Demography through historic records in Finland

David Biello writes a nice profile of demographic researcher Virpi Lummaa:

The 33-year-old Finnish biologist, aided by genealogists, has pored through centuries-old tomes (and microfiche) for birth, marriage and death records, which ended up providing glimpses of evolution at work in humanity's recent ancestors. Among them: that male twins disrupt the mating potential of their female siblings by prenatally rendering them more masculine; mothers of sons die sooner than those of daughters, because rearing the former takes a greater toll; and grandmothers are important to the survival of grandchildren. "I'm trying to understand human reproductive behavior from an evolutionary perspective," Lummaa says.

I wrote about Lummaa's most recent work, on twin fertility, last month (It's the second post here, because for whatever reason, the permalink isn't working right.). That's the post that includes the long update about freemartins -- a twinning effect associated with sterility in cattle and sheep.

Anyway, this is a really good profile of a young scientist -- maybe someday I'll do something interesting enough to merit the same!