Reconstruction of an early European skull

laugable-recon

By Dr Richard Neave. I believe (though I can’t find anything saying this specifically) this is the Peştera cu Oase 2   crania from Romania (edit: John Hawkes also says it this one), which is 40,000 years old and was found by potholers. I can’t find any other crania of this age or date from Romania, so by a process of elimination this would be it. They don’t know if the skull is male or female.

Peştera cu Oase 2 crania.

First of all let me comment my objection to this recon is entirely to do with the really dark skin colour of the head. My main point is that even Southern Africans have a skin colour a lot lighter than this. Modern humans were also resident across North Africa from about 130k ago, and into the near East from about 100k ago- 60k prior to the entry into Europe, so the reason behind the UV-resistant equatorial skin tone escapes me as that area (equator) was left behind about 90k prior to entering Europe. The Khoisan people in the area believed to be where humans evolved are much lighter. I’m also a little unsure as to why he made the nose quite so flared, as the shape seems half way betwen European and African. But then, I have seen some Irish guys with nostrils like that.

Also needing to be taken into consideration is that the European hair colour mutations for fair/brown and red hair date back to over 80k, and that the red hair genes at least  will have had a lightening affect on skin tone. Lighter eye colours also lighten skin colour, and although blue is recent and fairly limited in distribution, other eye colours are much older and wider distributed, even as far as the Ainu and the Hmong.

On the other hand; it has the brow ridges, heavy jaw and wider nose you typical of more archaic samples, as seen in this 26,000 year old ivory head from Europe. The average prognathism in the Paleolithic samples is greater than in modern populations, and probably has a lot to do with the much larger teeth humans had prior to the Neolithic farming revolution.

Judging from the scant art objects the Europeans had straight hair. So.. give him hazel brown eyes and dark brown hair and a lighter Khoisan-ish skin tone and you’d probably be close to an accurate reconstruction of the face.

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70 responses to “Reconstruction of an early European skull

  1. Yeah, looks way too dark for the relatively recent 35 kya. Looks kind of Asian, as Hawkes says. But what about that nose?

  2. I agree with the pygmentation issue, sincerely. I also think that the browridge has not been sufficiently marked in the reconstruction and that the nose is surely too “africanized”.

    The average prognathism in the Paleolithic samples is greater than in modern populations, and probably has a lot to do with the much larger teeth humans had prior to the Neolithic farming revolution.

    This I don’t agree with. The earliest known cases of impacted teeth are found among European Magdalenians, long before the Neolithic revolution. These Magdalenian skulls are also not just not prognathous at all but also have notably narrow jaws, just like modern western Europeans. Surely it had something to do with eating habits but not with Neolithic especifically. Cooking is much older than Neolithic.

  3. I dont know about some of that. Are you sure there were any “Europeans” 80 thousand years ago?

    Also did they find any of the skeleton? Some scientists find a correlation between limb proportions and skin color. Could this be how they came to that conclusion?

    On your blog roll “Dienekes” had an article regarding Tropical limb proportions of Neolithic populations in Germany i believe. Also one frequently quoted geneticist state that Europe was being populated from Africa and Asian 40kya – Maybe this is just one of those skeletons? All in all, Humans taken as an African species (and following the OOA Theory) there was a point when all populations looked like “Africans” – Some non African populations still do look like Africans. Maybe this is just one of its members.

    • Yes, I ‘ve seen one paper supporting (erroneously) an OOA date of 40k. Aborignes were in oz about 60k ago, and in East Asia about 74k ago. An OOA of 40K is not possible. 100 to 90k yes, and modern humans were in North Africa at the Jebel Irhoud site about 30k before that.

      Europe being partially settled from Africa was suggested as a simplistic way of explaining relation ships with Africans by Cavalli Sforza, he’s also suggested it’s due to relative length of seperation, and geenflow from Europe into Africa and vice versa is another explaantion. The best studied DNA doesn not support a late African partial colonisation of Europe at all.

      There were humans in West Asia about 100k ago, and in the arctic circle at 50k ago. Not Europe, but through the near East and Turkey are- they stalled at the Danube for a really long itime.

      There’s too much time passed between leaving Africa and colonising Europe for that skin tone to be likely. I’m not suggesting a white skin, he should have a skin just a bit lighter than a San with straight hair and probably striaght dark/ginger/fair hair (pick your own).

  4. Heyy, its nesikhaNofret haha rememeber me? hahaha of course you do. This is a cool reconstruction. I mean its scary but cool. Thanks for sharing this. I feel more reconstuctions should be done. Helps people get a clearer glimpse into the past (in some ways).

  5. …26k figure: neander ridge, snub nose.
    would he be neander cross?

  6. You wonder what skull Richard Neave used in his reconstruction, and you present the photo of a 40,000 year old complete skull found in Romania:

    “I believe (though I can’t find anything saying this specifically) this is the Pestera cu Oase crania from Romania, which is 40,000 years old and was found by potholers. I can’t find any other crania of this age or date from Romania, so by a process of elimination this would be it. They don’t know if the skull is male or female.”

    But your conclusion can’t be correct, because the fossil that Richard Neave worked with consists of fragments, and the Pestera cu Oase fossil is largely complete. David Derbyshire in the Mail wrote :

    “It was created by Richard Neave, one of Britain’s leading forensic scientists, using fossilised fragments of skull and jawbone found in a cave seven years ago….

    “The lower jawbone was discovered by potholers in the Carpathian mountains in Romania in 2002. The rest of the fragments were found the following year.”

    Readers of my website have been unable to find any photos of the skull fragments on which Neave’s reconstruction was based. See my discussion of the Neave reconstruction, which I’ve shown is total fraud, based on Neave’s and Derbyshire’s own statements about the nature of the skull that was used and the impossibility of deriving a detailed head and face with Negroid racial features and skin color from it. They wanted to show the first European as a black man, and that’s what they did. This is what “science” has been reduced to today.

  7. Criticizing the highly unlikely sub-Saharan skin tone of Neave’s reconstruction, you write:

    “So the reason behind the UV-resistant equatorial skin tone escapes me as that area was left behind about 100k prior to entering Europe.”

    Is the reason so hard to find? Can you not think of a reason Neave made it so dark? Are you not aware of the overwhelming moral compulsion that people in our society have to put the black race at the center of things, even to go so far as to claim that the early Europeans were African blacks?

    • Lawrence- a certain amount of PC bias and a weird adherence to an impossible recent African origin did spring to mind. Being very familiar with the entry dates to Australi, east Asia and the artic circle I’m stunned so may seem to think the 40k exit date is anywhere near right. It’s way more like a 100k for OOA.

  8. He/she had to have a tan from hunter-gathering, to tan to a near Eastern skin tone would be saying they started off white.

    Positive selection for light skin would surely have resulted in everyone in Europe having red hair in a gradient getting increasingly redheaded towards the north. . Is there any reason to think that red hair was ever that common in northern Europe?

    And if red hair confers a bit extra skin lightening for vitamin D maximization why is it so much less common today than blond which doesn’t go with as much of a skin lightening effect.

