linkfest – 10/19/15

First humans to leave Africa went to China, not Europe“The first humans to leave Africa decamped to far east Asia, not Europe. A trove of ancient teeth found in a cave in China adds evidence to the idea that humans reached the region thousands of years before they made it to Europe. The find suggests that modern humans reached China between 80,000 and 120,000 years ago. That challenges the widespread assumption that humans didn’t leave Africa until 60,000 years ago. It’s further evidence that Homo sapiens may have left Africa several times, says María Martinón-Torres of University College London. ‘It means we have to re-think different models of our dispersal.'” – and john hawks tweeted: “An 80kya modern human population in SE Asia w/Denisovan ancestry might help explain pattern of admixture in Philippines Mamanwa.”

Way Down South“I hear (tweets by Razib Khan, concerning Sankararaman’s talk at ASHG) that the Denisovans had substantially more genetic diversity than Neanderthals (determined mainly by the variety seen in admixed segments)….” – from greg cochran.

Lactase persistence and ancient DNA“‘…it seems plausible to me that the [European LP] allele first appeared in Central Europe, was spread around Europe by the LBK, before being introduced to the steppe later by migration from Europe.'”

Stonehenge builders had barbecue feasts at nearby party centre – and milk and cheeeeeese!

Basques are not simply a fusion of Iberian hunter-gatherers and early farmers“[T]he story told by the PCA is that Basques are the progeny of Bronze Age Iberians, who, unlike their Copper Age predecessors, experienced a pulse of steppe-related admixture from the east…. The key question now is who brought the steppe-related ancestry to Basque country. Were they Indo-Europeans or speakers of Proto-Basque?”

Sex‐specific demography and generalization of the Trivers–Willard theory – h/t owen jones! who tweeted: “Can mothers adaptively adjust offspring sex ratio? It’s complicated….”

The Great Migration and African-American genomic diversity“We find higher African ancestry in southern United States compared to the North and West. We show that relatedness patterns track north- and west-bound routes followed during the Great Migration, suggesting that admixture occurred predominantly in the South prior to the Civil War and that ancestry-biased migration is responsible for regional differences in ancestry. Rare genetic traits among African-Americans can therefore be shared over long geographic distances along the Great Migration routes, yet their distribution over short distances remains highly structured.”

Connectivity matrix predicts fluid intelligence“The enchanted loom is slowly giving up its secrets, of which it holds many. The patterns of brain activity that so many researchers have tracked with wonder are beginning to reveal a larger pattern: the possibility that each of us has a habitual pattern of brain activity which identifies us, and distinguishes us from others. So, dear reader, we are separated by the idiosyncratic rhythms of our brains, dancing to a different beat, visiting a different pattern of cortical locations, and no doubt coming to different conclusions…. The unexpected finding which I find startling is that individuals can be identified by their habitual brain patterns (not just on specific tasks) and those patterns of activity predict fluid intelligence on Raven’s Matrices at about r=0.5.” – from dr. james thompson.

Meta-analysis of associations between human brain volume and intelligence differences: How strong are they and what do they mean?“Positive associations between human intelligence and brain size have been suspected for more than 150 years…. Our results showed significant positive associations of brain volume and IQ (r = .24, R2 = .06) that generalize over age (children vs. adults), IQ domain (full-scale, performance, and verbal IQ), and sex…. We show that the strength of the positive association of brain volume and IQ has been overestimated in the literature, but remains robust even when accounting for different types of dissemination bias, although reported effects have been declining over time.”

Correlation not Causation: The Relationship between Personality Traits and Political Ideologies“Here we test the causal relationship between personality traits and political attitudes using a direction of causation structural model on a genetically informative sample. The results suggest that personality traits do not cause people to develop political attitudes; rather the correlation between the two is a function of an innate common underlying genetic factor.” – h/t robin hanson!

Generalised Anxiety Disorder – A Twin Study of Genetic Architecture, Genome-Wide Association and Differential Gene Expression“A heritability analysis of the same cohort also confirmed a significant genetic component with h2 of 0.42.” – h/t siberian fox! – and jayman tweeted: “I suspect anxiety is more common in some places than others. Perhaps due to genetic pacification.”

A Unified Crime Theory: The Evolutionary Taxonomy“Drawing on a variety of influences, we argue that many types of crime can be understood in the evolutionary context of human life history. Along these lines, we present a framework capable of explaining different patterns of criminal offending both at the individual level as well as the macro-level.” – from brian boutwell et al.

Resting heart rate and antisocial behavior: An updated systematic review and meta-analysis“Low resting heart rate was associated with higher levels of antisocial behavior…. Results were similar across behaviors, including aggression and violence.” – h/t anthony hoskin!

The association between childhood autistic traits and adolescent psychotic experiences is explained by general neuropsychiatric problems – from amir sariaslan et al. amir tweeted: “The ‘p factor’ explains assoc’s btwn childhood autistic traits and adolescent psychotic experiences.”

The Flynn Effect: IQ Testing Across Space and Time – from steve sailer.

What Extroverts and Introverts Can Learn From Snails“Genes may change a snail’s ‘personality’ and the thickness of its skin (or rather, its shell)”

Dimensional assessment of normal and abnormal personality in adults of the general population: Comparison of ‘five’ and ‘alternative five’ personality models – h/t andrew sabisky! who tweeted: “are normal and pathological personality all part of one continuum?”

So what if grammars don’t help social mobility?“On the Today programme and the New Statesman website, a statistic was quoted showing that grammar schools have a smaller percentage of pupils on free school meals than comprehensives. There are probably many reasons for this, but most likely the largest factor involved is that intelligence is hereditary and social class correlates with IQ; in other words, middle-class kids tend on average to be more intelligent than working-class ones. You could make the system fairer by replacing grammar entrance exams (for which richer parents hire tutors to help their children pass) with straight-up IQ tests, but the number of poorer children would still be disproportionately low. In fact the more social mobility we have over the generations, as everyone seems to want, the more that social class will correlate with intelligence. Richard Herrnstein pointed this out more than four decades ago. Many years earlier, Michael Young warned about this very process in The Rise of the Meritocracy. Social mobility does have its downsides; that’s because intelligence is just another privilege you inherit from mummy and daddy.” – from ed west.

The economic value of Breaking Bad: How misbehavior in school pays off for some kids“Surprisingly, we find evidence that some non-cognitive skills that manifest as childhood misbehavior in the classroom (and are predictive of lower schooling attainment) are also predictive of higher earnings later in life.”

