Baboons

Be excellent to one another

Frans de Waal, director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta, believes that it's just as natural to be nice as it is be mean. Man may be wolf to man, as the old saying has it, but de Waal points out with casual eloquence in The Age of Empathy that wolves are often... Slate.

Only connect, Superman

The intricate ways humans connect with one another to co-create reality help explain the origin of language and culture in some very interesting ways. Most recently, Robert Seyfarth and Dorothy Cheney published Baboon Metaphysics, exposing the layers of social hierarchy in a baboon group in Botswana. The way the baboons parse their society is like a basic syntax. This week's New Scientist points to a funny account of the social connectedness of superheroes and villains in the Marvel universe. Guess who has the better social network?