Saturday, January 25, 2014

The new European phenotype: expansion into the Middle East

Natufian sites (15,000 – 12,000 BP). These semi-sedentary hunter-gatherers are widely seen as precursors to the early civilizations of the Middle East. Yet biological continuity between the two seems doubtful. Physically, they looked more like present-day sub-Saharan Africans. (source: Phirosiberia)


Humans look “European” not only in Europe but also to varying degrees in North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. This phenotype was thought to have begun to differentiate from an older African phenotype not long after modern humans entered Europe some 40,000 years ago. The timing of this change now seems much later, however, probably during the last ice age between 20,000 and 10,000 years ago. The new phenotype was not an adaptive response to weaker sunlight. Rather, it seems to have resulted from a selection pressure that acted primarily on women. This is particularly so for the most visible features—white skin, the diverse palette of hair and eye colors, and the more childlike face. As I have argued elsewhere, the most likely cause is sexual selection—too many women competing for too few men—due to a low polygyny rate and a high death rate among men who had to hunt over long distances on the steppe-tundra (Frost, 2006; Frost, 2008).

If this new phenotype arose on the former steppe-tundra of northern and eastern Europe, why did it later spread to the rest of Europe, not to mention North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia? The reason probably had less to do with physical appearance and more to do with the mental toolkit that humans had developed in this unique environment. These northern hunting peoples were pre-adapted to technological complexity and thus better able to exploit the opportunities of later cultural environments (see previous post).

As late as the early Holocene, the old phenotype persisted to varying degrees in the more peripheral parts of Europe. In the Middle East, it seems to have persisted as late as the Natufians (15,000 – 12,000 BP). On the basis of skeletal remains, Brace et al. (2006) found them to be more like present-day West Africans than present-day Middle Easterners:

Interestingly enough, however, the small Natufian sample falls between the Niger-Congo group and the other samples used. […] This placement suggests that there may have been a Sub-Saharan African element in the make-up of the Natufians. (Brace et al., 2006)

Angel (1972) similarly found that “one can identify Negroid (Ethiopic or Bushmanoid?) traits of nose and prognathism appearing in Natufian latest hunters […] and in Anatolian and Macedonian first farmers.”

Both descriptions are consistent with a much earlier one made when the Natufians were first discovered:

Skulls and thighbones of this race were unearthed within the last four years, first at Shukbah near Jerusalem and later in caves at Mount Carmel, and because they puzzled the excavators who found them they received the new name “Natufians.”

Today the first authoritative account of them was given by Sir Arthur Keith to the congress of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences and showed them to be one of the greatest riddles of archaeology.

They were clearly a Negroid people, said Sir Arthur, with wide faces flat-noses and long large heads.

They were short of stature 5 feet 3 or 4 inches tall-and their thighs and legs were remarkably strong. While their arms and shoulders were weak. (New York Times, 1932)

This is not to say that the Natufians were of recent sub-Saharan origin, but rather that they still retained many of the physical characteristics of early modern humans. This older phenotype later gave way to the new European phenotype that was expanding both within Europe and outside.

This lack of biological continuity argues against the widespread belief that the Natufians were ancestral to the sedentary farmers who created proto-cities in the Middle East like Çatalhöyük (9500 – 7700 BP). Yes, the Natufians were semi-sedentary and harvested wild cereals. Some of them may have even made the transition to true farming. But they were nobody’s ancestors. The earliest civilizations did not result from slow cultural change going back to Natufian times. The change was faster-paced, with most of it taking less than two thousand years. This was not a case of immigrants moving in from the north and applying what they already knew to a strange environment. Instead, they created a whole new world from scratch … and very quickly.

There is a second point to consider as well. This demographic expansion into the Middle East must have occurred while the new European phenotype was still evolving on the steppe-tundra. In particular, it must have predated the diversification of hair and eye color and the whitening of the skin up to the physiological limit. Thus, the “full” European phenotype could not have arisen until the final two to three thousand years of the last ice age. 


Angel, J.L. (1972). Biological relations of Egyptian and eastern Mediterranean populations during Pre-dynastic and Dynastic times, Journal of Human Evolution, 1, 307-313.