  9. On closer inspection you are right, the skin is too dark, but you are assuming that in the African ancestors of the skulls owner it must have been that dark at one time . The early Europeans were the descended from African hunter-gatherers , not agriculturists who are always significantly darker skin. Black Africans are farmers.

    By hazel brown eyes you mean light brown, a colour that is not common in north Africa even today despite European incursions and the Barbary coast white slave trade , (a million were taken and the women at least often reproduced with the upper classes).

    About teeth getting smaller; that is economizing on something that is no longer required for fitness to the same extent. But why would jaws get smaller so much more quickly than teeth leading to impaction, and long before the Neolithic.
    “The earliest recorded case of impacted wisdom teeth belongs to the renowned “Magdalenian Girl,” a nearly complete 13,000- to 15,000-year-old skeleton”

    Could it have been that there was strong selection for feminine characteristics like a small jaw long before tooth size selection relaxed. They wouldn’t be able to chew their food? Well maybe they knew a few tricks.

    “”What is the best way to cook meat?

    Loren Cordain: The way we tend to cook meat these days is very different from the ways of hunters and gatherers who tend to slow-cook meats over a long period of time. A favored cooking procedure was digging a pit and putting in hot stones, putting in the whole animal or portions of it, putting in vegetable matter and other stones above the vegetable matter and cooking the meat all day long. So what is suggested is slow cooking at low heat.

    Robert Crayhon: Throw out the microwave and get a crock pot.

    Loren Cordain: Well, yes. If you take a lean cut of venison, elk, or buffalo, and throw it on the barbecue, you’ll find it’s as tough as rubber but if you put it on a crock pot or a Dutch oven and cook it all day long, you’ll find that it will come out quite tender and also, the nutrient content remains relatively high. Also, you don’t have to worry about bacterial problems”

    Small jaws must have paid off big time in the Magdalenian because at a time of big teeth they would sometimes mean an potentially fatal infection from an impacted wisdom tooth, which would have been selected against.

  10. They had to pick a skin colour, and none would have been much more than a guess. I think calling this “really dark” is a bit odd. It looks about average.

  11. Is the wide nose an indication of adaptation to humid climate? Or is it just the way we all were and only the long noses are an adaptation to dry climate?

  12. I’m not sure I agree with your conclusion as far as skin color. I had the same idea as you and ran it past a practicing anthropologist. This is his response to me in e-mail:

    “Vitamin D is not a problem for hunter/gatherers. There is plenty of vitamin D in animal flesh, especialy in fish, and in the flesh of animals that eat fish. It was only when people switched from meat to cereals that vitamin D deficiency became a problem. Consider today’s Nganasans, Inuits, Sel’kups, Yukagirs, Chukchi, Aleuts, Evenks, Koryaks, Nivkhs, and Udegeys for instance. They are all much darker than Scandinavians and yet they all live above the Arctic Circle. They live on meat, not grain. Incidentally, the light skin of people in northern China also seems to be relatively recent, and also seems due to the same cause (the need to synthesize vitamin D after switching to cereal).

    Before vitamin D synthesis became important (before the agricultural revolution), the most important selection pressure affecting skin tone was folic acid (folate) synthesis. Too little epidermal melanin for low latitudes allows intense UV to penetrate the skin, preventing or degrading folic acid synthesis, thus reducing folate levels. In pregnant females this produces neural tube defects in the fetus, causing such congenital abnormalities as craniorachischisis, anencephalus, and spina bifida. High levels of distributed epidermal melanin blocks UV and enables normal gestation at low latitudes.

    Essentially, people who live along the equator are under adapative pressure (miscarriages) favoring dark skin. This pressure is relaxed away from the equator. But no corresponding adaptive pressure favoring pale skin arose until agriculture.”

    He believe a Khoi-san complexion was likely accurate but he admitted this was his hunch and it could have been anything.

    • I meant lighter not white.

      I wouldn’t argue much against a khoisan skin tone- it’s about the same range as the mid peninsula Arabs. My real gripe is that they’ve given him a skin tone that even Africans at lower UV levels don’t have, and I know a couple of lightening mutations in Europeans on the Mc1r date back that far.

  13. Question:

    “European hair colour mutations for fair/brown and red hair date back to over 80k, and that the red hair genes at least will have had a lightening affect on skin tone.”

    When you say “fair” hair, what are you speaking of? I’m assuming not blond.

    As far as redhair, is there evidence that was fixed or prevalent in all or most European populations 40,000 years ago? I’m guessing since people live in sparsely populated hunter-gather tribes there were a quite a few genetic structures present in Western Eurasia, it might be that many of them did not include the allele that leads to red hair.

    • The mutation is for light brown to dirty blond not Nordic blond. As for the prevalence of ginger hair we’ll never know until ADNA testing picks up more.

  14. Mathilda writes:

    “Being very familiar with the entry dates to Australi, east Asia and the artic circle I’m stunned so may seem to think the 40k exit date is anywhere near right. It’s way more like a 100k for OOA.”

    Could you please explain this further? In my recent reading on this subject, the date of the departure from Africa (that is, the departure that led to the colonization of Eurasia, not the earlier departure that stopped in the Mideast) is much later. Nicholas Wade in “Before the Dawn” says it was 60,000 years ago. Michael Hart in “Understanding Human History” says it was 50,000 years ago. Alice Roberts in her documentary says it was 70,000 ago.

    • Could you please explain this further?

      Bangs head against brick wall.

      Modern Humans have sites in Northern Australia about 55k ago, and under the Toba ash in India and the far east at 74k ago. Liuiang (spelling?) in China has a modern human skull and teeth over 68k old (that’s the minimun date). Also the dates on the mt DNA make sod all sense with any recent date, as the entry to Europe starts about 40k and there are a lot of mutations under the bridge between L3 and H by that time, and the same goes for U, as the backmigration into north Africa starts at the same date (40k bp) and those people haad been out of Africa long enough to change into a distinctive population.

      There are some modern human remains in the near East 120k to 130k old, and in north Africa (Jebel Irhoud) of a similar age. While a super arid climate change might have wiped out the near Eastern branch for a while, the Nile was always a wet oasis so there’s no reason to believe Nilotic north Africans died out with them.

      Deep breath.

      I’ve also seen a couple of estimates for the genetic seperation of African and non African populations that range from 120k to 146k, which matches the first expansion into north Africa and the near east. Estimates on the ages of the non African mt DNA’s are also getting into the 80k area.

      I LMAO every time I see 40k.

      It would take about 15k (not my estimate, from JH) to get from Africa to Oz. So add 15k to 74k and yo are up to 90k minimum.

      BTW, I was correct aboput the ID of the crania. I also said that the date away from the equator was more like a 100k for the first Europeans, not Africa. I read your link.

  15. “PUVA Treatment
    PUVA treatment is the usage of UVA light in combination with psoralens (drugs) to make the skin hyper-photosensitive and is effective in the treatment psoriasis. However aside from any concerns about the UVA, the number of treatments must be carefully monitored and restricted over the lifetime of a patient due to the potential of liver damage caused by the psoralens”.

