November 5, 2013

Cosh: The IQ benefits of winter in Japan

Edmonton, Alberta is the farthest north major city in Canada, 587 miles farther north than Minneapolis, which, I hear, gets kind of chilly in winter despite being practically equatorial. And Edmonton is at 2,100 feet altitude, which lowers the temperature another 7 or 8 degrees compared to sea level. The high today in Edmonton was 28 degrees F, or below freezing, in contrast to today's high in, say, Van Nuys of 79 F. So, loyal Edmonton native Colby Cosh is always on the lookout for why frostbite is good for you if it doesn't quite kill you, like it makes your descendants' smarter. He writes in Maclean's:
A new study in the biometric journal Intelligence presents surprising data from Japan that reveal that IQ, imputed from standardized tests given to a large random sample of Japanese 14-year-olds, varies strongly and persistently with latitude. The Japanese are usually thought of—even by themselves—as being quite homogeneous ethnically; the myth of the sturdy, super-cohesive “Yamato race” has not yet been entirely obtruded out of existence. But it turns out that the mean IQs of students in Japanese prefectures apparently vary from north to south by two-thirds of a standard deviation—a spread almost as large as the “race gaps” in cognitive performance which trouble education scholars in multicultural countries like ours. Sun-drenched Okinawans, as a group, do not test as well as the snowbound citizens of Akita.

I don't know anything about Japan so I can't say whether this finding is plausible or not. This pattern isn't necessarily seen in other major Asian countries. In China, the highest achieving region on college tests is said to be the moderately southern province of Fujian, on the coast. In India, southern provinces have come up in the world, with the software capital being Bangalore down south (but also up modestly high, which no doubt helps health and fosters a culture less dragged down by relentless heat and humidity).

60 comments:

Anonymous said...

What's Cochran say?

Anonymous said...

Sun-drenched Okinawans, as a group, do not test as well as the snowbound citizens of Akita.

Probably because Okinawans aren't ethnically identical to the mainland Japanese.

Okinawa is not part of mainland Japan. For a long time it had a closer relationship with China than with Japan. Japan invaded in the 16th century. It preserved autonomy from Japan until 1868, when it was formally incorporated into Japan. The standard Japanese language is used there now, but the Okinawan language is quite different and incomprehensible to Japanese speakers.

Anonymous said...

The Okinawan language is more mutually incomprehensible with Japanese than Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, or even French are with each other.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't seem to have been true among native North Americans either

Uncle Peregrine said...

The southern provinces of India and China are farther removed from the political and military conflicts around the northern capital and more distant from barbarian invasions.

Anonymous said...

What part of Japan are the TEPCO execs from?

And where's Greenpeace on Fukushima?

Anonymous said...

Local anomalies in the bigger picture, Steve.

Until very recently, north Indians looked down upon south Indians as being a poor and lesser breed - the achievements of India were accomplished by northerners. There is a great deal of 'tribal' blood in south Indians.

As for south Chinese, it's believed that population pressures acting over millenia selected for high IQ - in a rice/agriculture based society.

eah said...

Perhaps similar to the putative effect in Lake Wobegon, MN, where it's known to be cold in winter, and where all children are reportedly above average.

Anonymous said...

The south Chinese seem to have been outcompeting the north Chinese for at least the past 700 years.

From http://www.friesian.com/discrim.htm:

"""
In 1370, the first Emperor of the Dynasty, Chu Yüan-chang, who expelled the Mongols in 1368, reinstituted the great Civil Service Examinations, which had been suspended by the Mongols. In 1371, 75% of the degrees from the national examination had gone to candidates from the South of China. This displeased the Emperor, who believed, with many traditionalists, that Northerners were morally more worthy -- from the area where Chinese civilization had begun. The examinations were thus suspended until 1385, but then the geographical division of those who passed did not change. At a special Palace examination in 1397, all of the 52 candidates who passed were Southerners. Borrowing from the Josef Stalin school of bureaucracy, the Emperor had two of the examiners executed. In a subsequent retesting, all the successful candidates were Northerners.

