linkfest – 02/26/12

In the genes, but which ones?“‘As is the case with other traits, like height, there are probably thousands of genes and their variants that are associated with intelligence…. And there may be other genetic effects beyond the single gene effects – there could be interactions between genes, there could be interactions between genes and the environment.'”

Drinking Alcohol Shrinks Critical Brain Regions in Genetically Vulnerable Mice“[D]opamine receptors, known as DRD2, may play a protective role against alcohol-induced brain damage.”

Racial differences in childhood myopia – from the inductivist.

Lactase Persistence and Understanding History – from henry harpending.

Rethinking the social structure of ancient Eurasian nomads: Current Anthropology research“[E]arly pastoral nomads grew distinct economies across the steppes and mountains of Eurasia and triggered the formation of some the earliest and most extensive networks of interaction in prehistory.”

The emoticon on your face“[R]esearchers are suggesting that happy and sad expressions are not basic, evolutionary responses that take the same form all over the world, but cultural categories that we create from a much more complex emotional reservoir.”

A Sip for the Ancestors: The True Story of Civilization’s Stumbling Debt to Beer and Fungus – great series! i recommend reading them all (links at the top of the article i linked to here). (^_^)

Zoologger: The bird that cares for its rival’s chicks

bonus: NASA Will Pay You to Eat Astronaut Food for 4 Months

bonus bonus: The Bruce effect – why some pregnant monkeys abort when new males arrive

bonus bonus bonus: Dead for 32,000 Years, an Arctic Plant Is Revived

(note: comments do not require an email. pukeko?)

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29 Comments

  1. NASA Will Pay You to Eat Astronaut Food for 4 Months

    http://manoa.hawaii.edu/hi-seas/

    “Crew Selection
    Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, in engineering, biological or physical sciences, mathematics, or computer science.
    Professional experience (including graduate school) of at least three years beyond the bachelor’s degree”

    Cries.

    I’d go on a manned mission to Mars even if it was one-way only.

    Reply

  2. @g.w. – “I’d go on a manned mission to Mars even if it was one-way only.”

    there are many days that i feel the same way. many. (^_^)

    Reply

  3. Thanks for the Lactase Persistence link, very interesting. Their chapter about LP and the Indo-European expansion in ‘10,000 Year Explosion’ just hooked me. Around the same time, I read this piece by Maciamo over at Eupedia about haplotypes in Europe and how they link up with recorded history and archeaology re: the purported Indo-European expansion. (complete with awesome haplotype maps)

    I’d always just sort of stupidly assumed today’s Europeans were all mostly descended from peoples present in Europe since the pre-Neolithic, so to imagine that a lot of our DNA could come from folks who actually moved in during & after the Bronze Age was an eye-opener.

    I thought someone had written a book pretty recently all about the Indo-European expansion (based on archeaology/DNA/recorded history) that I very much wanted to buy, but I can’t find the reference for it anymore.

    Reply

  4. @m.g. – “I’d always just sort of stupidly assumed today’s Europeans were all mostly descended from peoples present in Europe since the pre-Neolithic….”

    well, it wasn’t just you. a lot of people — including academics (and me) — have thought that!

    Reply

  5. Re: A Sip for the Ancestors: The True Story of Civilization’s Stumbling Debt to Beer and Fungus

    The ambrosia fungi have evolved the ability to get beetles carry them from one piece of dead wood to another.

    That statement is ridiculous. Fungi has evolved control over beetles? And I supposed tomatoes evolved the ability to get their seeds washed down the drain (or flush down the toilet, and sprout up in the middle of septic drain field in the yard where they were sure to be chopped up by the lawn mower.

    And yes I know that is a method of seed dispersal for many seeds.

    But the thing is we can only guess at how things evolved to be how they are.
    The chicken and the egg…..

    Reply

  6. M.G
    “I thought someone had written a book pretty recently all about the Indo-European expansion”

    You might mean this.

