Archives for posts with tag: mammals

Life on Earth may have developed below rather than above ground, reveal scientists“Scientists have now discovered microbes living and reproducing as deep as 5km (3.1 miles) below ground and studies have shown that they are likely to have survived in complete isolation from the surface biosphere for millions and perhaps even billions of years. One of the latest studies into the deep biosphere has found that these microbes form a distinct subsurface community of genetically similar individuals despite living on opposite sides of the world. This global similarity of such an isolated life-form suggests that they may have evolved directly from a common ancestor that lived as long ago at the period when life on earth originated, some 3.5 billion years ago.”

First ever animals were made of jelly, not sponge

Scientists discover double meaning in genetic code“[G]enomes use the genetic code to write two separate languages. One describes how proteins are made, and the other instructs the cell on how genes are controlled. One language is written on top of the other, which is why the second language remained hidden for so long.”duons. – see also Exonic Transcription Factor Binding Directs Codon Choice and Affects Protein Evolution.

Environment drives genetic changes in Evolution Canyon“[R]esearchers with the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech studying fruit flies that live on opposite slopes of a unique natural environment known as ‘Evolution Canyon’ show that even with migration, cross-breeding, and sometimes the obliteration of the populations, the driving force in the gene pool is largely the environment.” – see also Genome differentiation of Drosophila melanogaster from a microclimate contrast in Evolution Canyon, Israel.

Big brains are all in the genes“Scientists have moved a step closer to understanding genetic changes that permitted humans and other mammals to develop such big brains…. Dr Humberto Gutierrez, from the School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, UK, led research which examined the genomes of 39 species of mammals with the aim of better understanding how brains became larger and more complex in mammals…. The researchers found a clear link between increased brain size and the expansion of gene families related to certain biological functions.”

Not all species deteriorate with age“Researchers claim that some buck trend in mortality and fertility, challenging evolutionary theory.” – see also Diversity of ageing across the tree of life – h/t anatoly! – see also Aging from greg cochran.

there was a kerfluffle over the selfish gene concept this past week or two: Die, selfish gene, die by david dobbs. – see also Adversarial Journalism and The Selfish Gene by richard dawkins – see also David Dobbs mucks up evolution, part I and David Dobbs mucks up evolution, part II by jerry coyne – see also There is no revolution in genetics and Evolutionary orthodoxy may be boring, but it is probably true by razib – see also Science vs. Ideology in Genetics, in which Richard Dawkins and Professor Ceiling Cat Admonish David Dobbs by helian.

Western scrub-jays allocate longer observation time to more valuable information“When humans mentally reconstruct past events and imagine future scenarios, their subjective experience of mentally time travelling is accompanied by the awareness of doing so. Despite recent popularity of studying episodic memory in animals, such phenomenological consciousness has been extremely difficult to demonstrate…. Thus, the jays can collect information to solve a future problem. Moreover, they can differentiate sources of information according to their potential value and modify behaviour to efficiently collect important, usable information. This is the first evidence of metacognition in a species that passes the behavioural criteria for both retrospective and prospective mental time travel.”

Like humans, dogs have general intelligence – @dr. james thompson’s blog.

H. Heidelbergensis Preferred Island Life“[B]etween 500,000 and 200,000 years ago, Homo heidelbergensis preferred to live on islands in the flood plains of major rivers, where they would have had access to big herbivores that grazed on the rich grasses, water birds and plants with edible roots, and leafy vegetables. The island itself offered protection from other hungry predators, and raw materials such as wood and stone for fashioning tools would have been abundant.”

No evidence for selection since admixture in sample of 29,141 African Americans – @dienekes’.

Older Dads: Possible Links to Autism, Schizophrenia in Offspring – inherited epigenetic effects? – “Maria Milekic, PhD, reported today, at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology annual meeting in Hollywood, Florida, that old mice have an epigenetic change ‒ a loss of DNA methylation at the locations where the genetic code starts being transcribed. DNA methylation is a biochemical process that plays an important regulatory role in development and disease. The work was done by a research team in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University. Offspring of old fathers showed the same deficit in DNA methylation, and they differed in their behavior from the offspring of the young fathers.”

Inherited memories – greg cochran on inherited epigenetics (note: re. a different mouse epigenetics study from the one above).

