Anthroplogy

Gene Expression

Category archives for Anthroplogy

The evolution of morals

I have a short piece up at Comment is Free at The Guardian, The origins of morality do not matter. Its flavor is a bit different from my typical blog posts because the format enforces more brevity, so I decided to try and leverage some analogies. I conclude: … Our moral consensus is a river…

Twins in Kerala

The strange case of the twins of Kodinji: The latest survey, from December 2009, counted 265 pairs of twins in the village, which is home to about 3,000 families and 13,000 inhabitants. This equates to a twinning rate of about 30 to 35 per 1,000 live births within a radius of about 500 metres. The…

The great productivity transient

This comment from Chris is interesting: I would speculate that the the massive productivity gains were due to a massive resorting of American society along cognitive lines; from 1940 to 1970 a large number of high ability people who were previously locked into agriculture and industry were able to sort themselves into more innovative positions.…

Walking & racing to modernity

Two quantitative facts of note from When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order: From page 33: Although the passage to modernity universally involves the transition from an agrarian to service-based society via an industrial one, here we find another instance of European exceptionalism.…

Over the history of this weblog I have blogged about pigmentation a fair amount. The major reason is that that’s where the money is; unlike height, let alone intelligence, the genetic architecture and evolutionary history of pigmentation has been elucidated with relative clarity. That is, we know roughly the number and nature of the genes…

Of Polar Bears & People

I have pointed to the fact that mtDNA genetics has suggested that the polar bear is actually a derived lineage of brown bears. And, more specifically, that some extant lineages of brown bears share a more recent common ancestor with polar bears than other brown bears. In other words, brown bears are paraphyletic. Apparently there…

Culture vs. genes; peoples & places

Lost of discussion about Basques below. Some interesting examples which are less speculative. Hungary = Language changes, genes do not The intrusion of ethnic Magyars, and later the settlement of Kipchak Turks fleeing the Mongols, within Hungary is historically attested. Additionally, down to the Reformation there were isolated settlements of Turks among the Magyars which…

The language families of Europe fall into a few broad categories. There are the Indo-European languages, which include the Romance, Germanic, Slavic and Celtic subgroups, along with Greek and Albanian. The Iranian languages and most of the languages of India are also Indo-European. Then there are the languages of Finland and Hungary, which are hypothesized…

The Others could travel by sea

One of the great things about science is that old orthodoxies regularly get overturned; it’s not a bug, it’s a feature. Of course the personal downside is that it means models which scholars have invested their lives and intellectual capital into may turn out to be unsupportable, but at the end of the day it’s…

More oxytocin = more social skills?

Ed Yong reviews a new paper: The social interactions that come naturally to most people are difficult for people with autism and Asperger syndrome. Simple matters like making eye contact, reading expressions and working out what someone else is thinking can be big challenges, even for “high-functioning” and intelligent individuals. Now, a preliminary study of…