    This treatment using UVA and very powerful psoralens is what the subjects of the study (Branda & Eaton1978) that Nina G Jablonski cites as evidence that folic acid is destroyed by sunlight was studying. This is does not square with 5-Methyltetrahydrofolate inhibits photosensitization … Here is confirmation of that. Serum folate levels after UVA exposure: a two-group parallel randomised controlled trial
    “Our data suggest that both single and serial UVA exposures do not significantly influence serum folate levels of healthy subjects. Therefore, neural tube defects claimed to occur after periconceptual UVA exposure are probably not due to UVA induced folate deficiency.”
    “Our data suggest that both single and serial UVA exposures do not significantly influence serum folate levels in vivo.”

    And Frank W Sweet needs to explain why the agriculturist Africans are uniformly darker than the hunter gatherers (San).

    Sorry for going on about red hair, I didn’t realize you had a post discussing the possibility of it being common before blonds were around <a href=”http://mathildasanthropologyblog.wordpress.com/2008/04/02/so-just-how-dark-skinned-were-the-first-europeans/”.HERE

    Do red hair genes in people of African ancestry just produce a lightening of the complexion?
    It’s my impression that the result tends to be sallow skin with very dark ‘freckles’ on exposed skin.

    • Do red hair genes in people of African ancestry just produce a lightening of the complexion

      Some lightening I think. The few images I’ve tracked down of ginger black Americans all seem to have a lighter than average freckled skin. I can’t find anyone mixed with ginger hair and really dark skin.

  16. Tod said: Positive selection for light skin would surely have resulted in everyone in Europe having red hair in a gradient getting increasingly redheaded towards the north. . Is there any reason to think that red hair was ever that common in northern Europe?.

    That makes no sense: what helps with vit. D synthesis is light skin tone because melanine, while most useful to protect the skin from the Sun, hinders this “photosynthesis” we do.

    It has no direct relation with hair or eye color, though general depygmentation of skin would also allow for depygmentation of hair and eye more easily (and some genes may be affecting to all three areas, as blonds and redhairs are generally of lighter colors and burn more easily under the Sun). But, except in extreme conditions maybe, the ability to tan in summer and de-tan in winter is most important, so the less extreme types have a generalistic advantage. Extremely white types, who can barely tan, can only be adapatative where the UV input is low even in summer.

    That’s surely why redhairs are rare (except in some norther locations, where founder effect may be to blame) and extreme blonds too (same). Less extreme blonds who can tan are much more common though. But the basic European type is brunette (with brown eyes and white, not caramel, skin that tans easily) anyhow.

    The early Europeans were the descended from African hunter-gatherers , not agriculturists who are always significantly darker skin. Black Africans are farmers.

    Early Europeans were descended from West Asians, who in turn descended from South Asians, who in turn descended from East Africans.

    Some Black Africans are still pretty much hunter-gatherers and Pygmies are almost 100% that by all accounts (and they are quite black). I do not swallow that idea that skin color is related in any way to economical activities but rather to long-term geographical location. One would expect South African Bantu to evolve into lighter colors with time (they have been in that area for too short) and Australian Europeans to evolve to darker shades. But these processes need time (so much time that Native Americans have never reverted to brown, “black”, color in the tropics in spite of having been there for maybe 15ky).

    But why would jaws get smaller so much more quickly than teeth leading to impaction, and long before the Neolithic.

    We do not know it may have been for mere aesthetic reasons (sexual selection), due to inbreeding (it’s a defect) or to save energy in less useful trait. It could also be because of mere random drift.

    Cro-Magnoids (Gravettian, Gravetto-Solutrean and Oranian) were already low in prognathism anyhow. It is not so much the loss of prognathism but the narrowing of the jaw what causes impacted teeth, it seems to me. This latter process is only detected at Magdalenian times and may have happened in relation to the LGM “bottleneck”.

    You make a good point on cooking methods probably but in this I disagree:

    Small jaws must have paid off big time in the Magdalenian because at a time of big teeth they would sometimes mean an potentially fatal infection from an impacted wisdom tooth, which would have been selected against.

    It is small jaws which cause impacted teeth (the teeth have not been reduced enough to fit in the jaw). So the actuall effect is the opposite.

    Anyhow the wisdom tooth (last molar) seems itself an evolution to replace possible loss of teeth before adulthood. So guess impacted teeth paradoxically may mean a better dental health (and smaller jaws).

    Mathilda said:

    Aborignes were in oz about 60k ago

    Highly speculative. Strong data only supports the 40-48 kya reference.

    There were humans in … in the arctic circle at 50k ago.

    Can you document that? The best reference I have is Japanese and maybe Chinese remains of c. 36 kya and some data pointing to maybe more than 40kya in Altai.

    I am for older dates for Asian expansion in the 60-40 kya range probably (maybe even older?) but the fossil record is the fossil record.

    Bothe said:

    Is the wide nose an indication of adaptation to humid climate? Or is it just the way we all were and only the long noses are an adaptation to dry climate?.

    Wide noses can’t be an adaptation to humid climate because Western Europe is maybe one of the most humid places on Earth and people have quite narrow noses.

    There are some hypothesis on that but nothing that I’d consider too serious or important. Anyhow this ultra-broad nose of the reconstruction doesn’t seem justified.

    @Dragonhorse: I have replied to you elsewhere. Meat is not a good provider of vitamin D. I had a discussion on that at Mundo Neanderthal and the supporter of that idea could only bring forth material that actually debunked himself. One of the studied mentioned showed that Irish, indeed, got 30% of their vitamin D ingest from meat but that they were anyhow eating way too little of that crucial vitamin (so no wonder they are so light pygmented: they need it).

    Only fish can really provide for our daily needs of vitamin D, so “photosynthesis” is crucially important and has nothing to do with agriculture.

    • The last time I looked there were sites with a date for about 55k BP in Northern OZ. The arctic circle site was in Russia (I think, I’d have to look it up). The Chinese have a 68k modern specimen. At 74k signs of habitation through the Toba explosion in East Asia.

      Dragonhorse: I have replied to you elsewhere. Meat is not a good provider of vitamin D.

      Very true. For dark skinned people to colonise a low UV environment they need to either eat a lot of fish (Eskimos) or lighten up. Only fish and dairy can provide adequate amounts in a low UV environmet.

  17. In regards to the dates i spoke of I meant how can the: “European hair colour mutations for fair/brown and red hair date back to over 80k”

    -If Europeans didn’t really exist over 80 thousand years ago? I am pretty sure Europe wasn’t populated at that time.

    And since what you reference is a genetic mutation, in terms of Genetic Ancestry Markers – 80 thousand Years ago we only really possibly have Y-DNA Haplogroup A, and Mtdna L – That is it. Nothing else existed that far back. (that survives today) So the “European hair mutations – Arent really European. I Just wanted to point that out.

    Yes, OOA could be 100kya but some of those populations no longer exist. Also Europe was not populated by any migrants 100, 70 or even 60 kya. Europe was populated much later.

