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    Every now and then a bizarre character named Alistair Moffat comes on my radar. I presume he's famous in Britain, but I don't know much about him. Except that is he is keen on making the most bizarre pronouncements. A lot of the Debunking Genetic Astrology website is devoted to tackling Moffat's mischief. There's an...
  • Just a warning about the hair/eye color data from that FSI Genetics study:

    “Notably red hair in the Polish population and green eye colour in the Irish population were intentionally enriched due to their rare occurrence, therefore both phenotypes do not reflect natural population frequencies.”

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  • no more posting on greek hair color. it’s not that important. if you object that it is, i will ban you.

    also, Greeks on average look closer to Levantines in phenotype than they do to the Irish, this is 100 percent fact.

    1) i agree greeks look closer to levantines, but you sound stupid when you say

    2) “this is 100 percent fact”

    (though english may be second language here)

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  • Google image search Greek people and the vast majority of the people shown in would not considered blond haired in Latin America and MENA or even Italy. And we all know how the definition of blond is those places is more broad than in Northern Europe.

    Remember Clint Eastwood was referred to as blond haired in Italian Spaghetti Western films, even though by Northern European standards he would not be seen as blond.

    My point is that John Stamos very very very dark hair is way more among Greeks than Clint Eastwood’s lighter shade of brown hair that is often mistaken for blond outside of Northern Europe.

    Images of Greek people who’s hair is so dark that no one in South America for example, would ever mistake them for blondes.http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-brlCoXDy_Y8/UhlzTDnCTPI/AAAAAAAAJCM/SBLpMPPppB4/s1600/500full.jpghttp://farm7.static.flickr.com/6160/6174469151_2b9aba8675.jpghttp://img.xcitefun.net/users/2008/11/16157,xcitefun-john-dostana.jpg

    Greeks on average look closer to Levantines in phenotype than they do to the Irish, this is 100 percent fact. The average Greek hair color is closer to the hair color of the average Israeli/Lebanese, this is 100 percent fact.

    The only people who think the Greek on average are indistinguishable from the Irish in phenotype, are people who think George Zimmerman for example looks “White”.

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  • RE: Greek hair color,

    Here are some of the raw numbers:

    Total number in Greek sample: 119

    Dark brown hair: 49

    Black hair: 11

    Blond: 11

    Dark blond/light brown: 45

    http://www.fsigenetics.com/article/S1872-4973(12)00181-0/fulltext

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  • @Jefferson
    "For both the Irish and Greek set, hair colour was classified into 7 categories: blond (5.9%), light-brown (34%), dark-brown (45.2%), auburn (5.7%), blond-red (1.3%), red (2.2%), and black (5.7%)"

    10 percent of people in Ireland are gingers, not 1 percent.

    According to Carleton S. Coon, 25 percent of Greeks have black hair and another 50 percent of Greeks have the darkest shade of brown hair possible.
    http://dienekes.awardspace.com/texts/coongreeks/

    That is a whopping 75 percent of Greeks who would never be mistaken for being blonde in Mexico for example. That is 75 percent of Greeks who would never be called guero/guera haired in Mexico.

    “For both the Irish and Greek set, hair colour was classified into 7 categories: blond (5.9%), light-brown (34%), dark-brown (45.2%), auburn (5.7%), blond-red (1.3%), red (2.2%), and black (5.7%)”

    10 percent of people in Ireland are gingers, not 1 percent.

    In the study, red hair is divided into the following shades: aubern (5.7), blond-red (1.3), and red (2.2). 5.7 plus 1.3 plus 2.2 equals 9.2.

    According to Carleton S. Coon, 25 percent of Greeks have black hair and another 50 percent of Greeks have the darkest shade of brown hair possible.

    http://dienekes.awardspace.com/texts/coongreeks/

    Dueling sources. Is anyone here qualified to adjudicate?

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  • @29 Don’t worry bro, you’re covered. This blonde, blue-eyed man has over 400 kids.

    http://www.newsweek.com/genetic-lessons-prolific-sperm-donor-75467

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  • “For both the Irish and Greek set, hair colour was classified into 7 categories: blond (5.9%), light-brown (34%), dark-brown (45.2%), auburn (5.7%), blond-red (1.3%), red (2.2%), and black (5.7%)”

    10 percent of people in Ireland are gingers, not 1 percent.

    According to Carleton S. Coon, 25 percent of Greeks have black hair and another 50 percent of Greeks have the darkest shade of brown hair possible.

    http://dienekes.awardspace.com/texts/coongreeks/

    That is a whopping 75 percent of Greeks who would never be mistaken for being blonde in Mexico for example. That is 75 percent of Greeks who would never be called guero/guera haired in Mexico.

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    • Replies: @syonredux

    “For both the Irish and Greek set, hair colour was classified into 7 categories: blond (5.9%), light-brown (34%), dark-brown (45.2%), auburn (5.7%), blond-red (1.3%), red (2.2%), and black (5.7%)”

    10 percent of people in Ireland are gingers, not 1 percent.
     
    In the study, red hair is divided into the following shades: aubern (5.7), blond-red (1.3), and red (2.2). 5.7 plus 1.3 plus 2.2 equals 9.2.

    According to Carleton S. Coon, 25 percent of Greeks have black hair and another 50 percent of Greeks have the darkest shade of brown hair possible.
    http://dienekes.awardspace.com/texts/coongreeks/
     
    Dueling sources. Is anyone here qualified to adjudicate?
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  • #33, survival to reproduction is pretty much baked into the cake of selection coefficients. that’s why often want to look at # of grandchildren to evaluate fitness. IOW, yes, no shit. (you should be able to track this with scandinavian church records actually)

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  • Sexual selection for blue eyes does not require that the blue-eyed have more children. Consider this scenario: A society where survival to adulthood is based on quality of paternal investment. Beautiful women pair up with the best providers, ugly women pair up with the worst. All of the couples produce the same number of offspring but only the power couples are able to bring most of theirs to adulthood. The children of the ugly women go hungry often and in the end few make it.

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  • Getting off the plane in Glasgow, the very first person I saw standing at the end of the causeway had fiery red hair, and my thought was: way to live up to expectations, Scotland. What I didn’t expect though, and what I noticed over the coming days, was the dirth of blondes. Scotland differed markedly from my experience in the Midwest, where blondes and redheads seem always interwoven in the population. In Scotland, there were whole crowds where it seemed everyone had either red or black hair.

    The big five polymorphisms for MC1R are Asp294H (rs1805009), Arg151Cys (rs1805007), Arg160Trp (rs1805008), and the two Vals: Val92Met, and Val60Leu.

    Val60 is interesting because it’s associated with blond hair, not red, and yet it interacts with the red hair alleles when lined up across from them.

    My own theory is that Val60 has a low frequency among fringe Celts, thus you don’t get the compound heterozygotes that are phenotypically blond. In places like Sweden, Poland, and Germany, Val60 is much more common, and thus the classic 3 red-hair alleles are fairly likely to end up expressed as blond hair, if they’re paired across from a Val60. This is also my personal theory as to why so many families here in the US will alternate red and blond from one generation to the next, with nary a wildtype thrown in the bunch. The compound heterozygotes are segregating out again in the next generation.

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  • “It shouldn’t be that hard to judge whether blue eyed individuals have more sexual partners, or are more fertile, than their co-ethnics.”

    Sexual selection operates on one sex at a time. Frost’s theory is that it was operating on women. So blue eyed (white) men having higher reproductive fitness would be a refutation of the only serious theory. Evidence so far is weak but it seems to be that light hair and eye colors are sex linked, with the more unusual ones (red hair or green eyes) being found in women. There is a study which was looking for something else but found that blue eyed white men have more feminine features; would it be so surprising that blue eyed women have a more feminine hormonal balance.

    Peter Frost says what he thinks the advantage is. Those like Gregory Cochran who have been telling us for years it is for ‘something else’ still can’t say what that something is. But when he published his book he included a photo of a girl with striking green peepers, presumably because they are, er, eyecatching.

