The latest stop in the #PDEx tour is being hosted by Scientific American:Throughout history, from the fictional Medea to the tragic reports of modern times, women have taken the lives of their children under a variety of contexts, whether it is to punish the father, escape from the burden of motherhood, or even to protect a child from what they perceive as a fate worse than death. In this regard humans share yet another feature, albeit a tragic one, with nonhuman animals since females in a varie........ Read more »
Maestripieri, D. (2010) Emotions, stress, and maternal motivation in primates. American Journal of Primatology. DOI: 10.1002/ajp.20882
A bloody handkerchief stored in an ornately decorated gourd seems like a gruesome keepsake, but that is exactly what scientists are using to obtain the presumptive genetic profile of King Louis XVI of France. “Who would want such an odd souvenir?” you might ask. Well, apparently a bloody handkerchief was a perfectly acceptable memento from [...]... Read more »
Carles Lalueza-Fox, Elena Gigli, Carla Bini, Francesc Calafell, Donata Luiselli, Susi Pelotti, Davide Pettener. (2010) Genetic analysis of the presumptive blood from Louis XVI, king of France. Forensic Science International: Genetics. info:/doi:10.1016/j.fsigen.2010.09.007
Huli Wigman from the Southern Highlands, Painting of Tahitian Women on the Beach by Paul Gauguin
Many demographic models utilized in genetics are rather simple. Yet the expansion and retreat of various demes in post-Ice Age Europe seems to be far more complex than had previously been assumed, though I suspect part of the rationale for [...]... Read more »
Wollstein A, Lao O, Becker C, Brauer S, Trent RJ, Nürnberg P, Stoneking M, & Kayser M. (2010) Demographic History of Oceania Inferred from Genome-wide Data. Current biology : CB. PMID: 21074440
We've all heard about autistic "savants" with amazing mathematical, memory or artistic abilities. But could autism give you the power to kill 1,000 men armed only with a donkey bone?Samson was the original Chuck Norris. Granted mighty strength by God so long as he didn't cut his hair or shave, Samson's first act of heroism was ripping a lion to shreds with his bear hands. Then he moved onto people. According to the Book of Judges:"And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, wi........ Read more »
Mathew SK, & Pandian JD. (2010) Newer insights to the neurological diseases among biblical characters of old testament. Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology, 13(3), 164-166. PMID: 21085524
Well, I feel somewhat vindicated. Remember the post where I criticized hominin cut marks from over 3 million years ago? Others have also had an eye of suspicion and have published their concerns in PNAS this week. I was wrong in considering the croc marking differential to the cut marks. But I was not wrong [...]... Read more »
Domínguez-Rodrigo M, Pickering TR, & Bunn HT. (2010) Configurational approach to identifying the earliest hominin butchers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. PMID: 21078985
I just discovered a remarkable case report from 1986 about a Swedish girl who developed all of the major symptoms of autism at the age of 14, following a severe brain infection.Autism generally becomes noticeable in early childhood. There are plenty of cases in which autistic people don't get diagnosed until much later in life, but the symptoms invariably turn out to go back a long way. Older children, teenagers and adults don't just go autistic overnight. Except in this case, if you believe it......... Read more »
Gillberg, C. (1986) Brief report: Onset at age 14 of a typical autistic syndrome. A case report of a girl with herpes simplex encephalitis. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 16(3), 369-375. DOI: 10.1007/BF01531665
That is the question, and tentatively answered in the affirmative according to a new paper in The American Journal of Physical Anthropology. A new subclade of mtDNA haplogroup C1 found in icelanders: Evidence of pre-columbian contact?:
Although most mtDNA lineages observed in contemporary Icelanders can be traced to neighboring populations in the British Isles and Scandinavia, [...]... Read more »
