Monthly Archives: November 2014

Bake Sale

You can now make tax-deductible contributions to the blog, and you really should.  Here are two ways: 1.  Mail a check, made out to West Hunter Incorporated.  Send it to Gregory Cochran 6708 Loftus Ave, NE Albuquerque, New Mexico 87109 … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 55 Comments

Faster than Fisher

There’s a simple model of the spread of an advantageous allele:  You take σ, the typical  distance people move in one generation, and s,  the selective advantage: the advantageous allele spreads as a nonlinear wave at speed  σ * √(2s).  … Continue reading

Posted in Denisovans, Dietary adaptations, European Prehistory, Evolutionary Medicine, Genetics, Indo-European, Linguistics, Neanderthals, Skin color | Tagged | 77 Comments

The Greatest Generation

When you compare our trifling selves with the generation that landed in Normandy, invented the atomic bomb, and wrote The Big Sleep, it doesn’t look good. You could easily get the impression that the United States went straight from a … Continue reading

Posted in Genetics | 109 Comments

The Germ of Laziness

That happens to be the title of a pretty interesting book about hookworm in the US.  The book was fine, but the story is better. Hookworms are parasitic nematodes that take up residence in the small intestine and drink your … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 78 Comments

Déjà Vu all over again: America and Europe

In terms of social organization and technology, it seems to me that Mesolithic Europeans (around 10,000 years ago) were like archaic Amerindians before agriculture.  Many Amerindians on the west coast were still like that when Europeans arrived – foragers with … Continue reading

Posted in Amerindians, European Prehistory, Indo-European | 102 Comments

The Evil Dead

Someone asked me to go over a chapter he wrote, about the impact of certain customs on human health. One of them was the health advantages of quick burial: the problem is, usually there aren’t any.   People seem to think … Continue reading

Posted in Evolutionary Medicine | Tagged | 70 Comments


There is a new paper out in Science that analyzes the genome of a man (K14) that lived and died about 37,000 years ago, in Russia. They found that this individual came from a population that had shared ancestry with … Continue reading

Posted in Amerindians, European Prehistory, Indo-European | Tagged | 69 Comments


The Comanche used to raid into Mexico. In the fall, small groups joined up and rode south on a network of trails, called the Comanche Trace. Some came from as far away as the Arkansas River. In places, there was … Continue reading

Posted in Amerindians, European Prehistory, Indo-European | Tagged | 105 Comments

The Inexorable Progress of Science: Archaeology

In 1939, archeologists and prehistorians seem to have thought that agriculture was brought to Europe by a gracile Mediterranean people, and was in large part spread by their expansion.  They thought that the Corded Ware culture was Indo-European and probably … Continue reading

Posted in European Prehistory, Indo-European, Linguistics | Tagged | 128 Comments