linkfest – 02/23/15

Stone Age skull from Kenya reveals astonishing human diversity“A partial human skull found at a site in Kenya suggests early humans living in Africa were incredibly diverse. The 22,000-year-old skull is not a new species and is clearly that of an anatomically modern human, but is markedly different from similar finds from Africa and Europe from the same time, the researchers said…. [T]he new findings suggest that during this early period of human history, Africa may have supported even greater human diversity, with small, offshoot lineages that no longer exist today….”

A New Theory on How Neanderthal DNA Spread in Asia“Researchers have discovered that Neanderthals interbred with the ancestors of Asians at two points in history, giving this population an extra infusion of Neanderthal DNA.”

Division of labor by sex and age in Neandertals: an approach through the study of activity-related dental wear“The study reveals that all individuals have cultural striations, but those detected on the adult females are longer than the striations found in adult males. Regarding the distribution of dental chipping, the prevalence of this trait is higher in the maxillary dentition of males whereas females have the majority of dental chipping on their mandibular teeth. T he differences detected on the overall activity-related dental wear pattern denote a difference or a division of labor by age and sex in Neandertals while using the mouth as a third hand, i.e., in activities other than the provisioning of food, and provide new evidence for the lifestyle of this Pleistocene fossil human species.” – h/t paleogenomics!

European languages linked to migration from the east“Large ancient-DNA study uncovers population that moved westwards 4,500 years ago.” — see also Massive Migration and Origins from greg cochran.

A story of 69 ancient Europeans – from dienekes. you need to read this one!

Genetic Characterization of Human Populations: From ABO to a Genetic Map of the British People – see map here @dienekes’.

Y chromosomes and Catalan surnames“‘By genotyping 17 Y-STRs and 68 SNPs in ~2500 male samples that each carried one of the 50 selected Catalan surnames, we could determine sets of descendants of a common ancestor, the population of origin of the common ancestor, and the date when such a common ancestor lived. Haplotype diversity was positively correlated with surname frequency, that is, rarer surnames showed the strongest signals of coancestry. Introgression rates of Y chromosomes into a surname by non-paternity, adoption, and transmission of the maternal surname were estimated at 1.5−2.6% per generation, with some local variation. Average ages for the founders of the surnames were estimated at ~500 years, suggesting a delay between the origin of surnames (twelfth and thirteenth centuries) and the systematization of their paternal transmission. We have found that, in general, a foreign etymology for a surname does not often result in a non-indigenous origin of surname founders; however, bearers of some surnames with an Arabic etymology show an excess of North African haplotypes.'” – @dienekes’.

Genetic evidence for an origin of the Armenians from Bronze Age mixing of multiple populations

Stone Age skeleton judged Norway’s oldest – 8000 years old.

Italic “Eteocretan” Sea peoples? – also @dienekes’.

Making Discoveries about Human Evolution Using 3D Technology

Make Love, Not Disease“New research on the genetic advantages of sexual reproduction has found that blending our genes through sex helps purge us of disease mutations.”

Human Genome Studies Reveal How Little Is Necessary To Explain the Human DNA Behind our Bigger Brains

Gene Changes Make Humans’ Sense of Taste Unique“Our ability to eat bitter plants help distinguish us from our ancestors and chimpanzees today.”

Dominance Genetic Variation Contributes Little to the Missing Heritability for Human Complex Traits – h/t gerome breen!

Elevated germline mutation rate in teenage fathers [pdf] – “We observe, as expected, that the overall mutation rate for fathers is seven times higher than for mothers. Also as expected, mothers have a low and lifelong constant DNA mutation rate. Surprisingly, however, we discover that (i) teenage fathers already set out from a much higher mutation rate than teenage mothers (potentially equivalent to 77–196 male germline cell divisions by puberty); and (ii) ageing men maintain sperm DNA quality similar to that of teenagers….” – h/t andrew sabisky! jayman tweeted: “8.2% false paternity rate in West Africans and 1.3% in Middle Easterners in this sample.”

