Saturday, December 21, 2013

Looking back over 2013


She looks nice in a long skirt. Source: Ted Talks


The year is ending, and it’s time to take stock. Which posts interested you the most? Here are the five most popular ones, with the number of visits to each post:

The other slave trade  5948
Eye color, face shape, and perceived personality traits  5708
Cleansing the scientific literature  4989
First, sexual transmissibility and then …?    3578

The first two belonged to a five-part series on the white slave trade (see also Trading in fair-skinned women. Did it happen elsewhere? From Slavs to slaves, From Slavs to slaves. Part II). The existence of this trade is little known even among the well-educated, who typically react with disbelief. Surely those white slaves were fewer in number than the black slaves taken across the Atlantic.  And surely all of that happened long before the Atlantic slave trade. 

Wrong on both counts. Europe exported about as many slaves to the non-European world as were exported from Africa to the Americas. Eastern Europeans continued to be “harvested” until the mid-1700s and the population of the Caucasus until the mid-1800s. By comparison, the black slave trade was banned within the British Empire in 1807 and throughout the Western Hemisphere by the 1860s. The difference was qualitative and not quantitative. Black slaves were mostly male; white slaves mostly female.

In writing those posts, I wasn’t driven by a desire to slander Muslims. Many white slave girls went on to become the wives of leading men, including sultans (like Roxelana). Their slave status was a passing thing, as explained by a notable of Tunis, Mohamed Rechid, when the authorities questioned him in 1891 on his role in slave trafficking:

Q. Do you have any white slave women of Circassian or other origins?
A. No, I don’t have any.
Q. When you went to Constantinople, you didn’t bring any white slave women back with you?
A. I brought two women back with me, this is true, but they aren’t slaves. They are two sisters, one of whom is my wife. One is called Zohra and the other Daïde.
Q. If they aren’t slaves, how did you get them?
A. I bought them in Constantinople, I freed them, and I married one of them. The other one is my sister-in-law. (Dali, 2012)

In Tunis, the noblest families are partly descended from such women (Dali, 2012). The same seems true for most of North Africa and the Middle East, according to this historian of Muslim Spain:

The same convoys of booty also included women, these Frankish women who were all the more sought after in Cordova because they were blond and fair-skinned. It was among them, as among the captive women from Gascony, that the Umayyad princes chose their most pampered concubines and who, once they became mothers, were themselves raised to the rank of veritable princesses, of proven sultanesses (umm walad) who were influential and quick to enter, with the assistance of Slav eunuchs, into secret and complicated palace intrigues. But the Frankish women did not populate only the caliph's harems; the dignitaries of the khassa and the rich burghers of the cities also procured them at lavish prices, like, in the modern period, the Circassian women who have so curiously tinted the upper classes of oriental Muslim society. (Lévi-Provençal, 1953, p. 179)

Of course, many white slave women had less fortunate outcomes, never rising above the level of concubine, singing girl, or prostitute. But this is not something to feel bitter or guilty about. The past is another country. We study it so that we may better understand the present.

In this five-part series, I was responding to Cameron Russell’s argument that she and other top models are cashing in on a legacy of white privilege. In other words, if Europeans had not become so dominant socially, economically, and geopolitically, her white skin and facial features would today seem much less attractive. Well, that alternate reality did exist. Until five centuries ago, white folks were weaklings on the world scene, with large areas of their continent under the rule of outsiders. And yet, European women were greatly admired in Muslim Spain, North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, this being why so many of them were enslaved and exported to those regions … just because of their looks.
 


This post was about Karel Kleisner’s study on eye color and face shape. In sum, blue eyes are associated with less robust and more feminine faces, but only if the faces are male. It may be that female face shape is overdetermined, i.e., all girls are exposed to enough estrogen in the womb to feminize their faces, but only blue-eyed boys reach this level of estrogenization. Thus, to some degree, blue eyes are a female trait. This finding is consistent with the view, supported by other findings, that the most visible features of Europeans are actually female features, i.e., they are a product of a selection pressure that acted primarily on women.

I was initially taken aback on seeing the averaged blue-eyed and brown-eyed male faces that appear in Dr. Kleisner’s first paper on this subject. Surely some of those photographed subjects were partly Jewish or Roma. But, then, the brown-eyed men would have been more variable in face shape, yet they were not. And how would that reason explain why blue eyes correlated with facial feminization in men but not in women?

 


Two years ago, the Danish psychologist Helmuth Nyborg published a paper on his country’s demographic future. He made the following points:

- Contrary to official statistics, immigrant birth rates are not falling. In fact, they have been rising since 1980 and were over twice the ethnic Danish birth rate in 2009. Since 1995, the ethnic Danish birth rate has been falling.

- After rising for half a century, average national IQ began to fall in 1997. This decline has also been observed in Norway, even though average IQ has continued to rise elsewhere in line with the Flynn effect.

- By 2050, less than one fifth of the population will have IQs in the 90 to 104 range, and over half in the 70 to 85 range. Primary schools will mainly have low IQ children of sub-Saharan, Middle Eastern, North African, Latin American, and Caribbean backgrounds.

- By 2072, ethnic Danes will have fallen to 60% of the population and 33% of all births. They will become a minority around 2085.

These predictions may or may not be correct (see Does Nyborg’s study make sense?). Is the rapidity of demographic change overstated? Are the differences in IQ due to poor upbringing and hence amenable to improvement? Criticism can and should be made, but that option was passed over by three of Nyborg’s colleagues. They complained to the Danish Committee for Scientific Dishonesty, which ruled that he must withdraw his study from the scientific literature. I denounced this decision in an e-mail to Morten Østergaard, the Danish Minister for Research, Innovation, and Higher Education, as did many other academics.

I got the following reply (words bolded as in the original):


Dear Dr. Frost,

The Minister for Science, Innovation and Higher Education Morten Østergaard acknowledges receipt of your e-mail dated 14 November 2013.

