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Kostenki Man, reconstructed by Mikhail Gerasimov (1907-1970). An early European who was not yet phenotypically European.
Kostenki Man, reconstructed by Mikhail Gerasimov (1907-1970). An early European who was not yet phenotypically European.

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Who were the first Europeans? We now have a better idea, thanks to a new paper about DNA from a man who lived some 38,700 to 36,200 years ago. His remains were found at Kostenki, a well-known Upper Paleolithic site in central European Russia (Seguin-Orlando et al., 2014).

Kostenki Man tells us several things about the first Europeans and, more broadly, the first non-African humans:

The Neanderthal encounter

Modern humans received their Neanderthal admixture when they were just spreading out of Africa some 54,000 years ago. At that time, they had not yet encountered the Neanderthals and were entering the territory of the Skhul/Qafzeh hominids, a semi-archaic people of the Middle East. So we may have got our Neanderthal admixture indirectly. The Skhul/Qafzeh hominids had probably interbred with their Neanderthal neighbors to the north, and our ancestors may have then picked up this admixture while in the Middle East.

When our ancestors spread farther north into Europe, some 45,000 to 42,000 years ago, they could have interbred directly with Neanderthals, but they didn’t. Perhaps the two groups were just too different. They seem to have intermixed only via a third party that was neither fully modern nor fully archaic.

A strange detour … and then another!

There was initially a large continuous population across northern Eurasia, perhaps composed of nomads who pursued wandering herds of reindeer across the European Plain and its eastward extension into central and northern Asia.

Not long before the time of Kostenki Man, these Northern Eurasians began to split into three regional groups: Western Eurasians, Eastern Eurasians, and the ancestors of Middle Eastern farmers. The degree of reproductive isolation is unclear, however, and gene flow may have continued between all three groups until the onset of the last ice age some 25,000 years ago. This may be why Kostenki Man does not fit perfectly into any of the three groups, although he is genetically closest to Western Eurasians.

Yes, Northern Eurasians were ancestral to the early farming peoples of the Middle East. It seems that early modern humans had to head north, learn to hunt reindeer, and then head south again before they could start farming. Sounds like a strange detour. Wouldn’t it have been easier to stay put and do it locally? You know, Middle-Eastern hunter-gatherers becoming Middle Eastern farmers? Apparently not.

It gets even more convoluted. After some of those Northern Eurasians had gone south to the Middle East, some of their farming descendants “returned” to Europe and partially replaced its hunter-gatherers, particularly in southern and central Europe. This second detour has been greeted with disbelief. Dienekes (2014), for instance, has written: “I don’t think many archaeologists would derive European farmers from Russia (Russia is actually one of the last places in Europe that became agricultural).”

True, but farming requires a mindset that may have come from those northern hunters (Frost, 2014). When Piffer (2013) looked at human variation in alleles at COMT, a gene linked to executive function, working memory, and intelligence, he found that northern hunting peoples had more in common with farming peoples than with other hunter-gatherers, “possibly due to the higher pressure on technological skills and planning abilities posed by the adverse climatic conditions.”

That mindset made farming possible, but the first steps toward farming could not be taken in a cold climate. They had to be taken in a place with a long growing season and a wide variety of domesticable plants and animals, such as in the Middle East. Once farming had developed there, it could move back north, while taking along its technologies, its food crops, and its livestock species.

Farming can develop in the tropics with a “tropical” mindset, but it looks very different. The farming that arose in West Africa is overwhelmingly women’s work and seems to have wholly developed out of female plant gathering. The guinea fowl is the only animal that has been domesticated for food consumption in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Ice Age was not so bad

The Upper Paleolithic humans of northern and eastern Europe did not die out during the last ice age, as was commonly thought. They survived the glacial maximum intact.

The European phenotype came later

Kostenki Man was dark-skinned, dark-eyed, and rather short. These details, curiously enough, appear not in the paper but in a review of the paper, published by the same journal, as well as in an interview with one of the authors (Associated Press, 2014; Gibbons, 2014).

So we now have an upper bound for the emergence of the European phenotype, i.e., light skin and a diverse palette of hair and eye colors. The lower bound has been set by the remains of a Swedish hunter-gatherer, dated to 8,000 years ago, who had the “European” allele for light skin at the gene SLC24A5 (Skoglund et al., 2014).

Conclusion

My main criticism centers on the dating to 38,700 – 36,200 years ago. At the Kostenki site, the radiocarbon dating used to be some 10,000 years younger. It was then recalibrated to an older range of dates when a layer of volcanic ash at the site was attributed to a volcano that had erupted in southern Italy some 39,000 years ago. This recalibration was initially controversial, but the controversy has since subsided (Sinitsyn and Hoffecker, 2006). I would not rule out a subsequent re-recalibration.

By retrieving ancient DNA from an early modern human, we have made a key advance in human paleogenetics, perhaps more so than by sequencing the Neanderthal genome. We again see that evolution did not slow down with the emergence of anatomically and behaviorally modern humans some 60,000 years ago. It actually began to speed up, as humans began to enter not only new natural environments but also new cultural environments of their own making.

References

Associated Press (2014). DNA study dates Eurasian split from East Asians, The Columbus Dispatch, November 6
http://hosted2.ap.org/OHCOL/07e34bb59e064cedb7e2776e8db4b4f7/Article_2014-11-06-EU–Eurasian%20Split/id-ae36fa368c634c7383d807942bd5fe67

Dienekes (2014). Genome of Kostenki-14, an Upper Paleolithic European (Seguin-Orlando, Korneliussen, Sikora, et al. 2014),Dienekes’ Anthropology Blog, November 7
http://dienekes.blogspot.ca/2014/11/genome-of-kostenki-14-upper-paleolithic.html

Frost, P. (2014). The first industrial revolution, Evo and Proud, January 18
/pfrost/the-first-industrial-revolution/

Gibbons, A. (2014). European genetic identity may stretch back 36,000 years, Science, News, November 6
http://news.sciencemag.org/archaeology/2014/11/european-genetic-identity-may-stretch-back-36000-years

Piffer, D. (2013). Correlation of the COMT Val158Met polymorphism with latitude and a hunter-gather lifestyle suggests culture-gene coevolution and selective pressure on cognition genes due to climate,Anthropological Science, 121, 161-171.
https://lesacreduprintemps19.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/correlation-of-the-comt-val158met-polymorphism-with-latitude-and-a-hunter-gather-lifestyle-suggests-culturee28093gene-coevolution-and-selective-pressure-on-cognition-genes-due-to-climate.pdf

Seguin-Orlando, A., T.S. Korneliussen, M. Sikora, A.-S. Malaspinas, A. Manica, I. Moltke, A. Albrechtsen, A. Ko, A. Margaryan, V. Moiseyev, T. Goebel, M. Westaway, D. Lambert, V. Khartanovich, J.D. Wall, P.R. Nigst, R.A. Foley, M.M. Lahr, R. Nielsen, L. Orlando, and E. Willerslev. (2014). Genomic structure in Europeans dating back at least 36,200 years, Science, Published online 6 November 2014
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2014/11/05/science.aaa0114
http://www2.zoo.cam.ac.uk/manica/ms/2014_Seguin_Orlando_et_al_Science.pdf

Sinitsyn, A.A., and J.F. Hoffecker. (2006). Radiocarbon dating and chronology of the Early Upper Paleolithic at Kostenki, Quaternary International, 152-153, 164-174.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1040618206000206

Skoglund, P., H. Malmstrom, A. Omrak, M. Raghavan, C. Valdiosera, T. Gunther, P. Hall, K. Tambets, J. Parik, K-G. Sjogren, J. Apel, E. Willersley, J. Stora, A. Gotherstrom, and M. Jakobsson. (2014). Genomic diversity and admixture differs for stone-age Scandinavian foragers and farmers, Science, 344 (6185), 747-750.
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/344/6185/747.short

(Republished from Evo and Proud by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Looks similar to some australian aboriginals.