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  • Moffatt is not famous in Britain. He just has a monopoly on pseudo-scientific genetics press releases with media-savvy spin, so he easily gets the attention of journalists (and the ire of the writer and readers of this blog).

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  • the post was not about frost’s theory, but moffat’s idiocy. he’s basically saying that selection is happening strongly right now.

    I can anecdotaly refute this. My blue eyes have no succeeded in allowing me to “spread my seed” far and wide across the populace lol. Take that Moffat.

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  • @Jefferson
    "Hair colour is different though with the percentage of Irish samples with dark brown or black hair being 50% which is the same as Greece. Poland is lighter haired than the other two which comes as no surprise."

    Greece is a hell of a lot more than 50 percent dark haired. Greece is one of the least light brown hair/blond countries in Europe.

    The hair color of the average Greek is closer to that of a MENA than it is to the average Northern European.

    Greece is a hell of a lot more than 50 percent dark haired. Greece is one of the least light brown hair/blond countries in Europe.

    The hair color of the average Greek is closer to that of a MENA than it is to the average Northern European.

    The study indicates that that non-black hair is rather common in Greece. Also, MENA is a not terribly useful category, as it includes such disparate populations as Kurds, Egyptians, Turks, etc.

    For both the Irish and Greek set, hair colour was classified into 7 categories: blond (5.9%), light-brown (34%), dark-brown (45.2%), auburn (5.7%), blond-red (1.3%), red (2.2%), and black (5.7%)

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1872497312001810

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  • @Razib Khan
    I might go so far as to say that the fact that the blue eye locus displays one of the highest signals of selection in western Europe actually puts the burden of proof on those that say it is not currently under strong selection.

    if the coefficient is near 0.10, should be detectable i think. if nearer 0.01, probably don't have the sample sizes to detect. then again, if you compare siblings you could probably pick it up.

    then again, if you compare siblings you could probably pick it up.

    Hmm… take a bunch of DZ twin pairs, same gender but different eye color, see if there’s a significant difference in number of children?

    I wonder how many pairs you would need to detect an effect of .036. I can’t run a power analysis from my kindle…

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  • #25, i read cunliffe’s book. it is still possible that celts are from bell beakers, and they picked up iberian ancestry that way. but since that book and the early 2000s Y & mtDNA stuff the autosomal data show that in fact the british are closer to other nothern europeans. the primary european variation in genes is north-south, with a secondary west-east cline. i think it is plausible that a post-ice age wave of hunters moved up the atlantic coast, all the way to scandinavia. but it looks like most of the iberian ancestry is form the ‘first farmers’, and that there was a lot of bronze age tumult across europe genetically.

    it’s complicated :-)

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  • The archaeologist Barry Cunliffe has used Beddoe’s work as offering support for his theories that the Celts are an Atlantic-facing people. Beddoe thought that the dark hair in Ireland and the Gaelic West was partly of Iberian origin. Cunliffe doesn’t repeat any of the nineteenth century “racial science,” but the underlying data on hair and eye color seems to be large and sound for this sort of thing.

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  • So is it now the case fairness is less desirable in modern societies, or is outdated? And it is now the case higher status women will be a little darker in the first world b/c they are out exercising or shopping during the day?

    the vogue for tanning comes and goes. it was bigger in the US in the 70s. the standard explanation is that upper classes have the money & leisure to travel to sunny climates and do lots of outdoors activities outside as adults. in contrast the proletariat worked in factories and got less light. the model is kind dated today, but you get the idea.

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  • mark is right. that region is third longest haplotype at high freq in northern european genome last i recalled.

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  • There is pretty good evidence that selection has acted on the herc2-oca2 derived allele (rs12913832 G – associated with light eye pigmentation) over the last 5,000 years, see:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/111/13/4832.abstract

    They used ancient and modern allele frequency estimates – which is a more direct method of detecting selection than methods based on modern data only. Assuming a recessive mode of inheritance, the best estimate of selection was 0.036.
    If you look in that paper you will see that rs12913832 is more out of HWE in the ancient sample than the modern one, which is consistent with positive assortative mating.
    Still don’t know if it was sexual selection, or selection on some other aspect of pigmentation (i.e. the eye colour as a by-product idea – mentioned above), or something else.
    Regardless, as Razib says: “… in the interests of his personal gain Moffat is making a potential area of scientific inquiry as to the genetics of the British peoples into a farce.”
    Not for the first time!
    Thanks for the excellent piece Razib.

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  • in stratified agricultural societies fairness in women is pretty universally prized. women get darker with pregnancy/age, and high status women are likely to be out of the sun because they don’t work.

    I don’t get this. So is it now the case fairness is less desirable in modern societies, or is outdated? And it is now the case higher status women will be a little darker in the first world b/c they are out exercising or shopping during the day?

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  • I might go so far as to say that the fact that the blue eye locus displays one of the highest signals of selection in western Europe actually puts the burden of proof on those that say it is not currently under strong selection.

    if the coefficient is near 0.10, should be detectable i think. if nearer 0.01, probably don’t have the sample sizes to detect. then again, if you compare siblings you could probably pick it up.

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    • Replies: @toto

    then again, if you compare siblings you could probably pick it up.
     
    Hmm... take a bunch of DZ twin pairs, same gender but different eye color, see if there's a significant difference in number of children?

    I wonder how many pairs you would need to detect an effect of .036. I can't run a power analysis from my kindle...
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  • @Razib Khan
    the post was not about frost's theory, but moffat's idiocy. he's basically saying that selection is happening strongly right now.

    Selection is always happening, but it would be very difficult to know how strong it is until a later time.

    Despite Moffat’s clear idiocy, it is very possible that there is actually a strong selection for blue eyes in the UK today. I might go so far as to say that the fact that the blue eye locus displays one of the highest signals of selection in western Europe actually puts the burden of proof on those that say it is not currently under strong selection.

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  • the post was not about frost’s theory, but moffat’s idiocy. he’s basically saying that selection is happening strongly right now.

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    • Replies: @Bob
    Selection is always happening, but it would be very difficult to know how strong it is until a later time.

    Despite Moffat's clear idiocy, it is very possible that there is actually a strong selection for blue eyes in the UK today. I might go so far as to say that the fact that the blue eye locus displays one of the highest signals of selection in western Europe actually puts the burden of proof on those that say it is not currently under strong selection.
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  • It shouldn’t be that hard to judge whether blue eyed individuals have more sexual partners, or are more fertile . . .” I thought Frost’s theory refers to the period of the last Ice Age, not now.

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  • #15, before HWE biologists kept looking around for 3:1 ratios!

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  • My wife grew up in Iowa. In a high school biology class, where the teacher was explaining genetics, she said that blue eyes and blond hair were recessive traits. My wife questioned that, seeing that a good three-quarters of the class had those traits, and how could something so common be a recessive trait.

    So observing your immediate surroundings isn’t necessarily a reliable guide to how things work.

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  • What I mean is blue eyes are recessive most of the time when mixing with a non blue eyed person.

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  • #12, there’s a lot of genetics on this in things called science journals, so you don’t have to just rely on your own family to prove something. just google herc2-oca2. to a first approximation on a population wide level the recessive model works. but there are a lot of deviations from it. the inheritance of the trait isn’t even totally mendelian.

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  • I have brown eyes, my sister has green eyes, my father has blue eyes, and my mother has brown eyes like me. Blue eyes are recessive since neither me or nor my sister inherited our father’s blue eyes.

    We are all Italian.

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  • “Hair colour is different though with the percentage of Irish samples with dark brown or black hair being 50% which is the same as Greece. Poland is lighter haired than the other two which comes as no surprise.”

    Greece is a hell of a lot more than 50 percent dark haired. Greece is one of the least light brown hair/blond countries in Europe.

    The hair color of the average Greek is closer to that of a MENA than it is to the average Northern European.

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    • Replies: @syonredux

    Greece is a hell of a lot more than 50 percent dark haired. Greece is one of the least light brown hair/blond countries in Europe.

    The hair color of the average Greek is closer to that of a MENA than it is to the average Northern European.
     
