Quentin Atkinson’s finally got himself a shiny new webpage
I am an evolutionary psychologist, interested in the evolution of human language and culture. I currently hold a post-doctoral fellowship within the Evolutionary Biology Group at the University of Reading in the UK. This site has just a bit of information about me, my research [...]
Confirming something that Hollywood’s long suspected, a meta-analysis of 80 field studies show that alien species are far more dangerous predators to both mammals and birds, than the existing native predators (Alternate link).
Alex Mesoudi and Kevin Laland in Proceedings of the Royal Society B:
Recent anthropological findings document how certain lowland South American societies hold beliefs in ‘partible paternity’, which allow children to have more than one ‘biological’ father. This contrasts with Western beliefs in ‘singular paternity’, and biological reality, where children have just one father. Here, [...]
Joe Campbell in the BBC News: “The UK’s regional accents are changing – and it’s not just the spread of Estuary English behind this shift, but the slang and intonation of Caribbean and Asian voices…”
Creationists are funny – example #1, evilc27 on Youtube:
“The fact that we are born babies and evolve into people is evidence enough to dispel the myth of evolution. If we were born monkeys, then there would be billions of monkeys in the world as there are billions of people. This does not equate. [...]
The 10th anniversary issue of the wonderful Trends in Cognitive Sciences has a collection of interesting papers.
First up is Uddin et al’s The self and social cognition: the role of cortical midline structures and mirror neurons, which reviews some of the recent work on mirror neurons and social cognition and concludes:
It’s actually thursday, but I think Mirror Neurons are so cool as to be worth a post on their own:
A mirror neuron is a neuron which fires both when an animal performs an action and when the animal observes the same action performed by another (especially conspecific) animal. Thus, the neuron “mirrors” the [...]
Researchers believe they have solved a mystery that has puzzled evolutionary scientists for years… if ‘good’ genes spread through the population, why are individuals so different?
…and the answer to this lek paradox is in a paper published in the latest Heredity, Sexual selection and the evolution of evolvability [...]
There’s a fascinating paper in Proceedings of the Royal Society demonstrating that a number of bird species in Chernobyl prefer to nest in areas with low radioactivity:
(the) Great tit Parus major and pied flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca significantly avoided nest boxes in heavily contaminated areas, with a stronger effect in flycatchers than in tits. These [...]
Another criticism of the “out-of-Africa” scenario for human ancestry in today’s Molecular Biology and Evolution:
Previous studies have found that at most human loci, ancestral alleles are “African,” in the sense that they reach their highest frequency there. Conventional wisdom holds that this reflects a recent African origin of modern humans.
This paper challenges that [...]