    As far as the color, maybe its something trivial that we are simply overlooking. That color being used is the typical color of sculpting clay. Although it comes in many colors the main 3 are Green, off-white – and this Bronze color. Maybe they just went with this color clay and we are feeding too much into it?

  18. This ‘Out of Africa’ marxist propaganda is an outright lie.
    This is how it happened

    http://erectuswalksamongst.us/SecIV.html

    Read the book and know the truth

    http://erectuswalksamongst.us/index.html#Contents

    It is about time this lie is dumped into the bin of stupid propagandas.

  19. @Mathilda:

    The last time I looked there were sites with a date for about 55k BP in Northern OZ. The arctic circle site was in Russia (I think, I’d have to look it up). The Chinese have a 68k modern specimen. At 74k signs of habitation through the Toba explosion in East Asia.

    In South Asia: continuity at the Jawalpuram culture sites, with tool typology apparently clustering with South African (not East African curiously) MSA. There’s a Southern Chinese specimen (with modern Mongoloid phenotype) that has been very roughly suggested to be pretty old (pre-Toba?) but the early datation was merely stratigraphic and the modern re-datation was made with poor references about where to measure radiologically, so it’s very dubious.

    Mungo man is dated to c. 40kya. There’s been some talk of artifacts dated as old as 70kya in Norhern Australia but all I could find is a 2003 mention at Stonepages (referenced to a local newspaper).

    No idea about the pre-40kya in China or Siberia but I am certainly intrigued about them, indeed.

    @Igbo: where did you get that 80kya date? I keep seeing it in your posts but no one else has used that date, as far as I can see.

    Also, it doesn’t matter so much what happened in Europe because Europeans are just West Asians. What happened in West Asia matters more, at least for the early stage.

    Satya:

    This ‘Out of Africa’ marxist propaganda is an outright lie.

    That’s a very funny joke. :D

  20. Frank Sweet is at least aware that there is rickets is a nutritional disease ( which Nigerian children get by the way).


    Loren Cordain: It is thought that the high levels of phytate in unleavened whole grain breads cause a zinc deficiency which in turn is responsible for hypogonadal dwarfism, along with other health problems associated with zinc deficiencies. In Europe, where immigrant Pakistanis consume high levels of unleavened whole grain breads, rickets among their children remains a problem.

    Robert Crayhon: So this is rickets that has nothing to do with vitamin D deficiency, but with mineral deficiency?

    Loren Cordain: No, both. Cereal grains seem to have a simultaneous influence on vitamin D and Ca metabolism.

    Robert Crayhon: How do they alter vitamin D metabolism?

    Loren Cordain: Epidemiological studies of populations consuming high levels of unleavened whole grain breads show vitamin D deficiency to be widespread. A study of radio-labelled 25 hydroxyvitamin D3 (25(OH)D3) in humans consuming 60g of wheat bran daily for 30 days clearly demonstrated an enhanced elimination of 25(OH)D3 in the intestinal lumen. The mechanism by which cereal grain consumption influences vitamin D is unclear. Some investigators have suggested that cereal grains may interfere with the enterohepatic circulation of vitamin D or its metabolites, whereas others have shown that calcium deficiency increases that rate of inactivation of vitamin D in the liver. This effect is mediated by 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25(OH)2D) produced in response to secondary hyperparathyroidism, which promotes hepatic conversion of vitamin D to polar inactivation products which are excreted in bile. Consequently, the low Ca/P ratio of cereal grains has the ability to elevate PTH which in turn stimulates increased production of (1,25(OH)2D) which causes an accelerated loss of 25 hydroxy vitamin D.

    Robert Crayhon: So it doesn’t get activated by the kidneys if there are a lot of cereal grains in the diet? The hormone version of vitamin D doesn’t come into existence if people are eating 70-80% of their diets as cereal grains?

    Loren Cordain: The mechanism still is unclear, however, the clinical response remains the same (overt rickets) in animal and human models. Here are some of the references if you are interested: (1. Batchelor AJ, Compston JE: Reduced plasma half-life of radio-labelled 25 hydroxyvitamin D3 in subjects receiving a high fiber diet. Brit J Nutr 1983; 49:213-16. 2. Clements MR, Johnson L., Fraser DR: A new mechanism for induced vitamin deficiency in calcium deprivation. Nature 1987; 325: 62-65. 3. Dagnelie PC et al. High prevalence of rickets in infants on macrobiotic diets. Am J Clin Nutr 1990; 51: 202-8.)

    Early European skeletons with rickets? Know Your Pathology: Osteomalacia and Rickets

    “Evidence has been found in Neolithic skeletons from Denmark and Norway, and more plentiful evidence comes from Hungary in the Roman period. However, the rarity of this disease in the past is attested by the few cases described even in exhaustive studies of human remains prior to the Medieval period.”

    Frank Sweet understands the lack of rickets before agriculture makes the standard theory no longer tenable.

    ” For dark skinned people to colonize a low UV environment they need to either eat a lot of fish (Eskimos) or lighten up. Only fish and dairy can provide adequate amounts in a low UV environment.”

    Not according to Tauber, H. (1981). 13C evidence for dietary habits of prehistoric man in Denmark. Nature, 292, 332-333. “Skeletal remains of Danes living 6,000-7,000 years ago have the same carbon isotope profile as those of Greenland Inuit, whose diet is 70-95% of marine origin (Tauber, 1981). So why are Danes so light-skinned despite a diet that has long included fatty fish?” and by the way “Athapaskans of Canada and Alaska live as far north as the Inuit and are even somewhat darker-skinned, their diet consists largely of meat from land animals (caribou, deer, ptarmigan, etc.). The same may be said for the native peoples of Siberia.”

    Calcium isn’t ‘D’
    Milk’s got calcium but is fortified for ‘D’ Vitamin D Office of Dietary Supplements National Institutes of Health

    Salmon, cooked, 3.5 ounces gives 90% of the ‘daily value’ 360IU. Even a tablespoon of cod liver oil gives only 1360IU

    Compare this with Northern Europe where UVB is strong enough to reach the 20000IU of ‘D’ that ‘D’ synthesis is limited to (by skin heating) in under a hour for a San type skin. How much cod liver oil to match a hour outside.
    In Europe ( that is where we are talking about) people just went out in the sun in the summer got a huge amount most which was stored for the UVB-less months and they were sorted for vitamin D . It should be obvious that the supply of vitamin D from synthesis in the sun was never was always more than ample in Europe because there is a mechanism for limiting the amount that can be made at one time. Of course if you believe that evolution overlooked the cheap simple solution -raising the synthesis limit- and went the slow expensive route of white skin…

  21. Sorry, the penultimate sentence of my previous comment is confusing – meant to say this.

    It should be obvious that the supply of vitamin D from synthesis in the sun was was always more than ample in Europe because Europeans have a mechanism that limits the amount that can be made at one time.

  22. To Mathilda,

    In response to my question what was your basis for saying 100K ago for out of africa, you reply:

    “Bangs head against brick wall.”

