May 6, 2010

Fast-Breaking Caveman News

Here's the NYT's Nicholas Wade's article on the new finding by Svante Paabo that I hinted about on Sunday. Greg Cochran and Henry Harpending have been predicting this for quite a few years, most recently in The 10,000 Year Explosion. (By the way, although the NYT spells his name "Svante Paabo," Wikipedia spells it "Svante Pääbo," with double umlauts, giving him maximum heavy metal cred.)
By NICHOLAS WADE
Neanderthals mated with some modern humans after all and left their imprint in the human genome, a team of biologists has reported in the first detailed analysis of the Neanderthal genetic sequence.
The biologists, led by Svante Paabo of the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, have been slowly reconstructing the genome of Neanderthals, the stocky hunters that dominated Europe until 30,000 years ago, by extracting the fragments of DNA that still exist in their fossil bones. Just last year, when biologists first announced they had decoded the Neanderthal genome, they reported no significant evidence of interbreeding.
Scientists say they have recovered 60 percent of the genome so far and hope to complete it. By comparing that genome with those of various present day humans, the team concluded that about 1 percent to 4 percent of the genome of non-Africans today is derived from Neanderthals. But the Neanderthal DNA does not seem to have played a great role in human evolution, they said.
Experts believe the Neanderthal genome sequence will be of extraordinary importance in understanding human evolutionary history since the two species split apart some 600,000 years ago.

So far, the team has identified only about 100 genes — surprisingly few — that modern humans have evolved since the split. The nature of the genes in humans that differ from those of Neanderthals is of particular interest since they bear on what it means to be human, or at least not Neanderthal. Some of the genes seem to be involved in cognitive function and others in bone structure.

“Seven years ago I really thought that it would remain impossible in my lifetime to sequence the whole Neanderthal genome,” Dr. Paabo said in a news conference. But the Leipzig team’s second conclusion, that there was probably interbreeding between Neanderthals and modern humans before Europeans and Asians split, is being greeted with reserve by some archaeologists.

A degree of interbreeding between modern humans and Neanderthals in Europe would not be greatly surprising given that the two species overlapped there for some 15,000 years, from 44,000 years ago when modern humans first entered Europe to 30,000 years ago when the last Neanderthals fell extinct. Archaeologists have been debating for years whether the fossil record shows evidence of individuals with mixed features.

But the new analysis, which is based solely on genetics and elaborate statistical calculations, is more difficult to match with the archaeological record. The Leipzig team asserts the interbreeding they detect did not occur in Europe but in the Middle East and at a much earlier period, some 100,000 to 60,000 years ago, before the modern human populations of Europe and East Asia had split apart. There is much less archaeological evidence for an overlap between modern humans and Neanderthals at this time and place.  ...

Dr. Paabo said that episode of human-Neanderthal breeding implied by Dr. Reich’s statistics most plausibly occurred “in the Middle East where the first modern humans appear before 100,000 years ago and there were Neanderthals until 60,000 years ago.” According to Dr. Klein, people in Africa expanded their range and reached just Israel during a warm period some 120,000 years ago. They retreated during a cold period some 80,000 years ago and were replaced by Neanderthals. It is not clear whether or not they overlapped with Neanderthals, Dr. Klein said.

These humans, in any case, were not fully modern and they did not expand from Africa, an episode that occurred some 30,000 years later. If there was any interbreeding, the flow of genes should have been both ways, Dr. Klein said, but Dr. Paabo’s group sees evidence only for gene flow from Neanderthals to modern humans.

The Leipzig group’s interbreeding theory would undercut the present belief that all human populations today draw from the same gene pool that existed a mere 50,000 years ago. “What we falsify here is the strong Out-of-Africa hypothesis that everyone comes from the same population,” Dr. Paabo said.

Keep in mind that only the "strong" (absolutist) version of the Out-of-Africa hypothesis that is in trouble. The weak version (that most of our genes are descended from people whose ancestors were in Africa 100,000 or so years ago) looks pretty reliable. 
In his and Dr. Reich’s view, Neanderthals interbred only with non-Africans, the people who left Africa, which would mean that non-Africans drew from a second gene pool not available to Africans. Dr. Reich said that the known percentage difference in DNA units between African and non-African genomes was not changed by his proposal that some of the non-African DNA is from Neanderthals. 

Steve Hsu has links to the papers.

Assuming that these Neanderthal introgressions in non-African modern humans exist (the technical problems Paabo has had to deal with -- in particular, avoiding contamination by modern human DNA -- and the analytical problems are daunting), they probably aren't neutral or junk genes, which would tend to disappear over the last 1,000 or so generations. They are probably useful genes that give some Darwinian advantage or advantages in some environments.

But, what do they do? I don't know. (I haven't read the papers, so I don't know if anybody knows yet.) If they haven't spread back into Africa, that might suggest they aren't that useful in Africa. For example, they might be cold weather adaptations. For instance, one reason slavery faded out quietly in Northern states after the American Revolution was that slaves weren't all that profitable because their immune systems weren't attuned to cold weather diseases. As I wrote in VDARE in 2003:
Indeed, as Brandeis historian David Hackett Fischer pointed out in his famous Albion's Seed, these racial differences had an enormous impact on the history of America. He notes that the cold climate of colonial Massachusett:

"proved to be exceptionally dangerous to immigrants from tropical Africa, who suffered severely from pulmonary infections in New England winters. Black death rates in colonial Massachusetts were twice as high as whites' - a pattern very different from Virginia where mortality rates for the two races were not so far apart, and still more different from South Carolina where white death rates were higher than those of blacks. So high was mortality among African immigrants in New England that race slavery was not viable on a large scale, despite many attempts to introduce it. Slavery was not impossible in this region, but the human and material costs were higher than many wished to pay. A labor system which was fundamentally hostile to the Puritan ethos of New England was kept at bay partly by the climate."

96 comments:

bbartlog said...

'with double umlauts, giving him maximum heavy metal cred'

I believe the famous Häyhä also has this distinction. Though for all I know it's common as dirt in Finland.

Anonymous said...

The timing and geography seem to correspond to the the unknown event that made the brains of Africans into modern humans.

Cavalli-Sforza left the final step in the evolution of a fully modern human as something of a mystery. In his view the gracile African body type evolved in Africa about 100,000 years ago (maybe a little more). They came north but the artifact record shows that they were no smarter than they had been or than European Neanderthals.

Then about 50,000 years ago these people became fully modern humans and adopted a host of more sophisticated artifacts. This mysterious transition has been believed to have occurred in the Middle East.

Now we learn that Neanderthals probably interbred with the African migrants in the right place at the right time. That's not proof by any means but it sure is an interesting possibility.

Anonymous said...

Mulatto elite alert! Drake, who may be the most popular rapper today is actually a Canadian Jew.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drake_%28entertainer%29

Much like Barack Obama he's always searching for authenticity. Only dates black women, apparently.

Anonymous said...

> they probably aren't neutral or junk genes, which would tend to disappear over the last 1,000 or so generations. They are probably useful genes that give some Darwinian advantage or advantages in some environments.