Further to your concern as to the decision (ruling) dated 28 October 2013 of the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty on Helmuth Nyborg’s contribution to the article “The Decay of Western Civilization: Double Relaxed Darwinian Selection” published in the scientific journal “Personality and Individual Differences”, we are now pleased to invite you to study the translation into English of the decision. You will find the translation following this link:
 
http://fivu.dk/en/research-and-innovation/councils-and-commissions/the-danish-committees-on-scientific-dishonesty/decisions/2013/decisions-of-28-october-2013-on-authorship-and-misleading-reference.pdf

Based on the conclusions of the Committees they recommend that the article be withdrawn. But, as you will see, the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty have not in any way considered the conclusions drawn by Dr. Nyborg, nor have they ordered him to withdraw the article.

The Committees have been established as stipulated in an act of Parliament to “investigate allegations on research misconduct only, i.e. falsification, fabrication, plagiarism and other serious violation of good scientific practice committed wilfully or grossly negligent on planning, performance or reporting of research results”. The Committees are not entitled to consider cases involving the validity or truth of scientific theories or cases involving the research quality of a scientific product.

If you are interested in more information on the mandate of the Committees, you may find all the relevant regulations translated into English here:


Yours sincerely,
 

Charlotte Elverdam
General Counsel and
Head of Secretariat for Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty
 

Yes, it was just a recommendation, but recommendations are made to be acted upon by someone in authority. Or maybe the Committee expected that Dr. Nyborg would just voluntarily purge his study from the scientific literature? Anyhow, it’s clear that no one in authority wishes to proceed further.



The scientific community is slowly realizing that microscopic parasites can manipulate human behavior. Attention is now focused on the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii, but only because we already know what it does to cats and mice. There is no reason to think that human-specific microbes have not also evolved in this direction. As the Czech biologist Jaroslav Flegr points out: “A large number of parasitic organisms […] may influence the phenotype of their human host even more than the Toxoplasma. These organisms are, however, still waiting for research teams to engage in a systematic study of their influence on the human host.”

Some of them may be surprisingly commonplace, organisms like vaginal yeast and bacterial vaginosis. See also Brainwashed by a microbe?
 

And now for the duds …

My year-end review would be incomplete unless I mentioned my least popular posts:

The cagots – 649
The Visual Word Form Area. Part II    667
Thoughts on the Paris Spring – 755
More thoughts. The evolution of a word – 771
Can antiracism reform itself? – 860

I thought my worst post would be Is something afoot with Bigfoot? Yet that one had a respectable 1199 visits (the alleged yeti DNA turned out to be from a bear). Instead, the booby prize goes to ...

 
The cagots

In this post, together with previous ones on the Paekchong of Korea and the Burakumin of Japan, I argued that outcaste groups are evolutionarily conservative and thus tend to preserve predispositions that once were prevalent in the general population, e.g., with respect to time orientation, impulse control, anger threshold, etc.

Such groups exist in many societies, such as those of East Asia. The existence of stigmatized occupations, notably trades that involve contact with dead flesh (butchering, leather making, undertaking), provide lower-class individuals with a protected means of livelihood, but at the cost of becoming themselves stigmatized. The occupational class becomes a caste and, hence, no longer participates in the evolutionary changes that affect the general population. Over time, this caste tends to perpetuate the same behavioral profile and thus increasingly diverges from the evolving behavioral profile of the larger society, with the result that social stigmatization and genetic isolation further increase.

The situation is unlike that of England where, over the past millennium, the reproductive success of the upper and middle classes caused a demographic overflow that continually replenished the ranks of the lower classes, who had negative natural increase. Today, the population of English background, even in the lower classes, is composed of lineages that half a millennium ago were predominantly upper or middle class (Clark, 2007; Clark, 2009).
 

The Paris Spring, racism, and antiracism

Time will tell whether anything will come of the Paris Spring (better known as the French Spring). By “time” I mean the next year or so. Can antiracism reform itself? I doubt it. Yes, there is a growing willingness to extend the concept of “hate crime” to cases of interracial violence where the victim is white, e.g., the knockout game. But such willingness can never be more than tokenism. First, whites are the victims in most cases of interracial violence, and overwhelmingly so. Any acknowledgement of that reality would completely transform antiracism. Second, as antiracists are right to point out, non-white on white violence is less ideologically motivated than the reverse. The motive is typically a perception that whites are soft targets. “Whites don’t fight back.” In particular, they don’t fight back collectively. The White man has no friends.

In the real world, motives are less important than consequences. Humans have been ganging up on soft targets for millennia, but for most of that time they had no conscious ideological motive. Were the Thule Inuit aware that they were driving the Dorset people to extinction? Not really. They would first move into Dorset territory and work out a modus vivendi. When they became more numerous, they would drive those people out. Then they moved into the next patch of Dorset territory. And the cycle repeated again and again until the Dorset were no more.


References 

Clark, G. (2007). A Farewell to Alms. A Brief Economic History of the World, Princeton University Press, Princeton and Oxford.

Clark, G. (2009) The indicted and the wealthy: surnames, reproductive success, genetic selection and social class in pre-industrial England,
http://www.econ.ucdavis.edu/faculty/gclark/Farewell%20to%20Alms/Clark%20-Surnames.pdf 

Dali, I.M. (2012). Problématique du phénotype. Approche comparative des esclavages dans la Tunisie du XIXe siècle, in R. Botte and A. Stella (eds.) Couleurs de l’esclavages sur les deux rives de la Méditerranée (Moyen Âge-XXe siècle), (pp. 337-369), Paris: Éditions Karthala.

Lévi-Provençal, E. (1953). Histoire de l’Espagne musulmane, tome III, Paris: G.P. Maisonneuve.

66 comments:

Sean said...

Haute couture models are so intelligent. No, really.

It's the tall slender Whites that don’t fight back. Unfortunately they are the elite who run the show.