By 1425 it was decided that places in the national examinations would be reserved by region, with 35% for the North, 55% for the South, and 10% for some places in the middle.
"""

Freman said...

Are Scots smarter than Cockneys?

In Spain, where I live, the coldest regions are not necessarily at the north: Cataluña lies above Madrid, but since Madrid has a continental climate, and Cataluña enjoys a Mediterranean climate, Cataluña is actually warmer. In any case, it is true that you find the highest IQs in Madrid, Cataluña... and the good old Castilla, which is the coldest state in Spain, probably. But a funny fact: provinces in the coastal fringe have lower IQs than their neighboring "continental" provinces.

Dunno, there're a lot of factors involved. Isolated regions may have higher inbreeding. Big capital cities attracts smart people.

el supremo said...

People from the southern provinces of Japan proper (Choshu and Satsuma as opposed to Okinawa) played a key role in modernizing Japan during the Meiji restoration, accounting for many of the foreign exchange students, the first engineers, Western style military officers,etc. Earlier Nagasaki residents (also in the South) were major innovators in transmitting Western science from the Dutch outpost there. So at least in recent history, the South has produced some of the most innovative and successful people in the country.

feministx said...

The IQ latitude pattern is observed broadly, but clearly there is variation in the predictability of the correlation.

People in Hong Kong have one of the highest IQ averages in the world. Eskimos are not known for being that bright.

Regarding this pattern though, if we strangely removed white people from our consciousness, would this pattern occur to anyone? Without whites, the latitude- intelligence thing would not be obvious. It wouldn't at all be a predictor of civilizational accomplishment. The Aztecs did more than the first nations types of the Yukon. Indians did better than the Central Asians above them. Koreans don't seem more advanced than the southern chinese.

I think we have a tendency to be biased in favor of the latitude-intelligence correlation because whites have been the most accomplished race for the last 1000 years. Even in 500 AD, the latitude intelligence connection wouldn't have looked very apparent. From the Sumerians to Ancient Egyptions to Assyrians, the middle east had more going for it than Northern Europe at the time.

Alexander said...

As other have pointed out, Okinawa is not Japan.

My understanding is that this plays a large role in why the US base is there: when it was clear to Japan that the United States was going to have a military presence in Japan, they pushed to have as much of it as possible in a place they did not consider to be Japan.

Anonymous said...

I don't have the original story (no link) but Akita isn't nearly the farthest north you could be in Japan. If Hokkaido isn't the region that gets cited for being tops, then it isn't ice and snow that's driving things.

Also, as others have mentioned, the Okinawans are not and never have been Yamato Japanese. They look like Filipinos and speak indecipherable dialects. And Okinawa is far, far from the home islands.

So the places cited cannot logically make up part of a coherent argument in favor of icier Japan.

Anonymous said...

I'snt South India mostly Dravidian and north India is Indo-European/Aryan??

Anonymous said...

I remember a Russian commentary about ancient Greek philosophers, and in particular the philosopher Diogenes who chose to give up all worldly possessions and lived in a barrel, that Greek philosophy could not work in Russia because it gets too cold in the winter, or something like that.

In East and South Asia maybe surviving monsoons requires more smarts or discipline or whatever than surviving winter.

Alternatively maybe some groups cheat cooperatively better than others. Northern India and China also had Mongol problems that lead to significant genocides.

Anonymous said...

You see this in Europe and the United States too. The divide between North and South Italy is talked about often. You can see it in the Euro crisis where the southern countries are having the most difficulty. You can also see it in the US with the differences between the Deep South and the Midwest and North East.

alex said...

As a Northern Chinese of Manchurian origin, I feel lucky.

Anonymous said...

The Japanese people are made up of a blend of ~60-80% Mongoloid rice farmers from the mainland and 20-40% indigenous hairy proto-Mongoloid sedentary hunter gatherers (the Jomon people).

