linkfest – 10/11/15

Ancient Ethiopian genome reveals extensive Eurasian admixture throughout the African continent“Here, we present a 12.5x coverage ancient genome of an Ethiopian male (‘Mota’) who lived approximately 4,500 years ago. We use this genome to demonstrate that the Eurasian backflow into Africa came from a population closely related to Early Neolithic farmers, who had colonized Europe 4,000 years earlier. The extent of this backflow was much greater than previously reported, reaching all the way to Central, West and Southern Africa, affecting even populations such as Yoruba and Mbuti, previously thought to be relatively unadmixed, who harbor 6-7% Eurasian ancestry.” – h/t john hawks! who tweeted: “First ancient DNA from Ethiopia shows that today’s sub-Saharan Africans are at least 0.2-0.7% Neanderthal ancestry!” – see also: First Ancient African Genome Reveals Vast Eurasian Migration“The man’s genome is, unsurprisingly, more closely related to present-day Ethiopian highlanders known as the Ari than to any other population the team examined, suggesting a clear line of descent for the Ari from ancient human populations living in the area. But further genetic studies show that the Ari also descend from people that lived outside Africa, which chimes with a previous study that discovered a ‘backflow’ of humans into Africa from Eurasia around 3,000 years ago.”

Eight thousand years of natural selection in Europe“The arrival of farming in Europe around 8,500 years ago necessitated adaptation to new environments, pathogens, diets, and social organizations…. We identify genome-wide significant signatures of selection at loci associated with diet, pigmentation and immunity, and two independent episodes of selection on height…. These results suggest that the modern South-North gradient in height across Europe is due to both increased steppe ancestry in northern populations, and selection for decreased height in Early Neolithic migrants to southern Europe. “

The Hybrid Origin of “Modern” Humans“Recent genomic research has shown that hybridization between substantially diverged lineages is the rule, not the exception, in human evolution. However, the importance of hybridization in shaping the genotype and phenotype of Homo sapiens remains debated. Here we argue that current evidence for hybridization in human evolution suggests not only that it was important, but that it was an essential creative force in the emergence of our variable, adaptable species.”

Neanderthal ‘flower children’ burials theory debunked“New research casts doubt on the idea that Neanderthals buried their dead covered in flowers.”

Intelligence in youth and health at age 50“Higher intelligence in youth is linked with better physical health at age 50.” – h/t andrew sabisky!

Chorionicity and Heritability Estimates from Twin Studies: The Prenatal Environment of Twins and Their Resemblance Across a Large Number of Traits“There are three types of monozygotic (MZ) twins. MZ twins can either share one chorion and one amnion, each twin can have its own amnion, or MZ twins can—like dizygotic twins—each have their own chorion and amnion. Sharing the same chorion may create a more similar/dissimilar prenatal environment and bias heritability estimates…. We conclude that the influence on the MZ twin correlation of the intra-uterine prenatal environment, as measured by sharing a chorion type, is small and limited to a few phenotypes.”

Genetic transmission of reading ability – h/t steve stewart williams! who tweeted: “If you want your kids to read, your best bet is to have kids with a reader.”

It All Began at Ararat, and Esau’s Revenge“Ancient DNA in Europe strongly indicates massive replacement [of hunter-gatherers by agriculturalists]. But, there is also suggestion of admixture with the local substrate. And, unlike the stylized model of Bellwood, it seems that there were multiple migrations after the initial pulse which reshaped the genetic and cultural landscape of human societies in the wake of agriculture.” – from razib.

Closing the Black-White IQ Gap Debate, Part I – from chanda chisala. and a response from peter frost: No, blacks aren’t all alike. Who said they were? – and previously on this blog: there’s more to human biodiversity than just racial differences.

The Association of Cognitive Ability with Right-wing Ideological Attitudes and Prejudice: A Meta-analytic Review“The present meta-analyses revealed an average effect size of r = −.20 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) [−0.23, −0.17]; based on 67 studies, N = 84 017] for the relationship between cognitive ability and right-wing ideological attitudes and an average effect size of r = −.19 (95% CI [−0.23, −0.16]; based on 23 studies, N = 27 011) for the relationship between cognitive ability and prejudice.”

