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Evolution and IQ Linkfest III

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JP Rushton

Richard Lynn

L:inda Gottfredson

Goodreads

1050 words

What the octopus tells us about human intelligence (Mammals are ‘brain heavy’, the cephalopod nervous system is more distributed across its limbs. Some people believe they have minds with consciousness. Interesting read.)

A brewing debate on evolution theory picks up in India (Great look at the niche construction theory—which states that an organism modifies its environment which in turn decreases or increases fitness. Two great examples of NC are lactase consumption 6500 ya that led to most European populations having the ability to digest lactase and an African farmer digging some irrigation holes could cause mosquitoes to live in the still water. Over time, the people would get malaria. They then would evolve sickle cell anemia to battle the malaria virus. For more information on niche construction, read this paper: Conceptual Barriers to Progress Within Evolutionary Biology and Niche Construction Theory and Archaeology.)

Human evolution: why we’re more than great apes (Culture and our brains set us apart from the animal kingdom, and thus, some researchers argue, that humans shouldn’t be called Great Apes. Both humans and Great Apes are a part of the Hominidae family. Sure we’re ‘more than Great Apes’. However, due to the chromosomal fusion some 6mya, this is why we speciated.)

4qheo

Dramatic evolution within human genome may have been caused by malaria parasite (The most recent common ancestor that possessed the DARC gene, which shuts off a protein receptor on the surface of the red blood cells that the parasite needs to gain entry, lived around 42 kya. By 8000 ya, 99 percent of the population had the DARC gene. The author estimates that for every 100 people that were born without the DARC gene, 105 would have been born with it. The gene has pretty much has hit fixation in this population. Of course, since humans evolved to fight the parasite, the parasite itself evolved adaptations to continue living. See the Red Queen Hypothesis.)

Climate may have shaped the evolution of the human nose: Nature’s nose job (Nose shape is linked to climate, which is then shaped by natural selection. Africans and their descendants have wider, shorter, flatter noses due to living in more moist, drier environments. A larger mucous area is needed to moisten dry air. Peoples who evolved in cooler climes, however, evolved longer, thinner noses due to living in colder climes. Read the paper here: Investigating the case of human nose shape and climate adaptation.)

Human skull evolved along with two-legged walking, study confirms (No surprise here. This is some good evidence for my “Man the Athlete” hypothesis. Our athleticism was paramount in our evolutionary history, which released important hormones to aid in our brain growth over time. The foramen magnum is forward-shifter in many bipedal species. That is the hole in which the spinal column goes into.)

Stone tools not always deliberate, research finds (Capuchin monkeys of South America can flake tools similar to that of early hominins. Pretty much, if we find tools that are similar to this, we cannot assume that a human ancestor made them. Flaking alone is not enough, it may have been by a non-hominin so other measures are needed.)

MD Debunks Myth that Humans Evolved to Eat Meat (This deserves a full-length article. The MD says that humans eating meat are like dogs eating chocolate since we are closely related to chimpanzees who eat a plant-based diet. This reasoning…. makes no sense! There are genetic changes from cooking that appeared between 265 to 800kya and the ONLY explanation is the introduction of cooked foods! I will cover this article in the future.)

Tooth be told: Millions of years of evolutionary history mark those molars (Anthropologists can see what type of diet an animal ate, to how long their childhood was due to the layers of tooth enamel. Looking at the teeth of hominins/chimps also show that humans have a longer childhood, which is important for motor development at a young age.)

Microbes evolved to colonize different parts of the human body (The microbiota in our body evolved especially for the place it found itself it. Each species of bacteria serves a pertinent function in the body. These bacteria also drive part of our metabolism, so having them was extremely beneficial in our evolution.)

‘No Valid Conclusions’: Omega-3 trade body fires back over prenatal DHA supplementation findings (A new RCT (Randomized Controlled Trial) just came out stating that DHA supplements that mothers take while pregnant doesn’t increase IQ. Women were randomized to receive a placebo or 800 mg of DHA. They found no difference in cognitive, language or motor development by 18 months. At four years of age, they reported no effect of DHA on the children’s cognitive, language or motor development, noting possibly that DHA consumption had a negative effect on parent-rated behavior. Of the eligible children, 85 percent (543 children) took part in the follow-up. IQ did not differ in the DHA group (98.31) or for the placebo group (97.32). Perceptual reasoning was slightly higher in the DHA group, but the parent-rated behavior was worse. There are some problems with the study design, however. The experimental design didn’t test blood levels of omega-3s in the mothers or the offspring. It’s also unknown if they were receiving the correct amount of DHA since they weren’t tested. Of course, post-pregnancy diets of the mothers while breastfeeding AND that of the children would skew levels of DHA in the blood. Omega-3s are paramount for brain health at all ages—most importantly in the womb and the first few years of a child’s life. In fact, telling women and children NOT to consume fish oil/omega-3s is the WORST thing you can do!)

How a Western diet leads to overeating and obesity (Chronic overconsumption of Western diets high in sugar and fat is a major cause of the obesity epidemic. However, researchers have found that a chronic overconsumption of the Western diet leads to obesity “due to elevations in ‘peripheral endocannabinoid signaling.'” The endocannabinoid system regulates energy balance, reward, and food intake. Elevations of endocannabinoids in the body lead to hyperphagia (an abnormal appetite for food). I await future looks into this research. We may be able to curb the epidemic by identifying certain pathways that lead to hyperphagia and other eating disorders and prevent them.)

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1 Comment

  1. Afrosapiens says:

    Yay ! I like this type of post. Could you do this more often ?

    Like

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