The Jomon genetic contribution is not the same in all regions of Japan. They hung around in some areas longer than in others and it wasn't simply a matter of conquest and replacement. The Jomon actually contributed an amount of genetic material to the modern Japanese that is disproportionately high, compared to their population, because they managed to obtain certain privileged social roles.

Peter Frost suggests that the North / South IQ differential is completely independent of the Jomon / Yayoi differential.

But we should probably look very carefully before dismissing the possibility. What are the odds that these two highly disparate groups would have exactly the same average IQs?

Winter is good for your genes, that much is obvious. But it doesn't seem to be that good for your genes. We're talking about very short frame here, even taking into account the increasing speed of evolution over the last 10,000 years.

Winter might make you smarter, but it's not necessarily a fast, dramatic process. Alaskan Natives are only very slightly smarter than Native Americans from the lower 48. The Scandinavians aren't that much smarter than the Northern Italians. In fact, most measurements would say they're dumber.

Often times a significant difference in IQ can be traced to a difference in the base genetic stock. Like Southern Italians being significantly non-European and having low IQs. That difference in base genetic stock represents evolution working over a much larger time scale.

We should look harder to see if there is a correlation between IQ and Jomon ancestry. Looking at Ainu IQ would also be relevant.

DPG said...

Northern Indians I used to work with would condescend to the "southies." I don't know enough to say whether this air of superiority was justified.

as said...

Until very recently, north Indians looked down upon south Indians as being a poor and lesser breed - the achievements of India were accomplished by northerners.

I don't think this is accurate. North Indians are much poorer than South Indians. A lot of Indian culture is really the culture of NorthWest India.



Anonymous said...

If you are cold and hurt, you are more likely to die, then if you are warm and hurt. It takes more awareness and thinking to survive in the cold.

In the cold, one must know their surrounding and the nature of what they touch and how it works - this means a working awareness of physics.

People who know some physics will test out better then those who don’t.

Anonymous said...

A follow on to the idea that it takes more thinking to survive in the cold.

Surly there is a Darwinian effect happening - weak thinkers are more likely to perish in the cold.

Another is that cold climates require more group cooperation - group cooperation requires more thinking then individual action.

Anonymous said...

The southern provinces of China were settled by Chinese from central and northern China.

Josh Yellowfever said...

Steve, you are mistaken in China's test. Fujian is not the highest one. Guangdong is. Most of earlier oversea chinese were also from Guangdong province. Here is document from Monash University in Australia using Chinese GaoKao provincial cutoff scores as their admission criteria. This is also precisely why Chinese still do not abandon their Hukou system so to prevent the gaming of their key exam system. If a student from Guangdong was allowed take the test in Tibet, it would offer fabulous chance to get into first tier University even though he may fail to get into any university when taking the exam in Guangdong. Here is the link: http://monash.edu.au/assets/pdf/china/gaokao-flyer-for-students.pdf

iSteveCommentariat said...

I'm a little east of edmonton, Steve, and it was 0F overnight last night.

pat said...

My second wife was Canadian. So I went to Canada for a lot of Christmases. Her family was in London Ontario - what the Canadians call the 'banana belt' because it is so much warmer than the rest of Canada.

Yet every winter I went there they seemed to convene the north winds to celebrate my arrival with a blizzard. Driving the highway that comes up from Detroit looks like Antarctica and I felt like Scott lost in the endless frozen waste.

Yet even the hardy natives who laughed at my fears spoke in hushed tones about the weather in Edmonton. Apparently the whole city is like a moon colony. Everything is under glass. They live under a city wide dome.

The whole IQ and cold winter notion has been promulgated mainly by Lynn I believe, although Rushton also spread that as a theory. I think there is as much reason to believe that the tropics make you stupid as the notion that the high temperate latitudes make you smart.

