Archives for posts with tag: austronesians

a linkfest! (^_^) ’cause i hate linkfasts, too. (*^_^*)

Whole genome sequence analyses of Western Central African Pygmy hunter-gatherers reveal a complex demographic history and identify candidate genes under positive natural selection“African Pygmies practicing a mobile hunter-gatherer lifestyle are phenotypically and genetically diverged from other anatomically modern humans, and they likely experienced strong selective pressures due to their unique lifestyle in the Central African rainforest…. Our two best-fit models both suggest ancient divergence between the ancestors of the farmers and Pygmies, 90,000 or 150,000 years ago. We also find that bi-directional asymmetric gene-flow is statistically better supported than a single pulse of unidirectional gene flow from farmers to Pygmies, as previously suggested…. We found that genes and gene sets involved in muscle development, bone synthesis, immunity, reproduction, cell signaling and development, and energy metabolism are likely to be targets of positive natural selection in Western African Pygmies or their recent ancestors.”

Directional dominance on stature and cognition in diverse human populations“[I]ncreased homozygosity was associated with decreased trait value, equivalent to the offspring of first cousins being 1.2 cm shorter and having 10 months’ less education. Similar effect sizes were found across four continental groups and populations with different degrees of genome-wide homozygosity, providing evidence that homozygosity, rather than confounding, directly contributes to phenotypic variance. Contrary to earlier reports in substantially smaller samples5, 6, no evidence was seen of an influence of genome-wide homozygosity on blood pressure and low density lipoprotein cholesterol, or ten other cardio-metabolic traits. Since directional dominance is predicted for traits under directional evolutionary selection7, this study provides evidence that increased stature and cognitive function have been positively selected in human evolution, whereas many important risk factors for late-onset complex diseases may not have been.” – see also Not tonight, cousin from dr. james thompson. and see also Inbreeding from greg cochran. and see also Directional dominance on stature and cognition from steve hsu.

Genes Unite Executive Functions in Childhood [pdf] – h/t brian boutwell! who tweeted: “Shared genes explain all of the covariance in exec functioning items. No parenting effects to be found.”

200 Blog Posts – Everything You Need to Know (To Start) and The Rise of Universalism and Demography is Destiny, American Nations Edition and National Prosperity – jayman’s been on a roll lately! (^_^) each of these warrants your close attention!

Heritability and the evolution of cognitive traits

CNVs in neuropsychiatric disorders“Over the last few years at least 11 copy number variations (CNVs) have been shown convincingly to increase risk to developing schizophrenia: deletions at 1q21.1, NRXN1, 3q29, 15q11.2, 15q13.3 and 22q11.2, and duplications at 1q21.1, 7q11.23, 15q11.2-q13.1, 16p13.1 and proximal 16p11.2. They are very rare, found cumulatively in 2.4% of patients with schizophrenia and in only 0.5% of controls. They all increase risk for other neurodevelopmental disorders, such as developmental delay and autism spectrum disorders, where they are found at higher rates (3.3%). Their involvement in bipolar affective disorder is much less prominent. All of them affect multiple genes (apart from NRXN1) and cause substantial increases in risk to develop schizophrenia (odds ratios of 2 to over 50). Their penetrance for any neurodevelopmental disorder is high, from ∼10% to nearly 100%. Carriers of these CNVs display cognitive deficits, even when free of neuropsychiatric disorders.”

Improving Phenotypic Prediction by Combining Genetic and Epigenetic Associations [pdf] – h/t dr. xaverius!

County level homicide rates by race/ethnicity of victim and On the effects of wealth on the B-W gaps, a response to questions posed by a commenter @random critical analysis.

the much discussed post The IQ Gap Is No Longer a Black and White Issue – from chanda chisala. see also Chanda Chisala: An African Hereditarian?“If evolution applies to all of us, that includes Africans. It is perfectly possible that some African sub-groups are brighter than others. Any geographic group which takes care to encourage bright persons to marry one another could see positive effects after 20-30 generations of consistently strong selection, if those brighter parents have more surviving offspring, which is likely.” – from dr. james thompson. and see also The Jews of West Africa? from peter frost. and see also my post: there’s more to human biodiversity than just racial differences.

The Water-Crossers – from greg cochran.

