Razib Khan One-stop-shopping for all of my content

October 31, 2018

The Insight Show Notes — Season 2, Episode 6: Halloween genetics, fact or fiction

Filed under: Halloween,life-lessons — Razib Khan @ 2:06 pm

The Insight Show Notes — Season 2, Episode 6: Halloween genetics, fact or fiction

This week on The Insight (Apple Podcasts and Stitcher) Razib Khan and Spencer Wells discuss human genetic diversity, and how it might feed into the myths and legends that crop up around Halloween.

Tall person, short person

We spent a fair amount of time talking about Mendelian mutations. Polydactyly, achondroplasia, and hyperstrichosis. That is, having more than the usual number of fingers, dwarfism, and having hair all over one’s face.

Then we talked about normal variation, and how it might also seem surprising to us. In particular, Shawn Bradley’s polygenic risk score for height, which predicted he’d be taller than average.

We talked about how the Yamna people might have been taller than early European farmers, and the “wild men” of China.

The implications of Xeroderma pigmentosum and albinism were also discussed.

In relation to Neanderthal-human contact, we brought up the Michael Crichton novel Eaters of the Dead, which was also turned into a film, The 13th Warrior.

Herodotus and his legends of “troglodytes” were mentioned, as well as the fact that until recently many humans did live in caves and underground.

We also discussed the possible connection between centaurs and mounted horsemen, such as the Huns.

The implications of the long-term coexistence of farmers and hunter-gatherers in Europe came up, as well as the interaction between the Jomon people and the Yayoi rice farmers in Japan 2,500 years ago.

Finally, Razib talked about the importance of “minimal counterintuitiveness” in the formation of story and myth and human psychology.

Interested in learning where your ancestors came from? Check out Regional Ancestry by Insitome to discover various regional migration stories and more!


The Insight Show Notes — Season 2, Episode 6: Halloween genetics, fact or fiction was originally published in Insitome on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Powered by WordPress