Archives for posts with tag: south americans

Born to run: genetic test can reveal those best able to run marathons“[T]o run a marathon in a good time requires the right combination of genes and that nearly a fifth of the population lack this special mix. For runners with the right genes, it means their bodies can quickly adapt to carry large amounts of oxygen to their muscles, allowing them to run faster and for longer. Those who lack these genes, however, will never improve, no matter how much they train, and their performance may even get worse the harder they push themselves.”

Scientists Breed Exercise-Crazy Rats“While a wide biological gap exists between humans and rats, the researchers do propose that some people could be genetically predisposed against exercising.”

Genetic discovery found to influence obesity in people of African ancestry

New Studies Shake Up Human Family Tree“[I]n a spate of new studies, paleoanthropologist Lee Berger, of the University of the Witwatersrand, and a team of collaborators have put forward a controversial claim that another hominin — *Australopithecus sediba* — might be even closer to the origin of our lineage [than *australopithecus afarensis,* the most famous example being "lucy"]….” — see also: Special Collection – Australopithecus sediba @science.

Fish Fossil Shows Why Humans Have Two Arms, Legs

Castaways“We may have yet another story of long-distance prehistoric contact. A new paper in PLOS genetics suggests that people from the Jomon culture in Japan may have reached northwestern South America.” – from greg cochran. also from south america: Southern Native American Y-DNA: no correlation with language – @for what they were…we are.

Fluctuation of Fertility with Number in a Real Insect Population and a Virtual Population“Real fruit fly fertility increases with average consanguinity thus decreasing with population size in a pattern that is modelled successfully with a virtual population. This invites the deliberate manipulation of wild insect populations for the control of vectors of human disease.” – from our very own linton herbert! yay! (^_^)

Do drugs for bipolar disorder ‘normalize’ brain gene function? U-M study suggests so“Brain tissue study shows gene expression in patients treated with antipsychotics is similar to expression in non-bipolar brains.”

Serenity“If the realities of human nature render your hope on how to make a better world impossible, merely wishing it were not so is not going to help your cause. But instead, better results can be attained to by working *with* what we learn about human nature.” – from jayman. hear, hear!

HVGIQ: Dominican Republic – from jason malloy.

Napoleon Chagnon’s “Noble Savages” – The Life of an Anthropological Heretic“Napoleon Chagnon’s ‘Noble Savages’ is a must read.” – from helian unbound.

Frequent texters more shallow, racist, study finds – w.e.i.r.d. students. (psychology students, no less! (~_^) ) also: Texting, social networking and other media use linked to poor academic performance.

Study: we assume people stare at us“People often think that other people are staring at them even when they aren’t, vision scientists have found. In a new article in Current Biology, researchers at The Vision Centre reveal that, when in doubt, the human brain is more likely to tell its owner that they’re under the gaze of another person.”

Political organization in a hunter-gatherer tribe – @mangan’s.

First Encounters of the Close Kind: John Derbyshire’s Address To The 2013 American Renaissance Conference – from john derbyshire.

Jared Taylor Remembers Philippe Rushton and Arthur Jensen

Our Inconsistent Ethical Instincts – read also: The Pro-Death Movement from jim goad – “[T]here’s an almost universal human definition of good and evil: If it enhances my survival, it’s good. If it harms it, it’s evil.” – yup.

Individual Donation Amounts Drop When Givers Are in Groups, Says MU Researcher“Numerous studies have provided evidence that people are less likely to help when in groups, a phenomenon known as the ‘bystander effect.’” – see also this old post from steve sailer: Chinese kindness.

The Fraud Of America’s “Rape Culture” – from anatoly. see also his earlier post Much Ado About Rape: Quantifying A Big Taboo“[I]t is ironic that the public panic over rape and sexual assault has risen to fever pitch at precisely the moment in history when the real lifetime risk of becoming a victim of rape has never been lower.”

