linkfest – 01/18/15

Ancient Jomon people not like present-day East Asians“‘We found a unique genetic position of the Jomon people who had diverged before the diversification of most of present-day East Eurasian populations including East Eurasian Islanders. This indicates that Jomon people were a basal population in East Eurasia and genetically isolated from other East Eurasians for long time.'” – h/t charles!

Uncovering the Genetic History of the Present-Day Greenlandic Population“[W]e analyzed ∼200,000 SNPs from more than 10% of the adult Greenlandic population (n = 4,674). We found that recent gene flow from Europe has had a substantial impact on the population: more than 80% of the Greenlanders have some European ancestry (on average ∼25% of their genome). However, we also found that the amount of recent European gene flow varies across Greenland and is far smaller in the more historically isolated areas in the north and east and in the small villages in the south. Furthermore, we found that there is substantial population structure in the Inuit genetic component of the Greenlanders and that individuals from the east, west, and north can be distinguished from each other. Moreover, the genetic differences in the Inuit ancestry are consistent with a single colonization wave of the island from north to west to south to east. Although it has been speculated that there has been historical admixture between the Norse Vikings who lived in Greenland for a limited period ∼600–1,000 years ago and the Inuit, we found no evidence supporting this hypothesis. Similarly, we found no evidence supporting a previously hypothesized admixture event between the Inuit in East Greenland and the Dorset people, who lived in Greenland before the Inuit.” – h/t razib!

Y chromosome super-fathers“Most of these lineages are so young that there are good chances that their founders were figures from history or mythology.” – from dienekes.

Bone Tool Discovered at Neanderthal Site in France“A bone tool from the Grotte du Bison at Arcy-sur-Cure in France is further evidence that Neanderthals had abilities usually attributed solely to modern humans….”

Early age of alcohol initiation is not the cause of alcohol use disorders in adulthood, but is a major indicator of genetic risk. A population-based twin study.“The association between early age of alcohol initiation and alcohol use disorders in later life does not reflect a causal relationship, but is due almost entirely to common genetic risk factors.”

α-Actinin-3: Why Gene Loss Is an Evolutionary Gain – h/t billare! who tweeted: “Positive selection for broken proteins: Derived ACTN3 mutation seems to help fast-twitch muscles fatigue less slowly.”

Do viruses make us smarter?“[R]etroviruses seem to play a central role in the basic functions of the brain, more specifically in the regulation of which genes are to be expressed, and when.”

Estimating the genotypic intelligence of populations and assessing the impact of socioeconomic factors and migrations – from davide piffer who tweeted: “New version of my paper with genetic distances. Migrations or drift less likely to explain results.” also, from the paper: “The results also provide preliminary evidence in favor of the hypothesis that poor environmental conditions (i.e. economic and sociocultural) tend to depress national IQ scores. Countries with lower per capita GDP and a lower index of Human Development tended to have larger positive ‘residuals’, that is the difference between the score predicted by the regression (of IQs for developed countries on the 4 SNPs g factor) and the actually measured IQ was larger in countries with lower GDP and HDI (r around 0.7). Thus, poorer and less developed countries have yet to reach their full intellectual potential. The results of this study indicate that the gaps in intellectual performance between some populations can be narrowed via adequate improvement of environmental conditions, however the overall pattern of intellectual scores is due to relatively stable and fixed (genetic) factors and cannot be substantially altered.” – see also terrific post from anatoly karlin on this paper!: Genetics, IQ, and Convergence.

Evidence of polygenic selection on human stature inferred from spatial distribution of allele frequencies – also from davide piffer.

Geographical Variation in Dementia: Examining the Role of Environmental Factors in Sweden and Scotland“We found a 2- to 3-fold geographical variation in dementia odds in Sweden, after twin random effects — likely to capture genetic and shared environmental variance — were removed. In Scotland, we found no variation in dementia odds in childhood but substantial variation, following a broadly similar pattern to Sweden, by adulthood. Conclusion: There is geographical variation in dementia rates.” – h/t erwin schmidt! – also Genetics and Underlying Pathology of Dementia.

Archaeogenomic insights into the adaptation of plants to the human environment: pushing plant–hominin co-evolution back to the Pliocene“The colonization of the human environment by plants, and the consequent evolution of domesticated forms is increasingly being viewed as a co-evolutionary plant–human process that occurred over a long time period, with evidence for the co-evolutionary relationship between plants and humans reaching ever deeper into the hominin past. This developing view is characterized by a change in emphasis on the drivers of evolution in the case of plants. Rather than individual species being passive recipients of artificial selection pressures and ultimately becoming domesticates, entire plant communities adapted to the human environment.” – h/t george perry!

