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41ncnodwApL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ My main gripe with Inventing the Individual: The Origins of Western Liberalism, is that I don’t think individualism is a sui generis invention of Western civilization (the author, Larry Siedentop, gives particular pride of place to Western Christianity as the mother and midwife of liberal individualism). It’s hard to generalize about human nature and history without portraying cut-outs, but I’ve contended for over ten years now that basal, constitutive, and modal, human nature is already quite individualistic. Western liberalism is a rediscovery or excavation, not a novel creation.

Yes, as per The Secret of Our Success humans are very social creatures. But ultimately that sociality redounds to individual success (e.g., positional games/status hierarchies take up more time and energy than coordinating to achieve group success). Western civilization’s individualistic ethos is to my mind a reversion to a more primal norm, as dense human living became less constrained by the eternal Malthusian traps of the agrarian civilizations which arose after the Neolithic. Individualism and wealth go hand and hand.

41ezBQHrx7L“Traditional” customs and values which were handed down to early moderns by their ancestors were cultural adaptations to novel ecologies that were the product of dense existence on the Malthusian limit. There may be limitations to the classical evolutionary psychological conception of the “Pleistocene mind,” but I suspect that the emotional importance of friendship and pairbonds between mates existed during that period, and were ubiquitous. I say this because platonic and romantic love don’t seem to be learned in any deep sense, but are naturally evoked out of our cognitive hardware. And yet norms, values, and rituals over the past 10,000 years have constrained the importance of love, because individual interests can sometimes be at cross-purposes with group/social interests. The friendship between Cú Chulainn and Ferdiad should naturally transcend divisions of honor, obligation, and nationality. Yet in early Iron Age Ireland they do not. The dramatic tension at the heart of Romeo and Juliet, or Tristan and Iseult, arises because of the reality that almost everyone can relate to the individuals whose preferences and needs are constrained and thwarted by considerations of family, religion, or ethnicity (the substitution of divine love for most is probably not an equal value substitute, with all due to respect to god).

The_10,000_Year_Explosion_(Cover) Complex societies are a big deal. They’ve changed the genetic makeup and characteristics of humans a fair amount. But cultural evolution is even more plastic, pliable, and adaptive. Human cultures are protean, and rearrange preexistent cognitive furniture in a manner which makes them functional for a particular time and place. Much of this comes together during the Axial Age with the evolution of “higher religion.” These cultural innovations fused multiple strands together into a very robust alloy. Philosophy compelling to the literate castes was deftly interleaved with devotionalist theism which appealed to the masses and proffered fictive kinship, hammered together by mass ritual, and scaffolded in the institutional frameworks of the despotisms and oligarchies of the age.

41YXHblIQEL._SY445_QL70_ I doubt that humans are naturally egalitarian. We strive for excellence, and engage in individual and intergroup competition. But our penchant for rank and status exhibits constraint and moderation. Humans are social apes, and if an “alpha male” gets too big for his britches, then a coalition of subordinate males is likely to topple him. I presume this sort of equilibrating system operated for most of the Pleistocene…but things began to change during the Holocene. Big men became despots. Peter Turchin has argued in UltraSociety that the despotisms of the Bronze Age were unstable, with the consequences for toppling catastrophic. Universal religion, which allowed for constraint on autocrats by positing an ethical principle or supernatural agent above the king or emperor, was a cultural innovation that allowed for greater stability. Sometimes the adaptation was peculiar; both the Imperial Romans and early Muslims avoided the term “king” for rhetorical reasons, even though the princeps and caliphs were kings in all but name.

Evolutionary processes in complexes species generally involves an element of intraspecific competition. Some would even posit that in many cases this is the dominant dynamic driving evolutionary change. But the invention of a caste of slaves, and masses of servile peasants, to serve a small elite, was a feature of agricultural civilization. This was no natural consequence of natural competition.

We know all this happened. The current project has to be to understand how it happened. Why it happened.

A new paper in Nature Genetics sheds light on a critical piece of the puzzle, Punctuated bursts in human male demography inferred from 1,244 worldwide Y-chromosome sequences. The figure below communicates the main results:


Screenshot 2016-04-25 21.40.08

In some ways this seems an incremental improvement over last year’s A recent bottleneck of Y chromosome diversity coincides with a global change in culture. Much of the detail of this current paper, and why it adds to earlier work, can be found in the supplements.

The major takeaway is again you see evidence in Y chromosomal male lineages of incredibly rapid and explosive demographic growth. This is the rise of patriarchy, the arrival on the scene of despotic lineages which monopolized access to a disproportionate amount of the goods and services of many societies, including women.

In the plot above three lineages jump out at you. E1b, R1a, and R1b. The first is associated with the Bantu expansion, that occurred over the last 4,000 years. The second two are likely associated with Indo-Europeans in both Asia and Europe, respectively. The timescale is on the order of 4 to 5,000 years in the past. The association between culture and genes, or the genetic lineages of males, is rather clear, in these cases. In other instances the growth was more gradual. For example, the lineages likely associated with the first Neolithic pulses, J and G. Interestingly, the authors of the paper notice that the same is true in East Asia. Here one sees a more gradual accumulation of genetic mutations as lineages branch out from each other at a stolid pace, a sharp contrast to the explosive “star phylogeny” that is the case for R1b and R1a. This is almost certainly due to the differences in the cultural revolutions, and the reproductive success that that allowed a given male.

Finally, the authors suggest that haplogroup E, which is today the dominant lineage within Africa, though it is found in the Middle East and Europe, is the product of a back migration ~50,000 years ago. The argument is from parsimony. E and D are clearly a clade, and D is found in Japan (and also Tibet and Southeast Asia). If E originated in Africa, and later spread to Europe, so did D. Rather, the authors favor the model that E is a basal Eurasian haplogroup which percolated back into Sub-Saharan Africa during the Pleistocene. It would not be surprising that Southwest Eurasian humans would maintain contact with nearby African populations, but this sort of phenomenon does seem to point to the possibility for a Levantine origin for modern humans!

This is all based on contemporary DNA, and contemporary distributions of populations. There may have been mass extinctions which hide from our perception other demographic revolutions. Additionally, if there is one thing that ancient DNA has taught us, it is that modern distributions may not reflect ancient ones. Nevertheless, this is a good step in understanding the cultural changes which have resulted in the world we see around us.

 
• Category: Science • Tags: History, Y chromosomes 
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  1. Twinkie says:

    Here one sees a more gradual accumulation of genetic mutations as lineages branch out from each other at a stolid pace, a sharp contrast to the explosive “star phylogeny” that is the case for R1b and R1a. This is almost certainly due to the differences in the cultural revolutions, and the reproductive success that that allowed a given male.

    I would be much obliged if you would please elaborate on this even if speculatively.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    i'll be succinct: i think agro-pastoralism led to greater intensity of inter-group competition between male lineages. so there was much more 'thinning' in west/south eurasia.
    , @notanon
    herders vs farmers
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  2. Rick says:

    “this sort of phenomenon does seem to point to the possibility for a Levantine origin for modern humans!”

    It is a possibility. But, I think the fact that all of the most basal branches of mtDNA and Y-chromosomes are exclusive to Sub-Saharan Africa would demand some pretty extreme extinction events in Eurasia between 100,000 and 70,000 years ago (all the way down to a single small population with high drift).

    You would also need to explain why the most basal African populations seem to have had much larger effective population sizes for much longer. If they resulted from rare groups migrating south of 0the Sahara, you would expect very limited genomic diversity. This does not appear to be the case at all.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Jm8
    There also seems still to be evidence of Y-dna DE in Africa; Nigeria and Guinea Bissau (and in Jamaica and African Americans), in addition to the DE reported in Asia(possibly Tibet and Syria).
    http://www.anthrogenica.com/showthread.php?5790-D-M174-in-Nigeria!
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajpa.22090/abstract

    I wonder if the DE in Syria could possibly derive from the African slave trade. But perhaps there is evidence against this I am unaware of (of course male-derived African admixture in the Arab world, from slavery at least, is much less likely than female.).

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  3. ohwilleke says: • Website

    I’m struck by how old and non-star shaped the big Y-DNA lineages of Asia are, compared to E1b, R1b and R1a. I would have expected the advent of agriculture in China and Southeast Asia to produce much flatter lineage triangles than they do.

    Most of the big Asian lineages were already pretty big long before the Neolithic revolution. The main Y-DNA O lineages, for example, were already a large part of their current width 10kya, and some areas where those lineages are predominant received agriculture quite a bit later than that.

    Likewise, why would the metal ages have such a profound impact in Europe and South Asia and Africa, while having almost no incremental impact beyond that of the arrival of agriculture in Asia?

    The only hypothesis that comes immediately to mind is that climate events (especially ca. 2000 BCE and 1200 BCE) may have forced revolutions in Europe and South Asia (Africa’s E1b may be first wave Neolithic in many areas and taken place when they did for reasons suggested by Jared Diamond), while they weren’t as severe in Asia.

    Read More
    • Replies: @notanon
    I'd say it's likely because East Asia didn't get it's steppe invasions until later when the farmer population density was too high to dent even with Mongol levels of enthusiasm.

