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Human Population Bottleneck

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4 comments to Human Population Bottleneck

  • rugbyologist

    Steve,

    As someone trained in genetics, I’ve got to take some exception to your interpretation of the term effective population size, although I’m not sure that you are simplifying for pedagogical reasons.

    In population genetics, the effective population size does not describe how many individuals contribute to the next generation in a literal sense. Rather, it describes the number of individuals in an ideal population (which in population genetics means a randomly mating population with no migration in or out) needed to have the same distribution of allele frequencies and heterozygosity as observed in the actual population. So, this does not necessarily imply that we all come from “one small tribe or region”, nor does it imply that we didn’t.

    The wikipedia definition is actually pretty accurate on this one.

  • Cobey

    Steve, I agree with what you’re saying about the complexities of the answers to all of the questions you yearn to learn. It seems like everyday I come across something that makes me want to get a Doctorate in that field just to know as much as I can about it. As much as I love (i mean really love) physics and astronomy and the cosmos, there is something about LIFE that gets me every time.

    Not just the fact that life exist either. The what of it, the why, the how, the holy crap. I love it all. I jumped into the article you linked to check out the babel and see if I could make sense of it and found this…
    “Body size is a key element in the behavioral changes reflected at the earliest H. sapiens archaeological sites because of the locomotor changes that large body size denotes and the increased metabolic resources it requires. Moreover, the marked increase in brain size for early H. sapiens has significant metabolic consequences, because the human brain, which is 2% of the body weight, uses some 20%–25% of its metabolic energy. Larger brain size evolved in spite of these increased energy requirements, but the additional energy had to come from somewhere, and the answer must certainly lie in meat ”

    ….ummm awesome! How freaking amazing is it that not only do we know how the Universe began and what happens at scales smaller (and larger) than we can even imagine, but to be able to look back in time millions of years and know what early humans were doing with just our minds!? Seriously Steve, I completely understand why you’re in Neurology.

  • romanmd

    I enjoyed your mentioning of the term (population bottleneck) to search for in this article. I always wonder how you became the way you are (well worded, well informed, etc.) and what kind of searches you make when researching stuff. Such little hints are always welcome. Teach me to fish more often!

  • I consume a lot of science news, and I pay attention to jargon. Jargon is now the key to entry into deeper information, as there is so much info on the web (PubMed, Google) if you know the right search terms.

    If your vague searches do manage to come up with a relevant article, read it mostly for the names and the jargon that can serve for more precise searches.

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