Ancestry Matters: Patrilineage Growth and Extinction – h/t ben southwood! who tweeted: “Higher status Chinese patrilineages in the 18th and 19th centuries had more ancestors for hundreds of years after.”

The puzzle of European hair, eye, and skin color – from peter frost.

The people who need very little sleep

How evolutionary psychology may explain the difference between male and female serial killers“[R]esearch has shown that male serial killers tend to stalk and kill strangers. But FSKs tend to kill people they know. It seems, then, that MSKs are hunters and FSKs are gatherers.”

Is the Romantic–Sexual Kiss a Near Human Universal – apparently not! – “The romantic–sexual kiss was present in a minority of cultures sampled (46%). Moreover, there is a strong correlation between the frequency of the romantic–sexual kiss and a society’s relative social complexity: the more socially complex the culture, the higher frequency of romantic–sexual kissing.”

Men are both dumber and smarter than women – just an ok article, but interesting to see this out there *at all*.

Historical Artifacts of the Blank Slate – from helian.

On a Fast Track – Can rapid genome sequencing at birth help save lives?

Genomics Industry Generating Huge Amounts Of Data Due To DNA Sequencing – yay!

Ageing rates vary widely, says study“A study of people born within a year of each other has uncovered a huge gulf in the speed at which their bodies age…. [S]ome people had almost stopped ageing during the period of the study, while others were gaining nearly three years of biological age for every twelve months that passed.” – original research article: Quantification of biological aging in young adults.

Reacting to Spree Killings, Progressively – @thosewhocansee.

for you brits: Is that stranger opposite you a distant cousin?

bonus: Pluto’s discoverer’s ashes will be the first human remains to leave the solar system — glued to the side of a space probe – *sniff*

bonus bonus: r.i.p. conrad – *sniff*

bonus bonus bonus: tweet of the week! (~_^) >>

(note: comments do not require an email. r.i.p. conrad. *sniff*)

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Crickets in two places fall silent to survive“To hide themselves from deadly flies, crickets on two Hawaiian islands have evolved an inability to sing. Ten years ago, two years apart, males appeared on Kauai and Oahu with altered wings, which they would normally rub together to chirp and attract females. New findings published in the journal Current Biology show that the wing changes are physically different and arose from separate mutations. This makes the silent crickets a brand new example of ‘convergent evolution’.” – and some really rapid evolution!

Microbes May Drive Evolution of New Animal Species“[S]ymbiosis — a long-term, stable and often beneficial interaction between organisms — could drive two populations apart, the first step in the development of new species. Although the idea has been floating around for nearly a century, it has only recently begun to gain traction in biology. This idea contrasts sharply with the traditional picture of evolution, in which new species emerge either from geological isolation or from a relentless struggle for food and mates. According to this new hypothesis, a host organism’s microbes might trigger changes in mating and reproduction that begin to define two different populations.” – h/t charles!

you gotta read this!: Coincidental Killers“We assume that microbes evolved to attack humans when actually we are just civilian casualties in a much older war…. Many of the pathogens we fear most are mere tourists on the human body. Their real homes are oceans, caves, or soils. To understand them, we need to understand them within their natural ecology. Soil, for example, is an extreme habitat for a microbe: harsh and constantly changing. It can quickly oscillate from flood to drought, from scalding heat to freezing cold, and total darkness to intense solar radiation. It’s rife with other competing microbes, and crawling with hungry predators. We fear lions and tigers and bears; bacteria have to contend with phage viruses, nematode worms, and predatory amoebas. All of these conditions can lead to adaptations that make microbes accidentally suited for life in a human host. We are, after all, just another environment. A thick capsule that shields a microbe from dehydration could also shield it from our immune system. A spore that is adapted for travelling through the air can be easily inhaled into a respiratory tract.”

Genetically identical ants help unlock the secrets of larval fate“A young animal’s genes are not the only genes that determine its fate. The genetic identity of its caretakers matters too…. [A] team led by Serafino Teseo of the University of Paris 13 used the unique aspects of the [clonal] ants’ biology to test the indirect role genes play in shaping the future identity of larvae and whole colonies by looking at the interaction between larvae and adults. They did so by observing the success of two ant clones, A and B, in pure colonies or mixed together into chimeric colonies. They also swapped broods, so A adults raised B larvae and vice versa. It turned out that A and B larvae developed differently depending on whether A or B nurses raised them. Left alone, pure A colonies produced the most young after six generations, making them more successful than B. However, in mixed colonies, B did better because its larvae more frequently turned into large adults that specialize in egg-laying rather than smaller, foraging-focused individuals….” – h/t rolf muertter!

