Archives for posts with tag: reproduction

sorry for the delay! the sunday linkfest hasn’t appeared on a wednesday since … gee … the last time it appeared on a wednesday! (*^_^*)

Butterflies show origin of species as an evolutionary process, not a single event“The evolution of new species might not be as hard as it seems, even when diverging populations remain in contact and continue to produce offspring…. ‘We find that only a small fraction of the genome is markedly different between closely related species, but then much more of the genome — more than you’d expect — shows similar differences between more distantly related species…. That indicates that the genetic changes that are important for causing speciation are tightly clustered early in speciation, but not so later on in the process; the overall pattern of genome divergence starts slow and then skyrockets.'”

Mating advantage for rare males in wild guppy populations“Negative frequency-dependent selection (NFDS), a form of selection in which genotypes are favoured when they are rare, can potentially maintain such extensive polymorphism, but few experimental studies have confirmed its operation in nature…. Here we use highly replicated experimental manipulations of natural populations to show that males with rare colour patterns have higher reproductive fitness, demonstrating NFDS mediated by sexual selection. Rare males acquired more mates and sired more offspring compared to common males and, as previously reported, had higher rates of survival.” – h/t rob brooks!

Japanese north–south gradient in IQ predicts differences in stature, skin color, income, and homicide rate“In Japan, there is IQ gradient from north to south. Stature and average income cline is also from north to south. Homicide rates increase from north to south. Fertility rates and suicide rates decrease from north to south. Infant mortality is not correlated with latitude.”

Global patterns of sex-biased migrations in humans“We found that genetic differentiation between populations was higher for Y chromosome than for the mtDNA at global scales. The migration rate of female might be three times higher than that of male, assuming the effective population size is the same for male and female.” – h/t hbd bibliography!

Intra-African variation in Neandertal admixture is due to non-African admixture – @dienekes’ – h/t charles!

Shape Differences Between the Faces of Homosexual and Heterosexual Men“Homosexual men showed relatively wider and shorter faces, smaller and shorter noses, and rather massive and more rounded jaws, resulting in a mosaic of both feminine and masculine features.” – h/t neuroskeptic!

The rule-dependence model explains the commonalities between the Flynn effect and IQ gains via retesting“[W]e propose that Flynn effect gains are partly a function of the degree to which a test is dependent on rules or heuristics. This means that testees can become better at solving ‘rule-dependent’ problems over time in response to changing environments, which lead to the improvement of lower-order cognitive processes (such as implicit learning and aspects of working memory). These in turn lead to apparent IQ gains that are partially independent of general intelligence. We argue that the Flynn effect is directly analogous to IQ gains via retesting, noting that Raven’s Progressive Matrices is particularly sensitive to both the effects of retesting and the Flynn effect.” – from woodley and armstrong! (^_^) – see also dr. thompson.

Civilizations rise and fall on the quality of their soil“Great civilisations have fallen because they failed to prevent the degradation of the soils on which they were founded…. This is according to Professor Mary Scholes and Dr Bob Scholes who have published a paper in the journal Science, which describes how the productivity of many lands has been dramatically reduced as a result of soil erosion, accumulation of salinity, and nutrient depletion.”

Bad reporting generates bad arguments“The Sunday Times gets 3.5 million readers a week. Anything mentioned in it has a chance of influencing public understanding and opinion in Britain. Last week they did a piece on Professor Robert Plomin’s recent book ‘G is for Genes’ which focuses on the genetic contribution to scholastic achievement. The newspaper’s coverage was misleading….” – of course. – from dr. james thompson.

Embryo Selection for Cognitive Enhancement“We find that embryo selection, on its own, may have significant impacts, but likely not drastic ones, over the next 50 years, though large effects could accumulate over multiple generations. However, there is a complementary technology, stem cell-derived gametes, which has been making rapid progress and which could amplify the impact of embryo selection, enabling very large changes if successfully applied to humans.” – h/t mike anissimov!

They might be giants – from greg cochran.

Why Can’t We All Just Get Along? The Uncertain Biological Basis of Morality“[S]ome of our deepest moral intuitions are gut feelings that are with us for no more lofty a reason than that they helped our ancestors protect themselves and spread their genes.” – h/t urho lintinen! – see also: You Can’t Learn About Morality from Brain Scans.

War Before Civilization – from peter turchin.

Cooperation and conflict between women in the family“Reproductive competition within and between families may have underpinned the biological evolution of fertility patterns (such as menopause) and the cultural evolution of marriage, residence, and inheritance norms (such as late male marriage or primogeniture), which can enhance cooperation and minimize the observed incidence of such conflicts.”

