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Wolfgang Enard
Humans are a remarkable species, especially because of the remarkable properties of their brain. Since the split from the chimpanzee lineage, the human brain has increased three-fold in size and has acquired abilities for vocal learning, language and intense cooperation. To better understand the molecular basis of these changes is of great biological and biomedical interest. However, all the about 16 million fixed genetic changes that occurred during human evolution are fully correlated with all molecular, cellular, anatomical and behavioral changes that occurred during this time...
October 24, 2016: Current Biology: CB
Volker Sommer, Umaru Buba, Gonçalo Jesus, Alejandra Pascual-Garrido
OBJECTIVE: At some sites across Africa, chimpanzees consume army ants, often aided by plant tools, although consumption frequencies vary greatly. Other populations do not eat these insects at all, despite apparent abundance. The relative importance of this type of myrmecophagy for chimpanzee diet therefore remains unclear. We investigate if army ants constitute a preferred food or a fallback resource for chimpanzees at Gashaka, Nigeria, where army ants are consumed much more frequently than elsewhere...
October 25, 2016: American Journal of Physical Anthropology
W S Hambright, Jie Deng, James M Tiedje, Ingrid Brettar, Jorge L M Rodrigues
In bacterial populations, subtle expressional differences may promote ecological specialization through the formation of distinct ecotypes. In a barrier-free habitat, this process most likely precedes population divergence and may predict speciation events. To examine this, we used four sequenced strains of the bacterium Shewanella baltica, OS155, OS185, OS195, and OS223, as models to assess transcriptional variation and ecotype formation within a prokaryotic population. All strains were isolated from different depths throughout a water column of the Baltic Sea, occupying different ecological niches characterized by various abiotic parameters...
September 2016: MSphere
Sarah J Davis, Gillian L Vale, Steven J Schapiro, Susan P Lambeth, Andrew Whiten
A vital prerequisite for cumulative culture, a phenomenon often asserted to be unique to humans, is the ability to modify behaviour and flexibly switch to more productive or efficient alternatives. Here, we first established an inefficient solution to a foraging task in five captive chimpanzee groups (N = 19). Three groups subsequently witnessed a conspecific using an alternative, more efficient, solution. When participants could successfully forage with their established behaviours, most individuals did not switch to this more efficient technique; however, when their foraging method became substantially less efficient, nine chimpanzees with socially-acquired information (four of whom witnessed additional human demonstrations) relinquished their old behaviour in favour of the more efficient one...
October 24, 2016: Scientific Reports
Iulia Bădescu, M Anne Katzenberg, David P Watts, Daniel W Sellen
OBJECTIVES: Determining nutritional development in wild primates is difficult through observations because confirming dietary intake is challenging. Physiological measures are needed to determine the relative contributions of maternal milk and other foods at different ages, and time of weaning. We used fecal stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes (δ(13) C, δ(15) N) and fecal nitrogen concentrations (%N) from wild chimpanzees at Ngogo, Uganda, to derive physiological dietary indicators during the transition from total reliance on maternal milk to adult foods after weaning...
October 21, 2016: American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Thibaud Gruber, Zanna Clay
Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and bonobos (P. paniscus) are our closest living relatives, with the human lineage diverging from the Pan lineage only around five to seven Mya, but possibly as early as eight Mya.(1-2) Chimpanzees and bonobos even share genetic similarities with humans that they do not share with each other.(2) Given their close genetic relationship to humans, both Pan species represent crucial living models for reconstructing our last common ancestor (LCA) and identifying uniquely human features...
September 2016: Evolutionary Anthropology
Manabu Koike, Yasutomo Yutoku, Aki Koike
Understanding the molecular mechanisms of DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair processes, especially nonhomologous DNA-end joining (NHEJ), is critical for developing next-generation radiotherapies and chemotherapeutics for human and animal cancers. The localization, protein-protein interactions and post-translational modifications of core NHEJ factors, such as human Ku70 and Ku80, might play critical roles in controlling NHEJ activity. XRCC4-like factor (XLF) is a core NHEJ factor and plays a key role in the Ku-dependent NHEJ repair process in human cells...
