Monthly Archives: January 2013

Endocardial fibroelastosis

Endocardial Fibroelastosis (EFE) is a heart disorder of young children. It’s characterized by a thickening of the inmost lining of the heart chambers, usually occurring in children under 2. Back in the day, a few decades ago, it was halfway … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

By-blows, paternal age, and all that.

Once upon a time, people often said that ~10% of children had a biological father other than their nominal father, usually called false paternity or nonpaternity. This notion was particularly common in sociobiological circles. There were others who thought the … Continue reading

Posted in Genetics | 72 Comments

What’s the catch?

if someone were to try to create a Neanderthal a few years from now, starting with ancient DNA, they’d have to have worry a lot about data errors, because such errors would translate into mutations, which might be harmful or … Continue reading

Posted in Genetics, Neanderthals | 59 Comments

Nasty, brutish, but not that short

Average life span is pretty short for contemporary foragers (30-35 years). For that matter, it was short for agricultural peoples until fairly recently. Most people probably don’t know this. Most of the people who do know fundamentally misunderstand it. Today … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 35 Comments

Dirty Old Men

An interesting PLOS ONE paper from a few years back has been brought to my attention Why Men Matter: Mating Patterns Drive Evolution of Human Lifespan, by Shripad D. Tuljapurkar, Cedric O. Puleston, and Michael D. Gurven. They begin with … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 25 Comments

A Three-Hour Tour

New genetic analysis indicates that Australian Aboriginals, at least those in the northern part of Australia, picked up about 11% of their ancestry from India, relatively recently – about 140 generations ago. 4000-5000 years, depending on generation length. Lots of … Continue reading

Posted in Australian Aboriginals | 59 Comments

Homosexuality, epigenetics, and zebras

The recent article in the Quarterly Review of Biology has some good points. It does not argue that homosexuality is adaptive, which would be silly. It does not argue for Lamarckian epigenetics, which would also be silly. I should also … Continue reading

Posted in Homosexuality | 154 Comments

Group Selection (and homosexuality)

You can imagine situations in which natural selection would favor an increase in frequency for a trait that aided group survival while hurting individual reproductive success – but it’s not all that easy. Here’s the problem: imagine a situation in … Continue reading

Posted in Homosexuality | 113 Comments

Paternal Age and Homosexuality

There’s something interesting about the paternal age effect in homosexuality – apparently there isn’t one. It certainly exists for autism, schizophrenia, manic-depression, and mental retardation, which suggests that de novo mutations play an important role in all of them. But … Continue reading

Posted in Homosexuality | 117 Comments

War Before Civilization

When you think of war, you usually think of organized states, or at minimum peoples with moderately sophisticated modes of production, agriculturalists or pastoralists. But hunter-gatherers manage as well. Not just war, but decisive war, the kind that that obliterates … Continue reading

Posted in European Prehistory | 20 Comments