Do human females use indirect aggression as intrasexual competition strategy? [pdf] – yes. (duh.) – h/t michael w. story!

Bone flute discovery indicates 9000 years of Chinese music tradition“Archaeologists announced the discovery of three ancient flutes made of red-crowned crane bones that may prove that Chinese have been playing music for 9,000 years. The flutes were excavated at an ancient tomb in the site of a Neolithic settlement in Henan Province…. The bone flutes, pictured above, are thought to be the world’s earliest heptatonic musical instruments ever discovered.”

Total Fertility Rate“Oversimplifying, if your tribe has 60 men and 40 women, if each woman has two kids during her lifetime, when the next generation turns over, your population will have declined from 100 people to 80. Conversely, if your tribe has 40 men and 60 women, and each woman has two kids, your tribe will have grown from 100 to 120. The female sex is the limiting factor when it comes to reproduction, after all.” – from the awesome epigone.

Earlier Onset of Puberty in Girls Linked to Obesity“[T]he respective ages at the onset of breast development varied by race, body mass index (obesity), and geographic location. Breast development began in white, non-Hispanic girls, at a median age of 9.7 years, earlier than previously reported. Black girls continue to experience breast development earlier than white girls, at a median age of 8.8 years. The median age for Hispanic girls in the study was 9.3 years, and 9.7 years for Asian girls. Body mass index was a stronger predictor of earlier puberty than race or ethnicity.” – h/t hbd bibliography!

What color are Whites?“In reality, most *Français de souche* act as individuals and have only a weak sense of their collective interest. Collective action is instead wielded by better organized factions, particularly the globalized business community—which lobbies hard to outsource employment to low-wage countries and insource low-wage workers.” – from peter frost.

Openness to Experience – That Liberal Je Ne Sais Quoi – from staffan.

Redefining Confluence“We examine an ethnicity that is itself a confluence of various racial and ethnic backgrounds – the Hispanic/Latino (hereafter Latino) ethnicity.”

Long-term memory helps chimpanzees in their search for food

Schadenfreude: Feeling pleasure over the misfortune of those you envy is biological“[P]eople are actually biologically responsive to taking pleasure in the pain of others….”

Researchers find striking similarities between bird song and human music – cheep, cheep!

Ice Roads Used to Build Forbidden City

Stone tools found in northern China ‘could shake-up theory of man’s African origins’“Anthropologists are thrilled – but puzzled – that sediment deposits in northern China where a large number of ancient stone tools have been unearthed appear to have been formed much earlier than the emergence of man’s earliest ancestors.” – chinese busy trying to disprove out-of-africa theory.

bonus: How Mass Immigration Destroys the Economy Over Time“Because it reduces the velocity of money and thus creates a hidden deflation.” – from grey @banksta stuff.

bonus bonus: There’s a global morality gap — and it’s getting wider“It is now clear, though not much talked about, that humanity, all 7.1 billion of us, tends to fall into one of two distinct camps. On the one side are those who buy into the whole post-Enlightenment human rights revolution. For them the moral trajectory of the last 300 years is clear: once we were brutal savages; in a few decades, the whole planet will basically be Denmark, ruled by the shades of Mandela and Shami Chakrabarti. And there’s some truth in this trajectory — except for the fact that it only applies to half the planet. The other half resolutely follows a different moral code: might is right, all men were not created equal and there is a right and a wrong form of sexual orientation. You can identify those countries in the dark half of the divide by their attitudes to homosexuality and women; to honour killings, race, disability, mental illness, religious minorities and to crime, torture and punishment, even animal rights and the environment.” – h/t ed west!

bonus bonus bonus: Racist Red Lobster receipt may be hoax, analysts say – from chuck ross. (my verdict: that girl is such a liar!)

bonus bonus bonus bonus: EU Proposal to Monitor “Intolerant” Citizens“‘There is no need to be tolerant to the intolerant’ — European Framework National Statute for the Promotion of Tolerance, Article 4″oh! – h/t mr. mangan, esq.!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: The Myth of Americans’ Poor Life Expectancy – h/t john hawks!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: About superdiversity – thus my little joke about “human superbiodiversity.” (~_^)

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Long Before Trees Overtook the Land, Earth Was Covered by Giant Mushrooms – GIANT MUSHROOMS!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Founding of the Darien Colony“The Darien Colony [in panama!] was founded by Scottish emigrants on November 3rd, 1698. But it all went horribly wrong.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Lord of the sofa! The ‘cosplay’ enthusiasts who love to survey their two-bedroom kingdom dressed as knights and goblins – for those of you wondering what cosplay is. (^_^) (don’t say you never learned anything new on hbd chick!)

