RealClearScience – End the Hype over Epigenetics & Lamarckian Evolution

You might recall from high school biology a scientist by the name of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. He proposed a mechanism of evolution in which organisms pass on traits acquired during their lifetimes to their offspring. The textbook example is a proposed mechanism of giraffe evolution: If a giraffe stretches its neck to reach higher leaves on … Continue reading RealClearScience – End the Hype over Epigenetics & Lamarckian Evolution

Talking Neanderthals challenge the origins of speech

I've posted before about how I think that language is very ancient, probably evolving over hundreds of thousands of years, possibly millions.  The evidence for this view continues to mount.  It now looks like there's stronger evidence that Neanderthals could talk. We humans like to think of ourselves as unique for many reasons, not least … Continue reading Talking Neanderthals challenge the origins of speech

Neanderthals’ Genetic Legacy | HMS

“This suggests that when ancient humans met and mixed with Neanderthals, the two species were at the edge of biological incompatibility,” said Reich, who is also a senior associate member of the Broad Institute and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Present-day human populations, which can be separated from one another by as … Continue reading Neanderthals’ Genetic Legacy | HMS

Ancient Rome Infanticide Practices Did Not Favor Boys After All, DNA Study Suggests

"Now that we can use DNA to tell whether the babies were male or female, we're starting to revise the commonly held assumptions about infanticide in the Roman world," said Kristina Killgrove, a bioarchaeologist at the University of West Florida, who was not involved in the research. As horrifying as the killing of newborns seems … Continue reading Ancient Rome Infanticide Practices Did Not Favor Boys After All, DNA Study Suggests

Neanderthals and the Dead – NYTimes.com

Early in the 20th century, two brothers discovered a nearly complete Neanderthal skeleton in a pit inside a cave at La Chapelle-aux-Saints, in southwestern France. The discovery raised the possibility that these evolutionary relatives of ours intentionally buried their dead — at least 50,000 years ago, before the arrival of anatomically modern humans in Europe. … Continue reading Neanderthals and the Dead – NYTimes.com

David Dobbs mucks up evolution, part I « Why Evolution Is True

At any rate, Dobb’s goal is several fold. First, he wants to claim that the metaphor of the selfish gene is wrong.  Second, he wants to show that it’s wrong because new understanding of gene regulation—how genes turn on and off during development—render the selfish gene metaphor passé.  Finally, he claims that a new theory, … Continue reading David Dobbs mucks up evolution, part I « Why Evolution Is True

BBC News – ‘Memories’ pass between generations

Experiments showed that a traumatic event could affect the DNA in sperm and alter the brains and behaviour of subsequent generations. A Nature Neuroscience study shows mice trained to avoid a smell passed their aversion on to their "grandchildren". More at BBC News - 'Memories' pass between generations. I saw this yesterday, but was reluctant to link … Continue reading BBC News – ‘Memories’ pass between generations