Saturday, January 11, 2014

The brown man with blue eyes

Venus of Willendorf (30,000 – 27,000 BP). Is that a special headdress … or peppercorn hair? (source: Matthias Kabel)

Europeans already had blue eyes while still hunter-gatherers. This is what we’ve learned after retrieving ancient DNA from two Mesolithic individuals, one from Luxembourg, dated to 8,000 years ago, and another from Spain, dated to 7,000 years ago (Dienekes, 2013; Lazaridis et al.,2013). These are late hunter-gatherers, so there is always the possibility of gene flow from early European farmers. Nonetheless, the time of origin now seems earlier for the palette of European eye colors and probably for the palette of European hair colors. How much earlier? Probably within the same time frame when European skin turned white: somewhere between 11,000 and 19,000 years ago according to Beleza et al. (2013) or between 7,600 and 19,200 years according to Canfield et al. (2014). Although different genes are responsible for eye, hair, and skin color, there was probably a single selection pressure that seems to have acted primarily on early European women (Frost, 2006; Frost, 2008).

Interestingly, although the Luxembourg man was blue-eyed, he also had brown skin. He lacked the ‘European’ alleles at all three genes involved in the whitening of European skin. Such a genotype is extremely rare today in unadmixed Europeans (Khan, 2014). Equally odd is the fact that this brown-skinned European lived long after (Beleza et al., 2013) or probably after (Canfield et al., 2014) the time period when European skin turned white. How could that be? Well, these estimates apply only to the ancestors of living Europeans. This individual may not have been so lucky.

When the last ice age ended some 10,000 years ago, it may be that only some European populations had acquired a fully ‘European’ phenotype, i.e., white skin, multi-hued eyes and hair, a more childlike face, and longer, straighter hair. This phenotype would have been most predominant on the former steppe-tundra of northern and eastern Europe. Moving outward from this region, one would have seen humans with more and more of the evolutionarily older traits, i.e., brown skin, uniformly brown eyes and black hair, a more robust face, and short, frizzy hair.

This older phenotype might have persisted well into the Holocene in peripheral and isolated parts of Europe.  As Fleure (1945) notes:

In a few places in Sweden, Britain, and France, people have been noticed who show characteristics of the skull and face that remind one of late-Paleolithic man: these people are usually darker, in hair and eyes, than their neighbors; sometimes they even have swarthy skins.

Even in Scandinavia, we find references in folklore and mythology to an ancient dark-skinned population. A Norse poem, the Rigsthula, describes how the god Rig created a class of thralls who were black-haired, swarthy, and flat-nosed (Jonassen, 1951). This theme comes up elsewhere in Old Norse literature (Karras, 1988).

This leads us to the debate over the discovery of so-called ‘Negroid’ skeletal remains in Europe. Clearly, these individuals were not African, but nor were they like present-day Europeans. They seem to represent an older phenotype that had already lost predominance by Holocene times. The skeletal evidence is reviewed by Boule and Vallois (1957, pp. pp. 291-292):

‘In Brittany, as well as in Switzerland and in the north of Italy, there lived in the Polished Stone period, in the Bronze Age and during the early Iron Age, a certain number of individuals who differed in certain characters from their contemporaries’, in particular in the dolichocephalic character of their skull, in possessing a prognathism that was sometimes extreme, and a large grooved nose. This is a matter of partial atavism which in certain cases, as in the Neolithic Breton skull from Conguel, may attain to complete atavism. Two Neolithic individuals from Chamblandes in Switzerland are Negroid not only as regards their skulls but also in the proportions of their limbs. Several Ligurian and Lombard tombs of the Metal Ages have also yielded evidences of a Negroid element.

Since the publication of Verneau’s memoir, discoveries of other Negroid skeletons in Neolithic levels in Illyria and the Balkans have been announced. The prehistoric statues, dating from the Copper Age, from Sultan Selo in Bulgaria are also thought to portray Negroids. In 1928 René Bailly found in one of the caverns of Moniat, near Dinant in Belgium, a human skeleton of whose age it is difficult to be certain, but which seems definitely prehistoric. It is remarkable for its Negroid characters, which give it a resemblance to the skeletons from both Grimaldi and Asselar.

It is not only in prehistoric times that the Grimaldi race seems to have made its influence felt. Verneau has been able to see, now in modern skulls and now in living subjects, in the Italian areas of Piedmont, Lombardy, Emilia, Tuscany, and the Rhone Valley, numerous characters of the old fossil race.

This older phenotype must have gradually disappeared as the newer phenotype spread outwards from the plains of northern and eastern Europe. Why did one replace the other? What sort of selective advantage did the newer phenotype confer? The reason probably had less to do with physical appearance and more to do with the mental toolkit that humans had developed on the steppe-tundra of the last ice age. These northern hunting peoples were pre-adapted to technological complexity and thus better able to exploit the opportunities of later cultural environments (Frost, 2010). Some of them, specifically the semi-sedentary hunter-fisher-gatherers around the North Sea and the Baltic, would become pre-adapted not only to technological complexity but also to social and economic complexity (Frost, 2013).


Beleza, S., Murias dos Santos, A., McEvoy, B., Alves, I., Martinho, C., Cameron, E., Shriver, M.D., Parra E.J., and Rocha, J. (2013). The timing of pigmentation lightening in Europeans. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 30, 24-35.

Boule, M. and H.V. Vallois. (1957). Fossil Men. New York: Dryden Press. 

Canfield, V.A., A. Berg, S. Peckins, S.M. Wentzel, K.C. Ang, S. Oppenheimer, and K.C. Cheng. (2014). Molecular phylogeography of a human autosomal skin color locus under natural selection, G3, 3, 2059-2067. 