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    • Replies: @Adar.
    NOT only does this artists representation LOOK like one of the Australian aborigine but he MUST look like that. NO other representation would be allowed. We-are-all-having-a-dark-skinned-ancestor-and-we-are-all-out-of-Africa-don't-you-know-and-racism-is-crazy-don't-you-know!

    NOW they also showed a Neanderthal with red hair and light colored eyes and THAT was controversial. But this "early" European is OK.

    Don't you know!
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  2. Kamran says:

    But middle easterners are basal eurasians. Which means they are descended from a group that didn’t participate in the main out-of-Africa migration that populated east asia, south asia, and north eurasia.

    How then can they be descended from a north eurasian back migration? Except partially?

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    There is no reason to expect that Middle Easterners are Basal Eurasians. The Early European Farmers (EEF), who migrated to Europe from the Middle East, were a mixture of Basal Eurasian and West Eurasian, which itself was descended from West Eurasian Upper Paleolithic, in the paper's model. See Dienekes Pontikos' recent blog post about this paper. Modern day Muslim Middle Easterners could be modeled as EEF with variable amounts of recent sub-Saharan admixture. Non-Muslim Middle Easterners are even closer to EEF as they have less recent sub-Saharan admixture.
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  3. austaliasian Aboos? In the Urals and Carpathians?

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  4. David says:

    As I was reading this, I wondered if an advantage conferred on early northern europeans by the cold besides the challenge of keeping warm was the necessary absence of much nearby competition from other human groups. If you encounter the enemy less frequently you can put more time into innovation.

    I remember reading a diary of the search for the mouth of the Mackenzie River. Some Athabaskan Indians, I think, are hired as guides. When the expedition met Esquimos, whom the Indians never would have met if not paid to travel far beyond their regular territory, they murder all of them. It’s clear the Esquimos are not at all prepared for war.

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    • Replies: @Numinous

    If you encounter the enemy less frequently you can put more time into innovation.
     
    Or, it could be exactly the opposite. It seems the Tasmanian aborigines even forgot how to make a fire (surprising, given that Tasmania is rather cool), let alone innovate beyond stone tools, after they were separated from the Australian mainlanders.
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  5. Numinous says:
    @David
    As I was reading this, I wondered if an advantage conferred on early northern europeans by the cold besides the challenge of keeping warm was the necessary absence of much nearby competition from other human groups. If you encounter the enemy less frequently you can put more time into innovation.

    I remember reading a diary of the search for the mouth of the Mackenzie River. Some Athabaskan Indians, I think, are hired as guides. When the expedition met Esquimos, whom the Indians never would have met if not paid to travel far beyond their regular territory, they murder all of them. It's clear the Esquimos are not at all prepared for war.

    If you encounter the enemy less frequently you can put more time into innovation.

    Or, it could be exactly the opposite. It seems the Tasmanian aborigines even forgot how to make a fire (surprising, given that Tasmania is rather cool), let alone innovate beyond stone tools, after they were separated from the Australian mainlanders.

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    • Replies: @David
    Agreed. Great example. I guess the best solution is to use others to do the dying.
    , @Buzz Mohawk
    Our own people today in the developed world easily forget how to do basic things. I think this is a common phenomenon and risk: to lose significant abilities when life gets easy.

    Young Americans today have far fewer basic skills than I do, and I can't do some of the skillful things my father did. Living an easy life in a comfortable environment allows people to become lazy and unskilled.

    This is a huge hazard currently effecting our people, as we sit comfortably in our cars and houses while Asians learn the skills of our grandparents.

    I can imagine the same thing happening among ancient humans, in its own, prehistoric way.
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  6. More evidence that, contrary to popular leftist ideology, humans are indeed continuing to evolve physically and mentally. And it’s not all evenly dispersed.

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  7. David says:
    @Numinous

    If you encounter the enemy less frequently you can put more time into innovation.
     
    Or, it could be exactly the opposite. It seems the Tasmanian aborigines even forgot how to make a fire (surprising, given that Tasmania is rather cool), let alone innovate beyond stone tools, after they were separated from the Australian mainlanders.

    Agreed. Great example. I guess the best solution is to use others to do the dying.

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  8. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Kamran
    But middle easterners are basal eurasians. Which means they are descended from a group that didn't participate in the main out-of-Africa migration that populated east asia, south asia, and north eurasia.

    How then can they be descended from a north eurasian back migration? Except partially?

    There is no reason to expect that Middle Easterners are Basal Eurasians. The Early European Farmers (EEF), who migrated to Europe from the Middle East, were a mixture of Basal Eurasian and West Eurasian, which itself was descended from West Eurasian Upper Paleolithic, in the paper’s model. See Dienekes Pontikos’ recent blog post about this paper. Modern day Muslim Middle Easterners could be modeled as EEF with variable amounts of recent sub-Saharan admixture. Non-Muslim Middle Easterners are even closer to EEF as they have less recent sub-Saharan admixture.

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  9. @Numinous

    If you encounter the enemy less frequently you can put more time into innovation.
     
    Or, it could be exactly the opposite. It seems the Tasmanian aborigines even forgot how to make a fire (surprising, given that Tasmania is rather cool), let alone innovate beyond stone tools, after they were separated from the Australian mainlanders.

    Our own people today in the developed world easily forget how to do basic things. I think this is a common phenomenon and risk: to lose significant abilities when life gets easy.

    Young Americans today have far fewer basic skills than I do, and I can’t do some of the skillful things my father did. Living an easy life in a comfortable environment allows people to become lazy and unskilled.

    This is a huge hazard currently effecting our people, as we sit comfortably in our cars and houses while Asians learn the skills of our grandparents.

    I can imagine the same thing happening among ancient humans, in its own, prehistoric way.

    Read More
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  10. Sean says:

    As the post says “True, but farming requires a mindset that may have come from those northern hunters (Frost, 2014). When Piffer (2013) looked at human variation in alleles at COMT, a gene linked to executive function, working memory, and intelligence, he found that northern hunting peoples had more in common with farming peoples than with other hunter-gatherers, “possibly due to the higher pressure on technological skills and planning abilities posed by the adverse climatic conditions.””

