This Sunday: Cosmic volcanoes, future humans and Neanderthals!

by Matthew Cobb This post is an unashamed plug/PSA.  RATIO is a regular popular science festival held in Sofia, Bulgaria. I have spoken there a couple of times, as has Jerry. The event attracts hundreds of attendees, and is a major event. Now they are opening their doors to everyone, all over the planet – … Continue reading This Sunday: Cosmic volcanoes, future humans and Neanderthals!

Neanderthal bones in Croatia

Note: This has been slightly updated after I ran it by Davorka, who caught a few errors. Over the years we’ve had a number of posts about Neanderthals and their genetic legacy in “modern humans” (see here for a collection), many of them written by Matthew Cobb. Croatia—in particular a hill near the small town … Continue reading Neanderthal bones in Croatia

Either I have no DNA or I’m an aberrant hominin

Several months ago, 23andMe was running a sale on DNA analysis for only $99, which gave you not only a good guess at your ancestry, but also a readout of a large number of nucleotides in your genome—and perhaps the chance to find lost relatives. I got my kit, spit in the tube, followed all … Continue reading Either I have no DNA or I’m an aberrant hominin

Human Phylogeography: The lessons learned, 1

by Greg Mayer UPDATE. A couple of readers have drawn attention to the website, gcbias, of Graham Coop, a population geneticist at UC Davis. He has excellent discussions, with nice graphics, of issues in genetic genealogy, including calculation of the number of “genetic units” in particular generations. As an example, 7 generations back you have … Continue reading Human Phylogeography: The lessons learned, 1

Svante Pääbo gives a good public lecture on Neanderthals, Denisovans, and other relatives of modern humans

I think most readers know about Svante Pääbo and his work on “paleoanthropology”: the study of the evolution and ancient movements of H. sapiens through analysis of “fossil DNA”.  His most famous work is on the genetics of Neanderthals, a subject in which I’ve recently become interested. Pääbo’s work been extended to Denisovans and other previously … Continue reading Svante Pääbo gives a good public lecture on Neanderthals, Denisovans, and other relatives of modern humans

Human Phylogeography

by Greg Mayer For the spring semester, my colleague Dave Rogers and I are teaching a seminar class entitled “Human Phylogeography.” Phylogeography is the study of the history of the genetic variation, and of genetic lineages, within a species (or closely related group of species), and in the seminar we are looking at the phylogeography … Continue reading Human Phylogeography

Here’s my DNA results: Surprise—I’m descended from Ashkenazi Jews!

I forgot to mention that my 23andMe DNA results arrived just before I left for Antarctica.  Today I’ll just give the general overview of where my genes come from. There will be more later on the physical traits predicted from the DNA, but I deliberately didn’t ask for health information, as I don’t want to … Continue reading Here’s my DNA results: Surprise—I’m descended from Ashkenazi Jews!

How do we know that Neanderthals were nearly all right-handed?

A while back I wrote about my visit to the Croatia Natural History Museum, where curator Dr. Davorka Radovčić kindly gave three of us a several-hour look at Neanderthal bones from the nearby location of Krapina, one of the most fruitful Neanderthal sites known. At the time I mentioned there was evidence that most Neanderthals were right-handed, … Continue reading How do we know that Neanderthals were nearly all right-handed?

A nice lecture from Matthew on genetics and human evolution

Here’s a virtual lecture on genetics and evolution that Matthew gave the other day to the Cardiff University’s School of Medicine. It was intended for the general public, was just posted on YouTube, and I’ve listened to it.  I have been most enlightened, and unless you already know this stuff you will be, too—it’s an … Continue reading A nice lecture from Matthew on genetics and human evolution

In which I start to ascertain my genetic ancestry

Thanks to a friend who told me that the 23andMe company is running a big sale on DNA kits that give you not only a readout of the presumed ancestral composition of your genome, but the much of the sequence itself, and, if you wish, what diseases you’re prone to get.  I have sprung $79 … Continue reading In which I start to ascertain my genetic ancestry