October 14, 2016: Journal of Veterinary Medical Science
Steffen Foerster, Mathias Franz, Carson M Murray, Ian C Gilby, Joseph T Feldblum, Kara K Walker, Anne E Pusey
Dominance hierarchies are widespread in animal social groups and often have measureable effects on individual health and reproductive success. Dominance ranks are not static individual attributes, however, but instead are influenced by two independent processes: 1) changes in hierarchy membership and 2) successful challenges of higher-ranking individuals. Understanding which of these processes dominates the dynamics of rank trajectories can provide insights into fitness benefits of within-sex competition. This question has yet to be examined systematically in a wide range of taxa due to the scarcity of long-term data and a lack of appropriate methodologies for distinguishing between alternative causes of rank changes over time...
October 14, 2016: Scientific Reports
Nicole Ben Salem, Fabian H Leendertz, Bernhard Ehlers
We identified with PCR and sequencing the full genomes of the recently discovered Pan troglodytes verus polyomavirus 8 and Piliocolobus badius polyomavirus 2 in a western chimpanzee and a western red colobus free-ranging in Taï National Park of Côte d'Ivoire.
October 13, 2016: Genome Announcements
Cristina J Wittkopp, Madison B Adolph, Lily I Wu, Linda Chelico, Michael Emerman
Humans express seven human APOBEC3 proteins, which can inhibit viruses and endogenous retroelements through cytidine deaminase activity. The seven paralogs differ in the potency of their antiviral effects, as well as in their antiviral targets. One APOBEC3, APOBEC3C, is exceptional as it has been found to only weakly block viruses and endogenous retroelements compared to other APOBEC3s. However, our positive selection analyses suggest that APOBEC3C has played a role in pathogen defense during primate evolution...
October 2016: PLoS Pathogens
Dan T A Eisenberg, Justin Tackney, Richard M Cawthon, Christina Theresa Cloutier, Kristen Hawkes
: Telomeres are repeating DNA at chromosome ends. Telomere length (TL) declines with age in most human tissues, and shorter TL is thought to accelerate senescence. In contrast, older men have sperm with longer TL; correspondingly, older paternal age at conception (PAC) predicts longer TL in offspring. This PAC-effect could be a unique form of transgenerational genetic plasticity that modifies somatic maintenance in response to cues of recent ancestral experience. The PAC-effect has not been examined in any non-human mammals...
October 12, 2016: American Journal of Physical Anthropology
Didier Raoult, Rezak Drali, Kosta Mumcuoglu
Lice are a classic example of cospeciation. Human lice confirm this cospeciation with lice specialized in hominids which differ from those of gorillas and chimpanzees. Head lice and body lice seem to belong to closely related species with different ecotypes and a different geographical distribution which may reflect population movements. Paleo-entomology allows us in some cases to trace the migrations of archaic human populations. The analysis of lice found on mummies in Egypt and South America has clarified a certain number of these migrations, also the study of lice and the diseases they transmit has shed a new light on the epidemics of the past...
August 2016: Microbiology Spectrum
Patrick Mahoney, Justyna J Miszkiewicz, Rosie Pitfield, Chris Deter, Debbie Guatelli-Steinberg
The Havers-Halberg Oscillation (HHO) hypothesis links evidence for the timing of a biorhythm retained in permanent tooth enamel (Retzius periodicity) to adult body mass and life history traits across mammals. Potentially, these links provide a way to access life history of fossil species from teeth. Recently we assessed intra-specific predictions of the HHO on human children. We reported Retzius periodicity (RP) corresponded with enamel thickness, and cusp formation time, when calculated from isolated deciduous teeth...
October 11, 2016: Journal of Anatomy
Stephanie Musgrave, David Morgan, Elizabeth Lonsdorf, Roger Mundry, Crickette Sanz
Teaching is a form of high-fidelity social learning that promotes human cumulative culture. Although recently documented in several nonhuman animals, teaching is rare among primates. In this study, we show that wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes troglodytes) in the Goualougo Triangle teach tool skills by providing learners with termite fishing probes. Tool donors experienced significant reductions in tool use and feeding, while tool recipients significantly increased their tool use and feeding after tool transfers...