THE Vancouver Island fungus hitches on macrophages, which can cross the blood–brain barrier. Side effect?

Anonymous said...

I was most interested in the post on T. gondii. It seems each year the research reveals more about this parasite yet raises more questions about it as well.

The manipulation of dopamine and the possibility of its fiddling with serotonin is fascinating and the research could help us understand not only the parasite but also the little understood neurotransmitter systems that are responsible for all kinds of human behavior.

I hope this coming year you'll offer some updates.

Matt said...

On Kleisner's paper

Firstly, I still find it hard to understand how the blue eyed morph was feminine exactly.

- Proportionately smaller eyes, typical of males
- Proportionately smaller mouth, typical of males
- Proportionately shorter and wider face by the normal measures used by studies that purport to find links between face ratio and testosterone

How does this add up to a more feminine face shape exactly?

Furthermore, robusticity and masculinity are not associated with trust in male faces... Rather "masculinised" broad faces tend to be less trusted.

Also, it's aggravating that that paper did not directly report dominance status for each facial morph.

Secondly and much more importantly, the paper Peter has cited was submitted May 2012, and published January 2013.

However, Kleisner has, in co-operation with Estonian colleagues, put his name to another paper, submitted October 2012 and published March 2013 with results which refute his earlier paper.

http://puvodni.mzm.cz/Anthropologie/downloads/articles/Kocnar_2012_p25-31.pdf

Blue eyed morphs were not found to be less dominant.

This was with far larger samples.

They repeated the earlier methodology in Estonia and the Czech Republic, but did not replicate the findings as to dominance or trust, in any of their participant pools.

To sum up, based on the new negative results of three
independent tests, we suggest that the significant correlation of the perceived dominance with eye colour reported by Kleisner et al. (2010) might be due to chance.

More specifically, we suggest that a combination of a random idiosyncrasy of a particular sample of facial photos used in the original research, together with further confounding factors led to an erroneous rejection of the hypothesis of no association between perceived dominance and eye colour (Type I error). The take-home message of this study is that the re-test of already
published "facts" of association between perception of
psychological factors and physical appearance might be
more than relevant.

However, there is a pitfall.
Independently repeated experiments are not a common practice in contemporary biological and anthropological science due to increasing requirements for higher number of published results.

Simply put, the reliability of scientific discovery is not always congruent with pressure for a steep production of novel scientific facts – especially nowadays.


Interestingly though, they did replicate the shape morphs - this may be as Peter says (but that the dominance and trust findings just do not hold, or it may be that blue eyes is somewhat of a proxy for Mesolithic ancestry structure that persists today (plus evolution) and that this shows in the facial shape morphs.

Independent replicability, or its lack, is a big deal.

Peter, what do you have to say about this? Are you aware of this subsequent paper where the methodology has been repeated with a larger sample and disconfirmed the original result? Would this not have been an interesting topic for your blog?

Glossy said...

"This finding is consistent with the view, supported by other findings, that the most visible features of Europeans are actually female features, i.e., they are a product of a selection pressure that acted primarily on women."

In Europe marriages were only arranged among the aristocracy. Commoners married for love, which mostly means machismo to young women and pretty faces to young men. So it would make sense that Europeans are selected for pretty faces.

In the Middle East, China and India most marriages were arranged by parents. Just like among European royals, the decisions were governed by money, power and family ties. So there was less selection for pretty faces.

Why were marriage decisions in Europe mostly left to young people themselves? I think low population density could have played a role. In warmer climates people have lived in villages for many millenia. There were towns with 10k people in the Middle East 10k years ago. A place like that would have had to be very political. Politics leads to alliances. Alliances are cemented with marriages.

Europeans, especially in the north, mostly lived on standalone farms, isolated homesteads, until relatively recently. The homestead housed a nuclear family. The climate and contemporary agricultural technology couldn't support villages. So there was less politics, less need for political marriages, and the families stayed nuclear.

I suspect that this also explains many psychological differences between Europeans and other Eurasians.

Anonymous said...

This post was about Karel Kleisner’s study on eye color and face shape. In sum, blue eyes are associated with less robust and more feminine faces, but only if the faces are male. It may be that female face shape is overdetermined, i.e., all girls are exposed to enough estrogen in the womb to feminize their faces, but only blue-eyed boys reach this level of estrogenization. Thus, to some degree, blue eyes are a female trait. This finding is consistent with the view, supported by other findings, that the most visible features of Europeans are actually female features, i.e., they are a product of a selection pressure that acted primarily on women.

Is light coloration really associated with different facial and skull morphology?

Carleton Coon described Nordics as depigmented Mediterraneans. That is they share facial and skull morphology with southern Europeans and Middle Easterners but have lighter coloration.

bleach said...

I thought the post on the cagots, and the other extinct minorities, was the most interesting thing you wrote about this year. FWIW. (Not much, apparently)

Julian said...

Some great posts this year Peter, hope you have a great Christmas and look forward to reading more of your work in the year ahead!

btw. I've tweeted Ms Russell, alerting her that she appears to have overlooked the European slave trade. I will let you know if I get a reply.

Sean said...

The blue eyes face has a narrow upper lip, which is a feminine characteristic. The blue eyed face also has an unhappy expression.
-----
Supermodel traits are not particularly female. They are what Konrad Lorenz talked about: "Artists of the most varied cultural epochs, Babylonian Assyrian, Babylonian and Greek painters and sculptors, have emphasized precisely those attributes of the human body, especially those attributes of the human male body, that are threatened by domestication: broad shoulders, narrow hips, long extremities ..."

Black models like Alex Wek and Ajuma Nasenyana epitomise that look, so in relation to the fashion world maybe Russell has a point. But her success is actually not due to her 23 inch waist and whiteness. What she brings to the table is not looking very feminine, for a white woman.
----
At West Hunter H&C have a paper that (I think) is about associative mating generating hereditary group differences. Could the cagots have originated in a Maxwell's demon kind of way?

JayMan said...