Monkey chatter smacks of human speech, researcher says

How Parents Around the World Describe Their Children, in Charts“A fascinating new study reveals that Americans are more likely to call their children ‘intelligent,’ while European parents focus on happiness and balance.”

DNA Shows It: Birds Are Promiscuous“Here’s the warm and fuzzy part of this column: most birds really do mate for life. But here’s the cold side: They mess around. And here’s the switch: Blame the ladies.”

How to blackmail your parents for food“Fledglings extort food by putting themselves in danger.”

When Animals Mourn: Seeing That Grief Is Not Uniquely Human – cr*p. i hate sad animal stories. *sniff*

Hawking: Humans Will Not Survive Another 1,000 Years ‘Without Escaping’ Earthmanifest destiny!

In Defence of Pseudonyms in Science: Defending the Right to Write

bonus: read this!>> Sam Parnia – the man who could bring you back from the dead“This British doctor specialises in resurrection and insists outdated resuscitation techniques are squandering lives that could be saved.”

bonus bonus: James Lovelock: A man for all seasons – lovelock thinks there are too many people on the planet.

bonus bonus bonus: and this week’s “bras in the news” stories >> Bras Make Breasts “Saggier”, 15-year French [of course! - h.chick] Study Reveals and How your under-wired bra could kill you… if you’re a keen walker“Metal in under-wired bras can cause compasses to be reversed because of the magnetic effect”. (sorry, no naked boobies at either of those pages.)

(note: comments do not require an email. naked boobies!)

in this past sunday’s linkfest, i posted a link to an article about how some researchers found that the ‘big five’ personality traits don’t really seem to apply to some south american hunter-gatherers — the tsimané. i have to admit that i didn’t really pay close attention to the report until jayman commented on it (thnx, jayman!). what the researchers apparently found is that tsimané personality traits don’t fall into a big set of five categories, but rather a ‘big two.’

from the original research article [pdf - pg. 10+]:

“Evidence for the five-factor structure of personality among the Tsimane of Bolivia is weak. Internal reliability is generally below levels found in developed countries. The five-factor model did not cleanly emerge in any of the exploratory or confirmatory factor analyses, and Procrustean rotations did not produce strong congruence with a U.S. sample. Procrustes analysis, which is arguably the most forgiving test for replication of the FFM (McCrae et al., 1996), yielded an average congruence coefficient of 0.62. This is well below the benchmark of 0.90 and considerably less than most congruence scores found in other cross-cultural applications of the Big Five (McCrae et al., 2005; Schmitt et al., 2007)….

“Exploratory factor analysis yields a personality structure that is largely distinct from the Big Five….

“The internal reliability of the first two derived factors in Table 5 (five-factor solution) and Table S1 (unrestricted factor solution) is high, supporting the possibility of a ‘Tsimane Big Two’ organized according to prosociality and industriousness, as described above. These two factors show significant response stability; response stability for the first derived factor is stronger than for any of the Big Five…. However, these Big Two are not the two higher order factors of Digman (1997), characterized as stability and plasticity by DeYoung (2006), which neatly subsume the Big Five by merging Extraversion with Openness and Agreeableness with Conscientiousness and Neuroticism. Our factors instead cut across the Big Five domains. These results are consistent with the findings of Ashton, Lee, Goldberg, and de Vries (2009), where higher order factors emerge because lower order facets load onto multiple factors. Not only do we find that items load onto multiple factors, but the loading coefficients in our exploratory factor analyses are generally lower than those found in previous studies of the Big Five.

