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adaptation

Natural selection adapts populations to their environments. Evolutionary biologists examine evidence for adaptation in genes, morphology, and behavior.

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New findings from the Denisova 3 genome at high coverage

Sequencing work by Matthias Meyer and coworkers highlights the demography of ancient Denisovans and genes that may make today's people different from them.

Sediment column in Denisova Cave showing labels with layer numbers
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Did human language evolve as a spandrel?

A critical look at the point of view that human language did not originate from its adaptive role in communication, but from other cognitive functions.

Early twentieth-century ceramic head with brain and labels.
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How much of human evolution was due to polygenic adaptation?

This has been an eventful week for those of us who study the dynamics of recent selection in humans. The most significant event was the publication of a paper describing genetic analysis of a long selection experiment in Drosophila. Although the experiment differs from most natural instances of selection in

A photo of a "Galton box" which has beads in slots forming a normal distribution
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Notes on Ashley Montagu, recent human evolution, and human equality

The anthropologist argued that humans have stopped evolving, but that isn't the way we understand human evolution today.

Poster reading "Every human has rights"
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How much was migration a creative force for culture change?

An essay by Peter Richerson and Robert Boyd explores the way that cultures evolved by contact.

A globe on a table
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Our new paper on why human evolution accelerated

I run through our 2007 work on evidence for recent natural selection across the human genome.

A crowd of people