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Horrific FLESH-EATING PLATYPUS once terrorised Australia – no, really!

(note: comments do not require an email. scary platypus!)

chris pointed out a very interesting looking book (thanks, chris!), The Feud in Early Modern Germany by hillay zmora. i poked around the book a bit on google books and found that zmora is not afraid of sociobiology. chapter four of the book is titled The wages of success: Reproduction and the proliferation of conflicts. cool!

from a review of the book (thanks again, chris!):

Feuds did not begin as disputes over honor; they were more often than not material disputes over resources, rights, and entitlements. However, once the dispute was under way, honor was then invoked and sustained the conflict. Feuding was shaped by the expectations of the moral community and so feuders explained and defended their actions to a public and were concerned to show that they were acting in the right.”

so it seems as though there may have been something of a shift in the motivations of feuders from the early medieval period in germany (bavaria) to later in the period (in franconia, the region zmora deals with). earlier in the period, feuds might be started solely over honor, although battling for resources was undoubtedly a — probably the — main cause of feuds. later in the period, feuds aren’t started over honor at all, although honor is often used as an excuse/rationalization afterwards. it’d be interesting to know whether or not this apparent shift was a real and general pattern across germany/europe over the course of the medieval period. further research is required. (~_^)

a second big shift in the nature of medieval feuding — and this one is a certainity — i found in another book by zmora, State and Nobility in Early Modern Germany: The Knightly Feud in Franconia, 1440-1567, in which we learn that, by this later point in the medieval period in germany (or franconia anyway), feuds were no longer being fought by kindreds like in the early part of the medieval period. they were now being fought by one nobleman and his followers (possibly some kin in there) versus another nobleman and his followers. that’s a big change [pg. 34]:

“On a descriptive level the feud was, fundamentally, a series of sporadic yet organised, usually small-scale raids invovling burning, looting, abductions, and causing all sorts of material damage. It was carried out not by kin groups, but by two principal feuders and their band of followers. The main victims were normally the rivals’ subjects. These violent attacks, however, were by and large restrained. They were regulated by accepted rules of conduct and by a more or less fixed repertoire of sanctioned methods, which in theory, and often in practice, precluded flagrant brutality. This was especially the case of feuds between noblemen. The fact that the Franconian noble families were closely interrelated militated against to-the-bitter-end feuds…. In most cases, feuds displayed a surprising degree of moderation. Unlike vendettas, killings were rare.”

and there’s a third change from earlier in the period! in the earlier feuds, people were often seriously wounded or killed — even though those feuding were also frequently related. here we see pinker’s (or eisner’s) decline in violence, i think.

more from the review:

“The mutual dependence on each other explains why they acted with relative restraint and violence was directed against property and tenants rather than noble neighbors, relatives, and acquaintances. For these reasons feuds involved careful deliberation, reason, and calculation; they were strategic enterprises in which one’s reputation was at stake. Zmora goes on to argue that feuding was also related to wealth and status. A reputation required defending and enhancing. For these reasons, feuders tended to come from wealthier lineages. Far from being ‘robber barons,’ they were more likely to be men seeking to indicate their wealth, personality, and fitness to rule — qualities that were more likely to attract a good marriage….

“He derives his inspiration not from anthropology or from the recent historical writing it inspired, but from sociobiology and evolutionary psychology. According to this interpretation, feuding was the consequence of male reproductive urges.

that makes a lot of sense to me, although i would also guess that acquiring resources via these feuds motivated the feuders as much as showing off for the ladies (or the ladies’ families). having plenty of resources, of course, also ties into reproductive success — the more resources you have/control, the more wives/women/kids you can afford. some of the descriptions of the raids that were a part of these feuds involved cattle rustling — that’s just relieving your competitors of their resources while acquiring more for yourself. good deal (if you can get away with it).

in chapter four (i didn’t look through the rest of the book), zmora deals with the period from 1440 to 1570 in franconia and describes how 1) the wealthiest most successful families had the most kids and were more likely to survive as families over the course of the period (i.e. they didn’t disappear from the historical records like less successful families), and 2) the wealthiest, “Top Stratum” families were the ones who engaged in feuding the most. oh, and that tournaments became fashionable right around the height of the feuding (in the 1470s), he thinks because the franconians wanted to redirect the rambunctious behaviors of the young men from the rather destructive feuding to an activity that was (somewhat) less harmful to everyone involved — but in a way that they could still show off for the ladies. (~_^)

here are some excerpts from The Feud in Early Modern Germany [pgs. 78, 84-85, 91-94, 96, 98-100]:

