Monthly Archives: August 2017

Something changed

Jared Diamond notes (p 161) that the wild ancestors of domesticated animals are spread unevenly – only two are in South America, while none come from North America, sub-Saharan Africa, or Australia. He then argues that only a few special … Continue reading

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mtDNA capers

There’s an interesting pattern in the mtDNA of archaic humans. Neanderthals have mtDNA that’s a lot closer to that of anatomically modern humans than to Denisovans, although Neanderthals and Denisovans are close if you look at nuclear DNA. While really … Continue reading

Posted in Archaic humans, Denisovans, Genetics, Neanderthals | 6 Comments


Jared Diamond notices that early development of complex civilizations had ongoing consequences: peoples that developed such things way later or not at all continue to do poorly today, even if they encountered Western technology and technologists several hundred years ago. … Continue reading

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Norse trace

Jennifer Raff has an article in the Guardian, discussing why there’s no genetic sign of black African ancestry ( from Roman times) in contemporary British DNA. Well, the simple explanation is very few such people ever came to Britain. She … Continue reading

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PNG Über Alles

One of the more interesting points in Guns, Germs, and Steel is Diamond’s claim that people in Papua New Guinea (PNG) “are probably genetically superior to Westerners”: p21. More quotes: “Natural selection for intelligence has probably been far more ruthless … Continue reading

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Genetic evidence for self-domestication in humans

There’s an interesting recent paper on the genetic basis of the changes we see in domestication – and the extent to which humans exhibit similar genetic changes. domesticated species end to have depigmentation, floppy ears, shorter muzzles, curly tails, smaller … Continue reading

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I wonder if there are neural crest changes in modern humans. Perhaps in all of them, or maybe in just some ( not in Nicholas van Rijn ).

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