The transition from a hunter–gatherer existence to a sedentary farming-based lifestyle has had key consequences for human groups around the world and has profoundly shaped human societies. Originating in the Near East around 11,000y ago, an agricultural lifestyle subsequently spread across Europe during the New Stone Age (Neolithic). (…) Here, we compare Neolithic haplogroups and [...]
There is a strong consensus that modern humans originated in Africa and moved out to colonize the world approximately 50 000 years ago. During the process of expansion, variability was lost, creating a linear gradient of decreasing diversity with [...]
Police in Germany have admitted that a woman they have been hunting for more than 15 years may never have existed. Dubbed the “phantom of Heilbronn”, the woman was dubbed by police as the country’s most dangerous woman. Investigators had connected her to six murders and an unsolved death based on DNA traces [...]
The Northumberland and Durham Rock Art Pilot project has released a new website cataloguing England’s Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Rock art. There’s some truly beautiful pieces shown there – this is my favorite:
The Daily Mail also has an article on this project.
Scientific American covers the human diaspora in a nice broad-brush overview:
Fifty or sixty thousand years ago a small band of Africans—a few hundred or even several thousand—crossed the strait in tiny boats, never to return.
The reason they left their homeland in eastern Africa is not completely understood. Perhaps the climate changed, or once [...]
….and the award for the stupidest science story I’ve seen in months goes to LiveScience.com for “Cave Men Loved to Sing“, in which we’re told that our cave-dwelling ancestors used echo-location:
With only dull light available from a torch, which couldn’t be carried into very narrow passages, the ancient hunters had to use their [...]
Hanging from the neck of a live goose. Chasing a speeding wheel of cheese down a mountainside. Children smoking. Europeans do all of this and more…. Everyone knows about that annual tempting of fate known as running with the bulls in Pamplona. It’s one of those festivals that make the saner among us scratch our [...]
Wendy Doniger in the London Review of Books:
Nineteenth-century German and British linguists, building on some 18th-century hunches, uncovered the connections between members of a large (and rather dysfunctional) family of languages that included ancient Greek, Latin, Hittite (in ancient Anatolia), Vedic Sanskrit (in ancient India), Avestan (in ancient Iran), the Celtic and Norse-Germanic languages [...]
No time to read this now, but it looks very interesting: Proportionally more deleterious genetic variation in European than in African populations (doi). Abstract says -
Quantifying the number of deleterious mutations per diploid human genome is of crucial concern to both evolutionary and medical geneticists. Here we combine genome-wide polymorphism data from [...]