Re: Homo heidelbergensis

Michael Siemon (
30 May 1994 20:11:13 -0400

In article <> writes:

>There are of course well-known genes whose frequency differs between Jewish
>communities & adjacent Gentiles. But, on the whole, Jews are surely more
>closely related to Gentiles living nearby than to remote Jewish populations.

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 expect your assertion will give
rise to your receiving citations that should satisfy your scrutiny. 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. Even the Muslim conquests will not have been more
than an easily permeable barrier. European Jewry became quite isolated,
through ghettoization, in the years after 1492; I don't know when to place
an effecive isolation of the Falashas and Yemenis, but I don't expect that
to be terribly ancient.

>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.
>Back on topic for a while - I have a purely sentimental attraction to the
>idea that some of the oddities about us northern Europeans are due to
>interbreeding between H.s.s. & H.s.n
>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 :-)

Michael L. Siemon We must know the truth, and we must love the truth we know, and we must
- or - act according to the measure of our love. -- Thomas Merton