Dienekes (2013).  Mesolithic Iberians (La Braña-Arintero) not ancestors of modern ones,
Dienekes’ Anthropology Blog

Fleure, H.J. (1945). The distribution of types of skin color, Geographical Review, 35, 580-595. 

Frost, P. (2013). Origins of Northwest European guilt culture. Part II, Evo and Proud, December 14

Frost, P. (2010). Out of North Eurasia, Evo and Proud, May 27 

Frost, P. (2008). Sexual selection and human geographic variation, Special Issue: Proceedings of the 2nd Annual Meeting of the NorthEastern Evolutionary Psychology Society. Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology, 2(4), pp. 169-191.

Frost, P. (2006). European hair and eye color - A case of frequency-dependent sexual selection? Evolution and Human Behavior, 27, 85-103.

Jonassen, C.T. (1951). Some historical and theoretical bases of racism in northwestern Europe, Social Forces, 30, 155-161.

Karras, R.M. (1988). Slavery and Society in Medieval Scandinavia. New Haven. 

Khan, R. (2014). Phenotypic Whiteness as an Outcome of Neolithic Admixture, The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection, January 3. 

Lazaridis, I., Patterson, N., Mittnik, A., Renaud, G., Mallick, S., et al. (2013). Ancient human genomes suggest three ancestral populations for present-day Europeans, BioRxiv, December 23. 


Krefter said...

The results for the Luxemburg man are very surprising. You cant say though that these are the white skin genes, they are about as popular in brown skinned west Asians as in white skinned Europeans. I think their effect on skin color is still debatable. I think it makes skin paler but not much paler there are probably many other factors.

In my opinion there is no way that the some hunter gatherer populations had a high amount blue eyes but dark skin.

No one can ignore that today Neolithic ancestry correlates with dark hair, brown eyes, and olive skin but Mesolithic ancestry correlates with light skin, light hair, and light eyes. Two out of two blue eyes hunter gatherers is very good evidence they were pale. No where today in Europe do you see very blue eyed and dark skinned people. I think maybe those so called blue eye alleles in whatever SNP might not always cause blue eyes.

I also think it is wrong to make the assumption the whitening of European skin occurred between 11,000-19,000ybp. It could have been much longer ago or much more recent, we need ancient DNA to know. Those estimates are based on the alleles of a SNP in the SLC24A5 gene, which is as popular in west Asians. It is not exclusively European and doesn't cause white skin. No one knows the complete cause of European pale skin so the mystery remains of when it started.

The Luxemburg man's autosomal DNA showed no farmer admixture, farmers were no where close to Luxemburg at that time so the hypothesis he got his blue eyes from farmers can't be correct.

Now some people are assuming the farmers were pale like Baltics when they were probably as dark as Spaniards. This European phenotype you describe must not count for many southern Europeans. I have never really seen full blooded Iberians, Italians, or Balkaners. I have seen them on TV and I am shocked by how dark they are, brown skin does not seem to be uncommon and even their facial features seem foreign to what eastern and northern Europeans have(more Mesolithic descended). And I have never really seen many full blooded east European(x Balkans) except on TV, and I am always surprised how they look so similar to European people in America but are usually paler.

Krefter said...

I really doubt there are population isolates in Europe, that are dark skinned hunter gatherers or hunter gatherer descended. Flate noses are not just a non European trait their a non west Eurasian trait. So there is no way any west Eurasian pre Neolithic Europeans like the Luxemburg man had flat noses.

If you try to figure out the origin of features in Europe with genetics, it would seem the hunter gatherers would have been very pale skinned, light eyes, and light haired. The skin and hair thing may be wrong but the eye color seems to be true so far.

Very pale skin, high amount light hair and eyes in the ancestors of central Europeans, northern Europeans, eastern Europeans, and proto Indo Iranian speakers would have developed RAPIDLEY in the metal ages or Neolithic then expanded like crazy. When looking at the genetic relationship between those people that seems impossible. Their main connection is they all speak Indo European, Uralic, and Turkic languages so possibly similar ancestry from eastern Europe. It was reported Yamna people from mainly around the black sea though who were probably early Indo Europeans were darker eyed than most modern Europeans.

Non west Eurasian and "negroid" facial features in pre Neolithic Europe or anywhere in west Eurasia is surprising. West Asians and south Asians have many of the same facial features as Europeans but have dark skin. It will be very difficult to prove in genetics the hypothesis that there was a old phenotype in areas of Europe that went extinct.

The Luxemburg very well may mean something that we did not except. There needs to be many other hunter gatherer genomes taken to find if he was just a fluke.

There is brown skin in my family and I have seen in it in other north-west Europeans. I wonder if brown skinned Europeans lack those alleles like the Luxemburg man.

Bones and Behaviours said...

Peter, what is the osteological evidence for the claims repeated by Vallois for the persistence of the Grimaldi race? I would like to follow this up.

Juoni said...

hunter-fisher-gatherers around the North Sea and the Baltic, would become pre-adapted not only to technological complexity but also to social and economic complexity

Are there any adoption studies on the subject? Namely any cases where Middle-Eastern or other non-NW-European caucasoid babies had been adopted to NW-European families or vice versa?

Anonymous said...

This evidence is somewhat surprising in light of the fact that many physical anthropologists used to draw a correlation between the survival of rugged, Cro-Magnon-like features and fair pigmentation (particularly reddish hair and freckling). Carleton Coon, for example, identified "Upper Paleolithic survivors" among the Irish, Norwegian, and North African Berber populations as being prevailingly pale and ruddy.

Of course, all that was before the advent of modern genetic studies. And not all of Coon's hypothesis have withstood the test of time.

