Svante Paabo talk at NIH – “According to Dr. Paabo, Ust-Ishim has longer Neandertal chunks than modern humans and this can be used to estimate that the admixture with Neandertals happened 331+/-99 generations before its time of 45,000y BP, or around 50-60,000y BP…. This pretty much proves that there were modern humans in Eurasia before the Upper Paleolithic revolution and disproves Richard Klein’s theory that modern humans together with UP technologies spread Out-of-Africa only after 50,000 years ago.” – from dienekes.
Europeans have three times more Neanderthal genes for lipid catabolism than Asians or Africans – “Contemporary Europeans have as many as three times more Neanderthal variants in genes involved in lipid catabolism than Asians and Africans. Although Neanderthals are extinct, fragments of their genomes persist in modern humans. These shared regions are unevenly distributed across the genome and some regions are particularly enriched with Neanderthal variants.”
The really old Europe is mostly in Eastern Europe – “‘These results confirm Sardinia as a refuge area where ancestry related to Early European Farmers has been best preserved, and also the greater persistence of WHG-related ancestry in present-day Eastern European populations. The latter finding suggests that West European Hunter-Gatherers (so-named because of the prevalence of Loschbour and La Braña) or populations related to them have contributed to the ancestry of present-day Eastern European groups.'” – @eurogenes blog.
More on Deafness – “Seems to me that limited verbal stimulation is not a very plausible primary cause of low test scores and low academic achievement in blacks, because the degree of deprivation needed to cause a 1-standard deviation decline is extreme (deafness), and because there is an even greater depression of nonverbal scores, which, judging from the results in deaf children, should not be affected at all by limited verbal stimulation.” – from greg cochran.
Language structure: You’re born with it – “Humans are unique in their ability to acquire language. But how? A new study shows that we are in fact born with the basic fundamental knowledge of language, thus shedding light on the age-old linguistic ‘nature vs. nurture’ debate.”
Selection for complex traits leaves little or no classic signatures of selection – “We present empirical evidence to suggests little discernible ‘selection signature’ for complex traits in the genome of dairy cattle despite very strong and recent artificial selection.” – h/t razib!
Whole genome sequencing of six dog breeds from continuous altitudes reveals adaption to high-altitude hypoxia – “To understand the genetic bases of adaption to high altitude in dogs, we performed whole-genome sequencing of 60 dogs including five breeds living at continuous altitudes along the Tibetan plateau from 800 to 5,100 m as well as one European breed…. Comparison of the breeds from different altitudes reveals strong signals of population differentiation at the locus of hypoxia-related genes including endothelial Per-Arnt-Sim (PAS) domain protein 1 (EPAS1) and beta hemoglobin cluster. Especially, four novel non-synonymous mutations specific to high-altitude dogs are identified at EPAS1, one of which occurred at a quite conserved site in the PAS domain. The association testing between EPAS1 genotypes and blood-related phenotypes on additional high-altitude dogs reveals that the homozygous mutation is associated with the decreased blood flow resistance, which may help to improve hemorheologic fitness. Interestingly, EPAS1 was also identified as a selective target in Tibetan highlanders, though no amino acid changes were found. Thus, our results not only indicate parallel evolution of humans and dogs in adaption to high-altitude hypoxia, but also provide a new opportunity to study the role of EPAS1 in the adaptive processes.” – h/t joe pickerell!
Facial Width-To-Height Ratio Relates to Alpha Status and Assertive Personality in Capuchin Monkeys – “fWHR was positively associated with alpha status and with a dimensional rating of assertive personality in both males and females. Moreover, fWHR showed significant sexual dimorphism in adults but not juveniles, suggesting a developmental change may occur during puberty. In a sub-sample, sex differences were mediated by weight, suggesting fWHR dimorphism does not exceed what would be expected by differences in body weight. This is the first report of an association between face shape and behaviour in a non-human species.” – h/t stuart ritchie!
The relationship between Microcephalin, ASPM and intelligence: A reconsideration – “Microcephalin is strongly associated with DNA repair, which indicates a special role for this allele in the intrinsic anti-viral immune response. Enhanced immune functioning may have advantaged both hunter–gatherer and agrarian societies coping with the heightened disease burden that resulted from population growth and exposure to zoonotic diseases, making it more likely that such growth and concomitant increases in intelligence could occur.” – from michael woodley et al. – see also The riddle of Microcephalin – from peter frost.
Caucasian Boys Show Highest Prevalence of Color Blindness Among Preschoolers – “The first major study of color blindness in a multi-ethnic group of preschoolers has uncovered that Caucasian male children have the highest prevalence among four major ethnicities, with 1 in 20 testing color blind. Researchers also found that color blindness, or color vision deficiency, in boys is lowest in African-Americans, and confirmed that girls have a much lower prevalence of color blindness than boys.”
Give it up, Psmithe – steve sailer on greg clark’s The Son Also Rises.
El capital humano de las naciones: ¿Más allá de PISA? – h/t billare! who tweeted: “Take Lynn & Vanhanen’s 2012 estimates, correlate them to PISA math & science results, find an r of 0.98.”
The grasping reflex of babies: a vestigial trait? – from jerry coyne.
