Category Archives: human evolution

In an article on race and medicine, New York Times does its best to ignore and denigrate race

Furthering my claim that the New York Times is becoming more regressive in its Leftism, we have a long article in the science section on race and medicine. The thing is, the author of the piece does his very best to pretend that there’s no such thing as “race”, even while investigating—and buttressing, to some […]

Svante Pääbo on human evolution – a must-watch lecture

by Matthew Cobb Last week (20-22 November) there was a paleogenomics jamboree at the Wellcome Genome Campus in Cambridge (the real one, in the UK).  At the meeting, entitled “Human Evolution: Fossils, Ancient and Modern Genomes”, the great and the good of the ancient DNA and human evolution worlds got together to discuss the latest […]

A lovely graph that tells our story

by Matthew Cobb I came across this beautiful graph in an article in the journal Cell this week. It shows declining levels of genetic variability among 51 populations of humans across the planet, plotted against the distance of each population from East Africa: The data in the figure are from a 2008 paper in Science […]

More on biology and race

by Greg Mayer Jerry posted yesterday on an article at Quillette by Bo Winegard, Ben Winegard and Brian Boutwell on biology and race, commending it for its sensibleness. I thought I’d chime in with my own thoughts. Jerry’s a population geneticist and I’m a herpetologist, but our views turn out to be quite similar. So, […]

A sensible article on human “race”

As a biologist, it irks me when ideologues distort biology in the service of politics. My view, which I absorbed from Steven Pinker, is that we should be able to accept scientific facts without perforce turning those facts into government policy.  After all, since morality is subjective and not objective, facts can never by themselves […]

Researcher: Human sense of smell better than everyone thinks; may rival that of dogs!

John P. McGann of the Department of Psychology at Rutgers University has spent fourteen years looking at the olfactory (smelling) system of mammals, and has published a new paper in Science suggesting that what we think we know about our own sniffing ability, compared to the reputed Super Sniffers of dogs and rodents, is wrong. McGann suggests, […]

Readers’ wildlife photos

I have a comfortable backlog of photos, but please keep them coming in—I can never have too many. Today we have an unusual contribution documenting ancient human activity in Africa. The photos come from Richard Bond, and his notes are indented: I have wavered for a couple of years over whether these photographs would interest you, […]

Nature paper suggests humans inhabited North America 130,000 years ago

by Greg Mayer As Jerry noted yesterday, in a new paper in Nature, Steven R. Holen and colleagues report finding the remains of a butchered 130,000 year old mastodon in San Diego. (If you haven’t already done so, do go take a look at Jerry’s post, which includes a video press release, and illustrations from […]

Breaking science news: humans in North America 130,000 years ago?

I’ll just put this up here without analysis, as I haven’t yet read the paper. But it’s big news if true. A new a new report Nature by Holen et al. (reference below; free access) claims to have found human tools associated with crushed and cracked mastodon bones at a site in southern California, with […]

CNN science completely botches natural selection in the headline, and is confusing in the text

I have little time to post this morning, but I call your attention to a really dreadful piece of science journalism at CNN. It refers to a new paper in PLoS Genetics by Arslan Zaidi et al. (reference below, free access) describing how natural selection based on climate (temperature and humidity) may have molded the nose shape […]