    Inuit are indeed quite good at mechanical things, Inuit harpoon heads look like nothing much, but the hole for the rope was offset to used the toggle principle. When the head of the harpoon was in the prey and the rope was tightened the harpoon head was moved round inside the wound to become jammed, it could then be pulled on very hard without coming out.

    The Inuit and COMT study Piffer references for the prevailence of the IQ boosting Met COMT allele among Inuit was about the Met variant being worse at clearing pollutants. Pollutants are basically xenoestrogens, hence the same team’s interest in breast cancer in Inuit women (see here). So as I read it the COMT Met allele is for a suit of ‘Men are from Mars’ traits and it seems to produce the aforementioned switch to mechanistic thinking by clearing estrogens.

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  11. That Tasmanian Aboriginals did not make fire is a MYTH. Numinous is incorrect on this account. I love Peter Frost and he should not let his readers get away with propagating myths like this without disputing it. First of all, there is no way they could have survived the cold of Tasmania without the ability to make fire. Second, all human societies (no matter how primitive) cook food and make fire. There is a document written in 1887 that describes the lighting of fire by Tasmanian Aborigines in detail. It is Notes on the Tasmanian Aborigines, by Edward Octavius Cotton. Here is a link:

    http://eprints.utas.edu.au/1887/

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    • Replies: @Numinous
    Thanks, I stand corrected (assuming that the account of fire-lighting techniques you cite is authentic.) I did some more reading, and it seems there's a debate among ethnographers on this issue. I wasn't trying to spread misinformation.

    In any case, it seems the Tasmanians' tools were more primitive than that of the mainlanders'. Which means that the cool climate did not really spur an innovative drive. Possibly due to the small number of humans and the virtual absence of human predators on the island?
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  12. Greg Cochran thinks that this Kostenki Man was no early European in the sense that he was just a mixture of roughly the same populations whose later descendants much later mixed to create present-day Europeans, but that he wasn’t the ancestor of present-day Europeans at all.

    His example is worth quoting at length: “if the daughter of a European Mesolithic hunter and a Basal Eurasian had married the son of an Ancient North Eurasian dude and a proto-Chinese chick in 10,000 BC, , they would have produced the world’s first Mexican, even if this complicated love-story happened thousands of years before Columbus. Still, one synthetic Mexican wouldn’t have mattered much – and it wouldn’t have meant that real, live Mexicans were descended from that early synthetic Mexican.”

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  13. Art says:

    We again see that evolution did not slow down with the emergence of anatomically and behaviorally modern humans some 60,000 years ago. It actually began to speed up, as humans began to enter not only new natural environments but also new cultural environments of their own making.

    The above scientific statement says that both nature and nurture has brought Western mankind to its current genetic makeup. Western folks have a psychological makeup that allows them to cooperate with each other. There are two idealistic cultural traits that mark Westerners as different from others, one trait is an endless quest for the truth (largely a male trait), and the other an empathy for others (largely a female trait). These two traits form a system for private cooperation between different peoples.

    The philosophical words that intellectually foster these traits are Christian –“the truth will set you free” and “love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Honest people can see beyond tribe. Hasn’t Christianity played a role in self propagating these traits of cooperation? Hasn’t Christianity aided the self-selection of cooperative offspring – hasn’t it evolved people for the better?

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  14. The AMH’s at Skhul and Qaftzeh date to 100 Kya. These were the Omo-variety of AMH’s with a lot of archaic features. Very African with almost certainly no Neanderthal admixture.

    At 60 Kya, Neanderthals were occupying the Levant (see Tabun and Kebara hominids). So it is more likely that Neanderthals were in the Levant at 54 Kya, which could be the source of admixture.

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  15. Bliss says:

    Kostenki Man was dark-skinned, dark-eyed

    In other words, europeans are descended from (insert plural N-word)?

    So basically, you mutant white supremacists are hating your own european ancestors…

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    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    I guess when we humans are fighting germs, we're essentially hating our own ancestors, because all our ancestors were bacteria at one point in time. (I know, one cannot hate bacteria. Not that one needs to hate anybody whom one finds inferior, or that one needs to find someone inferior in order to hate him, or - as many people often incorrectly believe - that supporting policies like immigration restrictionism, repatriation of present immigrants, segregation vis-à-vis other races, etc. needs either hatred or 'supremacism' or both, when in fact these require neither hatred nor a feeling of superiority.)
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  16. Numinous says:
    @Insightful
    That Tasmanian Aboriginals did not make fire is a MYTH. Numinous is incorrect on this account. I love Peter Frost and he should not let his readers get away with propagating myths like this without disputing it. First of all, there is no way they could have survived the cold of Tasmania without the ability to make fire. Second, all human societies (no matter how primitive) cook food and make fire. There is a document written in 1887 that describes the lighting of fire by Tasmanian Aborigines in detail. It is Notes on the Tasmanian Aborigines, by Edward Octavius Cotton. Here is a link:

    http://eprints.utas.edu.au/1887/

    Thanks, I stand corrected (assuming that the account of fire-lighting techniques you cite is authentic.) I did some more reading, and it seems there’s a debate among ethnographers on this issue. I wasn’t trying to spread misinformation.

    In any case, it seems the Tasmanians’ tools were more primitive than that of the mainlanders’. Which means that the cool climate did not really spur an innovative drive. Possibly due to the small number of humans and the virtual absence of human predators on the island?

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  17. Peter Frost says: • Website

    Credible Hulk,

    The term “basal Eurasian” may have to be dropped. The ancestral lineages of early Middle Eastern farmers seem to have originated in a range expansion of North Eurasians that greatly preceded the beginnings of farming some 10,000 years ago.

    David,

    It seems to me that competition with other human groups will always exist. Humans tend to grow in numbers until the land base cannot support any more. At that point, different human groups will compete with each other for the same resources.

    There was much rivalry between the Eskimos and the Athabaskans. In addition to oral tradition, the butchered remains of Athabaskans have been found at one Eskimo site (mainly women and children).

    Reiner,

    I don’t understand Greg’s point. Kostenki Man was not a mix of West Eurasians, East Eurasians, and the ancestors of Middle Eastern farmers (South Eurasians? I don’t have a good term). He was from a West Eurasian population that had experienced some gene flow from East Eurasians and ancestral EMFs.

    “Hasn’t Christianity aided the self-selection of cooperative offspring – hasn’t it evolved people for the better?”

    Art,

    Christianity has probably favored certain predispositions and personality traits in human populations that have long been Christianized, like a more peaceful temperament, empathy toward strangers, etc. I would also argue that the influence is reciprocal: different human populations have tended to push Christianity in different directions.