    When you say you’re banging your head against the wall, the message is that the older dates, e.g., the 74 K old remains in the far east, are well known, and that there’s no good reason for anyone, including me, not to know about them, But if that’s the case, how it that Nicholas Wade, whose book is widely respected, doesn’t know of these much older modern human remains?

    Let me put it this way. Which view is the current “established” or “majority” view—yours or the scientists upon whom Wade bases his statements?

    And why are there such discrepancies among these views?

    • ‘Banging head against brick wall’ because I have to type out the list pretty regularly- and yes a lot of people should know better which is why I get monumentally irked when I see the 40k OOA date in print.

      Ask Cavalli Sforza and you’ll get the 100k OOA date with about 140k seperation from African populations- I have it in print on the blog somewhere. Youll also get around 100k from the Bradshaw foundation’s Stephen Oppenheimer, who writes about the genetic furrow found in india when the Toba eruption 74k ago split East and West Asian populations.

      The issue is that a lot of ancient modern human remains/sites seem to be ‘forgotten’ when working out an OOA date. There’s also a tendency not to pay enough attention to what’s going on in other fields by specialists. For example a few sites in America are dated around the 45-50k mark, several human teeth in China are around the 90k area. Plus it’s really only a theory that the 130k exit died off and was unsuccessful. You see modern human remains that cover the 100k to 80k period in Israel.Link.

      The fossil remains from the ‘80,000- to
      100,000-year-old site of Skhul (5) and the ‘100,000-year-old site
      of Qafzeh (1, 2), both in Israel, are craniofacially more modern
      and less muscular than Neanderthals.

      Every time I see a new peper the estimated dates of the mt DNA and Y chr go up a notch. One day I’ll make out a proper list of the older non African finds. There’s a job for tomorrow.

  23. Tod: the calcium issue is distinct. As you mention, it also affects people living in the tropics. The main issue with vit.D is not rickets anyhow but severe damage to brain developement.

    So why are Danes so light-skinned despite a diet that has long included fatty fish?

    Because they descend from people in Germany and Doggerland who did not have that diet. Simple.

    Additionally not all Danes live on fish, much less Swedes or Russians.

    The pygmentation cues of East Asians/Native Americans are seemingly different from those of West Eurasians. I can’t find it right now but there was a research recently showing that these two processes are distinct albeit convergent. Hence comparing West and East Eurasians may be like comparing apples and oranges.

    We have already discussed this at my blog and the mechanism that limits vit. D synthesis when it becomes excessive only exists at the skin and doesn’t work when the vitamin is ingested. This mechanism obviously exists to limit excess of this vitamin when is aboundant (summertime for example) but not when it’s scarce (winter, etc.).

    What you may have a point in (even if you don’t seem aware) is that the calcium deficiency may have triggered a parallel process: the ability to digest milk. But even if it may be somehow related, it is not the same.

  24. To Mathilda,

    Today I spoke with Michael Hart, author of “Understanding Human History,” which deals in great detail with early human evolution, and asked him about your view of a much earlier out of Africa date. He said that in researching his book, he had originally believed in a much older date himself, but that on looking at the date more closely he saw problems with that idea and ultimately arrived at a date of 62k years. He thinks several of the older remains, such as the one in China, are probably erectus rather than sapiens. I asked him if he would like to post here explaining his reasons, but he didn’t have the time.

    Starting at p. 418 of his book, he provides a detailed chronology of human evolution beginning 4 million years ago.

    I don’t have a position on this, I am just passing on what I’ve read and heard. I would like to see a debate between you and Nicholas Wade.

    • The Chinese skull does look very much like a modern human to my eyes. I’ve seen it’s age disputed, but not it’s classificcation before.

      There are sites in OZ near to 60k, I’ll post the older sites up in a bit.

      The estimated ages for the mt DNA dates in India are about 74k or so now, and the dates keep getting older. When you compare them to known migrations they are just starting to match up with the ones I understand best, and this means the older dates don’t allow for a more recent exit date.

  25. “Genetic Evidence for the Convergent Evolution of Light Skin in Europeans and East Asians
    is the study showing “The pygmentation cues of East Asians/Native Americans are … distinct albeit convergent.” The genetic modification causing skin colour may be different as you say.
    Still, if the UV exposure theory is correct Athapaskans and Siberians on the same latitude and not eating fish should have converged to the same skin lightness as Europeans. They haven’t.

    he mechanism that limits vit. D synthesis when it becomes excessive only exists at the skin and doesn’t work when the vitamin is ingested. This mechanism obviously exists to limit excess of this vitamin when is aboundant (summertime for example) but not when it’s scarce (winter, etc.).

    Yes, but synthesis of vitamin D in UVB irradiated skin is not ‘scarce’ in northern Europe in the winter. It’s totally absent. Why then is the amount that can be made and stored when in the sun limited? Those months of synthesis and storage of ‘D’ during summer are obviously more than sufficient to get though the UVB-less months. North Europeans do not make any more ‘D’ with prolonged intense UVB exposure than those who evolved where the sun is strong enough to make vitamin D every day of the year. This limit would have been the first thing to be altered by natural selection if ‘D’ was wanting over a year in northern Europe.

    In any event those researching this area put the lightening of European skin long after modern humans entered Europe When European skin became white
    “at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists, a molecular anthropologist at the University of Arizona, Heather Norton, presented evidence that Europeans have a similarly recent allele at another skin color gene, SLC24A5. The new allele is dated to 12,000 – 3,000 BP. As she stated during her talk: “The [evolution of] light skin occurred long after the arrival of modern humans in Europe.” (Norton & Hammer, 2007).

    • Yes Tod, but Non Europeans populations with no Neolithic skin lightening genes are only slightly darker than Europeans and are lighter than the San. The ‘pasty’ gene only makes the difference from tan to pink, not black to white. Take a look at native Americans at the same kinds of latitudes as Europeans. Totally isolated from Eurasian Neolithic mutations, but not black.

      Even the San are a very light colour when out of the sun. My aunty went a very yellow colour when she moved to England.

  26. Tod, Luis,

    I’m a very light skinned person from Ireland – I can’t tan at all, only burn in the sun – even in April in the US.

    My mother’s family are very high meat eaters, especially beef. I was born in winter with Ricketts, due to severe vitamin D deficiency.

    This was remedied, when I was a little older, by drinking a tablespoon of cod liver oil daily and eating liver twice a week – before a time when vitamin supplements were readily available.

    I did not incur any “severe damage to brain development” because of this. My IQ today is 157 (sd=15).

  27. Here is a video that questions that reconstruction

  28. Crimson Guard

    That ivory carving whether its real or not I dont know, but it appears very brachycephalic and simian. I suppose almost like a caricature of Balkan peoples. It probably wouldve fit that “Borreby” taxon of Coon’s back in 1939.

    The reconstruction is just too heavily opinionated and based on a fragmented skull. It looks too Mongoloid with tropical and nearly Khoi like skin. Not sure why they made it so Mongoloid and Khoi looking, I think they take the out’ve Africa stuff way too literately. Also the Mongoloids diverge from Cacuasoids not the other way around. There isnt much if any UP connection to SSA peoples and Caucasoids either.