Brace, C.L., N. Seguchi, C.B. Quintyn, S.C. Fox, A.R. Nelson, S.K. Manolis, and P. Qifeng. (2006). The questionable contribution of the Neolithic and the Bronze Age to European craniofacial form, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A., 103, 242-247

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.

New York Times (1932). Bones of cannibals: a Palestine riddle, August 4, 1932; p. 21



Anonymous said...

I'm a little dubious. If this were so I would expect to see at least a few vaguely Negroid looking remnant populations somewhere in western Eurasia, but I can't think of any.

Actually I can't think of anyone like that outside of Africa at all, other than the Negritos and Abos and such, and their story seems to be that they are the people who took the southern route after leaving Africa, rather than the northern route which resulted in the Europeans and East Asians.

Do we have any Natufian DNA? That would probably tell us something.

JayMan said...


But I am (and I'm sure a lot of others are as well) itching to see your thoughts on SLC24A5,

Tar-Zan* | West Hunter

Korak | West Hunter

Bones and Behaviours said...

The Natufians were broadly Atlanto-Mediterraneans and their prognathism not really racial as it relates to chewing, and the Natufisans without pottery had limited food processing techniques compared to ie. Sumerians.

I do find the nasal flare suggestive, though.

spagetiMeatball said...

Dr. Frost,

May I suggest that this may have something to do with the mysterious "basal eurasian" (Laz 2013) component found in early european farmers?

In any case it is vital that you stay in touch with researchers who understand ancient DNA studies and genome bloggers like polako and dienekes.


They will certainly have something interesting to say.

However the fact remains that there are two extremely different and highly diverged components that make up the bulk of western eurasian ancestry (i.e., excluding recent african, north asian admixture).
And these components are maximized in bedouins and baltic peoples respectively.

Oliver said...

Dude, no.

You've horribly cut off Angel's quote which explains:

"one can identify Negroid (Ethiopic or Bushmanoid?) traits of nose and prognathism appearing in Natufian latest hunters and in Anatolian and Macedonian first farmers, probably from Nubia via the unknown predecessors of Badarians"

"probably from Nubia via the unknown predecessors of Badarians"

"Negroid" or "Ethiopic" [Angel's terms] traits in the Natufians are just evidence of Africans moving north from the Holocene. Some of these late Natufians mixed with the earliest Anatolian farmers hence some "Negroid" traits appear among skeletons in Neolithic Greece [2/14 skulls according to Angel]. These were though not some Holocene survivals of "old Europeans" who you claim looked African.

Anonymous said...

I think there's a general consensus among archaeologists that the Natufian culture - and therefore, to some extent, the Natufian population - had bona fide Northeast African origins. The Israeli archaeologist Ofer Bar-Yosef has, I think, posited a migration into the Levant from the Nubia area around 25,000 BP. This may well correlate with the spread of Y-chromosome haplogroup E1b1b into the Mideast.

It is probably true that these Mesolithic people were later swamped by migrants from the North and East. Hence, modern Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese, etc. look nothing like the Natufians. It's also likely that there was a substantial genetic turnover in North Africa, from Egypt to Morocco, during the Neolithic. In modern Horn populations like the Ethiopians and Somalis, the mixture is about 50/50.

But the Natufians don't necessarily prove one thing or another about the appearance of the first modern Europeans, as they weren't closely related. They the product of a mini-Out-of-Africa that postdated the peopling of Europe and had scant genetic impact on Europeans - save perhaps as a very dilute element in Neolithic migrations.

Sean said...

Vallois thought remains from Sumer indicated it was inhabited by two types: a proto (coarser) Mediterranean type, and a Combe-Capelle type. Keith thought Sumerians were a single variable type that ranged between the two. Remains from the Indus valley civilisation were similar, as were those from Iran.

Isn't there a possibility that the Combe-Capelle - proto Mediterranean population of southern Europe may have been pushed out at the end of the Ice Age by steppe tundra hunters, as the herds disappeared and lack of food meant many ST hunters were forced off the plain toward the south. That would make the robuster Europeans' arrival in the ME a few thousand years later than if it happened while sexual selection was still in progress.

Anonymous said...