    Flinders,

    You may be right. I was influenced by Kramer et al.’s (2001) study, where the authors argue that Tabun and Kebara belong to the same transitional Skhul-Qafzeh population:

    We use non-metric traits to examine the eight most complete adult Levantine human crania to try to refute the contention first proposed by McCown and Keith (1939. The Stone Age of Mount Carmel: the Fossil Human Remains from the Levalloiso-Mousterian, Vol. II. Clarendon Press, Oxford), that the Levant “Neandertals” (Amud, Tabun) were the same species as the “early modern humans” (Qafzeh III, VI, IX; Skhul IV, V, IX). To test this hypothesis we use individual specimens as “operational taxonomic units”, and assess it using phylogenetic analysis as a heuristic clustering procedure. While our analyses produce many different trees, none of the most parsimonious ones reveal a separate Neandertal clade. Furthermore, we conducted a pairwise difference analysis of these data, which also failed to reveal a unique relationship between the Neandertal crania that would be expected if these hominids were a different species from that represented by Qafzeh and Skhul. We acknowledge that the bases for refutation are necessary but not indispensably sufficient conditions, and yet nevertheless, our findings fail to refute the null hypothesis. Instead our results suggest that the traditional “Neandertal” versus “modern human” groupings in the Levant may not be as distinct as often thought. This would imply that as populations left Africa, they interbred with the Late Pleistocene inhabitants of the Levant, and suggest that as different populations moved or expanded their range, subsequent human evolution be viewed as a consequence of the continued mixing of ideas and genes.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S104061820000077X

    Bliss,

    Please, I’m not a white supremacist (Why do people want to label me??). Life forms evolve, so there must have been a point in time when the ancestors of Europeans didn’t look European.

    Do you have a problem with the theory of evolution?

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    • Replies: @Bliss

    Please, I’m not a white supremacist
     
    Sorry about that. I wasn't thinking of you when I wrote "you mutant white supremacists". I should have, and worded my barb differently.

    Do you have a problem with the theory of evolution?
     
    If I did why would I have used the word mutant?
    , @SinoPlato
    Peter,

    "Not long before the time of Kostenki Man, these Northern Eurasians began to split into three regional groups: Western Eurasians, Eastern Eurasians, and the ancestors of Middle Eastern farmers."

    This is patently false. Neither Lazaridis nor Reich nor Willerslev reach this conclusion. Please stop trying to spread misinformation.

    Rather, they reached the conclusion that Basal Eurasian had a deep split with an (North Eurasian-East Eurasian-West Eurasian Hunter-Gatherer) clade, and that modern Europeans are a product of North Eurasians and West Eurasian Hunter Gatherers, and Basal Eurasian from farming groups.

    The K14 individual DOES NOT prove that Basal Eurasian comes from North Eurasia. The model posted in the paper itself shows a Basal Eurasian that has diverged long before K14 existed contributing to K14, who is mainly West Eurasian Hunter-Gatherer. K14 is the product of an admixture event between components that diverged before he existed.
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  18. Reiner,

    Ancestral EMFs should be ancestral MEFs (Middle Eastern Farmers\. I’m typing too fast.

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  19. Kamran says:

    “The term “basal Eurasian” may have to be dropped. The ancestral lineages of early Middle Eastern farmers seem to have originated in a range expansion of North Eurasians that greatly preceded the beginnings of farming some 10,000 years ago.”

    No, you are wrong. There is certainly ancestry in Early European Farmers that comes from a population that split off from all other non-africans before they split-off from each other.

    Hard to imagine such a population co-existing in the same geographical area, say for example, north eurasia, with the ancestors of european and siberian hunter-gatherers for 50,000 years, without mixing with them.

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  20. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “I remember reading a diary of the search for the mouth of the Mackenzie River. Some Athabaskan Indians, I think, are hired as guides. When the expedition met Esquimos, whom the Indians never would have met if not paid to travel far beyond their regular territory, they murder all of them.”

    I think a version of this that I have seen is that the Rime of the Ancient Mariner may have been influenced by a talk by Samuel Hearne, an early explorer of the Canadian arctic:

    “Third Journey: Hearne contrived to travel as the only European with a group of Chipewyan guides… set out in December 1770… descend to the Arctic in canoes.

    …The Dene … were in a state of conflict with the Inuit. A great number of Yellowknife Indians joined Hearne’s party to accompany them to the Coppermine River with intent to murder Inuit, who were understood to frequent that river…

    …Indians fell upon the sleeping “Esquimaux” in a ruthless massacre. Approximately twenty men, women, and children were killed; this would be known as the Massacre at Bloody Falls.

    ” … a young girl, seemingly about eighteen years of age, [was] killed so near me, that when the first spear was stuck into her side she fell down at my feet, and twisted round my legs, so that it was with difficulty that I could disengage myself from her dying grasps… I cannot reflect on the transactions of that horrid day without shedding tears.”

    A few days later Hearne was the first European to reach the shore of the Arctic Ocean by an overland route. …he had established there was no northwest passage…”

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  21. Bliss says:
    @Peter Frost
    Credible Hulk,

    The term "basal Eurasian" may have to be dropped. The ancestral lineages of early Middle Eastern farmers seem to have originated in a range expansion of North Eurasians that greatly preceded the beginnings of farming some 10,000 years ago.

    David,

    It seems to me that competition with other human groups will always exist. Humans tend to grow in numbers until the land base cannot support any more. At that point, different human groups will compete with each other for the same resources.

    There was much rivalry between the Eskimos and the Athabaskans. In addition to oral tradition, the butchered remains of Athabaskans have been found at one Eskimo site (mainly women and children).

    Reiner,

    I don't understand Greg's point. Kostenki Man was not a mix of West Eurasians, East Eurasians, and the ancestors of Middle Eastern farmers (South Eurasians? I don't have a good term). He was from a West Eurasian population that had experienced some gene flow from East Eurasians and ancestral EMFs.

    "Hasn’t Christianity aided the self-selection of cooperative offspring – hasn’t it evolved people for the better?"

    Art,

    Christianity has probably favored certain predispositions and personality traits in human populations that have long been Christianized, like a more peaceful temperament, empathy toward strangers, etc. I would also argue that the influence is reciprocal: different human populations have tended to push Christianity in different directions.

    Flinders,

    You may be right. I was influenced by Kramer et al.'s (2001) study, where the authors argue that Tabun and Kebara belong to the same transitional Skhul-Qafzeh population:

    We use non-metric traits to examine the eight most complete adult Levantine human crania to try to refute the contention first proposed by McCown and Keith (1939. The Stone Age of Mount Carmel: the Fossil Human Remains from the Levalloiso-Mousterian, Vol. II. Clarendon Press, Oxford), that the Levant “Neandertals” (Amud, Tabun) were the same species as the “early modern humans” (Qafzeh III, VI, IX; Skhul IV, V, IX). To test this hypothesis we use individual specimens as “operational taxonomic units”, and assess it using phylogenetic analysis as a heuristic clustering procedure. While our analyses produce many different trees, none of the most parsimonious ones reveal a separate Neandertal clade. Furthermore, we conducted a pairwise difference analysis of these data, which also failed to reveal a unique relationship between the Neandertal crania that would be expected if these hominids were a different species from that represented by Qafzeh and Skhul. We acknowledge that the bases for refutation are necessary but not indispensably sufficient conditions, and yet nevertheless, our findings fail to refute the null hypothesis. Instead our results suggest that the traditional “Neandertal” versus “modern human” groupings in the Levant may not be as distinct as often thought. This would imply that as populations left Africa, they interbred with the Late Pleistocene inhabitants of the Levant, and suggest that as different populations moved or expanded their range, subsequent human evolution be viewed as a consequence of the continued mixing of ideas and genes.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S104061820000077X

    Bliss,

    Please, I'm not a white supremacist (Why do people want to label me??). Life forms evolve, so there must have been a point in time when the ancestors of Europeans didn't look European.