Son of Edar“[S]omebody should look for characteristic racial differences in tears, sebaceous glands, Meobomian glands, and salivary glands. And possibly fingernails. They may well exist, be driven by this EDAR mutation, and some might play a role in its selective advantage.” – from greg cochran.

Quality vs Quantity“To the extent that human capital is a product of genetic factors (quite a lot), this tradeoff *does not exist*.” – also from greg cochran.

Lower mortality rates among Asian, Hispanic lupus patients“Asian and Hispanic patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) have lower mortality rates compared to Black, White, or Native Americans with the disease, scientists have found. Findings indicate that the risk for death among White patients is much lower than in Black and Native American SLE patients.”

Genetic errors linked to more ALS cases than scientists had thought – h/t jayman!

Is your face special?“Face recognition is highly heritable and weakly related to *g* so it probably has its own module, or a favoured set of circuits which only partly taps into the central processor power of general intelligence. So, not only is your face is special. but your specialised ability to recognise faces is even more special.” – from dr. james thompson.

Are flu shots effective? Your genetics determine how the immune system responds

Environment, more than genetics, shapes immune system“Everyone’s immune system is slightly different—a unique mixture of hundreds of these cells and proteins. But the main driver of this variation is unclear. Although scientists know that our immune system can adapt to our environment—that’s why vaccines work, for instance—it is also built by our genes…. After recruiting 210 identical and fraternal twins between 8 and 82 years old, Davis and colleagues took blood samples and measured more than 200 parameters of their immune systems. For example, they measured the numbers of 95 kinds of immune cells and 51 kinds of proteins. Today, the researchers report online in Cell that identical twins’ immune systems were too different for the variation to boil down to genetics. Indeed, environment overshadowed inheritance in three-quarters of the measurements, and half showed no measurable genetic influence. Moreover, younger twins were more similar than were older twins, evidence that as the twins aged and were exposed to different environments, their immune systems diverged over time.”

Levels of Selection Are Artefacts of Different Fitness Temporal Measures“I show by comparing the fitness of individuals with that of collectives of individuals in the same environment and over the same period of time – as required to decide if one or more levels of selection is acting in a population – that the selection of collectives is a by-product of selection at the individual level; thus, talking about two or more levels of selection represents merely a different perspective on one and the same process.”

Does incidental disgust amplify moral judgment? A meta-analytic review of experimental evidence [pdf] – “We meta-analyzed all available studies, published and unpublished, that experimentally manipulated incidental disgust prior to or concurrent with a moral judgment task (k=50). We found that there is evidence for a small amplification effect of disgust (d=.11), which is strongest for gustatory/olfactory modes of disgust induction. However, there is also some suggestion of publication bias in this literature, and when this is accounted for, the effect disappears entirely (d=-.01). Moreover, prevalent confounds mean that the effect size that we estimate is best interpreted as an upper bound on the size of the amplification effect. The results of this meta-analysis argue against strong claims about the causal role of affect in moral judgment and suggest a need for new, more rigorous research on this topic.” – h/t stuart ritchie!

The DNA photofit: Amazing breakthrough means police can tell suspect’s colour, height and even age – from a tiny speck of blood – daily mail.

The Coming Stability? The Decline of Warfare in Africa and Implications for International Security“The years 2010–2013 saw an increase of 35 per cent in African battle deaths over 2005–2010, but they still are 87 per cent lower than the 1990–1999 average…. Consequently, there is no Africa exception to the systemic shift towards lower levels of armed conflict.” – h/t mugwump!

The Scariest Explanation for America’s Vast Prison Population: We Want It That Way“[I]n federal prisons at least, Hispanics have overtaken blacks in the dubious distinction of being the most disproportionately imprisoned. Nor can we blame the war on drugs. The idea that vast numbers of Americans are in prison for smoking pot or snorting blow turns out to be a fantasy. About 20 percent of inmates are in for drug-related crimes, but those crimes are rarely limited to their own casual use. According to a 2004 estimate, only about 12,000 people were incarcerated for simple possession, without intent to traffic or distribute.”

Sorry, liberals, Scandinavian countries aren’t utopias“Finland, which tops the charts in many surveys (they’re the least corrupt people on Earth, its per-capita income is the highest in Western Europe and Helsinki often tops polls of the best cities), is also a leader in categories like alcoholism, murder (highest rate in Western Europe), suicide and antidepressant usage….” – [huh. even with all that tango dancing!] – “It turns out that the ‘warrior gene’ — actually the enzyme monoamine oxidase A, which is linked to impulsive behavior, violence and alcoholism — is especially prevalent in Finland. ‘Dark’ doesn’t just describe winter in the Arctic suburbs, it applies to the Finnish character.” – h/t ninja economics!

