Open thread, 5/26/2013

By Razib Khan | May 26, 2013 2:37 am

Summer is coming!

MORE ABOUT: Open Thread
  • TheBrett

    I almost wish it wasn’t, because our summers are hot and dry. I say “almost” because it’s also when our raspberry bush becomes productive, and it’s had some very good years recently.

  • Karl Zimmerman

    I was thinking the other day about a Madagascar. I have a hypothesis, and I wondered if genetic evidence might eventually prove it.

    Something which has never made sense about Madagascar to me is why people in the lowlands are predominantly of Bantu descent. The settlers from Borneo seem to have had the island to themselves for roughly a millennium. This should have been more than enough time to establish themselves in high population densities, so that the later migrants from mainland Africa only comprised a minority of genetics.

    But that’s not what happened. Instead, there is an apparent lowland-to-highland geographic gradient, with the highlands more Southeast Asian, and the lowlands more African. This is even the case in coastal areas like the Southeast, where they clearly built up populations of some density. It’s almost as if the ancestors of the Merina and the like abandoned the lowlands.

    What I wonder is if the Bantu introduced some nasty tropical diseases into the lowlands, which were not there before. For example, Madagascar is now an area where Plasmodium falciparum is endemic. Was it always? I don’t know besides humans what other vectors Malaria would have in Madagascar.

    Even if it was already endemic, it could be an example of natural selection – Africans had malarial resistance which Asians lacked, and it caused the slow selection of the African minority in the lowlands until they became the majority. This would explain how they became genealogically dominant even though they didn’t keep their native tongues.

    • razibkhan

      interesting. do you have good citations on malagasy history? the english language stuff is thin… (i don’t speak french)

  • Robert Ford
    • razibkhan

      rebuttal to what? i used to talk about risch in the early 2000s.

      • Robert Ford

        just to coates’ 2nd piece in general.

  • marcel proust

    Summer is coming

    No indication of that in northern New England.

    Current forecast for overnight Sunday night (5/26-27) is for “patchy frost” between 4AM and 8AM Monday morning.

  • Robert Ford

    yes, there are a lot of Good People in the comments section there. i wish i could be as perfect as them.

  • razibkhan

    Obviously many people who write about this topic do not adopt a uniform prior.



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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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