I liked your post on the Cagots (for the record I read all your posts and shared them on Twitter). This is because:

1. I have never heard about them before
2. They are interesting window into the pre-Clarking population.

The only thing is that we would expect that they aren't exactly like the earlier European population, because they would have had to have undergone selection to survive in their semi-untouchable lives.

Peter Fros_ said...

Sean,

Tall slender women tend to experience puberty later (and thus have a longer growth spurt), and late puberty seems to correlate with a different life strategy.

Matt,

Karel Kleisner didn't tell me about that later study. To be honest, I was more interested in the correlation between eye color and face shape. I never did understand why he considered the perception of dominance to be the primary finding. To me, that seemed to be a secondary finding that would tend to result from a more robust face shape.

I'm confused by your initial comments. The blue-eyed individuals had proportionately larger eye areas (because distance between the eyes was greater). I also don't follow you when you say that a larger mouth area is more feminine (do you think women are big-mouthed?). Men typically have a larger lower half of the face(because of larger chins and a more square jaw).

Glossy,

The facial features in question go back long before the advent of aristocracies.

Anon,

Light coloration might be linked to face shape, although that wasn't the finding. The correlation was between blue eyes and a more feminine face shape.

Bleach,

I think a lot of nonregular readers were drawn to the posts on white slavery. The stuff on the cagots may have seemed too erudite.

Julian,

Ms. Russell has thought deeply about this issue (as seen by her references to evolutionary psychology), so I wouldn't write her off.

Sean,

Her tallness tends to de-emphasize the classic hourglass figure. I've been told that many fashion designers dislike women who are too shapely (but that just might be griping. Hell hath no fury like a spurned fashion model).

Jayman,

I see your point. There may, for instance, have been positive selection for monotony avoidance among the cagots. But that used to be the default setting for all of us, if you go far enough back in time.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Russell has thought deeply about this issue (as seen by her references to evolutionary psychology), so I wouldn't write her off.

You're probably not saying this with tongue in cheek, although you could. References to evo-psych, and even evo-psych itself, often don't seem to involve deep thought at all and can be quite facile.

Matt said...

Peter, thanks for clarifying on your primary interest on the face shape morphs. I got the impression that you took the idea of the brown morph being seen as "dominant" and "trustworthy" as confirmation that it was subjectively more "masculine", and that a dismissal of this evidence would have an effect, but if that wasn't ever an important part of your response to Kleisner's earlier paper, then I've probably misread you.

I don't think women are "big mouthed" in absolute terms, because they have smaller faces, but they do sem to have proportionately larger lip / mouth areas relative to the whole facial size face. A female face corrected for overall size will tend to be absolutely "big mouthed" compared to male faces of the same size.

On eyes, if you look at the morphs (either on just the landmarks or with texture) the blue eyed morph clearly does not have proportionately larger eyes - the distance between the eyes is larger, but that's because the eyes themselves are proportionately smaller. The width of the eye is larger in the brown eyed morph.

The following figure is an (exaggerated) morphometric of male-female face shape differences, using the same landmarking procedure as Kleisner's papers.

http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/272/1576/1995/F5.large.jpg

You can see the proportionately fuller lips and larger eyes of the female morph.

Placing the figure from Kleiser's paper and above side by side -
http://i.imgur.com/WbIw9sW.png

The brown eyed-blue eyed shape change dimension does not seem coincident with the male female dimension.

Now, I totally admit this is subjective on my part. Perhaps a good way to proceed would actually just be to pull the landmark data from these two papers and determine whether the landmarks on the blue-eyed dimension compared to the brown eyed morph are statistically more similar to the female morph.

Sean The blue eyes face has a narrow upper lip, which is a feminine characteristic. The blue eyed face also has an unhappy expression.

Looks to me like the blue eyed morph has a proportionately longer philtrum to me (distance between the upper lip and nose - long upper lip), a rather male characteristic.

As I say though, this is subjective and should be tested mathematically.

Sean said...

Young and white, eh? In many of her early modelling photos Russell was made to look quite a bit darker than in real life. It made her look older, and sexier.

According to Latour the usual procedure is to obliterate reality by switching between mononaturalism and multiculturalism. Russell does it so well: 'I won the genetic lottery, but it's false consciousness to notice that!'.
----
Re the Paris Spring. What would transform antiracism is it ceasing to claim privileged access to the real nature of white people. I believe Latour says the human with a gun is an assemblage with emergent properties, crucial if the human has a grievance when he picks up a gun. An assemblage of humans is much the same.

Sean said...

Mesolithic European hunter-gatherer with blue eyes. Surprising to some.

Anonymous said...

The situation is unlike that of England where, over the past millennium, the reproductive success of the upper and middle classes caused a demographic overflow that continually replenished the ranks of the lower classes, who had negative natural increase. Today, the population of English background, even in the lower classes, is composed of lineages that half a millennium ago were predominantly upper or middle class (Clark, 2007; Clark, 2009).

Peter, by the way, how do you think this factor would affect long term slave societies, such as in the Middle East (and Greco-Roman)?

They wouldn't have much downward or upward mobility for enhancing alleles, but they also wouldn't have an evolving caste which replaced itself (slaves tending to have far below replacement fertility).

Sean said...

Race, genetics explained variations in 25-hydroxyvitamin D Pigmentation has nothing to do with it.

Sean said...

According to Dienekes, the Mesolithic European hunter-gatherer with blue eyes (supposedly) had dark skin, and there is LBK farmer who is said to have light skin and dark eyes.

Henry Harpending comment: "Sure, but selecting for more than one thing at once can slow the whole process to a crawl depending on the genetic correlation between what you are selecting. If the genetic correlation is negative you might increase one but decrease the other. Think for example of selecting humans for dark skin and blue eyes at the same time. You might end up with people with lighter skin or darker eyes at the end, depending on the genetic covariance between the traits."

