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A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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Hadza men are smaller, less robust, and less aggressive than the more polygynous Datoga. Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Humans differ in paternal investment—the degree to which fathers help mothers care for their offspring. They differ in this way between individuals, between populations, and between stages of cultural evolution. During the earliest stage, when all humans were hunter-gatherers, men invested more in their offspring with increasing distance from the equator. Longer, colder winters made... Read More
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
Boy in a cafe.  Credit: S. Yao, Wikimedia
All humans were once hunter-gatherers. Back then, versatility came with the territory. There were only so many game animals, and they differed a lot in size, shape, and color. So you had to enjoy switching back and forth from one target animal to another. And you had to enjoy moving from one place to another.... Read More
Kostenki Man, reconstructed by Mikhail Gerasimov (1907-1970). An early European who was not yet phenotypically European.
Who were the first Europeans? We now have a better idea, thanks to a new paper about DNA from a man who lived some 38,700 to 36,200 years ago. His remains were found at Kostenki, a well-known Upper Paleolithic site in central European Russia (Seguin-Orlando et al., 2014). Kostenki Man tells us several things about... 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
An outdoor play where a Paekchong is about to kill a bull. In pre-modern Korea, the Paekchong were outcastes whose occupations tended to involve the taking of life, like butchery, leather making, and capital punishment. (source: Jon Dunbar, link) Like Japan with its Burakumin, Korea used to have its own outcastes: the Paekchong (or Baekjeong).... 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
Slave exports to the Americas from different parts of Africa (Dalton & Leung, 2011). Did the slave trade create patterns of behavior that today exist throughout sub-Saharan Africa, such as generalized polygyny? Why is polygyny so frequent in sub-Saharan Africa? As Goody (1973, p. 177) noted, the differences with Eurasia are striking: Goody (1973) attributes... Read More
Guess who does the farmwork? In sub-Saharan Africa, women do most of the labor. On the other hand, they have more control over the fruits of their labor. Are African women oppressed? For many, the answer is ‘yes’: It’s true that women do most of the labor in sub-Saharan Africa. They are, in fact, largely... Read More
Spread of farming in Europe. Der Spiegel This recent Der Spiegel article has stirred up comment in the blogosphere (Hawks 2010, Khan 2010, Sailer 2010). It argues that Europeans do not descend from the reindeer hunters who once roamed the continent during the last ice age. Nor do they descend from the more recent hunter-fisher-gatherers... Read More
Dienekes is arguing that Middle Eastern farmers demographically replaced Europe’s original population between 8,000 and 3,000 years ago. This argument seems to be proven by two recent papers that show no genetic continuity between Europe’s late hunter-gatherers and early farmers. The continent’s current gene pool seems to owe very little to the original Upper Paleolithic... Read More
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