Re: What Are the Race Deniers Denying?

Philip Deitiker (
Thu, 10 Oct 1996 00:01:39 GMT

Part 1: How definably pure are indoeuropeans? (Gerold Firl) wrote:
>For the japanese, we have the ainu, east asians, and okinawan-type
>aborigines as their progenitors; who would you suggest for the

Well, lets see. There are those who argue that hamito-semitic and
indoeuropean languages are related, and given the fact that these
cultures were located at apposing ends of the black sea and
overwhelming likelyhood of gene transfer in that region. In addition
if you are going to consider this one must also consider the
paleo-anatolians and the peoples of the balkans who have had
reasonalby advanced and seafaring cultures during the immediate
prehistoric period. Then to add to this, one has the stem populations
of asian groups such as the ural/altaic peoples and other minor asian
groups in the region. To the west there are possible influences of the
neo-lithic groups which the indoeuropeans eventually conquered. Little
if anything is known about these peoples however, this does rule out
some previous genetic contribution. One has to consider that prior to
12 KYA that this group may have been a part of some larger regional
group which split off as the glaciers in the region retreated.

Part II the sorting of Sub Saharan Africans

>|> I personally don't think that there is any
>|> firm genetic foundation at yet, and until such a foundation is
>|> provided I would pretty much leave the cataogorization of SSA types
>|> alone

>Is it politically sensitive? There seems to be ample historical and
>archeological evidence to reconstruct the big-picture taxonomy.

Not at all, its kind of the once shot twice shy hesitation. historic
and estimated recent prehistoric events are fine, but the fact is that
this represents a small temporal part of the larger 'history' of human
africa in which the genetic studies haven't even began to touch upon.
Given the historic misassessment of the origins other populations in
the world I think that these types of speculations are best reserved
until after more foundational genetic information is provided. Having
said this, I think that in some form you are likely to be correct;
however, the evalutaion i mentioned above is not going to be easy. I
strongly suspect that a couple of populations are going to separate
out easily; however the vast majority are going to present themselves
more or less as intermediaries in a gradient structure were the
opposing edge of the gradient is going to be non-african populations
in 1,2 or even three directions (remember we are talking about a 100K
to 200KY old population and although geographic migration and
population hybridization maybe less frequent in ancient populations,
the rate has to be considered along with the time interval involved).
In these gradients one might resolve some unique genetic hub that have
basically been diluted by all types of hybridization and there results
a scientific problem as to classify each of these groups as unique or
lump them together as group of hybrid groups with _some_ ancient
unique characteristics. From what can be extrapolated from the CD4
intron paper, this type of groupings would easily cover most of

>|> >|> The answer is that the racial subtype 'negro' or 'black' is a
>|> >|> useless terminolgy since it does not reconcile the genetics of
>|> >|> subsahran african diversity, or the fact that all are descended from
>|> >|> this population. IOW one could argue that a european (caucasian) is
>|> >|> 'genetically' of negro race and in genetic form be correct.

>|> >Not exactly. The human family tree appears to have complicated branches
>|> >and roots, and where and how negroes, indo-europeans, east asians etc
>|> >all branched from the main stem, and what auxiliary roots fed into each
>|> >particular stream, is not yet clear. However, the negro race is too
>|> >recent to be the ancestor of the other old world peoples, even aside
>|> >from the local roots into h. erectus and neandertal populations.

>|> if your using as you defined yes, however, if negro = of (SSA) african
>|> origin then, no, SSA HS origins point back to > 200,000 years while
>|> proto eurasians (as we know them) left this african continent between
>|> 50 and 100 kYBP. Many would argue that signs of extraafrican HS
>|> appeared first with cromagnon; however, the genetic data shows that
>|> asians not europeans are more distinct from african lineages, the most
>|> likely cause of this is gene transfer between africa and proximal
>|> eurasion popoluations over the post exedos period.