There may be some positively-selected stuff in there. However, a lot of it is probably just neutral or near-neutral stuff that just stayed in our gene pool without being selected. At least, that's the case if I'm reading John Hawks correctly:

"They did not examine the question of how much of the genome came in from Neandertals because of selection. The estimate they have, between 1 and 4 percent, is so high that this is not just a few genes introgressing in from Neandertals -- it is a big fraction of the neutral, non-coding part of the genome. So selection doesn't explain the similarity, nor can parallelism -- the similarity is genome-wide, not just coding or functional changes, and not as far as we know clustered into regions that might have hitchhiked with adaptive alleles."

Anonymous said...

Is this purely a statistical project?

You mean they didn't discover some poor Neanderthal beta male frozen in the arctic tundra with an axe in his fractured skull?

catperson said...

Dr. Paabo said that episode of human-Neanderthal breeding implied by Dr. Reich’s statistics most plausibly occurred “in the Middle East

Does this imply that people from the middle east have the most neanderthal genes. Could this explain why they tend to be shorter (and stronger?) with more body hair or is the short stature caused by malnutrition? Also, don't the strongest people in Europe come from countries with Middle Eastern genes?

This is very good news for black people that neanderthal genes only invaded non-Africans, however if non-Africans mated with neanderthals, could Africans have mated with Erectus?

Dahlia said...

Wow, these are exciting times!

I've read several articles and threads on this since this post and a point of contention has arisen: are the inherited genes that are still with us junk or valuable.

Here is John Hawks who has lots of interesting things to say; read the whole thing:
http://johnhawks.net/weblog/reviews/neandertals/neandertal_dna/nean

"It may not sound like a lot -- between 1 and 4 percent. But that's the equivalent of one great-great-great grandparent's DNA contribution."

and

"If Neandertals are one percent of the ancestry of non-Africans, we can be very sure that any gene in a Neandertal that had adaptive value in the later population is here now. That means they were important in an evolutionary sense."

And here is a comment from G. Cochran I found in the run-up to this paper coming out:

“'it looks like if there is archaic Homo DNA in our genome, then it is only a small bit.'

That’s the wrong way to look at it. If there was enough Neanderthal gene input to measure, the human gene pool picked up thousands of new working alleles. Selection often stalls out (in the medium term) because genetic variety has been exhausted, but an injection of archaic genes would have facilitated adaptive change. Moreover, some of of those archaic alleles must have been useful ( i.e. had a fitness edge), since archaic humans in Eurasia had had a long time to adapt to their non-African ecology. If there was introgression, it is highly likely that some introgressed alleles had a selective advantage and rose to high frequency."

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2010/04/neandertal-genomics-paper-coming/#comment-22345

RandyB said...

Some readers might be interested that Understanding Human History by Michael Hart (an Amren Conference regular) is available for free PDF download at:

http://understanding-human-history.blogspot.com/2007/11/free-book-courtesy-of-larry-auster-view.html

Anonymous said...

Does this mean blacks are less intelligent than whites because they're more human?

adfasdfasdf said...

Wait... if Cro-maggots and Neanderthals are different species of humans, how did Neanderthal genes get passed down to Cro-maggot genes? Isn't it the rule that when separate species produce an offspring--like a mule or liger--, the offspring is infertile?

Could it be that when Cro-maggots and Neanderthals mated, they were only separate races than separate species of humans?

It makes sense that Cro-maggots have Neanderthal genes but not vice versa. Since Cro-maggots were smarter and superior, they probably captured Neanderthal women and had sex with them. The Neanderthals, in contrast, probably either only fought or fled from Cro-maggots but probably didn't figure out how to snatch Cro-maggot women for personal use.

Animals have no use for slavery--except ants(but not consciously). Animals either attack & kill or run & flee from others. Consider the Chimps. They either kill other tribes of chimps or run from them. Chimps don't enslave other chimps.

To enslave means to spare the lives of the defeated and use or exploit them constructively. It takes some level of intelligence and organizational skills--even morality--to do that. Given that genocide is the rule of the natural order, slavery may initially have been a moral improvement among mankind. At least the lives of the vanquished were spared than utterly wiped out. Neanderthals were probably too stupid to practice slavery. They would have killed Cro-maggots or fled from them but wouldn't have thought to use Cro-maggot slaves for whatever purpose. Cro-maggots, on the other hand, may have spared some Neanderthal gals and used them as sex slaves.

Is it a good thing for the RIGHT that we have neanderthal blood? Partly, the white right can use it to show they are indeed genetically distinct from black Africans. On the other hand, who the hell wants ugh-oog dumbass caveman genes in his or her blood?
Also, if studies show that Neanderthal genes added some benefits to the Cro-maggots, then interracists can argue for further mixing of races. They'll say since Neanderthal-Cromaggot mixing did some good for Europeans, it would good for all the races in the world to mix.
There is one very valuable genetic commodity for all races but it shall go unmentioned.

Anonymous said...

No, third anonymous. A small amount of Neanderthal DNA which was selection neutral would have been eliminated from the gene pool by random stochastic events. If there is detectable amounts of Neanderthal DNA in modern humans, it is because of positive selection.

adfsfasdffs said...

"Does this mean blacks are less intelligent than whites because they're more human?"

It's possible that blacks mated with African versions of neanderthal types. There were a whole bunch of oog-ugh types in African until they all died out. But while they existed, maybe they mixed with blacks.

Truth said...

"Much like Barack Obama he's always searching for authenticity. Only dates black women, apparently.A"

So that's why you date white women?

catperson said...

Does this mean blacks are less intelligent than whites because they're more human?

LOL! It's starting to look like the racists had it wrong. We now may have scientific proof that caucasians are the monkeys.

Dave R. said...

Archaeologists have been debating for years whether the fossil record shows evidence of individuals with mixed features.

...glosses over a very interesting point, albeit one beyond the scope of the article. There are fossils with apparently mixed features at the right time and place to have been products of interbreeding. These intermediate features then fade away to be replaced by modern features. But that's easy to explain as non-adaptive features being selected out.

A point that needs to be understood about gene flow is that the more adaptive a gene is, the the faster it spreads, and even more importantly, the fewer introductions are needed for it to propagate in a new population. Introduced alleles that did prove adaptive in modern humans could have spread from even a small number of contacts. Which, of course, are implied by mixed features and asserted by this study.

adfadfasff said...

"Does this mean blacks are less intelligent than whites because they're more human?"

"LOL! It's starting to look like the racists had it wrong. We now may have scientific proof that caucasians are the monkeys."

------------

Whites are Human Monkeys? No wonder they are called Honkeys.

Seriouslty though, Neanderthals were not monkeys but lunkheads or lunkeys. They were into going "uh duhhhhh" like the Moose character in Archie comic books.

Maybe Neanderthals didn't impart higher IQ to the Cro-maggots but passed some uh-duhhh genes. Maybe in small doses, the uh-duhhh genes can be emotionally stabilizing, thus beneficial. It could be why whites are emotionally less funky and wild than blacks. Uh-duhhh.

Too much Neanderthal genes might have made us stupid but maybe just a little made us mellower--like the big lug character in OF MICE AND MEN.

sj071 said...

'The timing and geography seem to correspond to the the unknown event that made the brains of Africans into modern humans.'