“Our findings provide evidence that the Big Five model does not apply to the Tsimane. Our findings also bring into sharper focus past reports from developing societies where the FFM was not clearly replicated. Of the 50 countries reported in McCrae et al. (2005), only India, Morocco, Botswana, and Nigeria produced average congruence scores less than 0.90. The lowest congruence scores reported by McCrae et al. are 0.53 and 0.56 for Openness in Botswana and Nigeria, respectively. In the African and South Asian countries from Schmitt et al. (2007), internal reliability for Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness is similar to what we report for the Tsimane. Because the samples from the developing countries in Schmitt et al. and McCrae et al. are
primarily college students, more representative samples from these countries may have produced even lower congruence scores and internal reliability.”

so, the big five maybe don’t fit some other populations, either! hmmmm. curiouser and curioser.

again, i have to admit that i haven’t thought very much about this, but i feel kinda dumb right now in that i think i’ve been forgetting first principles when it comes to these personality things, namely, human biodiversity! why should we suppose that all human societies everywhere will fit into the big five categorizations? we shouldn’t be assuming that at all!

but jayman’s already neatly summed up the problems with personality research and hbd, so there’s no need for me to repeat what he’s said:

“While the HEXACO model is interesting, and certainly feels more ‘complete’ than the Big Five, I will say that personality research in general still has a *long* way to go, hence I don’t put too much faith in such models (or most ‘models’ in social science, for that matter). A big part of the problem is that too much of psychological research has been done on WEIRD people, and even then on the segment of those who are college students, and this has been a major stumbling block in trying to gauge the gamut of human behaviors….”

just to note, in the tsimané article, the researchers point out that “most studies of the FFM have been restricted to literate, urban populations, which are uncharacteristic of the majority of human evolutionary history.” they also say that their study of tsimané personality types using the five-factor model is the FIRST done on an illiterate, indigenous society. oh, dear.

more from jayman…

“HBD Chick, more than most, has demonstrated the importance of sometimes very specific behavioral traits, which are quite heritable. Muslim honor killing is one such example (where does that fit in HEXACO?). It’s very clear that standard personality tests do not capture heritable behavioral traits that are of great significance.

“Indeed, it may turn out that it may not be possible to boil down human behavioral traits into simple dimensional systems because the range of behavioral traits is so great, and encompasses behavioral responses designed for fairly specific situations (which sounds almost like a sacrilege coming out of a reductionist like me); for example, how does one account for the ideological divide between libertarian liberalism of Anglo societies and collectivism/communism of Eastern Europe and China on the other (a divide, which, itself, is really only relevant for highly organized societies with a long history of civilization and agriculture)?

“Perhaps one day they’ll cook up a system that can broadly encompass the range of behavior, but that day is not today.”

(note: comments do not require an email. tsimané fellow.)

the yąnomamö of brazil/venezuela:

these guys are the un-semai — from steven pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature:

“Helena Valero, a woman who had been abducted by the Yanomamö in the Venezuelan rain forest in the 1930s, recounted one of their raids:

“‘Meanwhile from all sides the women continued to arrive with their children, whom the other Karawetari had captured…. Then the men began to kill the children; little ones, bigger ones, they killed many of them. They tried to run away, but they caught them, and threw them on the ground, and stuck them with bows, which went through their bodies and rooted them to the ground. Taking the smallest by the feet, they beat them against the trees and rocks. . . . All the women wept.’”

yikes. =/

according to pinker, the annual yąnomamö death rate due to warfare was something like 275 out of 100,000 in the mid-twentieth century. definitely higher numbers than the semai:

pinker - war deaths per 100,000 people per year - the yanomamo

warfare here, of course, refers to battles between villages (perhaps, too, between alliances of villages — i don’t know — haven’t finished reading the book yet!). and because there is so much violence between villages, the yąnomamö have to be wary [pg. 131]:

“Daily activities begin early in a Yanomamo village. One can hear people chatting lazily and children crying long before it is light enough to see. Most people are awakened by the cold and build up the fire just before daybreak….

“The entrances are all covered with dry brush so that any attempt to get through them is heard all over the village. There is always a procession of people leaving the village at dawn to relieve themselves in the nearby garden, and the noise they make going in and out of the village usually awakens the others….

