Sir David Attenborough: Humans have stopped evolving – “Human beings have stopped evolving becoming the only species to ‘put halt to natural selection of its own free will’, Sir David Attenborough has said, as he predicts the ‘cultural evolution’ of the future.” – lots of responses to that including: Humans are still evolving, and soon we’ll know a lot more about it – from john hawks; Evolution – it’s not over yet – from tom chivers; and Sir David Attenborough is wrong – humans are still evolving – from ian rickard.
Fate of new genes cannot be predicted – “New versions of genes, called alleles, can appear by mutation in populations. Even when these new alleles turn the individuals carrying them more fit to survive and reproduce, the most likely outcome is that they will get lost from the populations. The theory that explains these probabilities has been postulated by the scientist J.B.S. Haldane almost 90 years ago. This theory has become the cornerstone of modern population genetics…. The research team … has now experimentally tested Haldane’s theory.”
Uros people of Peru and Bolivia found to have distinctive genetic ancestries – “Genographic project research shows ancestry may date to Altiplano’s initial settlement.”
African-American study identifies four genetic variants associated with blood pressure – “‘We anticipated that individuals of African ancestry share similar biology to other populations. However, differences in genomic make-up between African ancestry and other populations have uncovered additional genes affecting blood pressure, in addition to genetic variants that are specific to individuals of African ancestry….’” – via amren.
Handedness GWAS Leads to Suspected Left-Right Asymmetry Genes – “A team from the UK and the Netherlands has garnered evidence suggesting left- and right-handedness may involve genes from some of the same pathways that produce other features differing on right and left sides of the body.”
Functional genetic variation in humans: Comprehensive map published – “European scientists, led by researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE)’s Faculty of Medicine in the context of the GEUVADIS project, today present a map that points to the genetic causes of differences between people. The study, published in Nature and Nature Biotechnology, offers the largest-ever dataset linking human genomes to gene activity at the level of RNA.”
Testes Size Correlates With Men’s Involvement in Toddler Care – “Men with smaller testes than others are more likely to be involved in hands-on care of their toddlers….” – h/t hbd bibliography!
Can Your Language Influence Your Spending, Eating, and Smoking Habits? – “[S]peakers with weak future tenses (e.g. German, Finnish and Estonian) were 30 percent more likely to save money, 24 percent more likely to avoid smoking, 29 percent more likely to exercise regularly, and 13 percent less likely to be obese, than speakers of languages with strong future tenses, like English.” – (“but where does language come from?” hbd chick mumbles to herself in the back row….)
‘Love hormone’ may play wider role in social interaction than previously thought – “The new study, to be published Sept. 12 in Nature, pinpoints a unique way in which oxytocin alters activity in a part of the brain that is crucial to experiencing the pleasant sensation neuroscientists call ‘reward’…. ‘People with autism-spectrum disorders may not experience the normal reward the rest of us all get from being with our friends….’ Some genetic evidence suggests the awkward social interaction that is a hallmark of autism-spectrum disorders may be at least in part oxytocin-related. Certain variations in the gene that encodes the oxytocin receptor – a cell-surface protein that senses the substance’s presence – are associated with increased autism risk.”
More Money, More Children – “‘[N]ow better-off people seem to be having more children; in the U.S., the fertility rate of wives whose husbands are in the top decile of income is back where it was a century ago.’” – h/t puzzle pirate!
Ashkenazi Jewish gene pool derives from ‘recent severe bottleneck’ of 300-400 individuals ca. 800 years ago – @race/history/evolution notes.
Morality and the Epiphany of Joshua Greene – “The manifestations of morality are complex, but its origins are simple. Evolved behavioral predispositions are the ultimate reason for its existence…. Those behavioral traits evolved without a goal, and without a purpose. They exist because they happened to increase our chances of surviving and procreating at a time when our mode of existence as well as our social and physical environment were radically different from what they are now.” – helian’s on fire! (not literally … i hope.)
Are Women Less Corrupt? – “Women are more likely than men to disapprove of — and less likely to participate in — political corruption, but only in countries where corruption is stigmatized…. ‘When corruption is stigmatized, as in most democracies, women will be less tolerant and less likely to engage in it compared with men. But if ‘corrupt’ behaviors are an ordinary part of governance supported by political institutions, there will be no corruption gender gap.’” – h/t jayman!
Politicians like power – from steve sailer.
Study: The Neg Works – (~_^) – @heartiste.
Some people are feminine – get over it – “Whenever you have one group of people who believe one thing for ideological reasons, and another who believe something else because their business model depends on it, I tend to trust the latter. Who do you think knows more about the minds of girls and boys — the academics who’ve spent years discussing gender feminism, or people who sell toys?” (~_^) – from ed west.
Stephen Hsu on Cognitive Genomics – “At the extremes, there are some academics and social activists who violently oppose any kind of research into the genetics of cognitive ability. Given that the human brain — its operation, construction from a simple genetic blueprint, evolutionary history — is one of the great scientific mysteries of the universe, I cannot understand this point of view.”
Heritability estimates and unexplained variance – “Nobody owns unexplained variance.” – from dr. james thompson.
Study sheds light on genetics of how and why fish swim in schools – “‘The motivation to be social is common among fish and humans…. ‘Some of the same brain regions and neurological chemicals that control human social behavior are probably involved in fish social behavior as well.’”
Why do haters have to hate? Newly identified personality trait holds clues – “New research has uncovered the reason why some people seem to dislike everything while others seem to like everything. Apparently, it’s all part of our individual personality – a dimension that researchers have coined ‘dispositional attitude.’”
Everyday sadists take pleasure in others’ pain – “[P]eople who score high on a measure of sadism seem to derive pleasure from behaviors that hurt others, and are even willing to expend extra effort to make someone else suffer.” – yeah. you know who you are.
How an evolutionary model is better at explaining decisions than neo-classical and behavioral economics models: A review of Douglas T. Kenrick and Vladas Griskevicius, The Rational Animal: How Evolution Made us Smarter than we Think.
Making The Right Mistakes: Error Management And The Evolution Of Errors – “Human cognitive mechanisms evolved to deal with the problems of the past, where we spent 99% of our history, not those of the present. We should, therefore, hardly expect our brains to perform well all the time in modern settings where the social and physical environment is so different.”
From Slavs to Slaves – “Between 1500 and 1650, Eastern Europe exported 1.5 million slaves to North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. Western Europe exported a little over a million between 1530 and 1780.” – from peter frost.
The Madonna or the Whore? – @thosewhocansee.
The Evolutionary Case for Great Fiction – “Might reading literature help with species survival?” (species survival? hmmmm.)
2013 ig nobel awards were announced this week! my favorite this year: the probability prize – “[T]he longer a cow has been lying down, the more likely that cow will soon stand up; and Second, that once a cow stands up, you cannot easily predict how soon that cow will lie down again.” (^_^)
Plans to evict Botswana Bushmen revealed by leaked report – @survival international. h/t andrew badenoch!
bonus bonus bonus: ‘Time travel is easy — in one direction,’ says Prof Brian Cox – but the time lords figured it out!
bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Wherever there is red tape, the truth will be stranger than fiction – “As the [u.k.'s] Government reflects on a bureaucratic obsession with ‘equality’, we ask: which of these tales of political correctness are made up?”
(note: comments do not require an email. all that’s required for successful time travel.)