    “The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World”

    Reply

  7. Four months with limited showers eating crap for an equivalent of $15K annual? Why the hell would anyone bother getting bachelor’s degree in either math, engineering, biological or physical sciences, or computer science if they are willing to waste their time like that? NASA is stupid for offering so little. They will end up getting mostly bums and morons.

    Reply

  8. “if they are willing to waste their time like that?”

    It’s not wasted if it helps get a manned mission to Mars – not to me anyway. To me it would be time better spent than any other way i can think of – apart from ones involving a harem.

    Reply

  9. “I’d always just sort of stupidly assumed today’s Europeans were all mostly descended from peoples present in Europe since the pre-Neolithic”

    I dunno. Seems like a reasonable assumption if you don’t have any other information on the topic.

    There’re also many people who believe that the first Africans were black, which technically isn’t true either (the early Africans looked like Bushmen, with modern “black” Africans arising relatively recently in West Africa, and spreading out and replacing the Pygmy and Khoisan races).

    Reply

  10. M.G
    “Around the same time, I read this piece by Maciamo over at Eupedia about haplotypes in Europe and how they link up with recorded history and archeaology re: the purported Indo-European expansion. (complete with awesome haplotype maps)”

    Especially when you compare them to some of the things discussed here e.g.

    note the northern distribution’s alignment with a lot of the recent posts

    and my personal fave which is the alignment of R1b with rainfall aka cow-country.

    Reply

  11. “note the northern distribution’s [of Hap I] alignment with a lot of the recent posts”

    also the overlay between the distribution of Hap I and the northern plains that stretch from eastern England to Western Poland

    (big and slow loading but it illustrates the physical geography aspect very clearly)

    and the overlay with the reformation

    and the overlay with the “weak family” zone of Reher

    http://www.geps.es/uploads/tx_geps/032_Reher_Family_in_Europe_PDR.pdf

    which makes me wonder if the I haplotype is related to a people who had some cultural difference which magnified the effect of the cousin-ban and manorialism within their range.

    Reply

  12. @g.w. – “which makes me wonder if the I haplotype is related to a people who had some cultural difference which magnified the effect of the cousin-ban and manorialism within their range.”

    maybe the i-haplotype peoples started off (in europe) with a different set of “genes for sociality/altruism” — and then they couldn’t go down the same evolutionary path as other peoples in europe?

    dunno. shot in the dark!

    Reply

  13. @rjp – “‘The ambrosia fungi have evolved the ability to get beetles carry them from one piece of dead wood to another.”

    “That statement is ridiculous. Fungi has evolved control over beetles?”

    well, they may have. there are definitely fungi out there that control the brains, and therefore the behaviors, of their hosts.

    the ambrosia fungus is certainly a symbiont of the ambrosia beetle. who knows? maybe they are controlling the beetles somehow? doesn’t look like this is understood at this point in time, though.

    Reply

  14. @Greying Wanderer
    “The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World”

    Yes! That’s it. Thank you!

    @Georgia Resident

    You’re right, what I meant was “I’d always blithely assumed…”, think I was doing some bad back-translating from French there, désolée. It’s not an unintelligent assumption, just an easy one.

    Reply

  15. and my personal fave which is the alignment of R1b with rainfall aka cow-country.

    That’s pretty striking, the overlay between strong Celtic presence, R1b, and rain/cows on the western fringe of Europe.

    and the overlay with the reformation

    Yes, like you said it’s striking to look at the Reformation overlaid with just subclade I1.

    Some thoughts on I1 from Eupedia:

    Haplogroup I1 (formerly I1a) is the most common I subclade. It is found mostly in Scandinavia and Northern Germany, where it can represent over 35% of the population. Associated with the Norse ethnicity, it is found in all places invaded by the ancient Germanic tribes and the Vikings.

    During the Neolithic period, pre-I1 and I1 people were part of the sucessive Ertebølle culture (5300-3950 BCE) and Funnelbeaker culture (4000-2700 BCE). The Corded Ware period (3200-1800 BCE) marks the arrival of the Indo-European R1a people from the Ukrainian steppes.