Mitochondrial DNA of first Near Eastern farmers is sequenced for the first time“According to conclusions, genetic affinities have been observed between the mitochondrial DNA of first Neolithic populations and the DNA of first Catalan and German farmers. This suggests that probably Neolithic expansion took place through pioneer migrations of small groups of population. Moreover, the two main migration routes — Mediterranean and European — might have been genetically linked. ‘The most significant conclusion — highlights Eva Fernández — is that the degree of genetic similarity between the populations of the Fertile Crescent and the ones of Cyprus an Crete supports the hypothesis that Neolithic spread in Europe took place through pioneer seafaring colonization, not through a land-mediated expansion through Anatolia, as it was thought until now….’ Other scientific studies had already provided signs of an alternative scenario of Neolithic spread in Europe different from the one through Anatolia. According to Turbón, ‘recent archaeological finds have proved that the Neolithic arrived to Cyprus around 10,600 years ago, some years after the first documentation of agricultural practices in the Near East.’ Architecture and burial models found in Cyprus’ sites are similar to the ones found in the Middle Euphrates basin, ‘that indicates a direct colonisation of these territories,’ highlights the author. ‘Besides, spatial interpolation of radiocarbon dates from different Neolithic sites in the Near East and Europe also suggests a first seafaring expansion through Cyprus,’ he concludes.” – orginal research article.

The Giant Rat of Sumatra and Sardinia and No True Sardinian – from greg cochran.

A twist in Austronesian origins“The Taiwanese origin of Austronesians is widely accepted. A new preprint confirms this theory, but adds a new twist to the story of Austronesian dispersals, as it seems that in their western expansion, Austronesians picked up some Austroasiatic ancestry. This means either that Austroasiatic speakers preceded them in islands where Austronesian languages are now spoken, or that the Austronesians picked up this kind of ancestry in the mainland before settling in the islands.” – from dienekes.

A new allele for blond hair“There is a widespread belief that whatever made Europeans fair-skinned also gave them their unique palette of hair and eye colors. In reality, fair skin has only a weak genetic linkage with either non-black hair or non-brown eyes.” – from peter frost. see also: A molecular basis for classic blond hair color in Europeans.

A Genetic Map of Fireworks in Time“French Canadians and Slavs are both cases of populations which were once relatively modest and began in a narrow delimited region, but now are quite expansive and numerous. In the case of the East Slavs the demographic expansion also entailed the absorption of numerous Uralic tribes, as well as later Turks. And this illustrates one of the major details which I think has characterized the genetic turnover of human populations: phase shifts from a relatively static one defined by isolation by distance gene flow across clinal gradiants, to a rapid expansion of a small subset, and the overlay of this component as a palimpsest over the underlying variation. In some cases the replacement is nearly total, as in the modern United States. In other cases, as among Great Russians, the Slavic affinities of this population, and its association with Poles and other groups are clear, but there was a non-trivial uptake of exogenous segments which might allow for a reconstruction of the prior genetic landscape. These changes occur over short periods, and are bright fireworks against the comparatively static firmament.” – from razib.

Male faces ‘buttressed against punches’ by evolution“A new theory suggests that our male ancestors evolved beefy facial features as a defence against fist fights. The bones most commonly broken in human punch-ups also gained the most strength in early “hominin” evolution. They are also the bones that show most divergence between males and females.” – h/t darwin evolution! – original research article.

Faster eye responses in Chinese people not down to culture“New research from University of Liverpool scientists has cast doubt on the theory that neurological behaviour is a product of culture in people of Chinese origin. Scientists tested three groups – students from mainland China, British people with Chinese parents and white British people – to see how quickly their eyes reacted to dots appearing in the periphery of their vision…. The findings, published in the journal PLoS One, revealed that similar numbers of the British Chinese and mainland Chinese participants made high numbers express saccades, with the white British participants made far fewer. Culturally the British Chinese participants were similar to their white British counterparts and different to the mainland Chinese students.”

Cultural differences in human brain activity: A quantitative meta-analysis“East Asians show enhanced activity underlying mentalizing and emotion regulation. Westerners show enhanced activity underlying self-reflection and emotional responses.”