Ebenesersdóttir SS, Sigurðsson A, Sánchez-Quinto F, Lalueza-Fox C, Stefánsson K, & Helgason A. (2010) A new subclade of mtDNA haplogroup C1 found in icelanders: Evidence of pre-columbian contact?. American journal of physical anthropology. PMID: 21069749
I’ll never forget the day S brought home a live chicken. When we lived in Queens, there were a number of fresh poultry and livestock suppliers that catered to the growing West Indian community, but there were definitely a few backyard farmers in the neighborhood. S was at a gas station when he heard a cheeping noise. He knelt down to investigate and when he straightened up, found a chick sitting on the mat in the car. “What was I supposed to do?” he asked showing me the chick. “It jumpe........ Read more »
The number 1 gets a lot more press than -1, and the concept of heterozygosity gets more attention than homozygosity. Concretely the difference between the latter two is rather straightforward. In diploid organisms the genes come in duplicates. If the alleles are the same, then they’re homozygous. If they’re different, then they’re heterozygous. Sex chromosomes [...]... Read more »
Mirna Kirin, Ruth McQuillan, Christopher S. Franklin, Harry Campbell, Paul M. McKeigue, & James F. Wilson. (2010) Genomic Runs of Homozygosity Record Population History and Consanguinity. PLoS ONE. info:/10.1371/journal.pone.0013996
During the long wind-up to this autumn’s congressional elections, hardly a week went by without a gaffe by Delaware tea partier and Sarah Palin-wannabe Christine O’Donnell. The sharp-tongued political commentator Bill Maher seemed to have an entire stockpile of embarrassing clips from when O’Donnell – then president of the conservative advocacy group the Savior’s Alliance [...]... Read more »
Zalmout, I., Sanders, W., MacLatchy, L., Gunnell, G., Al-Mufarreh, Y., Ali, M., Nasser, A., Al-Masari, A., Al-Sobhi, S., Nadhra, A.... (2010) New Oligocene primate from Saudi Arabia and the divergence of apes and Old World monkeys. Nature, 466(7304), 360-364. DOI: 10.1038/nature09094
This post looks at the behavioral endocrinology of the human male.... Read more »
Levi, Maurice, Li, Kai, & Zhang, Feng. (2010) Deal or no deal: hormones and the mergers and acquisitions game. Management Science, 56(9), 1462-1483. info:/
Is hindsight really 20/20? When we look at the past, we tend to imagine things as we wish they were, and not recall things as they actually were—nostalgia can be problematic. Romanticism of the past has given rise to ideas like the “Ruined Landscape” or “Lost Eden theory” which create pristine images of the past and argue that human activity is largely to blame for the overall degradation of landscapes. There is no denying that humans have had a lasting impact on the environment, howev........ Read more »
Blondel, J. (2006) The ‘Design’ of Mediterranean Landscapes: A Millennial Story of Humans and Ecological Systems during the Historic Period. Human Ecology, 34(5), 713-729. DOI: 10.1007/s10745-006-9030-4
In 1527 an expedition led by the Spanish nobleman Pánfilo de Narváez left Spain with the intention of conquering and colonizing Florida. Accompanying the expedition as treasurer was Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, who ended up being one of a handful of survivors of the disastrous expedition. Cabeza de Vaca later wrote an account of [...]... Read more »
Epstein, J. (1991) Cabeza de Vaca and the Sixteenth-Century Copper Trade in Northern Mexico. American Antiquity, 56(3), 474. DOI: 10.2307/280896
I polled my Twitter followers recently to find out what they wanted me to cover, and heard back a resounding "CONTRACEPTIVES!" So first I am going to re-post a series I wrote on my lab blog in July of 2009, with significant editing and updating. I think after these reposts I'll have a better idea of where it would make sense for me to contribute more, if at all. This is post two of five. Part one can be found here.What is a normal menstrual cycle? Are you normal? Am I? Women spend a lot of time ........ Read more »
Eaton SB, Pike MC, Short RV, Lee NC, Trussell J, Hatcher RA, Wood JW, Worthman CM, Blurton-Jones NG, Konner MJ.... (1994) Women's reproductive cancers in evolutionary context. Quarterley Review of Biology, 69(3), 353-367.
Eaton, S.B., Strassmann, B.I., Nesse, R.M., Neel, J.V., Ewald, P.W., Williams, G.C., Weder, A.B., Eaton III, S.B., Lindeberg, S., Konner, M.J.... (2002) Evolutionary health promotion. Preventive Medicine, 109-118.
