Why Domesticated Dogs Have Floppy Ears

OVER the course of several thousand years, mankind slowly transformed the wild canine into man’s best friend. Wolves would linger near early human settlements, supplementing their diets with food scraps and other waste. Some of these beasts were less afraid of humans, and over generations, this intrepid subset of mongrels built a mutually beneficial relationship with humans. Read the rest at The Economist.

A Genetic Link Between Schizophrenia & Pot?

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

It is known that there is a link between schizophrenia and smoking marijuana. However, much to the chagrin of researchers, it is not ethical to randomly assign people to smoke pot to determine if they develop schizophrenia at some point. As a result, it remains unknown if smoking pot causes schizophrenia, if schizophrenics are more likely to smoke pot, or if some unknown third variable links the two. Continue reading

Spouses Are Genetically Similar

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

The widespread notion that “opposites attract” is wrong, not just psychologically but, as a new study shows, genetically as well.

Psychologists have long known that the “opposites attract” cliché is a gigantic myth. As a general rule, people are more attracted to those with whom they share personality traits, hobbies, and political and religious beliefs. Continue reading

End the Hype over Epigenetics & Lamarckian Evolution

This article was originally posted on RealClearScience.

You might recall from high school biology a scientist by the name of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. He proposed a mechanism of evolution in which organisms pass on traits acquired during their lifetimes to their offspring. The textbook example is a proposed mechanism of giraffe evolution: If a giraffe stretches its neck to reach higher leaves on a tree, the giraffe would pass on a slightly longer neck to its offspring. Continue reading