look! a linkfest! (^_^)
37,000-year-old Russian skeleton has Neanderthal DNA that’s gone missing – “Sequences present in its genome haven’t been found in modern human populations.” – see also Remix from greg cochran. – see also Genome of Kostenki-14, an Upper Paleolithic European (Seguin-Orlando, Korneliussen, Sikora, et al. 2014) from dienekes.
Our Futile Efforts to Boost Children’s IQ – “How can parenting and socioeconomic status play such minor roles in determining IQ, when scholars on all sides of the nature-nurture debate agree that somewhere around half of the variation in IQ is environmental? The short answer is that the environment that affects IQ doesn’t consist of the advantages that most people have in mind — parents who talk a lot to their toddlers, many books in in the house for the older children, high-quality schools and the like. Instead, studies over the past two decades have consistently found that an amorphous thing called the “nonshared” environment accounts for most (in many studies, nearly all) of the environmentally grounded variation. Scholars are still trying to figure out what features of the nonshared environment are important. Peers? Events in the womb? Accidents? We can be sure only of this: The nonshared environment does not lend itself to policy interventions intended to affect education, parenting, income or family structure.” – from charles murray. – h/t mr. mangan, esq!
Does neural crest development drive domestication syndrome? – “Altered neural crest development could be the reason mammals change in oddly consistent ways during domestication. As first noted by Darwin more than 140 years ago, domestic mammals tend to share certain characteristics—a suite of traits called the domestication syndrome.”
‘Darwin’s Dilemma’ May Be Solved – “Scientists following two different lines of evidence have just published research that may help resolve ‘Darwin’s dilemma,’ a mystery that plagued the father of evolution until his death more than a century ago. Biologists and geologists have been puzzled for decades over why life began so early on this planet, and then took so long to get interesting.”
A new study pieces together the puzzle of insect evolution – “A new study of insect evolution — the largest of its kind ever undertaken — has uncovered some surprising new information, confirmed some long-held hypotheses and may lead researchers toward a more comprehensive understanding of evolution. One hundred scientists from 10 countries worked together to examine 144 insect species. Their goal was to create an insect ‘family tree’ and establish a timeline of insect evolution. Their results were published recently in the journal Science.” – cool!
Facial structure predicts goals, fouls among World Cup soccer players – “The scientists studied the facial-width-to-height ratio (FHWR) of about 1,000 players from 32 countries who competed in the 2010 World Cup. The results, published in the journal Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, showed that midfielders, who play both offense and defense, and forwards, who lead the offense, with higher FWHRs were more likely to commit fouls. Forwards with higher FWHRs also were more likely to score goals or make assists.”
Mental health: Depression needs large human-genetics studies – “To understand the molecular mechanisms of depression, collect genetic data from more than 100,000 people, says Steven Hyman.”
Geneticists tap human knockouts – “On average, every person carries mutations that inactivate at least one copy of 200 or so genes and both copies of around 20 genes.”
The Inexorable Progress of Science: Archaeology – “With a very limited set of clues, smart guys managed to get key facts about European prehistory roughly correct almost 90 years ago . With tremendously better tools, better methods, vastly more money, more data, etc, archaeologists (most of them) drifted farther and farther from the truth.” – from greg cochran.
How Your Facebook Updates Reveal Your Personality – “Extroverts tend to use words like love, tonight, party, excited and amazing. Several length variants of the word soooo and ‘text speak’ terms like lovin and ur, are more often found on extroverts’ updates. In general the extrovert word cloud is sloppy enough to make any ‘Grammar Nazi’ red in the face. When we come to introverts, use of the word computer was one of the biggest giveaways. Posting status updates about Internet, and to a lesser extent anime, doctor who, and books, were also predictive of introversion.” – from neuroskeptic.
The contribution of additive genetic variation to personality variation: heritability of personality – “[W]e found that approximately 52% of animal personality variation was attributable to additive genetic variation.”
The genetics of impulsivity: evidence for the heritability of delay discounting – h/t ben southwood! who tweeted: “Impulsivity is 55% heritable at age 18.”
We are not equally empathic – from peter frost.
He’s Definitely a Liberal—Just Check Out His Brain Scan – “[W]e’ve had solid indications for a while now that our ideological biases are based, in large part, on the biology of our brains…. Of course, we’d like to think we came to our core beliefs through a process of rational reflection and discussion — or, at the very least, as a psychological reaction to the influence of our parents and peers…. But the profound influence of basic brain biology has just been re-affirmed in a new research paper, which found liberals and conservatives can be easily identified through fMRI scans…. ‘Remarkably,’ writes a team led by P. Read Montague of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, ‘brain responses to a single disgusting stimulus were sufficient to make accurate predictions about an individual subject’s political ideology.’”
The Most Heritable Gut Bacterium is… Wait, What is That? – “By studying 416 pairs of British twins, Julia Goodrich and colleagues from Cornell University have identified the gut microbes whose presence is most strongly affected by our genes.”
Microbiome science threatened by contamination – “Non-sterile sequencing returns rogue results in dilute microbe samples.”
Global IQ and health – from dr. james thompson.
The ecology of religious beliefs – “Both comparative and experimental evidence indicate that beliefs in moralizing high gods promote cooperation among humans, a behavioral attribute known to correlate with environmental harshness in nonhuman animals. Here we combine fine-grained bioclimatic data with the latest statistical tools from ecology and the social sciences to evaluate the potential effects of environmental forces, language history, and culture on the global distribution of belief in moralizing high gods (n = 583 societies). After simultaneously accounting for potential nonindependence among societies because of shared ancestry and cultural diffusion, we find that these beliefs are more prevalent among societies that inhabit poorer environments and are more prone to ecological duress.”
Genes contribute to behavior differences between fierce and friendly rats – “Genes active in the brain implicated in differences in rats selected for aggression or tameness”
What Edward Luttwak Doesn’t Know About Ancient China (Or a Short History of Han-Xiongnu Relations), pt. 1 and What Edward Luttwak Doesn’t Know About Ancient China (Or a Short History of Han-Xiongnu Relations), pt. 2 – from t.greer.
There’s Something About Teutonics – from those who can see.
An extremely low-density human population exterminated New Zealand moa – “Here we show that the Polynesian population of New Zealand would not have exceeded 2,000 individuals before extinction of moa populations in the habitable areas of the eastern South Island. During a brief (<150 years) period and at population densities that never exceeded ~0.01 km(-2), Polynesians exterminated viable populations of moa by hunting and removal of habitat. High human population densities are not required in models of megafaunal extinction."
A Gene by Any Other Name – “What is the logic in naming human genes?”
bonus bonus: Here’s Why Other People’s Farts Smell Way Worse Than Your Own – we cover *all* aspects of human biodiversity here on the hbd chick blog! (~_^)
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