Original piece sounded much more scientific. Charles Darwin:
'The Simiadae then branched off into two great stems, the New World and Old World monkeys; and from the latter, at a remote period, Man, the wonder and glory....'

Dr. Paabo said that episode of human-Neanderthal breeding implied by Dr. Reich’s statistics most plausibly occurred “in the Middle East"

Quite.Where else.

Glossy said...

"...the cold climate of colonial Massachusetts "proved to be exceptionally dangerous to immigrants from tropical Africa, who suffered severely from pulmonary infections in New England winters."

I don't think that's a problem in modern Detroit or Chicago. Of course, modern US blacks have some white ancestry, so they may have picked up some cold-weather adaptations from whites. However, there are Somalis up in Maine, Nigerians in London, etc., etc. now. I haven't heard of any extraordinary pulmonary problems among them.

If Mr. Paabo's research ends up being widely accepted by his field, then the guys who came out of Africa tens of thousands of years ago would have to be renamed into something other than "modern humans". What about homo sapiens africanensis? And we, the africanensis/neanderthal hybrids, could call ourselves homo sapiens neoeurasiensis. Which reminds me: did Australoids get any Neanderthal genes? Seems doubtful.

Anonymous said...

"Does this mean blacks are less intelligent than whites because they're more human?"



Neanderthals were human. A different branch of humanity, but human all the same.

Anonymous said...

> No, third anonymous. A small amount of Neanderthal DNA which was selection neutral would have been eliminated from the gene pool by random stochastic events. If there is detectable amounts of Neanderthal DNA in modern humans, it is because of positive selection.

I can't say for certain that you are wrong, using my own knowledge alone. But I do know that Hawks says otherwise in the passage I quoted, and he's awfully well-steeped in both pop-gen and paleo-anthro. First, 1-4% is not such a small amount. Second, a lot of the neanderthal DNA is non-coding. Certainly not all non-coding SNPs are completely neutral or near-neutral, but probably the vast majority are. Heck, most coding SNPs are probably nearly-neutral, and I think non-coding SNPs are markedly more likely to be near-neutral than coding ones are.

Again, no one's saying there's no positively-selected alleles here. Hawks is only saying that:

1. a lot of the stuff is neutral

2. it is not clear at this point that any of it is non-neutral

Anonymous said...

Further - if a lot of the stuff is neutral, then yes, probably a lot of similar stuff /was/ eliminated by stochastic events (genetic drift). We're seeing what's left.

If we are seeing X amount of neanderthal material, the amount of neanderthal material that ever entered our gene pool is probably 10X or 20X. But, just as only 1/10th or 1/20th of the diversity of the *sapiens* gene pool from 50,000 BC has survived into our present-day gene pool, so too only 1/10th or 1/20th of the neanderthal DNA diversity from 50,000 BC has made it into our present-day gene pool.

Truth said...

"There were a whole bunch of oog-ugh types in African until they all died out."

"Ooog-ugh" types? Good going there Charles Darwin, we learn so much here from you scholarly expository essays in Latin

Anonymous said...

Greg Cochran and Henry Harpending have been predicting this for quite a few years, most recently in The 10,000 Year Explosion.

To be fair, James Bowery predicted this even before. He predicted it years ago on usenet.

In fact, a few other ideas that Cochran gets credit for, such as the hypothesis regarding Ashkenazi intelligence, and the gay germ theory, were originated by Bowery years ago on usenet.

n/a said...

catperson,

As people keep telling you, you are extremely confused about how evolution works.

"if non-Africans mated with neanderthals, could Africans have mated with Erectus?"

We'll see. Certainly East Asians could have.

n/a said...

John Hawks:

What this means is simple: The origin of modern humans was nothing special, in adaptive terms. To the extent that we can see adaptive genetic changes, they happened at the basic long-term rate that they happened during the rest of our evolution.

Now from my perspective, this means something even more interesting. In our earlier work, we inferred a recent acceleration of human evolution from living human populations. That is a measure of the number of new selected mutations that have arisen very recently, within the last 40,000 years. And most of those happened within the past 10,000 years.

In that short time period, more than a couple thousand selected changes arose in the different human populations we surveyed. We demonstrated that this was a genuine acceleration, because it is much higher than the rate that could have occurred across human evolution, from the human-chimpanzee ancestor.

What we now know is that this is a genuine acceleration compared to the evolution of modern humans, within the last couple hundred thousand years.

Our recent evolution, after the dispersal of human populations across the world, was much faster than the evolution of Late Pleistocene populations. In adaptive terms, it is really true -- we're more different from early "modern" humans today, than they were from Neandertals. Possibly many times more different.

Steve Sailer said...

"To be fair, James Bowery predicted this even before. He predicted it years ago on usenet."

That would be a good thing to post as a comment.

Anonymous said...

"I don't think that's a problem in modern Detroit or Chicago. Of course, modern US blacks have some white ancestry, so they may have picked up some cold-weather adaptations from whites. However, there are Somalis up in Maine, Nigerians in London, etc., etc. now. I haven't heard of any extraordinary pulmonary problems among them."

Ever hear of central heating, modern medicine, and vitamin D fortification in food and milk? It's amazing how people forget what the world was like in the not-too-distant past.

John Seiler said...

For years I've been called a "Neanderthal conservative." So once again by being a reactionary I've been trend-setter.

Anonymous said...

Steve-

At one point, you said Greg Cochran had an idea about the Flores island hobbits that would be big news> I don't think I've seen that big news in the four years since you said that-did I miss it somehow? Or has the paper not been published?

If it has been published, can you or Greg enlighten us?

Former Fobbit

Anonymous said...

I suspect climate may be the reason slavery never became established in Canada on a major basis.

Anonymous said...

"Glossy said...
"...the cold climate of colonial Massachusetts "proved to be exceptionally dangerous to immigrants from tropical Africa, who suffered severely from pulmonary infections in New England winters."

I don't think that's a problem in modern Detroit or Chicago. Of course, modern US blacks have some white ancestry, so they may have picked up some cold-weather adaptations from whites. However, there are Somalis up in Maine, Nigerians in London, etc., etc. now. I haven't heard of any extraordinary pulmonary problems among them. "



Glossy,
To be fair to the authors, we live buildings with HVAC units now. Climate is controlled at least 90% of the day for many people who aren't beholden to the cold unfiltered air that is shared by molds, mildews, animals, plants, brackish waters, and bugs. Indoors we use cleaning products, carpet shampoos, and HVAC filters that weed out much of the microscopic critters folks had to deal with in the earlier centuries.


.......Spinal Tap used umlauts in their logo. I always knew those guys were a little neanderthalesque, especially that guitar player with that dreadful alternate picking style.

dearieme said...

On the one drop rule, we are all Neanderthals now. Well, all of us who are not subSaharan people.

headache said...

By the way, although the NYT spells his name "Svante Paabo," Wikipedia spells it "Svante Pääbo,"
NYT don't have Umlauts on their keyboards for fear that someone could inadvertently write something pro-German.

Anonymous said...

I wonder why they didn't compare the Neanderthal DNA with Australian Aborigine? I thought that Australians had some Neanderthal features like a heavier skull and a heavy brow ridge. Or, perhaps they have made a comparison but not publishing it.

Whiskey said...

