linkfest – 09/23/12

New genetic light shed on human evolution“A new genetic study of a group of sub-Saharan peoples has challenged the prevailing view that modern humans emerged from one location in Africa before spreading out across the world.” – see also Complex origins and natural selection of the Khoe-San from dienekes. and also African neighbours divided by their genes.

Out-of-Asia and Into-Africa (?)“[I]t is very likely that there was indeed such a migration into East Africa. What Pickrell et al. have added to our knowledge is that this migration is fairly recent.” – from dienekes.

Are We Really Getting Smarter? – from james flynn.

Neanderthals used feathers as ‘personal ornaments’

Are Neanderthals Human?

Genetic Obesity Risk Heightened by Sugary Drinks“[P]ersons with a greater genetic predisposition to obesity appeared to be more susceptible to the deleterious effects of sugar-sweetened beverages on BMI….”

speaking of fat: Human biodiversity in adiposity“[T]he manner in which fat is deposited in the body, e.g. viscerally vs. subcutaneously, as well as the amount of fat deposited, is substantially heritable, varies between races, and that variation may be due to differences in infectious disease risk over time periods long enough for natural selection to act.” – @the breviary.

Not Wanting Kids Is Entirely Normal – but won’t be selected for….

Why We Need to Study the Brain’s Evolution in Order to Understand the Modern Mind

Prehistoric Animated Cave Drawings Discovered In France – cool!

How to confuse a moral compass“Survey ‘magic trick’ causes attitude reversal.” – people are really retarded. (no offense to retarded people.)

Contestants Race to Map DNA of 100 Centenarians

The 10 best-educated countries in the world

bonus: Warp Drives Might Be More Realistic Than Thought – zooooooooom!

bonus bonus: Bird brains? Crows remember your face (and know you’re hiding in there)

bonus bonus bonus: Ohio woman who unknowingly married her father says learning the secret was ‘devastating’ – oops! (they didn’t have any kids.)

bonus bonus bonus bonus: How the Tabby Got Its Stripes: It’s in the Genes“Tabby cats get their stripes from two important genes, according to new research — the same genes that create a rare ‘king’ cheetah’s stripes. Cats with narrow stripes, the so-called ‘mackerel’ pattern, have a working copy of the gene. But if a mutation turns the gene off, the cat ends up with the blotchy ‘classic’ pattern.”

(note: comments do not require an email. mackerel tabby.)


  1. “Warp Drives Might Be More Realistic Than Thought”

    Call me when they implement hyperspace, hmm? ;)


  2. About not wanting kids, this is actually quite consistent with a hypothesis put forward by Jason Malloy awhile back, which was posted on Half Sigma, and since removed (not sure why, anyways):

    As I’ve argued for several years now, humans have a weak innate drive to reproduce, but strong innate drives to have sex and gain social status.

    In the past reproduction was largely mediated through these drives. Prior to female educational and economic integration, the female status drive was adaptive; it resulted in higher reproductive success — i.e more surviving offspring — because women would seek to elevate their status through the one channel available: by acquiring high status mates. And higher status males could subsidize more children.

    But post-women’s liberation, status drive would have the opposite effect. Now status motivated women have to marry well and participate in the workforce to remain competitive with other women in the adult status arena. The time and expenses necessary for raising children are instead invested in education, career-building, and conspicuous consumption. In turn this makes low reproductive success a symbol of social status, since higher status women have fewer children.

    The link between demographic transitioning and status drive are supported by a number of newer papers in the economics literature.

    For example, one recent study from Brazil suggests that status imitation drove their demographic transition. As soon as different regions acquired access to Soap Operas (1960-2000) about small, middle-class Brazilian families, local birth rates would drop dramatically to the levels featured in the TV shows (from 6.3 to 2.3 children), and parents would name their children after the characters in those shows.

    A similar effect on fertility followed cable television introduction in India.

    In other words, as soon as women see higher class women adopt low fertility behaviors, they rapidly follow suit.

    The behavior of parents in the Atlantic article would seem to be quite consistent with this. But as Half Sigma notes, and as my own data shows (recently supplemented by The Audacious Epigone), religious conservatives are outbreeding secular liberals. This is in good part likely due to this reason: the secular side contains more individuals as cited in the article (people like these), where as, perhaps thanks to evolution, the Right side contains people with intrinsically stronger reproductive instincts. In any case, it is these people who will inherit the future.

    So much for the Republicans beings doomed as a party…


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