linkfest – 05/14/13

Emergence of Individuality in Genetically Identical Mice“Our results show that factors unfolding or emerging during development contribute to individual differences in structural brain plasticity and behavior.” – the nuture side of nature-nuture. – see also Mice, Men, and Fate.

Mysterious Minoans Were European, DNA Finds“[T]he research team analyzed DNA from ancient Minoan skeletons that were sealed in a cave in Crete’s Lassithi Plateau between 3,700 and 4,400 years ago…. The researchers found that the Minoan skeletons were genetically very similar to modern-day Europeans — and especially close to modern-day Cretans, particularly those from the Lassithi Plateau. They were also genetically similar to Neolithic Europeans, but distinct from Egyptian or Libyan populations.” see also dienekes.

Chinese project probes the genetics of genius“Bid to unravel the secrets of brainpower faces scepticism.”

Dogs and Humans Evolved Together, Study Suggests“[B]oth species underwent similar changes in genes responsible for digestion and metabolism, such as genes that code for cholesterol transport. Those changes could be due to a dramatic change in the proportion of animal versus plant-based foods that occurred in both at around the same time, the researchers said. The team also found co-evolution in several brain processes — for instance, in genes that affect the processing of the brain chemical serotonin. In humans, variations in these genes affect levels of aggression.”

How to spot a murderer’s brain“Do your genes, rather than upbringing, determine whether you will become a criminal? Adrian Raine believed so – and breaking that taboo put him on collision course with the world of science.”

Clark/Frost Domestication“Thinking about the response of the pacified and submission Roman population to barbarian invaders immediately brings to mind the response of contemporary North Americans and Atlantic Europeans to barbarian invaders. It reads just the same: ‘welcome new neighbor!'” – from henry harpending.

Ovulation and politics“‘Ovulation led single women to become more liberal, less religious, and more likely to vote for Barack Obama. In contrast, ovulation led women in committed relationships to become more conservative, more religious, and more likely to vote for Mitt Romney.'” – from mr. mangan.

The Personality and Geography of the Entrepreneur“German psychologists Martin Obschonka and colleagues…used Rentfrow’s [big five personality] data to create a measure of Entrepreneur-prone personality profile for the different states in America.” – another really cool post from staffan!

Linguists identify 15,000-year-old ‘ultraconserved words’“A team of researchers has come up with a list of two dozen ‘ultraconserved words’ that have survived 150 centuries. It includes some predictable entries: ‘mother,’ ‘not,’ ‘what,’ ‘to hear’ and ‘man.’ It also contains surprises: ‘to flow,’ ‘ashes’ and ‘worm.’ The existence of the long-lived words suggests there was a ‘proto-Eurasiatic’ language that was the common ancestor to about 700 contemporary languages that are the native tongues of more than half the world’s people.”

The Mating Advantage of Male Musicians: Women Find Guitars Sexy“Studies from two countries suggest women are more attracted to a man if he’s holding a guitar.” – more science proving what everybody already knows! (~_^)

More men than women harassed in the military, often by other men – from the awesome epigone.

Redheads are at increased risk of skin cancer even if they DON’T spend time in the sun

Children with Autism Hypersensitive to Motion

Privacy protections: The genome hacker“Yaniv Erlich shows how research participants can be identified from ‘anonymous’ DNA.”

Tajikistan to Ban Cousin Marriage“Formal prohibition unlikely to stamp out widespread tradition.” – h/t anatoly!

Tutankhamun’s death and the birth of monotheism

bonus: USG Pushing Unconstitutional College Speech Codes“The government which rules over Americans is trying to further reduce free speech on college campuses…. Evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller, author of The Mating Mind, sees this new federal mandate as a threat to the ability to teach the truth about human nature.” – from parapundit.

bonus bonus: Could Lighning Come from Space? – that would be FRIGGIN’ AWESOME!!

bonus bonus bonus: from the u.k. – Former minister admits Labour deliberately engineered mass immigration and A fifth of murder and rape suspects born abroad, shock survey finds.

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Immigrant workers undermine wage growth“Immigrant workers, mainly from other Nordic countries, have a negative effect on the pay checks of Norwegian employees. Workers with minimal skills and little experience are the most vulnerable.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: First land animals kept their fish faces

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Genome shows macaw is one smart bird

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Study: Plants communicate with each other via underground fungi

(note: comments do not require an email. shut up ‘n play yer guitar!)


  1. @elijah – “Why the absence of Woodley, te Nijenhuis and Murphy (2013)??”

    that deserves its own, specially dedicated post. (~_^) check back on thurs. (i did tweet the h*ll out of it already!)


  2. Linguists identify 15,000-year-old ‘ultraconserved words’ –

    Not you too chick. That’s a bunch of crap. You’d think linguists have better things to do. Sad world we live in.


  3. @spandrell – “Not you too chick.”

    (^_^) inclusion in a linkfest doesn’t necessarily mean endorsement. i just thought that sounded interesting (and neat, if true), but i wouldn’t have a clue as to how to start evaluating their research.


  4. @spandrell. I agree. The story is nonsense. Even the researchers own table doesn’t support the idea of certain words common across the Eurasian continent. The only single word that they might be right on is ‘thou’ and that isn’t used in English these days anyway. So, massive fail.