But it does leave hanging the question of why fair features are today found in high frequency among the more rugged,Paleolithic-looking population elements in such widely separated regions as Ireland and the Maghreb. Perhaps it was caused by independent mutations (in which case the prevalence of fog in both Northwest Europe and the Atlas Mountains might account for it). In any event, it's clear that some kind of blondism was present in North Africa by early historical times, because the Ancient Egyptians often depicted their Libyan neighbors as fair, in stark contrast to their own dark red-brown complexion (or the tan hue of the Semitic peoples in Syria and Palestine).

Anthropometric evidence for an early dark population in Northern Europe seems rather thin and fragmentary. On the other hand, I do recall a photograph - again from Coon's Races of Europe - showing an Irishman who, in addition to being quite brunet, showed significant prognathism. So much so that had he lived in the United States at the time, he might have been suspected of having some distant black ancestry.

It would very interesting to see a forensic reconstruction of the face of the Luxembourg hunter-gather as the Neolithic German farmer to get a fuller picture of what both looked like in life. My guess would be that the hunter-gather had a broad, heavy face something like baseball legend Babe Ruth, while the farmer would have had more gracile, Mediterranean-like traits.

Krefter said...

This link gives my full opinion on the subject.

All evidence in my opinion besides Luschbour's black(or just dark) hair and possibly dark skin, points to pre Neolithic Europeans being very pale.

Peter, those age estimates for when Europe became light skinned have a lot of errors. The SNP rs146554 light skin alleles are as popular in west Asians and Europeans, it doesn't=white skin. There should also be an estimate of when it became dominate in west Asians ancestors. The only one of the three that is much more European than west Asian is MATP.

Otzi and Stuttgart results for those three light skin genes would be excepted of a modern day near eastern and European. It doesn't mean they had light skin or are the source of modern European light skin.

If blue eyes were popular in Mesolithic Europe so was pale skin and light hair. We cant except to keep finding "brown men with blue eyes" if we do that means they don't have blue eyes or they do and they also have pale skin.

Unknown said...

barakobama said that Loschbour hunter aka Luxembourg man didn't have flat nose because flat noses are not an European trait today. I guess people like erika christensen, julia stiles and micky dolenz aren't really europeans then!

Seriously has people not dare to look at the Loschbour skull at all, before giving their final ultimatum? Looking at Loschbour man's skull or even 2 women found in mesolithic Téviec grave tells us that not only flat noses were more common in mesolithic europeans than today. but european hunters also had one heavy/sharp brow-ridges like found among australian aboriginals and secondly they had flatten faces with high-cheekbones like many east-asians do.

And why do West Asians, South Asians and Europeans have many of the same facial features today? Blame it on the invading middle-eastern farmers, and the fact that europeans don't have mesolithic hunter ancestry reaching higher than 40 to 50%.

Krefter said...

Seebe Alexander, I have seen Loschbour's skull it is very strange looking for modern humans period. I have seen other Mesolithic and upper Palaeolithic European skulls and their reconstructions all I can remember look like typical Caucasians. It is a whole new subject if you want to study skull shape.

There is hunter gatherer ancestry in EEF so there are quote a few of Europeans with mainly hunter gatherer ancestry. There is probably no way to give an exact percentage of hunter gatherer ancestry anyways. It is a big assumption to say Caucasian facial features are from near eastern farmers. DNA is the final answer but of course skeletal features help figure things out.

Anonymous said...

The skull truly does have an odd, archaic appearance. The only place one sees brow-ridges like those today are among Australian Aborigines. But as recently as 10,000 years ago, they were still to be found in lots of other places - Europe, Africa, Asia, and the earliest people in the Americas. This is probably the main reason why skulls like Luzia from Brazil cluster with Australians and Melanesians in many analyses even though there's little if any evidence of a close genetic affinity between the populations in question.

The 28,000-year-old Kostienki skull from Ukraine, as reconstructed by Gerasimov, also had this pseudo-Australoid appearance.

I suspect the advent of food-production did indeed have a major impact of human phenotypes throughout much of the world. Partly through wholesale migration and population replacement, but also peripheral gene flow. Assortative mating may have also hastened the decline of the more robust phenotypes - probably because women with more gracile traits were generally regarded as more attractive.

There is even evidence that this process has continued right up to the present day. Skulls of 16th-Century Englishmen from the wreck of the "Mary Rose" were found to have heavier brows and lower foreheads on average than their modern descendants.

Unknown said...

Genetics is claiming north europeans are at highest +40% mesolithic hunters, so its not a big assumption to say modern Caucasian facial features have a strong connection to near eastern farmers. Also mesolithic european influence is weaker in europe today when comparing to near-east farmers.

And You are right, DNA is the final answer, which means dark hair and blue eyes combo is most likely a west-european mesolithic trademark(no matter what people may feel about it). Also a person here perviously talked about Carleton Coons work. the funny thing is even Coon said features of stone-age pre-farming Irish, according to him was mostly brown wavy hair and blue eyes(they weren't bunch of blondes). Though Coon maybe not wrong some-what about european hunters have pale skin, freckling and redhair if these traits where carried among a minority.

Finally according to Carleton Coon pre-farming irish also had:

1)browridges heavy to medium;
2)foreheads broad & high;
3)face was wide & slightly flat;

4)the whole lower jaw wide and deep, with sometimes tendency towards prognathism;

5)the nose maybe straight for some people. Though many have concave-profile with a moderately thick upturned tip(r&b singer rihanna has a concave uptured nose).

add all these with high cheekboned face then you get something close to that of Loschbour's skull

Anonymous said...