The cold-smart hypothesis only has one argument to its credit. You need to plan ahead to survive a hard winter. But there are several means by which tropical climates could makes you stupid. Parasite load is just one. The pleiotropic Melanin-Cortin biosynthesis effects seem to make darker skinned creatures more aggressive. Perhaps they also cause lower intelligence?

I have never seen any empirical evidence that cold winters actually cause greater intelligence. I would welcome it. There are well known latitude effects like Allen's Rule for which there is plenty of evidence. But where are the studies that show - for example - that the artic fox is foxier than those in southern England?

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

Mussolini in December 1940, looking gloomily out at a chilly Rome as the Italian Army retreated in North Africa:

"This snow and cold are very good. In this way our good-for-nothing Italians, this mediocre race, will be improved. One of the principal reasons I have desired the reforestation of the Apennines has been to make Italy colder and snowier…"

KevinM said...

One thing that varies latitudinally with the Japanese is interbreeding with the Ainu

ysv_rao said...


Until very recently, north Indians looked down upon south Indians as being a poor and lesser breed - the achievements of India were accomplished by northerners. There is a great deal of 'tribal' blood in south Indians."

Even by isteve comment board standards, this statement is incredibly ignorant

I dont care much for stereotypes in India as they are always in flux but just for the record North Indians are of the opinion that Southerners are quite smart though a tad introverted and less appealing physically
Southerners think North Indians are dim witted blowhards who talk a good game about being martial but are unable to deliver

If you think South Indians didnt contribute to Indian civilization, maybe you shouldnt be commenting on matters outside a 100 mile radius of your immediate residence

ysv_rao said...

Yet another idiot theory propagated by the "ice age made us whites smarter" brigade.

Yup thats why Eskimoes and Lapps are so grossly represented by Nobel Prize winners

oh I suppose they are non white-so they dont count for whatever reason....

Whats new nanotechnology and cancer research emanates from the white Canadians in the far north and Caucasian Alaskans?.....Yeah

Also Steve, hot and humid Chennai has a lot more smarter people than relatively temperate Bangalore.

The Himalayan foothills are very pleasant in the summer and cold in the winter...They are often quite CaucasoidThe residents are viewed as village idiots by the plainspeople

ysv_rao said...


The southern provinces of India and China are farther removed from the political and military conflicts around the northern capital and more distant from barbarian invasions."

Its pseudo history bonanza at isteve today!
Southern India was also devastated by Turkic invasions-Allaudin Khilji,Malik Kafur,Bahman Sultans.

Before the Muslim invasions,however no barbarian successfully penetrated the South
And even in the North, those who did the most damage were the Huns who were eventually defeated and one of the tribes(Gurjara) descendants are the mild mannered entrepreneurial Gujaratis.

The Southern kingdoms were however more successful at beating them.
Indeed some Southern kingdoms like Satavahanas had to invade the north to save them from depredations of Scythians and Iranians.
Other southern dynasties like Chalukyas,Cholas and Rashtrukutas turned north India into their colony and no barbarian dare invaded their realms while they were in power.

anony-mouse said...

How do the Ainu fit into this?

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ainu_people

Anthony said...

If the "genetic load" theory of IQ is moderately correct, then it would be reasonable to expect within a single group to find higher IQs at colder latitudes. All else won't be equal, though - Greater London is probably smarter than the rest of Britain (and Edinburgh and Glasgow smarter than the Highlands) because cities draw the smarter folks disproportionally.

Canadian Critic said...

Edmonton is not particularly a smart city, mostly because smart Edmontonians move to Calgary, the East, or the States. There are not that many "smart" jobs in Edmonton other than doctor, dentist, and teacher. Edmonton is pretty much Winnipeg with oil.

Anonymous said...

I remember a Russian commentary about ancient Greek philosophers, and in particular the philosopher Diogenes who chose to give up all worldly possessions and lived in a barrel, that Greek philosophy could not work in Russia because it gets too cold in the winter, or something like that.

The same could be said about early Christianity, which required some heavy modifications to be palatable to Northern Europeans.

