History

Gene Expression

Tag archives for History

Rice, alcohol and genes

Changes in human diet driven by cultural evolution seem to be at the root of many relatively recently emerged patterns of genetic variation. In particular, lactase persistence and varied production of amylase are two well known cases. Both of these new evolutionary genetic developments are responses to the shift toward carbohydrates over the last 10,000…

Eurasian books

At my other weblog, two reviews of books on Eurasia. First, Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present. Second, China’s Cosmopolitan Empire: The Tang Dynasty.

How inevitable was modern human civilization – data: To me it looks like life, animals with nervous systems, Upper Paleolithic-style Homo, language, and behavioral modernity were all extremely unlikely events (notice how far ago they are – vaguely ~3.5bln, ~600mln, ~3mln, ~200k or ~600k, ~50k years ago) – except perhaps language and behavioral modernity might…

In the early 20th century the geographer Halford Mackinder posited that the key to world domination lay in the control of the Eurasian Heartland. This was in sharp contrast to Alfred Mahan’s emphasis on the role of naval power. Whatever the applicability of these geopolitical frameworks in the modern era, it is interesting to observe…

That seems the finding of this paper, Familial Aggregation of Survival and Late Female Reproduction: Women giving birth at advanced reproductive ages in natural fertility conditions have been shown to have superior postmenopausal longevity. It is unknown whether improved survival is more likely among relatives of late-fertile women. This study compares survival past age 50…

The Hapsburgs are one of those royal families who are relatively well known, and in the minds of the public are to a great extent the emblems of the downsides of inbreeding. To painting to the left is of Charles II, king of Spain, the last of the Spanish Hapsburgs, and an imbecile whose premature…