linkfest – 06/16/13

happy father’s day to all you dads out there! (^_^)

Genetic switches play big role in human evolution“A Cornell Univ. study offers further proof that the divergence of humans from chimpanzees some 4 million to 6 million years ago was profoundly influenced by mutations to DNA sequences that play roles in turning genes on and off. The study, published in Nature Genetics, provides evidence for a 40-year-old hypothesis that regulation of genes must play an important role in evolution since there is little difference between humans and chimps in the proteins produced by genes.”

The lost cousins of Homo sapiens in Asia and the South Pacific – on Homo denisova and Homo floresiensis.

The Causes of Group Differences in Intelligence Studied Using the Method of Correlated Vectors and Psychometric Meta-Analysis“It is concluded that these findings are strongly in line with a substantial genetic component in group differences in intelligence. This suggest that the large group differences in school achievement and work achievement are stable and that I/O psychologists should find ways to deal with them instead of ways of trying to change them.” – @meng hu’s blog! via hbd bibliography.

Researchers conclude that what causes menopause is — wait for it — men“[M]enopause is actually an unintended outcome of natural selection – the result of its effects having become relaxed in older women. Over time, human males have shown a preference for younger women in selecting mates, stacking the Darwinian deck against continued fertility in older women, the researchers have found.”

Why Extroverts Like Parties and Introverts Avoid Crowds“[E]xtroverts are more likely to associate the rush of a feel-good brain chemical with the environment they are in at the time.” – see also: Are You an Introvert or Extrovert? Here’s How to Tell (true x 20 (^_^) ).

Your Hormones Tell You How to Vote“The scientific search is on for the chemical cocktail that makes you vote Republican (or Democrat).”

Mind-reading monkey brains look similar to ours“Macaques and humans share similarities in a brain structure involved in theory of mind – the ability to infer what others are thinking or feeling.”

How the pacification of Europe came to an end – from peter frost.

Gay Germ Fallout? – from jayman.

Darwin’s Dangerous Clan? A Response to the Critics – @habitable worlds.

Yale researchers unravel genetics of dyslexia and language impairment

DNA tests estimate that Prince William is 0.3 to 0.8 percent Indian – cool!

Is distinctive DNA marker proof of ancient genocide?“A controversial theory holds invaders from Iberia may have massacred much of Ireland’s male population” – h/t ed west.

Pathological Altruism“An understanding that altruism can produce great evil as well as good is crucial to the defense of human freedom and dignity.”

Moral Molecules, Modern Selves, and Our “Inner Tribe” – h/t mark weiner!

Does Geography Influence How a Language Sounds?“A linguist finds a correlation between ‘ejective consonants’ and high altitude…. Everett speculated that ejectives are easier to produce at high altitudes because air pressure decreases with altitude, and it takes less effort to compress less-dense air.”

Laughter and the Brain

Sociopaths are coming out of the closet. Here are five reasons to embrace your inner psycho. see also: Why Social Psychology Sucks from staffan.

The Laws of the Cathedral. Obey or Perish!“This is a rough draft and work in progress. It is also a group project, which potentially includes you.” – @occam’s razor.

America 3.0 – with todd’s family types even! – from t.greer!

When the Lamps Went On“Did intellectual progress truly only begin when thinkers began to question religious authority? Kenneth Minogue reviews Anthony Pagden’s ‘The Enlightenment.'”

The First Vikings“Two remarkable ships may show that the Viking storm was brewing long before their assault on England and the continent.” – via mr. mangan, esq.

Revealed: a lost city and a holy temple“Mahendraparvata, a lost mediaeval city where people existed on a mist-shrouded mountain called Phnom Kulen 350 years before the building of the famous Angkor Wat temple complex in north-western Cambodia.”

The new racial classification (I) – tl;dr for me, but some of you out there might be interested in this. (thnx to the person who pointed it out to me!)

bonus: America’s tipping point: Whites to be minority in children under age 5 by next year – demographics is destinty. see also: The Joy of Ethnomasochism from the derb.

bonus bonus: Study: Blacks, Hispanics say Zimmerman arrested earlier if victim White“Blacks and Hispanics are more likely than whites to believe that George Zimmerman would have been arrested immediately had he shot a white person, according to a newly published study. Blacks are more likely than both Hispanics and whites to believe race was a factor in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager. And blacks also are more likely than whites to follow the court case closely. Hispanics are less likely than all groups to follow the case closely.”

bonus bonus bonus: Trayvon Affair à la française – m.g.’s back! (^_^) @thosewhocansee.