Anonymous said...

Mussolini in December 1940, looking gloomily out at a chilly Rome as the Italian Army retreated in North Africa:
"This snow and cold are very good. In this way our good-for-nothing Italians, this mediocre race, will be improved. One of the principal reasons I have desired the reforestation of the Apennines has been to make Italy colder and snowier…"


Mussolini was also gung-ho about sending Italians off to fight Hitler's war in Russia. He was probably more motivated by Axis loyalty, and anti-communism, than by improving the Italian people.

Michael Ryan said...

yeah but adult cognitive activity may not correlate with children who tend to be native to the geography whereas adults may migrate to coastal cities or nicer clime cities for work these migrants may be the brightest boldest most curious or most qualified for city jobs.

Anonymous said...

"I dont care much for stereotypes in India as they are always in flux but just for the record North Indians are of the opinion that Southerners are quite smart though a tad introverted and less appealing physically"

This is right. The fair skin proclivity however prevents them from being the master race.

Common Ice said...

I think there has been more mixing of populations in China than in Japan. There was intentional shuffling by the Maoists (and from fleeing them), for example. I have met swarthy Chinese men who hail from Northern Provinces, and bone-white Chinese girls from Hong Kong. In addition, there has historically been more conquests and population shuffling over the ages in the middle Kingdom as well.

Anonymous said...

I have never seen any empirical evidence that cold winters actually cause greater intelligence.

I don't think that's how evolution works. In practice, mutations that are better adapted to a given environment are more likely to survive and pass on their genes. This is a statistical average just like we say the average white person has an IQ of 100. Just as not all whites have that IQ, not all less well-adapted mutations die off and not all well-adapted mutations survive. The reason better adapted mutations survive has nothing to do with conscious effort, and everything to do with superior genes, for the purposes of surviving in that environment. Had the environment been different, these mutations might have lost out.

feministx said...

"I have never seen any empirical evidence that cold winters actually cause greater intelligence.
"

Well, that would be preposterous. Cold winters do not and cannot cause the kind of intelligence we are interested in. Think of whatever human group you find the dimmest. Aboriginals? Pygmy negritos? Now understand that this group is vastly more intelligent than a musk ox.

There have been perhaps 900,000 species that migrated from a warmer area to a colder. In almost all cases the resulting adaptation was a thicker coat or some added blubber. No, animals do not normally need high future time orientation to plan for the cold. No, you definitely do not need to be that bright to survive in the cold.

Our close cousins, the neanderthaals, spent a few hundred thousand years in European winters and they never ended up with a Voltaire or a CERN laboratory to boast of their great intelligence. They did not need much brights to thrive in the cold.

Look, there is a latitude correlation with IQ, but there must be some more refined cause than "cold makes you need more IQ". Perhaps a combination of depending on agriculture in cold weather and high population density drives higher IQ, but by itself, it's just silly to say cold demands that much of an IQ to get by.

ysv_rao said...


Mussolini in December 1940, looking gloomily out at a chilly Rome as the Italian Army retreated in North Africa:
"This snow and cold are very good. In this way our good-for-nothing Italians, this mediocre race, will be improved. One of the principal reasons I have desired the reforestation of the Apennines has been to make Italy colder and snowier…"

Talk about self hate. Mr Mussolini had internalized much of the Nazis nonsensical racial theories

I dont think he had read Guisseppe Sergis Mediterranean Race which in part reads like a defense of all dark skinned sun drenched peoples

Mr Sergi contends that the Nordics could not have been a superior race if they could not tolerate warmer climate while the Mediterranean peoples had no problem with colder climates(Neolithic farmers in Britian,Ireland and France)

Hitler flattered Mussolini by proclaiming as an Alpine type not those "mediocre" Mediterraneans I suppose(the same mediocrities that create pretty much every Near Eastern civilization such as Phoenician,Egyptian,Minoan,Classical Greece,Etruscan,Carthaginian and a good chunk of Persian and Indian civilizations)

Anonymous said...