[male] Chimps like boys toys too“If you want to know why young boys play with toy guns, you could do worse than consider why young male chimpanzees play with leaves and stones.” – h/t darren burke! who tweeted: “Western social constructivism is so insidious and widespread it is even affecting wild chimpanzees now!” – (~_^)

Ravens cooperate, but not with just anyone“Ravens detect cheaters in cooperation.”

Understanding the Cognitive and Genetic Underpinnings of Procrastination: Evidence for Shared Genetic Influences With Goal Management and Executive Function Abilities – procrastination (at least) 28% heritable. will have to read original paper. tomorrow, maybe. (~_^)

Personality Traits Increasingly Important for Male Fertility: Evidence from Norway“[P]ersonality relates to men’s and women’s fertility differently; conscientiousness decreases female fertility, openness decreases male fertility and extraversion raises the fertility of both sexes. Neuroticism depresses fertility for men, but only for those born after 1956.”

Host genetic variation impacts microbiome composition across human body sites“Our results highlight the role of host genetic variation in shaping the composition of the human microbiome, and provide a starting point toward understanding the complex interaction between human genetics and the microbiome in the context of human evolution and disease.”

DNA At the Fringes: Twins, Chimerism, and Synthetic DNA – h/t genetics and society! who tweeted: “Chimeras could undermine DNA forensics & use of DNAtesting as conclusive proof of crime & family.”

Ethnic differences in the association between depression and chronic pain: cross sectional results from UK Biobank [pdf] – h/t don lyall!

Emotion, rationality, and decision-making: how to link affective and social neuroscience with social theory

Women and men react differently to infidelity“While men are most jealous of sexual infidelity, women are most jealous of emotional infidelity.” – w.e.i.r.d. study. (n=1000).

‘Safe spaces’ exist because universities treat secular ideas as sacred“The most influential effect of this cultural and political imbalance is that academia has ignored the increasing evidence that human traits are heavily influenced by hereditary factors, most prominently in intelligence and sexual differences. This has a huge bearing on public policy, especially when so much of policy is involved in tackling inequality of various kinds. It would be like trying to reduce economic inequality while pretending that wealth cannot be inherited, because that’s offensive to people’s parents, and that all fortunes were the results of education, hard work or sheer luck.” – from ed west.

Relics of the Blank Slate, as Excavated at “Ethics” Magazine“There’s a reason that the Blank Slaters clung so bitterly to their absurd orthodoxy for so many years. If there is such a thing as human nature, then all the grandiose utopias they concocted for us over the years, from Communism on down, would vanish like so many mirages.” – from helian.

Anthropologist: “I’ve Never Been So Disgusted with My Own Data” – from steve sailer.

“Ethics” is advertising – david chapman on virtue signaling (trans: signalling. (~_^) ).

Two Fed economists tried to replicate some top economic studies — and the results are dreadful – from mike bird.

The shifting tide of American immigration – from colin woodard.

Missing piece of Gilgamesh Epic discovered

Pompeii Victims’ Bodies Revealed in [ct] Scans: Photos

Excavations at Mexican ruin site yields new details of Aztecs’ sacrifice of captured Spaniards“It was one of the worst defeats in one of history’s most dramatic conquests: Only a year after Hernan Cortes landed in Mexico, hundreds of people in a Spanish-led convey were captured, sacrificed and apparently eaten.”

bonus: Most worker ants are slackers“[N]ew research shows that many ants in a colony seem to specialize in doing nothing at all. To get a closer look at how these ants filled their time, researchers marked every member of five lab-based colonies with dots of colored paint. Over the course of 2 weeks, a high-definition camera recorded 5-minute segments of the ants in action six times a day, capturing their behavior (or lack thereof). Out of the ‘workers,’ 71.9% were inactive at least half the time, and 25.1% were never seen working. A small fraction of the ants, just 2.6%, were always active during observation, the researchers wrote last month in Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.”

bonus bonus: How to Dupe a Dung Beetle“A case of biological mimicry has been spotted in Ceratocaryum argenteum, a South African plant that tricks dung beetles into spreading its stinky seeds.”