Genetics accounts for more than half of variation in exam results @the guardian – “[T]he authors point out that genetics emerges as such a strong influence on exam scores because the schooling system aims to give all children the same education. The more school and other factors are made equal, the more genetic differences come to the fore in children’s performance. The same situation would happen if everyone had a healthy diet: differences in bodyweight would be more down to genetic variation, instead of being dominated by lifestyle.” – see also Nature more than nurture determines exam success @newscientist – “Overall, across the three core subjects of English, mathematics and science, achievement was 58 per cent determined by genetics. Individually, achievement was 52 per cent down to genetics for English, 55 per cent for maths and 58 per cent for science. The figure for humanities was lower at 42 per cent. This was a surprise to Plomin because, traditionally, excellence in humanities subjects such as art or music is considered to be ‘handed down’ from parents, whereas science is considered a product of the teaching environment.” – see also The genetics route could spell a new direction for education @the independent – “[I]t may be that the innate differences in children’s abilities because of their genes could argue the case for a more tailor-made individual curriculum to offset the disadvantages of birth.” – no sh*t! – see also New twin study by Plomin, Shakeshaft et al from steve sailer – see also Strong Genetic Influence on a UK Nationwide Test of Educational Achievement at the End of Compulsory Education at Age 16.

Genetic influence on family socioeconomic status and children’s intelligence“[U]sing a new technique applied to DNA from 3000 unrelated children, we show significant genetic influence on family SES, and on its association with children’s IQ at ages 7 and 12. In addition to demonstrating the ability to investigate genetic influence on between-family environmental measures, our results emphasize the need to consider genetics in research and policy on family SES and its association with children’s IQ.” – can somebody just give plomin a nobel already? or at least a hearty pat on the back? (^_^)

Climatic Variability, Group Selection and Dysgenics: Testing a Multi-Level Selection Model – from woodley, fernandes, and figueredo. @dr. james thompson’s blog.

ISIR – What do intelligence researchers really think about intelligence?“Asked: ‘Is there sufficient evidence to arrive at a reasonable estimate of the heritability of intelligence in populations of developed countries?’ 73% said Yes.” – from dr. james thompson. also ISIR – Genetics.

‘Poverty impedes cognitive function’ shown to be BS – from mr. mangan, esq.

Survey of psychometricians finds iSteve one of 3 best journalistic outlets in the world for intelligence coverage – and anatoly karlin! (^_^)

Human brain hard-wired for rural tranquillity“Humans may be hard-wired to feel at peace in the countryside and confused in cities – even if they were born and raised in an urban area…. Dr Ian Frampton, an Exeter University psychologist, stressed the researchers still had more work to do, but said they may have hit upon something significant…. Professor Michael Depledge of Exeter University, a former Environment Agency chief scientist, said urban dwellers could be suffering in the same way as animals kept in captivity. He said the move to the cities had been accompanied by an ‘incredible rise in depression and behavioural abnormalities’.” – h/t ed west!

Diet rapidly and reproducibly alters the human gut microbiome“[S]hort-term consumption of diets composed entirely of animal or plant products alters microbial community structure and overwhelms inter-individual differences in microbial gene expression. The animal-based diet increased the abundance of bile-tolerant microorganisms (Alistipes, Bilophila and Bacteroides) and decreased the levels of Firmicutes that metabolize dietary plant polysaccharides (Roseburia, Eubacterium rectale and Ruminococcus bromii). Microbial activity mirrored differences between herbivorous and carnivorous mammals, reflecting trade-offs between carbohydrate and protein fermentation. Foodborne microbes from both diets transiently colonized the gut, including bacteria, fungi and even viruses. Finally, increases in the abundance and activity of Bilophila wadsworthia on the animal-based diet support a link between dietary fat, bile acids and the outgrowth of microorganisms capable of triggering inflammatory bowel disease. In concert, these results demonstrate that the gut microbiome can rapidly respond to altered diet, potentially facilitating the diversity of human dietary lifestyles.”

Wheat Threatens All Humans, New Research Shows“New research reveals that proteins in wheat may be detrimental to all humans.” – h/t ray sawhill!

The origins of Northwest European guilt culture and Origins of Northwest European guilt culture. Part II – from peter frost. and my response to part i (in case you missed it – shame on you if you did! you should feel soooo guilty. (~_^) ).