    Do you have a problem with the theory of evolution?

    Please, I’m not a white supremacist

    Sorry about that. I wasn’t thinking of you when I wrote “you mutant white supremacists”. I should have, and worded my barb differently.

    Do you have a problem with the theory of evolution?

    If I did why would I have used the word mutant?

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  22. Ponto says:

    Maybe more imagination is needed to understand where Kostenki fits in, and actually doing something to find the apparent Basal Eurasian somewhere in the world outside the Eurocentric Zone of Europe and parts of Asia retrofitted as European such as Siberia. Soon Europe will extend all the way to the Bering Sea.

    The Greek man with the leprous surname invented Basal Eurasian to fit with his roadmap diagram of the origins of Europeans. However where are the remains of those Basal Eurasians, those Ancient North Eurasians and those of the connecting node populations? All we have are a mixed Siberian boy, some European hunter/gatherers and European Neolithic Farmers and a lot of imagination. Most Middle Eastern and African interested in ancient dna results in a dilettante way have already converted the Basal Eurasians into Mulattoes or at best Northeast Africans similar to Somalis, when even the Greek himself said those supposed ancients were Out of Africa humans and connected to the other Out of Africa humans just separate.

    If Kostenki throws a lot of wrenches into the works, upsets peoples’ racist paradigms, all the better. Once ancient dna from North Africa, other parts of Europe, not Scandinavia, and Eastern Europe in Europe, and its extension into parts of Asia, but the South and Southeast of Europe and the Middle East then we will know how to compare long dead humans with their supposed descendants in Europe and elsewhere.

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  23. SinoPlato says:
    @Peter Frost
    Credible Hulk,

    The term "basal Eurasian" may have to be dropped. The ancestral lineages of early Middle Eastern farmers seem to have originated in a range expansion of North Eurasians that greatly preceded the beginnings of farming some 10,000 years ago.

    David,

    It seems to me that competition with other human groups will always exist. Humans tend to grow in numbers until the land base cannot support any more. At that point, different human groups will compete with each other for the same resources.

    There was much rivalry between the Eskimos and the Athabaskans. In addition to oral tradition, the butchered remains of Athabaskans have been found at one Eskimo site (mainly women and children).

    Reiner,

    I don't understand Greg's point. Kostenki Man was not a mix of West Eurasians, East Eurasians, and the ancestors of Middle Eastern farmers (South Eurasians? I don't have a good term). He was from a West Eurasian population that had experienced some gene flow from East Eurasians and ancestral EMFs.

    "Hasn’t Christianity aided the self-selection of cooperative offspring – hasn’t it evolved people for the better?"

    Art,

    Christianity has probably favored certain predispositions and personality traits in human populations that have long been Christianized, like a more peaceful temperament, empathy toward strangers, etc. I would also argue that the influence is reciprocal: different human populations have tended to push Christianity in different directions.

    Flinders,

    You may be right. I was influenced by Kramer et al.'s (2001) study, where the authors argue that Tabun and Kebara belong to the same transitional Skhul-Qafzeh population:

    We use non-metric traits to examine the eight most complete adult Levantine human crania to try to refute the contention first proposed by McCown and Keith (1939. The Stone Age of Mount Carmel: the Fossil Human Remains from the Levalloiso-Mousterian, Vol. II. Clarendon Press, Oxford), that the Levant “Neandertals” (Amud, Tabun) were the same species as the “early modern humans” (Qafzeh III, VI, IX; Skhul IV, V, IX). To test this hypothesis we use individual specimens as “operational taxonomic units”, and assess it using phylogenetic analysis as a heuristic clustering procedure. While our analyses produce many different trees, none of the most parsimonious ones reveal a separate Neandertal clade. Furthermore, we conducted a pairwise difference analysis of these data, which also failed to reveal a unique relationship between the Neandertal crania that would be expected if these hominids were a different species from that represented by Qafzeh and Skhul. We acknowledge that the bases for refutation are necessary but not indispensably sufficient conditions, and yet nevertheless, our findings fail to refute the null hypothesis. Instead our results suggest that the traditional “Neandertal” versus “modern human” groupings in the Levant may not be as distinct as often thought. This would imply that as populations left Africa, they interbred with the Late Pleistocene inhabitants of the Levant, and suggest that as different populations moved or expanded their range, subsequent human evolution be viewed as a consequence of the continued mixing of ideas and genes.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S104061820000077X

    Bliss,

    Please, I'm not a white supremacist (Why do people want to label me??). Life forms evolve, so there must have been a point in time when the ancestors of Europeans didn't look European.

    Do you have a problem with the theory of evolution?

    Peter,

    “Not long before the time of Kostenki Man, these Northern Eurasians began to split into three regional groups: Western Eurasians, Eastern Eurasians, and the ancestors of Middle Eastern farmers.”

    This is patently false. Neither Lazaridis nor Reich nor Willerslev reach this conclusion. Please stop trying to spread misinformation.

    Rather, they reached the conclusion that Basal Eurasian had a deep split with an (North Eurasian-East Eurasian-West Eurasian Hunter-Gatherer) clade, and that modern Europeans are a product of North Eurasians and West Eurasian Hunter Gatherers, and Basal Eurasian from farming groups.

    The K14 individual DOES NOT prove that Basal Eurasian comes from North Eurasia. The model posted in the paper itself shows a Basal Eurasian that has diverged long before K14 existed contributing to K14, who is mainly West Eurasian Hunter-Gatherer. K14 is the product of an admixture event between components that diverged before he existed.

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    I' m sure clever people could use abstruse genetic analysis to show the scores of SNPs, at 8 genes on 6 different chromosomes that affect which of the diverse hair colours found in Europeans that any particular European will have, all came from admixture of somewhat separate populations. As if a clade of red haired people from somewhere, a clade of blonde haired people from somewhere else and a clade of black haired people all underwent 'admixture events' to produce a variegated population.

    The old Russian reconstructions gave early Europeans like Kostenki Man dark colouring. The dominant theory among Western scientists was that light skin was required for vitamin D synthesis at European latitude, though maybe only with a neolithic diet; light eyes and hair were supposed to be a side effect of skin lightening.

    Turns out that the Western theories were wrong, because the early Europeans had dark colouring and there were Mesolithic Europeans with white skin (Swedish hunter-gatherer, dated to 8,000 years ago, who had the “European” allele for light skin at the gene SLC24A) and others with blue eyes and brown skin. Genes that confer blue eyes lighten skin by themselves somewhat, but I can't I really can't see how a selection pressure for light skin would have left Mesolithic blue eyed Europeans without the skin lightening allele at SLC24A gene thousands of years later. And an authoritative report from the Institute of Medicine (often regarded as the world premier source of medical information) found that the claims for vitamin D deficiency don't stand up, even for black African in Canada).

