Open access Population Size and the Rate of Language Evolution: A Test Across Indo-European, Austronesian, and Bantu Languages, by Greenhill et al. Front. Psychol (2018) 9:576.
Summary (emphasis mine):
What role does speaker population size play in shaping rates of language evolution? There has been little consensus on the expected relationship between rates and patterns of language change and speaker population size, with some predicting faster rates of change in smaller populations, and others expecting greater change in larger populations. The growth of comparative databases has allowed population size effects to be investigated across a wide range of language
… Read the rest “Population size potentially affecting rates of language change”
Another interesting paper, Life in the fast lane: Settled pastoralism in the Central Eurasian Steppe during the Middle Bronze Age, by Judd et al. (2017).
Abstract (emphasis mine):
We tested the hypothesis that the purported unstable climate in the South Urals region during the Middle Bronze Age (MBA) resulted in health instability and social stress as evidenced by skeletal response.The skeletal sample (n = 99) derived from Kamennyi Ambar 5 (KA-5), a MBA kurgan cemetery (2040-1730 cal. BCE, 2 sigma) associated with the Sintashta culture. Skeletal stress indicators assessed included cribra orbitalia, porotic hyperostosis, dental enamel hypoplasia, and tibia
… Read the rest “Fast life history as adaptive regional response to less hospitable and unstable Early Indo-Iranian territory”
Open access 4000 years of human dietary evolution in central Germany, from the first farmers to the first elites, by Münster et al. PLOS One (2018).
Excerpts (emphasis mine):
This study of human diet between the early stages of the farming lifestyle and the Early Bronze Age in the MES, based on carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses, is amongst the most comprehensive of its kind. Or results show that human dietary behaviour has changed significantly throughout the study period. A distinct increase in the proportion of animal protein in the human diet can be identified over time, a trend
… Read the rest “Human dietary evolution in central Germany, and relationship of Únětice to Corded Ware and Bell Beaker cultures”
Efficiently inferring the demographic history of many populations with allele count data, by Kamm, Terhorst, Durbin, & Song (2018).
The sample frequency spectrum (SFS), or histogram of allele counts, is an important summary statistic in evolutionary biology, and is often used to infer the history of population size changes, migrations, and other demographic events affecting a set of populations. The expected multipopulation SFS under a given demographic model can be efficiently computed when the populations in the model are related by a tree, scaling to hundreds of populations. Admixture, back-migration, and introgression are common natural processes that violate
… Read the rest “Basal Eurasians split off ca. 80kya and contributed ca. 10% to EEF”