    The study indicates that that non-black hair is rather common in Greece. Also, MENA is a not terribly useful category, as it includes such disparate populations as Kurds, Egyptians, Turks, etc.

    For both the Irish and Greek set, hair colour was classified into 7 categories: blond (5.9%), light-brown (34%), dark-brown (45.2%), auburn (5.7%), blond-red (1.3%), red (2.2%), and black (5.7%)
     
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1872497312001810
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  • but I would guess that there is a correlation between blue eyes and fair skin

    yes. if you look at the literature HERC2-OCA2 region has correlations with skin and hair pigmentation. it’s just a much more minor effect in comparison to eye color. at least the variant we’re talking about.

    Interesting if you go back to the very earliest literature you find Europeans having a strongly positive view of the attractiveness of “fair maidens”

    in stratified agricultural societies fairness in women is pretty universally prized. women get darker with pregnancy/age, and high status women are likely to be out of the sun because they don’t work. see peter frost’s fair women, dark men for an excellent lit review on this area. a lot of his stuff is online on this site.

    http://www.unz.com/pfrost/

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “I myself would put my money on it being a side effect of selection for something else”

    My pure speculation, but I would guess that there is a correlation between blue eyes and fair skin. I understand skin colour is linked to the twin evolutionary pressures of dark skin=less skin cancer vs. light skin = more vitamin D. Hence the predominance of fair skin in arctic/sub-arctic regions that get little sunlight (and hence little skin cancer) and the predominance of dark skin in tropical regions that get lots of sunlight (and hence little vitamin D deficiency).

    This evolutionary pressure could of course be accelerated by sexual selection. Interesting if you go back to the very earliest literature you find Europeans having a strongly positive view of the attractiveness of “fair maidens”. Arguably this has reversed now, with the tanned look more popular.

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  • ppl get darker as they age. especially males. it’s standard development. same phenomenon is known for blondism in some australian aboriginal tribes. blondes are women and children.

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  • What about the change of eye and/or hair color after birth ?
    Most europeans are borned blue eyed from what I’ve read.
    In my family my sister was born blonde-blue eyed, I black hair – blue eyes, yet now we’re both brown hair brown eyed.

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  • #3, vocal stupidity is a sin. shut your mouth or i’ll ban you.

    #4, yeah, looking at frequency of herc2-oca2 would have though frequency higher.

    #5, cute kid.

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  • It shouldn’t be that hard to judge whether blue eyed individuals have more sexual partners, or are more fertile, than their co-ethnics.

    Well, JayMan Jr. gets a lot of attention thanks to his blue eyes.

    So, we’ll see… :)

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  • From living in Ireland for the last 33years I would have said the level of “Blue eyes” was a good bit higher then ~50%. It’s rather meaningless stat if they don’t publish the full breakdown as well as what are the defining as “Blue eyes” (specific alleles etc?)

    A thread on Anthrogenica points me to a 2013 study:

    http://www.anthrogenica.com/showthread.php?2131-Hair-and-eye-colour-genetic-study-(Ireland-Greece-and-Poland)-2013

    http://www.fsigenetics.com/article/S1872-4973(12)00181-0/abstract

    (Quote from thread post)


    If I am reading the results correctly, table 1, then Ireland came out with 77% light eyes (blue, green and intermediate) and Poland a bit less at 69% and Greece 24%.

    Hair colour is different though with the percentage of Irish samples with dark brown or black hair being 50% which is the same as Greece. Poland is lighter haired than the other two which comes as no surprise.

    There are different shades of red hair classification (auburn red/brown, blond red and red) and I believe Ireland was 11.50% to Poland’s 8.69% and Greece at 2.5%.

    Moffat made an interesting statement before that Bonnie Prince Charles was really English and not Scottish — based on the Stewart genealogy claiming Breton origin. The thinking going that the Breton’s are really just a bunch of Cornish who fled across the Channel and sure aren’t the Cornish English.

    ergo: Stewarts = Breton’s = Cornish = English — QED

    You can’t make this stuff up tbh. What’s funny though is the company actually tested two Stewart ducal lines so we actually now know the Stewart Y-DNA haplogroup, the problem is the actual facts get lost in the newspaper PR.

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  • @Razib Khan
    #1, your comment is stupid.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aposematism

    an easy way i explain it to you might be that sexual selection theories often emerge as deux ex machina when other models can't be imagined. also, for pigmentation there's a lot of evidence of pleiotry.

    Geez, calm down. Perhaps if you had a religious institution to go to this Sunday morning, you wouldn’t be so angry.

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  • #1, your comment is stupid.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aposematism

    an easy way i explain it to you might be that sexual selection theories often emerge as deux ex machina when other models can’t be imagined. also, for pigmentation there’s a lot of evidence of pleiotry.

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    • Replies: @Hepp
    Geez, calm down. Perhaps if you had a religious institution to go to this Sunday morning, you wouldn't be so angry.
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  • Why do you doubt the beauty hypothesis? It seems that bright colors are attractive across the animal kingdom. I always thought it was pretty incredible that we can understand what makes the peacock’s tail attractive.

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  • The skin color is about right. Not so sure about the eyes (source: Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)). There seems to have been a succession of changes to hair, eye, and skin color within a relatively restricted area of Europe. These changes then spread outward, the changes to eye color being apparently the earliest. Ancient...
  • So now Eastern Europeans had dark skin in the past, too?

    Dr. Frost, I'd love to see your comments on this:

    Dienekes’ Anthropology Blog: Dark pigmentation of Eneolithic and Bronze Age kurgan groups from eastern Europe

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  • ''pet cats have also a large variety of eyes color: green blue yellow…
    what's the explanation?''

    My explanation for this is too simplistic . It would be natural variation . What I 'm trying to understand is how is the mechanism of mutations . We know that most mutations are random , but there is no Lamarckian mechanisms to create potential environmental adaptations then other processes may occur.
    We know that evolution is based on trials, errors and successes . Combinations that are over time diminish the quantity, where the non-adapted types are eliminated by natural selection . But how mutations occur ?
    I think the mutations are as errors of the initial design . Think of an architectural project that over time , during construction will undergoing a transformation of its initial design . Mutations are errors , such as autism , schizophrenia , flat feet , very tall people. The human being is a mutation , a bug in the initial design for primates , which in turn are also bugs of its predecessors . God is apathy , inertia….
    But in a super reality (extreme rational thinking) there not ''errors'' or ''successes''.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Genetiker has no clue what he's talking about.

    Anatolian, Indo-Iranian and Greek are far more important for reconstruction of PIE than Baltic, precisely because they were attested relatively close to the breakup of PIE, which originated on the steppe north of the Black Sea and the Caucasus. Yes, Baltic remained more conservative in some respects than the other branches because of its location. So?

    Paleolithic continuity theories are rubbish, both linguistically and genetically as we conclusively know now.

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  • "It also appears that the changes to hair, eye, and skin color did not happen simultaneously. First came the diversification of eye color and then the diversification of hair color. Parallel to these changes, and extending over a longer time, was the whitening of skin color"

    That may because the highest intensity of sexual selection is required for white skin. Or, white skin may have have spread originally, because it induced care and provisioning.

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  • pet cats have also a large variety of eyes color: green blue yellow…
    what's the explanation?

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  • Anon,

    "This is why the extremely rare northern europeans without the near eastern SLC24A5 allele are not any darker than those having it."

    This is indeed surprising. Can you supply a reference?

    If the derived SLC24A5 allele is of Near Eastern origin, we are faced with a paradox, since it swept to fixation at a time when the Near East was inhabited by people who were not ancestral to Neolithic Middle Easterners.

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  • Barak,

    The derived alleles at three genes — SLC45A2, SLC24A5, and TYRP1 — account for most of the whitening of European skin. The derived allele at SLC24A5 alone accounts for 25 to 40% of the skin color difference between Europeans and West Africans. If we limit ourselves to the difference between white skin and ancestral brown skin, the percentage would be higher.

