Articles to 2012-12-09

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First the link to this week’s complete list as HTML and as PDF.

Looking at Lourenco et al.’s figure 3 their correlation between guessing precision and mathematical aptitude depends on very few outliers alone and is completely absent for the bulk of the data. Their claimed difference between geometry and arithmetic is patently nonexistent. In all another glaring example of a non-result.

I fully endorse Zorzi et al.’s remark in their reply to Skottun and Skoyles. The journals are full of purely statistically valid but practically meaningless results the world can well do without – see Lourenco et al.

On the one hand the A. afarensis shoulder blade clearly falls between the Pan/Gorilla and the human cluster in Green and Alemseged’s figure two. On the other hand modern humans cluster and overlap with the arch-climber Pongo. So how can they claim the morphology was related specifically to climbing rather than, say, knuckle walking or nose picking? Their article is completely silent on this and doesn’t mention the Pongo similarity at all.

Fort provides a nice mathematical exercise on migration vs. cultural diffusion. Unfortunately his result has no bearing whatsoever on his own chosen example of the Linearbandkeramik. The best dated examples of its first arrival are completely contemporaneous within dating errors or at least with a speed far in excess of anything current models can explain. In fact forcing a correlation onto these data yields a negative slope with the places furthest from the origin appearing earlier than those nearer to it. The only model coming near are Lüning’s "missionaries".

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