Race could be a factor in head, neck cancer survival rates“The national survival rates for African-Americans diagnosed with head and neck cancer have not improved in the last 40 years despite advances in the treatment and management of the disease, researchers have found. The researchers suggest that inherent genetic factors in African-Americans may make some tumors resistant to treatments.”

Severe intellectual disability diagnosed by analysis of entire genome“[A]lmost all mental impairments are caused by new mutations that have not yet occurred in father or mother.” – h/t mr. robert ford!

New genes involved in food preferences will revolutionize diets and improve health“The researchers undertook genome wide association studies (GWAS) to try to unravel the genetic basis for certain food preferences. 2311 Italian subjects participated in the discovery step, while 1755 from other European countries and from Central Asia were used in order to further verify the findings. They uncovered 17 independent genes related to liking for certain foods, including artichokes, bacon, coffee, chicory, dark chocolate, blue cheese, ice cream, liver, oil or butter on bread, orange juice, plain yoghurt, white wine and mushrooms. Surprisingly, none of the genes thus identified belonged to the category of taste or smell receptors…. In a second study, the researchers amassed the response of around 900 healthy adults from North Eastern Italy to salt, and related this to a DNA sequence variation found on the KCNA5 gene, known to be related to taste pathways in mammals.”

First direct evidence for human sex pheromones“‘By using dynamic point-light displays that portray the gaits of walkers whose gender is digitally morphed from male to female, we show that smelling androstadienone systematically biases heterosexual females, but not males, toward perceiving the walkers as more masculine. By contrast, smelling estratetraenol systematically biases heterosexual males, but not females, toward perceiving the walkers as more feminine. Homosexual males exhibit a response pattern akin to that of heterosexual females, whereas bisexual or homosexual females fall in between heterosexual males and females. These effects are obtained despite that the olfactory stimuli are not explicitly discriminable. The results provide the first direct evidence that the two human steroids communicate opposite gender information that is differentially effective to the two sex groups based on their sexual orientation.'” – @deric bownds’ mindblog.

Genetic relatedness predicts contact frequencies with siblings, nieces and nephews: Results from the Generational Transmissions in Finland surveys“Individuals have more contacts with full than with half siblings. Individuals have more contacts with nieces/nephews via full than via half siblings. Individuals have more contacts with nieces/nephews via sisters than via brothers.” – h/t jayman!

Beware Armchair Psychoanalysis“‘Behavioral genetic studies have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that heredity is responsible for a sizable portion of the variations in people’s personalities. Some people are more hot-tempered or outgoing or meticulous than others, and these variations are a function of the genes they were born with as well as the experiences they had after they were born. The exact proportion— how much is due to the genes, how much to the experiences—is not important; the point is that heredity cannot be ignored.'” – from jayman (quoting judith rich harris there).

SD-IE and other differentiation effects in Italy and Spain [pdf] – “SD–IE [strategic differentiation–integration effort] is a strategic differentiation effect present amongst indices of life history (LH), such that persons and populations of slow LH are more differentiated compared to those of fast LH. We found that this phenomenon is present amongst provinces in Italy and Spain, similarly to demonstrations among US states and Japanese prefectures. The average effect size of SD–IE was found to be bigger in Spain and Italy….. In the present study, we test SD–IE using regional-level data for counties in Spain and Italy.”

Is the smart fraction as valuable as previously thought?“‘Consistent with the intellectual class theory advocated by Rindermann and Thompson (2011) and Rindermann et al. (2009), our research findings showed strong evidence that those people that have high IQ are the most relevant influence on economic development. Although our results suggested that all three examined IQ categories promote higher economic growth, the intellectual class has the highest impact followed by the mean ability and non-intellectual classifications. Similarly, the intellectual class also has a highly significant effect on generating technological progress, whereas the influence of the other two groups is immaterial.'” – @dr. james thompson’s blog.

HVGIQ: Burma and HVGIQ: U.S. Virgin Islands – from jason malloy.

Life unworthy of life – post about, as jayman put it, who supports eugenics. – from the awesome epigone.

The Biology of Risk“The state of your body predicts your appetite for financial risk just as it predicts an athlete’s performance. If we understand how a person’s body influences risk taking, we can learn how to better manage risk takers. We can also recognize that mistakes governments have made have contributed to excessive risk taking.”