The EU is corrupt because southern Europe is corrupt“Nigeria is riddled with corruption and theft because enough people are corrupt (and it doesn’t have to be that many) that it makes no sense to be an honest person. For societies to avert this situation free-riders need to be punished (shamed, ostracised, prosecuted) by other individuals acting with the support of the rest of society, and almost as importantly, for those punishers not to be punished in turn, as happens in clannish societies where people care more about their family than the well-being of the wider society. Destroying the power of the clans can take a very, very long time; around the North Sea it began a good millennium ago.” – from ed west.

Why a Good Story Must Be Archetypal and Why Modern Storytellers Must Lie About It – from staffan.

White flight from the white robe? – from the awesome epigone. – h/t jayman!

‘Boy/ girl differences are genetically programmed’“Twinwag: As research shows the brains of men and women are wired differently, mother of two Anna White says she saw it in her own twins, Agatha and Benjamin, from as young as 14 months old.” – h/t holtz!

Holding a guitar case increases the odds women will give a man their phone number – (~_^)

Your Genes Tell You How to Vote – in mother jones! – see also The Difference Between Republican and Democratic Brains – h/t avi tuschman! – see also Study on twins suggests our political beliefs may be hard-wired @pew.

Did Brain Scans Just Save a Convicted Murderer From the Death Penalty? – see also How Brain Scans Can Lighten Sentences In Murder Cases“An increasing trend of defendants using neuroscience to argue for lesser sentences.” – h/t neuroskeptic!

We Really Have no Idea Why Political Attitudes Change (or Not). A Guest Blog by Bernard Winograd – *cough*herding*cough* – @peter turchin’s social evolution forum. h/t t.greer!

How much do we really know about sleep?“We spend a third of our lives doing it, and yet we still don’t fully understand the reasons why we sleep.”

Eastern and Western Europe divided over gay marriage, homosexuality“92% of Dutch & 25% of Russians say gay people should be free to live lives as they wish (via European Social Survey).” – from pew.

Late Stone Age settlement unearthed on Cyprus“Excavations at Ayia Varvara-Asprokremnos (AVA) by archaeologists from the University of Toronto, Cornell University and the University of Cyprus have uncovered, among other objects, the earliest complete human figurine on the island. The site has been carbon-dated to between 8800-8600 BC, near the beginning of the Neolithic Period – also known as the Late Stone Age – when the transition from hunting to farming economies was occurring throughout the Middle East.”

What Happened On Easter Island — A New (Even Scarier) Scenario – h/t razib!

Terracotta Warriors Inspired by Ancient Greek Art“Nickel’s evidence includes newly translated ancient records that tell a fantastic tale of giant statues that ‘appeared’ in the far west, inspiring the first emperor of China to duplicate them in front of his palace. This story offers evidence of early contact between China and the West, contacts that Nickel says inspired the First Emperor (which is what Qin Shi Huangdi called himself) to not only duplicate the 12 giant statues but to build the massive Terracotta Army along with other life-size sculptures.” – see also The First Emperor and sculpture in China.

Phallic objects an ancient PNG status symbol?“The cache of elaborately crafted tools was discovered at a construction site on New Britain Island, north-eastern PNG, in late 2010. Between 6000 and 3000 years old, the tools are made of a type of volcanic glass called obsidian and, remarkably, several of them are shaped as phalluses.”

Nobel winner declares boycott of top science journals“Randy Schekman says his lab will no longer send papers to Nature, Cell and Science as they distort scientific process.” – h/t hbd bibliography!

Can you guess which states swear the most, least?

bonus: There’s a Reason They Call Them ‘Crazy Ants’ << read this!

bonus bonus: How widespread is Islamic fundamentalism in Western Europe? – h/t michael story!

bonus bonus bonus: Google Adds to Its Menagerie of Robots – google buys boston dynamics. google really IS going to take over the world! =/

bonus bonus bonus bonus: You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet“I don’t think most people yet realize just how fast the arc of technological innovation is bending skyward right now, and what that’s really going to mean. I hang around with the people who are making this stuff happen, and *they* don’t know what it’s going to mean. *Nobody* does.” – from malcolm pollack. (google really IS going to take over the world! =/ )