And why do West Asians, South Asians and Europeans have many of the same facial features today? Blame it on the invading middle-eastern farmers, and the fact that europeans don't have mesolithic hunter ancestry reaching higher than 40 to 50%.

Carleton Coon described Nordics as "de-pigmented Mediterraneans." That is the skull and facial morphology among Nordics and S. Euros/Mideasterners is basically the same with the difference being skin, hair, and eye coloration.

Bones and Behaviours said...

Someone should start a website with photos or drawings of pre-Neolithic skulls online with their measurements.

Consider this as oversimplified but useful.

In the west are basal Apinoid people like Cro-Magnon or the people of Iberomaurusian North Africa.

To their east, lived 'linear' proto-Mediterranean people like Abri Petaud and Mladec.

Sedentism among the 'lateral' western group led to brachycephalisation prior to the arrival of agriculture or pastoralism.

The easterners incoming with food production were Mediterraneans and Nordics.

Peter Fros_ said...


There is no physiological reason why blue eyes cannot co-exist with brown skin. This combination is rare because the alleles for blue eyes don't normally occur in dark-skinned peoples. But it's possible with enough admixture. Google "blue-eyed black man"

I agree we need ancient DNA from the critical period of 10,000 to 20,000 years ago.

Bones and behavior,

Vallois provides detailed data on Grimaldi man in his textbook. It's unfortunate that debate gets bogged down over the term 'Negroid.' If you met these humans, you would assume they were African, perhaps a larger model of the Khoisan phenotype. But if you looked at their DNA, they would cluster most closely with modern Europeans. They were Europeans who had not yet had the sexual selection make-over.


There are adoption studies on IQ, but none (I know of) on other mental traits. If I did such a study, I would particularly look at empathy and idealism, i.e., the willingness to submit to the dominant moral narrative.


"Blondism" in North Africa is much exaggerated. French anthropologists have used "blondism" for any non-black hair color. Even if we use this broad definition, there is no place in North Africa where most people are "blond."

There are records of Slav mercenaries being stationed on the border between Morocco and Algeria.


I don't want to argue the point, because I'm sure we'll have more interesting data over the next few months.


"Genetics is claiming north europeans are at highest +40% mesolithic hunters". This assumes that the haplotypes in question are selectively neutral. They aren't.

Anonymous said...

And why do West Asians, South Asians and Europeans have many of the same facial features today? Blame it on the invading middle-eastern farmers, and the fact that europeans don't have mesolithic hunter ancestry reaching higher than 40 to 50%.

The paper where Loschbaur's genome appears gives an estimate that works out to about a high of 67% Loschbaur type ancestry in Icelanders (mediated via European early farmers and direct), and around 17% ancestry that is unique to early european farmers. The remainder is from more Loschbaur like North-Central Eurasians.

Similar numbers for Sicilians are 50% Loschbaur related and 40% unique to early farmers.

So there is very little necessarily Mediterranean ancestry in modern Europeans.

While there may be phenotypical correlates, the degree of Loschbaur related ancestry does not subjectively appear to relate to robusticity very strongly.

(or even cephalic or facial index very strongly, with brachycephalic and broad faced modern Greeks having low Loschbaur ancestry, narrow faced Brits having high levels and narrow faced Spanish having relatively low levels again, if classical anthropological facial and cephalic index studies have any accuracy at all).

Anonymous said...

With respect to the skin tone of the Luxembourg hunter-gather, exactly how "dark" do these findings imply? How light can human skin be in the absence of either the modern European or East Asian gene variants for lighter hues? If we're talking about a copper shade like that of North American Indians or Inuit, I think it's quite plausible. A medium -brown tone doesn't seem to be an impediment at high latitudes, particularly if people get enough Vitamin D in their diets.

Darker than would seem unlikely - though the Tasmanian Aborigines did somehow manage to remain nearly black at at a nearly equivalent latitude in the Southern Hemisphere.

Regarding ancient hair form, I'm not familiar with the genetic research on the origins of straight vs. wavy vs. frizzy types. Has it been definitively proved that the original modern human hair form was like that of sub-Saharan Africans, Andamanese, and New Guineans? If so, is there any evidence as to when and where it changed to straighter variants in most Eurasian populations?

Bones and Behaviours said...

The Tasmanian Aboriginals do not look 'nearly black', though they were dark skinned. And Peter, I know who the Grimaldi race were, I was more interested in knowing the evidence for the later persistence of Grimaldi racial traits.

The other day I mentioned Mongoloid origins in Tibet, and subsequent to that I learned there is no strong evidence for significant Europeoid ancestry in a related nation, the Yi.

Today I discovered that in 1925 the splitter W.P. Pycraft argued against the notion that the Tibetans were mixed and erected a new species Homo himalayensis for a skull labeled 'I'nu Bhotia, Transnivem' in the Hodgson Collection. Because of their skull form and isolation, Pycraft considered them to be 'relics of a relatively pure stock'.

To Homo himalayensis he attributed as variants the Limbu, Assamese and Ceylonese people, but the type location for the proper type of his species was the Khams province of eastern Tibet. Pycraft traced the Nesiotes (Indonesians) and Paroeans of Hadddon to the Himalayas.

Although giving these people species rank seems excessive, I can't help but wonder whether the Khams type is close to the first, still dolichocephalic Mongoloid people prior to their self-domestication.

Anonymous said...


You've warned about the potential dangers of excess Vitamin D supplementation which has become popular recently. What are your thoughts on the "paleo diet" which has also become popular recently?

Anonymous said...

"Black dogs are last to be picked at shelters because of the color of their fur

Black dogs are euthanized at a much higher rate because they’re less likely to be adopted due to their color
Stereotypes suggest black dogs are more badly behaved and are violent"

"Black dogs don't get as adopted as easily as others animals of other colors.

