UZH Magazin 2/21
Language is our most powerful tool. It evolved along with our species over the millennia. The UZH-led NCCR Evolving Language aims to explore how exactly we developed our capacity for linguistic expression. We spoke with the researchers involved to shine a light on how animals communicate, how human language came to be, and how it spread across the globe.
How Human Language Evolved
Both animals and humans have developed ways of communicating - but human language is by far the most complex. This issue of the UZH Magazin takes an in-depth look at the evolution of language.
In the animal kingdom, it’s the ladies who get to pick their partners. So if males want to mate, they have to woo females and outshine their rivals. UZH biologist Stefan Lüpold examines what gives male animals the edge when it comes to sexual selection.
Seat of Power
Chairs, benches, sofas or stools – seats are more than just somewhere to rest our legs: They are also used to display power. UZH art historian Sabine Sommerer researches the phenomenon – from thrones of old to the recent “sofagate” and Putin on horseback.
Eating Our Way Through the Pandemic
Increased stress, lack of exercise and frequent snacking: The effects of the pandemic are visible on our waistlines. For endocrinologist Philipp Gerber, the weight gain is not just a short-term side effect, but is storing up problems for the future and needs to be taken seriously.
"Doing Good Effectively"
Stefan Riedener has pledged to donate 10 percent of his income to charity – for as long as he lives. We spoke with the ethicist about leading a good, ethical life and finding joy in restraint.
Ahmed Fatima Kzzo once documented ancient inscriptions in Aleppo that dated back to the Ottoman Empire. Shortly thereafter, large parts of his hometown were reduced to rubble. The Syrian archaeologist is currently researching at UZH under a scholarship.