A social science without sacred values“We argue (1) that many social scientists are paranoid egalitarian meliorists; (2) that they are therefore very sensitive to threats to a sacred egalitarian narrative; (3) that this sensitivity may be excessive (at least in the domain of science) and may cause researchers to unfairly reject research that challenges egalitarianism; (4) that this may then lead to the marginalization of individuals who forward controversial theories and/or data; and (5) that these tendencies lead to bias in the social sciences.” – from the winegard bros.

Social Status: Down the Rabbit Hole – h/t billare! who tweeted: “There are two systems of social status: Dominance & Prestige. For what selfish reasons might the latter one evolve?” – this was a really interesting read, btw.

Why Drunk Vegetarians Eat Meat – h/t jonathan haidt! who tweeted: “…esp. health vegs; moral vegs feel more disgust.”

Shame, guilt, and facial emotion processing: initial evidence for a positive relationship between guilt-proneness and facial emotion recognition ability“Guilt-prone people are highly skilled at recognising other people’s emotions.” [via] – w.e.i.r.d. study. pretty small n.

Gamblers, Scientists and the Mysterious Hot Hand“We’re all in the same boat. We evolved with this uncanny ability to find patterns. The difficulty lies in separating what really exists from what is only in our minds.” – h/t claire lehmann!

Dobzhansky and Montagu’s Debate on Race: The Aftermath

The Mutant Genes Behind the Black Death“Only a few genetic changes were enough to turn an ordinary stomach bug into the bacteria responsible for the plague.”

The End of Indian Summer“At first, human rights commissions fought discrimination only in employment and housing, and there was strong resistance to prosecution of people simply for their ideas. This situation changed from the 1970s onward. Human rights took the place in society that formerly belonged to religion, and human rights advocates acquired the immunity from criticism that formerly belonged to the clergy. Discrimination was no longer wrong in certain cases and under certain circumstances. It became evil, and people who condoned it in any form and for any reason were likewise evil.” – from peter frost.

Is Eastern Europe Any More Xenophobic Than Western Europe? – yes. but france is an exception in the west.

bonus: superforecasting conference on october 24th, if you happen to be in or near london: Superforecasting and Geopolitical Intelligence- Who can Predict the Future, and how?

bonus bonus: Did photosynthesis begin 3.2 billion years ago?“Rusty rocks from ancient ocean suggest bacteria produced oxygen far earlier than thought.”

bonus bonus bonus: The Beetle That Eavesdrops on an Ant’s Secret Language“A beetle evolves to ‘listen in’ on ants’ chemical messages to one another, changing the balance of an ecosystem.” [via]

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Ants con others into being their slaves by mimicking their scent

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Sticky situation: maple syrup bandits face Quebec courts for infamous heist“Trials are under way for the 2012 attempt to steal $18m worth of Quebec’s sweetest export – a case that has succeeded in capturing Hollywood’s attention.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Pop Culture Pulsar: The Science Behind Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures Album Cover

and the tweet of the week… (^_^)

(note: comments do not require an email. cheeeeeese!)


linkfest – 08/31/14

African pygmies evolved their short stature twice“In the rainforests of Africa, being small is so helpful that it evolved twice in separate groups. Luis Barreiro of the University of Montreal in Quebec, Canada, and his colleagues identified 16 regions of the genome associated with short stature in the Batwa pygmies of Uganda. They then compared these regions in 169 Batwa and 74 Baka pygmies from West Africa. ‘In both groups, there was greater variation in those regions associated with being short, but no overlap between them,’ says Barreiro. This suggests they evolved their stature independently instead of inheriting the same ‘pygmy genes’ from a common ancestor.”

The strange history of the North American Arctic“Archaeologists mapping ancient cultures in the North American Arctic — a region spanning present-day Greenland — have long puzzled over how different cultures relate to one another. Now, an unprecedented large-scale genomics study has traced many such cultures to the Paleo-Eskimos, a people who early inhabited the harsh environment continuously for 4000 years, only to vanish mysteriously about 700 years ago. The discovery could change how scientists understand migration patterns in the North American Arctic…. After comparing the ancient and modern genetic data, the researchers found that the Saqqaq and Dorset cultures belonged to one Paleo-Eskimo people, whose genetic lineage continued in the region for more than 4000 years, from 3000 B.C.E. to 1300 C.E., contradicting previous theories that the diverse cultures came from different peoples. The Paleo-Eskimos are genetically distinct from Native Americans and Inuits, which means they represent a separate, later pulse of migration into the New World, says evolutionary geneticist Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen, a co-author of the study. This contradicts previous theories that humans arrived in the Americas in three waves, painting a scenario of four waves instead — the Amerinds, the Na Dene Native Americans, the Paleo-Eskimos, and the Neo-Eskimo Thules…. What intrigues researchers most is why the Paleo-Eskimo lineage disappeared after the late Dorsets, around the same time that Neo-Eskimo Thules expanded rapidly to the Arctic. Archaeologists have found no evidence of violent conflict between the Thules and the Dorsets, but it would be hard to ignore contrasts between the two groups. The whale-hunting Thules lived in large, well-organized villages and boasted advanced technologies such as dog sleds and sinew-backed bows. The Dorsets, on the other hand, lived in small villages of 20 to 30 people and hunted with chipped stone blades. The researchers suspect that the Dorsets might have been pushed out to the fringes of the Arctic, or perhaps annihilated by a disease. ‘It’s just mind-blowing to imagine an entire people who just completely vanished,’ Willerslev says.” — see also Degüello from greg cochran.

Genetic changes transformed wild rabbits into tame bunnies, DNA study reveals“When humans domesticated wild rabbits and turned them into pet store favorites, they also changed their genome, a study has found…. The domestication of rabbits happened much more recently than that of cattle, sheep, pigs and dogs, which happened between about 15,000 and 9,000 years ago. Monks in monasteries in the south of France first domesticated northwestern europeans rabbits around 1,400 years ago…. [T]he researches report in the journal Science, small pre-existing genetic variations — sometimes just one letter of DNA code — started to become more common in the animals as they became domesticated. These variations generally didn’t affect the genes themselves, but rather acted on the genome’s regulatory regions, which are in control of whether genes are turned on or off. ‘Wild and domestic rabbits do not differ so much in actual protein sequences, but in how gene and protein expression is regulated,’ says Andersson. Among the genes particularly targeted during domestication were those involved in rabbits’ brains and nervous systems. That’s to be expected, Andersson says, because the differences between domestic and wild rabbits are almost all behavioral, while physical differences are slight…. Domestication of rabbits was made easier because the wild variety is a highly polymorphic species that already possesses many of gene variants selectively enhanced during domestication, the researchers say. That is likely to have been the case with most domesticated species, they say. ‘We predict that a similar process has occurred in other domestic animals and that we will not find a few specific genes that were critical for domestication,’ Andersson says.” — see also: Rabbit genome analysis reveals a polygenic basis for phenotypic change during domestication.