In Gender/face recognition: hue and luminosity comments you remarked "Sexual selection for lighter-colored hair and eyes may have been inhibited as long as skin color remained below a certain level of skin reflectance.

If we compare human populations, we see many examples of light skin co-existing with dark hair and eyes. But there are no examples of the reverse. Skin depigmentation seems to be a prerequisite for changes to hair and eye color."

RageWithTheMachine said...

Personally, I really liked the postings on the Visual Word Form Area.

It would be interesting to see more research on that.

Anonymous said...

According to Dienekes, the Mesolithic European hunter-gatherer with blue eyes (supposedly) had dark skin, and there is LBK farmer who is said to have light skin and dark eyes.

Yeah, I think there are some questions about what the alleles in question do independently.

If the blue eye alleles works to globally reduce pigment, but affects the eyes disproportionately, while the other allele reduces pigment globally but disproportionately in the skin...

then neither of them may have been blue eyed or fair skinned, but one could have had relatively light eyes compared to skin and the other relatively light skin compared to eyes.

In either case, the populations they came from may have been quite polymorphic for these alleles and it doesn't make sense to take a total read of pigmentation from these samples.

Sean said...

You may want to look at the above link about race genetics and vitamin D.

Everyone but Peter thinks the evolution of light eye and hair coloration is a side effect of selection for reduced melanin in the skin, in order to maximize vitamin D synthesis in high latitudes. But modern humans lived in north Europe during the Upper Pleistocene without light skin, as the de-pigmentation in Europe is dated at between 19,000 and 11,000 years ago . So latterly Razib Khan, Dienkes and Cochran and Harpending thought agriculture, having reduced dietary vitamin D sources, had led to selection for lighter skin and maximizing of vitamin D synthesis for resistance to rickets, cancer and infectious diseases, in high latitudes. The evolution of light eye and hair coloration was still supposed to be a side effect of natural selection for vitamin D, but in farmers.

The relevance of blue eyes being around in the European Mesolithic (ie pre-agriculture) is that is too long ago for an agriculture hypothesis. The only explanation for blue eyes that still makes sense is sexual selection.

"In either case, the populations they came from may have been quite polymorphic for these alleles".

The explanation for blue eyes originating in north Europe at least had latitude going for it. Now we are expected to believe it came from the south. Those mooting the origin of blue eyes outside northern Europe can't say what selection gave the putative population from outside northern Europe their polymorphic eye colour. You and they are are using recursion, evading the issue. No explanation for blue eyes being due to vitamin D will fly now, and polymorphic eye and hair colour bespeaks sexual selection. It's a clean sweep.

Anonymous said...

Everyone but Peter thinks the evolution of light eye and hair coloration is a side effect of selection for reduced melanin in the skin, in order to maximize vitamin D synthesis in high latitudes.

Not sure about your post in general, which seems to presume
I was arguing for one "side" or other that you have described. Not the intent, read it again - my statement is simply that the predictions for eye color may not hold in populations which lack some of the light skin alleles which seem to be in the farmer but not the hunter gatherer. I'm not really certain what "recursion to evade the issue" is supposed to mean.

But Peter's theory here is mainly that light skin is due to female focused sexual selection in hunter gatherer populations.

One of the planks of this theory is that it much easier to make a case for light skin being sexually selected in females as female skin tends to be lighter.

It seems like the Mesolithic hunter being farmer skinned than the farmer doesn't support this at all. But as I say, these are samples of 1 each, and larger samples will tell us more.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised that the Anti-IQ crowd has not jumped on the Visual Word Form Area.

If it exists, then they can claim that those who score low on IQ tests do so because they have a harder time reading and understanding the questions.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised that the Anti-IQ crowd has not jumped on the Visual Word Form Area.

If it exists, then they can claim that those who score low on IQ tests do so because they have a harder time reading and understanding the questions.


Why would they? They've never used dyslexia as a driving explanation, because there are no well attested racial differences in dyslexia and VWFA failure basically would = dyslexia.

Sean said...

"... predictions for eye color may not hold in populations which lack some of the light skin alleles which seem to be in the farmer but not the hunter gatherer"

I already linked 'Gender/face recognition: hue and luminosity', explicating why the combination of blue eyes and dark skin is very unlikely. I also provided a link for white skin in Europe being dated at between '19,000 and 11,000' years ago, which is several thousand years older than the date for the blue eyes mutation. hence more than one line of evidence converges on the conclusion that North Europeans evolved white skin then blue eyes.

The vitamin D link is to a study confirming the verdict of the authoritative Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, whose report said dark pigmented people do not need more vitamin D. As the only real rival to Peter's hypothesis (ie the idea that light eye and hair coloration is a side effect of natural selection for skin color, in order to maximize vitamin D synthesis in high latitudes, especially with an agricultural diet) is no longer tenable, any hypothesis concerning European hair and eye colours involving steppe peoples ect has to come to grips with Peter's argument by suggesting a scenario where that population could have got their blue eyes. Saying Indo Europeans for example, are the origin of European hair and eye colour alleles is evasive because it avoids the issue of what selection pressure on Indo Europeans gave them their hair and eye colours.

Anonymous said...

because there are no well attested racial differences in dyslexia and VWFA failure basically would = dyslexia

Well, Dyslexia sounds to me like a badly wired up VWFA that is returning incorrect information.

There also seems to be strong racial differences in literacy ...

Anonymous said...

I already linked 'Gender/face recognition: hue and luminosity', explicating why the combination of blue eyes and dark skin is very unlikely. I also provided a link for white skin in Europe being dated at between '19,000 and 11,000' years ago, which is several thousand years older than the date for the blue eyes mutation. hence more than one line of evidence converges on the conclusion that North Europeans evolved white skin then blue eyes.

The direct data from a genome is direct data from a genome. Estimates for when light skin alleles were present "in Europe" are just hat.

It's very strange to me that you would discount the alleles in the hunter-gatherer predicting that he has darker skin than the farmer because he has an allele which predicts light eyes in present day populations with the farmer's light skin alleles.