The relationship between anti-gay prejudice and the categorization of sexual orientation“[I]ndividuals reporting higher levels of anti-gay bias appear to be less accurate judges of sexual orientation.” but “Italians reporting greater anti-gay bias miscategorized fewer gay faces as straight.” – h/t ben southwood!

Legal Recognition of Same-Sex Couples and Family Formation“It has long been debated how legalizing same-sex marriage would affect (different-sex) family formation. In this article, I use data on OECD member countries for the period 1980–2009 to examine the effects of the legal recognition of same-sex couples (through marriage or an alternative institution) on different-sex marriage, divorce, and extramarital births. Estimates from difference-in-difference models indicate that the introduction of same-sex marriage or of alternative institutions has no negative effects on family formation…. In addition, the country-by-country case studies provide evidence of homogeneity of the estimated effects.”

Pair-Bonding, Romantic Love, and Evolution – The Curious Case of Homo sapiens“We conclude there is interdisciplinary support for the claim that romantic love and pair-bonding, along with alloparenting, played critical roles in the evolution of Homo sapiens.”

Sex ratio effects on reproductive strategies in humans – among the makushi people of guyana.

Antiquity of dairy farming in Ireland revealed“Research published today in the Journal of Environmental Archaeology shows that dairying on the island goes back approximately 6,000 years, revealed through traces of ancient dairy fats found in pots dating to around 4,000 to 2,500 BC.” – h/t frau katze!

The origin and evolution of maize in the American Southwest

A Breeder Apart: Farmers Say Goodbye to the Bull Who Sired 500,000 Offspring“Fans Commemorate ‘Toystory,’ a Dairy Legend With a Ravenous Libido” – the genghis khan of bulls! h/t mr. robert ford!

Items lost in the Stone Age are found in melting glaciers“Mittens, shoes, weapons, walking sticks – lost in the high mountains of Norway thousands of years ago – are now emerging from melting ice.”

bonus: ‘I can haz genomes’: cats claw their way into genetics“Canine dominance bows to tabby chic as cat sequencing takes off.”

bonus bonus: Some Microbes Can Eat And Breathe Electricity – whoa.

bonus bonus bonus: Britain’s oldest person Ethel Lang dies aged 114“Ethel Lang was believed to be the last person living in the UK who was born in the reign of Queen Victoria.” – h/t ed west!

bonus bonus bonus bonus: Two New Studies Posit At Least Two New Planets Out Beyond Pluto

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Whaleworld: Looking for cetacean culture – h/t steve stewart williams! who tweeted: “Millions of years before human culture appeared, there was culture in the ocean.” – cool!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Medieval Apps.

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Archaeologists find 132-year-old Winchester rifle leaning against Nevada desert tree

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Irn Bru release 57 Scottish tartan labels and clan finder website promotion (~_^)

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: “At some German crossings you can play a game of Pong with the person standing at the other side.” (^_^)

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: If birds in a truck fly, does the truck get lighter? – hey…don’t bogart that joint, new scientist!

bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Publish a Novel About Sherlock Holmes’s Brother Mycroft – danced a few dances with kareem! (^_^) (not a euphemism. for anything!)

(note: comments do not require an email. i can haz genomz?)

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linkfest: 05/19/14

a linkfest! remember those?! (~_^)

Mexican skeleton gives clue to American ancestry“Naia’s mitochondrial DNA reveals genetic signatures in common with modern Native Americans, despite her very different skull shape. ‘You can never exclude that Native Americans have more than one group of ancestors,’ says Chatters. But his team’s data, he points out, are consistent with the idea that Native Americans evolved from Siberian ancestors…. The new DNA results indicate that the very different skulls of modern Native Americans have evolved on North American soil.” – see also jennifer raff.

Ancient faeces reveal origins of Puerto Rican natives“DNA isolated from 1,600-year-old fossilized stools suggests migration from the Andes.”

An excess of X-chromosomal diversity in Africans“‘Results show that X/A diversity is similar within each continental group but notably lower in European (EUR) and East Asian (ASN) populations than in African (AFR) populations.'” – @dienekes’.

Religiosity is negatively associated with later-life intelligence, but not with age-related cognitive decline – from stuart ritchie et al. – “Religious belief was negatively associated with intelligence in old age. Neither religious belief nor attendance was related to cognitive decline.”

The relationship between Microcephalin, ASPM and intelligence: A reconsideration“At the population-level IQ and Microcephalin correlate significantly (.790 and .847). Microcephalin significantly predicts population differences in IQ. Microcephalin significantly predicts infectious disease burden. Vice versa in the case of Microcephalin. Microcephalin increased disease-resistance allowing access to new cognitive niches.” – from woodley et al. – h/t lars penke!