This is also the time of day when raiders strike, so people must be cautious when they leave the village at dawn. If there is some reason to suspect raiders, they do not leave the confines of the upright log palisade that surrounds the village. They wait instead until full light and leave the village in armed groups.”

would it surprise you to learn that the yąnomamö are pretty closely inbred? from pinker:

“Among the Yanomamo … two individuals picked at random from a village are related almost as closely as first cousins, and people who consider each other relatives are related, on average, even more closely.”

the yąnomamö prefer to marry their first cousins — specifically their cross cousins, outside their patrilineage, but within the village. from chagnon [pgs. 141, 144, & 150]:

“[M]en [can] marry only those women they put into the kinship category *suaboya.* By collecting genealogies that showed who was related to whom in specific ways, it was then possible to specify any man’s ‘nonmarriageable’ and ‘marriageable’ female kin. As it turned out, men could marry only those women who fell into the category of kin we would call ‘cross-cousin.’ These are, from a man’s point of view, the daughters of his mother’s brother or the daughters of his father’s sister…. The rule, therefore, is that the Yanomamo marry bilateral cross-cousins. Bilateral means ‘both sides,’ that is, father’s *and* mother’s side of the family. From their vantage, therefore, one of their marriage rules is, ‘Men should marry their *suaboya*.’ In a very real sense, this is like saying ‘We marry our wives,’ for men call their wives and their female cross-cousins suaboya. Thus, to ask, ‘Whom do you marry?’ seems somewhat peculiar to them. They marry their wives, as real people are supposed to do….

“The general Yanomamo rule about marriage, insofar as it can be phrased in terms of descent rule, is simply that everyone *must* marry outside of his or her own patrilineal group. The Yanomamo patrilineage is, therefore, an exogamic group: All members must marry outside of it into a different patrilineage…. In Yanomamo society, one’s cross-cousins will always belong to a different lineage but parallel cousins will belong to your own lineage….

“Each person belongs to the patrilineage of his or her father, and all men marry women who are *simultaneously* their Father’s Sister’s Daughters (hereafter FZD) *and* their Mother’s Brother’s Daughters (hereafter MBD). …

“The ‘ideal’ model presented above (Figure 4.8) represents each man as marrying a woman who is simultaneously his MBD and FZD. In actual practice, this rarely happens, largely because of physiological and demographic reasons…. What *does* happen is that men marry women who are sometimes FZDs or sometimes MBDs.

how long have they been mating like this? who knows?

read more about yąnomamö marriage patterns here.

now, excuse me a sec while i indulge my other pet interest: the types of houses that different peoples construct for themselves (and their families). we saw before that quite a few cousin marrying populations live in homes that exclude outsiders (courtyard houses, for instance), while non-cousin marrying populations like the english live in homes that sorta invite outsiders in (like around the village green).

what sort of houses do you think the yąnomamö live in (traditionally anyway — hint: a shabono — more cool pics via google)?:


from chagnon again [pg. 131]:

Kaobawa’s village is oval shaped. His house is located among those of his agnatic kinsmen, that is, men related through males ties. The occupy a continuous arc along one side of the village. Each builds his own section of the village, but in such a way that the roofs coincided and could be attached by simply extending the thatching. When completed, the village looked like a continuous, oval-shaped lean-to because of the way in which the roofs of the discrete houses were attached. Each house, however, is owned by the family that built it. Shararaiwa, Kaobawa’s youngest brother, helped build Kaobaw’s house and shares it with him. He also shares Koamashima, Kaobawa’s younger wife….”

apparently, there can be several shabonos in one village. the way that the extended family/clan’s houses all open on to the family’s central yard, and the houses’ backs face out to the world in a very uninviting way to strangers, reminds me of other inbred groups’ clan houses — like the hakka walled villages of southern china. those two — the shabonos and the hakka walled villages — are both even defensive in nature — the shabonos have a pallisade around them.