Social influence constrained by the heritability of attitudes – h/t andrew sabisky! who tweeted: “more heritable attitudes are more resistant to social pressure.”
What Are Relatives Good For? – “The battle over every aunt and uncle’s favorite evolutionary theory.”
Genetic Influences Are Virtually Absent for Trust – “Here we examine a population-based sample of 1,012 twins and relatives. We show that the genetic influence on generalized trust in other people (trust-in-others: h2 = 5%, ns), and beliefs regarding other people’s trust in the self (trust-in-self: h2 = 13%, ns), is virtually absent…. We show that, relative to cognitive abilities, psychiatric disorders, and classic personality variables, genetic influences are smaller for trust, and propose that experiences with or observations of the behavior of other people shape trust more strongly than other traits.” – h/t rene bekkers!
Psychopaths: how can you spot one? – “But is psychopathy a disorder – or a different way of being…? If someone’s brain lacks the moral niceties the rest of us take for granted, they obviously can’t do anything about that, any more than a colour-blind person can start seeing colour. So where does this leave the concept of moral responsibility? ‘The legal system traditionally asserts that all people standing in front of the judge’s bench are equal. That’s demonstrably false,’ says the neuroscientist David Eagleman, author of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain. He suggests that instead of thinking in terms of blameworthiness, the law should deal with the likelihood that someone will reoffend, and issue sentences accordingly, with rehabilitation for those likely to benefit and long sentences for those likely to be long-term dangers.” – h/t (heh! (~_^) ) heartiste!
IQ, Neuroticism, booze, and those damn vegetables again – from dr. james thompson.
Tweet of the Week – “‘[H]umans are very good at attributing causality when it does not exist. That has led to confusion between correlation and cause on an industrial scale, not least in attempts to work out the effects of diet on health.'” – @jayman’s.
Is there a gene for procrastination? – there’d better be or else i’m all outta excuses! (*^_^*) see also: Genetic Relations Among Procrastination, Impulsivity, and Goal-Management Ability – Implications for the Evolutionary Origin of Procrastination.
Biological evidence of positive and negative people in the world – “The ability to stay positive when times get tough — and, conversely, of being negative — may be hardwired in the brain, finds new research.”
Equal ≠ The Same: Sex Differences in the Human Brain – “At the root of the resistance to sex-influences research, especially regarding the human brain, is a deeply ingrained, implicit, false assumption that if men and women are equal, then men and women must be the same. This is false. The truth is that of course men and women are equal (all human beings are equal), but this does not mean that they are, on average, the same. 2 + 3 = 10 – 5, but these expressions are not the same. And, in fact, if two groups really are different on average in some respect, but they are being treated the same, then they are not being treated equally on average.”
Inbreeding is associated with lower 2D: 4D digit ratio. – in turkey. meanwhile, classic post from heartiste: Is Finger Length Ratio Evidence Of A Woman’s Fidelity?
diana fleischman speculates on that “perceived intelligence of faces” research that came out recently.
Thinking about a majority-minority shift leads to more conservative views – “Facing the prospect of racial minority groups becoming the overall majority in the United States leads White Americans to lean more toward the conservative end of the political spectrum, according to research. The findings suggest that increased diversity in the United States could actually lead to a wider partisan divide, with more White Americans expressing support for conservative policies.”
The ‘Love Hormone’ Can Make You Hate: Study – “A study from the Netherlands suggests that oxytocin might only make you love people in your in-group, and can contribute to conflict with outsiders.”
Bacteria Turn Plants and Insects into Zombies – “A parasitic phytoplasma deploys proteins to manipulate the plants it infects as well as the insects that spread the microbe.”
Zombie Snipers at the Doorstep – “Colony-living insects like ants have a kind of social immune system — they behave in ways that prevent infections from spreading through their nests. They clean each other and remove the corpses of their nestmates. Sick ants, which have been infected by killer fungi, are often shunned by their fellow workers, and sometimes leave the nest to die alone.” – h/t john durant!
Germs Rule the World – “The new germ theory: Infections play a role in many, many diseases—in ways we’re just beginning to understand.”
The Remarkable Self-Organization of Ants – “It turns out that ants perform these complex tasks by obeying a few simple rules…. The organization of insect societies is a marquee example of a complex decentralized system that arises from the interactions of many individuals.”
The World’s Murder Capitals – “[A] group of countries — all of them in either the Americas or Africa — accounting for just 11 percent of the global population are the location of 46 percent of the world’s homicides…. Men accounted for 95 percent of the perpetrators and 79 percent of the victims of homicide in 2012….”
Fearing Punishment for Bad Genes – “[M]any people are avoiding the [dna] tests because of a major omission in the 2008 federal law that bars employers and health insurers from seeking the results of genetic testing.” – h/t kevin mitchell!
bonus bonus: Fruit flies maneuver like tiny fighter jets
bonus bonus bonus: This 3000 Year Old Amulet Kind of Looks Like a Gummy Bear
bonus bonus bonus bonus: Measure Yourself by the Standard of the Capybara
bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: White wing supremacist: swan attacks foreign students – h/t ed west!
bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Mike Judge Skewers Silicon Valley With the Satire of Our Dreams – “The creator of Beavis and Butt-Head aims his snark cannon at the tech startup scene in his new HBO show, Silicon Valley.”
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