Lets speculate. What could positive Neanderthal genes do that would make them highly adaptive in Europe and Asia, but not in Africa?

Cold is certainly one thing, but clothing and hut building were not unknown, so that seems not fruitful.

Rather, it is likely an adaptation for being more tool-oriented, particularly with animal husbandry and agriculture/plant processing for food.

We tend to forget how much an issue food was for pre-20th Century folks, let alone pre-agriculture folks. Food is generally not a problem in sub-Saharan Africa, and during the period, Africa was a lot wetter, making the Sahara a vast Savannah with hippos and crocs and such, food easily available.

Food has always been harder to get in Europe, requiring more resources, and more processing with tools. An adaptation that allowed continuous advancement in tools to extract more food from the environment would be massively selected for, regardless of other drawbacks. Not the least of which is that cold burns a lot of calories. And that it makes food storage critical, again requiring tools and abstract processing, rather than simply being able to go out and spear something or harvest wild fruit.

Truth said...

"Rather, it is likely an adaptation for being more tool-oriented, particularly with animal husbandry and agriculture/plant processing for food."

So Neanderthals were more tool-oriented than homo-sapiens?

OneSTDV said...

It's interesting that in school, everyone learns about slaves dying from European diseases, the implication being those meanie Europeans giving the "noble savages" their disease.

But not once did I hear the supposition that perhaps the climate was a huge factor.

Drake, who may be the most popular rapper today is actually a Canadian Jew.

You forgot the "black" part. He "passes"; I never would have guessed his mixed ancestry without reading his bio. Any info on his religion?

SF said...

http://www.ucsc.edu/news_events/text.asp?pid=3754&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=may-2010

Surprise: UC Santa Cruz, a school known for extremes of political correctness, strong ethnic and gender studies depts., and a jilted lesbian chancellor who committed suicide, has provided one of the lead researchers for this study. There is hope for the University of California. Suppose the legislature directed UC to return administrator to teaching faculty ratios to 1980 levels, and cut ethnic/gender/race studies faculty by 50%. . . . When pigs fly. Oh well.

dearieme said...

"Food is generally not a problem in sub-Saharan Africa" - except in Zimbabwe, obviously.

"and during the period, Africa was a lot wetter, making the Sahara a vast Savannah with hippos and crocs and such, food easily available": in which case why didn't our ancestors stroll "out of Africa" across the Sahara, instead of using just one narrow route across the Red Sea? Why isn't North Africa populated by negros rather than whites? There's still quite a bit that's unclear, I think.

Anonymous said...

The origin of "rough sex," perhaps?

Anonymous said...

i wonder if gilgamesh's pal enkidu was a neanderthal. i know, 4.000 a.c has not been so long. but then, what if the legend of gilgamesh has been told for thousands of generations?

oh, what if 'animal people' of the kin of enkidu continued to bred until that time? it's possible : )

Anonymous said...

That would be a good thing to post as a comment.

Are you being sarcastic here, Steve?

Not sure what you mean by this.

Steve Sailer said...

No.

If he made a prediction, he should get credit for it.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

No mention of how involuntary most of these couplings must have been, given the disparity in physical appearance, the cultural differences, and the apparent inability of Neanderthals to communicate. Of course if you look at most of human pre-history that must have been the case in a very large fraction of mating.

Cave paintings start to appear ca. 30,000 years ago, so that gives adequate time for introgression to have made a real difference.

Harpending & Cochran's argument for Sapiens/Neanderthal interbreeding was elegant and logical but lacking in evidence. Nice to now have the data to back it up. It's also nice to know that a lost cousin isn't so lost.

Also, since Neanderthals survived far past 50,000 years ago, in Europe, would you expect to find a higher percentage of Neanderthal DNA in Europeans?

What could positive Neanderthal genes do that would make them highly adaptive in Europe and Asia, but not in Africa?

This would not be a geographical adapation, but I wonder if given their obvious social organization but their supposed lack of speech if they would have been stronger in non-verbal forms of communication. Though, of course, lots of animals have to be able to do this, so H. Sapiens migth already have had that ability.

That means they were important in an evolutionary sense

In order for speciation to occur a population must be small enough for defining genetic mutations to achieve fixation, but this necessarily leaves the population with little genetic diversity. Later they interbreed with related species who introduce some diversity into the population.

It may not sound like a lot -- between 1 and 4 percent. But that's the equivalent of one great-great-great grandparent's DNA contribution.

More important really. Because of their adaptive benefits, these genes are now fixed in non-African DNA. You'll get them no matter which great-grandfather's segment of DNA you inherit - provided that grandfather was not African.

if non-Africans mated with neanderthals, could Africans have mated with Erectus?

Laugh. No comment.

Ever hear of central heating, modern medicine, and vitamin D fortification in food and milk?

In the milk that most lactose-intolerant adult Africans do not much drink?

But you're right on the rest. Still, it would be interesting to see if certain health or social problems are more common in Northern blacks than in Southern ones. Also if fertility rates are lower?

Anonymous said...

Neanderthals had a brain volume of 1450 cc, and Blacks and Australian Abos have a brain volume of 1200cc

About 40000 years ago, a new form of the gene Microcephalin entered Eurasian Humans and this raised brain volume to 1350 cc

IMHO, this new form of
Microcephalin came from inter-breeding with Neanderthals

Most mammals can inter-breed even with 4 million years of separation, and the Human-Neanderthal split is only 600K years ago, 4 times the split between bantus and the rest, which happened 150k years ago

Dahinda said...

"If there was any interbreeding, the flow of genes should have been both ways, Dr. Klein said, but Dr. Paabo’s group sees evidence only for gene flow from Neanderthals to modern humans."

It could be that a group of Neanderthals overran a human settlement, when the human population was really low outside Africa, and raped the women. The women gave birth to half-breed children who were accepted by the people of the time and spread their genes into the human gene pool. I know that this may be a strange hypothesis but it is no different than what has been going on through history. A similiar thing might be the fact that Russians and many Eastern Europeans have Oriental genes due to the many invasions from the east.

catperson said...

As people keep telling you, you are extremely confused about how evolution works.

As confused people keep telling me.

Anonymous said...

Re Aborigines. If Papuans have Neanderthal genes then Australian Aborigines do too. The highland tribes of Papua New Guinea are basically Australoid.

I think it will be found that all people with Neanderthal genes do not have the same genes and in the same proportion. There would be no need for Aborigines to retain or select for genes for cold adaptation or skin depigmentation, for example.

I think Neanderthal genes could be one of the reasons that the two major non-African races have higher intelligence than Africans, but this did not come about immediately or invariably. Australian aborigines obviously never developed in this direction. Intelligence is not always strongly selected for in all environments and at all times, but a group which contains some intelligent individuals might out compete other groups because of superior technology. For example, modern men may have replaced Neanderthals in Europe because they had better cold weather clothing or constructed better shelters. Group selection is downplayed in discussions of anthropology for PC reasons, but it was obviously a major factor in shaping the way the world is populated today. Fitness, in terms of group selection, is defined by culture rather than genetics, but the two are not wholly unrelated.

If I were looking for a major gene for intelligence like Volkmar Weiss, I would take a long look at any gene which derived from Neanderthals and showed signs of strong, recent selection.