The present evidence in the paper is that the Mesolithic Native European appears to be darker skinned than the farmer. That is all.

Sean said...

A hard-wired VWFA could lead to high rates of face blindness. And high rates of face blindness have been found in Germany, which was the first place where large areas had universal literacy.
---
The vitamin D hypothesis is a dead letter, and the only alternative explanation for how the descendants of the dark skinned European hunter gatherers of the Upper Pleistocene came to be white is sexual selection.

Anonymous said...

Question for you sir, it is way off topic. The Circassians, are they Euros/Whites/Caucasians/whatever?

Anonymous said...

Question for you sir, it is way off topic. The Circassians, are they Euros/Whites/Caucasians/whatever?

When checked in a world context, the Caucasian people of the north Caucasus populations (like Circassians) seem mainly to be described as a mix of two components.

One is found in Europe most in Southern European people and Near Eastern people.

The other is a component that is at a minority in Europe, which is similar to the one found most in Northern Europeans but is distinct from it.

The overall mix of the components is similar to the levels of mixture in Southeastern European persons (like Greeks, Sicilians).

Sean said...

"It's very strange to me that you would discount the alleles in the hunter-gatherer predicting that he has darker skin than the farmer because he has an allele which predicts light eyes"

The fellow in question was very strange all around. Look at him!

Sean said...

The First European?. Lochsbour the result of alleles for blue eyes from the white skinned and blue eyed steppe-tundra type of north Europe introgressing into an older darker population?

Sean said...

Maju has another photo and goes into the genetics at his post, here. He would seem to have an excellent point about Lochsbour being unrepresentative of West European hunter-gatherers. 2011 Dienkes' post with another photo here.

Bones and Behaviours said...

Loschbour appears archaic for Mesolithic Europe in my opinion. Were Loschbour Man instead from the Early Upper Paleolithic of Luxembourg, I would have interpreted him as having neanderthal ancestry.

Sean said...

In Cochran and Harpending's The 10000 Year Explosion they say that 3000 years ago there were still some Europeans with brow ridges like Australian Aborigines. See here.

Bones and Behaviours said...

It is true that robust brow ridges are a plesiomorphic state, but they were curiously absent among Upper Paleolithic Europeans. It would have been nice had Cochran and Harpending cited a source for their claim, because I'd like to try and chase it up.

That's the problem with the HBD circle, they don't pay enough attention to skulls and teeth except for when they seem to cherry pick bits of physical anthropology to fit their theories. See my replies to Peter's vague claim about the teeth of Grimaldi in his post 'The First European?' that you linked to.

It might be that when modern humans and neanderthals coexisted those hybrids whose upper faces looked neanderthal were generally exposed. Only later would individuals expressing the introgressed(?) genes responsible for a large brow be allowed to survive and to procreate? Though I think the brows of Loschbour are bipartate if you look at them closely enough and specifically neanderthal genes are not necessarily responsible for his big brow.

Another mystery is why the skulls of Nordics and their kin collateral relatives are more neanderthaloid than those of Upper Paleolithic Europeans - a sloping forehead, large rounded orbits and noticable midfacial projection in the absence of a trend towards dinricisation - despite the time gap.

Sean said...

Re. The White man has no friends:- "In any case, real friendship isn’t just about sharing your recreational activities. It’s also about risking your life for someone else."

Montaigne, presiding sage of France, lived in dangerous times and though some sticky situations; yet he never came to a conclusion about whether fighting back actually paid off, or if it was better to appear defenseless.

Bones and Behaviours said...

Who thinks the Venus figurines look African now?

http://www.anthropark.wz.cz/gravet36.jpg

On another note, is it possible that archaeological cultures might imply some Upper Paleolithic Europeans to have possessed more neanderthal atDNA than did others?

The Chatelperronian of the Early Upper Paleolithic is evidently a local derivative of the Mousterian and yet sufficiently close enough to the Gravettian for them to be regarded in France as the earlier and later stages of their Perigordian tradition. It is worth noting that Saint Cesaire 1 looks very much like a hybrid, with 'tropical' limb proportions like those of Upper Paleolithic Europeans along with a distinctive craniofacial morphology pointing towards an AMH direction.

It is for this reason that it is actually worth comparing Saint Cesaire 1 with another atypical skull from the Paleolithic, the Gravettian (and more specifically Pavlovian) Predmosti 3, not least because Saint Cesaire actually has a flatter face than the later Predmosti male who is nonetheless regarded as Homo sapiens. When the two skulls are compared together their browridges and frontal angle are not as different as might have been expected were either of them racially 'pure'.

Unfortunately the association of the Saint Cesaire neanderthal with the Chatelperronian industry present at the same site has now been questioned following Hublin (2012), who nonetheless cautioned against uncritically accepting the direct date he himself obtained from the unusual neanderthal.

It does appear overall as though similar hybrid individuals were sporadically present into the Pavlovian.

Bones and Behaviours said...

I was reminded of Predmosti 3 and his similarity to Saint Cesaire I by my discussion with Maju over at Haldane's Sieve. He pointed me towards an unusual figurine from Dolni Vestonice, another Pavlovian site associated with Europeoid people, that shows a person possessing strong brow ridges. Although no individuals that resemble Predmosti 3 have been recognised at the Dolni Vestonice archaeological site, the art suggests the creators may heve been familiar with the Predmosti 3 phenotype as it appeared in life.

http://rokus01.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/occipital-bun.jpg

http://i653.photobucket.com/albums/uu253/Tyranos/headbrugar1.jpg

Anonymous said...

Brow ridges are an interaction of the size of the braincase relative to the projection of the midface, as they are essentially a structurally strengthening bridge between the upper face and the braincase.

Factors which spatially separate the upper face and braincase further, such as a downward tilt of the face in separate Pan relative to Pongo and Homo relative to Pan, increase brow size, all things being equal.