    While Europe got there's early when the farmers were still thin on the ground.

    http://comps.canstockphoto.com/can-stock-photo_csp1542600.jpg

    the chunk of blocking mountains to the NE of the Himalayas maybe the reason the earliest steppe invasions went south and west.

    Or a similar but different alternative - if the Wei valley was the way into East Asia from the steppe but before farming it was a massive swamp it may have been easily defensible against horsemen until after the farmers drained it - which would be a tad ironic.
    , @Rick
    It looks like the metal age innovations spread over East Asia as a cultural innovation, but spread over Europe and Africa with mass migrations.

    Why this is the case is an interesting question. It could be climate, or geography, or diseases, or initial cultural differences. We know the R1a groups (Indo-Europeans) were also very close to China at the right time to expand, but it didn't happen.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  4. notanon says:
    @ohwilleke
    I'm struck by how old and non-star shaped the big Y-DNA lineages of Asia are, compared to E1b, R1b and R1a. I would have expected the advent of agriculture in China and Southeast Asia to produce much flatter lineage triangles than they do.

    Most of the big Asian lineages were already pretty big long before the Neolithic revolution. The main Y-DNA O lineages, for example, were already a large part of their current width 10kya, and some areas where those lineages are predominant received agriculture quite a bit later than that.

    Likewise, why would the metal ages have such a profound impact in Europe and South Asia and Africa, while having almost no incremental impact beyond that of the arrival of agriculture in Asia?

    The only hypothesis that comes immediately to mind is that climate events (especially ca. 2000 BCE and 1200 BCE) may have forced revolutions in Europe and South Asia (Africa's E1b may be first wave Neolithic in many areas and taken place when they did for reasons suggested by Jared Diamond), while they weren't as severe in Asia.

    I’d say it’s likely because East Asia didn’t get it’s steppe invasions until later when the farmer population density was too high to dent even with Mongol levels of enthusiasm.

    While Europe got there’s early when the farmers were still thin on the ground.

    the chunk of blocking mountains to the NE of the Himalayas maybe the reason the earliest steppe invasions went south and west.

    Or a similar but different alternative – if the Wei valley was the way into East Asia from the steppe but before farming it was a massive swamp it may have been easily defensible against horsemen until after the farmers drained it – which would be a tad ironic.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Rick
    "While Europe got there’s early when the farmers were still thin on the ground."

    What? Farmers were all over Europe for 5,000 years by then. Maybe a bit later to the Northwest. There was a specific advantage to the steppe people in Europe and India that didn't exist in China.

    It could also have to do with the domesticated animals of each zone. Maybe there were fewer unoccupied niches in the southeast.
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  5. notanon says:

    I say this because platonic and romantic love don’t seem to be learned in any deep sense, but are naturally evoked out of our cognitive hardware. And yet norms, values, and rituals over the past 10,000 years have constrained the importance of love, because individual interests can sometimes be at cross-purposes with group/social interests.

    I wonder about that. You’d think cultures with arranged marriage for thousands (?) of years wouldn’t need to develop romantic love so why would a culture like that still be drenched in love songs? It makes me wonder if it was there before but then got partially submerged by the needs of farming.

    So human development: A -> B -> C or A -> B ->A again?

    Maybe the same with individualism.

    Read More
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  6. Rick says:
    @ohwilleke
    I'm struck by how old and non-star shaped the big Y-DNA lineages of Asia are, compared to E1b, R1b and R1a. I would have expected the advent of agriculture in China and Southeast Asia to produce much flatter lineage triangles than they do.

    Most of the big Asian lineages were already pretty big long before the Neolithic revolution. The main Y-DNA O lineages, for example, were already a large part of their current width 10kya, and some areas where those lineages are predominant received agriculture quite a bit later than that.

    Likewise, why would the metal ages have such a profound impact in Europe and South Asia and Africa, while having almost no incremental impact beyond that of the arrival of agriculture in Asia?

    The only hypothesis that comes immediately to mind is that climate events (especially ca. 2000 BCE and 1200 BCE) may have forced revolutions in Europe and South Asia (Africa's E1b may be first wave Neolithic in many areas and taken place when they did for reasons suggested by Jared Diamond), while they weren't as severe in Asia.

    It looks like the metal age innovations spread over East Asia as a cultural innovation, but spread over Europe and Africa with mass migrations.

    Why this is the case is an interesting question. It could be climate, or geography, or diseases, or initial cultural differences. We know the R1a groups (Indo-Europeans) were also very close to China at the right time to expand, but it didn’t happen.

    Read More
    • Replies: @ohwilleke
    The notion would be that you get cultural innovation if the existing power structure is healthy, and replacement if it isn't. The emerging historical narrative of the 4.2 ky climate event in Europe, SW Asia and South Asia is of collapse followed by a sweep into vacuum, rather than a purely warfare driven model. We have written historical accounts of the catastrophic collapse of cities in the Fertile Crescent ("The Curse of Akkad"). A dynasty collapses in Egypt giving rise to the First Intermediate Period. The Sarasvati river at the very heart of Harappan civilization literally dries up for good in South Asia.

    I'd love to have some paleo-climate data for East Asia and Southeast Asia. We do know something. For example, while the LGM pretty much exterminated the entire population of northern Eurasia (limiting Europe to three small refugia), it actually opened up more habitable land in East Asia and Southeast Asia. We have better data for Europe and South Asia, but don't know how far those systems extended or in what form. Indeed, as far as I know, the cause of the 4.2ky climate event is more or less conjectural - and if you don't know the cause, you can't determine the scope of the effect.

    The legendary history of China's Xia dynasty, which begins around the time of the 4.2ky event tells a story not of the arid period of West Eurasia, but of excessive flooding in the Yellow River that is ultimately tamed with 22 years of public works over the reigns of two successive rulers that brought many independent tribes into the dynasties area of influence. Vietnam's somewhat legendary Hồng Bàng Dynasty straddles the 4.2 ky event without interruption; it was by tradition founded in 2879 BCE and existed until 258 BCE. Similarly, the Austronesian expansion began around 2500 BCE and seems to have continued uninterrupted through the 4.2 ky event. The history of that very early period, of course, has lots of blank spots just as it does in West Eurasia.

    To the extent that disease is a cause it is likely fomented by climate through famine which makes people more vulnerable to disease.

    The data from East Asia and Southeast Asia is particularly surprising because the historical linguistic picture for that region is quite clear and involves massive expansion of just a few big language families in well understood directions in late Holocene time frames. The obvious expectation in that scenario was that language shift would have been accompanied by the kind of population replacement and mass migration seen elsewhere. Apparently, language shift was more of a factor than is commonly understood. In hindsight, maybe the relatively modest number of major language families in Southeast and East Asia may itself be a sign of continuity - there might have been a more Balkanized linguistic environment otherwise.

    The distinction also echoes the parallel question that may have a common explanation: why did some areas (Europe, Siberia, the Americas, Australia) see intense megafauna extinction, while other areas (Africa, Southeast Asia) experienced much less dramatic megafauna extinction.

    It could be that the areas that saw less dramatic megafauna extinction was less close to Malthusian limits because tropical jungles aren't optimal environments for savanna adapted modern humans. Indeed, if climate events thinned out the tropical jungles by disrupting that ecosystem, this could have made conditions better for modern humans in Southeast Asia, rather than worse.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  7. ”It’s hard to generalize about human nature”

    ”I doubt that humans are naturally egalitarian”

    Humans tend to be less egalitarian because, frankly speaking, the efusive stupid take the power since early of the human era. Stupid and the lunatic who create the rules. Thanks to the mediocrity, humans still are competitive, on avg.

    People think that competition and ”progress” are the same thing.

    Different types of stupidity cause competition in (m)any species and generally are men who are very engaged in this activities. Men are, on avg, socially retarded, or autistic-like, or even worst, anti-social personality-like, not exactly psychopathy. They stoped their social/psychological evolution earlier than women, they are literally as quasi- ”cavemen”. In terms on subtle social-perceptual ability, man is like a very bad driver trying to park between two cars, metaphorically speaking, of course, ;)

    Feminine emotional sensibility is not perfect of course, but still superior than emotional blindness of the typical types of men. I have the impression that woman personality or temperament change little throughout the world in terms of combativeness and other proxies to the real bad behaviors.

    Read More
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  8. Rick says:
    @notanon
    I'd say it's likely because East Asia didn't get it's steppe invasions until later when the farmer population density was too high to dent even with Mongol levels of enthusiasm.

    While Europe got there's early when the farmers were still thin on the ground.

    http://comps.canstockphoto.com/can-stock-photo_csp1542600.jpg

    the chunk of blocking mountains to the NE of the Himalayas maybe the reason the earliest steppe invasions went south and west.

    Or a similar but different alternative - if the Wei valley was the way into East Asia from the steppe but before farming it was a massive swamp it may have been easily defensible against horsemen until after the farmers drained it - which would be a tad ironic.

    “While Europe got there’s early when the farmers were still thin on the ground.”

    What? Farmers were all over Europe for 5,000 years by then. Maybe a bit later to the Northwest. There was a specific advantage to the steppe people in Europe and India that didn’t exist in China.

