Open Thread, 01/20/2019

Peter Turchin recommended The First Farmers of Europe: An Evolutionary Perspective. It’s dry. But good. It is also one of those academic books where the cost of the Kindle version is $50 less than the hardcover version.

Two for Tea is a good podcast. One the most recent one they interviewed two anthropologists, both known to me. It was a nerdy but informative conversation and convinced me to not take up Sex at Dawn (it’s in my stack).

We’ve got 9 episodes now on the Brown Pundits podcast, the BrownCast. The latest is on Sanskrit. The current plan is to range over a lot of topics. If you have ideas, shoot them my way.

People have been asking about my other podcast, The Insight. It will be back soon!

The transferability of lipid-associated loci across African, Asian and European cohorts.

Genetic Nature or Genetic Nurture? Quantifying Bias in Analyses Using Polygenic Scores.

Nathan Glazer, Urban Sociologist and Outspoken Intellectual, Dies at 95. I read Ethnicity about 20 years ago. Glazer was a giant.

Tiny animal carcasses found in buried Antarctic lake.

The last two episodes of Tides of History on the War of the Roses have been some of the best. I really recommend them.

Justin Murphy is leaving academia. Murphy is way too much of an oddball to ever fit in. Probably for the best.

Genes lost during the transition from land to water in cetaceans highlight genomic changes involved in aquatic adaptations.

Estimating recent migration and population-size surfaces.

Approximate Bayesian computation with deep learning supports a third archaic introgression in Asia and Oceania.

Killer whale genomes reveal a complex history of recurrent admixture and vicariance.

Macroevolution of dimensionless life history metrics in tetrapods.

Sacklers Directed Efforts to Mislead Public About OxyContin, New Documents Indicate.

A Classic Genetic Model of Sexual Selection.

6 thoughts on “Open Thread, 01/20/2019

  1. didn’t know you got your own wikipedia page. nice!

    finally read Picketty’s “Capital…” Fantastic book, must be one of the best Econ books ever. Greenspan’s new book is next for me. When you combine the lessons of Picketty and “The Rise and Fall of American Growth” it’s actually really depressing to me. Extreme inequality is probably going to be the norm going forward unless we get smart about it.
    Also read “Operation paperclip” about how we hired nazis after WW2. it was so brutal i bet most people wouldn’t even finish it – i think the descriptions of nazi experiments gave me PTSD:)

  2. “Estimating recent migration and population-size surfaces”.

    !Ay, Chihuahua!

    Not your way, nor shall the path of your fathers unknown be, that all is been made plain by Dataeternal, the eye that blinketh not, the mind that ceaseth not, swiftly sift they the wheat and the chaff, the deserving and the unforgiven tost together to the growling wind of time; for ever moving is the hand of the Lab.

  3. I don’t know where to ask this – does anyone knows what’s up with Y haplogroup assignments in ancient DNA studies recently?

    In the latest Iberian aDNA paper (Gonzales-Fortes et al) a Bronze Age Andalusian (COV20126) was assigned to G2a2b, but two different non-professionals looking at the BAM files thought he had I2a2a. Narasimhan et al had a bunch of unexpected haplogroup assignments, and when they released the actual SNP calls they did not seem to jibe with haplogroup assignments (one had over 50 negative upstream SNPs). Other spreadsheets of ancient sample data also have in some cases new haplogroup assignments that contradict the original ones (for instance MA-1 as R1b1a2 rather than pre-R).

    This has been going on for a while. Is there something about the ancient DNA reads which is leading non-specialists to get erroneous results? Have ancient Y haplogroups been radically revised but no one has bothered to publish it? Bueller? Bueller?

  4. https://phys.org/news/2019-01-neanderthal-spears-distance.html – apparently the dichotomy of “AMH throwing spears; Neanderthal close up stabbing spears” (leading to lightly built AMH “archers” and more heavily built ‘thal “infantry”) as inevitably leading to sharply different hunting methods with different consequences for skeletal gracility now doesn’t hold up, explored experimentally.

    “The weight of the Schöningen (Neanderthal) spears previously led scientists to believe that they would struggle to travel at significant speed. However, the study shows that the balance of weight and the speed at which the athletes could throw them produces enough kinetic energy to hit and kill a target.”

    Of course, this doesn’t prove that Neanderthals used the spears this way (just because a thing *could* be proved by experimental archaeology to have been done doesn’t mean it was), but weakens the evidence that there’s just no other way Neanderthals could hunt due to their technology.

    Nice complement to late last year’s study – https://www.history.com/news/neanderthal-violence-discovery – showing lack of evidence for more violent injury in Neanderthals compared to AMH. Though that evidence has to be set against their somewhat greater robusticity.

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