Comparative population genomics in animals uncovers the determinants of genetic diversity – h/t lars penke! who tweeted: “Across species, higher genetic diversity is not predicted by ecology, but by faster life history.”

Genome-wide genotype and sequence-based reconstruction of the 140,000 year history of modern human ancestry“We investigated ancestry of 3,528 modern humans from 163 samples. We identified 19 ancestral components, with 94.4% of individuals showing mixed ancestry. After using whole genome sequences to correct for ascertainment biases in genome-wide genotype data, we dated the oldest divergence event to 140,000 years ago. We detected an Out-of-Africa migration 100,000–87,000 years ago, leading to peoples of the Americas, east and north Asia, and Oceania, followed by another migration 61,000–44,000 years ago, leading to peoples of the Caucasus, Europe, the Middle East, and south Asia. We dated eight divergence events to 33,000–20,000 years ago, coincident with the Last Glacial Maximum. We refined understanding of the ancestry of several ethno-linguistic groups, including African Americans, Ethiopians, the Kalash, Latin Americans, Mozabites, Pygmies, and Uygurs, as well as the CEU sample. Ubiquity of mixed ancestry emphasizes the importance of accounting for ancestry in history, forensics, and health.” — don’t miss figure 2!

Seals May Have Carried Tuberculosis To The New World — thousand-year-old skeletons from peru suggest seals brought tuberculosis to americas.

Y Chromosomes of 40% Chinese Descend from Three Neolithic Super-Grandfathers“This observation suggests that the main patrilineal expansion in China occurred in the Neolithic Era and might be related to the development of agriculture.”

Blue Eyes Are More Common Than Any Other Colour in Britain“The Blue Eyes Project has found that although all eyes in Britain were once brown, they are now 48% blue, 30% green and just 22% brown…. The study mapped eye colour across the UK and Ireland and found that Scottish and Irish people are more likely to have blue eyes than in other parts of the UK, particularly the south. Just over a third (35%) of the population of south-west England and 41% in east England have blue eyes, compared to 57% in southeast Scotland…. Blue eyes are the result of a variant in the HERC2 gene, which, when it mutates, switches off the supply of brown-eye forming melanin, researchers say. Green eyes are also a result of this change, because they arise from a combination of the blue variant with brown. The first gene mutation resulting in blue eyes is understood to have occurred in the Baltic region around 10,000 years ago.”

Neanderthals in Europe Died Out Thousands of Years Sooner Than Some Thought, Study Says

The Other Neanderthal – h/t billare! who tweeted: “‘Denisovans are an example of…how mitochondrial DNA [misleads], & only the nuclear genome tells the full story.'”

Admixture in South African Afrikaners — from razib.

Finland’s love of milk dates back to the Stone Age“A combined team from the Universities of Bristol (England) and Helsinki (Finland) have been examining examples of Corded Ware pottery found in the northern parts of Finland. The pieces examined were cooking pots dated at 3,900 to 3,300 BCE and also approx. 2,500 BCE. Astonishingly the pots from 2,500 BCE contained traces of milk fats. This proved that the inhabitants at that time, despite a climate where it can snow for up to four months of the year, had domesticated animals.”

Holding a Mirror to Their Natures“[U]nrelated look-alikes showed little similarity in either personality or self-esteem. By contrast, twins — especially identical twins — score similarly on both scales, suggesting that the likeness is largely because of genetics…. Personality traits do not appear to be influenced by the way people are treated because of appearance. Moreover, they found, there appears to be no special bond between look-alikes. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist at Rutgers University who is also an identical twin, praised that study, saying it went to the heart of what makes people form a bond. ‘Even in cases where a person is a dead ringer for another, the natural pull is not there,’ Dr. Fisher said, ‘which builds the case that there is an underlying biology to kinship.'” — h/t steve stewart williams!

On the genetic architecture of intelligence and other quantitative traits — from steve hsu. h/t richard harper! who tweeted: “cognitive ability gene search requires sample sizes of 10,000 genes across a million persons.”

Genes Influence Young Children’s Human Figure Drawings and Their Association With Intelligence a Decade Later“Do genes influence individual differences in this species-typical behavior, and is drawing related to intelligence (g) in modern children? We report on the first genetically informative study of children’s figure drawing. In a study of 7,752 pairs of twins, we found that genetic differences exert a greater influence on children’s figure drawing at age 4 than do between-family environmental differences. Figure drawing was as heritable as g at age 4 (heritability of .29 for both). Drawing scores at age 4 correlated significantly with g at age 4 (r = .33, p < .001, n = 14,050) and with g at age 14 (r = .20, p < .001, n = 4,622). The genetic correlation between drawing at age 4 and g at age 14 was .52, 95% confidence interval = [.31, .75]. Individual differences in this widespread behavior have an important genetic component and a significant genetic link with g." – h/t rosalind arden!

Differences in intelligence between ethnic minorities and Han in China

The Canadian IQ calculated from the standardization of the WAIS IV eh? — h/t emil kirkegaard (no relation)!

Genome-wide screening for DNA variants associated with reading and language traits

Differences in cognitive abilities among primates are concentrated on G: Phenotypic and phylogenetic comparisons with two meta-analytical databases“Using meta-analytic databases of ethological observations of cognitive abilities involving 69 primate species, we found that cognitive abilities that load more strongly on a common factor (which is here termed G, in line with the terminology developed in previous literature to describe aggregated measures of general intelligence) are associated with significantly bigger interspecies differences and bigger interspecies variance. Additionally, two novel evolutionary predictions were made: more G-loaded abilities would present (1) weaker phylogenetic signals, indicating less phylogenetic conservativeness, and (2) faster rates of trait evolution, as it was hypothesized that G has been subjected to stronger selection pressures than narrower, more domain-specific abilities. These predictions were corroborated with phylogenetic comparative methods, with stronger effects among catarrhines (apes and Old World monkeys) than within the entire primate order. These data strongly suggest that G is the principal locus of selection in the macroevolution of primate intelligence. Implications for the understanding of population differences in cognitive abilities among human populations and for the theory of massive modularity applied to intelligence are discussed.” – h/t erwin schmidt!

The Flynn Effect: A Meta-Analysis [pdf] – h/t jelte wicherts! who tweeted: “IQ [continues] to go up with 3 points per decade. New meta-analysis shows no evidence of diminishing Flynn Effect.”

The Elusive X-Factor, or Why Jonathan Kaplan Is Wrong about Race and IQ – @humanvarieties.