    I1 is identified by at least 15 unique mutations, which indicates that this lineage has been isolated for a long period of time, or experienced a serious population bottleneck. Although the first mutation splitting I1 away from I2 may have arisen as long as 20,000 years ago, people belonging to this haplogroup all descend from a single man who lived betweeb 10,000 and 5,000 years ago. This corresponds to the arrival of the Indo-European, suggesting that a high percentage of the indigenous I1 men could possibly have been killed by the new immigrants.

    Reply

  16. Just a last thought about subclade I1. Not only does it seem to line up with the Reformation map, but I look at it and think, ‘Wow, this is ground zero for the feminization/emasculation phenomenon of our age’ (as well as ethnic self-abnegation, but I think the two go together). Nordics, Anglos, Germanics (anywhere you find them on the planet).

    These groups have been discussed a lot here in terms of out-breeding and different altruism genes, but it’s so striking to see them placed on the haplotype map like that. As Greying Wanderer said,‘makes me wonder if the I haplotype is related to a people who had some cultural difference which magnified the effect of the cousin-ban and manorialism within their range.’These feedback loops (if indeed one exists here) are so mystifying to me.

    Reply

  17. hubchik
    “maybe the i-haplotype peoples started off (in europe) with a different set of “genes for sociality/altruism” — and then they couldn’t go down the same evolutionary path as other peoples in europe? dunno. shot in the dark!”

    M.G
    “These feedback loops (if indeed one exists here) are so mystifying to me.”

    If a population was trying to keep themselves just off the Malthusian limit then seems to me Germanic late marriage would have the same reproduction controlling effect as female infanticide. So i think it might be something to do with their unusual (from a global perspective) attitude to women which combined with the cousin ban somehow magnified the outbreeding effect.

    Tacitus: “The men and women were not rushed into marriage, but usually were joined together later in life.”

    If you think about it in terms of map overlays over Europe
    – extent of cousin ban (Catholic boundaries)
    – extent of strongest manorialism (assume for the sake of argument that maps onto the bright green lowland areas)
    – extent of *earliest* late marriage tradition (assume that maps to hap. I)
    and for the sake of argument give a numberical value of 2 to each factor then and for each region of europe add the numbers together depending on how many of the overlays applied to that region and you’d get an overall outbreeding score of:

    2 – for a lot of europe just from cousin ban
    4 – places like Po valley where they have cousin ban and lowland manorialism or southern Germany where they have cousin ban and early late marriage tradition
    6 – places with all three i.e. where cousin ban overlaps with lowland manorialism and germannic late marriage tradition i.e. along that northern edge from eastern England through to western Poland.

    I don’t know. It just struck me from other reading that if female infanticide is the global norm (?) then this odd Germannic quirk (Slavic/Celtic too?) might be significant somehow.

    Reply

  18. Forgot the link for the Tacitus quotes

    http://cast.uark.edu/research/research_theses/david_holt/germanic_tribes_migrating_as_a_u.htm

    Another one

    “They do not limit the number of children they conceive in marriage, and to destroy an offspring is considered infamous” (Tacitus, Germania, 19).”

    also on a side-note

    “Their large families live in wooden houses with the stables contained on the interior. Most stables were under the same roof, but partitioned from the living areas (Diesner, 1982) . The stables were primarily for housing their cows, sheep, goats, and horses in the winter months (Hachmann, 1971).”

    Organic central heating ftw.

    Reply

  19. @m.g. – “I1 is identified by at least 15 unique mutations, which indicates that this lineage has been isolated for a long period of time, or experienced a serious population bottleneck.”

    well, that’s really interesting. if that’s the case, then the germanics with I1 ought to be pretty homogeneous genetically speaking — for instance, share a lot of short (or maybe medium) runs of homozygosity. kinda like native north and south americans as seen in this post.

    hmmm.