This is all clearly articulated in the bridge model of supraorbital development, which is the physical anthropology consensus at the moment.

Males across primate species have more brow ridge development because they have larger and more projecting faces relative to their braincase, due to much greater growth of face size at puberty (by contrast young male children tend to have flatter foreheads than females, because they have similar facial sizes while young males have larger brains from the start).

Groups like the Aborigines and ancient humans tend to have them more than Europeans because they slightly larger faces relative to their smaller braincases.

Africans and East Asians don't tend to have them any more than Europeans and even slightly less because their total face size relative to brain is similar to Europeans, and specifically their midface is flatter and less projecting.

Ancient humans of the Upper Paleolithic would have lacked brow ridges due to relatively small face size relative to large brain size. This could have been due to a reduction in facial size / robusticity, but high brain size seems more likely, given commentary on Holocene reductions in human brain size.

Present day modern humans in some regions (e.g. B&B's "Nordics") may have had a very slight resurgence in brow ridge prominence as the trend towards scaling down the face may have been slower than scaling down the brain.

Sean said...

I took the advice of the final sentence of A Life History Perspective on Skin Cancer and the Evolution of Skin Pigmentation.

Here is what I found "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".

I'm sure it's just coincidence that Tanzania has polygyny, and Tibet happens the only place in the world that has polyandry.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure it's just coincidence that Tanzania has polygyny, and Tibet happens the only place in the world that has polyandry.

There are lots of things that differ between Tibet and Tanzania. Why do you suppose this correlation is significant or meaningful?

Bones and Behaviours said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for replying, but in the case of the Nordics I don't understand why such a trend would explain the rounded, quintessentially Nordic orbits. Given that few genes control human craniofacial morphology, it is as though a dormant neanderthal gene came under positive selection again.

Bones and Behaviours said...

Sean,

Tibet is certainly not the only place in the world where polyandry is traditionally practiced, by the way.

Bones and Behaviours said...

And Sean, Tibet is not the only region where polyandry is attested.

Bones and Behaviours said...

Now that the mongoloids are known to have a neanderthal gene for UV resistance, this suggests their morphology first appeared, like many large mammals, upon the Tibetan plateau before becoming overprinted there by the modern, Caucasian influenced people native there. Up there the gene acquired by hybridisation would be under positive selection together with the facial features seen in Mongoloid skulls. Tibet ought to be a hot spot for finding Palaeolithic human fossils.

Sean said...

When skin is much lighter or darker than medium brown it is not an adaptation to UV, and I would not be so sure that the East Asians' Neanderthal alleles were "related to UV-light adaptation" as is being assumed by that study.

Tibetans got very pale since they went to live where the UV is the highest in the world. Tibetan genetics.

By the way Bougainville Island has skin as dark as west Africa, Bougainville Island has female farming and polygyny too.

Anonymous said...

Tibetans aren't really pale, are they? Their skin tone seems similar to that of American Indians. Although I imagine they're outside a lot and develop a permanent sun tan.

Anonymous said...

Tibetans aren't really pale, are they? Their skin tone seems similar to that of American Indians. Although I imagine they're outside a lot and develop a permanent sun tan.

The Han Chinese seem to think they're noticeably darker, and genome wide studies show they've recently diverged from the Han Chinese.

They're no "pitch black strictly monogamous and as far as we know always have been" Andamanese Island hunter-gatherers though.

Bones and Behaviours said...

The selective pressure need not have been upon the skin but rather upon the eyes.

Bones and Behaviours said...

Lundman regarded the present Tibetans as a 'Europid-influenced Tibetid hybrid race' similar to his North Sinids, the average northern Chinese, though with Caucasian admixture from the west (based upon blood group evidence he connected their Caucasoid strain with peoples to their west rather than to their south.) He identified the Tibetid also in the border areas between southeast Asia proper and southwestern China, and proposed that still further dilution of the Europid strains formed the Jakunin type of Japan which Lundman claimed to be present in most of the regions in China.

Sean said...

Black Africans are dark on parts of their body that have never been exposed to the sun. I think Peter says here polygyny is not unknown among Andaman Islanders.

In view of Tibetans having spend 3000 years evolving adaptations to living at the elevation of the Tibetan plateau: "THE Andean pattern look something like an exaggerated acclimatization response, while the Tibetan pattern is more like that seen in mammalian species have lived at high altitude for a long time.

Undoubtedly this is because Tibetans have lived at high altitude far longer than Amerindians. it’s even possible that some of these alleles go back to archaic humans, who could have lived in high-altitude areas of Asia for as much as two million years."

All very interesting. However, Tibetans are being subjected to as intense a level of UV as exists in an inhabited area of earth. If you bear that in mind and look at the photos at that link,comparing the Bolivian with the Tibetan; do you not see that the Tibetan would appear to be far too light skinned for protection from UV to have been the main force of selection on Tibetan skin colour.

Europeans are not just darker they have smaller and finer facial features. The also have higher (ie more feminine) digit ratios, ans indication of weak prenatal testosteronisation. Look at how weak prenatal testosteronisation affects facial features. here. The most feminine digit ratio of any population on earth is found in Denmark, and a you can see here, that is also where the white skin conferring 374F mutation in the SLC45A2 gene is found at it's greatest frequency.

If Europeans' light skin was to increase vitamin D synthesis from the sun for protection against vitamin D deficiency and cancers Then morerd people wearing cloths and working inside whould need extra vitamin D, right? Well they don't according to the advice from the massive report by the Institute of Medicine's 14 experts is not to take vitamin D supplements. As has just been confirmed by the Race, genetics explained variations in 25-hydroxyvitamin D and so pigmentation has nothing to do with it.

"The selective pressure need not have been upon the skin but rather upon the eyes."

Razib Khan waffles in a similar vein here "One could posit overdominance on a trait other than pigmentation, with the hair color being simply a correlated response." about blonde hair. The Color of Life as a Coincidence. Ha ha ha.