    But, yes, there is a small residual difference that seems to be due to other genes, apparently many different genes of small effect. Could these small-effect genes provide an alternate evolutionary pathway to white skin? Unlikely, since the selection pressure that would have mobilized all of those small-effect genes would have also mobilized some large-effect genes. Where are those large-effect genes? Or have they completely (and conveniently) disappeared?

    Again, what difference does it make to you whether La Brana was brown, white, or unknown? You seem to be arguing that present-day Europeans are white because they are mostly descended from Middle Eastern farmers who had become white in the Middle East. So what is the relevance of this alternate (and hypothetical) evolutionary pathway towards white skin?

    I'm just trying to understand your argument. (And please don't use caps. I can read lower-case letters).

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    @PFrost

    "It's not clear to me why you feel it's important that the Mesolithic hunter-gatherers of Western Europe were light-skinned."

    It's not if they were. They must have been at one point. It's *when* the change occurred.

    "they must have become light-skinned through a very different suite of genetic changes. They thus tell us nothing about the evolution of white skin among the ancestors of present-day Europeans."

    or if it was Neanderthal admixture then maybe it tells us a lot.

    .

    @anon

    "This is why the extremely rare northern europeans without the near eastern SLC24A5 allele are not any darker than those having it. The fact that these people have never been seen is of no consequence. Lack of evidence is not evidence of lacking."

    If correct they will have been seen just not noticed as such.

    .

    "Light eyes and light skin and light hair go together. Modern people with light eyes also have the lightest skin and lightest hair. This fact is clearly undeniable evidence that the first people with light eyes also had light skin. Haven't you seen the statistics on this? They even go back to the 18 and 1900s, and come from places like Germany."

    Hair, skin and eye colors do *tend* to follow patterns most of the time which as they are the result of varying levels of depigmentation is not too surprising as there may be *additive* effects.

    Secondly there is an odd distribution: more blond and blue to the northeast, more red and green to the northwest. There is no explanation for this distribution from the current model

    .

    "Heck, northeast asians have light skin too, and they don't even have the light eyes and hair yet."

    Quite. They don't have light hair and eyes. So why do Europeans?

    .

    "When the farmers moved in, they brought their own middle eastern light skin genes, but they just coincidentally drifted to 100% frequency. They have virtually no effect on skin coloration in people already carrying the mesolithic european skin lightening genes."

    Iodine – among other things.

    .

    Even if La Brana was brown it still asks as many questions as answers.

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  • Actually, we can also correlate the many different instinctive behaviors (brain hardwiring) of dogs of different breed, with the many different coat colors (melanocytes patterns derived from neural crest) and shape of dogs breeds (also mostly neural crest for the face).
    Maybe it's just a coincidence, but at least it's consistent with the hypothesis that when brain functions coding for behaviors are modified, visible developmental features coming from neural crest derivatives, in particular melanocyte migration, are also modified.
    So that perhaps it means that it is difficult to touch one without touching the other.

    I have the example of my two dogs, one has a retriever behavior, the other a herding behavior. The farm dog actually bites the other dog to the leg like he was regrouping a sheep. The retriever is black and the farm boy is white, but I doubt that the humans who bred the dogs for their specific behaviors cared much for the coat color. To me, it came as a side effect of the behavior selection.

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  • Neoteny means that other characters, beside those immediately visible, may display youthful characteristics.
    It would be interesting to discuss the following points for white skin/neotenic versus dark/non-neotenic, in a postglacial cool climate situation.

    1) vitamin D availability from a white skin mother to her developing fetus.
    2)How long can they each breast feed. One of my uncle (blond blue eyed) was breast fed until he was ten.
    3)Age of first menarche, menopause, Andropause and general longevity of the types.
    4)If the cerebral development of the neotenic fetus/infant is prolonged, that means profound differences in cognitive features vs non-neotenic.
    5)Also, the retina is basically a outgrowth of the brain while the melanocytes and part of the facial bone structure are produced from neural crest, i.e., you touch them, you touch the development of the brain and vice versa.

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  • Do not stop to think whether European rivers of Central Europe were major vectors of population dispersion across the continent as well as by mutations?
    Luxembourg appears to be close to the Rhine as far as I know.
    Another hypothesis could be the spread of genes by atlantica and Baltic coast , which together result in , almost pinkish , very clear Celtic fair skin that is present from the north of Portugal ( in more moderate levels ) to Estonia . These Celtic sea genes can be , at least , the phenotype '' '' northern European origin of light skin . If the distribution of light-skinned Celtic took the west – European coasts ( France, the Netherlands , northern Spain ) , why not through England itself ? England was connected to the mainland at that time . This type of skin , typically European , might have initially originated in northern Spain and spread throughout Western Europe and the Baltic coast .
    Or , selection of mutations that result in clear skin , occur in parallel in different regions of the continent or elsewhere . I have the impression that the Slavs are more able to bake your skin to the sun than the British .
    Evolutionary psychology and psychogenetic seem from many very elaborate hypotheses to explain what seems to me not to be too complex to understand . People started to select the clear skin among other attractions, specifically because they were beautiful (they are cute ) . Sexual attraction . Especially it. Relates to neoteny I do not know as well , but even the most manly man , falls in love when you see a puppy or a baby .
    We are externalizing a series of complex assumptions that are based on logical selection patterns . However , we forget that human beings are quintessentially illogical.
    Of course , our brain understands that the most beautiful people tend to be more healthy, intelligent ( not enough already be pretty) and good in bed. What is not necessarily true. We are animals and animals are anthropomorphically illogical beings .
    In the past , the human being was extremely shortsighted , like other animals , the selection process is to give immediate survival because there was no medicine, modern life etc. .

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Alright, I just looked back over everything barakobama has been saying. So, now I am pretty convinced. You can't really argue with that kind of proof.

    There are some unknown causes to Europeans having light skin and La Brana-1 and Loschbour had them. Most northern europeans today also have them. This is why the extremely rare northern europeans without the near eastern SLC24A5 allele are not any darker than those having it. The fact that these people have never been seen is of no consequence. Lack of evidence is not evidence of lacking.

    Light eyes and light skin and light hair go together. Modern people with light eyes also have the lightest skin and lightest hair. This fact is clearly undeniable evidence that the first people with light eyes also had light skin. Haven't you seen the statistics on this? They even go back to the 18 and 1900s, and come from places like Germany.

    Heck, northeast asians have light skin too, and they don't even have the light eyes and hair yet. So clearly the skin comes first, then the hair and eyes. So if early european hunter gatherers had light eyes, then it is clear that they also had the difficult to detect alleles for light skin.

    When the farmers moved in, they brought their own middle eastern light skin genes, but they just coincidentally drifted to 100% frequency. They have virtually no effect on skin coloration in people already carrying the mesolithic european skin lightening genes.

    The fact that these genes haven't been discovered yet is just more proof that they exist. How else can you explain the fact that La Brana-1 and Loschbour might have probably had them?

    Wake up people! Do you not even read the previous posts?! Facts are facts and proof is proof! We don't have a time machine, so how could anyone really know?! Please argue with me!

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  • "Peter what I have been saying is there are some UNKNOWN causes to Europeans have light skin and La Brana-1 and Loschbour had them."

    I meant may have had them.

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  • Peter what I have been saying is there are some UNKNOWN causes to Europeans have light skin and La Brana-1 and Loschbour had them. I have given you prove more than a gazillion times that these mutations are near eastern not European. You and others center these mutations around Europeans and ignore their equal presence in near easterns(SLC45A2-).

    To me La Brana-1 and Loschbour's skin color is unknown. Because I don't believe every mutation that causes light skin in Europe has been discovered. I see it as more likely they had dark skin, but I have no idea what shade it would be. I would guess it was a deep shade of brown like in south Asians and native Americans. There are so many possibilities though and that is why I think it is unknown what skin color they had and don't like to make assumptions which could be incorrect. I really dis agree with this thread which says a little less brown, I think you assume the science of skin color is totally figured out. I am sure the few Europeans without the near eastern mutation in gene SLC24A5 are not any darker skinned than other people in their population.

    I have listed the reasons many times why dark skin in Mesolithic (west)Europeans is not constant with many statics in modern people.