Coevolution of languages and genes“[E]volutionary processes are more complex than simple models of gene-language coevolution predict, with linguistic boundaries only occasionally functioning as barriers to gene flow. More frequently, admixture takes place irrespective of linguistic differences, but with a detectable impact of contact-induced changes in the languages concerned.” – h/t jayman!

Does Natural Law exist?“While certain notions of right and wrong can apply to all humans, much of what we call ‘morality’ will always be population-dependent. What is moral in one population may not be in another.” – from peter frost.

Morality: The Amazing Side-Taking Machine“If there are so many evolutionary pathways to nice behaviors, and if many animals are cooperative, including bees, bats, hyenas, and monkeys, then perhaps the elaborate paraphernalia of human morality — explicit rules of behavior, moral taboos, moral debates, accusations, impartiality, punishments — are not needed to make people nice. Right? This is exactly what psychological research indicates. Developmental evidence shows that children are nice to people before acquiring adult-like moral judgment. Moreover, when children develop moral judgment, it does not prevent them from taking actions they judge wrong such as lying or stealing. In adults, research shows that moral judgments differ from and can even oppose altruistic motives. Research on hypocrisy shows that people are mostly motivated to appear moral rather than to actually abide by their moral judgments. Research on ‘motivated reasoning’ shows that people deviously craft moral justifications to push their own agendas. In short, people can be nice without morality and nasty with morality — altruism and morality are independent. In fact, humans are more eager to judge other people than to follow their own moral advice. Moral condemnation of other people’s behavior is distinctly, perhaps uniquely, human. So, what is the evolutionary function of condemnation…? People can use moral judgment to assess the wrongness of fighters’ actions and then choose sides against whoever was most immoral. When all bystanders use this strategy, they all take the same side and avoid the costs of escalated fighting. That is, moral condemnation functions to synchronize people’s side-taking decisions. This moral strategy is, of course, mostly unconscious just like other evolved programs for vision, movement, language, and so on.”

The roots of human altruism“[T]he willingness to provision others varies greatly from one primate species to the next. But there was a clear pattern, as summarized by Burkart: ‘Humans and callitrichid monkeys acted highly altruistically and almost always produced the treats for the other group members. Chimpanzees, one of our closest relatives, however, only did so sporadically.’ Similarly, most other primate species, including capuchins and macaques, only rarely pulled the lever to give another group member food, if at all – even though they have considerable cognitive skills. Until now, many researchers assumed that spontaneous altruistic behavior in primates could be attributed to factors they would share with humans: advanced cognitive skills, large brains, high social tolerance, collective foraging or the presence of pair bonds or other strong social bonds. As Burkart’s new data now reveal, however, none of these factors reliably predicts whether a primate species will be spontaneously altruistic or not. Instead, another factor that sets us humans apart from the great apes appears to be responsible. Says Burkart: ‘Spontaneous, altruistic behavior is exclusively found among species where the young are not only cared for by the mother, but also other group members such as siblings, fathers, grandmothers, aunts and uncles.’ This behavior is referred to technically as the ‘cooperative breeding’ or ‘allomaternal care.'”

Feminist activist women are masculinized in terms of digit-ratio and dominance: A possible explanation for the feminist paradox“The feminist movement purports to improve conditions for women, and yet only a minority of women in modern societies self-identify as feminists. This is known as the feminist paradox…. We measured the 2D:4D digit ratios (collected from both hands) and a personality trait known as dominance (measured with the Directiveness scale) in a sample of women attending a feminist conference. The sample exhibited significantly more masculine 2D:4D and higher dominance ratings than comparison samples representative of women in general, and these variables were furthermore positively correlated for both hands. The feminist paradox might thus to some extent be explained by biological differences between women in general and the activist women who formulate the feminist agenda.”

Global genetic variations predict brain response to faces“[A] significant proportion of the brain response to facial expressions is predicted by common genetic variance in a subset of regions constituting the face network. These regions show the highest inter-individual variability in the number of connections with other network nodes, suggesting that the genetic model captures variations across the adolescent brains in co-opting these regions into the face network.” – h/t razib!

Brain, behavior and genetics“Regardless of where the science now lies, we know that biology controls behavior. Our actions and thoughts aren’t magic, they rely on the biochemistry of neurotransmitters and nerve signals. They have physical substrates that are controlled by our genes….”

The impact of neighbourhood deprivation on adolescent violent criminality and substance misuse: A longitudinal, quasi-experimental study of the total Swedish population“We found that the adverse effect of neighbourhood deprivation on adolescent violent criminality and substance misuse in Sweden was not consistent with a causal inference.” — see also Depraved on account of being deprived? from dr. james thompson.

Does Urban Living Cause Mental Illness? – h/t jayman! who tweeted: “Interview w/ @AmirSariaslan, on his work showing that adverse environments don’t cause schizophrenia, & killing GxE.”

Daughters provide as much elderly parent care as they can, sons do as little as possible — h/t frau katze!

Honor: The Cause of — and Solution to — All of Society’s Problems“Centuries-old cultural norms don’t change overnight….” — gee, i wonder why? (where does culture come from?)

Social sciences suffer from severe publication bias“Survey finds that ‘null results’ rarely see the light of the day.” – h/t claire lehmann!

Haidt: “Political Diversity Will Improve Social Psychological Science” – from steve sailer.

How Do Liberal and Conservative Attitudes About Obedience to Authority Differ? The Surprising Result of My Study“Together with my collaborators Dr. Danielle Gaucher and Nicola Schaefer, we asked both red and blue Americans to share their views about obeying liberal authorities (e.g., ‘obey an environmentalist’). In an article that we recent published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, we found that liberals were now the ones calling for obedience. And when the authorities were viewed as ideologically neutral (e.g., office manager), liberals and conservatives agreed. Only when people perceived the authority to be conservative (e.g., religious authority) did conservatives show a positive bias.”

