our species and unexpectedly reached modern conditions only recently.

Link to press release

Original publication

December 19, 2017: Vengeance is sweet
© Sven Doering

Even chimpanzees and six-year-old infants want to punish antisocial behaviour

Living together in communities requires mutual cooperation. To achieve this, we punish others when they are uncooperative. Until now, it has been unclear as to when we develop the impulse to penalise this behaviour — and whether this is an exclusively human feature. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig discovered that even six-year-old children feel the need to reprimand antisocial behaviour, and that they are willing to take risks and make an effort to be present when the ‘guilty’ one is punished.

Link to press release (MPI-CBS)

Original publication