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Freakishly realistic telemarketing robots are denying they’re robots – the future (i.e tomorrow) is either going to be terrifying or really, really irritating. – h/t mike anissimov (wearer of track suits (~_^) )!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: First water plume seen firing from Jupiter moon Europa

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Skull Fossil Suggests Simpler Human Lineage“Early, diverse fossils — those currently recognized as coming from distinct species like Homo habilis, Homo erectus and others — may actually represent variation among members of a single, evolving lineage. In other words, just as people look different from one another today, so did early hominids look different from one another, and the dissimilarity of the bones they left behind may have fooled scientists into thinking they came from different species.” see also: Skull of Homo erectus throws story of human evolution into disarray @the guardian. see also john hawks: The new skull from Dmanisi. and greg cochran: All One Species?

speaking of species: Roe Deer × Domestic Sheep“This rather distant cross, which represents a case of interbreeding between separate mammalian families (Cervidae × Bovidae) was reported in the last decade of the 18th century by the Finnish academic Carl Niklas Hellenius (1745-1820), also known as Carl Niklas von Hellens (or af Hellens).” – say what?!

Mysterious Ancient Human Crossed Wallace’s Line“Scientists have proposed that the most recently discovered ancient human relatives — the Denisovans – somehow managed to cross one of the world’s most prominent marine barriers in Indonesia, and later interbred with modern humans moving through the area on the way to Australia and New Guinea.”

Blood-filled mosquito is a fossil first – JURASSIC PARK!!

Mysterious Minoans Were European, DNA Finds“The Minoans, the builders of Europe’s first advanced civilization, really were European, new research suggests…. ‘They were very similar to Neolithic Europeans and very similar to present day-Cretans,’ residents of the Mediterranean island of Crete.”

People Born With Certain Gene More Likely to Suffer Cognitive Decline After Heart Surgery“Long-term memory loss, difficulty understanding verbal or written communication or impaired ability to pay attention may still occur five years after heart surgery if a patient has a certain gene variation…. This gene was found to be related to a decline in cognitive capabilities compared to those who do not have the variation…. ‘Our study found that if a patient has this gene variation (APOE4), that person is more likely to have cognitive decline five years after surgery.'” – h/t hbd bibliography!

Genetics of eye colours in different rural populations on the Silk Road“[R]egression tree analysis showed that individuals carrying a given combination of haplotypes have a significant probability to show a blue or green/grey iris colour as compared with brown, with a gradient from west to east.” – h/t neuroskeptic!

Scanning for Recent Human Evolution

Evolution is not a one-way road towards complexity“[T]he fact that the highly complex larval muscular bodyplan is so similar in both groups [aplacophorans and chitons] but is only carried over into the adult stage in one of them — the chitons — strongly suggests that the common ancestor of both groups was of similar complexity; thereby implying that the worm-like groups lost these complex traits and became secondarily simplified over evolutionary time.”

Genomics England and the 100,000 genomes

National Geographic Agrees: The Human Alpha Male Is Real – from heartiste. see also “Manosphere” Community Beliefs: Truths and Nonsense from jayman.

Japan: A north-south cline in mental and behavioral traits – from peter frost.

What I actually said about genes, IQ and heritability“Rational public debate about genes and intelligence…has proved impossible in Britain and America….”

Heritability estimates and the analysis of variance“In terms that R.A. Fisher might have used, if you plant different strains of wheat in uniformly well ploughed, well mixed, well fertilised soil, then the differences between the different strains will be due to their inherent qualities, and not the vagaries of the soil. On the other hand, if the soil varies considerably then the yields will vary partly because of seed quality, and partly because of soil quality.” – from dr. james thompson.

Intelligence is just another privilege you inherited from mummy and daddy“[I]t is considered bad form for the clever to point out that their advantage is inherited. Yet this has the effect of giving the intellectually privileged the false idea that they have earned their advantage, and eroding the feeling of *noblesse oblige* that the wealthy once felt when they knew their fortune depended on luck. Rather we should regard intelligence as just another privilege you inherit from mummy and daddy…. That would make the world a more, not less, just place.” – from ed west.

The Stability of Intelligence From Age 11 to Age 90 Years: The Lothian Birth Cohort of 1921“The correlation of Moray House Test scores between age 11 and age 90 was .54 (.67 when corrected for range restriction).” – h/t john durant!

Can political polarization become baked in through assortative mating? – @steve sailer’s.