>And one more factor: deep roots into local, pre-HSS populations.

but I suppose this is true for whole world population. If one goes by
the SSA human origin theory and given the time 200KYA as the latest
major bottle neck then population size needs to be small (about 10,000
inds) from this point and for the next 100 KY the human population is
going to mix in SSA somewhat thoroughly so that the pre-bottleneck
traits are going to be mixed through the population but also local
population isolation is going to result in regional genetic drift
events resulting in individual populations eliminating all of some
pre-bottle neck traits (in a regional specific manner) and some
generating new traits at the expense of those eliminated genotypes
(again in a regionally specific manner).
According to the current widely believed theory one group left the
SSA area and managed to colonize Non-SSA africa. By doing so these
individuals resticted geneflow between themselves and distal SSA
groups, but this event does not interrupt the genetic exchange still
occuring in SSA. As the distal population moves northward it begins to
separate itself not only from SSA populations but from the parental
non-SSA populations in africa creating increasing its geographic and
social differences from SSA populations. Of course, this can be seen
in asian populations by a somewhat inbrededness in known genotypic
traits; however, what happens as this group moves out of SSA has
little impact, until recently, on the types of geneflows which go on
between SSA groups.
There is some prehistoric impact of the non-SSA groups (in africa)
and this probably changes to a small degree the dynamics of gene flow
of groups in SSA africa after the 100KYA separation. In this whole
scenario the following can be predicted.

1. that the original small SSA population was localized and was
contained by <5 related groups (at that time, sub groups)

2. that mixing occured faster while this population was small but
expanding, but as it expanding territorial boundaries and population
of regional territories increased as well as the differentiation of
communicative structures....... true regional populations began to
solidify and mutation and gentic drift acted upon these original
regional populations.

3. Some of the original regional groups were lost as a result of
territorial incursions, disasters, etc. Certain groups were more
competitive and refilled into the lost regions. Remnant populations
are essentially integrated but with a great dimunition of primary
settlers traits. Genetic drift in the new population will eliminate
most primary traits however a few will dominate (via exclusive genetic
drift event) into the resulting poulation

4. Step 3 repeats itself over and over again faster in some regions
and not occuring in other regions. Certain groups which adapted early
toward very hostile climates (but glacially stabile) are essentially
protected from incursions do to
A. undesirability of the land.
B. low population density >> low rate of disease spread (isolation
from epidemic diseases)
C. specific early adaptations give long term advantage over other
entering groups (such as tolerance for certain regioanl diseases,
climatictic patterns, etc)

OTOH, other regions are going to be cyclically affected by climactic
changes resulting indirectly from the glaciation cycles. Since the
climate changes will affect carrying capacity cyclical overpopulation
will result in probable force migrations, hightened disease
transmission, etc. and its likely that the regional distribution of
peoples will change.

5. During the modern period there will be incursions of peripheral
groups into the region along with the differential introduction of new
technologies, shifting profoundly the characteristic geneflow patterns
of the region; however, since this occurance in only recent (and not
current enough to establish any kind of exclusive gentic drift event)
Thus the results of modern events will appear not as unique population
genotypes but as mixtures of genotypes within the population and
shifting of subpopulation boundaries.

So if one assumes that these general predictions are true then.....
1. How does one resolve all of the isolation/fixation events versus
the hybridization evnets which occured during the last 10,000
generations in SSA? (Answer is it can't be completely done).

2. Without this type of information how can one delineate groups based
upon genetic information. (Answer, subjective criteria must be used)

3. What types of subjective criteria......

1. _genetically_ the first indicative genes compared. remember as
populations approach in genetic similarity, the more markers need to
be studied inorder to estimate degree of differentiation.
2. _culturally language_ and culture
3. geographic position and inferance from fragmented archeological
4. the criteria will change over time as better information is
gathered. thus there is the shifting research factor.

Part III (part I continued)

>|> This certianly
>|> seems to be the case in mediterranian and can be explained by
>|> historical events as well as predicted in prehistorical periods based
>|> on archeological finds. So as far as an absolute temporal separation
>|> between africa and europe, there is some reason to believe that such a
>|> firm separation has never occured and that the indoeuropean/SSA
>|> lineages are best represented as step gradients of genetic traits.

>"Step" gradients? I'm not familiar with the term.

>When thinking about the genetic barrier between africa and eurasia, we
>need to keep in mind the oscillatory history of this ice age, and how
>the sahara changes during glacial and inter-glacial periods.

This is what I mean by step gradient, a true gradient would be a
continous gradient of genetic traits from geographic point A to point
B; however, over geological times the gradeint might be partitioned
several times by climatie changes/or geological events and the groups
within the population will mix internally but not externally, mutate
and drift independantly of adjacent partitions. As a result one can
look into that population and find gene frequencies similar amoung the
subgroups of that partition where if one looks at the adjacent
population its groups have different gene frequencies. The problem
comes here because if one looks at a partition population one might be
tempted to think that the population arose from a single homogeneous
source, and to make it more difficult is if the population A mixes
with B making AB and one or the other parental populations dissappears
or migrates a great distance one is left concluding erroneously that
this population was derived from a small number of homogeneous
inhabitiants. I think its safe to say that given the vast amount of
gradient populations right now, that most populations are in fact the
result of gradient type mixing and few residual extremes exist. If one
wants to define races as the extremes I might point to three or four
(that I can think of)

1. the tribes of south america
2. the aboriginal peoples of australia, and some pacific islands
3. african bushmen/pygmies.