Chief Seattle said...

If there is detectable amounts of Neanderthal DNA in modern humans, it is because of positive selection.

Wrong. There's no vacuum cleaner that goes around removing "non-useful" DNA. It gets faithfully copied use like the useful stuff, with a small chance of mutation in each nucleotide per generation. The reason the Max Plaank scientists can tell us the age of the interbreeding is because the rate of error is very constant. If they were looking at genes under positive selection, they could check they were shared, but they would have no way to tell how long ago.

liberal biorealist said...

I'm surprised no one has commented on one obvious implication of this discovery, assuming it holds up.

It may not change in any material way the scientific argument for HBD. Yet it promises to advance the rhetoric to a new level.

It seems nearly designed to undermine the claim that "race is just a social construct."

While always a perverse obfuscation, that assertion could claim the authority of Richard Lewontin himself on its side. Yes, one could point to the Wikipedia entry on Lewontin's fallacy. But imagine how many vulnerable, humanistic minds were injured and lost to our cause in the process of trying to comprehend the multi-dimensional statistics involved.

But how can these same minds not grasp the far simpler proposition now before us: If all non-African populations have an appreciable amount of Neanderthal genes, and no African population does, then, biologically, and not just socially constructedly, they must be treated as distinct. I believe that even the densest of the indoctrinated can be made to get that if one group of human beings mates with a breed as far removed as the Neanderthals, and another group doesn't, those two groups really aren't quite the same.

And, if they are different biologically, couldn't that mean that they are, well, actually different?

But let's not say that in front of Dean Minow, OK?

Anonymous said...

East Asians and Europeans share "monkey" blood. After checking Australia, can we look at the differences between Europe and Asia?

Kent

Anonymous said...

Truth: "So Neanderthals were more tool-oriented than homo-sapiens?"

Tool cultures are very strongly the product of population size, which were never equal or comparable so it's basically impossible to know if they would be relative to contemporary homo sapiens, cetaris paribus. Their tool cultures don't appear to be particularly advanced given these things, though they had unique industries of their own, so I'd assume that no difference would be the most parsimonious model. They certainly weren't likely to partake in animal husbandry to any particular degree (hint: hunter-gatherers).

Tsoldrin said...

Heat and energy. Being in a hot climate prone to periodic food shortages (for several reasons) could make intelligence beyond a certain level a detriment. It would not only cause overheating but also the added energy requirement would cause starvation in lean times.

'Thals obviously wouldn't suppress intelligence because of heat issues. As for energy, hardiness and a different diet could be factors.

Why the flow only in one direction? If heat was a major factor it's obvious, they couldn't take it. If Heterosis is at play it could be that only one type of crossing was beneficial while the other produced underachievers (think liger vs tigon). Also they may simply not have wanted to return to Africa - they obviously left for a reason. Any few who did could have been killed too.

Perhaps fertility played a role. 'Thals, being tougher, would have less of a reason to select for a higher fertility rate than Africans who would be constantly dying and thus producing enough offspring that at least some might make it. Hybridization itself could have reduced fertility (they aren't all sterile). Dilution among the population of the genetic gifts the 'thals imparted could have brought fertility levels back up to a sustainable level at the cost of some of the benefits, still leaving the beneficiaries somewhat ahead of those without the genetic bonus.

If a group chose not to dilute their gene pool after the infusion of neanderthal traits they might retain a higher intelligence at the cost of fertility, though the intelligence might then be suppressed by changing climate and a much hotter environment. Perhaps a faction of such a group would move to a colder place and reactivate their intelligence. What group is generally genetically closed off, known for their infertility and has two factions, a dumb one from a hot climate and an unusually smart one from a colder climate?

ben tillman said...

This is very good news for black people that neanderthal genes only invaded non-Africans....

Huh?

Anonymous said...

It could be that a group of Neanderthals overran a human settlement, when the human population was really low outside Africa, and raped the women.

Or it could have been that a group of humans overran a group of Neanderthals and took their women. It's not clear at this point, and the gene flow doesn't give us a distinct answer.

M said...

Do the papers shed any light on, microcephalin, a new allele arose about 37,000 years ago, or FOXP2 gene, whose function is critical for language?

One of the interesting ideas in 'The 10,000 Year Explosion' is that some of the genes that regulate brain size may have come from neanderthals.

ben tillman said...

"To be fair, James Bowery predicted this even before. He predicted it years ago on usenet."

That would be a good thing to post as a comment.


Here are a couple results from a search of "groups" on google.

1995:

Bowery on Neanderthals I

A friend of mine who has very extraordinary statistics of muscle mass to fat and skeletal structure (ie, very robust) and who is also highly intelligent, suspects a high degree of neanderthal genes in his lineage from Norway. Looking at him, I'd have to say it is plausible right down to the prominent brow. His interest in neanderthals has merged with my interest in the causes of human gene-flow to yield an interesting hypothesis:

Neanderthals were BRED to near extinction via a phenomenon which we call "erocide" -- the destruction of a people incidental to genetic encroachment typically involving de facto polygyny and differential male fecundity between the gene-pools.

In the case of the neanderthals, it is plausible that their males, when coupled with gracile females, would produce fewer live births due to the narrow birth canal of the gracile females. The more gracile humans emerged from Africa in one of the earliest erocidal gene-flows from that area, through the Levant, north and west through europe.

Another aspect of erocide is that the encroaching gene-pool, for obvious reasons, avoids violent confrontation and seeks friendly integration.
--
The promotion of politics exterminates apolitical genes in the population. The promotion of frontiers gives apolitical genes a route to survival.


1998:

Bowery on Neanderthals II

This is probably a much less intense reproductive conflict than that which led to the demise of the Neanderthals. There is a good chance the Neanderthals disappeared due to a rather blatent form of erocide in which the female Neanderthals, due to their wide birth canals and long gestation period, could give birth to hybrids fathered by gracile males but gracile females, with their narrower birth canals and shorter gestation periods, would tend to produce premature births or to die during delivery due to the size of the infant.

Steve Sailer said...

Thanks.

That's a nicely specific prediction, which has implications that should, eventually, be testable by comparing mitochondrial and Y-Chromosome DNA, assuming enough can be found.

adsfasdfff said...

Is Sailer part Polish and thus allergic to Polish jokes?

n/a said...

"That's a nicely specific prediction, which has implications that should, eventually, be testable by comparing mitochondrial and Y-Chromosome DNA, assuming enough can be found."

If we're talking about in modern humans, you'd probably want to look at X-chromosomal vs. autosomal DNA.

n/a said...

But selection might have even obscured any signal there, so if you were suggesting looking at male vs. female Neanderthal contribution in ancient remains, I agree that would probably be the most direct way to test Bowery's prediction.

Anonymouse said...

Bowery also wrote an interesting post on the "Neanderthal theory of autism."

Anonymous said...

"Wrong. There's no vacuum cleaner that goes around removing "non-useful" DNA."

Rare alleles tend to be removed from the gene pool by random events especially during periods of declining population.