On the Unbearable Lightness of Objective Morality“Evolved behavioral predispositions are the ultimate reason for the existence of human morality. Absent those predispositions, our morality as we know it would cease to exist.” – from helian.

US regions exhibit distinct personalities, research reveals“Americans with similar temperaments are so likely to live in the same areas that a map of the country can be divided into regions with distinct personalities, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association. People in the north-central Great Plains and the South tend to be conventional and friendly, those in the Western and Eastern seaboards lean toward being mostly relaxed and creative, while New Englanders and Mid-Atlantic residents are prone to being more temperamental and uninhibited, according to a study published online by APA’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.”

Book Review: Why Evolution Is True (2009) by Jerry Coyne – book review from staffan.

Neanderthals Used Toothpicks to Alleviate the Pain of Diseases Related to Teeth, Such as Inflammation of the Gums – h/t andrew badenoch!

Women like their men with low voices, but only for a night“[W]omen were more attracted to men with low-pitched voices, which are produced by larger vocal cords. However, the research also showed women believed men with deeper voices were more likely to cheat.”

Epigenetics: How to alter your genes – well, you don’t really alter your genes with epigenetics, but your gene expression.

Oops! Etruscan Warrior Prince Really a Princess

bonus: Analysis of Racist Red Lobster Receipt Casts Doubt on Original Story and More restaurant receipt handwriting analysis – total race hoax – @gucci little piggy.

bonus bonus: New botox super-toxin has its [dna] details censored

bonus bonus bonus: Evolutionary Question Answered: Ants More Closely Related to Bees Than to Most Wasps. see also: Key to Ants’ Evolution May Have Started With a Wasp.

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Fossil scans reveal origins of teeth“Tooth-like structures originated from outer-body coverings.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: A new law of biology: All mammals pee for about 21 seconds @Why Evolution is True.

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Top Ten New Species: Snub-Nosed Monkey, More

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Thirty million people are slaves, half in India

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Greek authorities appeal for help in finding real family of girl found in Gypsy camp.

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Oxytocin helps explain difference in social perception between men and women“‘The Love Hormone’, Oxytocin affects men and women differently in social contexts — in men it improves the ability to identify competitive relationships whereas in women it facilitates the ability to identify kinship.”

Watching Bacteria Evolve, With Predictable Results“[I]n experiments using bacteria and other fast-breeding organisms, scientists can replay evolution many times over in their labs. And the results of a new experiment published Thursday in the journal Cell Reports demonstrate — with movies — that evolution can be astoundingly predictable.”

Facial contrast and femininity“Women have higher luminous contrast between their facial skin and their lip/eye color. This contrast effect is influenced not only by degree of lightness but also by degree of redness.” – from peter frost.

Caste“An endogamous group that is exposed to unusual selective pressures – say because of their occupation – is going to change in response to those particular selective pressures.” – from greg cochran.

Cultural influences on IQ – from elijah armstrong.

Human cells respond in healthy, unhealthy ways to different kinds of happinessEudaimonic well-being was, indeed, associated with a significant decrease in the stress-related CTRA gene expression profile. In contrast, hedonic well-being was associated with a significant increase in the CTRA profile.”

Even George W. Bush Has Heart Disease“Contrary to what we’ve been led to believe, it is possible – and indeed quite likely – that heart disease is an inevitable consequence of living. In other words, lifestyle, including what you eat, drink, where you work, how much you work out, etc, may have little to nothing to do with your chances of developing heart disease.” – from jayman. (the most surprising thing that i learned from this post is that george w. bush actually has a heart! (~_^) )

Students Today “Hook Up” No More Than Their Parents Did in College

Rare footage of isolated Amazon tribe released“A newly released video captures images of the Kawahiva tribe, indigenous people living in Brazil’s Amazon jungle thought to have had very little contact with the outside world.”

World’s oldest temple built to worship the dog star“THE world’s oldest temple, Göbekli Tepe in southern Turkey, may have been built to worship the dog star, Sirius.”

These Carvings Are the Oldest Rock Art in America, by Thousands of Years“‘The true age of this rock art had not been known, but a new analysis suggests these petroglyphs are the oldest North America, dating back to between 10,500 and 14,800 years ago.’ The rocks occupy a spot in the Nevada desert once covered by Winnemucca Lake.”