There have been perhaps 900,000 species that migrated from a warmer area to a colder. In almost all cases the resulting adaptation was a thicker coat or some added blubber. No, animals do not normally need high future time orientation to plan for the cold. No, you definitely do not need to be that bright to survive in the cold.

Yeah you do - if you're a primate that settled cold, northern climes in the relatively short period of time that humans did. Humans didn't wait to evolve heavy fur coats and blubber and drastically different physiology to be grazing herbivores or hunting carnivores in order to settle and survive northern climes. As primates, they may never have been able to. They settled northern climes by cultural adaptations and cognitively demanding hunting strategies. This required intelligence.

feministx said...

"Yeah you do - if you're a primate that settled cold, northern climes in the relatively short period of time that humans did. "

Neanderthaals did the same thing. For that matter, we have found erectus and denisovan remains in cold climates too and none of these homonids developed an advanced civilization that indicated high intelligence.

Neanderthaals showed considerable technological inertia and had simpler tools that humans, but they moved into Europe quickly enough that it was probably not possible for them to develop enough hair to not need fur covering. Neanderthaals had paint, dwellings made of bones, tools and hide scrapers and a number of other things that indicated they were dextrous enough to put fur together around their bodies to keep warm. This basic primitive level intelligence was enough for them to thrive in cold winters.

Bill said...

Yeah you do - if you're a primate that settled cold, northern climes in the relatively short period of time that humans did. Humans didn't wait to evolve heavy fur coats and blubber and drastically different physiology to be grazing herbivores or hunting carnivores in order to settle and survive northern climes. As primates, they may never have been able to. They settled northern climes by cultural adaptations and cognitively demanding hunting strategies. This required intelligence.

Explain why you think hairy and fat are harder/slower to evolve than smart.

Anonymous said...

"Doesn't seem to have been true among native North Americans either"

Depends on whether you take the ability to successfully wage war as a marker of intelligence. The Aztecs, for example, were originally from the American Southwest. Linguistically and genetically, they were more closely related to the Comanche (another people really good at war) than say, the Mayans. They conquered the area that encompassed Southern Mexico a few hundred years before the Spanish arrived, and more or less appropriated the civilization of the previous inhabitants.

Matt said...

Yeah you do - if you're a primate that settled cold, northern climes in the relatively short period of time that humans did. Humans didn't wait to evolve heavy fur coats and blubber and drastically different physiology to be grazing herbivores or hunting carnivores in order to settle and survive northern climes. As primates, they may never have been able to. They settled northern climes by cultural adaptations and cognitively demanding hunting strategies. This required intelligence.

Interestingly, the corollary of this would be that the more African like a race is compared to its climate, the more likely it is to be psychologically on the ball.

Which certainly makes sense comparing European anatomically modern humans and Neanderthals... Although perhaps the fairer comparison is between groups with equal time depth at cold climates, who vary in African-ness.

SMERSH said...

"Explain why you think hairy and fat are harder/slower to evolve than smart. "

Because it takes a huge number of genes working in concert to make you smart, but only a few genes (or one) to make you fat or hairy.

A significant number of the distinctive physical traits of East Asians can be traced to a single gene.

But from what we know about the brain it appears unlikely that a single mutation could increase intelligence in a similarly dramatic manner.

Anonymous said...

"Explain why you think hairy and fat are harder/slower to evolve than smart."

Don't know about hairy, but fat's hard to accumulate if you're a farmer in a cold climate, one bad harvest away from starvation. You'd need the intelligence first (among other things) before you could have a chance to become fat.

Anonymous said...

Neanderthaals did the same thing. For that matter, we have found erectus and denisovan remains in cold climates too and none of these homonids developed an advanced civilization that indicated high intelligence.