We can’t ignore the evidence: genes affect social mobility“Why do so many people fail to accept the overwhelming evidence that genes contribute to academic achievement and thereby social status?” – h/t hbd bibliography!

India’s Feudal Rapists

Old chaps? 3,300-year-old trousers found in China may be world’s oldest“Animal-fur menswear found on the bodies of two mummies in Xinjiang province ‘almost the same shape as today’s trousers'”

Grave find may be Western Europe’s earliest false tooth“Archaeologists have identified what could be remains of the earliest false tooth found in Western Europe. The dental implant comes from the richly-furnished timber burial chamber of an Iron Age woman that was excavated in Le Chene, northern France.”

Cat People Are Smarter Than Dog People, New Study Shows – (~_^) – ftr, i like both. i’m not a speciesist!

bonus: Blind cavefish are able to ‘count’“Blind cave-dwelling fish are able to discriminate between different quantities, scientists say…. Researchers say it is the first time non-visual numerical abilities have been shown in fish.” – h/t mo costandi!

bonus bonus: Bees build mental maps to get home“Study suggests the insects do not rely solely on the Sun as a compass…. ‘The surprise comes for many people that such a tiny little brain is able to form such a rich memory described as a cognitive map,’ says co-author Randolf Menzel, a neurobiologist at the Free University of Berlin.”

bonus bonus bonus: Nemo’s Dad Should Have Become His Mom, And Other Lies Children’s Movies Told You – h/t steve stewart williams!

(note: comments do not require an email. “i wandered lonely as a cloud….”)

holy toledo! two week’s worth of links! happy friday! (^_^)

John Derbyshire On Nicholas Wade’s A TROUBLESOME INHERITANCE – A Small, But Significant, Step For Race Realism“Wade raises high the banner of race realism and charges head-on into the massed ranks of the SSSM. He states his major premise up front, on page two: ‘New analyses of the human genome have established that human evolution has been recent, copious, and regional.’ Those last four words are repeated at intervals throughout the narrative. They are, as it were, the keynote of the book; Wade returns to them many times to anchor his observations — and some speculations — on the history and development of human societies.” (my emphasis there – h.chick)

henry harpending on science“[T]his is perhaps at the heart of the slander of the so called hbd-crew that circulates. Most of us are really interested, in our hearts, in theory and models. This is the way that most of science works…. You state somewhere that the hbd crew is obsessed with IQ. Seems so, but wait! IQ is literally the only thing that can be reliably measured of a whole constellation of interesting traits. It really does work in the sense of telling one whom to hire or whom to admit to graduate school. You also speak of what we ‘believe’ but the whole fun of science is falsifying hypotheses, not believing them. I would give my eye teeth (if I had them) to come up with something besides IQ to look at.” (my emphasis again – h.chick)

Digging For Gold: Study Says Your Race Determines Your Earwax Scent – h/t hbd bibliography!

Austronesians Out of the Cauldron“…the emergence of Austronesians. Linguistics and archaeology already were rather clear on the pattern of expansion, and when. But now an ancient DNA remain from off the coast of Fujian dated to ~8,000 years ago solidifies in totality the where and when. This is not an argument anymore.” – from razib.

New Diet, Sexual Attraction May Have Spurred Europeans’ Lighter Skin“[A] new study of ancient DNA concludes that European skin color has continued to change over the past 5000 years, suggesting that additional factors, including diet and sexual attraction, may also be at play.” – see also: Natural selection has altered the appearance of Europeans over the past 5,000 years.

It made their brown eyes blue…“A recent report in PNAS shows the inhabitants of the Ukraine and its environs had much darker hair, skin, and eyes back in the Bronze Age and earlier.” – from greg cochran.

Did Europeans become white in historic times? – from peter frost.

Pause Is Seen in a Continent’s Peopling“Using a new method for exploring ancient relationships among languages, linguists have found evidence further illuminating the peopling of North America about 14,000 years ago. Their findings follow a recent proposal that the ancestors of Native Americans were marooned for some 15,000 years on a now sunken plain before they reached North America.”

The place of the Armenian language in the Indo-European family“A very interesting talk at the Library of Congress making a good case for a Greek-Phrygian-Armenian clade within the Indo-European family.” – from dienekes.