"posited a migration into the Levant from the Nubia area around 25,000 BP"

Given that date it seems they may have expanded out of Africa just in time to get squished by lots of people being pushed back south by the ice age.

Oliver said...

Sean, writers like Keith and Vallois are discredited typologists and outdated.

Angel cautioned throughout his work that race "types" are only arbitrary statistical tools, not biologically real. In fact his PhD thesis describes them as unreal as a character from a Dicken's novel.

So there are no "Mediterraneans", "Alpines" etc. If used those terms should be highlighted.

Peter Fros_ said...


Since the Natufians disappeared around 12,000 years ago, I wouldn't expect to see remnant populations today.

Ancient DNA from Natufian remains would be useful. It would show that they cluster more with sub-Saharan Africans than with present-day Middle Easterners. Nontheless, I would also expect to see some divergence between them and sub-Saharan Africans.


I'll get around to it. I have trouble multi-tasking.

Bones and Behaviors,

I remember reading an article that claimed that chewing was responsible for the face shape of West Africans. But, then, given the popularity of bubble gum during the war years and the postwar era, one would expect present-day White Americans to be very prognathic.


I agree. A lot of work is ongoing and we're going to see a lot of interesting ancient DNA findings this year.


The Nubians speak an intrusive Nilo-Saharan language. According to Joseph Greenberg's estimates, they diverged from a population in the Darfur around 2,500 years ago. So they could not have been ancestral to the Natufians.


Perhaps. I believe that the Natufians are descended from the initial Out of Africa expansion some 50,000 years ago. That seems to be the simplest explanation, since there is no evidence that earlier Middle Easterners looked any different (of course, we don't have much skeletal material from the Middle East between 50,000 BP and the Natufians).


John Lawrence Angel had to work in an academic environment that was increasingly hostile to the race concept. When he attacked "typological racism" he was attacking a straw man that no one was defending, certainly not his mentors. This was a man who studied under Clyde Kluckhohn, Carleton S. Coon and Earnest A. Hooton. All three were racialists and would certainly be considered "racists" by most academics today.

Sean said...

Or as real as a character from a Dicken's novel, which is why if I say someone was a Uriah Heap ("His name has become synonymous with being a yes man") to object that Uriah Heap was 'unreal' would miss the point.

Sean said...

JayMan, he is just repeating about a light skin gene what he said about blue eyes in 10,000 YE, which has since been discredited by the finding of blue eye genes in hunter gatherers. In so far as I can make out from his gnomic posts, he still thinks European skin lightening was primarily due to selection for increased vitamin-D production in farmers, long since discredited by the findings of the IoM, while suggesting (as he once did about blue eyes) that a light skin gene has another advantage although he doesn't seem to have a clue what it is.

Oliver said...

Angel does not mention ethnic Nubians, but the Badarian predecessors and Tasians of Upper Egypt [8000 - 4500 BC]. Nubia and Upper Egypt overlap. Look up the whole quote.

Angel was not attacking a straw man. At the time he was writing, some maintained race "types" were fixed essentialist entities. Hooton and Coon both held these discredited views. Hooton didn't even believe in natural selection, but orthogenesis. The origins of typology is pre-Darwinian. It is obsolete and rooted in biblical thinking.

Sean said...

Coon most certainly did not claim human races were fixed eternally as he thought they had evolved from archaic precursors, and each race from a different ancestral hominid species (hence Coon was in effect claiming human races were actually not races, but different species).

Oliver said...

Coon's views on race were essentialist in the sense they were polygenic:

"After the widespread acceptance of evolution and of many of the elements of Darwinian theory, a form of polygenism continued to thrive (Caspari 2003; Wolpoff
and Caspari 1997). Taxonomic categories, including subspecific ones, continued to be conceptualized as discrete groups, while the essences of the categories were explained as products of separate evolutionary histories [...] Earnest Hooton believed that pure races had a common ancestor as far back as the Miocene (Hooton 1931). His student, Carlton Coon, developed a polygenic model of racial origins where races shared a common ancestor in the middle Pleistocene (Coon 1962). In all these interpretations, races were lineages transcending species." (Caspari, 2010)

Coon did not stress gene flow in his literature, even writing: "we cannot hope to settle the question of parallel evolution versus peripheral gene flow” (Coon, 1962). His races are described as seperate or parallel lineages as old polygenists had proposed. Such views were already discredited when Coon published his main book in 1962. So that is why the book was poorly reviewed by biologists. It was though praised for its fossil content.