    Reply

  20. @g.w. – “which makes me wonder if the I haplotype is related to a people who had some cultural difference which magnified the effect of the cousin-ban and manorialism within their range.”

    one of the things i keep reading over and over again, although i haven’t thought through the implications of it, is that the pre-christian germanics reckoned kinship bilaterally — or so it is thought. so, while the father’s side did seem to be at least slightly more important, the germanics were also concerned/connected to their maternal relatives.

    could tie in with what you’ve been saying about the relatively equal (if that’s the right word) position of women in germanic society. more equal, anyway. or that women had greater rights on the whole as compared to some other societies.

    Reply

  21. How did you know I had Pukekos in my back yard?

    Apparently they are not natives to NZ…they blew across in a stiff westerly from the western isle (Australia) several centuries ago, but seem to have residency now and are naturalized enough to have protected status.

    But they do have profound malthusian spikes so that their offspring can ransack a spring veggie garden in no time.
    Can’t shoot them but I do have a Jack Russell to send them back into the neighbor’s pond. (:

    Reply

  22. @g.w. (and m.g.) – “note the northern distribution’s alignment with a lot of the recent posts”

    peter frost has been pushing lately for the idea that natural selection has been acting on mtdna and mtdna haplogroups (personally i think he’s right) and that that’s what accounts (or may account) for the frequencies of the different mtdna haplogroups in europe. (apparently he’s been arguing something similar regarding the y-chromosome haplogroups.)

    anyway, I1 is thought to have arisen 15,000-20,000 years ago, but the most recent common I1 ancestor dates to 4,000-6,000 years ago. but it doesn’t have to have been as frequent back in 2000-4000 b.c. as it is today.

    like it says on eupedia: “it is found in all places invaded by the ancient Germanic tribes and the Vikings.” it might’ve increased in frequency from the days of the most recent common ancestor via natural selection until the germanics started spreading out from their northern homelands in (what?) 700-800 b.c.? (i have no idea what the current evidence would be for this either way. i’m just thinking aloud here. (^_^) )

    what do the I1 mutations do? anything? and/or is the I1 y-chromosome haplogroup just a proxy for some other interesting genetic mutations that the germanics have on some other chromosomes which benefitted them to the point where they could expand across europe out of their northern homeland?

    Reply

  23. @svk – “How did you know I had Pukekos in my back yard?”

    oh, i’m so jealous! (^_^) never heard of them before last week. they look fantastically cute! (^_^) but they should know better than to eat the veggies in your garden. shame on them! (~_^)

    Reply

  24. @g.w. (and m.g.) – “and the overlay with the reformation”

    the reformation and protestantism was/is all about the germanics, wasn’t/isn’t it?!

    Reply

  25. @g.w. – “Tacitus: ‘The men and women were not rushed into marriage, but usually were joined together later in life.'”

    using tacitus as a source is kinda tricky ’cause he mostly used secondary (or even tertiary) sources in “Germania” — plus he also used the germans as an example to admonish his fellow romans for all their bad behavior, so he might’ve exaggerated the germans’ good behaviors.

    there’s also some evidence showing that the anglo-saxons anyway did not practice this later marriage — at least not in the case of women. from this post:

    “there’s been debate about how old the hajnal line is — just how long have both male and female europeans been putting off marriage into their later years (mid-20s+)? in ‘Germania,’ tacitus apparently reported that the germans married late…

    “‘Sera iuuenum uenus, eoque inexhausta pubertas. Nec uirgines festinantur; eadem iuuenta, similis proceritas….’

    “…which google-translates as: ‘Late youths rigorous, and compared puberty. Not virgins hurried into marriage, the young man, and a similar stature….’ which may or may not mean that tacitus thought both men and women married late in germanic society. in any case, tacitus was working from secondary sources at best and so may not have had the most accurate info. he was also trying to shame his fellow romans into shaping up by offering as comparison these well behaved germans, so … buyer beware.