One Million Brits ‘Descended from Vikings” DNA Study Claims“Around one million Britons, or one in 33 men across the UK, can claim direct descent from Vikings, according to a new DNA study. Men from the far north of Scotland were most likely to provide a direct match with almost a third (29.2%) of the men from the Shetland Islands testing positive for Viking blood.” – h/t ed west!

Genetic Architectures“The point is that the genetic architecture of a quantitative trait does not have to be the same in different populations of the same species. For example, I have the impression that height is not as highly polygenic in Pygmies as it is most other human populations. There’s a particular region on chromosome 3 that seems to influence height- you don’t see such a concentration in Europeans.” – another from greg cochran.

Molecular genetic contributions to socioeconomic status and intelligence – h/t billaire! who tweeted: “21% of the var. in education level, 18% of SES, 29% of cognitive ability explained by COMMON SNPs in Scottish sample.”

Study finds genetic link between height and IQ“A team of researchers at Edinburgh University in Scotland has found a correlation between genes associated with height and those associated with intelligence. In their paper published in the journal Behavior Genetics, the group describes how they studied the DNA of 6,815 unrelated people and discovered what they describe as a direct correlation between height and intelligence—taller people are smarter, they say.”

HVGIQ: Puerto Rico – from jason malloy.

Population differences in intellectual capacity: a new polygenic analysis – peter frost on davide piffer’s work.

Evidence for the general factor of personality as social-effectiveness

Intelligent people are more likely to trust others“Intelligent people are more likely to trust others, while those who score lower on measures of intelligence are less likely to do so, says a new study. Researchers based their finding on an analysis of the General Social Survey, a nationally representative public opinion survey carried out in the United States every one to two years.” – h/t mr. mangan, esq!

Openness to experience and aesthetic chills: Links to heart rate sympathetic activity“These results suggest links between openness to experience and sympathetic nervous system activity explaining, at least in part, relationships of openness to such traits as aesthetic chills.” – h/t stuart ritchie!

Psychological refractory period in introverts and extraverts“Evidence for faster stimulus analysis in extraverts compared to introverts.”

‘Free to Be’ Boys and Girls: 40 Years After the Failed Gender Revolution“1974’s ‘Free to Be…You and Me’ feels like an eternity ago. And, amazingly, kids and adults have yet to morph into mutually respectful, non-gendered human persons.” – from christina hoff sommers.

Personality Regions: The Friendly Midwest, the Left Coast and the Wicked (Possibly Irish) Witch of the Northeast – from staffan.

Want Success? Choose the Right Parents“Gregory Clark’s startling new book, ‘The Son Also Rises,’ asks you to rethink everything you thought you knew about social mobility. His research, if it’s correct, isn’t good news. It says that socio-economic status is mostly a matter of nature not nurture, and suggests that trying to help the disadvantaged move up won’t make much difference.” – h/t alice teller! – see also: Social mobility: Have and have not“Mr Clark follows his logic to an unexpectedly egalitarian end. Redistribution is sensible, he argues, not in order to boost mobility but because mobility is intractably low. The cream will rise regardless, and so paying extraordinary salaries to capable workers is unnecessary. If high rates of mobility are used to excuse or justify inequality, he suggests, then the reality of low mobility implies something quite different: t hat great inequality serves little purpose and redistributing income from the rich to the poor might raise overall welfare at little economic cost. This makes for uncomfortable reading for those of all ideological persuasions.”

Why HBD“As I have tired to explain in my earlier post, Environmental Hereditarianism, the behavioral and physical traits of people are environmentally context-dependent. The broad environmental context regulates the expression of the genes. There is *not* a dichotomy between genes and ‘environment’. Nor could there be one – we are always ‘with’ both. The broad environment includes geography, climate, technology, and prevailing social landscape (otherwise known as ‘culture’). When the social-technological-geographic landscape changes, you can have broad behavioral change all without genetic change. This explains secular changes that occur too quickly to be a result of evolution, such as the sexual revolution, the modern rise in irreligiosity, the increase in the obesity rate, etc.” – from jayman.