So it depends on what you think happened. If it was a single mating event in a population of several hundred modern humans, then the chances of some of that Neanderthal DNA still being around under neutral selection are about zero. About the same chance you would have of keeping some of your money if you sat down at a roulette table with a small stack of chips and placed a bet for 2000 spins of the wheel. On the other hand, if the first modern humans out of Africa met a similar number of Neanderthals in the Middle East and interbred with them for several millennia before moving on to populate the rest of the world, then yeah..there might be quite a bit of the Neanderthal DNA in our gene pool even without positive selection--a remnant of an even larger fraction.

I am betting on--or at least hoping for--the first scenario. If all the Neanderthal DNA we can find in humans has been positively selected for, then it is all important. Even the junk DNA might have functions of which we are not yet aware.

rob said...

[Neanderthals] certainly weren't likely to partake in animal husbandry to any particular degree (hint: hunter-gatherers).

True, but Cro-magnons were hunter gatherers too. All things equal, I could beleive that Neanderthals had a better intuitive understanding of prey species they'd been around for half a million years than upstarts.

On the other hand, Neanderthal's didn't throw things. That gave the HSS a huge hunting advantage.

1-4% is decent chunk of the genome. I wonder if Neanderthal sequences are in fairly big chunks that don't crossover much when paired with Out of Africa chromosomes. That would explain the big percent even if there weren't many beneficial Neanderthal genes.

The NYT article said that one or more of the putative introgressions involved the skeleton. How about wide hips? Being more robust, with larger brains and thicker skulls, Neanderchicks must have been built for birthin. How lethal is giving birth without modern medicine and sanitation, like 1/10? If hybrid women had a lower chance of dying in childbirth, the traits causing it would be under hella strong selection. Easier childbirth could lead to selection for longer gestation and larger brains. Overal, female hybrids are more likely to be viable as well.

LOL! It's starting to look like the racists had it wrong. We now may have scientific proof that caucasians are the monkeys.

Considering that you say East Asians are the new, genetically superior version of people, how can you not include yourself as on the racists? And East Asians. Don't forget that they have the "inferior" Neanderthal genes too.

This is very good news for black people that neanderthal genes only invaded non-Africans

tehehe. Yeah, some Neanderthal genes went to fixation in modern people because the people who had those genes were so much less functional. That is exactly how evolution works.

rob said...

Tsoldrin said...
Heat and energy.


If heat had been a big factor, wouldn't Neanderthal mitochondria have been selected for?

lans said...

LOL, so why the sudden airbrushing of the caveman of Geico fame. Folks you have it all wrong.

The Neanderthals though surviving in cold and even frigid conditions for more than 400,000 years were in no way more technologically advanced than the incoming Africans.

Now if all this fuss is being made of the 1-4% of the Eurasian genome that supposedly is of Neanderthal origin--then the next question then is how much of the European genome is African?
Cavalli-Sforza said it was about 33%. So here's the real news folks: there is no such thing as European racial purity.Europeans are the original mongrels of this world. Don't you see it with the allelic variation in their eye and hair color?

Let's face the facts folks: whatever brains European have its source is almost 100% from their African forbears. You have to talk like that, once you factor the Neanderthal contribution to the white genome.

Some poster above repeated the Klein nonsense about behavioral modern humans acquiring that state after they left Africa. Essentially faux--that theory. All the different stages of human technological development took place in Africa--all the way up to the iron age, agriculture, and animal husbandry.

Anonymous said...

“How lethal is giving birth without modern medicine and sanitation, like 1/10?”

According to Ian Mortimer’s book on Medieval (14th C.) England, the death rate for mothers was about 2% per birth event. So, if you had 12 kids, you had about a 21.5% chance of dying in childbirth.

“In the milk that most lactose-intolerant adult Africans do not much drink?

But you're right on the rest. Still, it would be interesting to see if certain health or social problems are more common in Northern blacks than in Southern ones. Also if fertility rates are lower?”

Most African Americans do eat dairy products. Even though most are lactose intolerant as adults, lactase persistence is more common among them because of their ca. 20% European admixture.

I do remember seeing somewhere (probably gnxp) that blacks in the N. have higher rates of certain cancers than southern blacks, probably because of vitamin D deficiency.

Anonymous said...

> if it was a single mating event in a population of several hundred modern humans, then the chances of some of that Neanderthal DNA still being around under neutral selection are about zero. About the same chance you would have of keeping some of your money if you sat down at a roulette table with a small stack of chips and placed a bet for 2000 spins of the wheel.

Yes, neutral alleles with a very low frequency are extremely likely to disappear.

On the other hand, if moderns picked up 2% neanderthal admixture, early on, then that is a different matter. We aren't talking about rare alleles, in such a situation. The average such allele would not have a tiny frequency at its locus. If we assume that the entire 2% is neutral, then yes, it might fluctuate up or fluctuate down, but probably not by much. We would expect it to come out about the same in the end -- 2%.

Having one neutral allele introduced, as a single copy, into a large population, is completely different from the case where an entire population -- an entire gene pool -- has a 2% admixture.

Anonymous said...

There has been significant back migration from Eurasia into at least Northern Sub-Saharan Africa since this event. A large percentage of men in Cameroon, for example, carry the R haplotype.

I would think that the Neanderthal influence on Non-African may have been towards stockier bodies and shorter limbs.

Anonymous said...

" However, there are Somalis up in Maine,"

Why are we giving Maine away to Somalis. They don't deserve it. Let's take people who screwed up their countries and give them two nice states like Maine and California for the Mexicans.Wow, we are fools.

Dutch Boy said...

At last an explanation for that perennial problem: the brother-in-law!

Anonymous said...

Does this mean that Americans of European descent can finally claim minority status?

ben tillman said...

According to Ian Mortimer’s book on Medieval (14th C.) England, the death rate for mothers was about 2% per birth event. So, if you had 12 kids, you had about a 21.5% chance of dying in childbirth.

No, if you had 12 kids, you had a 2% chance of dying in childbirth, since you must have survived the first 11.

Anonymous said...

Maybe this could help explain Cavalli-Sforza's conclusion that "The most important difference in the human gene pool is clearly that between Africans and non-Africans..."

adfasdfasdf said...

" However, there are Somalis up in Maine,"

Why are we giving Maine away to Somalis. They don't deserve it. Let's take people who screwed up their countries and give them two nice states like Maine and California for the Mexicans.Wow, we are fools.


Well, at least Maine might boosts its economy through piracy.

David said...

A lot of unstated and unproved assumptions are being thrown around here.

For example, first, what is the evidence that Neanderthals were less intelligent than modern humans, i.e., that Neanderthals were backward, inferior, stupid? Maybe it was the modern humans who were the more monkey-like and they simply outnumbered and killed off a gentler and more intelligent people.

A winner of evolution may be more fit, or may be the beneficiary of a lucky catastrophe or break. But is the winner also always smarter, nicer, wiser, more beautiful, more moral, and more heroic - especially if the winner is you?

Second, look at this from Ians:

>The Neanderthals though surviving in cold and even frigid conditions for more than 400,000 years were in no way more technologically advanced than the incoming Africans.<

Huh? Assuming they were just another type of human, it's very possible that they indeed were in some way more technologically advanced than the incoming humans. Africa was not cold.

David said...

>All the different stages of human technological development took place in Africa--all the way up to the iron age, agriculture, and animal husbandry.<

So what went wrong?

