Professor of Anthropology Alison Brooks led a team of international collaborators, including scientists from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, that discovered evidence of early humans in East Africa using coloring materials and obtaining a range of raw materials from distant sources— activities which imply the existence of social networks—about 320,000 years ago, much earlier than previously thought.
A study by Bernard Wood, professor of human origins at the GW Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology, and a team of Columbian College alumni showed that the average brain size of human ancestors increased gradually over 3 million years, growing to more than three times larger than our closest living relatives.
Four Columbian College astrophysicists are part of a global group of scientists who collaborated to identify and study the first confirmed observation of two merging neutron stars, a so-called kilonova. The existence of a kilonova—an explosive event roughly 1,000 times brighter than a nova—had long been suggested but was never definitively witnessed until now.
An international team of scientists including Arnaud Martin, assistant professor of biology, made a breakthrough in understanding how genetics and evolution work in concert to shape biodiversity by investigating the complex color patterns of butterfly wings. Martin used CRISPR gene-editing technology to study the role of the WntA gene in the formation of shapes and colors on butterfly wings—and how they diversify.
GW Assistant Professor of History Joel Blecher recently discovered the new manuscripts of two previously unknown versions of “Fath al-Bari,” a classic work that shaped the way Sunni Muslims understand Muhammad’s sayings and practices. Dr. Blecher visited the Suleymaniye Library in Istanbul in 2014 to examine a database of digitized manuscripts that can only be accessed in person, with the goal of learning more about how medieval Muslims interpreted Muhammad’s sayings and practices, called hadith. The manuscripts reveal how medieval Islamic scholars drafted and revised their understanding of Muhammad’s teachings to the early Muslim community.
Research Professor of Physics Larry Medsker announced a new STEM initiative called GWNoyce. Named after the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, this initiative offers science, technology, engineering and mathematics majors the opportunity to receive teacher training and scholarships for agreeing to teach in high-need school districts across the country after graduating from GW.
New Tool for Measuring Police and Law Enforcement Interactions Reflects Police-Based Discrimination Experiences of Black Men
Researchers led by Lisa Bowleg, Professor of Applied Social Psychology at the George Washington University, have developed a new tool to catalog police and law enforcement interactions with black men, the Police and Law Enforcement (PLE) Scale, with the hope of documenting people’s experiences and perceptions of police-based discrimination. The study found that police-based discrimination is associated with depression symptoms such as sadness, hopelessness and loss of interest and ambition. Because of this, the authors believe that police-based discrimination should be considered a public health threat.
Study Finds Bonobos May Be Better Representation of the Last Common Ancestor with Humans than Common Chimpanzees
A new study by Bernard Wood, Professor of Human Origins at the GW Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology, has provided firsthand evidence that bonobos may be more closely linked, anatomically, to human ancestors than common chimpanzees. Previous research suggested this theory at the molecular level, but this is the first study to compare in detail the anatomy of the three species.
Study Finds Medical Providers Who Prescribe PrEP to Prevent HIV Don’t See Most Patients Increasing Risky Sexual Behavior
A new study led by Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology Sarah Calabrese found that medical providers who prescribe PrEP, which stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis and is essential to to curbing the number of new HIV diagnoses, do not see widespread increases in risky sexual behavior among their patients as a result. As such, providers do not consider such behavior change to be a reason to discontinue or limit PrEP.
Researchers Design Facial Recognition System as a Less Invasive Approach to Tracking Lemurs in the Wild
A team of researchers led by Rachel Jacobs, a biological anthropologist at GW’s Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology, has developed a computer-assisted recognition system that can identify individual lemurs in the wild by their facial characteristics. The facial recognition method has the potential to redefine how researchers track species while aiding in conservation efforts for the world’s most endangered mammals.
A new study co-authored by Aida Gómez-Robles, Postdoctoral Scientist and Bernard Wood, Professor of Human Origins at the University's Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology (CASHP) found that whereas brain size evolved at different rates for different species, especially during the evolution of Homo, the genus that includes humans, chewing teeth tended to evolve at more similar rates.
A study co-authored by James Clark, the Ronald Weintraub Professor of Biology, has discovered that a species of dinosaur, Limusaurus inextricabilis, lost its teeth in adolescence and did not grow another set as adults. The finding, published today in Current Biology, is a radical change in anatomy during a lifespan and may help to explain why birds have beaks but no teeth.
Americans’ Likeliness to Believe in Climate Change Connected to Geographic Location and Local Weather Events, Study Finds
A new study, co-authored by Associate Professor of Geography Michael Mann, found local weather may play an important role in Americans’ belief in climate change. The study revealed that Americans’ belief that the earth is warming is related to the frequency of weather-related events they experience, suggesting that local changes in their climate influence their acceptance of this worldwide phenomenon.
Assistant Professor of Anthropology Carson M. Murray and postdoctoral scientist Margaret A. Stanton coauthored a paper titled, "Chimpanzee Fathers Bias Their Behavior Toward Their Offspring." The research suggests that male chimpanzees are more invested in protecting their own offspring than previously thought.
$3.2 Million Endowed Fund to Support Accountability in Journalism at GW’s School of Media and Public Affairs
Char Beales, BA ’73, and her husband Howard Beales have pledged a $3.2 million gift to the School of Media and Public Affairs. In recognition of the changing landscape of journalism, the funding will create the Char Beales Endowed Professorship of Accountability in Journalism, focused on the importance of accuracy and accountability in journalism.