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Snowflake the Albino Gorilla Was Inbred, Study Finds“Spanish researchers have sequenced the gorilla’s entire genome, revealing that Snowflake was probably the offspring of a pairing between an uncle and a niece.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: India’s Poorest Women Coerced Into Sterilization – eugenics in india. h/t chris! also: Belgian Parliament Posed To Approve Child Euthanasia Law. (posed?)

(note: comments do not require an email. snowflake! (^_^) )

33 Comments

  1. “It is concluded that these findings are strongly in line with a substantial genetic component in group differences in intelligence.”

    Why do people with advanced degrees say “genetic” when they mean “heritable”?

    Reply

  2. I think the Tim Stanley misses the target a bit because most liberals, as Jonathan Haidt points out, relies on the moral foundations of Harm and Fairness, both in opposition to the sociopath’s (or psychopath’s, not sure there is a difference) behavior. A libertarian on the other hand should not object to a law abiding psycho.

    Peter Singer’s approval of sex with animals is more damaging to the liberal morality. At least he is honest about it whereas many other liberals are hiding behind the idea that it would harm the animal. It’s the moral foundation Sanctity and the associated feeling of disgust (rather than Harm/empathy) that makes us oppose such practices. Liberals have no room for this seemingly irrational foundation in their ideology so they must pretend that they are concerned with the welfare of the animals instead. But I’m pretty sure most people would oppose it even if there was evidence that no harm came to the animals – simply because it’s disgusting.

    Reply

  3. “The study, published in Nature Genetics, provides evidence for a 40-year-old hypothesis that regulation of genes must play an important role in evolution since there is little difference between humans and chimps in the proteins produced by genes.”

    I think it makes sense for evolution to be a hoarder. If any trait was ever useful in a particular environment and the environment changes it makes sense to keep it but switched off rather than replace it in case the environment changes back again.

    .
    “Pathological Altruism”

    If the mechanism for altruism is coerced i.e. the body creates chemicals that cause distress (like nicotine craving) at other’s distress then i think at least some forms of pathological altruism e.g. codependency, might naturally follow from that.

    .
    “A controversial theory holds invaders from Iberia may have massacred much of Ireland’s male population”

    I wonder if it’s more to do with a crop-centric culture limited by climate to a thin distribution and low population density being supplanted by a cattle-centric culture which was able to subsist across the whole island so a swamping population rather than a massacre (or both). One interesting point about the dominance of R1b – or the dominance of particular single y dna in a particular region – is how it might tie in with FBD marriage at the time the dominance originated.

    .
    “Researchers conclude that what causes menopause is — wait for it — men”

    I think the grandmother hypothesis makes more sense as long as you look at it as an evolutionary sequence.

    Reply

  4. It would appear to me that menopause is probably caused by consciousness. Menopause has a wide starting range, but can usually be expected in the age range of 42–58. Well, even without cosmetic surgery, not a few women are >50th centile for erogenousness (over the set of women ages 18-50) at age 45, not to speak of 42, so the PLoS paper is basically innumerate. Clearly menopause exists to obviate further pregnancy (in order to direct energy toward other ends, presumably offspring care), and has been substantially produced by positive selection, not solely by relaxation of selection.

    For some reason you get this blunt, apparently(?) mildly pathological adaptation, menopause, rather than something elegant. It may be mildly pathological in the common sense. It’s certainly so in the darwinian sense, because it’s suboptimal for the fitness of many individuals — viz, Julia Roberts could probably coordinate a liaison with a passable gentleman at age 52, probably even 55, and could thus have quite reasonably have had 25 well-fed children (seeing as her economic situation is very good).

    Well when you see a crude adaptation it’s because there hasn’t been time yet for a nice one. Consciousness seems to have been rapidly on the rise lately, and whether it allows free will or not, it is certainly associated with a lot of maladaptive phenomena like prophylaxis, or elective hypo-reproduction and non-reproduction more broadly. It can also allow you to abuse intoxicants or hyperstimuli, whereas for some reason I don’t think this occurs (to our knowledge) in the subhuman mammals. They will press a lever for morphine and junkie themselves right up in a lab, but I haven’t heard of them seeking out opium poppies, coca, and such like in nature. I don’t suppose plants would contain morphine, caffeine, or cocaine if they did ; the plants would have all got eaten. (The target of these drugs is probably insects, which consume incomparably more plant mass than vertebrates, and use a lot of the same neurochems, but in quantitatively, and I think usually qualitatively different ways.)