    I think the way to come closest to figuring out the pigmentation history of Europe and how La brana-1, Loschbour, and Stuttgart are connected is to take all the info you can from those old anthropologist from the 1800's and early 1900's. Also serious modern studies on pigmentation and the genes would be even better. I have noticed that dark skin is not very uncommon in north-west Europeans and many can tan very well. I can name quite a few who were born literally with brown skin(most though have dark brown eyes). I wonder if they are missing some of the near eastern light skin mutations which could have become dominate through natural selection. Maybe there are many random brown skinned people in north Europe because of the higher amount of Mesolithic ancestry. But what is strange is that there are probably more brown skinned people in south Europe.

    We must be talking about a different KITLG mutations because the maps I saw showed they are 100% in Papuans. You should not assume that ever gene connected with skin color has been discovered.

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  • Please leave out the "Aryan" stuff. There are other blogs for that sort of thing.

    Barak,

    It's not clear to me why you feel it's important that the Mesolithic hunter-gatherers of Western Europe were light-skinned. As you argue yourself, they must have become light-skinned through a very different suite of genetic changes. They thus tell us nothing about the evolution of white skin among the ancestors of present-day Europeans.

    Barak and others,

    The light-skin KITLG allele is confined to lighter-skinned Eurasian populations. On the range map, I see populations from Iran and Afghanistan, but nothing from the Indian subcontinent. There are also two points from PNG and Melanesia. The last two cases seem unusual, although there is considerable skin color variability in both régions. Yes, there are relatively light-skinned Papuans. I don't think this information invalidates the role of this derived allele in lightening skin color.

    Genetiker,

    I'm confused by your comment. Are you saying that the La Brana individual had the derived light-skin allele at KITLG? My reading of the paper is that it had the ancestral allele, i.e., for dark skin.

    By definition, "steppe-tundra" exists only on open plains. It's not just a matter of vegetation. It's also topography. For most of the last ice age, the South and West of Europe had a mixture of park tundra and boreal forest.

    Nor am I saying that the humans on the steppe-tundra were cordoned off from humans elsewhere in Europe. There was probably a succession of demic expansions out of that region and into the rest of Europe, as well as into the Middle East.

    Since I am held responsible for the comments on my blog, and since I don't use a pseudonym, I reserve the right to delete comments that use offensive terminology.

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  • Davidski,

    It would not be surprising to see influences from Uralic languages in parts of the Baltic region given the high frequencies of N there. That doesn't change the well-known fact that Baltic languages are closer to the original Aryan languages than Slavic languages. The Wikipedia article on Lithuanian states that

    "The Lithuanian language is often said to be the most conservative living Indo-European language, retaining many features of Proto-Indo-European now lost in other Indo-European languages."

    This page says that

    "Lithuanian… is the most archaic among all the Indo-European languages spoken today, and as a result it is very useful, indeed, indispensable in the study of Indo-European linguistics."

    And this page says that

    "Lithuanian has been an especially important language for scholars seeking to reconstruct the Proto-Indo-European tongue because Lithuanian appears to be strikingly conservative in its grammar and its acquisition of vocabulary. The language has changed remarkably little in perhaps 7,000 years. (Some scholars point out–only half in joke–that a Lithuanian peasant can often understand simple phrases in Sanskrit.) For whatever mysterious reason, this language preserves some very old features which have disappeared from practically all the other languages of the Indo-European language family."

    The fact that there's no link between R1b and the Kurgan cultures tells us nothing about what language R1b men spoke, or whether the Kurgan hypothesis is correct.

    You say that there's no evidence that Western European hunter-gatherers spoke Aryan languages. What you don't seem to get is that there's no direct evidence for what language any prehistoric people spoke, anywhere on earth, and there never will be any. The languages spoken by prehistoric peoples can only be determined by inference, and inference tells us that R1b men spoke centum Aryan languages just as certainly as it tells us that R1a men spoke satem Aryan languages.

    It's not the high level of the Nordic component in the globe13 analysis that indicates that La Braña 1 was predominantly Aryan, it's the high level of Indianid component in the globe4 analysis, and the high level of the Aryan Nordic component in the MDLP World-22 analysis. The high level of the Indianid component tells us that La Braña 1 had DNA in common with Amerindians, and we know that the Caucasoid admixture in Amerindians is from Y Q proto-Aryan males. The Aryan Nordic component which is modal for La Braña 1 was also modal for Mal'ta 1 and Afontova Gora 2, both of which had Aryan or proto-Aryan Y chromosomes. The map for the Aryan Nordic component shows that it goes down into India, so we know that it was carried by Aryans. And note that the Aryan Nordic component peaks in Latvians and Lithuanians, which is consistent with the unique status of the Baltic languages as being the most conservative.

    You again mention the Russian genomes. You failed to comprehend that those genomes cannot disprove the presence of Aryan languages elsewhere in Europe at the same, or at earlier times.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    If we are just throwing out ideas, then how about pale skin and hair were selected because it allowed people to very quickly check themselves and each other for ectoparasites?

    In the warmer regions, people can just leisurely check themselves any time of the day, or anytime they feel something. In northern regions, people wear lots of clothing where bugs can hide, and they have to wear those clothes all day for much of the year. Only briefly could they be removed in the coldest winter months.

    The ability to see fleas and ticks quickly and in very low light (such as inside around a fire) might be extremely advantageous.

    This ability would be especially useful when people began keeping domesticated animals (and opportunistic rodents) in and near their homes. The farmers and herders moving into the coldest regions would benefit most from light skin and hair for this reason. If multiple waves of deadly rat/flea/tick transmitted pathogens swept through an area, then selection would be rapid.

    The hunter gatherers wouldn't have benefitted from light features as much, because they didn't store grain or live with domestic animals besides dogs. The fact that domestic animals also have strange pigmentation might be via a similar mechanism.

    When the need to hide is removed, evolution favors alternative coloration. Large changes in pigmentation on a single animal (such as black and white spots on cows or goats) or variable coloration within sibling groups prevents the parasites from adapting, while allowing them to be easily seen by birds, or people.

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  • You know, on my way to work I came to idea being an addendum to the "sexual selection" theory of white skin and blue eyes appearance.

    In warmer areas 12 year old child can essentially live partially on its own. 14 year old child can go and gather food.

    On the other hand, in colder areas 14 year-old boy has dim chances of succeeding in hunting.

    Therefore, it would seem to be advantageous for young boys to appear "young", so they a) evoke maternal/paternal feelings form olders b) do not seem like a threat to older men c) therefore, have larger chances to survive a prolonged period of dependency on others for providing food.

    Does that make sense? I mean in context that paler skin and hair is often associated with children.

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  • You didn't watch the video I linked to, did you?

    The Baltic region has non-Indo-European substrate influences (potentially linked to the high frequency of N1c there), and the only part of the world where they are lacking is the forest steppe of what is now Russia (where R1a peaks at over 70%).

    Moreover, at the moment there's nothing tying R1b to the Kurgan cultures. It might have initially been a marker of related ANE-derived groups like the Bell Beakers, Tyrrhenian language speakers, Hurrians and/or Kura-Araxes people, before being Indo-Europeanized in Central Europe during the Bronze Age. We'll see.

    And there's certainly no evidence that the hunter-gatherers of Western Europe spoke anything close to Indo-European. You just pulled that out of the proverbial, because for some odd reason you think that anyone with a high level of the "North European" component must be an Indo-European.

    Unfortunately, I've got a feeling we'll be seeing a lot more champagne humor like this from you over the coming months, but not for much longer than that, because those ancient genomes from Russia are on the way.

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  • Davidski,

    I never said anything about Loschbour.

    You forgot to mention that the Kurgan people had blue eyes. La Braña 1 also had blue eyes, and the Y Q proto-Aryan ancestors of Amerindians carried the blue eyes allele of rs12913832 too.

    You assume that blond hair and fair skin were universal traits among Aryans, and that they were universal going all the way back to 8,000 years ago. You have no grounds for such an assumption. The Mal'ta genome shows that proto-Aryans originally had none of these traits.

