Press Releases 2014

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The ecology of religious beliefs

November 14, 2014
Societies living in harsh environments are more likely to believe in moralizing gods - this is one of the central findings of a new study on the ecology of religious beliefs. [more]
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Science profiles Russell Gray

September 19, 2014
"No miracles" This is the headline to Virginia Morell's portrait of Russell Gray, Director of the Department of Lingusitic and Cultural Evolution, in Science latest volume. Russell Gray talked to the journalist about his future research in Jena. He will extend his evolutionary approach from linguistic and cognitive research to other cultural phenoma such as religion beliefs and practices. [more]
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Nature: Genetic Makeup of Europeans

September 17, 2014
Researchers, among them Johannes Krause, compared ancient hunter-gatherers and early farmers to present-day human genomes.  Their surprising finding: Present-day Europeans trace their ancestry back to three and not just two ancestral groups: A novel third is a more mysterious population that spanned North Eurasia and genetically connects Europeans and Native Americans. Read the press release (University of Tuebingen) here. [more]
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Nature: Extinct form of Tuberculosis identified

August 18, 2014
Tuberculosis strains in the New World today are closely related to European forms, implying an introduction after Spanish contact. However, a group of researchers, among them Johannes Krause, found characteristic changes in skeletons and mummies over one thousand years old from both North and South America. These findings (now published in Nature) suggest that the disease was present for hundreds of years before European contact, likely being brought to the Americas by seals.  Read the press release (University of Tuebingen) here. [more]
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Institute Realigned

June 27, 2014
The Max Planck Society has realigned the former Max Planck Institute of Economics and renamed it Max Planck Institute for History and the Sciences. [more]
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