The Kennewick Man Finally Freed to Share His Secrets

Measuring Inbreeding in the Greek Gods“it seems that Ares has an inbreeding coefficient of 37.5%. This is due to the fact that his parents—Zeus and Hera—are siblings, as well as his grandparents with each other. Zeus has an inbreeding coefficient of 25%.” — (^_^)

bonus: Walking fish raised on land mimic ancient evolutionary transition

bonus bonus: Why are all our wagtails vanishing? Scientists baffled by long-term decline of three species in Britain“The three wagtail species spotted on our shores are the Yellow Wagtail, a farmland bird that migrates to sub-Saharan Africa, and two which largely remain in the UK over the winter, the Grey Wagtail, a river specialist, and the familiar Pied Wagtail. Researchers said the races of both Pied and Yellow Wagtail breeding in the UK nest almost nowhere else in the world…. Sarah Harris, BBS Organiser at the British Trust for Ornithology, said: ‘I find it fascinating that three seemingly similar birds, the Yellow, Grey and Pied Wagtail can lead such different lives and face such a variety of challenges. With the UK races of two of these species – Pied and Yellow Wagtails – being largely confined to our islands, these population changes are of global conservation significance….'” – ornithologists are soooo waaaaycist! they make me sick! (~_^)

(note: comments do not require an email. biophobia. (~_^) )

linkfest – 11/28/13

‘Rare’ Gene Common in African Descendants, May Contribute to Heart Disease“Researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College have found that a genetic variation that is linked to increased levels of triglycerides — fats in the blood associated with disorders such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and stroke — is far more common than previously believed and disproportionally affects people of African ancestry…. The finding offers a clue as to why Africans and people of African descent have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes compared to many other populations, says the study’s senior author, Dr. Ronald Crystal, chairman of genetic medicine at Weill Cornell. African Americans with the variant had, on average, 52 percent higher triglyceride levels compared with blacks in the study who did not have the variant…. The gene variant the scientists studied is a single point mutation — a replacement of one of DNA segment with another — in the ApoE gene, which carries fats and other molecules through the blood.” – h/t hbd bibliography!

A gene mutation for excessive alcohol drinking found“UK researchers have discovered a gene that regulates alcohol consumption and when faulty can cause excessive drinking…. [M]ice with a genetic mutation to the gene Gabrb1 overwhelmingly preferred drinking alcohol over water, choosing to consume almost 85% of their daily fluid as drinks containing alcohol…. Dr Quentin Anstee, Consultant Hepatologist at Newcastle University, joint lead author said: ‘It’s amazing to think that a small change in the code for just one gene can have such profound effects on complex behaviours like alcohol consumption.’ – see also Firewater from greg cochran.

Predicting Human Body Height from DNA“Predicting tall stature from these 180 DNA variants resulted in an accuracy of 0.75 on a scale from 0.5 (meaning random prediction) to 1.0 (completely accurate prediction). ‘Although the achieved DNA-based prediction accuracy for tall stature is still somewhat lower than we previously established for eye color, hair color and age,’ said Kayser, ‘I expect that upcoming new knowledge on height genetics will further increase the accuracy in predicting tall stature, and eventually the full range of body height, from DNA.'”

Study Connects Dots Between Genes, Human Behavior“The team studied individuals with a rare disorder known as Williams syndrome. By measuring neural activity in the brain associated with the distinct language skills and facial recognition abilities that are typical of the syndrome, they showed that Williams is due not to a single gene but to distinct subsets of genes, hinting that the syndrome is more complex than originally thought.”

Different Gene Expression in Male, Female Brains May Help Explain Brain Disorder Differences“UCL scientists have shown that there are widespread differences in how genes, the basic building blocks of the human body, are expressed in men and women’s brains. Based on post-mortem adult human brain and spinal cord samples from over 100 individuals, scientists at the UCL Institute of Neurology were able to study the expression of every gene in 12 brain regions…. They found that the way that the genes are expressed in the brains of men and women were different in all major brain regions and these differences involved 2.5% of all the genes expressed in the brain.” – h/t heartiste!

Only two genes maketh the man…or mouse“The defining genetic feature of maleness, the Y chromosome, contains only two genes that are absolutely essential for male function – at least in mice.” – “male function” = producing sperm, apparently. and taking out the garbage of course. (~_^)

Male facial masculinity as a cue to health outcomes“Although both attractiveness and rated health were associated with better actual health in the past and future (mainly indexed by lower antibiotic use), results were mixed for masculinity. With respect to respiratory illnesses, facial masculinity (assessed using morphometric techniques) was associated with better past health but with worse future health.” – h/t hbd bibliography!

HPV: Sex, cancer and a virus“Human papillomavirus is causing a new form of head and neck cancer — leaving researchers scrambling to understand risk factors, tests and treatments.” – h/t john durant!

Gut bacteria could make cancer treatments more effective, researchers find“[M]ice with reduced levels of bacteria in their gut were less responsive to treatments than mice that had a normal microbiota.”

When We Lose Antibiotics, Here’s Everything Else We’ll Lose Too – *gulp* =/

Arroyo del Vizcaíno, Uruguay: a fossil-rich 30-ka-old megafaunal locality with cut-marked bones – evidence for humans in uruguay 30,000 years ago? hunting giant sloths?

Who Built Serpent Mound? – dunno.

Sexual selection on the American frontier – re. nineteenth century mormons – from jason collins.

Jealousy in a small-scale, natural fertility population: the roles of paternity, investment and love in jealous response – jealousy rates in a non-w.e.i.r.d. population (the himba of namibia) – “In this population, the majority of both men and women report greater distress over a sexual infidelity, with men reaching an almost unanimous consensus (96%). Despite the skew for both men and women, there is a significant sex difference in the direction predicted by the evolutionary hypothesis….” – h/t andrew badenoch!

Study examines potential evolutionary role of ‘sexual regret’ in human survival and reproduction“[The results] suggest that men are more likely to regret not taking action on a potential liaison, and women are more remorseful for engaging in one-time liaisons.”

A Hot Wife Means A Happier Marriage“[M]en are happier with attractive women and women don’t care as much about men’s looks. Stop the goddamned presses! You mean men and women are…*GASP*…different?” – @chateau heartiste. (^_^) – original research article.

Oxytocin leads to monogamy: Hormone stimulates the brain reward system when viewing the partnerthe luuuuuuuuv hormone! (^_^)

Promiscuous mouse moms bear sexier sons“Males make more pheromone if mama had access to many mates”

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 ed west!

The Sour Grapes of Pisa – from staffan.

The envirome and the connectome: exploring the structural noise in the human brain associated with socioeconomic deprivation – from neuroskeptic: “People from deprived parts of Glasgow have brains that are more ‘random’ structurally than those from rich areas.” – and from jayman: “Of course IQ has nothing to do with it… ;)”

Poor people’s poor sense – from the awesome epigone.

Meat, egg and dairy nutrient essential for brain development“Asparagine, found in foods such as meat, eggs, and dairy products, was until now considered non-essential because it is produced naturally by the body. Researchers at the University of Montreal and its affiliated CHU Sainte-Justine Hospital found that the amino acid is essential for normal brain development. This is not the case for other organs.”

Different rates of first admissions for psychosis in migrant groups in Paris“Our findings suggest that Sub-Saharan migrants were identified as the most vulnerable migrant group for developing psychosis in France, but additional work is warranted to confirm these trends.” – h/t neuroskeptic! – see also Redneck Psychiatrists from greg cochran.

Nations of Canada – from jayman.

