Monthly Archives: June 2014

Brain Wave

The standard view is that all human populations have the same average cognitive capabilities.  The world sure doesn’t look as if that’s the case, and that’s part of the reason that people insist that everyone do public obeisance to the … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 102 Comments

Kings of the Stone Age

The Y-chromosome haplogroup R1b is extremely common in Western Europe ( > 70%). At the same time, it doesn’t appear to be very old. Which facts suggest two possibilities.  The first is that this particular Y-chromosome haplogroup confers some kind … Continue reading

Posted in European Prehistory, Indo-European | 87 Comments

Publication Delays

Colin Renfrew (and others, like Peter Bellwood) have argued that the first farmers in Europe originated in Anatolia and spoke Indo-European languages, thus placing the Indo-European homeland in Anatolia. I think that recent genetic results pretty clearly show that this … Continue reading

Posted in European Prehistory, Indo-European | 27 Comments

Ashkenazi Ancestry

I’m looking at abstracts on Ashkenazi genetics from ASHG 2013 and SMBE 2014 – by the same group, with Shai Carmi as the lead author.  They did 128 whole genomes, 50x deep. They concluded Ashkenazi Jews were about 50% Middle … Continue reading

Posted in Ashkenazi Jews, Genetics | 94 Comments

More Than Human

When archaic hominids lived for a  long time in special environments, they naturally developed genetic adaptations to those environments, and since such adaptive alleles are easily transmitted, requiring only a smidgen of gene flow, it’s not surprising to see some … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 90 Comments

Diversity Galor

Quamrul Ashraf and Oded Galor argue that “the level of genetic diversity within a society is found to have a hump-shaped effect on development outcomes in both the pre-colonial and the modern era, reflecting the trade-off between the beneficial and … Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Genetics | 66 Comments

Talking to Economists

I gave a talk, back in April, at the University of Chicago.  We were trying to introduce some economists to genetics, which is relevant to some of the questions they work on.  Some already knew quite a bit – we … Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Genetics | 90 Comments

Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes

Years ago, working at Hughes Aerospace, I had a set of dealy-boppers, which I would don when talking on the phone to someone I thought an idiot but had to be polite to.  I would nod a lot as I … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 22 Comments

The First Dark Age

    A little over five thousand years ago, something bad happened in central and western Europe.  Farming had arrived earlier, and flourished for several hundred years, accompanied by population increase (see the graph above, showing estimated population density over … Continue reading

Posted in European Prehistory, Indo-European | 64 Comments

Call Him George

  One thing leads to another. I hear that Rasmus Nielsen (speaking at SMBE 2014) has evidence that Tibetans picked up some of their altitude adaptation (EPAS1) from Denisovans. Who could have imagined that?

Posted in Altitude adaptations, Denisovans, Genetics | 14 Comments