    It could also have to do with the domesticated animals of each zone. Maybe there were fewer unoccupied niches in the southeast.

    Read More
    • Replies: @notanon
    Maybe so.

    My guess would be farmer *density* in China at the time of the Mongol invasion might have been up to an order of magnitude higher than LBK farmers in neolithic Europe.

    It's just a guess though - others may know different.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  9. ohwilleke says: • Website
    @Rick
    It looks like the metal age innovations spread over East Asia as a cultural innovation, but spread over Europe and Africa with mass migrations.

    Why this is the case is an interesting question. It could be climate, or geography, or diseases, or initial cultural differences. We know the R1a groups (Indo-Europeans) were also very close to China at the right time to expand, but it didn't happen.

    The notion would be that you get cultural innovation if the existing power structure is healthy, and replacement if it isn’t. The emerging historical narrative of the 4.2 ky climate event in Europe, SW Asia and South Asia is of collapse followed by a sweep into vacuum, rather than a purely warfare driven model. We have written historical accounts of the catastrophic collapse of cities in the Fertile Crescent (“The Curse of Akkad”). A dynasty collapses in Egypt giving rise to the First Intermediate Period. The Sarasvati river at the very heart of Harappan civilization literally dries up for good in South Asia.

    I’d love to have some paleo-climate data for East Asia and Southeast Asia. We do know something. For example, while the LGM pretty much exterminated the entire population of northern Eurasia (limiting Europe to three small refugia), it actually opened up more habitable land in East Asia and Southeast Asia. We have better data for Europe and South Asia, but don’t know how far those systems extended or in what form. Indeed, as far as I know, the cause of the 4.2ky climate event is more or less conjectural – and if you don’t know the cause, you can’t determine the scope of the effect.

    The legendary history of China’s Xia dynasty, which begins around the time of the 4.2ky event tells a story not of the arid period of West Eurasia, but of excessive flooding in the Yellow River that is ultimately tamed with 22 years of public works over the reigns of two successive rulers that brought many independent tribes into the dynasties area of influence. Vietnam’s somewhat legendary Hồng Bàng Dynasty straddles the 4.2 ky event without interruption; it was by tradition founded in 2879 BCE and existed until 258 BCE. Similarly, the Austronesian expansion began around 2500 BCE and seems to have continued uninterrupted through the 4.2 ky event. The history of that very early period, of course, has lots of blank spots just as it does in West Eurasia.

    To the extent that disease is a cause it is likely fomented by climate through famine which makes people more vulnerable to disease.

    The data from East Asia and Southeast Asia is particularly surprising because the historical linguistic picture for that region is quite clear and involves massive expansion of just a few big language families in well understood directions in late Holocene time frames. The obvious expectation in that scenario was that language shift would have been accompanied by the kind of population replacement and mass migration seen elsewhere. Apparently, language shift was more of a factor than is commonly understood. In hindsight, maybe the relatively modest number of major language families in Southeast and East Asia may itself be a sign of continuity – there might have been a more Balkanized linguistic environment otherwise.

    The distinction also echoes the parallel question that may have a common explanation: why did some areas (Europe, Siberia, the Americas, Australia) see intense megafauna extinction, while other areas (Africa, Southeast Asia) experienced much less dramatic megafauna extinction.

    It could be that the areas that saw less dramatic megafauna extinction was less close to Malthusian limits because tropical jungles aren’t optimal environments for savanna adapted modern humans. Indeed, if climate events thinned out the tropical jungles by disrupting that ecosystem, this could have made conditions better for modern humans in Southeast Asia, rather than worse.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    to be clear, the autosomal data does indicate pretty extensive population growth in e asia. similar to what happened elsewhere. it's just that the Y chromosomal lineages are not as whack.
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  10. @Twinkie

    Here one sees a more gradual accumulation of genetic mutations as lineages branch out from each other at a stolid pace, a sharp contrast to the explosive “star phylogeny” that is the case for R1b and R1a. This is almost certainly due to the differences in the cultural revolutions, and the reproductive success that that allowed a given male.
     
    I would be much obliged if you would please elaborate on this even if speculatively.

    i’ll be succinct: i think agro-pastoralism led to greater intensity of inter-group competition between male lineages. so there was much more ‘thinning’ in west/south eurasia.

    Read More
    • Replies: @theo the kraut
    ... aggro-pastoralism :-)
    , @Twinkie

    i think agro-pastoralism led to greater intensity of inter-group competition between male lineages. so there was much more ‘thinning’ in west/south eurasia.
     
    Yes, I got that earlier. That's the proximate cause. I am asking why there was difference in the level of agro-pastoral conflicts between East Asia and Western Eurasia/South Asia.
    , @Astuteobservor II
    could you explain what thinning means in your context?
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  11. @ohwilleke
    The notion would be that you get cultural innovation if the existing power structure is healthy, and replacement if it isn't. The emerging historical narrative of the 4.2 ky climate event in Europe, SW Asia and South Asia is of collapse followed by a sweep into vacuum, rather than a purely warfare driven model. We have written historical accounts of the catastrophic collapse of cities in the Fertile Crescent ("The Curse of Akkad"). A dynasty collapses in Egypt giving rise to the First Intermediate Period. The Sarasvati river at the very heart of Harappan civilization literally dries up for good in South Asia.

    I'd love to have some paleo-climate data for East Asia and Southeast Asia. We do know something. For example, while the LGM pretty much exterminated the entire population of northern Eurasia (limiting Europe to three small refugia), it actually opened up more habitable land in East Asia and Southeast Asia. We have better data for Europe and South Asia, but don't know how far those systems extended or in what form. Indeed, as far as I know, the cause of the 4.2ky climate event is more or less conjectural - and if you don't know the cause, you can't determine the scope of the effect.

    The legendary history of China's Xia dynasty, which begins around the time of the 4.2ky event tells a story not of the arid period of West Eurasia, but of excessive flooding in the Yellow River that is ultimately tamed with 22 years of public works over the reigns of two successive rulers that brought many independent tribes into the dynasties area of influence. Vietnam's somewhat legendary Hồng Bàng Dynasty straddles the 4.2 ky event without interruption; it was by tradition founded in 2879 BCE and existed until 258 BCE. Similarly, the Austronesian expansion began around 2500 BCE and seems to have continued uninterrupted through the 4.2 ky event. The history of that very early period, of course, has lots of blank spots just as it does in West Eurasia.

    To the extent that disease is a cause it is likely fomented by climate through famine which makes people more vulnerable to disease.

    The data from East Asia and Southeast Asia is particularly surprising because the historical linguistic picture for that region is quite clear and involves massive expansion of just a few big language families in well understood directions in late Holocene time frames. The obvious expectation in that scenario was that language shift would have been accompanied by the kind of population replacement and mass migration seen elsewhere. Apparently, language shift was more of a factor than is commonly understood. In hindsight, maybe the relatively modest number of major language families in Southeast and East Asia may itself be a sign of continuity - there might have been a more Balkanized linguistic environment otherwise.

    The distinction also echoes the parallel question that may have a common explanation: why did some areas (Europe, Siberia, the Americas, Australia) see intense megafauna extinction, while other areas (Africa, Southeast Asia) experienced much less dramatic megafauna extinction.

    It could be that the areas that saw less dramatic megafauna extinction was less close to Malthusian limits because tropical jungles aren't optimal environments for savanna adapted modern humans. Indeed, if climate events thinned out the tropical jungles by disrupting that ecosystem, this could have made conditions better for modern humans in Southeast Asia, rather than worse.

    to be clear, the autosomal data does indicate pretty extensive population growth in e asia. similar to what happened elsewhere. it’s just that the Y chromosomal lineages are not as whack.

    Read More
    • Replies: @ohwilleke
    Thanks for the clarification. I have read a number of papers on uniparental population genetics in East and Southeast Asia, but only a very few on autosomal data there. Are there any East/Southeast Asian autosomal papers that you would particularly recommend in addition to this most recent paywall closed paper?

    Also, I've been impressed in searches this morning with how much really ground breaking paleoclimate work has been done in East Asia and Southeast Asia in just the last decade or so. It is a very different story than West/South Eurasia. See, for example:

    http://www.atmos.berkeley.edu/~jessed/pub/chiang_2015_springjet_accepted.pdf
    http://www.clim-past.net/4/137/2008/cp-4-137-2008.pdf
    http://su.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:745661/FULLTEXT01.pdf

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  12. ohwilleke says: • Website
    @Razib Khan
    to be clear, the autosomal data does indicate pretty extensive population growth in e asia. similar to what happened elsewhere. it's just that the Y chromosomal lineages are not as whack.

    Thanks for the clarification. I have read a number of papers on uniparental population genetics in East and Southeast Asia, but only a very few on autosomal data there. Are there any East/Southeast Asian autosomal papers that you would particularly recommend in addition to this most recent paywall closed paper?

