The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 Gene Expression BlogTeasers
The Rise of Patrilineages

The_Journey_of_Man_-_A_Genetic_Odyssey Being part of a patrilineage is a big deal today. Ask anyone who is a Cohen, or claims to be a Sayyid, or a descendant of Confucious. Old school cultural anthropologists would assume that these patrilineages are “fictive,” that they exist to bind together disparate elite lineages as a social force. To some extent this is likely true. But not entirely. The complex genetic story of the Cohens highlights that kinship may not always be fictive. In the case of the Sayyids I assume that a lot of this is fictive. When it comes to people in South Asia with the surname Khan there isn’t even a pretense that we descend in any way from a Genghiside lineage. Rather, Khan has gone from being a surname to an honorific.

In my post Patriarchy Came with Cain and Abel I connected a social phenomenon with the drastic crash in Y chromosomal effective population in the mid-Holocene, as reported in the new paper in Genome Research, A recent bottleneck of Y chromosome diversity coincides with a global change in culture. Unfortunately some of the press related to paper seems rather misleading. For example, “8,000 Years Ago, Only One Man Had Children for Every 17 Women” (here’s another take). Aside from the fact that the effective population crash only is true for a subset of lineages, like Greg Cochran I’m skeptical of the image of a winner-take-all reproductive mating market. Specifically, I don’t think there was a given generation where only ~5% of men in a given population had offspring, while the others did not. Rather, I assume that cumulative reproductive skew probably had the impact of socially privileging men from particular patrilineages, so that Y chromosomal haplotypes “swept” through the population over the course of many generations.

k10181 My basic idea dovetails with Greg Clark’s in The Son Also Rises. Clark’s economic historical data sets suggests that over the long term elite lineages are surprisingly insulated from decay in status. Though there is a great deal of inter-generational churn, over the long haul there is a strong trend line of elite lineages remaining elite, and non-elite ones remaining non-elite. This may be due to cultural or genetic forces; Clark is ultimately agnostic on that. But, it suggests that social status is highly heritable. Was it always so? I suspect that these sorts of dynamics only date to the Holocene, with the rise of complex societies, and social status being connected to accumulation of material objects and power which can be passed from father to son. Additionally, with complex societies there emerged group level competitive games which were winner-take-all, as patrilineages faced off against each other with the ultimate outcome being final victory or defeat.

Ultimate this is very different from the image we have of a literal “harem society” that might emerge in small scale societies with such reproductive skew. Rather, it’s a more subtle and gradual rich-get-richer dynamic, where status and privilege compound over the generations in a genetic sense.

Addendum: Both Greg Cochran and the Genome Research paper point out that effective population does not seem to have crashed concomitantly on the autosome, as you’d expect. One minor point I’d add is that admixture can inflate population size inferences, since it elevates diversity. Most of the Holocene populations seem to have been subject to admixture, so autosomal effective population may have been artificially inflated.

 
• Category: Science • Tags: Evolution, Y Chromosome 
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
[]
  1. Do you think that the rise of the welfare state in the West has been reversing the historic trend of the dominance, in terms of numbers of offsprings produced, of elite patriarchal lineages?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    i think enforced monogamy does that. so yes. though it's not just the west. most other complex societies see some shift toward monogamy too, if not so strictly de jure as in the west (e.g., polygamy is attested to in indian culture, and did persist down to the relatively recent past even among hindus, but seems to have become the exception rather than the rule)\\.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
    AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
    These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are only available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also only be used once per hour.
    Sharing Comment via Twitter
    http://www.unz.com/gnxp/the-rise-of-patrilineages/#comment-910539
    More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  2. Isn’t it more or less the other name withKhan, evolving from being a title and a honorific to a surname? It wasn’t Genghis’s family name, nor of his descendants?

    Read More
  3. @Dmitry Pruss
    Isn't it more or less the other name withKhan, evolving from being a title and a honorific to a surname? It wasn't Genghis's family name, nor of his descendants?

    true. it’s kind of a back mutation ;-)

    Read More
  4. @Jamal Jafri
    Do you think that the rise of the welfare state in the West has been reversing the historic trend of the dominance, in terms of numbers of offsprings produced, of elite patriarchal lineages?

    i think enforced monogamy does that. so yes. though it’s not just the west. most other complex societies see some shift toward monogamy too, if not so strictly de jure as in the west (e.g., polygamy is attested to in indian culture, and did persist down to the relatively recent past even among hindus, but seems to have become the exception rather than the rule)\\.

    Read More
  5. I’m glad for that clarification – the whole “one man and 17 women” thing seemed wrong, versus maybe some elite lineages having more than one wife/concubine/mate/whatever over a longer period of time in a much smaller population.

    I wonder why it started “opening up” again about 4000 years ago. Had the populations in agrarian civilizations grown so large that they were swamping the contributions of elite patrilineages?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    the ratio is still Y biased. i think one model, which i am not too confident about, is that inter-group competition/exclusion diminished after that period. so the bias that remained was due to reproductive variance.
  6. @Brett
    I'm glad for that clarification - the whole "one man and 17 women" thing seemed wrong, versus maybe some elite lineages having more than one wife/concubine/mate/whatever over a longer period of time in a much smaller population.

    I wonder why it started "opening up" again about 4000 years ago. Had the populations in agrarian civilizations grown so large that they were swamping the contributions of elite patrilineages?

    the ratio is still Y biased. i think one model, which i am not too confident about, is that inter-group competition/exclusion diminished after that period. so the bias that remained was due to reproductive variance.

    Read More
  7. admixture can inflate population size inferences, since it elevates diversity

    I’m sure one can pick autosomal loci with rare recombination events, look for de novo variation within autosomal local haplogroups, exclude products of recombination. In each of these loci, which ought not to exceed tens kbs to make recombinations rare, one might need to sequence dozens of individuals to pick a novel recent haplotype (assuming roughly 100 generations, 10**-8 mutation rate?), but with multiple loci it can be straightforward? Local haplotypes “mix” in recombination but in a far slower fashion than genomes of admixed populations?

    Read More
  8. On some population genetics forums people claim that Cohen patrilineage is fictive, because it belong to two haplogroups: 50% is J1-P58 and 15% is J2a [1].

    My take on this, that one of these lineages belong to Rechabites/Kenites [2,3]. who converted to Judaism and received status of Cohens (which is impossible for regular converts). Some of them even become High Priests. There is a Kenite Hypothesis [4] supposes that the Hebrews adopted their religion from the Midianites via the Kenites.

    If this plausable, then I would guess that original Cohens were J2a, while Kenite Cohens would be J1-P58.

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y-chromosomal_Aaron
    [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rechabite
    [3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenite
    [4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yahweh#Origins

    Read More
  9. “This may be due to cultural or genetic forces; Clark is ultimately agnostic on that.”

    While he wants to appear fair and balanced in his book, his conclusions are obvious that it is generic, I don’t find anything agnostic about him. In the end he basically speels telling his readers to find good genotypes in mates if they wanted classier children.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    i recall him being agnostic or not totally sure when i asked him over coffee. but i'll ask him again next time we catch up.
  10. @Master A. Bonafide
    "This may be due to cultural or genetic forces; Clark is ultimately agnostic on that."

    While he wants to appear fair and balanced in his book, his conclusions are obvious that it is generic, I don't find anything agnostic about him. In the end he basically speels telling his readers to find good genotypes in mates if they wanted classier children.

    i recall him being agnostic or not totally sure when i asked him over coffee. but i’ll ask him again next time we catch up.

    Read More

Comments are closed.