The reason is largely because of some common misconceptions about them.

Black dogs are mischaracterized as mean and potentially violent and according to NBC News.

Black Dog Syndrome is a phenomenon in which dogs with black fur often go unadopted because of misinformed stereotypes.

Black dogs are are euthanized at a much higher rate than dogs with different complexions.

Many owners of black dogs say they are sweet, lovable, but also unwanted.

The chances of being adopted are poor if you're a black dog."

Anonymous said...

Perhaps a similar selection effect took place as people moved to harsher environments that could bear lower population densities. Parents may have discarded or invested less in darker babies.

Krefter said...

Anonymous how do you know Icelandic's have 67% Loschbour related ancestry? In the WHG, EEF, and ANE test the highest WHG were Estonians at around 49%, there was a north Sami I read who had 51% but I couldn't find those results on the study.

I looked back at SNP's associated with pigmentation in Loschbour. I think he most likely had blue eyes. There was one SNP associated with blue eyes rs12913832 and he had the right alleles G,G. I read on SNPedia 99% of the people with G,G have blue eyes. Those are the derived alleles of rs12913832 and a study before 2010 estimated the first person with blue eyes lived 6,000-10,000ybp during the Neolithic revolution based only on those alleles. So Loschbour is prove that the G,G alleles existed in pre Neolithic Europeans and the existence of the "blue eye gene" in La Brana-1 is very good evidence the gene is much older than 6,000-10,000 years old and was popular in Mesolithic Europe.

I highly doubt any Mesolithic Europeans had dark skin. The reason is in the WHG, EEF, and ANE test the only populations to get over 40% WHG all have majority blue eyes, light hair, and I am just assuming are the palest skinned Europeans. All statistics show blue eyed people are much more likely to have light hair than black hair, and populations with high amounts of blue eyed have paler skin than ones with higher amounts of brown eyes.

This blue eyed and brown skinned(only based on Loschbour) idea for Mesolithic Europeans ignores all of those statistics. Mesolithic Europeans either didn't have blue eyes or didn't have dark skin. There may be many different factors to pale skin in Europe especially in high WHG Europeans that haven't been found.

The three so called white skin genes are not exclusively European at all. The only that is actually more popular in Europe than west Asia is SNP's alleles in gene SLC45A2, but it still has a strong presence in west Asia. Obviously these white skin genes don't have the same effect on west Asians as on Europeans, meaning there are probably other factors to pale skin in Europe.

I have only seen age estimates of when some of these pale skin genes became dominate in Europeans(what type many different sources of ancestry) but what about west Asians? obviously by the Neolithic(12,000 years ago) those genes dominated west Asia because Stuttgart and Otzi has results that would be excepted of a modern day European or west Asian.

The hypothesis blue eyes come from hunter gatherers and light skin from farmers is crazy. Today all paleness hair, skin, and eye color is connected with WHG ancestry. EEF is highest in 'olive", dark haired, and eyed Europeans. Unless there was a radical change in pigmentation for the farmers that are ancestral to light Europeans, the paleness(including skin color) has to be connected with hunter gatherers. All evidence except for Luschbour's probably black hair an missing the three "white" skin genes is leaning towards the paleness in Europe being from the hunter gatherers.

Krefter said...

Seeba, there are areas in far northern Europe and parts of eastern Europe where WHG is higher than EEF. EEF is based on Stuttgart(7,500ybp farmer, Germany, LBK culture) and Otzi(5,3000 year old early copper age farmer, northern Italian alps) both had significant Loschbour related ancestry, it was estimated they had I think around 61-90% near eastern related ancestry. So many Europeans actually probably have majority Loschbour related ancestry.

Today Sardinians are very very close to Stuttgart and Otzi, overall southern Europeans are most related to them(and a farmer from Neolithic Sweden). southern Europeans have very low amounts of blue eyes, light hair, and have the darkest skin in Europe(they are known as olive). If people say Mesolithic Europeans had dark skin that goes against all the evidence. It is like saying blue was green 10,000 years ago. There had to be major population changes and pigmentation change during the Neolithic and a lot of other things to explain this.

For the skull shape thing you should study a little on pre Neolithic Europeans I am pretty sure most had Caucasian skull shapes. I went and saw the Lascux exhibit that was travelling around the world. They had many reconstructions of human skeletal remains and all had typically Caucasian features. There were quite a few though(only females) who had very wide faces and noses, I have heard women naturally have wider faces though. The people of west Europe at that time were probably the ancestors of Loschbour(or of his general group) I though the reconstruction where to pale till I learned La Brana-1 and Loschbour probably had blue eyes. Most of the reconstructions had blue eyes and in-between dark and light hair. The reconstructions had their own look, they may have been very accurate.,d.aWM&psig=AFQjCNF-nQRvOEjN7kk6AlAhSq6kLhVSXg&ust=1389931235890289

Krefter said...

Peter you should look at the stats, blue eyes correlate with light hair and skin. No one would argue the "blue eye" gene found in Loschbour and La Brana-1 is connected with the same blue eye gene that dominates many parts of Europe today(happen to also have the highest WHG ancestry). So Mesolithic Europeans go by the same rules in correlation with eye and hair color as modern. There is really no way any had high amounts of blue eyes and also dark skin and mainly black hair. I don't argue blue eyes cant coexist with dark skin but its very rare.

Krefter said...

This is my opinion on the history of pigmentation in humanity(of course only talking about us not another breed).