bonus bonus bonus: Elephants: Large, Long-Living and Less Prone to Cancer“Dr. Schiffman and his colleagues found that elephants have evolved new copies of the p53 gene [“a gene that is crucial for preventing cancer”]. While humans have only one pair of p53 genes, the scientists identified 20 pairs in elephants.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus: DNA Sequenced for New Zealand’s First Dog – the kurī. woof!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Watch Drones Drop Thousands of Moths on Crops

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Honour, community and hierarchy in the feasts of the archery and crossbow guilds of Bruges, 1445–81

and the tweet of the week… (~_^)

(note: comments do not require an email. “Humans come then go, that is the way fate decreed on the Tablets of Destiny.”)

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who are our mexicans?

john derbyshire has a blog post up @vdare — Aztecs and Hidalgos: Are Upper-Class Hispanics Importing Their Own Peons? — in which he points out that an awful lot of the u.s.’s pro-amnesty leaders are (genuine) white-hispanics — in other words, they appear to be of mostly european extraction — while on the other hand the vast majority of immigrants we get from mexico are actually mestizos or indios — or, as john dubs them, “aztecs” (over which some ninnies have pointed and sputtered, apparently).

which got me to wondering — again — who are our mexicans? are they really the descendents of/partly descended from the aztecs or what? pre-columbian mexico was very multi-cultural (lucky them!), so which mexicans are actually coming to the u.s. these days?

i’m going to try to get at that by examining which regions of mexico our mexican immigrants come from. that, obviously, will just leave us with a guesstimate of which sub-groups of mexicans are coming to the u.s., but until we get full genomic sequencing done on all immigrants entering the country, it’s the best i can do. i don’t know from which parts of mexico immigrants in past decades hailed, so perhaps a lot of them were/are indeed of aztec descent, but thanks to the mexican government’s consejo nacional de población (conapo), we do know where our most recent mexican immigrants are coming from today (2010).

before i post a couple of neat maps from conapo, let me mention again a couple of facts that most you are probably already aware of: 1) most mexicans are mestizos, i.e. of mixed indio and european heritage, 2) most mexican mestizos are more indio than they are european, and 3) the further south you go in mexico, the more indio the mestizos are [pdf].

ok. a couple of maps taken from here (specifically here [pdf] — click on maps for LARGER views)…

grades of the intensity of emigration to the u.s. by federal district, 2010 [names of four hottest districts added by me]:

immigration from mexico by federal district - 2010b

and grades of the intensity of emigration to the u.s. by municipality, 2010:

immigration from mexico by municipality - 2010

as you can see on the first map, four federal districts in mexico have “muy alto” (very high) emigration to the u.s.: michoacán, zacatecas, guanajuato, and nayarit. michoacán is the furthest to the south with guanajuato following, so presumably the mestizos from these regions are more indio than those from the other two regions. judging by the map of immigration from municipalities, the greatest numbers of immigrants come from zacatecas and guanajuato.

so who are these people? who were their ancestors?

the zacatecos were one of the groups referred to by the aztecs as chichimecas or “barbarians.” i’m not sure whether or not they spoke a language related to aztec, or were related to the aztecs, but they certainly were not a part of the settled aztec civilization. the zacatecos were nomadic hunter-gatherers and were reportedly expert archers. these are some of the peoples who gave the spaniards a run for their money in the chichimeca war with their armor-piercing arrows. cool!

from Soldiers, Indians, and Silver: The Northward Advance of New Spain, 1550-1600 [pgs. 39, 46-48]:

“The Zacatecos, tribesmen closest to most of the new silver mines, were the fourth nation of this Gran Chichimeca. They overlapped the land of the Guachichiles east and north of Zacatecas; they extended westward to border on the Tepehuanes near Durango; and they roamed as far north as Cuencame and Parras, where they touched upon the Irritilas or Laguna tribes. The Zacatecos were mostly nomadic, although a few groups were essentially sedentary. They were brave and bellicose warriors and excellent marksmen. Some Spaniards called them the most valiant and warlike of all the Chichimecas. They were mightily feared by neighboring peoples, especially the Cazcanes, whom they attacked constantly — fifty Zacatecos were known to have successfully raided a Cazcan pueblo of as many as three or four thousand inhabitants….