Coon's model was "line and grade". His "erectus-sapien" threshold was not that of a species, but of a grade. This isn't though made clear in his literature.

Skip to 1982 with Coon's book "Racial Adaptations" and you discover before his death he had converted to a saltationist, writing of macro-mutations (hopeful monster hypothesis).

So as far as biology is concerned, Coon was a crank throughout his career, and was never was taken serious. Dobzhansky read his book and reviewed it saying it was something rather than belonged in the 19th century. He's only still considered reliable for his descriptions of fossils.

Anonymous said...

There actually was some ancient DNA work done on a few skeletons from an early Neolithic site called Tel Halula in northern Syria. And it did yield a number of sub-Saharan L2 mtDNA lineages. But the sample wasn't very large, and postdated the Natufian period by at least 1000-2000 years. Nor is it certain whether this marker came from a recent African migration or was simply part of the older, pre-agrarian Levantine genetic landscape.

The Badarians from predynastic Upper Egypt are probably a better candidate for obtaining good DNA samples, since their remains were very well preserved - including, in some cases, their hair. Eugen Strouhal studied their remains in the 1970s and concluded they showed a blend of North African/Near Eastern and sub-Saharan skeletal traits. The hair was found to be mostly wavy/straight but with a minority of curlier forms.

An earlier study, by s woman named Brenda Stoessiger, concluded that the Badarian skulls most closely resembled those of Veddahs and other tribal South Asian peoples. Since those groups come close to what pre-transition Eurasians theoretically looked like, this finding may hint that the paleo-Eurasian element was more significant than the African.

Indeed, the question of whether these traits in the Badarians and Natufians derive from African-specific ancestry or retention of local generalized anatomy may not be an either/or one. It may simply be that they were clinal populations comprised of elements related to Eurasian and African groups that were themselves quite different from present-day Eurasians and Africans respectively.

Oliver said...

"Eugen Strouhal studied their remains in the 1970s and concluded they showed a blend of North African/Near Eastern and sub-Saharan skeletal traits"

He retracted though the idea of large or significant Near-Eastern migration in his later papers. Read his works from 1981.

Bull, et Mém. de la Soc. d'Anthrop. de Paris, t. 8, série XIII, 1981, p. 231-249.

Anonymous said...

The hypotheses you put forward in each new post are becoming shakier and shakier. Selective quoting and looking at only a small amount of evidence while looking at the whole renders many of your hypotheses obsolete?

Good for a laugh, though.

Oliver said...

"Selective quoting"

Indeed. Also look how Angel was completely cut off and distorted.

HBD bloggers these-days are as bad as creationists with quotes.

Sean said...

If it had been found that major human descent groupings had no common descent from a single species (in the paleontological sense) whereby it would have been necessary for Dobzhansky or any other authority to classify human races as separate species, then Coon would have been correct. Even I know essentialism of natural kinds (which can only mean Aristotle's) would not allow for change such as the convengent evolution Coon posited, and nor could biblical polygenic creation.

Some people have not thought through the implications of that hunter gatherer from 7000 years ago with dark skin and blue eyes.

Ben10 said...

fair skin at 7000 years: obviously still not widespread if already there at all.

Anonymous said...

White skin seems increasingly likely to be a very recent development. Not 7000 years old, for instance.

Consider the recent discovery from Spain that the remains found in a cave were those of a blue-eyed, dark-skinned man. Pale skin becomes biologically adaptive in low-sun climes only when there's not enough vitamin D in the diet. Hunter-gatherers are better off with dark skin.

Sean said...

So they evolved blue eyes under what selection pressure?

b10 said...

Maybe this 7000 years old was an isolated individual. I remember they found the remains of tools of 9500 years old hunters gatherers, near Paris, but I can't recall any genetic analysis results from skeletons.

Anonymous said...

