NEW! Evolutionary Tidbit of the Moment
In seemingly unrelated languages from every corner of the globe, the word corresponding to "mother" contains a sound like /ma/, as in "amma," "mama," or "ima." Father words tend to have the /pa/ or /ba/ sound, like "appa," "abba," "baba," or "papa." A discarded hypothesis held that the words for "mother" and "father" had remained largely unchanged from a proto-language from which all modern languages evolved.
The currently favored explanation is that these are the first sounds infants are able to make, with /m/ being slightly easier (and thus developing sooner) than /p/ or /b/, explaining why the primary caretaker (usually the mother) tends to be referred to by words which sound like "mama" in languages all the world over.
Author Archives: Christopher Lynn
I’ve been wanting to go fossil-hunting since arriving in Alabama, as I keep hearing about the wonderful locations down here, & finally got to experience this particular cheap thrill thru evolution. Our friend & Alabama Museum of Natural History Paleontology … Continue reading
Maybe that’s a stretch, but I don’t think so. I just had to share this tweet the president of the UA EvoS Club sent out last week during the Sarah Tishkoff lecture. She just turned 21 last week, so maybe … Continue reading
We Need Neandertals or Some as Yet Unknown But Genetically Similar Population Within the Last 100 ky in Our Story
A couple years ago when I first started blogging here, my friend John Edvalson asked me right out of the gate my opinion on the Neandertal-sapiens interbreeding controversy. I think I skirted an answer because, though as a biological anthropologists … Continue reading
Geneticist Dr. Sarah Tishkoff from the University of Pennsylvania is speaking as part of UA’s ALLELE series today, & EvoS students are reading a recently review she co-authored for Nature with Laura Scheinfeldt for the occasion. The piece, “Recent human … Continue reading
An article from 2012 by Beverly Strassmann & colleagues is the first piece I think I’ve read that connects religious signaling to actual reproductive fitness, instead of merely group commitment (not that there’s anything wrong with that). They analyzed genetic … Continue reading
You Can Minor in Evolutionary Studies & Start as an Assistant Professor in a Business School at $150k per Year
After that little bombshell, I just sort of zoned out & walked thru the rest of the day in a dissociative fugue, wondering about how different it would have been had I known that 15 years ago. I would love … Continue reading
Catching up again on articles sent to me over the past few years, a 2010 Science summary by Ann Gibbons of a Current Biology piece by Philipp Gunz & colleagues (“Brain development after birth differs between Neanderthals and modern humans”) indicates … Continue reading
You’re everything a big bad wolf could want… This is cool as shit. Thanks to Lee Dugatkin for sharing on Facebook. Jamshid Tehrani in the Department of Anthropology & Centre for the Coevolution of Biology & Culture at Durham University … Continue reading
I recently pulled out an old paper I wrote as an undergraduate examining Joseph Conrad & D.H. Lawrence using Darwinian theory of consciousness & self-deception derived from Richard Alexander’s “Evolution of the Human Psyche.” This would have been 1995 or 1996 … Continue reading