“Between 1440 and 1570 Franconian nobles conducted 278 feuds. Plotting the incidence of feuding in Franconia over these years shows that violence was rising steeply from 1440 onwards until it peaked in the years 1460-79. The level of violence declined in the next two decades (1480-99), but then rose again to a second though lower peak in 1500-9. After this date feuding began to dwindle until it died out after 1570….

noble's feuds in franconia, 1440-1570 [zmora]

“The correlation between status and reproductive success has been confirmed for other regional or local nobilities in Germany of the same period. As Joachim Schneider has shown, the proportion of the elite families in Electoral Saxony rose from 16 per cent in 1445 to 27 per cent in 1527, whereas the proportion of individuals nobles from these families rose from 23 per cent to 36 per cent. Furthermore, examining the top six families, Schneider has found that the average number of persons in such families rose from 5.33 in 1454 to 9.83 in 1527/30 – a figure nearly four times higher than that of the other families in the elite of Electoral Saxony. Still, even this impressive figure was just about one half of the average of 17.5 persons in the six top families of the Wurzburg Lehenhof in 1495-1506 [i.e. in franconia]….

“It is now finally possible to draw some conclusions as to the families of those who feuded in the 1470s. Of the 37 Franconian families from which the feuders originated, 22 (59.5 per cent) were of high status, whether defined by princely service or by the possession of high-quality feudal property, or both. Given the close correlation between status and reproductive success, it can be assumed with a high degree of confidence that most of these 22 families had enjoyed — or rather suffered from — the demographic growth that was such a notable characteristic of this group in the second half of the fifteenth century…. Nobles from leading families were also the majority of those who feuded against princes in that decade (11 out of 16). In other words, the feuding scene in the 1470s was dominated by the large, wealthy, pre-eminent families.

“These families were victims of their own success, reproductive and otherwise. Their predicament was compounded by the fact that lordship-conferring fiefs, at the same time as they were becoming scarce relative to the number of progeny, were increasingly becoming the principal form of landholding. For between 1300 and 1500, and especially in the fifteenth century, Franconia underwent a process of feudalisation: fiefs proliferated because noblemen tended more and more to transform allodial property into fiefs to be then received from the princes…. As a result, the economic and social importance of fiefs, and in particular of lordship-conferring fiefs, cannot but have grown. Indeed, it has been demonstrated that feudal property was a factor of selection in the struggle of noble families for survival: families which had endured into the sixteenth century are conspicuously overrepresented in the Top Stratum of the Wurzburg Lehenhof; in fact, these families made up no less than 92 per cent of the Top Stratum in 1455-66 and 98 per cent in 1495-1519. The conclusion seems inevitable that the increase in the weight of fiefs in the property portfolio of elite families, coupled with the increase in the average number of males in such families, must have put a substantial strain on their resources. It seems hardly surprising that these families became entagled in numerous conflicts and that the spate of feuds in the 1470s was largely their doing….

It may not be implausible to conjecture that the build-up of demographic pressure in elite families exacerbated competition not just over property but also over access to women. In one sense this is a tautology. These two types of competition are not as far apart as one might be tempted to believe. Aristotle Onassis is credited with the dictum that ‘if women didn’t exist, all the money in the world would have no meaning’….

“This is where feuds could come in. As a previous chapter has suggested, in a social environment shaped by relationships of inimical intimacy, feuds functioned, among other things, as cues designed not only to deter rivals but also to attract potential allies, including prospective marriage partners. As signals, feuds had the important advantage of being hard to fake: because they were costly — in the short run often conspicuously wasteful — undertakings, they provided clues as to the feuder’s economic situation; because they could not be carried out without the support of family, friends and followers, they advertised the extent and quality of the feuders’ social network; and because they involved real risks and at times demanded sheer physical courage, they conveyed information on the character of the man. In short, they exhibited traits that indicated wealth, personality and fitness all at once. Now it may be assumed that such signals grew all the more valuable as this social environment became crowded and as the precise landed resources that were critical for preserving ‘name and bloodline’ became ever scarcer. In these circumstances of heightened competition, feuds could be used to provide evidence of one’s ability to set up and maintain a household, or to provide one’s offspring with the means to do so.