Another Look at ‘The Rise of the West’ – But With Better Numbers“The North Sea begins to diverge from the rest of Europe long before the ‘West’ begins its more famous split from ‘the rest….’ [W]e can pin point the beginning of this ‘little divergence’ with greater detail. In 1348 Holland’s GDP per capita was $876. England’s was $777. In less than 60 years time Holland’s jumps to $1,245 and England’s to 1090. The North Sea’s revolutionary divergence started at this time.” – from t.greer.

When it comes to diversity, most of us vote with our feet“Liberals are almost as likely to flee diversity as conservatives, according to new research by Prof Eric Kaufmann for Demos. Some 61 per cent of white people who were ‘very comfortable’ with mixed marriages (the best indicator of views on race) moved to whiter areas during the period, compared to 64 per cent of those who were ‘fairly uncomfortable’.” – from “utterly sh** in every way” ed west.

Race, Race, Race, Race, Race, Race, Race, Race, Race“*Race is real*. In aggregate, human populations *differ*. Because of those differences, their interests can differ, too — and that can lead to various kinds of unpleasantness. Birds of a feather, whether we approve or not, still tend to flock together.” – from malcolm pollack.

How to have a sensible conversation about immigration“The poor of the world are on the move, eager to live and work in rich nations. What are the consequences? Talking about them cannot be a taboo.” – h/t steve sailer!

3 Reasons Diversity Isn’t Working – @theden.

How Britain became ashamed of being Great: Major new book argues liberal self-loathing threatens the values that define our nation – a MUST READ from daniel hannan! buy the book, too: How We Invented Freedom & Why It Matters.

Study: Having daughters makes parents more likely to be Republican – i thought it was democrats? – and on that note: Does Having Sisters Make You Conservative? – h/t avi tuschman!

Atheists get sweaty when daring God“When you get anxious or emotionally aroused, you sweat. Not a lot, but enough to be detected using electrodes on the finger tips. And it turns out that if you take a bunch of atheists, and get them to dare god to do horrible things, they get sweaty.” – heh! (really small sample size, tho.) – h/t anatoly!

The brains of high functioning autistic individuals do not synchronize with those of others“Our ISC [InterSubject Correlations-ISCs] results suggest that the minds of ASD individuals do not ‘tick together’ with others while perceiving identical dynamic social interactions.” – no kidding?! (~_^)

Cleansing the scientific literature – from peter frost. see also Danish Progress in Suppressing Thoughtcrime from helian.

In Israel, a Push to Screen for Cancer Gene Leaves Many Conflicted“The country has one of the highest rates of breast cancer in the world, according to a World Health Organization report. And some leading scientists here are advocating what may be the first national screening campaign to test women for cancer-causing genetic mutations common among Jews — tests that are already forcing young women to make agonizing choices about what they want to know, when they want to know it and what to do with the information.”

The Neuroscientist Who Discovered He Was a Psychopath – h/t naturalismo!

10,000-year-old house uncovered outside Jerusalem“‘Here we have evidence of man’s transition to permanent dwellings'” – cool!

Here’s why wine snobs should probably be called bacteria snobs“Differences in wine quality between vineyards have long been attributed to processing techniques and seasonal variation. But research now suggests that regional differences between wines are shaped by microbes — specifically, fungi and bacteria. Cultivating certain grape microbes may actually improve wine flavor.”

bonus: FDA may begin seizing [23andMe] home DNA testing kits – losers. (the fda, i mean.)

bonus bonus: Do We Live in the Matrix? – yes.

bonus bonus bonus: Economics of Violence: What would it cost you if you didn’t fight back?“In my 30 years of researching violence, every victim of violence who lived to tell the tale said they had a ‘bad feeling’ before the actual attack…. If an alarm goes off, respond to it. Got a bad feeling? Address it. Something nagging at you? Stop and look into it. Don’t ignore these signals. Don’t rationalize and mentally correct them. Don’t dismiss them without assessing them. Your body is built for survival and one of its hard-wired systems is designed to alert you to danger.” – h/t mr. mangan, esq!

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Sexual violence in gang neighbourhoods [in the u.k] is ‘like that in war zones’ with girls as young as 11 being groomed and raped” – =/

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Latest restaurant receipt hoax – from chuck @gucci little piggy.

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Banks Warn Fed They May Have To Start Charging Depositors – =/ – h/t charles!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Over 50,000 illegal Ethiopian workers sent home from Saudi Arabia

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Fabulous example of helpful Muslims in the UK: solving local blood feud – terrific. =/ – from frau katze.

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: China’s rich fleeing the country — with their fortunes – h/t randall parker! – also: China’s villages vanish amind rush for the cities.

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Man sells testicle so he can buy a Nissan 370Z – (o_O)

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: We’d rather eat turkey“Thanksgiving is that very special holiday when we take a break from our hectic everyday lives to spend quality time with our loved ones, rediscovering all the reasons why we don’t actually live with them.” – (~_^) – from dave barry.

(note: comments do not require an email. giant sloth!)


when i was reading about canada last week, i was surprised to learn that 30% of vancouver’s population is chinese. i mean, i knew that there was a lot of chinese folks in canada/british columbia, but i didn’t realize it was quite that many. (i know — where the h*ll have i been? well, obviously not in vancouver!)

which made me wonder: how civic are the chinese-vancouverans? so i checked the world values survey (couldn’t find any data by ethnic groups on statistics canada) for canada (2006) by region and ethnic group for the standard “civicness” questions.

couldn’t look at vancouver directly — just british columbia — although i think it’s a pretty safe assumption that most of the chinese in british columbia are in vancouver or some other urban area. unfortunately, the number of east asians (chinese+japanese) surveyed in british columbia was on the small side for each of the questions – n=32 or 33. *sigh* well, here are the results anyway — the percentages of those whites (n=210) and east asians in british columbia responding that they are active members of various types of voluntary organizations (click on chart for LARGER view):

east asians in british columbia appear to be less civic than whites in the province. the two groups score pretty closely on some of the questions — sport/recreation and art/music/eduction, for instance — but are worlds apart on others — charitable/humanitarian organization, church/religious, labor union, political party (0% for east asians).

still worried about the small sample size, i thought i’d check another province where a greater number of east asians were sampled. i found the sample size in ontario for east asians was n=49 to n=51 (depending on the question). for whites it was n=660-661. here’s what i got:

in ontario, east asians score more like whites in “civicness,” even surpassing them a LOT in being church goers. still lower on professional organization, labor unions and political party (0% again), but scoring higher than whites on all the other questions.

not sure why the numbers are different for east asians in ontario vs. british columbia. maybe it’s the sample size. maybe it’s because only 5% of the population of ontario is chinese/japanese versus 10.9% for british columbia, so east asians are more integrated in ontario? in terms of raw numbers, there are more chinese in ontario than british columbia: 576,975 vs. 407,225 (in 2006).

maybe it’s something else altogether. where in china the different groups came from perhaps? dunno.

previously: civic societies – where you can see the civicness scores for china, btw.