Oldest Gaming Tokens Found in Turkey“Small carved stones unearthed in a nearly 5,000-year-old burial could represent the earliest gaming tokens ever found, according to Turkish archaeologists who are excavating early Bronze Age graves.” – they’re really neat!

Good-looking birds: Sexual attractiveness in the wild turkey“[A]ttractiveness in male turkeys is more a function of how they use their genes, rather than differences in the genes themselves.”

bonus: Britain’s biggest child sex grooming gang thought to have been busted after cops arrest 45 men – here we go again. =/

bonus bonus: Olinguinto: ‘Overlooked’ mammal carnivore is major discovery

bonus bonus bonus: Moment thief was caught on camera stealing village ‘honesty box’ to pay for homegrown fruit and veg – this happened in south wales and the thief was a guy named paul bujega bujega.

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Scientists Finally Pronounce Human Genome“‘It’s Gatcaatgaggtggacaccagaggc…’”

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(sorry. the dog ate my sunday linkfest….)

And Yet Another Tale of Two Maps – from jayman.

Why are girls and boys maturing earlier? – from peter frost.

When Did Humans Come to the Americas?

Large study shows substance abuse rates higher in teenagers with ADHD“When the adolescents were an average of 15 years old, 35 percent of those with ADHD histories reported using one or more substances, as compared to only 20 percent of teens without ADHD histories.”

Tribal societies and war – from mangan.

Crime and Twins – from dienekes.

HVGIQ: Cayman Islands – from jason malloy.

Evil Genes and the Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul – @bad data, bad!

Digging Deep in the DNA“‘I think I’m one of the few people,’ she said, ‘who have taken the rectal temperature of a grizzly bear.'”

Men are from Mars Earth, women are from Venus Earth“That men and women approach their social world similarly does not imply that there are no differences in average scores between the sexes. Average differences do exist, write the authors.” – yes, average differences do exist.

Exercise linked with reduced prostate cancer risk in Caucasians but not African-Americans“Studies have also revealed that African-American men have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer and of dying from the disease compared with Caucasians.”

Gene today, gone tomorrow: Genes for autism and schizophrenia only active in developing brains“Genes linked to autism and schizophrenia are only switched on during the early stages of brain development, according to a study in mice led by researchers at the University of Oxford.” – curioser and curioser….

The Lab Accident That Led to the Discovery of Supertasters“A cloud of chemicals. One researcher detects a smell. The other does not. What happens next? Science.”

So THAT’s why women’s feet and hands are always cold! Why they are slaves to their hormones

On Genteels – @bloody shovel.

Oral Mystery: Are Agriculture and Rats Responsible for Tooth Decay?“Tooth decay is a relatively modern problem. The bacteria feasting on your teeth might have originated in the mouth of a rodent, and found their way to our teeth, thanks to agriculture.”

bonus: ‘Google for spies’ draws ire from rights groups

bonus bonus: ‘It’s a boy!’ Monkey midwife delivers baby

bonus bonus bonus: What Are Dogs Saying When They Bark? [Excerpt]“Experiments have now shown that dogs use different barks and growls to communicate different things.” – see also: Your dog really does understand you… They’re more likely to steal food if they think you can’t see, research reveals.

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Pigeons Get a New Look“Pigeons, a Darwin favorite, carry new clues to evolution.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Do plants ‘veto’ bad genes?“Latest evidence fails to quell doubt about whether plants can access “ancestral” genes outside their parents'”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Face-to-face with the earliest ancestor of all placental mammals

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Penicillin Mold Can Reproduce Sexually, Which Could Lead to Better Antibiotics“Penicillin-producing fungus, previously thought to be asexual, has a sexual side. The finding is the latest in a kind of sexual revolution in fungal genetics.”

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Fast Food Robot Builds the Perfect Burger – won’t need mexicans for flipping burgers anymore.

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Siberians share DNA with extinct human species

Fossil Teeth Put Humans in Europe Earlier Than Thought

Ethnicity and camping – from the inductivist.

Is mental time travel what makes us human?

Lynn On The Jews: Yes, It’s Intelligence—But There’s Something Else Too – review of richard lynn’s latest book, “The Chosen People: A Study of Jewish Intelligence,” from steve sailer.