    If a need for skin lightening was the selection pressure that caused the spread of light eyes or hair (though in an odd diversity of colours) then the more effective genes for skin lightening such as the light-skinned allele at SLC45A2 would have risen to fixation very quickly. The simplest explanation for light eyed Mesolithic Europeans without light-skinned allele at SLC45A2 ect was the selection pressure had ceased to operate, and admixture spread some disconnected aspects of the white skin and diverse hair and eye colour phenotype.

    European colour traits were a result of something that happened very roughly around 15, 000 years ago around the time that the first known impacted wisdom tooth is dated to, and also around the time the white skin alleles at SLC24A originated . The light-skinned allele at SLC45A2 is dated to the same time frame and mutations in this gene are a cause of oculocutaneous albinism type 4, and polymorphisms are associated with variations in hair color, there are multiple transcript variants encoding different isoforms too. So, the selection pressure for the appearance of Europeans was nothing to do with vitamin D, was something that acted on aspects of appearance like making facial bones more delicate, and lightening skin while making hair and eye colour diverse, and it was strong around 15,000 years ago.

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  24. @Bliss

    Kostenki Man was dark-skinned, dark-eyed
     
    In other words, europeans are descended from (insert plural N-word)?

    So basically, you mutant white supremacists are hating your own european ancestors...

    I guess when we humans are fighting germs, we’re essentially hating our own ancestors, because all our ancestors were bacteria at one point in time. (I know, one cannot hate bacteria. Not that one needs to hate anybody whom one finds inferior, or that one needs to find someone inferior in order to hate him, or – as many people often incorrectly believe – that supporting policies like immigration restrictionism, repatriation of present immigrants, segregation vis-à-vis other races, etc. needs either hatred or ‘supremacism’ or both, when in fact these require neither hatred nor a feeling of superiority.)

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  25. Sean says:
    @SinoPlato
    Peter,

    "Not long before the time of Kostenki Man, these Northern Eurasians began to split into three regional groups: Western Eurasians, Eastern Eurasians, and the ancestors of Middle Eastern farmers."

    This is patently false. Neither Lazaridis nor Reich nor Willerslev reach this conclusion. Please stop trying to spread misinformation.

    Rather, they reached the conclusion that Basal Eurasian had a deep split with an (North Eurasian-East Eurasian-West Eurasian Hunter-Gatherer) clade, and that modern Europeans are a product of North Eurasians and West Eurasian Hunter Gatherers, and Basal Eurasian from farming groups.

    The K14 individual DOES NOT prove that Basal Eurasian comes from North Eurasia. The model posted in the paper itself shows a Basal Eurasian that has diverged long before K14 existed contributing to K14, who is mainly West Eurasian Hunter-Gatherer. K14 is the product of an admixture event between components that diverged before he existed.

    I’ m sure clever people could use abstruse genetic analysis to show the scores of SNPs, at 8 genes on 6 different chromosomes that affect which of the diverse hair colours found in Europeans that any particular European will have, all came from admixture of somewhat separate populations. As if a clade of red haired people from somewhere, a clade of blonde haired people from somewhere else and a clade of black haired people all underwent ‘admixture events’ to produce a variegated population.

    The old Russian reconstructions gave early Europeans like Kostenki Man dark colouring. The dominant theory among Western scientists was that light skin was required for vitamin D synthesis at European latitude, though maybe only with a neolithic diet; light eyes and hair were supposed to be a side effect of skin lightening.

    Turns out that the Western theories were wrong, because the early Europeans had dark colouring and there were Mesolithic Europeans with white skin (Swedish hunter-gatherer, dated to 8,000 years ago, who had the “European” allele for light skin at the gene SLC24A) and others with blue eyes and brown skin. Genes that confer blue eyes lighten skin by themselves somewhat, but I can’t I really can’t see how a selection pressure for light skin would have left Mesolithic blue eyed Europeans without the skin lightening allele at SLC24A gene thousands of years later. And an authoritative report from the Institute of Medicine (often regarded as the world premier source of medical information) found that the claims for vitamin D deficiency don’t stand up, even for black African in Canada).

    If a need for skin lightening was the selection pressure that caused the spread of light eyes or hair (though in an odd diversity of colours) then the more effective genes for skin lightening such as the light-skinned allele at SLC45A2 would have risen to fixation very quickly. The simplest explanation for light eyed Mesolithic Europeans without light-skinned allele at SLC45A2 ect was the selection pressure had ceased to operate, and admixture spread some disconnected aspects of the white skin and diverse hair and eye colour phenotype.

    European colour traits were a result of something that happened very roughly around 15, 000 years ago around the time that the first known impacted wisdom tooth is dated to, and also around the time the white skin alleles at SLC24A originated . The light-skinned allele at SLC45A2 is dated to the same time frame and mutations in this gene are a cause of oculocutaneous albinism type 4, and polymorphisms are associated with variations in hair color, there are multiple transcript variants encoding different isoforms too. So, the selection pressure for the appearance of Europeans was nothing to do with vitamin D, was something that acted on aspects of appearance like making facial bones more delicate, and lightening skin while making hair and eye colour diverse, and it was strong around 15,000 years ago.

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  26. Peter Frost says: • Website

    Credible and Sinoplato,

    The authors of this paper are proposing the following scenario:

    1. When modern humans entered the Middle East about 50,000 years ago, they split into two ancestral groups: an ancestral Eurasian population and an ancestral Australo-Melanesian population.

    2. A group that became ancestral to early Middle Eastern farmers subsequently split off from the Eurasian group.

    3. The “other Eurasians” then split into western Eurasians and eastern Eurasians not long before 36,200 years ago.

    4. To varying degrees, there was subsequent gene flow between the three Eurasian groups.

    Lazaridis and Reich are not authors of the present paper. They are the authors of earlier papers, and I don’t pretend to agree with them on all points.

    You seem to disagree with me only on one point: the place where the ancestors of early Middle Eastern farmers split off from other Eurasians. A location in the Middle East seems unlikely to me for two reasons:

    1. Modern humans entered Europe shortly after entering the Middle East. Since genetic studies indicate that all three Eurasian groups have more in common with each other than with Australo-Melanesians, the first break-up of the ancestral Eurasian group must have happened well after the split between that group and Australo-Melanesians. If that break-up happened in the Middle East, there would have been a vast panmictic stretching not only over parts of Europe and Asia, but also the Middle East as well. I find that unlikely.

    2. Kostenki man belonged to a population that had not fully separated from the ancestors of early Middle Eastern farmers. Later on, there was a cessation of gene flow between the two. That suggests, that the ancestral Middle Easterners had not yet fully spread into the Middle East. They were probably a population that was centered on the Black Sea region.

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  27. - should be “a vast panmictic population” in my last comment.