>during an interglacial, the sahara is an extremely effective genetic
>barrier. More effective than the alps, maybe even more than the
>himalayas. During glacial periods, however, the sahara becomes very
>hospitable savanna, opening the barrier and allowing relatively easy
>gene flow.

The problem is that as a barrier it takes 2 or three thosand years
post deglaciation and probably the advent of domesitcated animals to
create what we see today, and as a barrier there are other problems
(see below)

> There is still a choke-point at the sinai, a reducing valve
>in the gene flow, but the modern HS people who developed in africa
>around 100,000 bp seem to have had no trouble moving through barriers
>both geographical and socio-political. They spread pretty fast.

That choke point maybe difficult to qualify, a reduction of sea level
by more than 300 feet or so presents the scenario that folks in other
parts of east africa may have been able to see, on a clear day parts
of the arabian penisula and possibly provide aquatic transportation.
In additon one has the contiguation of africa with iberia in the
west. My theory for the reasons which the SSA could not establish
themselves in north africa and arabia earlier is that there were
probably hominids present which restricted their movements, a sort of
hominid barrier. In my mind this is the only barrier which explains a
lack of migration into these regions before 100 KYBP.
There were probably differences in lifestyles and social
organization specific to SSA and european hominids which made the
sahara a fromal barrier to SSA humans for a time. Changes in
technology and culture probably allowed the slow moevment of humans
into north africa and given a period of cultural adaptation were soon
capable of allowing these immergent humans to compete with hominids
across the hominid world. In order to engage these hominids and
displace (in their densest regions) them probably required
enhancements in the way humans hunted and defended themselves both as
individuals and as groups. While the sahara was not a solid barrier to
migration, the lessened supportability of the sahara (and part of the
sahara is a persistent desert through glaciation) in combination with
hostile hominids on the other sides should be a good restriction of
HS movement first from SSA (irrespective of glaciation) and then from
northeast africa. However, after exiting africa the combinations of
smaller barriers and larger frontiers opened migration dispite
competitor presence enough to allow the facile spread of HS and the
period following shows a fast spread of humans to all reachable
regions of the world. The actual displacement would then be delayed
until human population increased and competition for resourses caused
selection to favor humans over their competitiors.

>|> This is not so true for asians, particularly because of the geographic
>|> distances and barriers of movement. Again I have to emphasize the
>|> point that although cromagnon was found in europe this does not mean
>|> that europeans are direct descendants of cromagnon, its entiely
>|> possible that descendants of these people are in asia, or indonesian
>|> or the americas, or extinct.

>Any idea of the relation between the cro-magnon of western europe and
>the rock-artists of the sahara? My impression is that they are closely

Its very difficult to say at present. The only strong evidence of a
definable remnant population in western europe are the basques, and
some (not I) have speculated that they are related to ural/altaic
lineages (my guess is they are in fact remnant of western
mediterranean culture) . Given the interglacial mobility of northern
hemispheric peoples I would guess (and probably be right) that the
people who live in europe now are not the original inhabitants. There
is some similarities in the cromagnon art and the preindoeuropean art
of other parts of the mediterrnean. Again this brings these
individuals more in line with the early semites. I have a very hard
time using expressive elements of culture as a guide. For example, the
paintings and types of techniques used are similar between these
people and some native american art. The fact is the form of
expression, just like the developement of regional novel mathematics,
is likely to have regional parallels all over the world. The form is
going to be somewhat dependent on materials available and thus is
subject to change depending on the surroundings. For example a
painting culture may shift to more wood carving if the basic elements
for painting become rare, or persitent painting may be replaced (due
to cultural drift) by paintings on perisable objects. Language is
somewhat less plastic because like genetics the idiosyncracies of
divergence (and I assume all langauges are divergent forms of a single
ancient form) tend to stick, basic words perist but word usage for
less ubiquitous things will be improvised. The problem with language
is that language usage often breaks away from genetic lineages.
Consider the case of slavery which has been demonstrated worldwide.
The enslaved population may be forced to adopt a language from an
unrelated culture. Since prehistoric cultures leave no written catalog
of their language, once the language is forgotten in the enslaved
population, the old language is lost. Then at some later point the two
populations diverge again, the enslaved group will now speak a
language brought forth by unrelated speakers. In addition words are
picked up from completely unrelated sources. The third problem with
language is usable time frame reconciling extant languages with their
root languages and then reconciling roots with thier roots is only
useful back about 15,000 years which is about 1/10 the amount of time
required for any reasonable type of relational assessment. Language is
probably more useful in comparing recent events <10,000 years but
beyond this really leaves genetics.