    “on the other hand, archaeological evidence from anglo-saxon graves indicates that women married young — probably right around when they hit puberty, which is pretty normal for most human societies [pg. 107]:

    ‘The evidence from the Anglo-Saxon cemetaries shows that teenage girls were often buried in forms of dress that made them indistinguishable from adult women from about the age of twelve onwards. That would fit with a predictable, marriageable age from the very young teens onwards, which we know of from comparable societies.’

    it’d be interesting to know if there’s any other archaeological evidence like this for other germanics. will have to look that up one day. (^_^)

    Reply

  26. @g.w. – “‘Their large families live in wooden houses with the stables contained on the interior. Most stables were under the same roof, but partitioned from the living areas (Diesner, 1982) . The stables were primarily for housing their cows, sheep, goats, and horses in the winter months (Hachmann, 1971).”

    “Organic central heating ftw.”

    mmmmm! thank goodness humans don’t have a very good sense of smell. (~_^)

    Reply

  27. hbdchick
    “about the relatively equal (if that’s the right word) position of women in germanic society. more equal, anyway. or that women had greater rights on the whole as compared to some other societies.”

    yes i wonder. the thing is of course that if this was a factor somehow and it somehow acted as a multiplier of the other outbreeding factors then women would only have to be more equal relatively speaking for it to have an effect.

    .
    “peter frost has been pushing lately for the idea that natural selection has been acting on mtdna and mtdna haplogroups (personally i think he’s right) and that that’s what accounts (or may account) for the frequencies of the different mtdna haplogroups in europe”

    Yes i don’t know enough to say on that. My thought on mtdna is more that i wonder if past the point of high density farming the mtdna pretty much always survives i.e. no matter how many male conqueror groups come and go the women mostly survive so mtdna exists under the surface like a kind of tectonic system. (This is why i tend to think Czechia and Poland will display as a hybrid between Germannic and Slavic.)

    .
    “like it says on eupedia: “it is found in all places invaded by the ancient Germanic tribes and the Vikings.” it might’ve increased in frequency from the days of the most recent common ancestor…what do the I1 mutations do? anything? and/or is the I1 y-chromosome haplogroup just a proxy”

    Yes, it may not be anything to do with the haplogroup directly – although it might (R1b subclades and LP?) It could just be a marker for a population who had some other trait that somehow effects outbreeding – but maybe only in combination with other factors like the cousin ban? However the overlap is noticeable.

    .
    “the reformation and protestantism was/is all about the germanics”

    I think the sequence is
    – cousin ban
    — outbreeding (greater among germannics because of factor x)
    — weakening of the extended family gravity field
    —- anti-traditionalism
    —– protestantism (mostly germannics *first* because of factor x)

    (although iirc both Poland and Bohemia had strong early Protestant movements which got crusaded precisely because they were early.)

    .
    using tacitus as a source is kinda tricky

    Good as a source of clues though.

    .
    “there’s also some evidence showing that the anglo-saxons anyway did not practice this later marriage — at least not in the case of women.”

    Yes, which brings me back to my main wondering. If you’re trying to maintain your population a little way off the malthusian limit then the most certain way is to limit the number of breeding females. One way of doing that is female infanticide. If the population doesn’t want to do that then they’d need to find an alternative method – one of which would be late marriage – basically you trade fewer women having more kids (female infanticide) for more women having fewer kids (late marriage).

    If the reason for late marriage is restricting population growth and you conquer some new terriotory and have plenty of space to expand into then there’s no need for late marriage until you are approaching the limit again. That might explain the anglo-saxon example.

    More broadly if the germannic factor x was a disinclination to infanticide which (at some point or other) led to late marriage then more women having fewer children (compared to an infanticide culture) might effect outbreeding on top of the cousin ban?

    So maybe the germannic x factor was less about female equality as adults but more as infants?

    Interesting thought anyway.

    .
    “thank goodness humans don’t have a very good sense of smell”

    heh, clever though, an igloo you can milk in the winter.

    Reply

  28. > using tacitus as a source is kinda tricky ’cause he mostly used secondary (or even tertiary) sources in “Germania” — plus he also used the germans as an example to admonish his fellow romans for all their bad behavior, so he might’ve exaggerated the germans’ good behaviors.

    Tacitus is a stern old boy though. (I read some hundreds of pp once for school.) Very restrained. I’m inclined to trust him.

    Reply

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