Escape from crossover interference increases with maternal age – h/t billare! who tweeted: “Higher recombination rates in older women, being less concentrated in the usual hotspots. Men tend to stick w/theirs.”

Predicting and retrodicting intelligence between childhood and old age in the 6-Day Sample of the Scottish Mental Survey 1947“Terman–Merrill Stanford–Binet intelligence test scores at age 11 years correlated .72 with verbal intelligence at age 77. Adding another test from age 11 and educational took the multiple R to .81. National Adult Reading Test scores at age 77 and educational had a multiple R of .75 with IQ scores at age 11.” – h/t stuart ritchie! — see also Steady as she goes from dr. james thompson.

Peer effects: they exist but they’re not very big – from ben southwood.

Indian states: G and S factors – from emil kirkegaard.

State IQ estimates (2013) and 2013 IQ estimates by state, total and white only and State IQ estimates, blacks only (2013) and State IQ estimates, Hispanics only (2013) and IQ by race and parental educational attainment – from the awesome epigone.

Nailing liberalism / conservatism by the 50 U.S. States – from bryan pesta.

Low IQ ups risk of heavy drinking among men“The researchers analysed data collected from 49,321 Swedish males born during 1949 to 1951 and who were conscripted for Swedish military service from 1969 to 1971. IQ results were available from tests performed at conscription, and questionnaires also given at conscription provided data on total alcohol intake (consumed grams of alcohol/week) and pattern of drinking, as well as medical, childhood and adolescent conditions, and tobacco use. Adjustments were made for socio-economic position as a child, psychiatric symptoms and emotional stability and the father’s alcohol habits. ‘We found that lower results on IQ tests in Swedish adolescent men are associated with a higher consumption of alcohol, measured in both terms of total intake and binge drinking,’ Sjolund said.” h/t ruta akula!

Mathematical Proof Is Not Minutiae And Irreducible Complexity Is Not A Theory: A Final Response To Burt And Simons And A Call Tl Criminologists – from brian boutwell et al. brian tweeted: “Our second response to the call within Criminology to ban twin research.”

Familial Clustering of Tic Disorders and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – h/t amir sariaslan!

A two-dimensional model of psychopathy and antisocial behavior: A multi-sample investigation using items from the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised – h/t richard harper! who tweeted: “[P]sychopathy as fearless affect plus disinhibited lifestyle, then plus anti-social to get crime.”

Birds of a “bad” feather flock together: The Dark Triad and mate choice“[W]omen high in psychopathy considered the Dark Triad traits in potential male partners more physically attractive and desirable for an one-night stand, as well as a potential husband. Men who were high on psychopathy were likewise attracted to psychopathy in potential mothers.”

Cads and dads“Promiscuity and fidelity seem to be specific biological adaptations. Their manifestations in men and women are not as different as you might expect.” (whatever’s gotten into the economist these days?)

Genetic similarity between mates predicts extrapair paternity — a meta-analysis of bird studies

Who cares? Why evolution suggests parenting responsibility is seldom equally shared

Sex Differences in Preferences for Humor: A Replication, Modification, and Extension [pdf] – “[M]en prefer women who are receptive to their humor whereas women prefer men who produce humor. These findings held even after we modified Bressler et al.’s questionnaire for better conceptual validity. Furthermore, using a separate measure designed to assess trade-offs, we found that men viewed humor receptivity as a necessity and humor production as a luxury when they were asked to create an ideal long-term partner. For women, it was just the opposite.”

How Big are Psychological Sex Differences?“Sex Differences are Not Small if You Know Where to Look” – h/t claire lehmann!

Prenatal hyperandrogenic environment induced autistic-like behavior in rat offspring – h/t simon baron-cohen!