Strassmann, BI. (1997) The biology of menstruation in Homo sapiens: Total lifetime menses, fecundity, and nonsynchrony in a natural-fertility population. Current Anthropology, 38(1), 123-129. DOI: A1997WD24700015
When it comes to the synthesis of genetics and history we live an age of no definitive answers. L. L. Cavalli-Sforza’s Great Human Diasporas would come in for a major rewrite at this point. One of the areas which has been roiled the most within the past ten years has been the origin and propagation [...]... Read more »
Wolfgang Haak, Oleg Balanovsky, Juan J. Sanchez, Sergey Koshel, Valery Zaporozhchenko, Christina J. Adler, Clio S. I. Der Sarkissian, Guido Brandt, Carolin Schwarz, Nicole Nicklisch.... (2010) Ancient DNA from European Early Neolithic Farmers Reveals Their Near Eastern Affinities. PLoS Biology. info:/10.1371/journal.pbio.1000536
A group of Italian psychiatrists claim to explain How Neuroscience and Behavioral Genetics Improve Psychiatric Assessment: Report on a Violent Murder Case.The paper presents the horrific case of a 24 year old woman from Switzerland who smothered her newborn son to death immediately after giving birth in her boyfriend's apartment. After her arrest, she claimed to have no memory of the event. She had a history of multiple drug abuse, including heroin, from the age of 13. Forensic psychiatrists wer........ Read more »
Rigoni D, Pellegrini S, Mariotti V, Cozza A, Mechelli A, Ferrara SD, Pietrini P, & Sartori G. (2010) How neuroscience and behavioral genetics improve psychiatric assessment: report on a violent murder case. Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience, 160. PMID: 21031162
How does one become a fan? Choose an allegiance? Decide that you’re going to wear bright green, or purple and gold, or paint your face orange and black? In many cases, these allegiances are decided for us—handed down via familial loyalties or decided by geographic boundaries. I raised this question on Twitter a few weeks ago, and the results all indicated that team alliance is linked to one’s point-of-entry into fandom: if you begin watching Team A and learning about the sport via Team A,........ Read more »
Miller, Michael. (1997) American Football: The Rationalization of the Irrational. International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, 11(1), 101-127. info:/
My wife, along with her many other jobs – paid and unpaid – is the local director of a campus exchange program that brings US students to Wollongong, New South Wales. Because of her background in outdoor education and adventure therapy, she does a great job taking visiting Yanks on weekend activities that get the students to see a side of life in Australia that they might not otherwise see. From Mystery Bay on the South Coast, to Mount Guluga with an Aboriginal guide, to abseiling (rapel........ Read more »
Navara, K., & Nelson, R. (2007) The dark side of light at night: physiological, epidemiological, and ecological consequences. Journal of Pineal Research, 43(3), 215-224. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-079X.2007.00473.x
Philip Piper et al reported the discovery of the presence of Panthera tigris in the island of Palawan, Philippines. The team of archaeologists who were excavating Ille Cave near El Nido, found the tiger bones in a “large human-derived animal bone assemblage dating to at least the early 11th millennium BP that included the remains [...]... Read more »
Piper, P., Ochoa, J., Lewis, H., Paz, V., & Ronquillo, W. (2008) The first evidence for the past presence of the tiger Panthera tigris (L.) on the island of Palawan, Philippines: Extinction in an island population. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 264(1-2), 123-127. DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2008.04.003
Cookie Monster © Sesame Street
It’s not quite news that Cookie Monster no longer eats cookies. Well, he eats ONE cookie. After he fills up on vegetables! Vegetables!! Understandably, the public was outraged, and in response, Cookie felt the need to clarify: He still eats cookies—for dessert—but he likes fruit and vegetables too. Cookie Monster needed to reassert his identity, so he did what anyone would do: He interviewed with Matt Lauer.* The message was plain:He’s a Cookie Monster a........ Read more »
Mcfarland, D., & Pals, H. (2005) Motives and Contexts of Identity Change: A Case for Network Effects. Social Psychology Quarterly, 68(4), 289-315. DOI: 10.1177/019027250506800401
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