The first humans had black skin, black hair, and brown eyes(maybe some variation). Like modern sub Saharan Africans and some east Eurasians.,d.aWM&psig=AFQjCNEtUyQZQbBYzgUt0hhBQuQZI_jMfw&ust=1389933133668520

Brownish skin developed in non Africans possibly separate in west Eurasians and east Eurasians. Some east Eurasians kept the ancestral black skin and nappy hair.,d.aWM&psig=AFQjCNHb-iG2kNYeRMeXNSEK0YX6VS8tkA&ust=1389933234680844

West Eurasians developed a lighter shade of brown and also brown hair. All those so called light skin genes have existed in the near east for at least 20,000 years. Extremely light features in skin, hair, and eye color began in the near east possibly over 30,000 years ago and remained as small minorities.,d.aWM&psig=AFQjCNGmHPietj8_iCx_yKt_KWMIq7qUFg&ust=1389933175110449

Light skin developed separately in east Asians and west Eurasian, and east Asians kept black hair and brown eyes.

Upper Palaeolithic Europeans who were descended of some of the earliest humans in Europe became dominated by pale features that remained as small minorities in their near eastern relatives. This depigmentation occurred well over 10,000 years ago.

Mesolithic Europeans would have all probably been pale skinned, and had decent amounts of light eyes and hair. The near eastern farmers that took most of Europe during the Neolithic would have been the same in pigmentation as modern near easterns but after mixing with hunter gatherers they lightened.

Very high amounts of light hair and eyes and also very pale skin may have been unique though to some Mesolithic Europeans if any of them it was probably far eastern ones. It is possible those feature became more dominate after they mixed with near eastern farmers. Extreme paleness may have been rapidly spread from far eastern Europe with Indo European and Uralic languages during the metal ages.

If this is still the subject I have nothing else to say, I have posted the samething to many times.

Oliver said...

Frost, stop posting nonsense and do some research...

The Grimaldi skulls were post-mortem crushed and poorly reconstructed. Verneau (1906) who first described the skulls noted:
"subi quelques détériorations et une certaine dé la deformation posthume de la face(s)” meaning posthumous deformities.

"[Posthumous] pressure chiefly affected the facial skeleton by driving the sub-nasal parts of the maxillae together" (Morant, 1930)

Stringer and Wolpoff have also pointed out:

"the great alveolar prognathism of the juvenile is now recognized to have been an artefact of a very faulty reconstruction” (Wolpoff, 1980)

"some, but not all, of the relevant characteristics can be attributed to a poor reconstruction" - Stringer et al. (1984)

Once the skulls were properly reconstructed by Morant they were shown to have narrow nasal breadth and no prognathism (the aveolar prognathism and nasal widening was down to the pressure warping!).

Even Hooton (1946) a typology-dinosaur has a chapter called something like "Grimaldi - Not Negroid" in his shoddy book. So even discredited race theorists from decades back knew the "Grimaldi = Negroid" was a load of baloney.

Sean said...

Look! Their heelbones projected more than a little.

Sean said...

I believe here were direct maternal line descendants of Cheddar man, among 20 people tested in the nearest village. That does not prove anything, but would be a remarkable coincidence if there is as little continuity as some are suggesting.

Peter Fros_ said...


Loschbour was very dark-skinned. By way of comparison, Razib Khan has some of the alleles for white European skin. Loschbour has none of them.

One might argue that Loschbour had other alleles at other loci that made him pale-skinned, but why, then, is this alternate genetic change completely absent today, whereas blue eyes are still quite common?

Bones and Behavior,

The references you want are in the same textbook. I wasn't referring only to Grimaldi Man.


I'm wary of all diet fads. A big problem is that different human populations have evolved differently for different diets, so it's impossible to give a single opinion that fits all people.


A lot of people get hot under the collar about Grimaldi Man. In my opinion, the reconstruction was not faulty. In any case, how would a faulty reconstruction of the face explain the African-like dentition? Also, we see the same dental traits in many other early European skeletons.

Again, the word "African" seems to be a big stumbling block for some people. Let's talk instead of traits that are evolutionarily conservative.

Anonymous said...

"If we're talking about a copper shade like that of North American Indians or Inuit, I think it's quite plausible."

That's what I was wondering. If the Hyperboreans extended all the way to the Americas then did they have the same colouring or did Amerindians get that elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous how do you know Icelandic's have 67% Loschbour related ancestry? In the WHG, EEF, and ANE test the highest WHG were Estonians at around 49%, there was a north Sami I read who had 51% but I couldn't find those results on the study."

EEF has WHG admixture and ANE/WHG are closely related. The labels are confusing people.

Oliver said...

Frost, I can easily debunk your views with nasal index. If your "old phenotype" Europeans looked like Khoisans, where are the fossils with broad nasal aperture?

Upper Palaeolithic European fossils are overwhelmingly narrow or narrowish nosed. I have a near complete list of nasal indices, but Howells who compiled a skull bank also had access to the measurements; as he summarized:

"Cro-Magnons were already racially European... this has always been accepted because of the general appearance of the skulls: straight faces, narrow noses, and so forth." (Howells, 1997)

Howells clarifies he is using the term "Cro-Magnon" for UP Europeans from 40,000 BP.

While no one denies gene-flow between prehistoric Europeans and Africans, there remains zero paleo-anthropological evidence for your "European old phenotype Khoisan" Upper Paleolithic view. Non-surprisingly your only sources are incredibly outdated and obsolete typologists (Boule, Fleure etc), while quoting selective sources (confirmation bias) like how you failed to mention how the Grimaldi were disfigured post-mortem.

Sean said...

There were quite a few evolutionarily conservative specimens around in the Mesolithic. Combe-Capelle had a skull that was very thick walled and dolichocephalic.

Oliver said...

Combe Capelle is Holocene, not Upper Palaeolithic.