The influence of prenatal hormones on occupational choice: 2D:4D evidence from Moscow“Women in enterprising occupations exhibited lower measured 2D:4D ratios than average. Those in conventional and social work had higher 2D:4D ratios. Results confirm previous findings on 2D:4D and gender-specific occupational interests.”

Examining the Impact of Peer Group Selection on Self-Reported Delinquency: A Consideration of Active Gene–Environment Correlation – h/t jayman! who tweeted: “Do peers still influence adolescent delinquency after taking into account genetic influences? No.”

Socioeconomic status and sick leave granted for mental and somatic disorders: a prospective study of young adult twins“Low SES is associated with a higher level of sick leave granted for both mental and somatic disorders among young adults, but these associations are confounded by factors that are common to co-twins. Education and income are therefore not likely to strongly affect sick leave in young adulthood.”

List of genetic confounds – from emil kirkegaard.

Sibling differences in low birth weight, dopaminergic polymorphisms, and ADHD symptomatology“[L]ow birth weight siblings are at significantly greater risk of exhibiting symptoms of ADHD during childhood relative to their normal birth weight siblings. Moreover, possessing greater genetic risk on three dopaminergic genes (DAT1, DRD2, and DRD4) relative to a sibling appears to exacerbate the link between sibling differences in birth weight and sibling differences in ADHD symptomatology.”

What is different about the brains of “SuperAgers”“Compared with average elderly individuals, they found fewer Alzheimer-type neurofibrillary tangles and an increased packing density of von Economo neurons, especially in the anterior cingulate.”

“Bad genes” & criminal responsibility – MAOA stuff.

Heritability & the left“[T]here’s no conflict between leftism and a belief in the heritability of ability.” – that’s what i said! see also: Heritability, Left and Right.

What does it say about Owen Jones that he isn’t interested in scientific research?“What I find irritating about progressive politics is that it ignores and contradicts science, while at the same time pretending to be in favour of reason. The entire worldview is based on the tabula rasa idea of human nature which is contradicted by science. The blank slate makes the progressive goal of equality of outcomes possible; indeed, if equality is not achieved there can only be nefarious forces at work and ‘more work to be done’.” – from ed west. see also Fancy a job in academia or the media? Best brush up on the new political correctness“[Political correctness is] a faith, and it does not matter how daft the belief systems of a faith appear to a rational mind; if its critics sound backwards and out of touch and rural – literally ‘pagan’ – it will succeed.”

Both liberals and conservatives have anti-science biases, study finds“New research suggests that liberals, as well as conservatives, can be biased against science that doesn’t align with their political views.” — see also Nuclear Power and the Anti-Science Ideology of the “Progressive” Left from helian.

Why science is so hard to believe“Science appeals to our rational brain, but our beliefs are motivated largely by emotion, and the biggest motivation is remaining tight with our peers. ‘We’re all in high school. We’ve never left high school,’ says Marcia McNutt. ‘People still have a need to fit in, and that need to fit in is so strong that local values and local opinions are always trumping science. And they will continue to trump science, especially when there is no clear downside to ignoring science.'”

John Derbyshire On Culturalists vs. Biologians; Or, Where Is The American Harald Eia?

Have Mormons been bred for gullibility? – from agnostic.

Islam Is Not a Religion of the Book“By this, I mean that as a whole humans are prone to accepting the primary causal role of reflective cognition, of beliefs avowed and rationales offered. We are confident in our conscious self control, despite a robust body of cognitive psychology which implies that much of our cognition is not under the control or constraint of rational faculties. This problem is particularly extreme among intellectuals, the very class which also attempts to understand human phenomena. Through the simple process of introspection and extrapolation intellectuals tend to reduce human action to the outcome of ratiocination, inference from eternal axioms. This is wholly inadequate to a phenomenon as complex as religion.” – from razib.

Your DNA is everywhere. Can the police analyze it?“Supreme Court weighing if we must live in sealed bubbles to maintain DNA privacy.”