    Your insistence that only R1a men spoke Aryan languages is a load of Slavocentric nonsense. It's as clear as can be that R1b men spoke centum languages and that R1a men spoke satem languages.

    It was only the Mediterranean agriculturalists that didn't speak Aryan languages. The Aryan Nordic hunter-gatherers that were there first and whom they partially displaced did speak them. What the linguists have seen as substrates is in fact just the influence of the languages of the Mediterranean immigrants on those of the Nordic natives. The languages of the northeast show the least influence from the Mediterranean languages because the northeast was the last place to receive Mediterranean immigration, and it received the least of it. The Baltic languages, and not the Slavic languages, remain the closest to the original Aryan languages, because the Baltic areas received even less Mediterranean immigration than the Slavic areas, and received it later.

    The genomes of Copper Age Russians might prove that they were R1, but they will of course not prove that Copper Age Western Europeans weren't also R1.

    The Y haplotype of La Braña 1 has no bearing on his autosomal DNA, and the degree to which that DNA is shared with modern Europeans.

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  • Anonymous Nordic man is from the tropics, what? This is a joke right? Nordic stands for Denmark, Sweden, Norway. The language formed I think the iron age it is not a distinct race.

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  • genetiker,

    Thanks for the comedy relief, but if La Brana and Loschbour were so called Aryans, then why didn't they have the same markers for blond hair, fair skin and R1a as the Kurgan people from South Siberia?

    Secondly, obviously there were no Indo-Europeans in Europe during the Neolithic, because Neolithic people didn't speak Indo-European languages, but they did leave traces of their non-Indo-European languages everywhere except the southern Russian steppe and forest steppe. See here at 28:45…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFZhWfL0ocY&list=PLAXoDomeFLX90fTHi0W8lYBtEoZHSBH2i&index=13

    So the steppe theory is doing better than ever, and should be confirmed with the first Copper Age genome from Russia. La Brana was just a close Mesolithic cousin of the so called Aryans, who left very few direct descendants in Europe, unlike the so called Aryans.

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  • The original home of Nordic man is in the Tropics:

    http://i.imgur.com/PGzhdgF.jpg

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  • I never said anything about F.

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  • I consider what others say and look at it myself and sometimes agree. How do you explain such a basal form of Y DNA F in Europe? People used to say that about Y DNA C-V20 and now we know it is pre-Neolithic.

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  • Stop regurgitating Maciamo's crap and learn to think for yourself.

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  • "Aryans were the Y R1 and mt U inhabitants of Upper Paleolithic Europe.

    They spoke languages ancestral to the Aryan (Indo-European) languages that we know today.

    And they had their own distinctive set of religious beliefs."

    That's just a hypothesis. Your generalizing mtDNA U and RO has been found in Upper Palaeolithic Europe. Y DNA I, C-V20, and F-96 were likely the main haplogroups of Mesolithic Europeans. R1a I think likely existed in far eastern Europe and central Asia(with a related MA-1 like people).

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  • Aryans were the Y R1 and mt U inhabitants of Upper Paleolithic Europe.

    They spoke languages ancestral to the Aryan (Indo-European) languages that we know today.

    And they had their own distinctive set of religious beliefs.

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  • Sorry, I mispelled Aryan.

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  • My analyses of the La Braña 1 genome indicate that La Braña 1 was autosomally predominantly Aryan

    How do you define "Ayran?"

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  • I don't use PC terminology or David Reich's ridiculous neologisms.

    No apologies.

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  • Mammoth steppe is a synonym for steppe-tundra. During the LGM, from 25 to 15 ka, the north was steppe-tundra and the south was forest steppe.

    See this page.

    It says that

    "Ice sheets covered northern Europe and Scandinavia. Most of the rest of northern Europe resembled semi-desert, with a mixture of tundra and grassland elements (steppe-tundra). In southern Europe, vegetation resembled a semi-desert steppe, with scattered pockets of trees in moist areas."

    For other time periods, see this page. On the maps there you'll see "dry steppe" instead of "forest steppe".

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  • Which KITLG mutation was La Brana-1 missing? How did you gene get his raw data?

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  • Genetiker your admixtures are interesting but why do you give labels like Aryan? What is Aryan no one really knows. The Amerdian in La Brana-1 may really be ANE ancestry and his Meditreaen farmer ancestry.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    @genetiker

    "And you can't cordon off the northeast from the rest of Europe. For most of the Upper Paleolithic, the whole of Europe was steppe, not just the northeast."

    Wasn't it that most of Europe was part of the mammoth steppe with a southern forest zone?

    http://img571.imageshack.us/img571/6525/7dt9.png

    (although the forest zone doesn't include Luxembourg the two ecozones might have had different selection pressures on phenotype i guess.)

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    "The Mesolithic hunter-gatherers from Spain and Luxembourg thus seem to have belonged to a population that was peripheral to the evolution of white skin and multi-hued hair and eyes."

    Interesting thought.

    .

    @anon

    very interesting.

    I think some of Razib Khan's posts mentioned KITLG mostly effecting hair color but I may have misremembered it.

    hair color site:scienceblogs.com/gnxp

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  • You're confused Peter. The KITLG SNP for which Veddoids and their Caucasoid and Mongoloid descendants have the derived allele is rs642742. That SNP is missing in the La Braña 1 genome. It was another KITLG SNP, rs12821256, that was found to have the ancestral allele.

    And you can't cordon off the northeast from the rest of Europe. For most of the Upper Paleolithic, the whole of Europe was steppe, not just the northeast.

    My analyses of the La Braña 1 genome indicate that La Braña 1 was autosomally predominantly Aryan, and that the Kurgan hypothesis is therefore false.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Peter – The most surprising—though least commented on—finding is that this Mesolithic hunter-gatherer had the ancestral allele for KITLG.
    "barakobama" – I have heard that the light skin mutation in gene KITLG is most popular in literally black or dark brown skinned Papuans.
    Yes the derived allele is also at fixture for Oceanians and almost certainly in Australian Aborigines.

    See – http://openi.nlm.nih.gov/detailedresult.php?img=2685456_pgen.1000500.g004&req=4 for a figure showing the derived KITLG allele at 100%, fixture, in Papuans (as in Europeans)while slightly lower frequencies in East Asians.

    A lot seems to have been made of Europeans and East Asians sharing the derived alleles… but if southern South Asians and Papuans who are essentially as dark as West Africans also share the derived allele, how much can it explain?

    Papuans and Australian Aboriginal people (and other isolated "black" peoples like the Andamanese) seem like a really good check for a lot of pigmentation genetics. They participate in most of the allele sweeps that set all Eurasians apart from Africans and most of the allele sweeps that set East Asians apart from Africans (and Europeans to a lesser extent), yet have as dark skin as Africans.

    I red an interesting article on pigmentation genetics this week -http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1113066376/rock-pigeon-pigmentation-human-medical-research-020714/

    "A team of American researchers has discovered mutations in three genes that determine feather color in domestic rock pigeons, according to a new study in Current Biology. The same genes direct the pigmentation of human skin – meaning the findings may have implications for medical research. …

    The study team learned that coding and regulatory distinctions in the interactions among the genes Tyrp1, Sox10 and Slc45a2 affect multiple color phenotypes, or appearances, in pigeons. In one instance, scientists learned that a “reddish” mutation in Tyrp1 arose just once and was spread all through the species by selective mating. Different forms of Tyrp1 make pigeons blue-gray, red or brown.

    Variations of Sox10 make pigeons red, regardless of what form Tyrp1 takes, the researchers found. Also, Slc45a2 makes the pigeons’ colors either very strong or look washed out."

    The paper can be seen here http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(14)00021-9#ResultsandDiscussion

    In the population of pigeons, the Tyrp1 variants look to be of similar effect in lightening as the SLC45a2 variants, but biased towards reducing black rather than red pigment.

    Sox10 is an interesting gene, because it isn't selected for general human pigment variation and mutations seem to result ina condition called Waardenburg Syndrome that is responsible for most blue eyed, dark skinned people that presently exist on earth.