They were white with freckles imo.

Skin lightening happened twice - three times if you include Neanderthals.

Sean said...

The latest findings are Neanderthals contibuted alleles for keratin structural protein in hair and skin in modern humans in Europe, not pigmentation.

"AROUND 30,000 years ago, not long after entering Europe, the ancestors of today’s Europeans and East Asians lightened in skin color through a new allele at the KITLG gene. But the real whitening came much later, between 19,000 and 11,000 years ago among ancestral Europeans only, through new alleles at TYRP1, SLC24A5, and SLC45A2."

That suggests there were people doing just fine without white skin in northern Europe for 10,000 years. Now the we know there were modern humans doing just fine there without light skin, because 7-8000 years ago a couple of hunter gatherers didn't have the genes variants for white skin pigmentaion. So whatever the advantage was of those new alleles, they were not required for hunter gatherers to synthesise vitamin D at European latitude, as argued by Nina Jablonski and the most commonly accepted hypothesis of white skin. It couldn't.

If it was an agricultural diet that made white skin advantageous, and blue eyes were a side effect of that, why did European hunter gatherers have blue eyes?

Nothing to do with vitamin D can explain blue eyes.

Ben10 said...

Blue eyes = Rayleigh scattering as indicated in one recent Peter's post. The scattered blue light from the sky is polarized.
It has been suggested that the scattered polarized blue light from blue eyes reduced the glare from the snow, perhaps also protecting against reflected UV light that could cause blindness.
Brown eyed Inuits Amerindians use slit goggles made of antlers to prevent snow blindness, showing that they are aware of it, perhaps blue eyes helped with that.
So snow would have been the inducer of blue eyes, and after that it was sexual selection?

Peter Fros_ said...


While I don't support Coon's multiregional model, it is intellectually dishonest to portray him as a "race essentialist." This was simply a straw man to discredit the race concept. As Neven Sesardic points out:

"... those who attempt to deconstruct the concept of race by gratuitously burdening it with essentialist connotations ("discrete", "non-overlapping", "discontinuous", "defined by racial markers", "racial genes", etc.) are unaware that their criticism has already been addressed by Dobzhansky more than 40 years ago:

"Professor Fried has correctly pointed out that there is no careful and objective definition of race that would permit delimitation of races as exact, nonoverlapping, discrete entities. Indeed, such criteria do not exist because if they did,
we would not have races, we would have distinct species." (Dobzhansky in Mead 1968, 165)

In fact, Dobzhansky’s argument should be taken one step further: the essentialist requirement is so unrealistically demanding that, if this criterion were applied, even the species concept would fail to pass muster."

Race: a social destruction of a biological concept, Biol Philos (2010) 25:143-162

Please stop your sputtering about the Angel quote. The "Out of Africa" model did not exist when he studied the Natufians. He assumed they were the product of an earlier expansion out of Africa, but he had no idea as to the timing.

Anonymous said...

Northern dogs like huskies have blue eyes. Were they bred to have blue eyes? Has anyone looked into blue eyes in dogs?

Toy dogs bred for cuteness seem to have big brown eyes. The big brown eyes in dogs project a childlike, doe-eyed, innocent expression. The big brown eyes in Pomeranians, for example, make it look like a baby or a doll. Blue eyes in Pomeranians would appear striking and piercing, but not so much childlike and innocent.

This may be related to the pupils. The pupils are less noticeable in dark eyes. Pupils dilate when they see someone or something of interest. Babies' pupils dilate when they're looking at and interacting with their parents. A Pomeranian with big brown eyes looking at its owner looks like a baby with its pupils dilated significantly. With blue eyes, the pupils are noticeable and thus the pupil dilation is less exaggerated.

Sean said...

Wolves don't have blue eyes. Dogs do because humans just like em.

Neanderthal genes selected were keratin for straight hair and BNC2 for lighter skin. Straight hair, ie long hair; what is the use of that which is connected with light skin?

Anonymous said...


"The latest findings are Neanderthals contibuted alleles for keratin structural protein in hair and skin in modern humans in Europe, not pigmentation."


Why did they use South Asians to test the skin lightening effects of SLC24A5? Because it's almost at fixation in Europeans so it would have been too hard to test.