FDA panel could soon approve 23andMe home genetics test

Linguists link English, Hindi to single ancestor language spoken 6,500 years ago – h/t steve stewart williams!

Old India’s Village of Warriors Becomes Birthplace of Bouncers“Look closely and it becomes clear that the bouncers are all of a single physical type, their chests and biceps built like the front bumper of a sport utility vehicle. If they look like cousins, it is because they are. A startling number of them share a family name, Tanwar, and when the nightclubs close many will return to the same nearby village, a place where women walk down dusty lanes with their faces obscured by a cloth, balancing stacks of dried cow dung on their heads, much as their ancestors did three centuries ago…. The musclemen from the village of Fatehpur Beri are the descendants of the original inhabitants of the city, a genetic line that fortified itself over the course of centuries as they defended their village against waves of invaders on their way to the seat of empire. The sons and grandsons of cow and goat herders, they were born in an outpost surrounded on all sides by croplands. As Fatehpur Beri was swallowed by the expanding city, its spartan strongmen continued to train in the traditional way, stripping down to loincloths and wrestling in a circle of mud. But they were forced to look for a new line of work. ‘There is an element of the warrior in the Tanwars,’ said Ankur Tanwar, who opened the village’s first gym about a decade ago. ‘We fought with the Muslim invaders. We fought with the Britishers.'”

Ancient Egyptians had state-supported health care – at least some of them did.

bonus: Man’s best friend…unless you’re lying: How dogs can sense whether a person is trustworthy – h/t ninja economics! also: When you’re happy and you show it, dogs know it.

bonus bonus: The Cold May Have Cost Penguins Most of Their Taste Buds“Recent genetic analysis shows that penguins can’t taste sweet or bitter, and scientists think sub-zero temps may be to blame.”

bonus bonus bonus: Limpet teeth set new strength record

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Study Finds Jack Shit – h/t jayman!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Lost Sherlock Holmes story discovered

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: a poem. (^_^)

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: #TheTitleOfMySexTape (~_^)

(note: comments do not require an email. limpet tooth.)

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“brainwash – race”

episode six of “hjernevask” (“brainwash”) entitled “race.” feat. greg cochran, charles murray, and richard lynn.


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previously: brainwash and brainwash e01: the gender equality paradox

brainwash e01: the gender equality paradox

if you haven’t already, you HAVE to go watch the brainwash series! really. trust me. it’s terrific! and i’m not the only one who thinks so (see some of the comments in this post). (^_^)

the show — from norway, but now with english subtitles (thank you, internet!), available here and here — was conceived and is hosted by a norwegian comedian (yeah, i didn’t know they had any either (~_^) ), a guy named harald eia. i guess maybe it takes a comedian to point out the most absurd aspects of our modern, western society, eh?

wikipedia says:

“‘Hjernevask’ (‘Brainwash’) … contrasted cultural determinist models of human behavior (also referred to as the Standard social science model) with nature-nurture interactionist perspectives.”

but it’s funnier than that. waaaaaaay funnier than that!

the basic layout of the show is that eia picks a topic — gender equality, for instance — and then goes and interviews some norwegian social scientists — you know, “specialists” in the subject — about it (in this episode it was — heh — gender researchers). and then he goes and interviews researchers in touch with the real world, like biologists or whatever, both norwegian and others (american, english). and THEN he goes BACK to the social scientists with recorded interviews of the non-social scientists in hand and gets the reaction of the lost-in-space social scientists to what the real scientists had to say.

needless to say, much hilarity ensues! (^_^)

the first episode is about differences between the genders and whether any of it is innate or not (i know — pretty basic — how could anyone get this one wrong?). more specifically, it’s about a BIG problem they, apparently, have in norway — the “gender equality paradox.” that is, despite the fact that norway has equal — prolly more than equal — opportunities, education, etc., etc., for everyone, they still have this awful, awful problem that something like 90% of engineers are men and something like 90% of nurses are women. the horror! the horror.