    Also, I’ve been impressed in searches this morning with how much really ground breaking paleoclimate work has been done in East Asia and Southeast Asia in just the last decade or so. It is a very different story than West/South Eurasia. See, for example:

    http://www.atmos.berkeley.edu/~jessed/pub/chiang_2015_springjet_accepted.pdf

    http://www.clim-past.net/4/137/2008/cp-4-137-2008.pdf

    http://su.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:745661/FULLTEXT01.pdf

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  13. AG says:

    I don’t think individualism is a sui generis invention of Western civilization

    I totally agree based my anecdotal experience.

    I have observed behavior change of my cousin in his life from a popular playboy with numerous friends to total self-isolated individualistic person. When he was young without much money, he used his social skill to become most popular guy with numerous friends who he can count on. After he became super-rich, he cut off most social relationship, even his own parents (He barely visited his parents in many years). He and his family choose to self-isolated from most people – most individualist people now.

    Individualism is associated with wealth and independence. Certainly geographic region with low food yield also select individualistic capable person in prehistorically time. In Manchuria native hunter-gather people, most capable hunter tend to be `self-fish’ individual one who hunt alone without sharing with others.

    Neanderthals had larger brain and weaker communication skill (autistic trait) comparing to homo sapiens. My hypothesis is that low population density in arctic cold region led to vast distance between neighbors which could be days distance away. Neanderthals had to solve problem individually without consulting others. So they need to have larger brain to do multiple people’s thinking and also allocate brain capacity away from communication to independent thinking.

    Recent studies have shown a higher Neanderthal admixture in East Asians than in Europeans. If autistic personality (for individualism) and brain volume fit the same pattern, this admixture might become a research topic for the relationship.

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  14. AG says:

    In today’s world, there is correlation between individualism and wealth. More money you have, more individualistic life style (social isolation) you get in term of neighborhood, house, social relationship. At least for most people, that is the way it is.

    However there are misfit people like Michael Jackson. With wealth, his property is designed for individualistic/social-isolated life style. Obviously for him, social-isolation was not something he was looking for. He invited bunch of people onto his property and troubles. O. J. Simpson and Kato Kaelin were another example.

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  15. AG says:

    Like I said before, Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA can be misleading regarding ancestral history due to lack of genetic recombination for Y chromosome and mitochondria. An Y lineage might end abruptly due to mutation. But autosome DNA from the same lineage might not.

    In real life example, a male might have de novo mutation on his Y chromosome in germ line. All his male off springs are not viable or infertile. His Y chromosome lineage will end due to mutation. But his autosome will pass on in his female offprings. Certainly even without mutation, if sons all die due to violence or accidents, the result will be similar.

    Like bacteria genetic tree, current germs always trace back a single ancestor. And current population germs would most go extinct with few lucky winner become progenitor for future generations. Yet, this has nothing to do with competition between them. It is simple math odd for organism with small genome. Simple organism like bacteria have small genomes and mathematically higher odd of totally normal one out of million to serve a progenitor for all.

    So the result is that most male Y chromosome and female mitochondrial DNA are traced back a single ancestor for current population. Also Current male Y chromosome and female mitochondrial DNA variants would go extinct in future with only very few serving for future progenitor. No need to population replacement to explain this process.

    Universal religion, which allowed for constraint on autocrats by positing an ethical principle or supernatural agent above the king or emperor, was a cultural innovation that allowed for greater stability.

    Also Confucianism has similar quality for social stability.

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    • Replies: @ohwilleke
    If a particular Y-DNA or mtDNA haplogroup makes up a large percentage of a population with a large effective population size, it is highly unlikely for that haplogroup to be lost due to random drift (in the absence of a population bottleneck), and even if a particular rare variant of the Y-DNA or mtDNA haplogroup due to some new mutation is lost, closely related haplogroups are likely to remain in the population.

    In such circumstances, the loss of a major uniparental lineage is much more likely to be due to population replacement, or some intrinsic or cultural selective fitness advantage, than it is to be due to random drift, as you suggest.

    , @Razib Khan
    in this case the key to note are the star-shaped phylogenies. they're not normally what you'd expect in a drift dominated situation...with the exception of a bottleneck and expansion, but that's basically what a pop replacement would look like if it was by a small invasive group....
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  16. ohwilleke says: • Website
    @AG
    Like I said before, Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA can be misleading regarding ancestral history due to lack of genetic recombination for Y chromosome and mitochondria. An Y lineage might end abruptly due to mutation. But autosome DNA from the same lineage might not.

    In real life example, a male might have de novo mutation on his Y chromosome in germ line. All his male off springs are not viable or infertile. His Y chromosome lineage will end due to mutation. But his autosome will pass on in his female offprings. Certainly even without mutation, if sons all die due to violence or accidents, the result will be similar.

    Like bacteria genetic tree, current germs always trace back a single ancestor. And current population germs would most go extinct with few lucky winner become progenitor for future generations. Yet, this has nothing to do with competition between them. It is simple math odd for organism with small genome. Simple organism like bacteria have small genomes and mathematically higher odd of totally normal one out of million to serve a progenitor for all.

    So the result is that most male Y chromosome and female mitochondrial DNA are traced back a single ancestor for current population. Also Current male Y chromosome and female mitochondrial DNA variants would go extinct in future with only very few serving for future progenitor. No need to population replacement to explain this process.


    Universal religion, which allowed for constraint on autocrats by positing an ethical principle or supernatural agent above the king or emperor, was a cultural innovation that allowed for greater stability.
     
    Also Confucianism has similar quality for social stability.

    If a particular Y-DNA or mtDNA haplogroup makes up a large percentage of a population with a large effective population size, it is highly unlikely for that haplogroup to be lost due to random drift (in the absence of a population bottleneck), and even if a particular rare variant of the Y-DNA or mtDNA haplogroup due to some new mutation is lost, closely related haplogroups are likely to remain in the population.

    In such circumstances, the loss of a major uniparental lineage is much more likely to be due to population replacement, or some intrinsic or cultural selective fitness advantage, than it is to be due to random drift, as you suggest.

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    • Replies: @AG

    If a particular Y-DNA or mtDNA haplogroup makes up a large percentage of a population with a large effective population size, it is highly unlikely for that haplogroup to be lost due to random drift (in the absence of a population bottleneck),
     
    This is exactly part I disagree with. Even a haplogroup shared by very large percentage can be replaced by random drift if given enough time.
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  17. notanon says:
    @Rick
    "While Europe got there’s early when the farmers were still thin on the ground."

    What? Farmers were all over Europe for 5,000 years by then. Maybe a bit later to the Northwest. There was a specific advantage to the steppe people in Europe and India that didn't exist in China.

    It could also have to do with the domesticated animals of each zone. Maybe there were fewer unoccupied niches in the southeast.

    Maybe so.

    My guess would be farmer *density* in China at the time of the Mongol invasion might have been up to an order of magnitude higher than LBK farmers in neolithic Europe.

    It’s just a guess though – others may know different.

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    • Replies: @Twinkie

    My guess would be farmer *density* in China at the time of the Mongol invasion
     
    Northern China experienced numerous invasions "from the steppes" long before the Mongols came.
    , @Bill M
    It may be the opposite. Africa and SW Eurasia are closer to the locus of human origins and population expansion. Genetic diversity is greater there and greater population and density in the past may have intensified inter-group competition there. Whereas Eastern Eurasia is further away and protected by geographic distance. Genetic diversity is lower in Eastern Eurasia for the same reason.
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  18. notanon says:
    @Twinkie

    Here one sees a more gradual accumulation of genetic mutations as lineages branch out from each other at a stolid pace, a sharp contrast to the explosive “star phylogeny” that is the case for R1b and R1a. This is almost certainly due to the differences in the cultural revolutions, and the reproductive success that that allowed a given male.
     
    I would be much obliged if you would please elaborate on this even if speculatively.

    herders vs farmers

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  19. AG says:
    @ohwilleke
    If a particular Y-DNA or mtDNA haplogroup makes up a large percentage of a population with a large effective population size, it is highly unlikely for that haplogroup to be lost due to random drift (in the absence of a population bottleneck), and even if a particular rare variant of the Y-DNA or mtDNA haplogroup due to some new mutation is lost, closely related haplogroups are likely to remain in the population.

    In such circumstances, the loss of a major uniparental lineage is much more likely to be due to population replacement, or some intrinsic or cultural selective fitness advantage, than it is to be due to random drift, as you suggest.

    If a particular Y-DNA or mtDNA haplogroup makes up a large percentage of a population with a large effective population size, it is highly unlikely for that haplogroup to be lost due to random drift (in the absence of a population bottleneck),

    This is exactly part I disagree with. Even a haplogroup shared by very large percentage can be replaced by random drift if given enough time.

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    • Replies: @gcochran
    Far longer than than we're talking about.
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  20. This is an interesting article. I know little of genetics, so I’ll comment on the cultural part. I’ve long suspected there’s an innate human system of ethics, as exemplified by The Golden Rule, much like humans have the innate ability to learn language. I came to this conclusion because it seems that many times in history, despots have justified aggression to their subjects by mis-portraying it as self-defense.

    Secondly, the bit about slavery reminds me of something I read in a preface to a historical sci-fi novel (I think it was Gene Wolfe) that stated that in the ancient world, slavery was seen as a mercy because the usual alternative fate for the losers in war was genocide.