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  28. Sean says:
    November 12, 2014 at 10:15 pm GMT

    European colour traits were a result of something that happened very roughly around 15, 000 years ago around the time that the first known impacted wisdom tooth is dated to, and also around the time the white skin alleles at SLC24A originated .

    Does this support a link with the domestication of modern humans? If domestication allowed modern humans to have less prognathus jaws or smaller jaws in some other way and simultaneously exhibit more colour variation or a lighter colour just like the Russian domestication of the artic foxes experiment. Is the time right? What else happens around 15,000 years ago. Is it the START of agriculture?

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  29. Sean says:

    Peter, unless the steppe-tundra population was rather small or shrank precipitously after the ice age and remained small for several thousands of years, it is odd that the remains found have been blue eyed dark skinned Mesolithic people, and white skinned dark eyed Mesolithic people , but no white skinned, light eyed and haired Mesolithic people. None and that is over a huge area including the man found the land that is now Luxembourg (certainly not far from the European plain). You have suggested that “This older phenotype must have gradually disappeared as the newer phenotype spread outwards from the plains of northern and eastern Europe.”

    Maybe the when the herds disappeared from the north European plain with the end of the steppe-tundra, most of the S-T hunters with the modern European phenotype tried to follow the dwindling herds and ended up moving a long way away. Maybe they came back in the Neolithic as apparent interlopers, such as the Indo Europeans.

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  30. Adar. says:
    @Anonymous
    Looks similar to some australian aboriginals.

    NOT only does this artists representation LOOK like one of the Australian aborigine but he MUST look like that. NO other representation would be allowed. We-are-all-having-a-dark-skinned-ancestor-and-we-are-all-out-of-Africa-don’t-you-know-and-racism-is-crazy-don’t-you-know!

    NOW they also showed a Neanderthal with red hair and light colored eyes and THAT was controversial. But this “early” European is OK.

    Don’t you know!

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  31. Adar. says:

    “That Tasmanian Aboriginals did not make fire is a MYTH . . . First of all, there is no way they could have survived the cold of Tasmania without the ability to make fire. Second, all human societies (no matter how primitive) cook food and make fire.”

    It is not so much that they could or could not make fire as the PREFERRED NOT to make fire. Kept a fire going all the time and when moving from place to place carried a log with burning embers on the inside to renew the fire at another location. The pygmies of the Ituri rain forest until recently did the same. The sacred hearth as was attended by the Vestal Virgins.

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  32. Mt Isa Miner,

    No, agriculture did not begin until 10,000 years ago in the Middle East. Its line of advance then stalled along a line stretching from the Netherlands to the Black Sea, and did not enter northern Europe until 6,000 years ago. Some areas, like the East Baltic and Finland, did not adopt farming until 3,000 to 4,000 years ago.

    Sean,

    To date (please correct me if I’m wrong) only four Mesolithic/Paleolithic individuals have yielded data on their skin, eye, or hair color:

    Mesolithic Spain – brown skin, non-brown eyes (7,000 BP)
    Mesolithic Luxembourg – brown skin, non-brown eyes (8,000 BP)
    Mesolithic Sweden – white skin, eyes ??? (8,000 BP)
    Paleolithic Russia – brown skin, brown eyes (36,200 BP)

    This is thin gruel. It looks like the new European phenotype originated within a relatively small area and then spread outward. It also looks like the whitening of European skin came after the diversification of European eye color. As for the diversification of European hair color, we still lack data.

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    'Mesolithic Luxembourg – brown skin, non-brown eyes (8,000 BP)' yes but the gene for light eyes does have some effect on skin colour and no-one is sure what what colour he was. he was was very robust.

    Razib Khan said "we don’t know that it’s not a side effect of skin lightening even if they had blue eyes, because OCA2-HERC2 has been known to have an independent effect on skin lightening"

    Given that we know men with blue eyes tend to have less robustly masculine features, and Mr. Mesolithic Luxembourg was very robust, he probably didn't even have much more than dark hazel or lightish brown eyes.

    In the steppe-tundra scenario when a woman succeeded in attracting a male by novel hair and eye colours and feminine features it would be of little use if he didn't stick around to provide for her and their children . I feel that fully white skin (which is NOT sexually attractive, a tan is very common for porn performers and 'party girls ') must have been quite essential in the steppe-tundra population and gone with the novel hair and skin colours and feminine facial features by the Mesolithic. It is not much to go on but Luxembourg is really quite close to the north European plain and he ought to have picked up so much more than just the light eye allele, if there was a big expanding population with the complete modern European phenotype swarming off the plain.

    So I think there may have been few left on the the plain in the early Mesolithic, meaning most of the ST hunters had wandered off. If that wandering steppe tundra population became the Indo Europeans who returned to northern Europe in the Neolithic as conquerors, it would explain a few things. Gregory Cochran is usually only half wrong in his disagreements with you about his favourite subjects, like he was about Neanderthals

    Anyway, I think the evidence this year shows you are right about how the skin, eye, or hair color originated (ie steppe tundra). The balance of opinion is beginning to move in your favour on the main issue.

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  33. Sean says:
    @Peter Frost
    Mt Isa Miner,

    No, agriculture did not begin until 10,000 years ago in the Middle East. Its line of advance then stalled along a line stretching from the Netherlands to the Black Sea, and did not enter northern Europe until 6,000 years ago. Some areas, like the East Baltic and Finland, did not adopt farming until 3,000 to 4,000 years ago.

    Sean,

    To date (please correct me if I'm wrong) only four Mesolithic/Paleolithic individuals have yielded data on their skin, eye, or hair color:

    Mesolithic Spain - brown skin, non-brown eyes (7,000 BP)
    Mesolithic Luxembourg - brown skin, non-brown eyes (8,000 BP)
    Mesolithic Sweden - white skin, eyes ??? (8,000 BP)
    Paleolithic Russia - brown skin, brown eyes (36,200 BP)

    This is thin gruel. It looks like the new European phenotype originated within a relatively small area and then spread outward. It also looks like the whitening of European skin came after the diversification of European eye color. As for the diversification of European hair color, we still lack data.

    ‘Mesolithic Luxembourg – brown skin, non-brown eyes (8,000 BP)’ yes but the gene for light eyes does have some effect on skin colour and no-one is sure what what colour he was. he was was very robust.

    Razib Khan said “we don’t know that it’s not a side effect of skin lightening even if they had blue eyes, because OCA2-HERC2 has been known to have an independent effect on skin lightening”

    Given that we know men with blue eyes tend to have less robustly masculine features, and Mr. Mesolithic Luxembourg was very robust, he probably didn’t even have much more than dark hazel or lightish brown eyes.

    In the steppe-tundra scenario when a woman succeeded in attracting a male by novel hair and eye colours and feminine features it would be of little use if he didn’t stick around to provide for her and their children . I feel that fully white skin (which is NOT sexually attractive, a tan is very common for porn performers and ‘party girls ‘) must have been quite essential in the steppe-tundra population and gone with the novel hair and skin colours and feminine facial features by the Mesolithic. It is not much to go on but Luxembourg is really quite close to the north European plain and he ought to have picked up so much more than just the light eye allele, if there was a big expanding population with the complete modern European phenotype swarming off the plain.