“Contests over women as a major cause of violence between men is a universal human theme. It is a matter of nature, not of nuture. No society has managed to do without it, and for a good reason. The reward of success is huge: reproductive success. One of the most violent societies studied by anthroplogists provides a remarkable example: Yanomamo men who killed other men have more wives than their peaceful brethren. While such valorisation of aggression may be extreme, and indeed translates into an exceptionally high rate of fatalities, the basic attitude which underlies it is by no means confined to the Amazon rainforest. Sexual rivalries between men are also a major motive for homicide in monogamous Western societies. How far a link of this kind between violence and mating is true of feuding nobles in late medieval society is difficult to ascertain. A helpful intimation, however, is offered, yet again, by Wilwolt von Schaumberg. His biography touches on this issue in a crucial passage whose subject matter, tellingly, is feuds in Franconia:

“‘Since this war came to an end and Wilwolt von Schaumberg had nothing to do either for himself or for his relations, the time was one of minor raids. As such clashes seldom cease in the land of Franconia, some barons and nobles who were at loggerheads captured fortified places, burned down villages, and seized cattle … Wilwolt determinedly served his good companions who asked for [his help] in these affairs … and he made a big name (gross geschrai) for himself and earned recognition from the princes and the nobles….’

The association here between violence and sex is explicit: feuding is not just about legal claims, nor just about earning the esteem of princes and fellow noblemen. It is also about impressing women, or rather impressing women’s fathers. In fact, Wilwolt’s biographer, the otherwise eminently sober Ludwig von Eyb, went further: the story of Wilwolt’s adventurous military life culminates in his wedding ceremony, described at the very end of the book. The hero has arrived. He has gained enough prestige and wealth to attract the daughter of one of the richest and most respected nobles in Franconia. The event is modelled on princely weddings, lavish and glamorous, with allegedly one thousand guests, some very prominent, and the indispensable paraphernalia of tourneying and dancing, where one could see ‘eighty-six elegant women and maidens’.

“Some supportive evidence for a possible link between feuding and mating indeed comes from tournaments, especially those of the Four Lands — Franconia, Bavaria, Swabia and the Rhineland. Initiated and organised by the nobles themselves, the tournaments of the Four Lands began in 1479, that is precisely at the end of that decade in which feuds between nobles reaches an unprecedented level. There are indeed some hints that these tournaments originated as a response to the rampant violence.”

previously: early medieval bavarians and feuds & honor killings

(note: comments do not require an email. tournament.)

late linkfest again! sorry. (*^_^*)

Group Selection (and homosexuality) and Homosexuality, epigenetics, and zebras – from greg cochran. also, from jayman -
A Gay Germ? Is Homophobia a Clue?

The Trouble with Epigenetics (Part 1)“[E]ven though epigenetic mechanisms may be involved in maintaining some stable traits over the lifetime of the animal, they are just that: mechanisms. Not causes. Epigenetics is not a source of variance, it is part of the mechanism whereby certain environmental factors or experiences have their effects.” (in other words, epigenetics is not magic.)

DNA ‘identichip’ gives a detailed picture of a suspect“The VisiGen team tested the chip on more than 3000 DNA samples collected around the world, and found that it was 99 per cent accurate at predicting gender. The chip also predicted European or East Asian ancestry with an accuracy of 97 per cent, and African ancestry in 88 per cent of cases. However, it was only 63 per cent accurate at predicting blond hair….”

What did our ancestors look like?“A new method of establishing hair and eye colour from modern forensic samples can also be used to identify details from ancient human remains….”

Black homicide rates by state – from the awesome epigone. compare to his White homicide rates by state. also, from hail: White Murder Rates by U.S. State, 1960 (vs. 2010).

People With Brown Eyes Appear More Trustworthy, But That’s Not The Whole Story“‘Brown-eyed individuals tend to be perceived as more trustworthy than blue-eyed ones,’ explain the authors. ‘But it is not brown eyes that cause this perception. It is the facial morphology linked to brown eyes.'” – see also dienekes.

Networking Ability a Family Trait in Monkeys“Social behaviors have been acted on by natural selection”

Cheating — and getting away with it“Scientists have found a gene that allows amoebae to pass on more than their fair share of their genes but doesn’t make them less fit in other ways”

Banded mongooses structure monosyllabic sounds in a similar way to humans

America’s Real Criminal Element: Lead“New research finds Pb is the hidden villain behind violent crime, lower IQs, and even the ADHD epidemic.” – maybe.

Darwin Was Wrong About Dating – maybe.

How Did Humans Figure Out That Sex Makes Babies?

bonus: #overlyhonestmethods is the PostSecret of the science world, and it is amazing – heh. (^_^)

overlyhonestmethods

bonus bonus: Why I Am Not an Atheist – from kanazawa.

bonus bonus bonus: Immigrant mothers in Britain could be aborting unwanted girls, ministers admit after study of birth rates

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Why is gingerism so common in Britain? – from ed west.

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: China’s one-child law: Less competitive adults?

(note: comments do not require an email. now that’s what i call a BIG turban!)

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