Bones and Behaviours said...

Wang et all (2011) identified an autosomal component that peaks upon the Tibetan Plateau but is also high, as predicted by Lineman, among the Yi to their south (Figure 1b).

But notice that at the same authors provide Figure 1a in which a shared Tibetan-Yakut component appears to decline through the Yi into the Chinese and is essentially absent in Japan.

In any case my interest lies in the pre-Neolithic inhabitants of the plateau where the first Mongoloid phenotype must have evolved, now we know that Siberia was inhabited by Caucasian people as represented by MA1.

Tibetans also present a Europeoid or at least a pseudo-Europeoid strain within them that needs to be explained by genetic anthropology.

Anonymous said...

Tibetans also present a Europeoid or at least a pseudo-Europeoid strain within them that needs to be explained by genetic anthropology.

Is it West/South Asian admixture? They're on the border between China and South Asia. The Nepalese are also on the border but even closer to India and correspondingly relatively more South Asian and less Mongoloid than the Tibetans.

Sean said...

Black Africans and Europeans are so different looking, not because of differing archaic ancestry, but because of the respective focus sexual selection had in each population.

I would really like someone who disagrees with the sexual selection hypothesis to try and explain why blue eyes are associated with less robust and more feminine faces, but only if the faces are male.

Anonymous said...

"It is true that robust brow ridges are a plesiomorphic state, but they were curiously absent among Upper Paleolithic Europeans. It would have been nice had Cochran and Harpending cited a source for their claim, because I'd like to try and chase it up."

Cochran and Harpending's claim that Europeans today hardly have browridges is absurd. While perhaps the projecting, overhanging sort is uncommon, Europeans and caucasoids in general are well known to have moderately prominent brow ridges. Charles Darwin had a very prominent brow.

Anonymous said...

"I would really like someone who disagrees with the sexual selection hypothesis to try and explain why blue eyes are associated with less robust and more feminine faces, but only if the faces are male."

There have been many studies going back decades indicating that individuals with light eyes are generally shyer and less active than those with dark eyes, and this difference shows up in populations where colors are uniformly dark- just that the difference is much, much less apparent.

The book "Eye Colour, Sex, and Race: Keys To Human Behavior" (somewhat discussed here http://evoandproud.blogspot.com/2007/11/sex-linkage-of-human-skin-hair-and-eye.html) documents very strongly that there is a substantial correlation between eye color and hunting behavior in animals. The author thinks it's related to visual acuity and melanin concentration, but atleast for humans, that makes little difference. It ties in with the fact that coat color is also correlated with behavior in animals. My impression is that they are indicators of the biochemistry of the brain and personality. Blue eyes have been shown to have a much more complex inheritance the classic form, and it goes in line with this model. Whether sexual selection led to blue eyes or not, a human population with a high frequency of light eyes is going to more strongly exhibit this variation with personality.

Anonymous said...

The fixation on Tibetans seems to be overlooking that many other genetic factors can work in place of dark skin for UV penetration. The Bushmen have very light skin yet have adapted remarkably well to the Kalahari. Do any of these groups show increased risks for skin cancer or other UV related maladies?

And regarding the monogamy and skin color hypothesis, I will say I do not get why pygmies are used as genuine evidence of this. Frost has claimed in other posts that pygmies have lighter skin than other africans, but even if they do, it's a minor difference. Look at photos of them- they're not light at all. Not to mention they have much more body hair than other africans and more prominent brows, to the point where some of them resemble some australian aborigines.

Anonymous said...

And what about consideration of the Mongolians? The steppes are sun drenched and they're right by the Gobi. They're quite light too.

Luke Lea said...

FWIW, On the white slave trade thing: Jews have been heavily implicated in certain relatively modern instances, 19th century Argentina for instance. Looking into it recently I found that the majority (overwhelming majority) of the women abducted or tricked into overseas "employment" turned out to be nice Jewish girls whose families were mired in the poverty of the 19th century Poland. They were mostly rural and small town (I think) and their victimizers were mostly big city boys.

Avery said...

I liked your post on the Cagots. But it was a very recent post--surely it hasn't had as much time to garner views as some of the older posts.

Anonymous said...

"I am surprised that the Anti-IQ crowd has not jumped on the Visual Word Form Area.

If it exists, then they can claim that those who score low on IQ tests do so because they have a harder time reading and understanding the questions."

As soon as they admit one genetic cause their whole narrative starts to unravel.

Anonymous said...

"Why were marriage decisions in Europe mostly left to young people themselves?"

Inheritance. If there's no inheritance then there's far less reason for arranged marriages and sexual selection must (I assume) be much weaker in the context of arranged marriages.

Anonymous said...

"Razib Khan waffles in a similar vein here "One could posit overdominance on a trait other than pigmentation, with the hair color being simply a correlated response." about blonde hair. The Color of Life as a Coincidence. Ha ha ha."

I hope you're laughing at Peter Frost's theory that blonde hair arose in melanesians (or, with the flimsy evidence he cites, Papuans) to prevent dark skinned children from being neglected and how retarded it is, but you've shown time and time and time again you're a bizarre, autistic nutcase, so I guess it could be anything when it comes to your diseased mind.

Anonymous said...

"In writing those posts, I wasn’t driven by a desire to slander Muslims."

Of course, you were just driven by a desire sing praises of the incomparable beauty of white women (such as your wife), and your traffic, I should add, came predominantly from Roissy, the PUA sociopath who cultivates an audience of sex offenders.

Anonymous said...

Also, you've provided scarcely any evidence white women were sought in south asia- I mean, wasn't that place very far away and wasn't it a huge region? And it's interesting how you can't cite any other than one 1950's source on so much of the upper class of the muslim world being part white thanks to slavery.

Anonymous said...

"I think Peter says here polygyny is not unknown among Andaman Islanders."

He claims so, but provides no evidence, because there is none, and the same holds true for the veddahs. They're just inconvenient for him.