    So I think there may have been few left on the the plain in the early Mesolithic, meaning most of the ST hunters had wandered off. If that wandering steppe tundra population became the Indo Europeans who returned to northern Europe in the Neolithic as conquerors, it would explain a few things. Gregory Cochran is usually only half wrong in his disagreements with you about his favourite subjects, like he was about Neanderthals

    Anyway, I think the evidence this year shows you are right about how the skin, eye, or hair color originated (ie steppe tundra). The balance of opinion is beginning to move in your favour on the main issue.

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  34. Peter Frost says: • Website

    Sean,

    Blue eyes have a lightening effect on skin color, but it’s a minor effect. Blue eyes are common in some Melanesian populations, yet their skin is still brown. Also, we don’t know whether the Mesolithic individuals from Luxembourg and Spain had blue eyes. We can only say that they had non-brown eyes.

    In traditional European societies, white female skin was considered desirable and women would go to considerable lengths to avoid sun tanning. The tanning fad is relatively recent, essentially since the 1920s, and it coincided with a shift to a more boyish look, e.g., bobbed hair, smaller buttocks and less accumulation of subcutaneous fat, etc. For a number of reasons, we have entered a very different environment of erotic stimulation, and we cannot project current fads on to the past.

    Again, we have only 4 Mesolithic/Paleolithic individuals, and the first one to have white skin lived in Sweden. So it looks like white skin arose within only part of Europe. I’ve argued that this phenotypic change occurred during the last ice age among the nomadic population on the plains of northern and eastern Europe. When the ice age ended, they may have initially retreated farther north. In any case, Luxembourg would have been at best peripheral to this population.

    I’m no longer sure what Gregory Cochran thinks on this issue. In the past, he argued that white skin and different hair/eye colors arose through “self-domestication” among the farming peoples of early Europe. It was an interesting argument: he referred to studies on the effects of domestication on foxes, as well as studies on eye color and personality type. Unfortunately, all of these phenotypic changes seem to precede the advent of farming.

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  35. Sean says:

    Thanks for that clear restatement of your ideas, what you have been saying since 2005 certainly seems to require remarkably little alteration to fit the evidence that is recently emerging .

    ——-

    I’m going off off on a tangent (again) here about Indo Europeans, you said

    “Northern Eurasians had gone south to the Middle East, some of their farming descendants “returned” to Europe and partially replaced its hunter-gatherers, particularly in southern and central Europe [...] farming requires a mindset that may have come from those northern hunters (Frost, 2014). When Piffer (2013) looked at human variation in alleles at COMT, a gene linked to executive function, working memory, and intelligence, he found that northern hunting peoples had more in common with farming peoples than with other hunter-gatherers, “possibly due to the higher pressure on technological skills and planning abilities posed by the adverse climatic conditions.”

    As the ice melted some of the nomadic population on the plains of northern and eastern Europe went north as you say, while others may have went north west to Doggerland . Maybe some went east and came back as the Indo Europeans My reason for thinking this is the Indo Europeans must have been smart and the post rather suggests smarts originated in the north.

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  36. Jefferson says:

    “Blue eyes have a lightening effect on skin color, but it’s a minor effect.”

    I have seen some swarthy Caucasians who have blue eyes and I have also seen some pale as Casper Caucasians with brown eyes.

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  37. SinoPlato says:

    @ Peter Frost
    What???
    Did you even READ the paper? The authors proposed nothing of the sort. Lazaridis et al, plus this paper is nothing less than a conclusive refutation of everything you are trying to prove…

    Lazaridis proposed a split between a basal eurasian group, which entered Europe with the neolithic from the near east and–in fact–was the group that carried light skin and hair alleles, and another West Eurasian-East eurasian group, to which European hunter-gatherers belonged. This group had dark skin and hair, and only light eyes.

    You have so many theories that contradict the genetic evidence directly. Middle easterners did not get most of their ancestry from Europe. The autosome shows more or less conclusively that Basal Eurasian, which is the largest portion of ancestry in the Middle East, split off before East and West Eurasian did.

    https://drive.google.com/a/stanford.edu/file/d/0B9o3EYTdM8lQVEhaQ2RzVEs2eWc/view

    The image posted on the tree shows an arrow from Basal to kostenki, that also goes into NEOL for goodness sakes. Where is the Melanesian? I have no idea why you are trying to put words in other’s mouths, when changing your hypotheses would be the most scientifically honest thing to do here.

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  38. SinoPlato says:

    @ Peter Frost
    Last of all, Basal Eurasian did not split from Europeans, but split from the common ancestor of Europeans and Asians simultaneously. Basal Eurasian thus cannot ever have been the product of back-migration from Europe–there is no evidence of this whatsoever–while Europeans must have been the product of a migration from some area that was source to both East Asians and Europeans, but was not the Middle East.

    Last of all, K14 demonstrates closest affinity to lithuanians and Loschour specifically, instead of a generalised, equal affinity to Loschour, Mal’ta and Stuttgart. This more or less conclusively disproves your idea that Kostenki is a product of a time when the European and Middle Eastern components were not diverged fully. Ust-Ishim, who is in fact a product of a time when components are not diverged fully, is equally far from all Eurasians, with a slight closeness to East Asians and Melanesians only; that is why the authors root him either slightly on the East Asian side of the split, or outside the split; aka Ust-Ishim is a product of the time when the split was just beginning to happen, or was about to happen. Kostenki on the other hand does not demonstrate this behaviour at all. He is in fact the product of a time when the components are diverged fully, but he is not pure WHG. That is all.

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  39. Sean says:

    Une statuette vieille de 23.000 ans découverte à Amiens.

    “Il n’existe qu’une centaine de statuettes de ce type et de cette époque en Europe –surtout en Russie et en Europe centrale–, dont une quinzaine en France, essentiellement dans le sud-ouest.”

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  40. Please forgive my ignorance, but I’ve not seen this question answered:

    How much of this can really be certain given the extremely small sample sizes? In other words, if an anthropologist today were to find one West African Bantu skeleton from 1900, a female of shorter stature, and one Northern European skeleton also from 1900, tall and gracile, from just those two samples what conclusions would be drawn absent any other evidence (in the same sort of informational vacuum we have circa 50,000BCE)? Would he label them Neanderthal (or equivalent) and Early Modern Human (or equivalent)? Absent DNA, would he assume them able to successfully mate? Given their DNA, given their genetic distance from one another, absent political considerations what would he conclude?

    It seems to me, as a non-scientist but interested observer, that much of what we “know” today is speculative at best given the extremely small sample sizes we have with which to work. How much can we know about physiology of early humans in Europe circa 50,000BCE? How certain can we be about migratory paths and cross breeding of populations? There is consensus, but is there serious contention as well?

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  41. keowkoekw says:

    Does anyone know why he looks more Negroid than Khoisan? My impression was that negroid features were a much later development in West Africa.

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