Studies of the evolutionary roots of human development
We have established a new line of research at the intersection of development and evolution. In our studies we address the relationship between brain development and various aspects of behavioral development from both an ontogenetic and an evolutionary perspective. Our first work was published in December 2009 in the "Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences” (PNAS) and had a strong impact in the scientific and popular-science media worldwide. The work was also chosen as "Article of the Month" at the Medical Faculty at Lund University. In this work, we overturned some basic assumptions about human development, showing that humans do not differ at all from other mammals with respect to the timing of when they take their first walking steps.
We have continued our research via in-depth analysis and comparisons of life-time behavioral variables between mammals and could recently show, using a mathematical model we have developed, that even in the case of timing of weaning humans are no different from other mammals (Psouni, Janke & Garwicz, 2012). Also this finding counters previous assumptions in a variety of research fields. The paper was published in April 2012 in PloS ONE and had a massive impact in the scientific and popular-science media worldwide. We continue our research turning our attention to further points in the life-time of our and other species.
PI / research coordinator
elia.psouni [at] med.lu.se