>anything's possible, I guess, but the most likely scenario is one where
>the descendants of the cro-magnon are found throughout most of the
>world, but with the highest concentration in the place of their origin.

I could address this by giving numerous examples where an immergant
culture pushes a preexisting culture to the territorial bondaries and
beyond. Unfortunately probalistic analysis is not very useful here
since although the probability that they are still there is the
highest possibility amoung many, to compare that single probability
with all the combined probabilities for a mass displacement makes
staying actually a minor probability. A more probable scenario is that
this group was displaced eastward (or northward) an undetermined
amount mixed and .......

Since the whole staging theory is based on the genetics of peoples
who live in that region (the eastern sahara), if they infact lived in
africa/iberia during the staging period this could mean that a HUGE
wave of people flushed through NW africa, through iberia and onward
eastward through europe then asia. The oldest eurasions would be the
asains (which would be expected to be the most homogeneous since they
left early and remianed isolated (this appears to be true)) and some
of that group would have circled back into middle east region and mix
with other africans later on. The immediately prehistoric northwestern
mediterraneans would then represent latter waves from africa and would
be more gentically diverse compared with asians (which also appears to
be true). The indoeuropeans would have represented some intermediate
wave of immigrants and appear almost as genetically homogeneous as
asians or are a result of east/west mixing with some evidence for
recent african mixing (which also is apparently true). I'm not saying
this is what happened, but it's one of many possible theories which
might explain the genetic data. Another theory (which I actually
think is better) is that at times poeples moved from NW africa into
europe and at other times through NE africa.
I will say this, I am very dubious of people who try to assert a
genetics with a 25000 - 45000 year old culture which lives in a region
of known very high mobility. The technique can be used in isolated
regions such as australia or south america or southern africa. It
would be like me asserting that the makers of 12 KY old alaskan
artifacts were made by ancient eskimo, never mins the fact that 4 or
five groups have treked over the same region.
Europe can be considered similarly. Cyles of glacial activity most
certainly pushed and pulled groups into and out of the region almost
like a pump, there no less than three suitable entry points from
africa (iberia, the italian/sicilian peninsula, and anatolia). There
is evidence that no defined suitble entry point is needed considering
the fact that the ancients must have had seafaring capacity. Even
without this we have to consider the recent trends. Semitic ports in
iberia, movement of groups 1000's of miles across europe displacing,
eliminating everything in their paths, not once but several times.
Going back further one must consider alterations of foodsources (game)
and selective advantage that distal groups might have had over local
Then finally one must consider selection. If one looks at what is
most selected for in the the historically most productive regions
(guided by the fact that for human utility of north europe only
increased slowly after the last ice age) that the major centers of
population are in the south and are exposed to solar radiation at a
level consistent with 'olive skin' and dark hair. this region would
extend northward to the northcoast of france and eastward to the edge
of the north sea and the baltic. In addition, folks which lived along
the coastal regions are exposed to even higher doses of radiation
almost assuring a persistance of olive skin traits throughout the
period immediately after the last ice age. Yet if one looks at the
current populations of france, spain, germany, 2 events largely come
to mind: the celtic conquest and the scandinavian conquest. the waters
are muddled even further in spain as a result of settlements/conquest
by seafarers to from the east and by recent conquest from the south
(the moors). There are only two groups in europe that might even come
close to having a persistent claim: the basque (who aren't
forthrightly related to any \oine else in euroipe except some as
mixtures into the iberian population) and the picts (largely believe
to be a hybrid group now), and there is so little genetically known
about these two groups as to make any assertion like this laughable.
Again I think the additional possiblity must be kept open that the
genetic linieages of cromagnon culture might be extinct, on some
distant continent, or mixed with subsequent emergent african lineages.
There is the additional possibility that the culture was in fact a
geographically stationary culture in which the perpetuators were
genetically mobile and all extra-african humans transited through the
culture accepting and later altering their expessive forms.