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    • Replies: @another fred

    in the ancient world, slavery was seen as a mercy because the usual alternative fate for the losers in war was genocide.
     
    "Genocide" is more of a modern concept, but killing every competitor you could get your hands on was the rule. War Before Civilization is a good treatise on the subject.

    I don't know if slavery was a mercy, but it was definitely an advance in degree of complexity and a sign of strength. It may have started with the abduction of women (as is practiced among some hunter-gatherers still) and advanced to children who could be subjugated, but the ability to control grown male captives was a real testament of strength of a society.

    Razib connects this to agriculture which is probably true, but we don't know enough yet about the people who built Gobekli Tepe.
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  21. @Fidelios Automata
    This is an interesting article. I know little of genetics, so I'll comment on the cultural part. I've long suspected there's an innate human system of ethics, as exemplified by The Golden Rule, much like humans have the innate ability to learn language. I came to this conclusion because it seems that many times in history, despots have justified aggression to their subjects by mis-portraying it as self-defense.

    Secondly, the bit about slavery reminds me of something I read in a preface to a historical sci-fi novel (I think it was Gene Wolfe) that stated that in the ancient world, slavery was seen as a mercy because the usual alternative fate for the losers in war was genocide.

    in the ancient world, slavery was seen as a mercy because the usual alternative fate for the losers in war was genocide.

    “Genocide” is more of a modern concept, but killing every competitor you could get your hands on was the rule. War Before Civilization is a good treatise on the subject.

    I don’t know if slavery was a mercy, but it was definitely an advance in degree of complexity and a sign of strength. It may have started with the abduction of women (as is practiced among some hunter-gatherers still) and advanced to children who could be subjugated, but the ability to control grown male captives was a real testament of strength of a society.

    Razib connects this to agriculture which is probably true, but we don’t know enough yet about the people who built Gobekli Tepe.

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    • Replies: @eric
    Compared to death, slavery is mercy. Remember slaves often had pretty decent lives in Roman times, and could have property, eventually buy freedom for themselves and their children, so they had hope.
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  22. @Razib Khan
    i'll be succinct: i think agro-pastoralism led to greater intensity of inter-group competition between male lineages. so there was much more 'thinning' in west/south eurasia.

    … aggro-pastoralism :-)

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    • Replies: @Roger Sweeny
    Short for aggressive pastoralism?
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  23. @AG
    Like I said before, Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA can be misleading regarding ancestral history due to lack of genetic recombination for Y chromosome and mitochondria. An Y lineage might end abruptly due to mutation. But autosome DNA from the same lineage might not.

    In real life example, a male might have de novo mutation on his Y chromosome in germ line. All his male off springs are not viable or infertile. His Y chromosome lineage will end due to mutation. But his autosome will pass on in his female offprings. Certainly even without mutation, if sons all die due to violence or accidents, the result will be similar.

    Like bacteria genetic tree, current germs always trace back a single ancestor. And current population germs would most go extinct with few lucky winner become progenitor for future generations. Yet, this has nothing to do with competition between them. It is simple math odd for organism with small genome. Simple organism like bacteria have small genomes and mathematically higher odd of totally normal one out of million to serve a progenitor for all.

    So the result is that most male Y chromosome and female mitochondrial DNA are traced back a single ancestor for current population. Also Current male Y chromosome and female mitochondrial DNA variants would go extinct in future with only very few serving for future progenitor. No need to population replacement to explain this process.


    Universal religion, which allowed for constraint on autocrats by positing an ethical principle or supernatural agent above the king or emperor, was a cultural innovation that allowed for greater stability.
     
    Also Confucianism has similar quality for social stability.

    in this case the key to note are the star-shaped phylogenies. they’re not normally what you’d expect in a drift dominated situation…with the exception of a bottleneck and expansion, but that’s basically what a pop replacement would look like if it was by a small invasive group….

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    • Replies: @anowow
    Razib,

    Regarding Karl Zimmerman's comments,

    Any thoughts on the Middle East? Do you know if a star-shaped phylogeny is also found in the Mideast, North Africa or East Africa? Is there sufficient data to even speculate?

    Those areas certainly had their wars, invasions and displacements, but they don't seem to have been as much a y-chromosome (if not autosomal) gotterdammerung as what happened in Prehistoric Europe. But in those areas there were also competitive, patrilineal societies.

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  24. Twinkie says:
    @Razib Khan
    i'll be succinct: i think agro-pastoralism led to greater intensity of inter-group competition between male lineages. so there was much more 'thinning' in west/south eurasia.

    i think agro-pastoralism led to greater intensity of inter-group competition between male lineages. so there was much more ‘thinning’ in west/south eurasia.

    Yes, I got that earlier. That’s the proximate cause. I am asking why there was difference in the level of agro-pastoral conflicts between East Asia and Western Eurasia/South Asia.

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  25. Twinkie says:
    @notanon
    Maybe so.

    My guess would be farmer *density* in China at the time of the Mongol invasion might have been up to an order of magnitude higher than LBK farmers in neolithic Europe.

    It's just a guess though - others may know different.

    My guess would be farmer *density* in China at the time of the Mongol invasion

    Northern China experienced numerous invasions “from the steppes” long before the Mongols came.

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    • Replies: @notanon
    True but it's still the same argument - what was the farmer population density like at the time of these different steppe invasions?
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  26. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Razib, I don’t recall if you’ve ever commented on Julian Jaynes’s book “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind” Your colleague at UNZ.com, john Derbyshire has quite a few posts about the book.
    Fellow atheist Richard Dawkins kind of gave Jaynes’s theory a sort of binary hedge: “It is one of those books that is either complete rubbish or a work of consummate genius, nothing in between! Probably the former, but I’m hedging my bets

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  27. This is a relatively minor issue, but due to only sampling certain populations, they missed out on some important haplogroups. Absolutely no samples from the Middle East/North Africa means they missed out on E3B entirely. No Papuans means they missed out on M and S.

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  28. @theo the kraut
    ... aggro-pastoralism :-)

    Short for aggressive pastoralism?

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  29. Bill M says:
    @notanon
    Maybe so.

    My guess would be farmer *density* in China at the time of the Mongol invasion might have been up to an order of magnitude higher than LBK farmers in neolithic Europe.

    It's just a guess though - others may know different.

    It may be the opposite. Africa and SW Eurasia are closer to the locus of human origins and population expansion. Genetic diversity is greater there and greater population and density in the past may have intensified inter-group competition there. Whereas Eastern Eurasia is further away and protected by geographic distance. Genetic diversity is lower in Eastern Eurasia for the same reason.

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  30. notanon says:
    @Twinkie

    My guess would be farmer *density* in China at the time of the Mongol invasion
     
    Northern China experienced numerous invasions "from the steppes" long before the Mongols came.

    True but it’s still the same argument – what was the farmer population density like at the time of these different steppe invasions?

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  31. “The friendship between Cú Chulainn and Ferdiad should naturally transcend divisions of honor, obligation, and nationality. Yet in early Iron Age Ireland they do not.” That is to presume that it is both historic and based in Iron Age Ireland (c. 700 BC – c. AD 300). However, the Táin Bó Cúailnge is historical fiction, with a political purpose, written sometime in the early 800s. Any values it may, or may not, demonstrate pertain to an era long after the Iron Age. http://www.jstor.org/stable/30007605?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

    “I doubt that humans are naturally egalitarian. We strive for excellence, and engage in individual and intergroup competition. But our penchant for rank and status exhibits constraint and moderation. Humans are social apes …” One of the best sentences you’ve ever written, and I’ve being reading you for many years. Plus the responses such posts engender.

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  32. Sean says:

    [you need to be more concise; deploying elliptical quotations from other people are not acceptable in comments. i am not necessarily averse to long comments...andrew oh-wilke and "twinkie" leave them regulary, but their comments are easy to understand and stylistically dense (as opposed to long rambling discursions and assertions). your comments are never are like that. low clarity+short comments are tolerable, as are long comments+clarity. but long comments+low clarity isn't a combination that i'm going to let through mod. -RK]

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  33. Sean says:

    Baboons can be individualists when it comes to worrying if they are slipping in status or their female is being poached, and acting against alphas who are monopolizing resources. Humans can build complex societies to the extent they have things like marriage.

    But the invention of a caste of slaves, and masses of servile peasants, to serve a small elite, was a feature of agricultural civilization. This was no natural consequence of natural competition.

    Free winner take all competition would favour non-alpha individuals who failing to win, take it up a level where their individual lack of within -group competitiveness would make for a winning group. Religions (and nations) exist as a consequence of competition, in my opinion. Successful nations have rhetoric idealisng the golden rule rather than individual struggle for resources . Modern individualism in a complex society seems qualitatively different to anything among non hierarchical hunter gatherer societies such as the Bushmen, whose main problem was scarce resources, not rival groups.

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  34. jtgw says: • Website

    I particularly like this sentence:

    Human cultures are protean, and rearrange preexistent cognitive furniture in a manner which makes them functional for a particular time and place.

    It makes me think of issues over formal and funcational approaches to language structure, with hardcore generativists in the Chomskyan tradition seeing all the variety of language as random, superficial variations on a universal theme, while functionalists see different grammars arising from historical processes mediated by cognitive constraints that aren’t themselves necessarily related to language structure.