h/t henry harpending. (^_^)

previously: when did you stop beating your wife? and the semai and there’s no place like home

(note: comments do not require an email. yąnomamö kid.)

from The Yanomamo by napoleon chagnon [pgs. 126-27]:

“Women must respond quickly to the demands of their husbands and even anticipate their needs. It is interesting to watch the behavior of women when their husbands return from a hunting trip or a visit. The men march dramatically and proudly across the village and retire silently into their hammocks, especially when they bring home desirable food items. The women, no matter what they are doing, hurry home and quietly but rapidly prepare a meal. Should the wife be slow at doing this, some irate husbands scold them or even beat them.

“Most physical reprimands meted out take the form of blows with the hand or with a piece of firewood, but a good many husbands are more severe. Some of them chop their wives with the sharp edge of a machete or ax or shoot them with a barbed arrow in some nonvital area, such as the buttocks or leg. Some men are given to punishing their wives by holding the glowing end of a piece of firewood against them, producing painful and serious burns. The punishment is usually, however, more consistent with the perceived seriousness of the wife’s shortcomings, more drastic measures being reserved for infidelity or suspicion of infidelity. It is not uncommon for a man to injure his sexually errant wife seriously and some men have even killed wives for infidelity by shooting them with an arrow.

Women who are not too severely treated might even measure their husband’s concern in terms of the frequency of minor physical reprimands they sustain. I overheard two young women discussing each other’s scalp scars. One of them commented that the other’s husband must really care for her since he has beaten her on the head so frequently!

“A woman can usually depend on her brothers for protection. They will defend her against a cruel husband. If a man is too severe to a wife, her brothers may take the woman away from him and giver her to another man. It is largely for this reason that women usually abhor the possibility of being married off to men in distant villages; they know that their brothers cannot protect them under these circumstances. Women who have married a cross-cousin have an easier llife, for they are related to their husbands by cognatic ties of kinship as well as by marriage. Bahimi is, for example, Kaobawa’s Mother’s Brother’s Daughter (MBD), and their marital relationship is very tranquil. He does punish Bahimi occasionally, but never cruelly. Some men, however, seem to think that it is reasonable to beat their wife once in a while as if the objective is ‘just to keep her on her toes.’”

yanamamo men married to their mbds (or any cousin) will prolly physically hurt their wives less, on average, than men not married to theirs since the man+mbd couples are more related to one another than the non-cousins couples. wouldn’t make any sense for lots of excessive (i.e. lethal) violence towards very close relatives to have been selected for. (although see below.)

however, the fact that there is quite a bit of violence towards women in yanomamo society (yes, i know that there’s a lot of violence in yanomamo society in general), and the fact that yanomamo women prefer to marry close to home, reminds me of arab/middle eastern/maghrebian/ mashriqian/south asian muslim societies where very close marriage (fbd marriage) is the preferred form.

very close marriage is also preferred in yanomamo society, albeit of a different form (the preferred form is not parallel-cousin marriage like the arabs, but cross-cousin marriage to a mbd, but since two clans usually exchange brides exclusively — or that’s the ideal anyway — a man’s mbd is also often his father’s sister’s daughter [fzd] as well. i’ll explain it in a later post — for now, see here.)

my impression is that when you have a lot of very close marriage, you get what i’ve (jokingly) dubbed inclusive-inclusive fitness behaviors like honor killings and the like — extreme forms of “altruistic” behaviors in which even family members can be sacrificed for the benefit of the remaining family members. weird, but true (i think). i think the killing of unfaithful yanomamo wives by husbands who are usually relatives of some sort is another example of this. on the other hand, maybe it’s just that the yanomamo have an extremely strong violent streak.

more on the yanomamo anon!

see also: Domestic violence gets evolutionary explanation

(note: comments do not require an email. yanomamo girl.)