Key connection“Biologists zero in on role of plasticity in evolution. For more than a century, scientists have suggested that the best way to settle the debate about how phenotypic plasticity — the way an organism changes in response to environment — may be connected to evolution would be to identify a single mechanism that controls both. Harvard researchers say they have discovered just such a mechanism in insulin signaling in fruit flies. Cassandra Extavour, an associate professor of organismic and evolutionary biology, and grad student Delbert André Green II were able to show that a single molecular pathway plays a role in both heritable changes in the flies’ number of ovarioles — egg-producing compartments in the ovaries — and in how they react to their environments by shutting down some ovarioles. The study is described in a paper published this month in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. ‘This is the first example, to my knowledge, that shows this link — between heritability and plasticity — being controlled by the same mechanism,’ Extavour said. ‘What we’ve done with this paper is show that an important trait that controls how many offspring a fruit fly will have exhibits both heritable variation and phenotypic plasticity, and that both are controlled by insulin signaling.'” – h/t steven pinker!

Morality and the Lament of the Liberal Atheists“Moral relativism is the ground state of living things. It doesn’t work for a social species like ours. If every one of us tried to monopolize all the available resources within his grasp at the cost of everyone else, the chances that any given individual would survive and reproduce would be drastically reduced. Therefore, morality. It exists because, from an evolutionary perspective, it works. It will continue to function just as it always has, even if 100,000 philosophers shout at the top of their lungs that it’s irrational. Of course it is, but it doesn’t matter. We will continue to perceive the good and evil that seem so real to our imaginations as absolutes. It is our nature to do so….” – from helian

coolest. story. ever. (in the past two weeks.): The Woman Who Can Will Herself Out Of Her Body – h/t keith laws!

Hypothesis on Why Northwest Europe Began Outbreeding“It could just be coincidence that the outbreeding areas that coincide with other positive hajnal line traits were also lands conquered by men from tribes with the traditions of Germanic kingship. These kings were illiterate barbarians seeking legitimacy and thinking long term at the security of their line ruling…. This is a hypothesis, but the position these rulers were in was one of new conquerors in foreign lands. They needed to create and encourage loyalty in the natives as well as find a way to secure their individual line as king in a manner that was different from what their people, the conquerors, were accustomed to. The Church, an institution eager for power in a new area as well, offered an opportunity to import a political infrastructure and change the social make up of their new lands. Even moreso in England than the rest of core Europe, the Church and the elite’s motivations and goals overlapped perfectly. Christianity was new to them and new to the Britains, but as conversions mounted, it was a shared trait amongst them all. That shared identity was the warrior-chiefs’ way to have rule and kingship legitimized. That shared identity made the natives and newcomers men of Kent or East Anglia, later England, and not of the clan.” – good stuff from son of brock landers!

Rise of the West and the Hajnal line – from mr. mangan, esq.

The Low Fertility Of Urban Liberals Is A Feature Not A Bug – from heartiste.

The Achilles’ Heel of Northern Europeans: Outbreeding? – from alfred clark.

The Medieval Mind“The medieval character was not just about poisoning rivals and raping their daughters. That picture misses the raw and unquestioned nationalism, the impulsivity, the superstition, the childishness (in Barbara Tuchmann’s words), the present time-orientation.” – from elijah.

On Digit Ratio and its Implications – from sisyphean the mad contrarian.

psychO – from the awesome epigone. linking to this mostly for the pictures – awwww! (^_^)

The genes that mean you have a good ear for music“Musical aptitude may be partly down to genes that determine the architecture of the inner ear.” – h/t simon makin! – alternatively: you, too, can have perfect pitch! (~_^)

The Origin of Ideology“Are left and right a feature (or bug) of evolution?” – review of a couple of books.

Do Women’s Mate Preferences Change Across the Ovulatory Cycle? A Meta-Analytic Review – answer: yes. – see also: Intersexual conflict across women’s ovulatory cycle“Results indicate that (a) men are particularly self-assertive toward partners when their partners are fertile; (b) similarly, women are especially self-assertive toward partners when they are fertile; (c) women report engaging in more behaviors that resist male vigilance and mate-guarding when they are fertile, especially in ways that are unobservable to male partners; (d) these effects are especially strong when women themselves report greater attraction to men other than partners when they are fertile, compared to the luteal phase.” – h/t robert burriss!

