Aging primates, agricultural ants, efficent cooperation, etc.
Lots of interesting papers this week, but I only have time for some brief comments.
I can't believe Obama's response to the earthquake in Japan was to go ahead with a speech on gasoline prices. (BBC cut him off!) Higher prices for nonrenewable resources are an efficient way (relative to rationing, say, or complicated mandates) to encourage us to use them more slowly, so they'll last longer. And although adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere may increase photosynthetic efficiency and make our winters here in Minnesota a little less cold, I'm not willing to bet that those benefits will outweigh risks such as rising sea level from melting glaciers. If civilization must be at war with nature, I'm on the side of civilization, but let's not shoot ourselves in the foot. For example, we can stay warm inside insulated houses, while agricultural pests perish in the cold, reducing the need for pesticides later. Cold winters are good! Hmmm... maybe I should turn comments back on; but I'm still deleting all commercial links.
Aging in the Natural World: Comparative Data Reveal Similar Mortality Patterns Across Primates "in neither females nor males did we find evidence of a negative correlation between IMR [initiral mortality risk, at onset of adulthood] and RoA [rate of aging, increase in mortality with age],which would be indicative of a trade-off..."
[I wouldn't have expected a trade-off between those parameters, but what about a tradeoff with reproduction (mentioned only in the definition of adulthood)?]
How within-group behavioural variation and task efficiency enhance fitness in a social group "females of both phenotypes [aggressive versus docile] experience increased fitness when occupying colonies containing unlike individuals"
Experimental peripheral administration of oxytocin elevates a suite of cooperative behaviours in a wild social mammal
Co-Residence Patterns in Hunter-Gatherer Societies Show Unique Human Social Structure
The influence of maternal effects on indirect benefits associated with polyandry
Primate extinction risk and historical patterns of speciation and extinction in relation to body mass
Evolution of cold-tolerant fungal symbionts permits winter fungiculture by leafcutter ants at the northern frontier of a tropical ant-fungus symbiosis
Structural basis for nonribosomal peptide synthesis by an aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase paralog
Global CO2 rise leads to reduced maximum stomatal conductance in Florida vegetation