“The general way of life throughout this Gran Chichimeca varied little from tribe to tribe and from nation to nation. Contemporary descriptions of the customs and characteristics of the Chichimecas seldom noted important variations between one grouping and another….

“In hand-to-hand combat, the Chichimeca warrior gained, among other Indians and Spaniards, a reputation for courage and ferocity…. In fighting other Indians (Mexicans, Tarascans, Cazcanes), part of his courage could be accounted for by the contempt he felt for the tribes that had adopted the ways of the white man. And, as already implied, the Chichimeca came to have a lesser respect for the Spaniard himself as the Indian raids went unpunished….

“[H]is contact with Spanish military practice also led the Chichimeca to take more practical measures to assure success in fighting. He sent spies into Spanish-Indian towns for appraisal of the enemy’s plans and strength; he developed a far-flung system of lookouts and scouts (*atalayas*); and, in major attacks, settlements were softened by preliminary and apparently systematic killing and stealing of horses and other livestock, this being an attempt, sometimes successful, to change his intended victim from horseman to foot soldier.

“When the Chichimeca was attacked in his mountainous or other naturally protected stronghold or hideout, he usually put up vigorous resistance, especially if unable to escape onslaught. In such cases he fought — with arrows, clubs, or even rocks — behind natural barriers (or in caves) that had sometimes been made stronger by his own hands and ingenuity. Even the women might take up the fight, using the weapons of fallen braves….

“The high degree of Chichimeca accuracy with bow and arrow called forth much respectful and awed comment from his Spanish enemy. ‘On one occasion I saw them throw an orange into the air, and they shot into it so many arrows that, having held it in the air for much time, it finally fell in minute pieces.’ ‘In the opinion of men experienced in foreign lands, the Zacatecos are the best archers in the world.’ ‘They kill hares which, even though running, they pierce with arrows; also deer, birds, and other little animals of the land, not even overlooking rats … and they fish with the bow and arrow.’ Children of the Chichimecas were taught the use of the bow from the time they could walk, and they practiced by shooting at insects and the smallest animals.

“The forces and penetrating power of the Chichimeca arrow was always a puzzle to Spaniards, particularly in view of the extreme thinness of the arrow shaft. ‘It has happened that, in a fight between some soldiers, and some Chichimeca Indians, an arrow hit one soldier’s powder flask [of wood, usually], passed completely through it, then penetrated his armor, consisting of eleven thicknesses of buckskin (*gamuza*), a coat of mail, a doublet, and the soldier was wounded by said arrow.’ ‘It has happened that an arrow hit a horse on which a soldier was fighting and the arrow passed through the horse’s crownpiece (which consisted of a very strong leather and metal piece), his head, and came out through the neck and entered the chest, a thing which, if were not known to be certain, seems incredible.’ ‘One of don Alonso de Castilla’s soldiers had an arrow pass through the head of his horse, including a crownpiece of doubled buckskin and metal, and into his chest, so he fell with the horse dead on the ground — this was seen by many who are still living.’

“The Chichimeca bow was about two-thirds as long as the average body, reaching approximately from head to knee; it was probably made of such materials as cottonwood, willow, mesquite, *bois d’arc*, or juniper — woods that could be found in the area. The arrow, about two-thirds as long as the bow, was very thin, usually made of reed and usually with an obsidian tip, which was fastened to the shaft by human sinews or animal tendons. Shortness of bow, thinness of arrow, and the conchoidal edge of the obsidian combined to achieve a penetration the Spaniards could hardly believe. The fact that the Chichimeca arrow found its way through all but the closest-woven mail was a factor in the increasing Spanish use of buckskin armor on this frontier.”

iwitbb**: “Mexico’s National Population Council estimates that 600,000 natives of Zacatecas now live in the United States, a figure that is equivalent to 40 percent of the state’s resident population of 1.5 million. If the base population is supplemented by the number of children and grandchildren who have been born in the United States, the total number of Mexicans and Mexican Americans of ‘zacatecano’ origin living in the United States exceeds the number of people who reside in the state.”