The ‘rich club’ that rules your brain

Decoding the Brain’s Cacophony“Scientists now know that the brain runs largely on autopilot; it acts first and asks questions later, often explaining behavior after the fact. So if much of behavior is automatic, then how responsible are people for their actions?”

Are birds’ tweets grammatical?

Back to the trees – greg cochran on the flores hobbit.

Bones reveal 18th and 19th-century breastfeeding fads

Exercise Cuts Risk From Obesity Gene“The obesity risk of a genetic variation can be least partially offset with exercise.” – from parapundit.

A Brief Guide to Embodied Cognition: Why You Are Not Your Brain

Sperm Whales Really Do Learn From Each Other“Sperm whales, Earth’s biggest-brained animals, live in far-flung clans with lifestyles so different and vocalizations so complex that it’s natural to think they have culture.”

Does Inequality Make Us Unhappy?

Scientists and autism: When geeks meet“Psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen thinks scientists and engineers could be more likely to have a child with autism. Some researchers say the proof isn’t there.”this week’s issue of nature is all about autism.

bonus: There’s just something about him… – the latest on the wonderfully weird Toxoplasma gondii from carl zimmer.

bonus bonus: An Unexpected Alliance“Lee Siegel considers the weird comedy of letters between T.S. Eliot and Groucho Marx”

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That anxiety may be in your gut, not in your head“McMaster research finds link between gut bacteria and behaviour”

Brain size, latitude, and ambient light – @evoandproud via diversityischaos.

A Trick of the Mind“[W]e are descendants of ancestors whose ‘default position is to assume that all patterns are real; that is, assume that all rustles in the grass are dangerous predators and not the wind.'”

Your Genome Structure, Not Genetic Mutations, Makes You Different

In the company of whales“Sperm whales have distinct dialects, complex relationships and a set of traditions passed down between generations—what scientists are calling a ‘multicultural civilization’”

Females can place limits on evolution of attractive features in males, research shows

Sex on the brain: What turns women on, mapped out“It’s what women have been telling men for decades: stimulating the vagina is not the same as stimulating the clitoris.” – got that? good.

Thank climate change for the rise of humans

bonus: Jewish solidarity makes Israeli democracy stronger“The secret to the strength of Israeli democracy may lie in another feature of this society that is not easily reconciled with a well-run democracy: the quasi-tribal sense of Jewish solidarity, the general sense that we are a kind of extended family.”

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definitely my favorite video of the week:

bonus – a version where someone has added the appropriate music:

(^_^)

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“Gene Activity in the Brain Depends on Genetic Background”“Taken all together, the data from the study demonstrate that closer genetic relatives exhibit fewer differences in gene expression patterns, whereas more distant relatives show greater variation. Interestingly, the researchers found that the expression variations between genetic strains were more likely to be found in areas of the brain that evolved more recently. These regions are most commonly linked to higher order functions such as cognition, social behavior, learning and memory.”

“Human Genome Still Chock-Full of Mysteries” @ wired.

the a epigone looks at “IQ and age differential at first marriage”“[T]he lower a country’s average IQ, the older that country’s women want their men to be.”

“Study: Gay Parents More Likely to Have Gay Kids”

“Girls Are More Intelligent Than Boys, But Men Are More Intelligent Than Women”“The male advantage in general intelligence does not emerge until after puberty, because girls mature faster than boys.”

“Neuroscience, free will and determinism: ‘I’m just a machine'”

“Morals Without God?”“How primate behavior sheds light on the origins of our sense of right and wrong.” (lovely essay from frans de waal.)

“Culture Evolves Slowly, Falls Apart Quickly” @ wired.

“‘Eugenics’ Is What Happens When Cousins Don’t Marry” @ vdare.com.

“Why men are twice as likely to become alcoholics – drinking sparks more pleasure in male brains” (doohh-pamine!)

“Penguins have gay ‘flings’ because they are lonely – but end up in a heterosexual couple” – penguins not so gay after all.

“Women really are more generous as study proves they donate more to charity” – women in the u.s. anyway.

“Revolution Postponed: Why the Human Genome Project Has Been Disappointing” @ scientific american – “The Human Genome Project has failed so far to produce the medical miracles that scientists promised. Biologists are now divided over what, if anything, went wrong—and what needs to happen next.” (behind paywall, unfortunately.)