    Needless to say these dramatic fitness-reducing aspects of consciousness have been and are under equally dramatic negative selection. I don’t think you can understand human evolution without factoring such things in. We have (IMO) no significant scientific account of consciousness, and it may be impossible to ever have one, but that doesn’t mean science is best carried out by pretending we have never heard of any such phenomenon. Again, we don’t know if it allows free decisions, free will, but it obviously does allow something that looks roughly like that and can be thought of roughly in that fashion — which I guess is all you need to know, strictly speaking. All you need admit is that it allows some animals to electively be junkies, or eschew reproduction, where other animals cannot carry off these feats. But you do need to know it, or you cannot think straight about humans.

    Reply

  5. What I’m saying is of course, obvious. The only reason it’s not already the standard theory of menopause is because it is status-lowering for a scientist to get anywhere near the fact that consciousness is problematic from a natural sciences standpoint. That would rapidly lead to philosophical inquiry, which we all know is rather intractable, and more particularly, uber-unscientific. So it’s like “uhhhh, let’s not talk about this”.

    Reply

  6. So in case it’s not clear, what I mean is that menopause is the only way to stop women from having fertile sex and getting pregnant.

    Actually, on second thought, it could well have as much to do with humans’ extremely prolonged offspring care (also of recent advent), as it does with consciousness — or more. Maybe both causes are required, conjointly. Maybe not. But I’m too tired to think about it any more.

    Reply

  7. Actually I take back calling the paper innumerate, because on second thought I think my argument against relaxation of selection as a sole cause is pretty confused. I’m trying to think it all through but I am not sure I will quite make it.

    Reply

  8. I ran across this in my travels around the Net,and I thought of you instantly:

    I hope everyone had a happy Fathers Day.

    Reply

  9. RS
    “Well when you see a crude adaptation it’s because there hasn’t been time yet for a nice one.”

    That’s what i mean by an evolutionary sequence i.e. menopause as the response to a specific stage that allowed progress to the next stage rather than an ongoing process. (Or if there is an ongoing process, as average age of menopause goes black/hispanic -> white -> east asian, then it’s in the direction of increased fertility.)

    Reply

  10. “DNA tests estimate that Prince William is 0.3 to 0.8 percent Indian..”

    Interesting. But is this just a politically correct way for the Royal Family to present itself as modern, inclusive, diverse, just like the rest of us, not out of touch, and somehow “checking their privilege”, etc.? They were also keen to make us know that Kate Middleton’s great grandfather was from a working class coal mining family in the North East of England, and that Kate herself is only from a middle class rather than an aristocratic family. Personally I could not care less!

    Reply

  11. @Staffan:

    If bestiality is morally wrong merely because of the disgust in evokes in most people, are you then essentially arguing for Leon Kass’ “wisdom of repugnance”?

    I don’t reject this approach completely, but I do feel the rational foundations of “wisdom of repugnance” need to be explored further. One possible approach is to ask what exactly grounds the “rational” ethical principles of Harm Avoidance and Fairness. It seems to me, for instance, that both of these are themselves ultimately grounded in emotion, i.e. our innate senses of empathy and justice, which themselves are not rationally justified. Indeed, sociopaths might well argue that, as they lack empathy and a sense of fairness, they should be exempt from having to constrain their behavior according to the emotions of the majority.

    A liberal might fall back on utilitarianism, which could be interpreted in a Darwinian, group survival framework, i.e. we need to enforce harm avoidance and fairness even on those who lack intuitions about such in order to ensure the survival of the species.

    Alternatively, do we give up trying to rationalize morality and simply concede that as morality is ultimately grounded in emotion, we should allow societies to legislate according to the emotions of the majority?

    What I would actually prefer is to elaborate on this principle of “sanctity” you alluded to. I’m guessing you are referring to something along the lines of “natural law”, the idea there is an intrinsic moral order to the universe, grounded in the idea that everything has purpose. Bestiality would be morally wrong because it is not the purpose of our sexual organs to be used for intercourse with other species, with whom we cannot procreate.

    Reply

  12. re: Genetic switches play big role in human evolution

    My own (crude!) mental model is that you have a bunch of differently shaped lego blocks (the proteins, specified by certain genes) and then you have whatever you decide to build with them (controlled by gene expression: which block goes where). When you look at the final animal it’s pretty clear (to me at least) that the second process (gene expression) is more determinative than the first (your palette of blocks) since all living things (and certainly all related species) are pretty much made with the same set of blocks.

