Articles to 2014-05-03

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

PNAS has come out with a big special section on aspects of the Neolithisation process.

There is one huge internal contradiction in the otherwise convincing article by Villa & Roebroeks. If there really was no cognitive or social advantage for AMHs, why then could they, recent newcomers from the totally different climate of East Africa, outnumber a species locally adapted for several hundreds of thousands of years to such an extent as to totally swamp their genes in the mixture?

Even taking into account that the determination of the time of admixture from the data requires guessing a whole bunch of parameters, none of which are as strongly constrained as desirable, the currently accepted time range is far too early for it to have happened in Europe. Secondly if it had, then the first wave of emigration to South Asia and Australia would have bypassed it, but people there have the same or higher admixture as Europeans do.

Many years ago a fellow student claimed, my compact car was not in fact more efficient than his large six-cylinder. His proof: My consumption when hurtling along the autobahn at full throttle all the way was not lower than his at a constant 60 mph. Similarly a wood pellet oven run by a young couple wearing thick Norwegian jumpers in cool rooms is more economic than the oil burner in an elderly widow’s overheated house. In the same vain von der Assen & Bardow compare not different feedstocks or different processes, but rather different products altogether.

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