so we’re not short of people from zacatecas.
_____

most of the peoples of guanajuato were also some of these nomadic chichimeca folks. a lot of them were guamares, but the zacatecos were also present along with other hunter-gatherer chichimeca groups. like zacatecas, guanajuato was never a part of the aztec empire either. nor was it a part of another neighboring empire, the tarascan state which was run by the purépecha people (see section on michoacán below), although the areas of guanajuato that were adjacent to the tarascan state were influenced culturally by that state.

so the probable ancestors of many of the people from the two mexican regions from which the u.s. today receives the most migrants were nomadic hunter-gatherers with a warrior streak. right up until 1590 (the end of the chichimeca war), or just ca. 20 generations ago (counting a generation as roughly 20 years).

[edit: see also this comment.]
_____

the pre-columbian michoacán area was inhabited by several different groups, but the ones that really left their mark were the purépecha people with their tarascan state. they were never conquered by the aztecs, and they built a really neat city of their own — tzintzuntzan — replete with some of those very fashionable (back in the day) latin american pyramids. interestingly, the purépecha language is not related to any of the neighboring languages of the region.

from Prehistoric Mesoamerica [pgs. 324-325, 329]:

“The Tarascan state occupied about 65,000 square kilometers (25,000 square miles) and included within its boundaries various ethnic and linguistic groups. Thus, it fulfills the formal qualifications required of an imperial system. The ‘Relacion de Michoacan’ relates that the Tarascans were ruled by a priest-king-god who governed a large political unit. In terms of area, it seems to have been the largest political unit in Mesoamerica at the time of the Spanish Conquest. The empire was administered by a wide variety of officials who handled matters such as taxes and censuses.

“Although 340 settlements are mentioned by the ‘Relacion de Michoacan’, only four of them qualified as cities, and they were located within the Lako Patzcuaro basin. The largest was the capital of Tzintzuntzan, which had been founded about A.D. 1000 as a center for the worship of two important deities. By 1350, the center had been transformed into an urban area sprawling along the lake shore, with a population of between twenty-five thousand and thirty-five thousand people. Archaeological survey has detected four districts that are the probable residence zones for four classes: upper and lower elite, commoners, and ethnic foreigners. Wards (barrios) for the various social and occupation groups survived in modern Tzintzuntzan into the twentieth century….

“The settlement pattern of the Tarascans was essentially rural, however, and most people lived in hamlets, villages, and towns….

“War was waged after the harvest was in, in good Mesoamerican manner. Spies (perhaps *pochtecas*) were employed for intelligence purposes. The Tarascans resisted the Aztec with a chain of fortified cities and with a professional army.”

so a more civilized group of peoples down in michoacán.
_____

i didn’t have as much luck in finding out about the historic population(s) of nayarit — there doesn’t seem to be much info out there — not in english anyway. some nahua peoples (the aztecs are a nahua people) were there at some point and apparently built one small-sized city anyway. according to the wikipedia page for nayarit in spanish, the majority of the populace in nayarit today are the huichol people followed by the cora and also some nahual folks.

the huichol:

“…usually marry between the ages of fourteen and seventeen. Extended Huichol families live together in rancho settlements. These small communities consist of individual houses which belong to a nuclear family. Each settlement has a communal kitchen and the family shrine, called a xiriki, which is dedicated to the ancestors of the rancho. The buildings surround a central patio. The individual houses are traditionally built of stone or adobe with grass-thatched roofs.

“A district of related ranchos is known as a temple district. Temple districts are all members of a larger community district. Each community district is ruled by a council of kawiterutsixi, elder men who are usually also shamans.”

(*cough*)clannish.(*cough*)

even more cool, re. the cora people:

“In the early 18th century they were an anomaly in that they had never permitted Catholic missionaries to live in their country. They had become a pagan island in a sea of Christian Indians and Hispanic culture. In 1716, a Spanish expedition to attempt to bring the Cora under Spanish control failed. However, in 1722, the Spanish returned in force and the Cora yielded. According to Spanish accounts many of them became Christian and practice, up until the present, ‘Catholic-derived customs.'”
_____

so the descendents of some or all of these groups probably represent a large segment of mexicans coming to the u.s. right now.