    Reply

  13. How do you tell whether a mathematician is an extrovert or an introvert?

    The extrovert looks at your shoes when you ask him a question.

    Reply

  14. “It seems to me, for instance, that both of these are themselves ultimately grounded in emotion, i.e. our innate senses of empathy and justice, which themselves are not rationally justified. Indeed, sociopaths might well argue that, as they lack empathy and a sense of fairness, they should be exempt from having to constrain their behavior according to the emotions of the majority.”

    It is silly to argue with people on moral issues when they lack the moral foundation, like lack of empathy. But we still need to protect ourselves so giving them special liberties because of how they’re wired wouldn’t make much sense.

    “A liberal might fall back on utilitarianism, which could be interpreted in a Darwinian, group survival framework, i.e. we need to enforce harm avoidance and fairness even on those who lack intuitions about such in order to ensure the survival of the species.”

    I don’t think we can ever enforce these principles on those who haven’t got the underlying hardware. Unless you by “enforce” mean policing.

    “Alternatively, do we give up trying to rationalize morality and simply concede that as morality is ultimately grounded in emotion, we should allow societies to legislate according to the emotions of the majority?”

    That would actually be the rational thing to do. Unless you can show that these emotions can be changed for the better.

    “What I would actually prefer is to elaborate on this principle of “sanctity” you alluded to. I’m guessing you are referring to something along the lines of “natural law”, the idea there is an intrinsic moral order to the universe, grounded in the idea that everything has purpose. Bestiality would be morally wrong because it is not the purpose of our sexual organs to be used for intercourse with other species, with whom we cannot procreate.”

    No, I think sanctity is essentially the same as the other moral foundations, as Jonathan Haidt calls them. For some reason Kass seems to think disgust is a general response to things thought of as immoral. But I think Haidt is right that disgust is more or less exclusive to sanctity or dignity. We are not disgusted when someone gets beaten up by a bully or gets cheated out of his savings. We are upset, sad or angry.

    Reply

  15. @luke – “How do you tell whether a mathematician is an extrovert or an introvert?”

    heh! (^_^)

    my favorite mathematician joke:

    A mathematician, a physicist, and an engineer are riding a train through Scotland.

    The engineer looks out the window, sees a black sheep, and exclaims, “Hey! They’ve got black sheep in Scotland!”

    The physicist looks out the window and corrects the engineer, “Strictly speaking, all we know is that there’s at least one black sheep in Scotland.”

    The mathematician looks out the window and corrects the physicist,” Strictly speaking, all we know is that is that at least one side of one sheep is black in Scotland.”

    (~_^)

    Reply

  16. @grey – “I think it makes sense for evolution to be a hoarder. If any trait was ever useful in a particular environment and the environment changes it makes sense to keep it but switched off rather than replace it in case the environment changes back again.”

    yup! all that “junk” dna.

    Reply

  17. @grey – “One interesting point about the dominance of R1b – or the dominance of particular single y dna in a particular region – is how it might tie in with FBD marriage at the time the dominance originated.”

    yes, exactly! there has been some research of this sort out there — i mean looking at how mating patterns can affect the distribution of genes/haplogroups/etc. — but i haven’t seen any done for any european populations. my favorite is this by hage and marck (i mentioned it in this post) where they found that the practices of matrilineality and matrilocal residence (man moves in with wife and her family) affected the distribution of y-chromosome haplotypes across polynesia.

    there must be more of this to find out there (a LOT more — lots of low-hanging fruit!). think of, for instance, the y-chromosome distributions in the arab peninsula and coming out of there — all connected to fbd marriage.

    Reply

  18. @socal patriot – “I ran across this in my travels around the Net,and I thought of you instantly.”

    ha! (^_^) that was very funny! thnx! (^_^)

    Reply

  19. @chris – “But is this just a politically correct way for the Royal Family to present itself as modern, inclusive, diverse, just like the rest of us, not out of touch, and somehow ‘checking their privilege’, etc.?”

    yeah. i watched the queen’s christmas speech from two — three? — years ago, and it was all about how everyone in the country ought to think of being british like being on a sports team and how everyone should just pull together, etc., etc. =/

    i think i walked around the house for the next couple of days griping that this queen elizabeth would (or should) go down in history as The Traitor Queen. (~_^)

    Reply

  20. @luke – “My own (crude!) mental model is that you have a bunch of differently shaped lego blocks (the proteins, specified by certain genes) and then you have whatever you decide to build with them (controlled by gene expression: which block goes where). When you look at the final animal it’s pretty clear (to me at least) that the second process (gene expression) is more determinative than the first (your palette of blocks) since all living things (and certainly all related species) are pretty much made with the same set of blocks.”

    yup! i like your genetics-lego model. (^_^) (although THIS is, in fact, my favorite lego model! (~_^) )

    Reply

  21. RS – They will press a lever for morphine and junkie themselves right up in a lab, but I haven’t heard of them seeking out opium poppies, coca, and such like in nature.

