Ancient DNA Links Native Americans With Europe – “…from the complete nuclear genome of a Siberian boy who died 24,000 years ago — the oldest complete genome of a modern human sequenced to date. His DNA shows close ties to those of today’s Native Americans. Yet he apparently descended not from East Asians, but from people who had lived in Europe or western Asia. The finding suggests that about a third of the ancestry of today’s Native Americans can be traced to ‘western Eurasia,’ with the other two-thirds coming from eastern Asia…. It also implies that traces of European ancestry previously detected in modern Native Americans do not come solely from mixing with European colonists, as most scientists had assumed, but have much deeper roots.” — see also: The First of the Mohicans from greg cochran.
Your face may have been sculpted by junk DNA – “There is a huge degree of variation in human faces but, as family resemblances show, the overall shape is heavily constrained by genetics. However, so far, geneticists have identified only a small number of genes that influence the shape. These explain just a tiny fraction of the variation seen in human faces. According to Axel Visel of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California and his colleagues, more variation is controlled by distant-acting enhancers. These are short sequences of DNA, in non-coding regions of the genome, that can influence the activity of the facial genes, even if they are a long way along the DNA strand.”
Behavior problems in preschool and child care centers may be an issue of genes – “A new study suggests that some children may be genetically predisposed to developing behavioral problems in child care and preschool settings…. [B]irth parents who had high rates of negative emotion and self-control, based on a self-reported temperament scale, were more likely to have children who struggled with behavioral issues such as lack of self-control and anger, in child care centers. They controlled for adoptive parent’s characteristics, and still found a modest effect based on the genetic link.”
Your Ethnicity Determines the Species of Bacteria That Live in Your Mouth – “[P]eople from each of the four different ethnic groups represented in the study (all participants self-identified as either Caucasian, African-American, Chinese or Latino) generally had similar species of bacteria, especially underneath the gums. As a result, simply by counting which varieties of bacteria appeared in this area, the researchers developed a model that was able to guess a person’s ethnicity with an accuracy significantly better than chance — it got it right 62 percent of the time. Some groups were even easier to identify via the bacteria than others: It could correctly identify Latinos 67 percent of the time and African-Americans with 100 accuracy. The variation along ethnic lines, they believe, is a reflection of genetics, not environment. That’s because, if you assumed that the mouth microbiome is totally dependent on environmental factors, you’d expect that members of the same ethnic group would have different mixes of bacteria depending on whether they were first-generation immigrants to the U.S. or had family histories that stretched back generations in the country. Instead, people’s background — in terms of foods they ate and other lifestyle trends — didn’t seem to have any correlation with the bacterial communities in their mouths.“ – h/t super bob!
Herpes virus genome traces the ancient path of human migration – “Researchers…sequenced the genomes of 31 samples of herpes simplex virus type-1 to reconstruct how it hitchhiked on humans as they dispersed around the world. The results match the pattern proposed by the ‘Out of Africa’ theory, which has become the most widely accepted scenario for ancient human migration. The analysis showed that African strains of the virus contained the most genetic diversity — suggesting that they had the oldest roots.”
Genetic variation alters efficacy of antidepressant – “Having a different form of a gene that regulates the brain chemical noradrenaline influences how well men remember negative memories after taking the antidepressant drug reboxetine, according to a study published in the October 23 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience. The findings demonstrate how genes can influence antidepressant response.” – see also: Genes predispose some people to focus on the negative.
Much Earlier Split for Neanderthals, Humans? – “This suggests that the last common ancestor of H. sapiens and Neanderthals lived sometime earlier, perhaps as far back as one million years ago.”
Denisovans in Wallacea? – from greg cochran.
Life on Earth Was Not a Fluke – “Figuring out how biomolecular self-organization happens may hold the key to understanding life on Earth formed and perhaps how it might form on other planets.” – h/t jayman!
Genetics made very simple – from dr. james thompson.
Low historical rates of cuckoldry in a Western European human population traced by Y-chromosome and genealogical data – “[W]e estimate that over the last few centuries, EPP rates in Flanders (Belgium) were only around 1–2% per generation. This figure is substantially lower than the 8–30% per generation reported in some behavioural studies on historical EPP rates, but comparable with the rates reported by other genetic studies of contemporary Western European populations. These results suggest that human EPP rates have not changed substantially during the last 400 years in Flanders and imply that legal genealogies rarely differ from the biological ones.” – h/t rob brooks!
‘Endowment Effect’ Not Present in Hunter-Gather Societies – “‘The more isolated Hadza traded about 50 percent of the time — which is what rational people should do,’ Azevedo said. People near the village traded about 25 percent of the time, which is much closer to the 10 percent we see with Western students.” – h/t jason collins! – previously: personality goes a long way… in which researchers find just big TWO personality traits in a group of hunter-gatherers (the tsimane).
speaking of the tsimane: UCSB anthropologist studies the evolutionary benefit of human personality traits – “‘Being more extroverted, open, agreeable and conscientious –– and less neurotic –– was associated with having more kids.'” in tsimane men. (if they really have all those personality traits…see link immediately above.)
