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Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

Max­Planck­Research Magazine

Issue 2014

Heft 2014

Family Constellations
What makes humans human? How and when did we become what we are today? How did our ancestors live? These questions are of great interest to a lot of people. The scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology use different methods to investigate them systematically. One of these methods involves extracting DNA from human fossils. Using a new procedure, Svante Pääbo and his team can isolate and sequence ancient genetic material from just a few grams of bone powder, allowing them to compare the genomes of different prehistoric humans with one another and with people living today.
Issue 2013

MaxPlanckResearch 4/2013

The Upside of Sharing
“Mine!” This all-too-familiar children’s cry can drive parents to distraction. Nevertheless, Michael Tomasello from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig firmly believes that – unlike our nearest animal relatives, the great apes, who largely lack the capacity for collaboration – children are naturally cooperative and helpful.
Issue 2010

MPR 3 /2010

Meet the Neanderthals
Neanderthals mated with modern humans! This revelation generated great excitement among the media, but it’s old news for anthropologists. They are more interested in the genome of our closest relative.

MPR 1 /2010

My Dog Can Do It!
As far as cognitive scientists are concerned, the children’s game “I spy with my little eye” is anything but child’s play. It is based on the assumption that the person whose turn it is can imagine what the other players are able to see – or not. But do dogs and apes, for instance, also share this ability? At the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, scientists study social cognition factors in different species.
Issue 2008

MPR 1 /2008

Rukina’s Remarkable Family
Studying gorillas requires courage as well as stamina. To investigate the lifestyles of these primates, researchers track them through the rainforest of Uganda – at a respectful distance.
Issue 2007

MPR 3 /2007

Boning Up on History
If the bones won’t come to the researcher, then the
researcher must go to the bones. Using a mobile tomograph, paleoanthropologists are reconstructing fossilized skulls to investigate human development.

MPR 1 /2007

Genes Take to the Road
A bit of saliva can tell the story of an entire people. Since scientists learned to identify the human genome letter for letter, they can sometimes gain more information from it than they can from potsherds or yellowed papers. Thus, Mark Stoneking and his colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology use it to investigate, for example, how various peoples gradually dispersed.
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