    If you live where it grows, ask your neighbors about birds and pyracantha berries. The berries ferment in place, and birds will eat them and get drunk. You don’t see this with alkaloids so much because they taste terrible.

    Reply

  22. I thought that the “gay virus” was the most interesting piece that I read by far.

    So now I’ve read everything from a 6% chance if one twin is gay that the other will be to a 60% chance. Honestly, that number doesn’t matter. I don’t care if it’s 90%, as long as it’s not 100%. Because it then follows that it cannot be genes that are completely responsible for people being not heterosexual.

    Also since no one can find the “gay gene”, and trust me they have tried, that this is solid evidence for it not being completely genetic.

    The also very fascinating thing that I read is that homosexuality is not found in nature besides in humans and sheep. This rings true as you read the wikipedia page about gay animals. The evidence is almost always just one animal doing something to the same animal of the same sex.

    The real evidence would have to be complete disregard for the opposite sex. If what I read was true, then this is only found in humans and sheep.

    So if it is a virus, it works in random and mysterious ways. Which could be right, I guess.

    Take me for example. I am bisexual (70/30 women/men) but I have the “gay voice”, including a little bit of a lisp. (Which really sucks, btw. It even gets worse when I’m tired and I have to work to not talk with a lisp).

    So if it is indeed a virus, what does it attack in the brain? Is it attacking the part that identifies with women? If so, then why does your brain decide to be attracted to men instead?

    Also how does this explain bisexuals like myself? If it’s a virus, how the hell did I get a 70/30 split AND the gay voice? Not fair, I say. The gay voice should be regulated to homosexual men only!

    How does the virus interact to cause the voice (not 100% of the time of course) which seems correlated to homosexuality?

    This whole subject is really complicated, which is probably why most people would rather just boil it down and say “it’s genes” or “you are born with it” or “they have no choice” and leave it at that.

    But since I am one of those freaks who wants to know the reasons behind everything, even if they have no worth in everyday life, I am just dying to know.

    Reply

  23. @atheist race realist – “If it’s a virus, how the hell did I get a 70/30 split AND the gay voice? Not fair, I say. The gay voice should be regulated to homosexual men only!”

    heh! (^_^)

    if i were to guess — and this is really a shot-in-the-dark guess ’cause i know very little (really nothing) about neurology — i would guess that, if there’s a gay germ (which seems like a good theory), then it’s something that women are contracting when they’re pregnant and that then affects fetal development — obviously neurological development. and neurological development is so, so, so complicated, that — who knows? — the timing of the infection and/or the strength of the infection and/or a thousand other things related to the infection could affect how “gay” someone turned out to be.

    brain wiring is a funny thing. i mean, i’m an aspie — an apsie chick — so, being an aspie, i’m really oriented toward systemizing (everything!) — so i like the sciences. but, unfortunately, in many other ways i have a typical chick brain — like i s*ck at math. NOT very handy when you’re interested in science. *sigh* (btw — perhaps there’s also an autism germ out there….)

    @atheist race realist – “I have the ‘gay voice’, including a little bit of a lisp. (Which really sucks, btw. It even gets worse when I’m tired and I have to work to not talk with a lisp).”

    that’s so interesting (and a little funny — sorry! (^_^) )! one of my “handicaps” or quirks is that i don’t think in words but, rather, in pictures (or amorphous “entities” — hard to describe [pdf]), and when i get tired, words just escape me almost entirely! i can barely put a two-word sentence together when i’m very tired. (~_^) maybe we all become more exaggerated versions of “who we are” when we are tired (when, presumably, other parts of our brains are too tired to compensate for our quirks).

    Reply

  24. @atheist race realist

    “So if it is indeed a virus, what does it attack in the brain? Is it attacking the part that identifies with women? If so, then why does your brain decide to be attracted to men instead?”

    Studies of male sexual response show men pictures of women or pictures of men and they either get a physical response or they don’t. So it seems to me the germ/virus/whatever must attack the part of the brain concerned with visual attraction i.e. switching a man from liking large boobs to not caring about a flat chest or from liking big hips to not caring about boyish hips or to *only* being attracted to flat chest and boyish hips.