Frost completely ignores continuity in skeletal features that span the Middle and Lower Pleistocene in Europe, through to UP and Holocene. These question not only his "old phenotype European Khoisan" theory but Out of Africa itself. You then suffer from the fact no objective definition for "anatomically modern human" exists in the first place.

As C. Loring Brace wrote: "The continued enthusiasm for finding an identifiable sub-Saharan African cradle for the origin of all ‘modern’ human form, then owes more to the Judaeo-Christian faith in the traditions of a Garden of Eden than it does to anything that can be called science”.

"Evo and Proud" really? The whole model Frost brings into nearly all his posts is the dogmatic extreme African "Eve" replacement model which has more in common with creationism than evolution as Brace has long noted. This is why Frost is reduced to a ridiculous time-frame where as recent as 15,000 BP there were "old Europeans" who looked like Khoisans walking around in Europe.

Anonymous said...

EEF has WHG admixture and ANE/WHG are closely related. The labels are confusing people.

I was the original anonymous and yes, this is essentially the way the math works out.

Icelandic gets WHG ancestry through both its EEF fraction and WHG fraction. These team up to edge out other Europeans in terms of level of WHG.

Of course, Northeast Europeans do have more ANE+WHG ancestry.

Anonymous said...

Glad somebody brought Howells' data into the discussion.

Leaving aside the pigmentation question, the fact remains that most of the physical reconstructions of Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic Europeans look like the more robust modern Caucasoid phenotypes. To the extent that they look exotic, it's often more in an "Asian" or "Native American" direction - think Charles Bronson's phenotype - than an "African" one.

There was always a tendency among some physical anthropologists to delineate the presence of multiple races or populations based on subtle variations or improper reconstructions. Just like Grimaldi was said to show "Negroid" traits, the Chancellade skeleton was initially described as "Eskimo"-like. In a similar vein, Franz Weidenreich famously described three early modern skulls from the same site near Beijing as resembling an Ainu, an Eskimo, and a Melanesian, respectively. Yet, Howells reexamined these skulls and deduced that all three most anticipated Native Americans. Occam's razor would seems to be on Howells' side both in the European and Asian cases.

The same caution applies to Richard Neave's interpretation of the Romanian early modern skull found in 2007. The reconstruction does indeed look a bit Khoisan-like. But the nasal aperture on the skull itself looks much too narrow to sustain so wide a nose in the flesh.

Preconceptions on the part of the scientist can clearly tilt the results of such an inquiry one way or another. The best way to clarify how different the Pestera cu Oase and other alleged outliers really looked would be for the same scientist to reconstruct all the well-preserved Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic European faces using the same method. If this resulted in revising the interpretation of the Cro-Magnon phenotype in the direction of the Romanian early modern, this might strengthen the case for a dramatically more plesiomorphic (i.e. pseudo-African) phenotype in old Europe. But I think it would more likely result in the revision of Pestera in the conventional Cro-Magnon direction.

There is an outside chance that Europe was peopled by different early modern populations with very different phenotypes. Thus, Pestera might represent a more morphologically conservative population originating in the Levant or North Africa, while the more familiar Cro-Magnon type came across the cold steppes from Central Asia. Any genetic evidence for multiple source populations?

Bones and Behaviours said...

The Khoesanoids are a specialised Kalahari stock, not really what I would expect the LCA of modern humans to look like although in fairness Coon did provide plates of people in North Africa who look like Bushmen.

Though Grimaldi is problematic, Peter quoted Boule and Vallois that certain living people still possess similar traits. Although unfortunately I presume that the sources quoted by Boule and Vallois would be near-impossible to trace. I someone could post examples of these living people it should be interesting.

Anonymous said...

"If your "old phenotype" Europeans looked like Khoisans, where are the fossils with broad nasal aperture?"

Well I'm not expert enough to join in but I will anyway. If for the sake of argument early out of Africa was coastal then most of the evidence in Europe since the end of the LGM will be under the sea.


""The continued enthusiasm for finding an identifiable sub-Saharan African cradle for the origin of all ‘modern’ human form, then owes more to the Judaeo-Christian faith in the traditions of a Garden of Eden than it does to anything that can be called science”."

It seems most likely to me that early humans evolved in the tropics - which limits the possible options. However that is just the first step.

I don't think the big step was Out of *Africa* it was out of the tropics but the population that did that and separated themselves from tropical Africans have been swamped in the interim by back migrations into North and East Africa and the Bantu Expansion most everywhere else except the South.

However *subsequent* to that first wave, humans further evolved in many different regions and in some cases where this led to an advantage they expanded out again in multiple directions so the idea of a single-direction tree diagram is wrong (except the first few branches.

For example

first step is out of the tropics by one population creating the first big division

first wave out of Africa by this population spreads everywhere coastal like scattering seeds

as these OOA seeds settle in various regions they evolve further and those that develop an advantage expand out again in various directions often swamping other OOA seeds that were less successful.

rinse and repeat

Oliver said...

Anonymous: If you're talking about Howells or modern science then you should drop terms like "Caucasoid" which have no biological basis.

Howells, like Joseph Birdsell during his later years changed his position to denying races exist. In response to Livingstone's often-quoted: "There are no races, only clines" Howells remarked in 1995 that: "There are no races, only populations". Instead of studying traits independently like Livingstone, Howells still used multivariate population analyses through to the late 90s. However he cautioned that populations are not races (which they aren't).

The "race" approach to human biodiversity while obsolete is not even accurate or useful. This is because it actually obscures variation by clustering, when nearly all traits are discordant. The exception is traits that are selected by climate - which there is an actual geographical patterning to with delimitation. It is more though accurate to just discuss traits independently.