  29. PConroy: there are other elements influencing rickets such as calcium intake/assimilation. Anyhow I have not read that D hypovitaminosis lowers IQ (autists and schizophrenic are often quite intelligent) but that it may cause such mental disorders, which are severe enough to be a major survival problem for the individual and even the small tight-knitted communities of the past.

    I can guess that people may have developed other adaptations to such problems that we don’t know still about – probably such evolution is even going on right now. The case is anyhow that vit. D is a problem in Europe in general and in Northern Europe in particular.

  30. Mathilda
    “Eurasian Neolithic mutations” took place long after –
    “Ancestral Europeans whitened in skin color and diversified in eye color long after they
    had entered Europe’s northern latitudes about 35,000 years ago (Table 1). Among
    Europeans, the allelic changes at the SLC45A2 (AIM1) skin-color gene are dated to
    ~ 11,000 BP and those at the SLC24A5 skin-color gene to ~ 12,000–3,000 BP (Norton &
    Hammer, 2007; Soejima et al., 2005). No less recent are the changes at other skin-color
    loci and the OCA2 eye-color gene (Voight et al., 2006). At the OCA2-HERC2 gene
    complex, the new eye-color alleles are believed to be very recent, possibly 10,000 to
    6,000 years old (Eiberg et al., 2008). As a Science journalist commented: “the implication
    is that our European ancestors were brown-skinned for tens of thousands of years”
    (Gibbons, 2007). If the agent of selection were weak solar UV, why did it wait so long
    before acting?

    I agree the San are not dark despite the fact that the Kalahari gets a lot of UV due to the altitude . (Kalahari is a featureless, gently undulating, sand-covered plain, which everywhere is 3000 feet (900 metres) or more above sea level). The San have little pigmentation compared to West Africans despite the amount of UV in the Kalahari being comparable to West Africa.

    But the San are not polygynous as a rule so that’s what one would expect. They probably represent the original human pigmentation better than any other living people. The Tibetans are surprisingly light for the level of UV they are exposed to:-

    We present results from measurements by a NILU-UV Irradiance Meter of solar UV-B radiation in Lhasa, Tibet for the period from 7 July 1999 to 17 November 2002. The measured maximum UV-B dose rate was 1.50 W/m2 during the winter, and 3.96 W/m2, during the summer. The clear-sky values were below 3.00 W/m2. Comparisons between measured and calculated UV-B dose rates on clear-sky days in Lhasa show good agreement. Comparisons of UV-B radiation levels in Lhasa (Tibet), Oslo (Norway), and Dar-Es-Salaam (Tanzania) show that the UV-B dose rates during the summer in Lhasa are higher than the maximum value in Dar-Es-Salaam, which is at the sea level in the equatorial region, and 60% higher than in Oslo, which is at the sea level but 60 degrees North. We conclude that the UV-B dose rates during the summer on the Tibetan plateau are among the highest levels in habituated regions of the world. Maximum measured daily-integrated UV-B doses in Lhasa range from about 10 kJ/m2 in the winter to about 65 kJ/m2 in the summer. Ground-based measurements and modeling of solar UV-B radiation in Lhasa, Tibet

    The Tibetans practiced polyandry; they’re much lighter than they should be for their UV exposure.

    West Africans practice polygyny; they’re much darker than they should be for their UV exposure.

    The incidence of polygyny is the decisive factor.
    SEXUAL SELECTION AND HUMAN GEOGRAPHIC VARIATION

    • Hmm, the blue eyed mutation is recent, but some of the other eye colours turn up in South East Asia and just can’t be so recent; Same for the hair colour mutations some of which have very old ages- you seem keen to make these ALL recent from the study of just a couple of loci, when some of the hair colours (two ginger variants and fair/brown) came out as archaixc era dates in studies. Mc1r has an effect on skin colour, and won’t be selected out in low uv levels if the basic skin tone is already brown.

      SLC45A2 (AIM1) is about 60% in Turks, not much effect elsewhere than Europe. it’s only SLC24A5 that’s wide spread out of Europe, They make only a slight difference each. After a normal summer I could look as if I were minus SLC24A5- it’s not that huge an amount. One European guy passed himself of as a native American for years (with a heavy tan).

      My issue was that it’s skin was TOO dark, not that it was dark. There’s no reason to maintain a skin that dark at that latitude after that amount of time.

      From here.

      Both African and non-African data suggest that the time to the most recent common ancestor is ª1 million years and that the age of the global 314 variant is 650,000 years. On this time scale, ages for the Eurasian distributed Val60Leu, Val92Met, and Arg163Gln variants are 250,000–100,000 years; the ages for African silent variants—Leu106Leu, Cys273Cys, and Phe300Phe—are 110,000–40,000 years. For the European red hair–associated Arg151Cys and Arg160Trp variants, we estimate an age of ª80,000 years; for Asp294His, and Ser316Ser, we estimate an age of <30,000 years. SDs are approximately half these expectations.

      These ages are entirely compatible with age distributions estimated for African and non-African mutations in other nuclear genes (Harding et al. 1997; Zietkiewicz et al. 1998). The ages estimated for the Arg151Cys and Arg160Trp red hair–associated variants are consistent with a widespread European distribution, as we also observed.

      Red hair associated MC1R variants are Arg151Cys, Asp294His and Arg160Trp (two are 80,000 years old, one 30,000). Val60Leu is associated with fair or light brown hair and is estimated at 250,000 ot 100,000 years.

      Several Eurasian Mc1r mutations have a distinctly archaic time frame. I actually suspect a larger part of the ancient popualtion was red haired than is currently, a kind of way to lighten skin before the SLC24A5 turned up. You’d need to test the bones for proof though.

  31. Tod writes:

    “The Tibetans practiced polyandry; they’re much lighter than they should be for their UV exposure.

    “West Africans practice polygyny; they’re much darker than they should be for their UV exposure.”

    Could Todd explain, for those of us without time to read the linked pdf, why polyandry would lead to lighter skin and polygamy to darker skin?

    Thank you.

    • Head over to Frosts site. He’s a bit fixated about male selection having an affect on colouring. Personally I think no man is really that picky over hair colour when it comes to sex.

      Females tend to select males with darker skin, and men prefer lighter skinned women in most cultures. Search me how this translates into darker Bantu.

  32. Mathilda quotes the article saying:

    “Both African and non-African data suggest that the time to the most recent common ancestor is 1 million years…”

    Do I have that right? That the age of the most recent common ancestor is one million years! That would mean that hominids began separating into different races 800,000 years before Homo sapiens appeared. Which would bring us back to the Carleton Coon theory of several Homo erectus races as the ancestors of the several races of Homo sapiens, which I thought had been refuted long ago.

    • OR Andrew… it suggests a limited amount of introgression from archaic humans (more likely). A lot of human DNA doesn’t trace trace back to Africa and is over 1 million years old. Some factors of the X chromosome don’t and are used (by publishing geneticists) to argue for archaic ancestry in non Africans. Bit of a myth all the studies support the OOA scenario, and that support for it is universal.