    There’s probably more to it but any germ/virus/whatever must attack the part of the brain that controls visual attraction.

    Also if men were 80/20 visual/other and women were 20/80 visual/other (for example) then the same mechanism (attacking visual attraction) would have less effect on women.

    .
    “How does the virus interact to cause the voice (not 100% of the time of course) which seems correlated to homosexuality?”

    The voice is one of the flaws in the above idea.

    Reply

  25. The most surprising thing about Atheist Race Realist is that in reality he is actually comedian Andy Dick!

    Reply

  26. “A controversial theory holds invaders from Iberia may have massacred much of Ireland’s male population”

    In addition to that Y-DNA study, and also the HLA data which I’ve looked at, and archaeology, support for a Neolithic migration from Spain/W. France into Ireland now comes from an unlikely source on the BBC website today: from snails!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-22952707

    “Snail genes reveal human migration to Ireland”

    “A genetic similarity between snail fossils found in Ireland and the Eastern Pyrenees suggests humans migrated from southern Europe to Ireland 8,000 years ago.

    The slimy creatures in Ireland today are almost identical to snails in Southern France and Northern Spain.

    Whether an accidental visitor on a ship or brought along as a snack, the boat they were carried on did not appear to stop in Britain.

    The findings are published in PLOS One..”

    Reply

  27. > So now I’ve read everything from a 6% chance if one twin is gay that the other will be to a 60% chance. Honestly, that number doesn’t matter. I don’t care if it’s 90%, as long as it’s not 100%. Because it then follows that it cannot be genes that are completely responsible for people being not heterosexual.

    I’m a little rusty but I think that is not correct. The output for twin studies is narrow-sense heritability, which is variance due to additive genetics divided by total variance.

    But there’s also non-additive genetics, ie dominance and epistasis. There’s also at least the possibility of epigenetic inheritance.

    Reply

  28. We witness relaxed selection every 30 seconds: people that are suboptimally beautiful, intelligent, socially perceptive . . . who have suboptimal health, reaction times, etc. All of which we know to be largely heritable and strongly fitness-determinative. If selection were truly iron-stringent this would not be the case.

    In fact selection is mildly relaxed re all of these traits, so that is the case. The mild relaxation inheres in the fact that these traits are less than 100% fitness-determinative (neither today nor, more to the point, before 1700). It’s not like you have a fitness of either zero or 10x (ie you raise 20 children to adulthood), due to being either imperfect or 100% perfect.

    But all these things probably have a vast genetic architecture, presenting an immense target for mutation. Presumably menopause is controlled by orders of magnitude less DNA. Ergo if relaxation of selection due to male inattention were to be the sole or almost-sole cause of menopause, I think the degree of relaxation would have to be very extreme, and I think it’s just not realistic. ……There, hopefully I have finally made sense of my thoughts.

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  29. That’s cool about the pyracantha berries. It’s the more interesting because it seems truly unlikely to be net fitness-enhancing, whereas it’s at least possible alcohol can be a net fitness gain for some human individuals/pops.

    I mean, small birds face pretty considerable predation danger pretty constantly. Hard for them to be safe from both cats and hawks except inside a major thicket. Of course they are dinosaurs not hominids, and alcohol could conceivably be much less impairing for them while still causing euphoria, but I doubt it.

    Reply

  30. “[M]enopause is actually an unintended outcome of natural selection – the result of its effects having become relaxed in older women. Over time, human males have shown a preference for younger women in selecting mates, stacking the Darwinian deck against continued fertility in older women, the researchers have found.”

    This by far makes the most sense. As for the grandma hypothesis… realize what a huge drain of resources (time, consideration, and goods) grandmas are when they live in your house.

    Yes I can picture warm fussy grandmas but I can also see the obnoxious needyness and self importance from mother in laws that do nothing for the grandkids. In China, sons are a woman’s retirement plan and I imagine this is quite draining. Now days we mask this draining with bank accounts and taxes…

    I think we support older women out of humanity

    Reply

  31. “As for the grandma hypothesis… realize what a huge drain of resources (time, consideration, and goods) grandmas are when they live in your house.”

    In the modern world maybe. In the past, and still today among more bluecollar/rural populations where families live close together, grandmothers are the equivalent of a welfare safety net.

    Reply

  32. I think that before 1600-1700, in the old world, both sexes would most often have died of acute infection before becoming much of a net calorie/utility drain.

    Both the precolumbian and postcolumbian new world might have been a little different.

    Reply

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