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  35. Sean says:

    Primogeniture must have had something to do with stabilising warrior societies once most of their wealth was held as land.

    The dramatic tension at the heart of Romeo and Juliet, or Tristan and Iseult, arises because of the reality that almost everyone can relate to the individuals whose preferences and needs are constrained and thwarted by considerations of family, religion, or ethnicity

    Probably the main people annoyed with religious constraints have been men who want to engage in rampaging sexual behaviour. Large scale communal societies without thwarting structures have the problem of getting men (including wandering strangers) to leave nubile females alone instead of roaming around bothering them trying to get sex and turning nasty if their overtures are resisted. If Juliet is in a large unstructured population, as fair game she will be bothered by 100 Romeos and be constantly stressed. European women tourists who travel alone often find they need a relationship with a local to get any peace. I suppose they fall in love with that particular Romeo, but then couples in arranged marriages generally fall in love after a few months of having sex together.

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  36. Jm8 says:
    @Rick
    "this sort of phenomenon does seem to point to the possibility for a Levantine origin for modern humans!"

    It is a possibility. But, I think the fact that all of the most basal branches of mtDNA and Y-chromosomes are exclusive to Sub-Saharan Africa would demand some pretty extreme extinction events in Eurasia between 100,000 and 70,000 years ago (all the way down to a single small population with high drift).

    You would also need to explain why the most basal African populations seem to have had much larger effective population sizes for much longer. If they resulted from rare groups migrating south of 0the Sahara, you would expect very limited genomic diversity. This does not appear to be the case at all.

    There also seems still to be evidence of Y-dna DE in Africa; Nigeria and Guinea Bissau (and in Jamaica and African Americans), in addition to the DE reported in Asia(possibly Tibet and Syria).

    http://www.anthrogenica.com/showthread.php?5790-D-M174-in-Nigeria!

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajpa.22090/abstract

    I wonder if the DE in Syria could possibly derive from the African slave trade. But perhaps there is evidence against this I am unaware of (of course male-derived African admixture in the Arab world, from slavery at least, is much less likely than female.).

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    • Replies: @Jm8
    ...(of course male-derived African admixture in the Arab world, from slavery at least, is much less likely than female.).
    Male derived admixture is probably less common generally, but exists in some Arab subgroups.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=jULNCgAAQBAJ&pg=PT180&dq=male+african+slaves+in+the+arab+world&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjNquPU9bHMAhVLbT4KHfIeCK0Q6AEIKDAC#v=onepage&q=male%20african%20slaves%20in%20the%20arab%20world&f=false
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zanj_Rebellion#Background
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  37. Jm8 says:

    edit:”…I wonder if the DE in Syria could possibly derive from the African slave trade or other contact.”

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  38. Jm8 says:
    @Jm8
    There also seems still to be evidence of Y-dna DE in Africa; Nigeria and Guinea Bissau (and in Jamaica and African Americans), in addition to the DE reported in Asia(possibly Tibet and Syria).
    http://www.anthrogenica.com/showthread.php?5790-D-M174-in-Nigeria!
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajpa.22090/abstract

    I wonder if the DE in Syria could possibly derive from the African slave trade. But perhaps there is evidence against this I am unaware of (of course male-derived African admixture in the Arab world, from slavery at least, is much less likely than female.).

    …(of course male-derived African admixture in the Arab world, from slavery at least, is much less likely than female.).
    Male derived admixture is probably less common generally, but exists in some Arab subgroups.

    https://books.google.com/books?id=jULNCgAAQBAJ&pg=PT180&dq=male+african+slaves+in+the+arab+world&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjNquPU9bHMAhVLbT4KHfIeCK0Q6AEIKDAC#v=onepage&q=male%20african%20slaves%20in%20the%20arab%20world&f=false

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zanj_Rebellion#Background

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  39. @Razib Khan
    i'll be succinct: i think agro-pastoralism led to greater intensity of inter-group competition between male lineages. so there was much more 'thinning' in west/south eurasia.

    could you explain what thinning means in your context?

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  40. KA says:

    Could you recommend a book or articles for non geneticist crowd which explain the genetic proof of human migration and explain the conception that certain nationalities are mixture of certain other races like the claims that Assamese are mixture of Mongolid and Aryans and Australoid people
    Thanks

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  41. eric says:
    @another fred

    in the ancient world, slavery was seen as a mercy because the usual alternative fate for the losers in war was genocide.
     
    "Genocide" is more of a modern concept, but killing every competitor you could get your hands on was the rule. War Before Civilization is a good treatise on the subject.

    I don't know if slavery was a mercy, but it was definitely an advance in degree of complexity and a sign of strength. It may have started with the abduction of women (as is practiced among some hunter-gatherers still) and advanced to children who could be subjugated, but the ability to control grown male captives was a real testament of strength of a society.

    Razib connects this to agriculture which is probably true, but we don't know enough yet about the people who built Gobekli Tepe.

    Compared to death, slavery is mercy. Remember slaves often had pretty decent lives in Roman times, and could have property, eventually buy freedom for themselves and their children, so they had hope.

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  42. Tulip says:

    Razib Khan writes:

    “I don’t think individualism is a sui generis invention of Western civilization ”

    Putting aside how “individualism” is defined, show me where an ideology centered around “individuals” and “individual rights” has ever existed anywhere outside of the historic Northern perimeter of Latin Christendom.

    Yes, all cultures have had some awareness of “individuals” in conflict with collective identities, but how many cultures have taken the side of the individual against the collective? [The Bhagavad Gita comes down squarely on following your duties as defined by your caste identity.] Or to put it differently, how many cultures have actually taken the side of Christ in the Gospels, and how many have followed the example of Pilate and the Sadducees (essentially, privileging social order over truth)?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    Putting aside how “individualism” is defined, show me where an ideology centered around “individuals” and “individual rights” has ever existed anywhere outside of the historic Northern perimeter of Latin Christendom.

    individual-focus has been a strong part of otherworldy-mystical traditions within many cultures. e.g., that streak is clear in daoism. and why the fuck are you putting "individual" in quotes? do you mean something else by individual? if you do, why the fuck aren't you defining that? if you think the term individual is meaningless, why are you asking a meaningless question?

    Yes, all cultures have had some awareness of “individuals” in conflict with collective identities, but how many cultures have taken the side of the individual against the collective?

    almost none. the single exception is possibly the anglosphere in the last few centuries. my position is that since N = 1 one can't make a good case for the necessity and sufficiency of anything related to the anglospheric cultures.
    , @notanon

    privileging social order over truth
     
    I'd say that's kinda the point. What might things have been like if/when there wasn't as much social order to privilege?

    In particular could there have been particular environments where inheritance wasn't an issue which led to individual based mating.

    (hbdchick's blog mentioned a slash and burn culture once (somewhere in Malaysia I think) that was quite unusual in various ways and I think the necessities of marriage culture related to inheritance - or the possible lack of necessity in some cases - may be part of this)
    , @Razib Khan
    (essentially, privileging social order over truth)?

    no society privileges truth. no person wants to privilege to truth in fact as opposed in the ideal. individualism != truth. it is a particular vision for human flourishing.
    , @Anonymous
    If a culture takes the side of the individual then it's not individualism.
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  43. @Tulip
    Razib Khan writes:

    "I don’t think individualism is a sui generis invention of Western civilization "

    Putting aside how "individualism" is defined, show me where an ideology centered around "individuals" and "individual rights" has ever existed anywhere outside of the historic Northern perimeter of Latin Christendom.

    Yes, all cultures have had some awareness of "individuals" in conflict with collective identities, but how many cultures have taken the side of the individual against the collective? [The Bhagavad Gita comes down squarely on following your duties as defined by your caste identity.] Or to put it differently, how many cultures have actually taken the side of Christ in the Gospels, and how many have followed the example of Pilate and the Sadducees (essentially, privileging social order over truth)?

    Putting aside how “individualism” is defined, show me where an ideology centered around “individuals” and “individual rights” has ever existed anywhere outside of the historic Northern perimeter of Latin Christendom.

    individual-focus has been a strong part of otherworldy-mystical traditions within many cultures. e.g., that streak is clear in daoism. and why the fuck are you putting “individual” in quotes? do you mean something else by individual? if you do, why the fuck aren’t you defining that? if you think the term individual is meaningless, why are you asking a meaningless question?

    Yes, all cultures have had some awareness of “individuals” in conflict with collective identities, but how many cultures have taken the side of the individual against the collective?

    almost none. the single exception is possibly the anglosphere in the last few centuries. my position is that since N = 1 one can’t make a good case for the necessity and sufficiency of anything related to the anglospheric cultures.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Philip Owen


    Modern Anglo European individualism is very recent. Eastern (Orthodox) Europeans are not really there - visit Russia. The Enlightenment is the key. Protestantism didn't quite cross the line, certainly in England.
    , @Harshmellow
    Razib:

    You are conflating "Charismatic Leadership Style" with individualism. Yes, Gurus, Prophets, Philosophers, and Sages can be found all the world over. However, in fact, the rise of Western ideologies centered around "individualism" coincide with the disappearance of the Charismatic Leadership Style and its replacement with bureaucracy and the "Managerial Therapeutic State".