    Note – although it is hard to judge, when the very striking dark skin, light blue eyes phenotype does occur, it seems it isn't actually because of "European blue eyes" alleles combining with dark skin alleles (as we might naively suggest), just a mutation in Sox10, leading to Waardenburg Syndrome.

    http://tinyurl.com/pvrszfs for some people with Waardenburg Syndrome, showing how it can result in the dark skin, light eyes combination (many show characteristic some characteristic facial dysmorphology as well, perhaps because this gene has a wide role in more processes than most of the pigment genes we know to vary in humans).

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  • The pic is down.

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  • There is no such thing as white(light) skin genes. There are genes associated with light skin in Europeans. The three main ones are JUST AS POPULAR IN NEAR EASTERNS AS IN EUROPEANS except for the one in gene SLC45A2 which is still around 50% in near easterns.

    There are other factors to creating light skin in Europe. How do you explain skin color difference between northern and southern Europeans and how do you explain skin color differences between southern Europeans and near easterns if they all have these genes?

    I have heard that the light skin mutation in gene KITLG is most popular in literally black or dark brown skinned Papuans. People confuse west Eurasian with European and east Eurasian with east Asian. European is not a race it gets so annoying when people assume it is. Europeans and east Asians having common ancestors 30,000 years ago, what? Isn't MA-1 and multiple mtDNA U samples from Europe that are over 30,000 years old, and 40,000 year old mtDNA B sample in China good enough evidence to prove their common ancestors lived much longer ago?

    Another bad assumption you make Peter is that these mutations can perfectly predict skin color. We don't know who was darker skinned La Brana-1 or Loschbour. You should say I think one was darker than the other.

    All we know is that both la Brana-1 and Loschbour probably had black hair and light eyes. The skin color is unknown. A good guess would be dark but there is also a good chance no one has discovered the real cause for European light skin.

    When someone finds a light haired Mesolithic Russian missing the so called European light skin genes, I will say I told you so.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Peter – The most surprising—though least commented on—finding is that this Mesolithic hunter-gatherer had the ancestral allele for KITLG.

    Note that the derived allele is also at fixture for Oceanians and almost certainly in Australian Aborigines.

    See – http://openi.nlm.nih.gov/detailedresult.php?img=2685456_pgen.1000500.g004&req=4 for a figure showing the derived KITLG allele at 100%, fixture, in Papuans (as in Europeans)while slightly lower frequencies in East Asians.

    A lot seems to have been made of Europeans and East Asians sharing the derived alleles… but if southern South Asians and Papuans who are essentially as dark as West Africans also share the derived allele, how much can it explain?

    Papuans and Australian Aboriginal people (and other isolated "black" peoples like the Andamanese) seem like a really good check for a lot of pigmentation genetics. They participate in most of the allele sweeps that set all Eurasians apart from Africans and most of the allele sweeps that set East Asians apart from Africans (and Europeans to a lesser extent), yet have as dark skin as Africans.

    I found this an interesting article on pigmentation genetics -http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1113066376/rock-pigeon-pigmentation-human-medical-research-020714/

    "A team of American researchers has discovered mutations in three genes that determine feather color in domestic rock pigeons, according to a new study in Current Biology. The same genes direct the pigmentation of human skin – meaning the findings may have implications for medical research. …

    The study team learned that coding and regulatory distinctions in the interactions among the genes Tyrp1, Sox10 and Slc45a2 affect multiple color phenotypes, or appearances, in pigeons. In one instance, scientists learned that a “reddish” mutation in Tyrp1 arose just once and was spread all through the species by selective mating. Different forms of Tyrp1 make pigeons blue-gray, red or brown.

    Variations of Sox10 make pigeons red, regardless of what form Tyrp1 takes, the researchers found. Also, Slc45a2 makes the pigeons’ colors either very strong or look washed out."

    The paper can be seen here http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(14)00021-9#ResultsandDiscussion

    In the population of pigeons, the Tyrp1 look to be of similar effect in lightening as the SLC45a2 variants, but biased towards reducing black rather than red pigment.

    Sox10 is an interesting gene, because it isn't selected for general human pigment variation and mutations seem to result ina condition called Waardenburg Syndrome that is responsible for most blue eyed, dark skinned people that presently exist on earth.

    Note – although it is hard to judge, when the very striking dark skin, light blue eyes phenotype does occur, it seems it isn't actually because of "European blue eyes" alleles combining with dark skin alleles (as we might naively suggest), just a mutation in Sox10, leading to Waardenburg Syndrome.

    http://tinyurl.com/pvrszfs for some people with Waardenburg Syndrome, showing how it can result in the dark skin, light eyes combination (many show characteristic some characteristic facial dysmorphology as well, perhaps because this gene has a wide role in more processes than most of the pigment genes we know to vary in humans).

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  • Venus of Willendorf (30,000 – 27,000 BP). Is that a special headdress … or peppercorn hair? (source: Matthias Kabel) Europeans already had blue eyes while still hunter-gatherers. This is what we’ve learned after retrieving ancient DNA from two Mesolithic individuals, one from Luxembourg, dated to 8,000 years ago, and another from Spain, dated to 7,000...
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Newsflash:

    A team of scientists has released a forensic reconstruction of a Mesolithic hunter-gatherer from La Brana, Spain, who also appears to have had blue eyes and brown skin. You can find in on Dienekes' website.

    The face looks unmistakably European. If anything, it looks like a rugged Northern Euro more than a typical person from the Mediterranean.

    In the bald-headed version, he almost looks like Richard Armitage (Deputy Secretary of State under George W. Bush) if he fell asleep on the beach.

    What the evidence seems to suggest is that European cranial and facial traits arose long before typical modern European pigmentation. This is not surprising, as morphology depends on a more complex suite of genes. So the discovery that Mesolithic hunter-gatherers were still pretty dark-complexioned doesn't automatically substantiate the much more tenuous claims of "Negroid" or "Khoisan"-like morphology in various early skeletons – nearly all of which appear to have resulted from sloppy reconstructions and/or active imaginations. Indeed, a study some years ago showed that the Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic Euro skulls said to cluster with African or Australian populations do so mainly because they are less complete than other specimens, and thus cannot provide enough metric data points for accurate analysis.

    People in southern India today have very dark brown skin in combination with features little different from West Asian or European peoples. There's no reason to doubt a similar combination could have prevailed over a much wider geographic range in pre-Neolithic times.

    The same caviat, incidently, applies to speculation about Mesolithic Europeans' hair form in the absence of genetic evidence.

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  • "crazy thought: this figure was made by a close relative of the San tribes."

    that's my thought too

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    crazy thought: this figure was made by a close relative of the San tribes. Lots of cave paintings show high lumbar lordosis, steatopygia and the prominent labia minora that accompany this female population. I dont think this figure is much exaggerated, so I think it's definitely hair, not a cap.

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  • Bored now.

    43%

    Just imagine how many people would have been helped by race – oops – population based medicine if it hadn't been made taboo by the blank slate nonsense.

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  • I'm discussing the "ordinary" concept of race. Instead you are changing the definition.

    You're doing exactly what Sarich and Miele (2004) resorted to when they were cornered. Suddenly "race realism" becomes defining any local population (down to a city or village) as a "race", and so according to them the population from Athens and Copenhagen are seperate "races". Really? Yet throughout the rest of their works they contradict themselves talking of a "White" or "Caucasoid" clustering Europeans together as the "ordinary" concept does. Funny that…

    Like Glasgow (2009) says:

    "But their central and explicit aim is to vindicate the ordinary concept of race, and so they cannot soundly replace ordinary race-talk with some other kind of talk."

    You are doing the exact same here.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    It's entirely tenable.

    You're arguing against a very narrow definition of the word "race." "Race" was also used historically in an exactly analogous way to the way you're using the word "population."

    This is because the blank slate nonsense priests are being forced to retreat from their nonsense ideology – which if you recall was how genetics didn't matter – and are arguing over the terminology of their retreat.