  33. I actually suspect a larger part of the ancient popualtion was red haired than is currently, a kind of way to lighten skin before the SLC24A5 turned up.

    Yes that explains how red hair might have become scarcer. But what then led to blondes being selected for, it could have had little or nothing to do with skin colour.

    “if we examine the many homozygous and heterozygous combinations of hair color (MC1R) alleles, most have little visible effect on skin pigmentation, except for the ones that produce red hair” <a href=”http://hmg.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/13/4/447″Interactive effects of MC1R and OCA2 on melanoma risk phenotypes So how could red hair be superceded by blond when blond hair is largely irrevevant to skin colour?

    • Well.. properly blond hair has an 11k date and is suspected as having a slight skin lightening effect, but I don’t think it has the same burn/cancer issues as ginger and there fore would function better with the lighter skin that came along a little later. Gingerness has been obsoleted by the better functioning light skin mutations. My hunch is that a DNA study for gingerness on Neolithic bones would show they had red hair more often than we do now- and it’s been slowly retreating to the really low UV areas. Naturally pale skin and gingerness means a world of sunburn even in England. Red hair over a darker skin tone- not such an issue.

  34. Personally I think no man is really that picky over hair colour when it comes to sex.

    LOL

    Actually I tend to dislike blonds but have no problem with red hair. I suspect my negative perception of blonds is that I’m way too used to them in my family (my mother, my sister, all my brothers) or maybe that some blond guys in my school were just kinda idiotic. But I dislike even more artificial blond and specially shades.

    Most men are surely not that picky but there are things that really put a barrier to me. I can surely ignore hair or skin color (I’m not that picky about that in truth) but I cannot ignore a thick makeup mask or unnatural hair: those things really repel me.

    While it may be true that most men are not really picky about whom they have sex with, there are men like myself who are (and aspect may not be the most important thing in the end, psycho-emotional connection is much more important in fact). Still I have not really seen a study on that and may well be a false stereotype.

    Nevertheless, unpicky men should be more succesful in reproduction because we already have a difficult barrier on female selectivity. So more stereotypical guys like that teenage “friend” (I don’t miss him, really) who had the pragmatic “philosophy” of trying with nearly all in the hope of getting one or two surely are in the end the ones who reproduce better. But that surely also applies to women to some extent.

  35. To Mathilda,

    Last night I read your “About” page where you reject the Out of Africa theory. I’m fascinated by this, because I had thought that OOA had decisively won the debate years ago. I had been persuaded by it, based on Nicholas Wade’s cogent account of the genetic markers that show the successive branching of humanity away from Africa.

    So, could you tell me if this. If it’s not the case that the ancestors of all modern humans came from Africa, how do you explain the fact that all non-African males in the world have the same mutation on the Y chromosome, and that most or all sub-Saharan males lack it? Isn’t that conclusive proof that a group of people sharing that mutation left Africa and became the ancestors of all non-African humanity?

    If you’ve discussed this elsewhere, please direct me to that post.

    Thank you for your work.

    • Technically I go for a ‘weak Eden’ theory, which means mostly out of Africa. Selection has been shown to work on both Y and Mt DNA, and low level contributors can die out easily. Quite a few major human Y chr hg’s are MIA, and a couple of steps on the mt DNA are missing too.

      There are multiple DNA studies that have concluded we have a low percentage of archaic human in us- there’s another one I’ve just posted today. All over which go massively under-reported in the popular media. What usually happens is that most studies which follow one marker or another will say OOA- which is fine and accurate for that one gene. BUT, a lot of Eurasian markers are over 1m years old and you don’t find them in Africans. Bit hard to explain with OOA. I’ve got four studies that I can name off hand that support low level archaic DNA in modern humans (and that say so in the text) and mutliple other studies on assorted ancient in Eurasia but not seen in Africa loci that have a TMRCA over over 250k- MC1R mutations particularly. It’s funny how they just seem to get ignored. Even the existance of one ancient non African gene is extremely damaging to the OOA theory- it’s a logical impossiblity if all ancestry is traceable to Africa from a reasonably recent event.

      I put a few of them here. One day I’ll collect them all in one place for easy reference.

      That and the morphology of early Europeans supports interbreeding – as multiple physical anthropologists have pointed out. I myself have a Neanderthal ‘long toe’. There’s a Trinkaus paper I have on here somewhere that goes into the details.

      Not to mention- the later in time the Neanderthal the more like a modern human it looks- ‘transitional’ Neanderthals they get called. They get longer limbs, little chins.. Hybrids.

  36. Thank you very much for your reply. In fact, just as I was reading it, I received this from a correspondent:

    “Carleton Coon’s theory was based on the persistence of regional traits between subspecies of Homo erectus and the living human races, strongly suggesting that existing race differences are of pre-sapiens origin. Many of the dental and skeletal characters, for instance, of Homo erectus pekinensis, not present in other varieties of Homo erectus, are still to be found in the Mongolid race. Peking Man had hallow-shaped incisor teeth (a non-adaptive trait), a peculiarly shaped molar which gave him a high cheekbone appearance, and an interparietal bone, traits still very common in the Mongolid race but rare or nonexistent in other races.

    “The truth appears to lie somewhere in between Coon’s multilineal theory and the popular unilineal theory. The fossil and genetic evidence suggests that the living races do reflect pre-sapiens regional lineages, but in a pattern subsequently modified by miscegenation between immigrant populations and the older aboriginal stocks. Mainstream proponents of multilineal theories of the origin of human races include Milford H. Wolpoff, Stan Gooch, Erik Trinkaus, Wu Xinzhi, Alan G. Thorne, James Calcagno, John Hawks, and Eugène Morin.”

    I wrote back to him:

    “You’re blowing my mind, because at this moment I’m reading Mathilda’s response to me at her blog, and (without mentioning Coon) she appears to be saying the same thing as he and you.”

    However, according to both you (Mathilda), and my correspondent’s account of Coon, it would appear that the OOA is still true, wouldn’t it? That is, modern Homo sapiens originated in Africa and branched out from there, and then interbred with morphologically varying local types of an earlier hominid type, presumably Homo erectus, on different continents. So each of the different races or varieties of modern man have some ancestry from these different varieties of Homo erectus, but, at the same time, the modern human ancestry of all humans on earth still comes from Africa.

    If this is the case, then your view is not a rejection of Out of Africa. Rather, it’s “Out of Africa, plus local admixtures of Homo erectus (or Neanderthal).” The OOA view is still true, but Carleton Coon’s theory that human racial differences originate prior to modern Homo sapiens is also true.

    Do I have this right?

    • That is, modern Homo sapiens originated in Africa and branched out from there, and then interbred with morphologically varying local types of an earlier hominid type, presumably Homo erectus, on different continents

      But in low amounts- and probably not enough than to make more than a minor contribution.

      Hmm… ‘genetic racial differences have been contributed to but probably are not mainly due to admixture‘ Would be my stance. Go back 40,000 and you’d have real problems picking your ancestral group out from all the rest. As for appearance I shouldn’t think that it’s make a lot of difference except to the teeth of the Sinodonts.