the norwegian gender researchers, of course, blame the differences that men and women have in capabilities and interests on the fact that, from day one, boys and girls are treated differently — boys are dressed in blue and called “little tough guy” while girls are dressed in pink and referred to as sweet little things. you know. that sort of thing. according to one (of the more clueless) gender researchers, some guy named lorentzen, men and women are exactly the same in all ways — mentally, emotionally, etc., etc. — there are just a few minor differences like different genitals, women have boobs, men have beards, and so on. *facepalm*

eia records all of them explaining these concepts and then heads off to talk to some people who have at least half a brain.

first, he talks to one norwegian researcher, trond diseth, who studies behavior in babies born with an unclear sex to see if they behave more like boys or girls (i guess this one of the tools they use when considering what sort of gender-reassignment surgery or whatever you call it to maybe perform on a baby). throughout his research, this guy has found that most boy babies born with all of your standard “boy parts” prefer playing with masculine toys, while most girl babies born with all of your standard “girl parts” prefer playing with girlie toys. there are exceptions, of course, but we’re just that — exceptions.

eia then heads to the u.s. where he interviews richard lippa, who has found that, curiously, gender differences in things like job preference (do you want to be an engineer or a nurse?) seem to be consistent on a global basis. strange if these differences have only a cultural cause that the same differences should show up in different cultures. he also visits simon baron-cohen at cambridge who has found that gender differences are present on day one of life [opens pdf], so again it’s hard to see how culture can be 100% of the explanation for the differences between the sexes.

finally, he also speaks with anne campbell, evolutionary psychologist, who explains natural selection beautifully and points out how unlikely it is that men and women should be exactly the same mentally or emotionally:

Campbell: ‘The key to all this is how many descendants you leave behind you and any traits that increase the number of descendants you leave behind you will tend to stay in the gene pool. And that’s what’s selecting in particular traits both in males and in females…. If women are generally the ones that give birth, that lactate, that raise children, it would surprising if there wasn’t some kind of psychological orchestration that helped women achieve those tasks and made those kinds of tasks particularly pleasurable to women. So, things like empathy in women, things like avoiding dangerous confrontations where you may be hurt or injured, things like avoiding social exclusion, being pushed out of the group, all of those are good things. All of those mean that you are more likely to survive and to reproduce, and to leave children who they themselves also reproduce.’

“According to Campbell, that’s why today’s women are more oriented towards other people than men.”

the best zinger comes right at the end, tho, from simon baron-cohen:

Baron-Cohen: ‘It’s a very moderate proposal to say it’s a mixture of biology and culture. I’m not saying it’s all biology. I’m simply saying don’t forget about biology.'”

heh! ’nuff said, really. go watch the show to see the reactions of the different types of researchers to each other’s theories — it’s all very amusing — and very informative!
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btw, the gender-researcher, lorentzen, is a real winner. not only did he insist that his “culture only” theories were correct, he actually laughed at other sorts of research. and he thought that american researchers were particularly bad. from the show:

“Lorentzen was skeptical of this kind of research [specifically richard lippa’s research].

Eia: ‘It’s a funny study… You’re laughing as I say the word “study.”‘

Lorentzen: ‘I get telephones from every media when they get these American studies. They’re often American.’

Eia: ‘Are Americans especially good?’

Lorentzen: ‘No, especially poor, I would say. Or especially speculative.'”

you gotta remember that this lorentzen guy was laughing the whole time he was saying this.

now, don’t take this the wrong way, mr. lorentzen, but i have to point out that it’s not like norwegian gender-researchers are, by any stretch of the imagination, on the cutting edge of human behavior studies. you know, you guys gave us ibsen and the paper clip. feel free to rest on those laurels for as long as you like. really. please don’t think that you have to compete with anybody to prove that you’re the best in show science (only to wind up feeling second-rate like you obviously do).

previously: brainwash and the hard sciences are soooo sexist!

(note: comments do not require an email. the paper clip.)