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demography

Demography refers to the number of individuals, age structure, and dynamics of populations.

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How the lives of mothers matter to offspring survival in wild primates

A paper by Matthew Zipple and coworkers finds that the survival of young primates depends on their mothers "well beyond the age of weaning".

Chimpanzee mother and infant
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The so-called Toba bottleneck simply didn't happen

Prompted by a paper by Chad Yost and coworkers, I look at the persistent myth that humans were an endangered species only 74,000 years ago.

A volcanic eruption with ash cloud rising from caldera
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Chimpanzee communities are hundreds of years old

Reviewing a 2014 study by Kevin Langergraber and coworkers looking at the Y chromosome variation within chimpanzee groups.

A chimpanzee looking upward with green leaves in the background
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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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Have human lifespans been constant for the last 2000 years?

Maximum lifespan is hard to assess in past populations. The data suggest that lifespan has been increasing over time.

Three older people walking arm in arm with posters of soccer players in the background
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Did Neandertals evolve in a population sink?

The dynamics of adaptation in shrinking populations may help understand how many ancient populations evolved.

Did Neandertals evolve in a population sink?
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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
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Why did some Polynesian island societies lose their pigs?

Some island peoples extirpated their pigs after establishing them. Was it planned due to competition for plant foods with humans?

Pig floating in tropical water with island in background
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High adult mortality in some contemporary hunter-gatherers

Kim Hill and colleagues (2007) report in the current Journal of Human Evolution on the mortality profile of recent Hiwi hunter-gatherers. Here is their abstract: > Extant apes experience early sexual maturity and short life spans relative to modern humans. Both of these traits and others are linked by life-history theory