October 11, 2016: Scientific Reports
Stephanie Rupp, Philippe Ambata, Victor Narat, Tamara Giles-Vernick
In the absence of direct evidence, an imagined "cut hunter" stands in for the index patient of pandemic HIV/AIDS. During the early years of colonial rule, this explanation goes, a hunter was cut or injured from hunting or butchering a chimpanzee infected with simian immunodeficiency virus, resulting in the first sustained human infection with the virus that would emerge as HIV-1M. We argue here that the "cut hunter" relies on a historical misunderstanding and ecological oversimplification of human-chimpanzee (Pan Troglodytes troglodytes) interactions that facilitated pathogenic transmission...
October 7, 2016: EcoHealth
Takumi Tsutaya, Yui Fujimori, Misato Hayashi, Minoru Yoneda, Takako Miyabe-Nishiwaki
RATIONALE: Estimation of the stable isotopic offsets between tissue and diet is important for dietary reconstructions. Although stable isotopic studies of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) are increasing, the isotopic offsets in chimpanzees have never been studied. In this study, the carbon and nitrogen stable isotopic offset values in hair and feces were measured for 13 captive chimpanzees for the first time. METHODS: All consumed food items and quantities were recorded for each individual for one week...
October 7, 2016: Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry: RCM
Martin Kuhlwilm, Marc de Manuel, Alexander Nater, Maja P Greminger, Michael Krützen, Tomas Marques-Bonet
The great apes are the closest living relatives of humans. Chimpanzees and bonobos group together with humans, while gorillas and orangutans are more divergent from humans. Here, we review insights into their evolution pertaining to the topology of species and subspecies and the reconstruction of their demography based on genome-wide variation. These advances have only become possible recently through next-generation sequencing technologies. Given the close relationship to humans, they provide an important evolutionary context for human genetics...
October 4, 2016: Current Opinion in Genetics & Development
Tomoko Imura, Tomohiro Masuda, Yuji Wada, Masaki Tomonaga, Katsunori Okajima
Colour vision in primates is believed to be an adaptation for finding ripe fruit and young leaves. The contribution of the luminance distribution, which influences how humans evaluate the freshness of food, has not been explored with respect to the detection of subtle distinctions in food quality in non-human primates. We examined how chimpanzees, which are closely related to humans, perceive the freshness of foods. The findings suggest that chimpanzees were able to choose fresher cabbage based on both colour and grey-scale images...
October 6, 2016: Scientific Reports
Serena Bianchi, Laura D Reyes, William D Hopkins, Jared P Taglialatela, Chet C Sherwood
Vocal learning is a key property of spoken language, which might also be present in nonhuman primate species, such as chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), to a limited degree. While understanding the origins of vocal learning in the primate brain may help shed light on the evolution of speech and language, little is still known regarding the neurobiological correlates of vocal flexibility in nonhuman primates. The current study used voxel-based morphometry (VBM) to assess whether the cerebral cortex of captive chimpanzees that learned to voluntarily produce sounds to attract the attention of a human experimenter (attention-getting sounds) differs in grey matter distribution compared to chimpanzees that do not exhibit this behavior...
October 5, 2016: Scientific Reports
Yoshiki Yasukochi, Jun Ohashi
A previous study reported that some of the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles and haplotypes in present-day humans were acquired by admixture with archaic humans; specifically, an exceptionally diverged HLA-B*73 allele was proposed to be transmitted from Denisovans, although the DNA sequence of HLA-B*73 has not been detected in the Denisovan genome. Here, we argue against the hypothesis that HLA-B*73 introgressed from Denisovans into early modern humans. A phylogenetic analysis revealed that HLA-B*73:01 formed a monophyletic group with a chimpanzee MHC-B allele, strongly suggesting that the HLA-B*73 allelic lineage has been maintained in humans as well as in chimpanzees since the divergence of humans and chimpanzees...
September 30, 2016: Immunogenetics
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