Re: Homo heidelbergensis

Stanley Friesen (
Sun, 5 Jun 1994 03:48:46 GMT

In article <2sdvb1$>, Michael Siemon <> wrote:
>Umm, this turns out not to be the case :-) There is indeed a fair amount
>of genetic assimilation from neighboring populations, but not enough to
>overbalance the similarities of geographically separated populations of
>Jews. Some substantial references to (recent) work on this were posted
>when the matter received an intensive net airing some 6 months to a year
>ago. I didn't save the references, but those who posted them were names
>I hold in some considerable respect. ...

I was one of the ones last time.
I think my main reference was either Science News or Scientific
American (probably the former, as it is more timely).

The results were that those genes in which local populations of
Jews resemble the surrounding peoples are genes that are *adaptive*
to local conditions (such as differing balances of blood groups).

When non-adaptive traits are measured, the various Jewish populations
turn out to be closer to ona another than to their neighbors.

By the way, I did not actually claim that they formed a fully
seperate breeding pool, only that they are as close as we have
ever seen to that among modern humans.

>... The
>one point I'd suggest against Stan's note is his 2500 year figure -- I'd
>put it at more like 1000-1500 years -- the Mediterannean Jewish community
>was not at all separated into distinct populations in Roman times or for
>some while thereafter.

I was thinking along the lines that the Jewish seperatist tradition
having originated, or at least fully matured, during the Babylonian
Captivity (slightly before 500 BC). Certainly I have seen references
to the fact that during the Return only those who could demonstrate
"pure" Jewish ancestry were accepted as true Jews. (It was largely
for this reason that the remnants of the north kingdom were viewed as
outsiders - I mean the Samaritans).

Thus was the source of my dating.

>>[a prior poster whose name I lost]
>>At the risk of stating the obvious eastern European Jews are often blond &
>>blue-eyed, Arabian Jews are usually dark-haired & dark-skinned, African Jews
>>are black & Indian Jews (this last from anecdote rather than knowledege) are
>>said to look just like other Indians. And so on.

Much of the African Jewish population seperated prior to the Babylonian
captivity (or actually as a way of avoiding it - as refugees). Thus
they did not participate fuly in the Jewish tradition of racial
seperation until much later.

>>Partial albinism, vestigal brow ridges (I can feel mine distinctly), second
>>toes longer than first toes (well, mine are), relative dolicocephaly (at
>>least amongst early populations, it seems to have diminished in the last
>>millenium)... until someone proves the contrary with genetic evidence I shall
>>persist in imagining that I have a few Neanderthal ancestors!
>>If only as an antidote to the endemic splitting amongst paleontologists, who
>>get kudos by describing a "new" species :-)

I, too, dislike oversplitting. Until recently I resisted seperating
the neanderthals into a seperate species. Recent evidence has changed
my mind.

Let's take a look at your evidence.
Brow ridges are not, per se, determinative. They were a universal
feature of all previous forms of hominids. Nenaderthals *did*,
however, have a unique *form* of this feature - one I have never
heard of as occuring in any modern human population - the ridges above
each eye were fused into a single ridge. Thus, unless you have
neanderthal *style* brow ridges, all that proves is that you have
reatined a general ancestral characteristic (also found in Homo
erectus and H. heidelbergensis).

Dolichocephaly is a widespread feature in modern humans - as is
the opposite. The feature is so variable it is not a reliable
index of relationships. [I seem to have the impression that
dolichocephaly may be correlated with environment in some way]

I have not seen long second toes listed as a major differentiating
feature of nenaderthals - but I suspect that this is another
highly variable feature of no real significance in deducing

As for albinism - we have no way of telling where that came from.
We certainly do not know what color of skin the neanderthals had.


May the peace of God be with you.