Anonymous said...

"No, if you had 12 kids, you had a 2% chance of dying in childbirth, since you must have survived the first 11."

Thanks smarta$$. I know that I should have stated that a woman had a 21.5% chance of dying in childbirth sometime before successfully completing her 12th birthing event. Ben, you really do play the uncivil jerk well though. I try to provide people with data to serious questions. What do you do but snipe at people?

Dutch Boy said...

Should be able to identify some Neanderthal mt-DNA or Y chromosome DNA in the current population if they are truly ancestral.

catperson said...

For example, first, what is the evidence that Neanderthals were less intelligent than modern humans, i.e., that Neanderthals were backward, inferior, stupid?

They couldn't compete against humans despite being twice as strong. This suggests that they may have a mental disadvantage, or it may suggest that brute strength is overrated and having a tall and scrawny physique is more efficient because it allows for greater speed and reach without the calorie burden of maintaining bulk.

It's true neanderthals had larger brains, however at least one study found their brains to be smaller when you adjust for their more robust body build (though I don't know if this study used the correct procedures)

Maybe it was the modern humans who were the more monkey-like and they simply outnumbered and killed off a gentler and more intelligent people.

The reason I assumed neanderthals were monkeys is because I assumed that they were a more ancient form of primate than we are however after reading wikipedia, I'm no longer convinced this is the case. It seems the first full blown neanderthals did not appear until 130,000 years ago, while the first anatomically modern humans appeared 195,000 years ago, suggesting neanderthals may be more evolved (which would make sense since they lived in a more challenging environment)

It's possible neanderthals were more intelligent but that humans had a physical advantage (i.e. taller and more gracile) or a specific aspect of intelligence which made humans less autistic than neanderthals and thus better suited for group competition (i.e. linguistic ability, social cognition (theory of mind)) and so hybrids had the best of both worlds.

It should be noted that not everyone agrees that neanderthals and humans breeded:

http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2010/05/tales-of-neanderthal-admixture-in.html

Anonymous said...

LOL, so why the sudden airbrushing of the caveman of Geico fame. Folks you have it all wrong.

The inspiration for the Geico Caveman has been found. Dan Hill is half black and half white.

Anonymous said...

Should be able to identify some Neanderthal mt-DNA or Y chromosome DNA in the current population if they are truly ancestral.

Not necessarily. If the H. sapiens versions of these were more adaptive the Neanderthal versions would've eventually been weeded out, perhaps quite quickly if they were dramatically less adaptive. Even if they were equally adaptive they still could've been eliminated via random events (genetic drift), especially if the fraction of interbreeding was small relative to the population. Keep in mind that most mtDNA lines don't go back very far. The oldest mtDNA line prominent in Europe only came into existence ~30,000 years ago, and the other 6 are far younger. Since men are able to be more prolific, the Y DNA lines are even younger than those. All these lines, mtDNA or Y DNA, coalesce into a single lineage about the time of the hypothesized interbreeding events (though logically I would suspect interbreeding may have continued occurring at even later dates - evolution/genealogy is not a neat process).

Anonymous said...

Maybe this could help explain Cavalli-Sforza's conclusion that "The most important difference in the human gene pool is clearly that between Africans and non-Africans..."

The biggest difference seems to be not just intelligence but a certain level of social trust, cooperation and passivity. Neanderthals may have introduced the genes, but their value might not have become adaptive until the invention of agriculture, metallurgy and civilization.

This would explain why some non-African populations aren't necessarily more cooperative than African ones, but why only non-African populations are generally advanced.

Neanderthals put the potential into the genome. Civilization and technology exploited it and fixed it in the genome. It would be interesting to see if there's any variance in Neanderthal DNA in populations where civilization evolved (India, China, Europe) and those where it did not (Afghanistan, Australian aboriginals, American Indians).

James Kabala said...

"But not once did I hear the supposition that perhaps the climate was a huge factor."

Actually climate factors are a pretty standard explanation as to why Caribbean blacks died off at such a rate that their owners needed a constant fresh supply, while blacks in the future Southern U.S. were able to replace themselves. Thus, in the Caribbean the abolition of the slave trade led quickly to the death of slavery itself, while in the U.S. it did not. Of course, it's always a crapshoot what filters down to the high schools.

Lawrence Auster said...

Personally I’ve stopped following the developments in human pre-history. I think the field is extremely unstable, with all kinds of competing theories in existence, each based on fragmentary evidence, and then each new “study” changes the picture once again. A few years ago I thought the Out of Africa picture presented by Wade in Before the Dawn and by Michael Hart in Understanding Human History represented a definite scientific consensus, and I accepted it. Then I found out about all kinds of anthropologists who question it. A lot of their work is posted at Matthilda’s Anthropology site. There is also Ronald Fonda who challenges the entire out-of-Africa idea. I felt it was impossible to derive any stable or intelligible view of things from this welter of different views and stopped following the debate.

The Human-Neanderthal interbreeding question is a case in point. It was once believed that there was no interbreeding between them. Then a lot of anthropologists started saying that there was. (For some time humans and Neanderthals were even regarded as being in the same species, which in my opinion, looking a the differences between their skulls, is absurd, and then that idea was dropped as well). Then several years ago I saw a program on TV about a study which had determined absolutely that there had been no human-Neanderthal interbreeding. The liberal anthropologists interviewed on the documentary openly expressed their extreme disappointment over this, since, as one of them unembarrassedly confessed, he had strongly hoped that there was interbreeding with Neanderthals because that would help advance the idea of equality. But, alas, there hadn’t been any interbreeding, and he sadly had to accept the science.

So now we have yet another study and it tells us the opposite of what the previous definitive study told us five years ago. Excuse me for feeling jerked around. I don’t think that, say, the scientists discovering the laws of motion, or of chemistry, or of electromagnetism, kept reversing themselves the way this field of early human pre-history does. I’m distrustful of it, because there are too many imponderables and each new “discovery” is based on insufficient evidence to be taken as definitive. In its current state of high instability, this is a field for specialists to keep thrashing things out among themselves until they arrive at a consensus. It’s not ripe enough for laymen to bother following it.

As further indication of the nature of the problem, look at all the speculation running rife in this thread. It's speculation based on a study which is likely to be reversed by another study in another two years

David Davenport said...

Larry, Genesis doesn't mention Neandertal people, nor does the Bible say that God created Neanderthals.

Do these omissions mean that Neanderthals never existed?

And if there once were Neanterthal folk, weren't they also God's children?

Anonymous said...

The view we get of pre-history will inherently be very low-res, given that it's all but impossible to account for the mating behavior of billlions of people over 3,000 or so generations. The new study only accounts for one period of interbreeding between H. sapiens and H. neanderthalensis. More likely such matings occurred hundreds or even thousands of times with various hominids as they spread across Eurasia, picking up advantageous and disdvantageous alleles along the way, then weeding out the weaker ones over the generations as the beneficial ones moved towards fixation.

Accounting for the new data I find the basic outline to be compelling, although I'm certainly no expert. The field may "not be ripe enough for laymen to bother" with, but it's fascinating to think about nonetheless, because it's our history, and because the picture will probably always be so blurry as to leave room for argument.

Anonymous said...

