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Neolithic

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Male figurine, pottery, c. 7,000–5,000 years ago, Greece, Archaeological Museum of Heraklion. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
This is one of several findings with a common theme: the farther back in time we go, the less familiar people look. And we don't have to go very far. This fact came up in a column I wrote about the Americas. If we turn back the clock, Amerindians look more and more European, yet... Read More
Inuit meat cache, Kazan River (source: Library and Archives Canada / PA-101294). Because of their high meat diet, hunters produce more body heat than farmers do. Natural selection has thus favored certain mtDNA sequences over others in humans with this profile of heat production. A change in selection pressure may therefore explain, at least in... Read More
Spread of farming in Europe. Cultural diffusion or population replacement? Source Between 9,000 and 3,000 years ago farming spread through Europe and replaced hunting, fishing, and gathering. Was this process just a change in lifestyle? Or was it also a population change? Did Middle Eastern farmers replace native Europeans? For Greg Cochran, the answer is... Read More
Why are Europeans so pale-skinned? The most popular explanation is the vitamin-D hypothesis. Originally developed by Murray (1934) and Loomis (1967), it has been most recently presented by Chaplin and Jablonski (2009). It can be summarized as follows: 1. To absorb calcium and phosphorus from food passing through the gut, humans need vitamin D. This... Read More
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