what i think we should be asking ourselves — apart from why?? — is what are these different mexicans likely to be like given their (natural) histories? we’ve got a mix of peoples here ranging from the descendents of nomadic hunter-gatherer warriors to currently settled but isolated indios to the descendents of more civilized agricultural populations. so what sorts of selection pressures were the ancestors of all these mexican groups under for, say, the last one to two thousand years? what sorts of mating patterns/family types/social structures did these peoples’ ancestors have that might’ve affected the selection pressures on those populations?

who are our mexicans?
_____

**iwitbb = if wikipedia is to be believed.

(note: comments do not require an email. huichol lady.)

linkfest – 02/03/13

Can plants be altruistic? You bet, says new CU-Boulder-led study“‘Embryos with the same mother and father as the endosperm in their seed weighed significantly more than embryos with the same mother but a different father,’ said Diggle, a faculty member in CU-Boulder’s ecology and evolutionary biology department. ‘We found that endosperm that does not share the same father as the embryo does not hand over as much food — it appears to be acting less cooperatively.'” – previously: even plants do it!

How to Survive a Siberian Winter“[T]he study shows how, over the more than 25,000 years that modern humans been lived in Siberia, various peoples have adapted to the region’s cold weather and meaty food sources through selection on multiple genes that control several biological mechanisms.”

National intelligence and personality“‘[T]aken together, Big Five traits and IQs of various cultures statistically explained 70% of a nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. The most important predictors of economic success were intelligence and extraversion, which proved to be strongly positively related to GDP.'” – from mangan.

Childhood intelligence is heritable, highly polygenic and associated with FNBP1L – from race/history/evolution notes.

IQ and homicide – from the awesome epigone.

HVGIQ: Cuba – from jason malloy.

New Geology study raises questions about long-held theories of human evolution“While the shift to bipedalism appears to have occurred somewhere between 6 and 4 million years ago, Feakins’ study finds that thick rainforests had already disappeared by that point—replaced by grasslands and seasonally dry forests some time before 12 million years ago.”

Ice Age Lion Man is world’s earliest figurative sculpture – 40,000 years old! – h/t dienekes.

New study sheds light on the origin of the European Jewish population“Elhaik’s findings strongly support the Khazarian Hypothesis, as opposed to the Rhineland Hypothesis, of European Jewish origins.” – h/t jayman!

Aztec conquest of Xaltocan led to population replacement – from dienekes.

Students with Autism Gravitate Toward STEM Majors – duh.

When Taking Multiple Husbands Makes Sense“Historically, polyandry was much more common than we thought.”

The supposedly educated believe in astrology“‘Only 52% of science majors said that astrology is ‘not at all’ scientific.'” – from mangan.

Some chores linked to less sex“Couples in which the husband did plenty of traditionally male jobs reported more sex than those in which the guy didn’t.” – but you already knew that, didn’t you? (~_^)

bonus: Carl Sagan’s Baloney Detection Kit – from jayman! (i LOVE baloney! fried baloney sandwiches — mmmmmm! (^_^) )

bonus bonus: ‘I feel like a stranger where I live’“As new figures show ‘white flight’ from cities is rising, one Londoner writes a provocative personal piece about how immigration has drastically changed the borough where she has lived for 17 years.”

bonus bonus bonus: For 40 Years, This Russian Family Was Cut Off From All Human Contact, Unaware of World War II“In 1978, Soviet geologists prospecting in the wilds of Siberia discovered a family of six, lost in the taiga.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Stone Age tribe kills fishermen who strayed on to island

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: The Spy Novelist Who Knows Too Much

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: America’s most luxurious reservation: Huge homes of country’s richest Native American tribe where members make $1m EACH“The tribe is also well-known for their charitable giving. It often donates cash to poorer tribes and charities across the country. Since 1996 they have given away $243.5 million…. ‘If it wasn’t for Shakopee, especially during this time when things are tough for loans, tough in this economy — there’s tribes who would be in a very tough situation,’ Ernest Stevens, chair of the National Indian Gaming Association explains. ‘There’s nobody in the gaming industry that I know of that can compare to what Shakopee does.’ In 2010 they were given a Jefferson Award for Public Service.”

(note: comments do not require an email. lion man.)