[i]Does this imply that people from the middle east have the most neanderthal genes. Could this explain why they tend to be shorter (and stronger?) with more body hair or is the short stature caused by malnutrition? Also, don't the strongest people in Europe come from countries with Middle Eastern genes?[/i]

This is an interesting tangent. To the best of my knowlege, there is very little evidence to suggest that people from the Middle East tend to be stronger than Europeans. I enjoy watching "Strength Events", but I'm no expert. That said, if one looks at lists of record holders in Olympic Weightlifting [i](clean and jerk, snatch)[/i], powerlifting [i](bench press, squat, deadlift)[/i], Olympic Weight Events [i](shot put, discus, hammer throw)[/i], and those nutty "World's Strongest Man" contests they show marathon style on ESPN2 every now and then, the winners and record holders are predominately European or decended from Europeans.

The best case for Middle Easterners is made by Olympic Weightlifting. Iranian Hossein Rezazadeh currently holds the men's heavyweight records. A smattering of Bulgarians, Poles, Belarussians and Greeks hold the middle weight records, and the Chinese dominate the light weight classes and women's events.

However, since there is no money to be made, Olympic Weightlifting has been extremely unpopular in America since the early 1980s. [i](Although I have seen some anecdotal evidence of a resurgance amongst SWPL types.)[/i] I can't speak for Europe, but it seems very unfashionable there as well.

Powerlifting records are dominated by peoples from former Soviet republics, Scandinavians, Americans and Poles. Representatives of the same nations routinely win the World's Strongest Man contests, with Iceland's Magnus ver Magnussen and Poland's Marius Pudzianowski being the only 4-time champions. The same can be said for shot put, discus, hammer throw, etc.

Don't take my word for it. Look it up. ; )

nooffensebut said...

@ Lawrence Auster

Why so serious? I think this is fun. Another example of such “instability” in a scientific field is when cosmologists were perplexed about the universe supposedly being younger than the stars within it. This is why the “climategate” nuts are so ridiculous. The scientific process is not a spectator sport for self-righteous jerks who emotionally invest themselves in anti-establishment unorthodoxies. Science is simultaneously conservative and subject to revision, as needed.

I think the true meaning of this revelation, which is far more reliable than a lack of Neanderthal DNA in mitochondria, is that mixing does not cause wretched "impurity." Perhaps most Neanderthal DNA was untenable in a Homo sapiens’ world, but clearly not all. If a gene bestows Darwinian advantage (or even neutrality), it can spread, although its initial vessel is a dying race.

rebelliousvanilla said...

lans, you realize that if the source of European intelligence is of African origin, Africans should be smarter, right? lol

Since I'm an European woman, having the offspring of an African man would lead to an improvement in intelligence if what you say is true since he'd have far more African DNA which is the source of the European intelligence, but mixed children are stupider on average than children with two European parents. It's funny, but your arguments are so weak someone doesn't even have to struggle to blow them out of the water.

rob said...

Larry, Genesis doesn't mention Neandertal people, nor does the Bible say that God created Neanderthals.

I've wondered how a creationist like Auster reconciles reconciles the racial IQ differences with his theology. If Darwinian selection didn't cause racial differentiation, why did God make the populations of some continents so dumb? Is God a dick? That seems like a problem.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

I would think that H. sapiens at the extreme ends of the migration routes, on the perimeter of Europe and Asia, would be most likely to have the highest amount of Neanderthal (or other hominid) DNA.

Consider: modern Homo sapiens exits Africa ca. 60,000 years ago. They are supposedly more advanced than Neanderthals, but not entirely so. They encounter Neanderthals in the Middle East region and outcompete them, interbreed with them some, but mostly replace them. As they move across Europe and Asia they keep encountering various members of the hominid family and keep (occasionally) interbreeding with them. Assuming they have not already absorbed all of the valuable alleles from H. neanderthalensis - which they probably won't have, since different populations will have different alleles - they will occasionally benefit from this intermingling.

And where do we first find cave paintings and other examples of human advancement? Not in the Middle East, but in France and Spain - Lascaux, Chauvet - at the extreme ends of the migration routes (assuming H. sapiens entered Europe via Asia Minor or the Caucasus rather than Gibraltar).

This would have been after 20-30 thousand years of encountering and occasionally interbreeding with H. neanderthalensis, after a long period of absorbing their positive traits while winnowing out the negative ones.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

If Darwinian selection didn't cause racial differentiation, why did God make the populations of some continents so dumb?

Why don't you wear the exact same clothes everyday? Or listen to the exact same song over and over? There are plenty of reasons for why God might've made different populations different; more reasons, in fact than why He would've made them the same; or maybe He did make them all the same but their choices made them different.

I say all this as an ardent evolutionist who is on the fence about God, but who wouldn't mind if there was One, so long as He is a forgiving One.

adfadfasdfasdf said...

"So now we have yet another study and it tells us the opposite of what the previous definitive study told us five years ago. Excuse me for feeling jerked around. I don’t think that, say, the scientists discovering the laws of motion, or of chemistry, or of electromagnetism, kept reversing themselves the way this field of early human pre-history does."

The problem is not the science but the scientists. They have social and political agendas, on both the right and left(more on the left). Scientists should say, 'we know what we know and we don't know what we don't know'. But too many scientists seek to hog all the attention by saying, 'we now know everything thanks to the latest finding'. They should only say, 'we now know a little more as a result of new discoveries'. Humility is something scientists need more of.
And they should never mistake theory or speculation as hard facts or the final truth.

David said...

>too many scientists seek to hog all the attention by saying, 'we now know everything thanks to the latest finding'. They should only say, 'we now know a little more as a result of new discoveries'. Humility is something scientists need more of.<

I've only ever seen scientists making careful, qualified statements of precisely the kind you recommend. Most of the time, it's the media that seizes on some nuance or wrinkle in a study and whoops it up into a major definitive finding.

Try reading these stories more closely. Don't they almost always read something as follows?

"WE MAY ALL BE GAY
by science correspondent Stirrim Up

"A new study by XYZ University shows we all have the gay gene!

"'This is only a preliminary study on an isolated aspect, and much additional work must be done before you can say that everyone is gay, or even that there is a gay gene,' said Dr. Fletcher, a scientist at XYZ.

"'This discovery has enormous implications for society!' says Bertha Fishlips, head of Lesbians United...

"'Policy decisions affecting how we treat gay men and women in this society ought to be reconsidered in the light of growing general evidence that homosexuality proceeds from the genes,' declared Senator Frank." (etc.)

Note: it's almost never the scientist who is boasting and arrogant. It's the other people in the story who lack humility. The scientist is usually a poor slob who gets rolled. (Sometimes it's the scientist who starts the ball rolling for publicity, but not often.)

Anonymous said...

Re Mr. Auster's comments and
specifically "thrashing things out among themsleves"
It seems on the second and third tier campuses ( most state universities ), a bright undergrad can never get any classroom inkling of any reservation at all concerning OoA. Given the layers of false assurances re OoA in the PC classrooms and in the MS media,
why not have varied authorities agree to sign off on Mr. Auster's
conclusion--namely, that a suspension of belief and of operating assumptions is called for until there are lots fewer question marks and lots more facts about human prehistory??