However what would be the effect of a skin lightening allele on people who were already white but with lots of brown freckles for UV protection - it would just cover up the freckles.

There might even be studies on this somewhere i.e. the effect of various skin lightening alleles on covering up freckles as i assume there are various skin problems associated with this phenotype.

What's happened is they're assuming a brown base coat - which i think makes sense further back in time but at only 7000 BP (i thought it was BC at first doh) I think an equally reasonable assumption should have been white with lots of brown freckles.


"Nothing to do with vitamin D can explain blue eyes."

It can if it's part of a general de-pigmentation that happened before agriculture and if their test for blue eyes can't differentiate between **light** eyes i.e. blue, green and grey.

(IIRC Ancient writers mention red hair and green eyes or red hair and grey eyes.)

Oliver said...

Frost, Dobzhansky REDEFINED race as a population. There are multiple race concepts. This is because as science kept debunking race, it was redefined over and over from typology to populationism etc. Sesardic's paper is a mess, he doesn't even clarify what race concept he is defending. Sesardic also doesn't even make a case for race. All he says is that race is arbitary. This isn't even race "realism". Biological reality isn't based on social constructs.

Peter Fros_ said...


You have it backwards. In the postwar period, antiracists redefined "race" as meaning a discrete, discontinuous, non-overlapping entity. Since this was clearly not the case, they had no trouble making it look ridiculous. Antiracists created a straw man, knocked it over, and pronounced it dead.

At no time did most anthropologists, including Coon, subscribe to this definition. If Coon was indeed a typological racist, why did he discuss the concept of cline in his textbook? Clines are incompatible with the definition of race that you impute to him. Again, I'm not a fan of Coon. He was wrong, but he was not absurdly wrong.

This is the difference between an academic and a propagandist. An academic tries to refute a contrary view on its own terms. A propagandist seeks to create an absurd caricature.

Sean said...

Philosopher Justin EH Smith's NYT piece on race:"Since the mid-20th century no mainstream scientist has considered race a biologically significant category". But any concept can be debunked as essentialist, for instance Smith's recent blog Against Gopnikism "The first rule of this genre is that one must assume at the outset that France --like America, in its own way-- is an absolutely exceptional place, with a timeless and unchanging and thoroughly authentic spirit. This authenticity is reflected par excellence in the French relation to food, which, as the subtitle of Adam Gopnik's now canonical book reminds us, stands synecdochically for family, and therefore implicitly also for nation." Essentialism again, they're all agin it. A claim to know what essential qualties make any entity (biological or social) authentically itself is indeed deeply suspect. But now you can't even speak as if it may be true that the French have a certain culture without being accused: "France, in other words, is a country that invites ignorant Americans, under cover of apolitical vacationing, of living 'the good life' and of cultivating their faculty of taste, to unwittingly indulge their fantasies of blood-and-soil ideology." Smith is flourishing as an academic, see here.

I believe it has been found a single neuron fires only when responding to any visual image of Jennifer Aniston. Now she must have some essential qualities that make her authentically herself, essential properties that make her an actual entity. For each kind of phenomenon there are unique and essential aspects making it distinguishable from all others. although one can't say exactly what they are because biological or other reality does not consist of facts. But I doubt Jennifer Aniston is socially constructed, and that she possesses no real essential properties.

Prof Smith cites followers of Lewontin on race. But while he can brand any concept he doen't like as essentialism of natural kinds ansd proto nazi, Smith and co are unable to see through 'subtle sleight-of-mind'. So whose views are more socially constucted?

Almost any kind of mainstream intellectual, (Joshua Greene is representative) says that humans are inherently tribalistic, and this is a bad thing('a cognitive glitch')we should morally overide. When everyone is saying something that's when you know the perception is overheating and becoming its opposite. Prepare for a world where the West is run to value everyone on Earth's happpiness equally.

Crimson Guard said...

Arthur Keith himself said that the Natufians were Mediterranean:
-The Antiquity of Man-by Arthur Keith

Oliver said...

"You have it backwards. In the postwar period, antiracists redefined "race" as meaning a discrete, discontinuous, non-overlapping entity."