Can You Predict a Monkey’s Social Status by Looking at Its Genes?“Does one’s social stature change how one’s genes are expressed. Yes, concludes a new study that used differences in gene expression to identify a monkey’s social status with around 80 percent accuracy.”

Disliking races may be a personality trait“[I]f a person dislikes one group, he tends to have comparatively cool feelings for all groups, even his own.” – from the inductivist.

More thoughts on genetic load – from greg cochran.

Listen up, parents: For toddlers (and chimps), the majority rules“2-year-olds and chimpanzees are more likely to copy actions when they see them repeated by three of their peers than if they see the same action done by one peer three times.”

Dark coloration and male aggressiveness: Is there a link? – from peter frost.

A gaping hole in the Master’s evolutionary theory – chuck @the occidentalist presents evidence that he says suggests that “there are, at most, small genetic differences, with respect to intelligence, between Black and White adults born, respectively, in Africa and in Europe.”

The Downside of Higher IQ – from dennis mangan, esq.

Genetic Variant Influences Brain Size, Intelligence – from parapundit.

What’s in a surname? New study explores what the evolution of names reveals about China“‘When it comes to surnames the Chinese people are unique. 1.28 billion people share 7,327surnames. In fact the 100 most common names account for 85% of the population,’ said Dr Chen. ‘This means Chinese surnames include more cultural and genetic information than in most other countries….’ The team found the highest levels of surname diversity at the Yangtze River basin, particularly around the middle and lower reaches of the river. The team believes this is due to multiple large migrations throughout Chinese history.”

Fire-free land use in pre-1492 Amazonian savannas“Our combined pollen, phytolith, and charcoal analyses reveal unexpectedly low levels of biomass burning associated with pre-A.D. 1492 savanna raised-field agriculture and a sharp increase in fires following the arrival of Europeans.”

More than 20% of Irish children ‘hear voices’“More than one in five Irish children between 11 and 13 have reported hearing voices, a sign some experts believe is a risk factor in mental illness.”

Study Finds Significant Skull Differences Between Closely Linked Groups“The researchers looked at the skulls of 27 women and 28 men who died in Lisbon, Portugal, between 1880 and 1975. They also evaluated the skulls of 40 women and 39 men who died between 1895 and 1903 in the rural area of Coimbra, just over 120 miles north of Lisbon. The researchers found significant variation between female skulls from Lisbon and those from Coimbra.”

bonus: “Race-Baiting” … and Its Discontents – good one from richard spencer.

bonus bonus: On Dinosaur Time“Less time separates us from Tyrannosaurus rex than separated T. rex from Stegosaurus.” – cool!

bonus bonus bonus: Water, water everywhere – but is it essential to life?“New research by scientists at the University of Bristol has challenged one of the key beliefs in chemistry: that proteins are dependent on water to survive and function.”

(note: comments do not require an email. xkcd’s lakes and oceans.)

Sickle-cell mystery solved“Researchers discover how carriers of the sickle-cell anaemia gene are protected from malaria.”

The Western European marriage pattern – @evoandproud.

How Humans Became Social

Study: Flynn effect is not caused by hybrid vigor – @the inductivist.

Behavioral Economics Foils an Obama Tax Cut?

Women see naked men differently too – women objectify men, too! who knew?! (well, i did… (~_^) )

Crowds R Us

Researchers find risk-taking behavior rises until age 50“Women and men follow the same trajectory, with men more willing to compete, through the lifespan.”

According to, the Hispanic community is the fastest growing community when it comes to infidelity – @diversity is chaos.

35% of men from rural Brazil have had sex with an animal, study finds

A Black Gift for Politics? – from the derb.

bonus: These May Be The Droids Farmers Are Looking For – we need more of these!

bonus bonus: Is the tide turning against the killing of ‘cursed’ infants in Ethiopia?

bonus bonus bonus: Harrison Bergeron – h/t anonymous for the link!

(note: comments do not require an email. edit: insert your own witty joke here since i forgot to!)


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