    But anyway, *43%*

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  • I said *race* has no predictive value whatsoever and that no inferences can be drawn from old race concepts, not populations.

    "Races" and populations are not the same. Even Howells who once maintained races were "real" realized this eventually:

    "There are no races, only populations." (Howells, 1995)

    A (breeding) population can be as small as a local tribe, or a village. As Zack (2002) therefore points out if "races = populations" are Northern Irish Protestants a race? Glasgow even adds Amish and "economic classes" such as peasants in Romania to this list.

    See also the "mismatch objection" in Glasgow (2009).

    "For example, Sarich and Miele (2004, 172) judge that the Dogon, Teita, and Bushmen (their terms) are distinctive races, as are people from Athens and
    Copenhagen (p. 210), but most of these groups don’t seem to qualify as races as ordinarily conceived (presumably at least in part because these groups do not have readily identifiable distinctive visible traits). Of course, Sarich and Miele are entitled to use
    the word “race” however they want. But their central and explicit aim is to vindicate the ordinary concept of race, and so they cannot soundly replace ordinary race-talk with some other kind of talk."

    Conclusion:

    "Breeding populations
    either sufficiently match ordinary racial classifications or they do not. If they do not, then populationism falls to the Mismatch Objection. If
    they do, then populationism falls to the Arbitrariness Objection".

    Your position is not tenable.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    @Oliver

    "The drug you posted while "specifically indicated" for African-Americans which it works better for, is not indicated or effective for Sub-Saharan Africans who in folk race concepts are considered "Black" like African-Americans."

    Has it been tested on SSA? If not it won't be specifically indicated for them.

    Your point was that "race" or "population" has no predictive value. It has immense predictive value (depending on how it is defined).

    .

    "African-Americans are not a "race" but a population."

    You're quibbling with a specific definition of race. Historically "race" was often used in an exactly analogous way to "population" referring to populations sub-populations, and even family lines but a very specific definition was used for a brief period of time and that definition is what you are arguing against.

    .

    "So are you now saying African-Americans are not "Black" and are a seperate race to Sub-Saharan Africans?"

    Duh, obviously – same as most regional African groups are different "races" if you use a sensible definition of race i.e. population.

    I agree the historical baggage makes population a better choice of word but if you go around saying race can't predict anything then other people don't know if you mean population *can* predict and (a particular definition of) race *can't* predict or if you're just some blank slate spazz denying genetics.

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  • "Yeah it does."

    African-Americans are not a "race" but a population.

    The drug you posted while "specifically indicated" for African-Americans which it works better for, is not indicated or effective for Sub-Saharan Africans who in folk race concepts are considered "Black" like African-Americans.

    So are you now saying African-Americans are not "Black" and are a seperate race to Sub-Saharan Africans?

    Thanks for proving my point. You obviously haven't given this much thought.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Just to go back to the earlier point it seems to me multiple "Out Of" events make the most sense because there's no need for a population to evolve if it's already adapted to its local environment.

    Assume evolution is
    1) a constant stream of random mistakes
    2) selection pressure from the environment molding those mistakes in an adaptive direction for that region

    If a population A is already reasonably well adapted to region A then there's low selection pressure. The population will still generate lots of random mistakes but there's little or no pressure to *shape* those mistakes in any specific direction.

    The population that will change will be the population that moves from A into a different selective environment.

    So some of A move into region B and become adapted to B.

    Then some of B move into region C and become adapted to C.

    It's these *new* populations that are created by adapting to selective pressure in these new environments who can develop advantages which allow them to have their own "Out Of" event whether it's Out of Arabia or Out of India or wherever.

    .

    So a "C" population spreads around the globe and one segment arrives in a region with a very similar environment to the one they were originally from – even if many thousands of miles away – then they won't need to change much. Whereas a C type population which arrives somewhere very different to the origin would change a lot – maybe into D – and then D could become the new origin for an "Out Of" event which ends up swamping most of C (but not completely).

    So the D population spreads almost everywhere C had spread and one segment in a particular develops further into a population E with an advantage and then E has an "Out Of" event that spreads E and swamping D (but not everywhere).

    etc

    The swamping becoming more regional than global over time as populations specialize to their regional niche.

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  • Although I do think "population" is a more useful term as it scales better i.e. there will be "racial" differences within the same race due to having lived in different regions.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    @Oliver

    "Race" in contrast isn't limited to a single variable, and has no power to predict anything."

    Yeah it does.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isosorbide_dinitrate/hydralazine

    "It is the first race-based prescription drug in the United States."

    "The clinical trial was stopped early because the drug worked so well; it reduced mortality by 43%"

    43%

    Race in the past was used to label discrete boxes whereas because race is a geographical construct it by definition must have fuzzy edges but "race" would predict a great deal relevant to anything that had been geographically constructed e.g. health, medicine, diet etc.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    @Seeba
    "Unmixed EEF was an ancestral WHG-like population that got mixed with basal eurasians."

    Yes,

    EEF = Basal Eurasian + WHG

    (or WHG-like)

    .

    "Genetic diversity is higher in Middle east and is ancestral home to haplogroup I*, not other way around."

    Sure, Europeans didn't spawn out of the ice (although that would have been cool) and all the DNA came from somewhere else at some time or another but the historical question is what proportions came at which time.

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  • "There are no tall people, only clines."

    I know that was sarcasm, but its not the same. Height is a single dimension. "Tall" as a conceptual category is limited to a single variable. While it is still arbitrary (are 5ft 11 people "tall" or 6 ft 3?, where does "tall" begin? etc) inferences can actually be drawn. "Race" in contrast isn't limited to a single variable, and has no power to predict anything. That's why it was abandoned for the single trait approach or clines from the 60's.

    "Race" has been defined via blood groups, craniometry, skin colour, DNA – the list is extensive. Using those different criteria produces different racial classifications.

    http://discovermagazine.com/1994/nov/racewithoutcolor444#.UtyxT9LFLGg

    "As classified by antimalarial genes (or their absence), Swedes are grouped with Xhosas but not with Italians or Greeks."

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  • Anonymous said…

    Yes it does(EEF has WHG admixture).

    Unmixed EEF was an ancestral WHG-like population that got mixed with basal eurasians. Genetic diversity is higher in Middle east and is ancestral home to haplogroup I*, not other way around.

    You have to keep yourself updated very quickly, because there's more additional information being added. so revise your older information. Less and Less Euopean-like middle-eastern populations are starting to look-like.

    Anyways You probably won't believe me, but Talk to people like dinekese, razib khan and david from eurogenes if you don't believe me

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    "There are no races, only clines"

    There are no tall people, only clines.

    .

    "The "race" approach to human biodiversity while obsolete is not even accurate or useful…The exception is traits that are selected by climate"

    Yes. The exception is everything to do with climate and geography and everything that flows from climate and geography like diet.

    .

    "The reason I mentioned this above, is because if an Out of Africa event actually occurred, we should expect to find an abundant of skulls with broad nasal bones (Frost's "old phenotype" Khoisans) in Europe. However we don't."

    This makes sense unless it was mostly coastal in which case most of the remains will be under the sea.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    "The brown ancestors of Europeans were probably Caucasoid Middle Easterns, or Indians (North-Central-South Asia)… The "out of Africa" theory doesn't sit right with me."

    Out of Africa and Out of India (or Arabia or wherever) aren't inconsistent.

    1. Tropics (A)

    2. Out of the tropics (B)

    3. Out of Africa (C)

    4. C spreads around the globe along the coasts

    5. As race is a geographical construct each segment of C now separately evolves to suit the geographical region they ended up in creating populations D, E, F etc in Arabia, India, SE Asia etc and the more successful of these new populations expand *swamping* those bits of C that were less successful – except in refuges like Guinea and Australia.

    6. So C initially spreads everywhere outside of Africa but gets swamped later by regionally evolved D, E and F ending with C almost nowhere except the most remote spots.

    '

    (nb A, B C etc here aren't haplogroups just labels – although if correct the same idea might apply to haplogroups.)

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  • "EEF has no WHG admixture"

    Yes it does.

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