  5. “and breaking that taboo put him on collision course with the world of science.”

    Actual scientists tend to be pretty forgiving of breaking taboos. However, this would certainly put him on a collision course with the forces of political correctness. He just needs to be careful not to find any differences in overall criminality between racial groups, otherwise he might (probably will be) Watsoned.


  6. Interesting links

    “It’s a whole new field of research opening up here – doesn’t even have a name yet but I’m sure it will soon enough – and it will be highly interesting to see what comes out of it in the future.”

    I think that is a step in a productive direction – move away from ‘IQ’ and start unpacking elements of intelligence in measurable, non-controversial, behaviors.

    Dogs – I’m not surprised, something has to explain the current relationship we have with dogs (and animals). I think it is true to say that the African Dog was not domesticable, and as dogs they are not as social – they don’t look after post-reproductive females. We owe a lot to the Grey Wolf.


  7. “Mysterious Minoans Were European, DNA Finds”

    “They were also genetically similar to Neolithic Europeans, but distinct from Egyptian or Libyan populations.”

    According to HLA haplotype data, modern Cretans show gene-flow from N.Africa. Most likely scenario is Saharan dessication in Neolithic spread peoples in various directions: W. Africa, N.Africa, N.E. Africa, M.East, S.Europe. One can see this clearly in HLA data and is supported to some degree with mtDNA data [Cerezo M, et al, 2012].

    A23-B35 HLA haplotype (see figure for Crete) gives some indication:*23&hla_locus2=B*35&hla_locus3=&hla_locus4=&hla_locus5=&hla_locus6=&hla_locus7=&hla_locus8=&hla_population=&hla_country=&hla_dataset=&hla_region=&hla_ethnic=&hla_study=&hla_order=order_3&hla_sample_size_pattern=equal&hla_sample_size=&hla_sample_year_pattern=equal&hla_sample_year=&hla_loci=


  8. Sorry, I don’t wanna be late to see the opening of The Factor, I’m figuring BillO to be doing the bestest rendition of an Arkansas Banty Rooster outside of Arkansas (I did permalink tho).

    “Meaning, I didn’t read the link” – but given the cause of the Aurora Borealis – I’m thinking it ultimately likely Science will find a connection to lightning and Ol’ Sol.


  9. I’m getting tired of hearing about that Chines project. I sent my spit over a year ago and haven’t heard back.

    As to the ultraconserved words: ballomar, the fact that “thou” recently dropped out of English is about as irrelevant a counterargument as I can imagine. the idea of a proto-Eurasian language – or “Eurasiatic”, or “Nostratic” and the rest of the Dogopolsky/Greenberg/Ruhlen theorising is certain controversial among histoical linguists and viewed with suspicion. But the presence or absence of any of the words in a single language, no matter how much we like it because it is our own, isn’t part of the criticism.

    From an evolutionary POV, it actually is important whether languages all descend from a single beginning or appeared independently. Being able to put even vague timelines on this is also revealing.


  10. @bleach – “why is there never any *good* news about redheads?”

    i’ll keep an eye out for some good redhead news for you. i love red hair. i always wished that i had red hair! (^_^) (except i don’t think i’d like the ‘more susceptible to pain’ part. =/ )

    @grey – “jealousy? :)”

    heh! (^_^)


  11. Some more info on Cretans in relation to the the paper on Dienekes:-

    [Arnaiz-Villena et al, 1999]

    “The Cretan HLA gene profile has been compared with those of other Mediterranean populations in order to provide additional information regarding the history of their origins. The allele frequencies, genetic distances between populations, relatedness dendrograms and correspondence analyses were calculated. Our results indicate that the Indoeuropean Greeks may be considered as a Mediterranean population of a more recent origin (after 2000 B.C.), while all other studied Mediterraneans (including Cretans) belong to an older substratum which was present in the area since pre-Neolithic times. A significant Turkish gene flow has not been detected in the Greek or Cretan populations, although Greeks and Turks have two high frequency HLA-DRB-DQB haplotypes in common. It is proposed that Imazighen (Caucasoid Berbers living at present in the North African coast and Saharan areas) are the remains of pre-Neolithic Saharan populations which could emigrate northwards between about 8000–6000 B.C., when desert desiccation began. They also could be part of the stock that gave rise to Sumerians, Cretans and Iberians; this is supported by both linguistic and HLA genetic data.”


  12. where does Peter Frost’s hypothesis fit ?

    If all your cousins have the same brown hair and eyes, and so do your neighbors’, you might just focus on tending your animals.

    If all your cousins have varying shades of summer sunset and fields of wheat, ravens in flight and soft baby deer, and freshly dropped hazelnuts and fragrant leaves, mountain streams and oceans deep, you might be distracted momentarily from your animals.

    If all your cousins have mousy brown hair but your neighbor’s ….

    is it possible?


    what i like about red is the way it lurks beneath. there are strawberry blondes but there are also blondes that only show red in sunlight. there are auburns and there are browns that grow a surprise ginger beard. it isn’t simple recessive there is co-but-lesser-dominance?


    The Millionaire Matchmaker in LA didn’t bring in reds for her mixers* because the men weren’t interested and she said ‘men don’t go for redheads unless they have the red thing’. When she transferred for a while to NY she was asked for redheads

    *10-15 girls from whom the millionaire dates one


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