Problems with the theory of fluid and crystallized intelligence and What racial differences are wholly environmental? – from elijah.

Woodley leads with an abstract“‘The Victorians were Still Cleverer than us: Expanding the Dysgenic Nexus'” – @dr. james thompson’s blog.

Processing speed and ageing: Elliot Tucker-Drob – also @dr. james thompson’s blog.

Molecular genetic contributions to socioeconomic status and intelligence“21% of the variation in education, 18% of the variation in socioeconomic status, and 29% of the variation in general cognitive ability was explained by variation in common SNPs (SEs ~ 5%). The SNP-based genetic correlations of education and socioeconomic status with general intelligence were 0.95 (SE 0.13) and 0.26 (0.16), respectively. There are genetic contributions to intelligence and education with near-complete overlap between common additive SNP effects on these traits (genetic correlation ~ 1). Genetic influences on socioeconomic status are also associated with the genetic foundations of intelligence. The results are also compatible with substantial environmental contributions to socioeconomic status.”

Longevity Gene May Enhance Cognition“Mice with the KLOTHO gene variant lived longer and were smarter.”

Short men are likely to live longer because they carry the ‘longevity gene’, scientists reveal – short japanese men… “The so-called ‘longevity gene’ FOXO3 has been proven to enhance lifespan in animal tests but has never before been linked to variations in height in humans. A new scientific study, the largest of its kind and involving more than 8,000 aging American-Japanese men in Hawaii, conclusively showed a direct connection between short height and long life. FOXO3, they found, leads to smaller body size during early development and a longer lifespan overall. Short men were also more likely to have lower blood insulin levels and less likely to get cancer.” – h/t eddy elmer!

“Squid Ink” and Heritability, Changeability, and Cultural Shifts – A Quickie – from jayman.

Why the Japanese Think Westerners Smell Bad (Well, One Reason)“These results show a very strong association between someone with the ancestral allele which results in wet earwax, and strong body odor.” – from razib.

The Most Feminine Country in the World – feel sorry for staffan!

The Creativity of Civilisations“A part of the variation in ‘civilisational accomplishments’ is certainly due to the different regional evolution of ability. Nonetheless, *holding ability constant*, it looks like scale effects also account for a big part of the variation.” – from pseudoerasmus.

Cooperation in Ethnically Diverse Neighborhoods: A Lost-Letter Experiment“We find strong support for the negative effect of ethnic diversity on cooperation. We find no evidence, however, of in-group favoritism.” – h/t rene bekkers!

Amorality of selected countries“What Jonathan Haidt terms ‘WEIRD’ societies (read the modern West) tend to the least judgmental, followed by East Asia and the more European nations of Latin America, with sub-Saharan African and Muslim countries the most morally righteous (!). Descartes wept.” – from the awesome epigone.

The coerced consensus“What is going on in academia when demonising and silencing your opponents has become so acceptable? It’s not just climate change. The nature-nurture debate is also policed by zealots, although less so than in the 1970s when any mention of genes and behaviour led to accusations of fascism…. Truly, the old joke is becoming ever more true: what’s the opposite of diversity? University.” – from matt ridley.

Stanford scholar shows Koreans and Americans tackle moral dilemmas using different brain regions – very small sample size, but… “Korean participants showed greater activity in brain regions associated with intuition, approximation and emotions: the putamen, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the postcentral sulcus. Han posits that Korean participants consciously controlled their initial emotional reactions (such as disgust) to reach a decision that protected the largest number of people. In contrast, Americans took longer to ponder dilemmas that involved physically harming particular people. They also relied on brain regions associated with conflict management and, to a lesser degree, novelty: the anterior cingulate cortex and the frontopolar cortex. Han hypothesizes that Americans are exposed to socio-personal conflict more often than Koreans, whose society values social harmony over the expression of individual desires.”

bonus: Exclusive: Found after 500 years, the wreck of Christopher Columbus’s flagship the Santa Maria – h/t charles mann!

bonus bonus: Orangutans Share Their Future Plans with Others“The apes can draft a plan and communicate it with their troop.” – ruh roh.

bonus bonus bonus: Whales Can’t Taste Anything But Salt – presumably they take salt on their popcorn! (~_^)

bonus bonus bonus bonus: ‘Biggest dinosaur ever’ discovered

(note: comments do not require an email. orangutan forward planning! (~_^))

linkfest – 11/06/11

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”

(note: comments do not require an email. groucho cat.)

linkfest – 08/07/11

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.”

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