    If you look at Kaufmann's Rise and Fall of Anglo-America, it is pretty clear that an emphasis on expressive individualism and egalitarianism is toxic to any kind of ethnic identity as well as the maintenance of ethnocentrism. However, what replaces ethnoreligious identity is not "individuals" but generally obese rootless gender confused morons who get all their opinions from mass media and advertising. Go Freedom!

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  44. notanon says:
    @Tulip
    Razib Khan writes:

    "I don’t think individualism is a sui generis invention of Western civilization "

    Putting aside how "individualism" is defined, show me where an ideology centered around "individuals" and "individual rights" has ever existed anywhere outside of the historic Northern perimeter of Latin Christendom.

    Yes, all cultures have had some awareness of "individuals" in conflict with collective identities, but how many cultures have taken the side of the individual against the collective? [The Bhagavad Gita comes down squarely on following your duties as defined by your caste identity.] Or to put it differently, how many cultures have actually taken the side of Christ in the Gospels, and how many have followed the example of Pilate and the Sadducees (essentially, privileging social order over truth)?

    privileging social order over truth

    I’d say that’s kinda the point. What might things have been like if/when there wasn’t as much social order to privilege?

    In particular could there have been particular environments where inheritance wasn’t an issue which led to individual based mating.

    (hbdchick’s blog mentioned a slash and burn culture once (somewhere in Malaysia I think) that was quite unusual in various ways and I think the necessities of marriage culture related to inheritance – or the possible lack of necessity in some cases – may be part of this)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    In particular could there have been particular environments where inheritance wasn’t an issue which led to individual based mating.


    many "small-scale" societies seem to exhibit serial monogamy operationally.
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  45. @Tulip
    Razib Khan writes:

    "I don’t think individualism is a sui generis invention of Western civilization "

    Putting aside how "individualism" is defined, show me where an ideology centered around "individuals" and "individual rights" has ever existed anywhere outside of the historic Northern perimeter of Latin Christendom.

    Yes, all cultures have had some awareness of "individuals" in conflict with collective identities, but how many cultures have taken the side of the individual against the collective? [The Bhagavad Gita comes down squarely on following your duties as defined by your caste identity.] Or to put it differently, how many cultures have actually taken the side of Christ in the Gospels, and how many have followed the example of Pilate and the Sadducees (essentially, privileging social order over truth)?

    (essentially, privileging social order over truth)?

    no society privileges truth. no person wants to privilege to truth in fact as opposed in the ideal. individualism != truth. it is a particular vision for human flourishing.

    Read More
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  46. @notanon

    privileging social order over truth
     
    I'd say that's kinda the point. What might things have been like if/when there wasn't as much social order to privilege?

    In particular could there have been particular environments where inheritance wasn't an issue which led to individual based mating.

    (hbdchick's blog mentioned a slash and burn culture once (somewhere in Malaysia I think) that was quite unusual in various ways and I think the necessities of marriage culture related to inheritance - or the possible lack of necessity in some cases - may be part of this)

    In particular could there have been particular environments where inheritance wasn’t an issue which led to individual based mating.

    many “small-scale” societies seem to exhibit serial monogamy operationally.

    Read More
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  47. Philip Owen [AKA "Soarintothesky"] says:
    @Razib Khan
    Putting aside how “individualism” is defined, show me where an ideology centered around “individuals” and “individual rights” has ever existed anywhere outside of the historic Northern perimeter of Latin Christendom.

    individual-focus has been a strong part of otherworldy-mystical traditions within many cultures. e.g., that streak is clear in daoism. and why the fuck are you putting "individual" in quotes? do you mean something else by individual? if you do, why the fuck aren't you defining that? if you think the term individual is meaningless, why are you asking a meaningless question?

    Yes, all cultures have had some awareness of “individuals” in conflict with collective identities, but how many cultures have taken the side of the individual against the collective?

    almost none. the single exception is possibly the anglosphere in the last few centuries. my position is that since N = 1 one can't make a good case for the necessity and sufficiency of anything related to the anglospheric cultures.

    Modern Anglo European individualism is very recent. Eastern (Orthodox) Europeans are not really there – visit Russia. The Enlightenment is the key. Protestantism didn’t quite cross the line, certainly in England.

    Read More
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  48. Grauniad says:

    Western civilization’s individualistic ethos is to my mind a reversion to a more primal norm

    A sub-thesis in Jacques Barzun’s “From Dawn to Decadence,” as he spells out a few recurring ones at the beginning, is that Western zeal for emancipation/liberty was often a primitivist movement in disguise; yearning for “back to nature” and running one’s own affairs, etc.

    (the substitution of divine love for most is probably not an equal value substitute, with all due to respect to god)

    Current article by Paul Cantor in The Weekly Standard finds this strain in Shakespeare, as a non-communitarian individuality-booster/chivalry-buster.

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  49. gcochran says:
    @AG

    If a particular Y-DNA or mtDNA haplogroup makes up a large percentage of a population with a large effective population size, it is highly unlikely for that haplogroup to be lost due to random drift (in the absence of a population bottleneck),
     
    This is exactly part I disagree with. Even a haplogroup shared by very large percentage can be replaced by random drift if given enough time.

    Far longer than than we’re talking about.

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  50. Smiddy says:

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151008142618.htm

    “The first ancient human genome from Africa to be sequenced has revealed that a wave of migration back into Africa from Western Eurasia around 3,000 years ago was up to twice as significant as previously thought, and affected the genetic make-up of populations across the entire African continent.”

    There was a drought that struck the Mediterranean not long before, seems to be assumed that they arrived as refugees as opposed to conquerors (not that anyone implied so) when it comes to E Africa/the Bantu expansion. I assume this to be the case as they genetically integrated so quickly. Whereas with migrations into south and east Asia, around 4-5 thousand years ago, seem to be more of an entrenchment. My amateurs guess it’s related to the 4.2 kilo year event.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Megalophias
    The Mota paper has since been modified, because an error in data preparation led to incorrect results. The high level of Eurasian admixture across Sub-Saharan Africa beyond East Africa was spurious.

    The history of Eurasian gene flow into East Africa remains to worked out, however. Via Sudan, or Arabia, or both?
    , @Jm8
    "https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151008142618.htm

    “The first ancient human genome from Africa to be sequenced has revealed that a wave of migration back into Africa from Western Eurasia around 3,000 years ago..."


    That study was found to be in error by the authors and retracted.
    http://www.unz.com/gnxp/there-was-no-vast-migration-of-eurasians-into-africa/
    http://anthromadness.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-mota-mistake.html
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  51. iffen says:

    The ratio of the malevolent to benevolent fakers is too high. Considering that the effectiveness of a malevolent leader is enhanced by our open society while the difficulties facing a benevolent leader are compounded, here we are.

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  52. […] Pill bravery. Individualism is universal. Moments of sanity (pull out his eyes, apologize). Life imitates virtue signaling. […]

    Read More
  53. Matt_ says:

    Regarding East Asian structure, this paper from 2013 -http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0105691 found quite strong structure under the O3 group, with three recent expansions dated to 7000-5500 BP from 3 males accounting for approx 40% East Asian patrilineages, where only one recent expansion was found in the paper that’s the topic of this post. Their dates are calibrated slightly younger (Dienekes thinks too young – http://dienekes.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/neolithic-super-grandfathers-of-chinese.html), so may be more like dated to 9000-7000 BP expansions using the dates here as a benchmark. I wonder why those did not replicate here?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Megalophias
    Good question.

    The expansions (or most likely equivalents) can be found on the Y Full tree:

    Oα - O3a2c1a1-M1706 (under M117) - TMRCA 7100 (5700-8500) years
    Oβ - O3a2c1b1a-CTS2643 (under M134*) - TMRCA 7400 (6100-8700) years
    Oγ - O3a1c1a-F11 (under IMS-JST002611) - TMRCA 8300 (6700-9800) years

    There is one O3 expansion noted in the current paper, node 225, with a TMRCA of ~7500 years, and growth rate of 22% per generation, which is O-M1706. But this is hardly discussed.

    Maybe Early Neolithic lineage growth (due to millet/rice cultivation??) was just not as rapid as Bronze Age pastoralist expansion? Then there's the E1b1a growth in Africa, which is well before the Iron Age and probably Neolithic too (yam, pearl millet?). Pigs vs cattle/sheep/goats maybe makes a difference? Or social organization, the Chinese having a tradition (I don't know how well founded) that they used to be matrilineal?

    I'd expect to see at least one major expansion under O2a1-M95 dating to around 5000 years ago in Southeast Asia as well (reaching to India).

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  54. @Razib Khan
    Putting aside how “individualism” is defined, show me where an ideology centered around “individuals” and “individual rights” has ever existed anywhere outside of the historic Northern perimeter of Latin Christendom.

    individual-focus has been a strong part of otherworldy-mystical traditions within many cultures. e.g., that streak is clear in daoism. and why the fuck are you putting "individual" in quotes? do you mean something else by individual? if you do, why the fuck aren't you defining that? if you think the term individual is meaningless, why are you asking a meaningless question?