The shape of the nose is one of the few skeletal traits selected by climate (Thomson's nose rule). The reason I mentioned this above, is because if an Out of Africa event actually occurred, we should expect to find an abundant of skulls with broad nasal bones (Frost's "old phenotype" Khoisans) in Europe. However we don't. This why narrow[er] nasal bones, has long appeared on Multiregional trait-continuity lists since Frayer (1993).

Anonymous said...

The brown ancestors of Europeans were probably Caucasoid Middle Easterns, or Indians (North-Central-South Asia).

The "out of Africa" theory doesn't sit right with me.

Unknown said...

Anonymous said EEF has WHG admixture.

Now I see why anonymous was confused about modern Sicilians being 50% Loschbaur related, because all These new labels are confusing him.

EEF has no WHG admixture, basically ancient & modern middle-easterns don't carry any european mesolithic admixture. Though stuttgart neolithic individual had both EEF and WHG mixture, maybe this is the reason for the mistake for some people.

Plus Many of researchers where only implying that EEF was once pure strain and ancestral to WHG very long ago before mixing with basal eurasians. But pure EFF & WHG already became two divergent populations even before mixing with basal eurasians and farming began much later in middle-east.

In the end this brings us right back to where we started, and that is modern europeans have predominantly near-eastern ancestry.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Also There are 3 things barakobama should consider:

1) If go by modern statistics, then brown hair and blue eyes should be most common in stong-age western/central europeans. Skin colour is the only things that is surprising, but they truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. pale features may remained a small minorities in stong-age western/central europeans.

2) Also todays highest rate of blonde hair is found in north-east europe. we don't know whether hunters or farmers are responsible light hair in these eastern europe area, but east was last major migration source of late neolithic for rest of europe.

3) If For him studying pre-european
skulls means not looking up information about the subject, but rather going to exhibits to see artist reconstructions of ancient human skeletal remains. Well then i will pass his personal advice of they all had typically Caucasian features.

look how the artist reconstructions of neanderthals changed from ape-men of the past to modern european look-like, just because past prejudice have been overcome with simple-minded political correctness.

Unknown said...

barak said: EEF is based on Stuttgart and Otzi both had significant Loschbour related ancestry, it was estimated they had I think around 61-90% near eastern related ancestry. So many Europeans actually probably have majority Loschbour related ancestry.

WHG And ANE are both extinct today as pure groups, but thats not the same for EEF. There is no need to worry to about perfect EEF proxy because average near-easterns and several north-africans are still living example of EEF.

Also you saying many Europeans actually may probably have majority Loschbour related ancestry, just means you are unsure yourself. So unless proven othervice I will keep believing the writing on the wall.

And finally extreme east & north only has a slightly little amount of WHG over EEF. Still being 40 to 50% WHG blood will only mean they no more than half-breeds at best.

Anonymous said...

"EEF has no WHG admixture"

Yes it does.

Anonymous said...

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

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

1. Tropics (A)

2. Out of the tropics (B)

3. Out of Africa (C)

4. C spreads around the globe along the coasts

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

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


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

Anonymous said...

"There are no races, only clines"

There are no tall people, only clines.


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

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


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

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

Unknown said...

Anonymous said...

Yes it does(EEF has WHG admixture).

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

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

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

Oliver said...

"There are no tall people, only clines."

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

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

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

Anonymous said...

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


EEF = Basal Eurasian + WHG

(or WHG-like)


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

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

Anonymous said...


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

Yeah it does.

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

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


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

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

Oliver said...

"Yeah it does."

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

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

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

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

Anonymous said...


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

Oliver said...

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Your position is not tenable.

Anonymous said...

It's entirely tenable.

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

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

But anyway, *43%*

Oliver said...

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

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

Like Glasgow (2009) says:

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

You are doing the exact same here.

Anonymous said...

Bored now.


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

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

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

that's my thought too

Anonymous said...


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

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

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

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

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

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

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said "But the nasal aperture on the skull itself looks much too narrow to sustain so wide a nose in the flesh. "

I didn't see the facial reconstruction, but the nose aperture isn't the sole or perhaps even the main correlate of fleshy bone breadth. Take Asians, for example, they have "European" bony noses, the more striking difference is that it just more often lacks the upper narrowing that makes it look like an upside-down "heart". But regardless of that, their fleshy noses are often much more similar to African noses. In fact, if you just shave their heads and paint their skin, they can be really hard to tell apart, the most reliable difference would be head breadth versus length.

I'm not so much knowledgeable in the paleo-archeological side (or any side), but I also think the idea of a "modern African" phenotype in ancient Europe is bunk, specially with all the odd/caricatural typological descriptions given. AFAIK, the "opposite" is more likely. Early modern northern Africans were a negroid-caucasoid intermediate, somewhat caucasoid-leaning. The "negro" phenotype is more recent. The Hoffmeyr skull is more or less in between both modern types. Some African "cro-magnons" also would be easily classified as caucasoid by sheer "eyeballing", but actual studies put them closer to Africans like the Dogon (classified as merely "negroids", not "true negroes" by some).

I don't see anything particularly astonishing and that requires some exceptional explanation with that finding. Fairer European genes didn't became immediately, 100% homogeneously fixated. Selection and drift take time. And hunter populations probably didn't have the same selective pressure for skin whitening (I don't buy the mainly sexual, exclusively or mainly male-driven selection idea). Gene flow, back and forth, would also result on that. No need to posit a cryptic "pure African" race surviving in Europe. The individual's skull seems plainly caucasoid.

Anonymous said...

P.S.: Asians/mongoloids have "European"/caucasoid bony noses relating to the breadth of the opening.