Except that isn't a redefinition. For something to be "real" it must be all those things. Where's the straw man?

"On this understanding, then, natural kinds should be contrasted not with social kinds, but with superficial or gerrymandered kinds. Gerrymandered kinds will be kinds, such as things that weigh more than 124 kg, whose boundaries we directly impose on the world. They are the products of classifications we make, as opposed to kinds that are demarcated by the world itself. Now this doesn’t mean that things that weigh more than 124 kg are not in the world itself. Instead, it means that the kind composed of those things is a mere classificatory convenience,
and the telltale sign is that its members don’t have much in common other than the features we use to identify them as members of their category." (Glasgow, 2009)

A "real" kind is not biologically natural if the border drawn around it is arbitrary.

If you're saying you believe races exist but they are arbitrary, then you are not a race "realist". You're "reality" certainly isn't natural but a social construct.

Oliver said...

"Arthur Keith himself said that the Natufians were Mediterranean"

Read the first link which describes their noses as wide.

"Mediterraneans" now have wide noses?

Coon, Hooton, Czekanowski in contrast described "Mediterraneans" as leptorrhine.

Now what?

This is why typology is discredited science. The old typologists couldn't even agree what a "Mediterranean" even was.

Oliver said...

Frost, read the Caspari quote I posted if you want to see why Coon's race views were essentialist.

The real fallacy here seems to be Sesardic trying to confuse the arbitrary objection to race with essentialism.

"One might hold that something has essential properties without agreeing that it has an
identity-determining essence". (Bird, 2009)

Sean said...

'Oliver', I said that Keith and Vallois thought there was a single very variable population in ancient Mesopotamia, obviously there are few if any European individuals about to day who resemble Combe-Capelle so I was saying the first civilisation was populated by European who had not been exposed to the most intense sexual selection I mentioned Coon as disagreeing. Then we are of to the races with a digression about Coon being a typologist, typology being guilty of essentialism's metaphysical mistake.

Re ""On this understanding, then, natural kinds should be contrasted not with social kinds, but with superficial or gerrymandered kinds. Gerrymandered kinds will be kinds, such as things that weigh more than 124 kg, whose boundaries we directly impose on the world. They are the products of classifications we make, as opposed to kinds that are demarcated by the world itself. Now this doesn’t mean that things that weigh more than 124 kg are not in the world itself. Instead, it means that the kind composed of those things is a mere classificatory convenience,
and the telltale sign is that its members don’t have much in common other than the features we use to identify them as members of their category." (Glasgow, 2009)"

Aniston's 'The Rachel' hairstyle is real and a certain type of hair is 'The Rachel'.

"One might hold that something has essential properties without agreeing that it has an
identity-determining essence". (Bird, 2009"

But it is that inner occult essence that shows things are REAL, and enables real things to surprise us with there emergent properties. The saxophone always had its essence but it was only when jazz musicians got ahold of it that certain aspects of it because evident.

Sean said...

""On this understanding, then, natural kinds should be contrasted not with social kinds, but with superficial or gerrymandered kinds. Gerrymandered kinds will be kinds, such as things that weigh more than 124 kg, whose boundaries we directly impose on the world. They are the products of classifications we make, as opposed to kinds that are demarcated by the world itself."

The Syrian rebels are a side in a civil war, but there are certain groups within them . And imagine those groups might start fighting each other, perhaps even switch sides to an extent. Those are not "boundaries we directly impose on the world". Thats why they are not arbitary and can surprise us. A saxophone was invented patented, and then jazz musicians found ways to make noises come out of it that hadn't before. A concept must cohere to be meaningful yes. What the concept is about doesn't need to cohere in the same way. The definition of race is a taxon not totally distinct from others; seperation would mean a population being classified as consisting of good species at least.

Bones and Behaviours said...

Has anyone sampled the Veddoids of Yemen yet for either their atDNA or dental trait frequencies?

Anonymous said...

why did European hunter gatherers have blue eyes?

In animals, blue/green/grey eyes are mostly found in night-hunting predators.

It's hard to imagine humans specializing in nocturnal hunting... but then again, look at the eye-orbit size on Neanderthals.