What Happens When a Language Has No Numbers? – on the pirahã. – h/t nn!
Can Your Genes Predict Whether You’ll Be a Conservative or a Liberal? – “Scientific research shows political partisanship transcends economics, environment, and upbringing.” – from avi tuschman.
Life expectancy and the dawn of agriculture – from jason collins.
Origins of Americans (Looking At HLA Haplotypes) – from our very own chris davies! previously from chris: human leukocyte antigen (hla) haplotypes and human biodiversity.
Number sense in infancy predicts mathematical abilities in childhood – “Preverbal number sense in 6-month-old infants predicted standardized math scores in the same children 3 years later. This discovery shows that number sense in infancy is a building block for later mathematical ability and invites educational interventions to improve number sense even before children learn to count.” – h/t simon baron-cohen!
Black Suits, Gowns, & Skin: SAT Scores by Income, Education, & Race – @the unsilenced science. see also: Obama Administration: Moynihan’s Law of Canadian Border kinda right from steve sailer.
Of Race and Intelligence – from helian.
Sex on the Mind – “It is a truth universally acknowledged — at least by biologists — that every person owes his or her existence to parents who successfully reproduced, each of whom, in turn, had two parents who did the same … and so on, going back hundreds of millions of years to the first ancestral blob (or two) of protoplasmic goo that trundled onto terra firma from the early earth’s organic soup.” – from david barash. — see also: Why Have Sex? – from the advanced apes.
Lust Is Love – from heartiste.
Asymmetries in altruistic behavior during violent intergroup conflict – “Some empirical studies on intergroup conflict in hunter-gatherer societies and chimpanzees indicate that fitness relevant risks and potential benefits of attacks and defenses might have differed substantially under ancestral conditions. Drawing on these studies, it is hypothesized that the success of defenses was much more important for individual and kin survival and that a disposition to act altruistically during intergroup conflict is thus more likely to evolve for the strategic situation of defense…. Analyzing detailed historical case data from 20th century wars, this study finds that altruistic behavior towards members of the in-group indeed seems to occur more frequently when soldiers are defending themselves and their comrades against enemy attacks.” – h/t hbd bibliography!
Who gives? Multilevel effects of gender and ethnicity on workplace charitable giving. – “[E]thnic minorities donate less money to workplace charity than do Whites.” – and men less than women. – via richard lynn @amren.
Paradoxes of the Nordic Model II – “Denmark is a high trust, highly cooperative society. There is very low crime. Most parked bicycles are not even locked. Bank employees may not work very efficiently, but nobody tried to swindle me. In theoretical terms, what it means is that when there are very few defectors, the amount of common good produced overall is maximized. So everybody is well of, even though they don’t work hard – but they don’t free-ride, either….” – from peter turchin.
Napoleon Chagnon: The Fierce Sociobiologist – “[Yanomamo] Men from the highland villages were much less belligerent than men from villages along the river. Heterogeneity in belligerence existed even within this single tribe.”
Aboriginal Hunting Practice Increases Animal Populations – monitor lizards, anyway.
“Science has lost its way, at a big cost to humanity – “Researchers are rewarded for splashy findings, not for double-checking accuracy. So many scientists looking for cures to diseases have been building on ideas that aren’t even true.” – h/t outsideness! – see also: Trouble at the lab – “Scientists like to think of science as self-correcting. To an alarming degree, it is not.”
bonus: Hunted by their own government – the fight to save Kalahari Bushmen – “Survival International, which campaigns on behalf of tribal peoples, has called for tourists to boycott holidays in Botswana, which is forcing Kalahari Bushmen off their reserves.”
bonus bonus bonus: Author: In China, ‘everyone is guilty of corruption’ – on guanxi.
bonus bonus bonus bonus: The couple having four babies by two surrogates – “A British couple are to become parents of two sets of twin babies carried by two Indian surrogate women they have never met. Experts say twiblings – or children born to separate surrogates but created from the same batch of embryos – are not uncommon in India.”
bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Gang Rape in India, Routine and Invisible – “[T]he Mumbai case provides an unusual glimpse into a group of bored young men who had committed the same crime often enough to develop a routine. The police say the men had committed at least five rapes in the same spot. Their casual confidence reinforces the notion that rape has been a largely invisible crime here, where convictions are infrequent and victims silently go away.” – see also: Trying to Make Sense of India’s Sexual Violence, State by State from t.greer.
bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Insects aren’t gay, they’re just enthusiastic! Scientists discover same-sex mating in bugs is down to a rush to reproduce – h/t hbd bibliography!
bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Mysterious hum keeping people up all night ‘could be mating fish’ – “A council investigation was launched in Hythe, Southampton after some people had to move away because of the drone ‘pulsating’ through their homes.”
bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Are conspiracy theories destroying democracy? – “The more information we have about what governments and corporations are up to the less we seem to trust them. Will conspiracy theories eventually destroy democracy?” – h/t avi tuschman!
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