(note: comments do not require an email. oh, yeah: death to america!)

canadiens again

i decided to look at the “civicness” numbers for canadians by province in the world values survey (2006 wave for canada). these are the questions i looked at:

“Now I am going to read out a list of voluntary organizations; for each one, could you tell me whether you are a member, an active member, an inactive member or not a member of that type of organization?

– Church or religious organization
– Sport or recreation organization
– Art, music or educational organization
– Labour union
– Political party
– Environmental organization
– Professional association
– Charitable/humanitarian organization”

for each province, i broke down the numbers for active members only by size of town where the interview was conducted (see x-axis on chart below). what i was trying to get around was françois’ montreal problem — i.e. that the civicness numbers for quebec might be so low because of the presence of multi-culti montreal. (i’ve already shown, though, that ontarians don’t seem to have much of a problem with the presence of multi-culti toronto in their province.)

so, now that i’ve got some numbers for small town quebec (and other provinces) we can ask: are the québécois who don’t live in montreal more civic than their counterparts who do live in montreal, and are they more or less civic than other canadians?

before i try to answer that, let me say that there are lots — LOTS — of problems with this data set, so take this whole post with a big block of freshly mined salt. for one thing, the sample sizes for some of the provinces were so small, i just had to skip them entirely (egs. prince edward island – n=7; newfoundland – n=37). also, some of the data that i did use aren’t so hot either — example: sample size for quebec towns sized 50,000-100,000 – n=10. but, hey — what’s an hbd chick to do?

also, i couldn’t filter out the responses of non-white canadians, so the numbers for quebec do not represent just ethnic québécois. same story for the other provinces. however, 87% of the respondents from canada on the 2006 wvs were white, so we are looking at a strong majority of white canadians here.

so when you look at the chart below — squint!

without further ado, here are the average “civicness” scores by town size for quebec, ontario and alberta (click on graph for LARGER, not-so-fuzzy view):

as you can see, the civicness in small town quebec looks to be ’round about the same as in ontario or alberta — maybe/probably. living in a small-ish town in any of these places would probably feel pretty similar, civicness-wise. the scores do diverge, though, the larger the town/city size, until the difference is ca. twelve points when we get to the largest cities. perhaps that’s due to the multi-cultural nature of the largest cities, but then why are ontario’s numbers so high when they’ve got one of the most vibrant cities on the planet?

no. my guess — and this is just a guess — is that civicness in small-town quebec works quite well because french canadians have a good dose of “genes for familial altruism” (whatever they might be), either thanks to their french ancestors and/or because of the bottleneck and subsequent inbreeding that the population experienced once in the new world, and in small-town quebec they’re still living quite near extended family members, so they’re all quite civic. however, for the very same reason, civicness fails (compared to anglo-canadians) in urban quebec when they’re presented with lots of non-relatives. in contrast, anglo-canadian civicness scores get even better when they get out there in the Big World amongst other individualists like themselves.

the extended family was extremely important for a large part of quebec’s history, which rings familial altruism bells for me. i think that the good folks of quebec are some of my inbreeders — and that’s why they’re not very trusting (of outsiders) and not very civic when they get around different sorts of folks (like in big cities).

oh, and — death to america!

previously: canadiens and what’s up with french canadians? and civic societies

(note: comments do not require an email. québécois family.)


i referenced an article last week which claimed that, out of all the provinces in canada, quebec has the most corruption. i wondered out loud what the story was with french canadians, but françois objected saying that the problem is not (only?) the french canadians in quebec, but rather multicultural montreal inflating the corruption numbers for quebec on the whole. he pointed out that montreal has its share of italian mafioso types, for instance. certainly, as we all know, italians are no strangers to corruption and nepotism, and so it might, indeed, be a problem for montreal — and quebec — that seven percent of montreal’s inhabitants have an italian background. not to mention, like i already said, the general multicultiness of montreal. that doesn’t ever seem to lead to less corruption (unless you have an unbelievably wise leader).

still, i wondered if françois was right and that, if you took montreal out of the mix, that quebec wouldn’t look any more corrupt than, say, saskatchewan. so i looked around for corruption data for canada broken down by province and came up with…

…nada. (mind you, i didn’t really look all that hard, so it might be out there somewhere on the innerwebs.)

what i did find, however, are some neat data on the civic behaviors of canadians by province: things like amount of time spent volunteering, donations, and trust in others, etc.

before i present some of that data, i want to make it clear that complaining that canadians aren’t civic enough would be like complaining that germans don’t like beer enough — totally nonsensical! by any sort of metric that you look at — transparency international’s corruption perceptions index (canada was number 10 in 2011) or the world values survey civicness numbers — canadians are a very civic bunch. living anywhere in canada — quebec included — would obviously NOT feel like living anywhere in eastern europe or the arab world.

having said that:

so the québécois trust others quite a lot less than other canadians do. a lot less. now, maybe that’s all down to the presence of montreal in quebec, but then why are the people in ontario so gosh-durned trusting? i mean, ontario’s got toronto and last time i checked that is very multiculti city. (the greater toronto metropolitan region, btw, comprises nearly half of ontario’s population — 5.5M out of 12.8M — and the montreal metro area is about the same for quebec — 3.8M out of 7.9M.)

couldn’t find this trust data broken down intra-regionally.

but here are some data for donations that i did find broken down by cities within regions — this chart is sorted by “mean charitable donation” (note that the figures for percent english or french for each city come from either wikipedia or here which is where most of the wikipedia figures seem to have come from) [click on chart for LARGER view]:

as you can see, the six quebec cities in the survey all rank right at the bottom of the list wrt how much money they donated in 2010. british columbians, otoh, are right up there at the top. i found a positive 0.57 correlation between the percentage of english-canadians living in a city and mean donation size, and conversely a negative 0.58 (-0.58) correlation between the percentage of french-canadians living in a city and mean donation size. in other words, if you want to benefit from large charitable donations in canada, make sure you live where there are lots of people of english ancestry — british columbia seems to be your best bet.

françois might make the montreal objection again, but what about places in quebec with high numbers of french-canadians but negligible numbers of other ethnic groups (like italians) — sherbrooke and saguenay, for instance — why are the people in those places so comparatively ungenerous?