Study finds less cooperation among women than among men where hierarchy is involved“‘When I studied young children, I noticed that boys were typically interacting in groups, and girls tended to focus on one-on-one relationships,’ said Benenson, the study’s lead author, who explored similar questions in her book Warriors and Worriers. ‘There is even evidence that these differences exist in six-month-olds – but you can see it with the naked eye by about five or six years old, where boys form these large, loose groups, and girls tend to pair off into more intense, close friendships.’ What makes those differences particularly provocative, Benenson said, is that chimpanzees organize their relationships in nearly identical ways. ‘Chimpanzee males usually have another individual they’re very close with, and they may constantly battle for dominance, but they also have a larger, loose group of allies,’ Benenson said. ‘When it comes to defeating other groups, everybody bands together. I would argue that females don’t have that biological inclination, and they don’t have the practice.'”

The Reason Early Humans May Have Practiced Infant Cannibalism – mmmmmmm! – h/t diana fleischman!

Personality Traits and Body Mass Index in a Korean Population“Compared with the normal weight groups, overweight and obese men scored higher on openness to experience and lower on conscientiousness. Overweight and obese women scored lower on neuroticism and openness to experience and higher on agreeableness. Extraversion was positively associated with BMI in men (β = 0.032, P<0.05). BMI and waist circumference were significantly increased in individuals who were less dutiful. In women, neuroticism was inversely associated with BMI (β = −0.026, P<0.05). Openness to experience was negatively, and agreeableness was positively, associated with BMI (openness to experience: β = −0.072, agreeableness β = 0.068) and waist circumference (openness to experience: β = −0.202, agreeableness: β = 0.227) (P<0.05).”

The Supergene That Paints a Liar

This Island Life“The strange biology of island populations highlights the role of chance, not just selection, in evolutionary change.” – h/t john belmont!

Competition May Not Be the Driving Force of Species Diversity After All – h/t robert ford!

Big Testicles Drive Genetic Evolution: Size Does Matter After All“[A]nimals with larger testis having an increased speed of genome evolution, researchers have found.”

Bye bye RNA world

The Phylogeny of Everything, the Origin of Eukaryotes, and the Rules of Taxonomy: Death to Archaea, Bacteria, and Eucarya! Long live Archaebacteria, Eubacteria, Eukaryota, and Prokaryota!

Genomics/Bone Marrow Donation: Next-gen DNA sequencing enables reliable donor matching service

Is Ed Houben Europe’s most virile man?“Ed Houben has an unusual pastime. He has slept with scores of women who seek him out for his legendary powers of insemination…. Ed Houben has come to see his daughter for the first time. He talks gently to the six-week-old baby, and little Madita looks up at him. She is, he says, his 98th child.”

The Costume of Shangri-La: Thoughts on White Privilege, Cultural Appropriation, and Anti-Asian Racism – it’s worth quoting the whole abstract: “This piece poses cultural appropriation as an undertheorized aspect of white privilege in White Privilege Studies. By way of narrative exploration, it asserts that a paucity of scholarship on Orientalism and anti-Asian racism has created a gap in White Privilege Studies that curbs its radical transformative potential. It argues for the value of a structural and historically focused lens for understanding the issue of cultural appropriation, and extends questions of culture and race relations beyond the borders of the United States. It also explores the complex ways that interracial and transnational relationships can influence white racial identity, and illustrates the disruptive potential that queer interracial relationships can offer to dominant historical patterns of white behavior.” – (~_^) h/t ben southwood!

bonus: mr. mangan’s book! (^_^): Smash Chronic Fatigue: A Concise, Science-Based Guide to Help Your Body Heal, and Banish Fatigue Forever

bonus bonus: Backing the Big Bang“In breakthrough, astronomers find evidence of speedy ‘cosmic inflation’ of universe”

bonus bonus bonus: Does Time Flow? (video) – d*mn physicists! (~_^)

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Elephants Hear Age, Gender, Ethnicity in Human Voices – elephants are awesome!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Dinosaurs are not Extinct – YAAAAAAAAYYYYY!!!! – h/t steve stewart williams!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: The stripy stick insect that walked with dinosaurs“This is the earliest known plant-mimicking stick insect, its fragile body preserved for 126 million years in the dusty rocks of north-east China.” – h/t jason moore!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Flies That Do Calculus With Their Wings“The wings of fruit flies beat about 250 times a second.” – h/t kyle hill!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Portolan Charts ‘Too Accurate’ to be Medieval – h/t heresiarch!

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