Exposition of a minority viewpoint by the late linguist Eugen Helimski [1]:

The paper discusses various indications in favor of the assumption that the language — or one of the languages — spoken by Early European Avars (6th-7th cent.) was a Manchu-Tungus (MT) idiom close to Proto-MT (possibly an early pre-Manchu/pre-Jurchen dialect). This assumptions [sic] seems to deserve at least as serious consideration as the Turkic and the Mongolic versions of the origin of the European Avars.  … ⇒

What separates two people most profoundly is a different sense and degree of cleanliness. What avails all decency and mutual usefulness and good will toward one another—in the end the fact remains: “They can’t stand each other’s smell!”

Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil § 271

Here the Russian essence is felt . . . here it smells of Rus’!

Aleksandr Pushkin, Ruslan and Lyudmila

He entered and found Baba Yaga the Bony-legged.  … ⇒

Pardiñas et al. argue in a new article that their recognition of an apparently Iberia-specific sublineage of mtDNA haplogroup L3f in modern Asturians is the legacy of an early Neolithic (if not earlier!) northward crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar. I have my doubts, but it speaks to scenarios that ought to remain under serious consideration.

Over the sands and far away: Interpreting an Iberian mitochondrial lineage with ancient Western African origins  … ⇒Antonio F.

Some Chinese exorcistic practices in rural British Malaya [1]:

The anthropologist William Newell reports that the Chinese “hierarchy of gods was parallel to the government hierarchy in the world. The gods were sometimes regarded as subordinate to officials in this world.” In the 1950s, for example, a tree spirit was making trouble for workers during road construction in a Chinese village in Malaya:

In desperation, the Chinese community and the workmen petitioned the [British] District Officer to come and order the tree to be cut down.  … ⇒

Ernst Schäfer with a Tibetan bear (source)

Genetic analysis of hair samples attributed to yeti, bigfoot and other anomalous primates

Bryan C. Sykes, Rhettman A. Mullis, Christophe Hagenmuller, Terry W. Melton and Michel Sartori

Proc. R. Soc. B 2014 281: 20140161; published 2 July 2014

In the first ever systematic genetic survey, we have used rigorous decontamination followed by mitochondrial 12S RNA sequencing to identify the species origin of 30 hair samples attributed to anomalous primates.  … ⇒

Figure 3: Dendrogramma enigmatica sp. nov., holotype.

This — if it holds up — could easily stand as this century’s single most momentous discovery in metazoan systematics. Another illustration of how morphological taxonomy and museum collections in no uncertain terms retain their worth in the genomic era.

Dendrogramma, New Genus, with Two New Non-Bilaterian Species from the Marine Bathyal of Southeastern Australia (Animalia,  … ⇒


a, Bayesian maximum clade credibility tree of 261 MTBC genomes (excluding Hungarian mummy), with estimated divergence dates shown in years before present using a model of population expansion. b, Maximum parsimony tree for lineage 6 and animal-adapted MTBC genomes with SNPs that define all branches. Bootstrap values in grey italics. Deletions specific to the animal lineages are shown as triangles.

Pre-Columbian mycobacterial genomes reveal seals as a source of New World human tuberculosis

Kirsten I.  … ⇒

Patterns of Admixture and Population Structure in Native Populations of Northwest North America

Paul Verdu, Trevor J. Pemberton, Romain Laurent, Brian M. Kemp, Angelica Gonzalez-Oliver, Clara Gorodezky, Cris E. Hughes, Milena R. Shattuck, Barbara Petzelt, Joycelynn Mitchell, Harold Harry, Theresa William, Rosita Worl, Jerome S. Cybulski, Noah A. Rosenberg, Ripan S. Malhi

PLoS Genetics (August 14, 2014); DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.100453

The initial contact of European populations with indigenous populations of the Americas produced diverse admixture processes across North,  … ⇒

Fig. 4. Two human teeth from Lunadong: upper (LN0031); lower (LN0030). Views from left to right: occlusal view; mesial view; distal view; buccal view; lingual view.

Modern human teeth from Late Pleistocene Luna Cave (Guangxi, China)

Christopher J. Bae, Wei Wang, Jianxin Zhao, Shengming Huang, Feng Tian, Guanjun Sheng

Quaternary International xxx (2014) 1–15; DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2014.06.051

We present two previously unreported hominin permanent teeth [one right upper second molar (M2),  … ⇒

Important new preprint up on bioRxiv — will update with my thoughts.

The Genetic Legacy of the Expansion of Turkic-Speaking Nomads Across Eurasia

Bayazit Yunusbayev, Mait Metspalu, Ene Metspalu, Albert Valeev, Sergei Litvinov, Ruslan Valiev, Vita Akhmetova, Elena Balanovska, Oleg Balanovsky, Shahlo Turdikulova, Dilbar Dalimova, Pagbajabyn Nymadawa, Ardeshir Bahmanimehr, Hovhannes Sahakyan, Kristiina Tambets, Sardana Fedorova, Nikolay Barashkov, Irina Khidiatova, Evelin Mihailov, Rita Khusainova, Larisa Damba, Miroslava Derenko, Boris Malyarchuk,  … ⇒