  37. However, maybe I’ve misunderstood you, because you speak of “archaic humans,” not of Homo erectus. It seems to me that “archaic human” has an ambiguous meaning here. I’m only familiar with the use of “archaic” in this area when it’s used in the term “archaic Homo sapiens,” meaning Homo sapiens who preceded modern Homo sapiens, and who existed from approximately 200,000 kya to 100,000 kya. But you seem to be usng “archaic human” to refer to hominids that preceded Homo sapiens, such as Neanderthals or possibly Homo erectus. And, further, if you’re speaking of common ancestry that goes back one million years, as in the paper you quoted, then that would have to be Homo erectus.

  38. Laurence Auster
    asked if I would explain, for those of us without time to read the linked pdf, why polygamy would lead to to darker skin?

    (OK but it’s in an attempt to get you to read the PDF)

    (quotes are from Peter Frost ),
    First the original colour of modern human’s skin was not ‘Black’ or ‘White’ , it was like that of the San (Bushmen) who are light brown and largely monogamous.

    The European pattern of skin, hair, and eye color

    “before 10,000 BP, […](T)he last ice age. At that time, the tundra ecozone ran further south in Europe than in Asia, having been pushed down on to the plains of northern and eastern Europe by the Scandinavian icecap. The lower, sunnier latitudes created an unusually bioproductive tundra that could support large herds of game animals and, in turn, a substantial human population—but at the cost of a recurring shortage of male mates. Among present-day hunter-gatherers, similar environments raise the male death rate because the men must cover long distances while hunting migratory herds. The man shortage cannot be offset by more polygyny, since only a very able hunter can provide for a second wife (tundra offers women few opportunities for food gathering, thus reducing their self-reliance in feeding themselves and their children). With fewer men altogether and fewer being polygynous, the sex ratio is skewed toward a female surplus.

    In this buyer’s market, men will select those women who look the most feminine. Since human skin color is sexually dimorphic (women are the ‘fair sex’), this sexual selection would eventually whiten the entire population. Where pigmentation has no female-specific form, as with hair and eye color, sexual selection would favor women with color variants that stand out by their novelty, the outcome being an increasingly diverse polymorphism. “

    Note that
    1) Dedicated monogamous provider was essential for a woman to reproduce.
    2)Women greatly outnumbered surviving men
    3)Blonde hair has a novelty value only, it’s not ‘preferred’ (i.e. hair colours would diversify rather than becoming all blond )
    Selection for men was relaxed…

    Polygyny “in sub-Saharan societies, female-dominated agriculture is associated with low paternal investment and high polygyny rates. Why? The short answer is that year-round tropical agriculture enables women to meet their food needs and those of their children without a male provider. Paternal investment thus tends to fall to zero and men are free to maximize their reproductive fitness by mating with as many women as possible. […]”

    Women all get the chance to reproduce with polygyny so the subtle preferences, like that for lighter skin, do not alter the population norm. In traditional sub-Saharan agriculture women did the work. The assessment of a woman’s desirability as a wife included her suitability for field labour. Lighter skin was believed to be an index of poor health. Hence the use of darker skin as a criterion in the assessment of a woman’s desirability as a wife could trump the considerations given priority elsewhere. Selection for men was intensified…

    Tibetan polyandry would confuse things for you and it’s relevance is limited. Forget about it for now.

  39. There are multiple DNA studies that have concluded we have a low percentage of archaic human in us

    There are some (not many) ideal reconstruction models (not a single piece of actual DNA) that have suggested (not concluded) that.

    There was an interesting inter-blog exchange between Dienekes and Hawks recently in the only one of those studies I know. Hard to follow though because Hawks does not take comments, so Dienekes replied in his blog and in turn Hawks replied in his own blog as an update (and I replied to that as a comment on Dienekes blog and then it degenerated as neonazi trolls started saying nonsense). The case is far from clear. The biggest danger is that most of that introgression could in fact be from other populations of our own species. The whole model is based on the HapMap samples, so for example just some Amerindian or Pygmy or possibly even Indian or Australian Native input would ring as alien in such a hyper-simplistic scheme.

    You can’t take three isolated bricks and determine the shape of the house from them. You need much larger and comprehensive data.

  40. While I’m intrigued by all this, I also find huge obstacles standing in the way of the idea that today’s humans are the offspring of interbreeding between modern Homo sapiens and Homo erectus.

    The cranial differences between Homo sapiens and Homo erectus are vast. Clearly they are different species, as indicated by their very names. Therefore:

    One, if erectus and sapiens mated, their offspring could not be fertile.

    Two, if their offspring were fertile, then more erectus traits would have survived into the present than is the case. According to the Coon theory, the racial distinctions among Europeans, Africans, and East Asians stem from the erectus stage. But if these conspicuous morphological differences among the present races of mankind were carried down from the erectus stage, then why weren’t other and much more conspicuous morphological traits, such as the extreme brow ridges, the absence of a forehead, and the much smaller brain, also carried down?

    • Well, asked a biologist once and he thought there’s a decent chance huimans and chimps are still capable of interbreeding. Erectus were much closer.

      I honestly doubt Erectus contributed more than a few percent at most. Neanderthals were a lot more advanced.

  41. And (I forgot) the X-DNA paper is far far from being anything conclusive: Africa is very much undersampled, South Asia is virtually ignored (guess it’s too hard to set up a lab in Delhi – sarcasm intended) and the haplotypes (not yet haplogroups) are far from solid.

    I am very interested in X-DNA but the conclusions so far are extemely limited. And also why Amerindians would be admixed with Neanderthals at, apparently, Siberia just north of Mongolia (where B006 diversity is highest) beats me.

    • I’d like to see more research into X DNA. Info really is too sparse right now.

      And also why Amerindians would be admixed with Neanderthals at, apparently, Siberia

      Mixture in the NE before dispersal. a little movement from Europe to America.. not going to make anything than wild guesses about that one.

  42. If blond hair is in any way a side effect of genes for lighter skin promoted by extreme pressure to maximize Vitamin D synthesis in the skin what explains blonde Melanesians

    ( I will give it a rest now)

    • I’ve often wonderd why Australoids get black hair but Africans don’t.

      My first observation is that they maintain a really dark/black skin with thier blond colour, so I suspect theirs is a very different mutation to the European blond shades.

  43. If my memory serves me right, it was also said that contemporary specimens of this “First European” looked quite generic Europid.
    This one has an uncanny resemblance to the Luzia Woman, found in Lapa Vermelha, Brazil, dating from 11,500 years ago. She looks non-Mongoloid and shows affinity with Subsaharan Africans and Australasians… Interestingly, Richard Neave made its reconstruction and the First European is virtually a copy of the Luzia Woman.

    Links:

    http://www.cabrillo.edu/~crsmith/luzia.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/1999/10/26/science/an-ancient-skull-challenges-long-held-theories.html?sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1

    If anything, what was revealed to the world was not the first Europid person on the European continent, but a probably minoritycomponent among the European populations, which shows a manifest affinity to Australian Aboriginals, Negritos and Melanesians….

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