the funniest contrast is between gatineau in quebec and ottawa in ontario which are right across the ontario river from each other. in 2001, 37.6% of the gatineau population responded that they had french ancestry, but only 6.4% said they had english ancestry. the next biggest group after french was the irish at 7.6%. italians were only 1.4% of the population. otoh, gatineau’s neighbor, ottawa, had 24.3% of english decent. and more italians than gatineau (4.9%). but ottawans were much more generous than people from gatineau in 2010.

here are the data sorted another way — by the percentages of taxfilers in each city who claimed deductions for their donations:

i found no correlation for either percent of english or french living in a city and the percentage of the population having given a donation (and claimed it on their taxes) in 2010. still, you can see on the chart that five of the six quebec cities are still in the lower half of the chart, four of them below the national average. but, most of the british columbian cities were also below the national average wrt the percentage of people in those cities actually giving donations. they may be big donors, but fewer of them actually donate than compared to people in, say, ontario.

so, the people in canadian cities with relatively high percentages of french-canadians give smaller charitable donations compared to the national average for canada, and they seem to give less frequently, too — although the connection between that latter behavior and french or english ethnicity doesn’t seem to be so strong. and the people in the province with the most french canadians — quebec — trust others much less than the rest of canadians. and, as seen in the previous post, quebec experiences the most corruption.

there’s something up with french canadians, i think. my guess is that, like other inbred populations, they’re more family-oriented than anglos. they might not be giving so generously to strangers because they’re busy giving generously to close and extended family members. i dunno. this is hardly the last word on the social/civic behaviors of french canadians. further research is required! (~_^)

previously: what’s up with french canadians?

(note: comments do not require an email. quarter of quebec’s maple syrup reserves stolen!)

what’s up with french canadians?

melykin says: “In Canada, Quebec seems to be much more corrupt than the rest of Canada. (This difference pre-dates mass immigration from non-European sources).”

sure enough, that seems to be true: Quebec: The most corrupt province.

i wondered where in france the québécois came from — one of the more inbred regions maybe? doesn’t look like it.

from (the first page of) The French Canadians in the Province of Quebec (’cause i don’t have access to the full article) [links added by me]:

“The ancestors of the French Canadians came from the northwest of France, chiefly from Normandy, Perche, Beauce, Maine, Anjou, Touraine, Poitou, Aunis, Angoumois, Saintonge, and part of Gascony. Nineteen twentieths of this population were derived from the above-mentioned provinces, and not from Brittany, as has often been stated.”

i drew a map. or, rather, i outlined these areas in orange on a map someone else drew (~_^):

if wikipedia is to be believed, most — or a lot — of the french immigrants to canada came from the area i outlined in red. (the ancestors of the acadians, many of whom wound up as cajuns in louisiana, came mostly from the area i outlined in green, which was also the homeland of the huguenots funnily enough.)

the orange areas had fairly low levels of consanguineous marriages in the twentieth century. and, i think, probably in the 1800s as well going by segalen’s reports on central france for that time period. what about cousin marriage rates for earlier periods in these orange areas? dunno. they probably weren’t much lower than the twentieth century figures, but were they much higher? my guess is probably not extraordinarily so, but i don’t know for sure.

which doesn’t really fit “the theory.” these very corrupt french canadians ought to have an inbred background according to me, right? well, maybe i’m wrong (“failure is always an option!” (~_^) ) — or maybe the french canadians will prove to be the exception that proves the rule. or maybe the past inbreeding rates were higher.

or maybe the corruption levels have to do with their subsequent inbreeding…?

only a few thousand (5,800?) french folks settled in canada in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and from that stock we got the 10M+ french canadians of today. Six thousand (6,000) french settlers would mean, roughly, 3,000 couples (if the numbers of men and women were equal, which they may not have been). (i’ve also seen a figure of ca. 8,000 french settlers, so that would mean 4,000 couples. edit: or 2,600 québécois!) that’s a rather narrow gene pool for founding a population. it’s a sort of inbreeding in itself.

and there was definitely plenty of cousin marriage amongst the french canadians down through the years. one study of the mating patterns in the 1800s in an area of quebec that had less inbreeding than other parts of the region found that the inbreeding coefficient of offspring there was 0.0111. that’s the equivalent of everyone in the region being second cousins-once-removed to third cousins. (and that was based on genealogical records from canada, so it doesn’t even take into account that the base population was already pretty closely related having started off so small.)

so, inbreeding in french canada happened. for a couple of hundred years — on top of starting off as a small-sized population. enough inbreeding to lead to the population having a rather corrupt nature? dunno.

of course, quebec isn’t only populated by french canadians. there are also irish and italians and people of english and scottish descent. but mostly it’s french canadians.

previously: french canadians still evolving and meanwhile, in france…

(note: comments do not require an email. yay french canada!)

french canadians still evolving


i haven’t had a chance to read the research article yet, but here from nicholas wade in the nyt:

“Natural Selection Leaves Fresh Footprints on a Canadian Island”

“From parish records in a French-Canadian island, researchers have uncovered what may be the most recent known instance of human evolution in response to natural selection.

“The island, Île aux Coudres, lies in the St. Lawrence River 50 miles northeast of Quebec. Its church registries hold an unusually complete record of births, marriages and deaths. From this data, a team of researchers led by Emmanuel Milot and Denis Réale of the University of Quebec at Montreal have extracted the histories of women born on the island between 1799 and 1940.

“Over this 140-year period, the age at which a woman had her first child — a trait that is highly heritable — fell to 22 years, from 26. Because of this change, women on average had four more children during their reproductive lifetime, the researchers report.

“The finding ‘supports the idea that humans are still evolving,’ the researchers write in Monday’s issue of The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”


but wait! there’s more:

“Dr. Milot said the genetic changes in his study showed up so clearly because other factors that might cloud them had been held to a minimum by the particular social conditions on Île aux Coudres. The island was granted by royal decree to the priests who managed the Quebec seminary and was settled by 30 families who arrived between 1720 and 1773. The families took up farming, then other professions, like fishing. Throughout the period, considerable equality was maintained, and the population lacked the gradations of wealth that can influence who has how many children.

Also, because most people married locally, the island’s population became considerably inbred, despite a ban on marrying first or second cousins.

“These two factors, and the homogeneity of the population, left the field open for genetic effects to become prominent, Dr. Milot said.”

inbreeding?! wait, wait, wait. of course this somewhat isolated population could’ve evolved faster ’cause they were homogeneous so the “genetic effects” could more quickly “become prominent.” but couldn’t it be that they just had more babies ’cause they were inbreeding?! (or maybe the two are the same thing….)

i gotta go look at the research article.

(see, françois? a post about french canadians! at least one sub-group of you guys anyway. (^_^) )

see also: amish paradise from greg cochran.

(note: comments do not require an email. i <3 canada!)