    Yes, all cultures have had some awareness of “individuals” in conflict with collective identities, but how many cultures have taken the side of the individual against the collective?

    almost none. the single exception is possibly the anglosphere in the last few centuries. my position is that since N = 1 one can't make a good case for the necessity and sufficiency of anything related to the anglospheric cultures.

    Razib:

    You are conflating “Charismatic Leadership Style” with individualism. Yes, Gurus, Prophets, Philosophers, and Sages can be found all the world over. However, in fact, the rise of Western ideologies centered around “individualism” coincide with the disappearance of the Charismatic Leadership Style and its replacement with bureaucracy and the “Managerial Therapeutic State”.

    If you look at Kaufmann’s Rise and Fall of Anglo-America, it is pretty clear that an emphasis on expressive individualism and egalitarianism is toxic to any kind of ethnic identity as well as the maintenance of ethnocentrism. However, what replaces ethnoreligious identity is not “individuals” but generally obese rootless gender confused morons who get all their opinions from mass media and advertising. Go Freedom!

    Read More
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  55. @Smiddy
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151008142618.htm

    "The first ancient human genome from Africa to be sequenced has revealed that a wave of migration back into Africa from Western Eurasia around 3,000 years ago was up to twice as significant as previously thought, and affected the genetic make-up of populations across the entire African continent."

    There was a drought that struck the Mediterranean not long before, seems to be assumed that they arrived as refugees as opposed to conquerors (not that anyone implied so) when it comes to E Africa/the Bantu expansion. I assume this to be the case as they genetically integrated so quickly. Whereas with migrations into south and east Asia, around 4-5 thousand years ago, seem to be more of an entrenchment. My amateurs guess it's related to the 4.2 kilo year event.

    The Mota paper has since been modified, because an error in data preparation led to incorrect results. The high level of Eurasian admixture across Sub-Saharan Africa beyond East Africa was spurious.

    The history of Eurasian gene flow into East Africa remains to worked out, however. Via Sudan, or Arabia, or both?

    Read More
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  56. @Matt_
    Regarding East Asian structure, this paper from 2013 -http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0105691 found quite strong structure under the O3 group, with three recent expansions dated to 7000-5500 BP from 3 males accounting for approx 40% East Asian patrilineages, where only one recent expansion was found in the paper that's the topic of this post. Their dates are calibrated slightly younger (Dienekes thinks too young - http://dienekes.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/neolithic-super-grandfathers-of-chinese.html), so may be more like dated to 9000-7000 BP expansions using the dates here as a benchmark. I wonder why those did not replicate here?

    Good question.

    The expansions (or most likely equivalents) can be found on the Y Full tree:

    Oα – O3a2c1a1-M1706 (under M117) – TMRCA 7100 (5700-8500) years
    Oβ – O3a2c1b1a-CTS2643 (under M134*) – TMRCA 7400 (6100-8700) years
    Oγ – O3a1c1a-F11 (under IMS-JST002611) – TMRCA 8300 (6700-9800) years

    There is one O3 expansion noted in the current paper, node 225, with a TMRCA of ~7500 years, and growth rate of 22% per generation, which is O-M1706. But this is hardly discussed.

    Maybe Early Neolithic lineage growth (due to millet/rice cultivation??) was just not as rapid as Bronze Age pastoralist expansion? Then there’s the E1b1a growth in Africa, which is well before the Iron Age and probably Neolithic too (yam, pearl millet?). Pigs vs cattle/sheep/goats maybe makes a difference? Or social organization, the Chinese having a tradition (I don’t know how well founded) that they used to be matrilineal?

    I’d expect to see at least one major expansion under O2a1-M95 dating to around 5000 years ago in Southeast Asia as well (reaching to India).

    Read More
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  57. Jm8 says:
    @Smiddy
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151008142618.htm

    "The first ancient human genome from Africa to be sequenced has revealed that a wave of migration back into Africa from Western Eurasia around 3,000 years ago was up to twice as significant as previously thought, and affected the genetic make-up of populations across the entire African continent."

    There was a drought that struck the Mediterranean not long before, seems to be assumed that they arrived as refugees as opposed to conquerors (not that anyone implied so) when it comes to E Africa/the Bantu expansion. I assume this to be the case as they genetically integrated so quickly. Whereas with migrations into south and east Asia, around 4-5 thousand years ago, seem to be more of an entrenchment. My amateurs guess it's related to the 4.2 kilo year event.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151008142618.htm

    “The first ancient human genome from Africa to be sequenced has revealed that a wave of migration back into Africa from Western Eurasia around 3,000 years ago…”

    That study was found to be in error by the authors and retracted.

    http://www.unz.com/gnxp/there-was-no-vast-migration-of-eurasians-into-africa/

    http://anthromadness.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-mota-mistake.html

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  58. anowow says:
    @Razib Khan
    in this case the key to note are the star-shaped phylogenies. they're not normally what you'd expect in a drift dominated situation...with the exception of a bottleneck and expansion, but that's basically what a pop replacement would look like if it was by a small invasive group....

    Razib,

    Regarding Karl Zimmerman’s comments,

    Any thoughts on the Middle East? Do you know if a star-shaped phylogeny is also found in the Mideast, North Africa or East Africa? Is there sufficient data to even speculate?

    Those areas certainly had their wars, invasions and displacements, but they don’t seem to have been as much a y-chromosome (if not autosomal) gotterdammerung as what happened in Prehistoric Europe. But in those areas there were also competitive, patrilineal societies.

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  59. The comment, to wit, that “It would not be surprising that Southwest Eurasian humans would maintain contact with nearby African populations, but this sort of phenomenon does seem to point to the possibility for a Levantine origin for modern humans!” somehow strikes me as being akin to describing green to a blind person. The perspective of words and a descriptive actually allows for the blind to understand is a bit odd, for lack of a better description. The words just don’t convey the element of colour.

    I do sense a Levantine origin for European population but not for Africa despite the fact that E1b, with its East African roots crossing the Arabian peninsula as exhibited within Jewish and Arab populations of the geographic littoral i.e. Horn of Africa towards the Middle East! It is established that R1b in its expansion in Europe does not mean that this was its origin but only proliferation in a habitable clime! I do not believe southwest Eurasian population maintained contact with nearby African population only because those names did not exist at that time but there might have been sizeable presence (at least DNA root populations) of said group proximity, or enough of a survival presence to either go back to their native homeland or seek a new land in a different clime.

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  60. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Tulip
    Razib Khan writes:

    "I don’t think individualism is a sui generis invention of Western civilization "

    Putting aside how "individualism" is defined, show me where an ideology centered around "individuals" and "individual rights" has ever existed anywhere outside of the historic Northern perimeter of Latin Christendom.

    Yes, all cultures have had some awareness of "individuals" in conflict with collective identities, but how many cultures have taken the side of the individual against the collective? [The Bhagavad Gita comes down squarely on following your duties as defined by your caste identity.] Or to put it differently, how many cultures have actually taken the side of Christ in the Gospels, and how many have followed the example of Pilate and the Sadducees (essentially, privileging social order over truth)?

    If a culture takes the side of the individual then it’s not individualism.

    Read More
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  61. Matt_ says:

    @ Megalophias, thanks for that comment, and the identification of the equivalents. I could see Early Neolithic lineage growth not being as fast as Bronze Age pastoralist expansion, with less developed agricultural or pastoral technology behind them (because it’s earlier in time).

    One other thing I’d like to run by you or anyone else who might have comment I’ve been considering with the Supplement for this paper, also is that it seems that they run two types of models a) with a single growth phase, and b) with a dual growth phase. IIUC the dual growth phase models are only run for the nodes with strong evidence of recent growth (R1a, R1b, E1b, etc.).

    I’m wondering if this is a problem for their inferences around the “Neolithic” West Eurasian haplogroups, G, J2, etc. and also for O3. It just doesn’t seem likely to me that these groups began diversifying at 40,000-25,000 YBP and then continued with an growth rate to reach the preesnt diversity. I get that the TMRCA could be dated to those times, but…. surely the birth of agriculture increasing population sizes and population growth rates should have increased the rates of diversification?

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  62. But the invention of a caste of slaves, and masses of servile peasants, to serve a small elite, was a feature of agricultural civilization.

    Why and by what mechanism did this happen? What is it about agriculture that would have produced a parasite class (elites)? What did this parasite class have to offer that made the farmers want to support them?

    Any thoughts?

    Read More
    • Replies: @iffen
    What did this parasite class have to offer

    Offers that could not be refused, such as agreeing not to chop off heads or other body parts.

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  63. iffen says:
    @Abelard Lindsey

    But the invention of a caste of slaves, and masses of servile peasants, to serve a small elite, was a feature of agricultural civilization.
     
    Why and by what mechanism did this happen? What is it about agriculture that would have produced a parasite class (elites)? What did this parasite class have to offer that made the farmers want to support them?

    Any thoughts?

    What did this parasite class have to offer

    Offers that could not be refused, such as agreeing not to chop off heads or other body parts.

    Read More
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