Neanderthaals showed considerable technological inertia and had simpler tools that humans, but they moved into Europe quickly enough that it was probably not possible for them to develop enough hair to not need fur covering. Neanderthaals had paint, dwellings made of bones, tools and hide scrapers and a number of other things that indicated they were dextrous enough to put fur together around their bodies to keep warm. This basic primitive level intelligence was enough for them to thrive in cold winters.


You're begging the question.

Anonymous said...

Explain why you think hairy and fat are harder/slower to evolve than smart.

Because you had anatomically modern humans who were already quite intelligent and had already relied on primitive culture and hunting. Evolving thick fur and fat wouldn't have been sufficient to survive northern climes. Humans are slow and thus physiologically poor hunters, unlike cats or wolves. And they're physiologically not grazing herbivores like bison or deer. To adapt completely physiologically, rather than culturally and through intelligence, to northern climes, not only would humans have to evolve thick fur coats and fat, but they would also have to evolve radically from anatomically modern humans into a physiological carnivore or herbivore. You'd have to turn a man into something like a bear, or a wolf, or a bison, etc. That's a radical change from taking an anatomically modern human with a large brain into a smarter, more culturally adapted modern human.

feministx said...

"Because you had anatomically modern humans who were already quite intelligent and had already relied on primitive culture and hunting. Evolving thick fur and fat wouldn't have been sufficient to survive northern climes. Humans are slow and thus physiologically poor hunters, unlike cats or wolves. And they're physiologically not grazing herbivores like bison or deer. To adapt completely physiologically, rather than culturally and through intelligence, to northern climes, not only would humans have to evolve thick fur coats and fat, but they would also have to evolve radically from anatomically modern humans into a physiological carnivore or herbivore."

Would have, should have is a good story. But this is not what happened to homo sapiens if you look at the whole timeline. This is not about begging the question. This is a list of events as they occurred:

1) Neanderthaals and homo sapiens sapiens were the same thing 400,000 years ago. The same group of people.

2) Neanderthaals went to Europe and Homo Sapiens in Africa became Homo Sapiens Sapiens

3) Neanderthaals could control fire and had tools but they made very little innovative progress over the hundreds of thousands of years they were in Europe.

4) Homo Sapiens Sapiens came out of Africa and overtook the slow progressing Neanderthals.Homo sapiens sapiens quickly showed evidence of more advanced tools and crafts than Neanderthals and made progress steadily after arriving in Eurasia

So, this is what happened. Cold winters did not make Neanderthals smarter than homo sapiens sapiens. We are now 4% Neanderthal, not 96% Neanderthal. We used to be the same, we separated, and the group that stayed in Africa longer became the more intellectually potent one.

The second time around, this pattern did not occur. Homo Sapiens Sapiens split between races for 60,000 years. After that, Europeans were easily able to colonize the Africans.

Hence, the cold by itself did not drive higher intelligence but a mitigating factor could have made it so that suddenly the cold mattered a lot when it didn't before. That factor could be doing agriculture in the cold. Or it could be that there is actually no real effect of cold on intelligence.

jody said...

okinawans are not japanese, looks like other people covered this. i've noticed the japanese range from pure white, to yellow, to almost brown. i don't see this with the koreans, who are almost uniformly a whitish yellow color, with some of them being very white indeed. the whitest women in korea are paler than me.

i didn't realize that IQ varied by 7 points from north japan to south japan but if you throw out okinawa then the range is smaller. which still makes sense. i've posted before that i believe there is a mean IQ difference of at least 5 points among europeans in the US from the north to the south, with the northerners up to 102 in some places and the southerners down to 97. it may be as large at 7 points. koreans have a uniform IQ, it doesn't vary as much from place to place like it does in china, which must vary wildly with at least a 10 point swing from highest to lowest, and probably more than 10, maybe even 15.

koreans are probably as genetically related to each other as any nation with 50 million people is on earth, and probably more closely related to each other than the inhabitants of many smaller nations. there are only 200 surnames in korea which is why it seems everybody is named park, lee, or kim. their national creed is something like "One people nation" or "One race nation". they are the most socially insular of all the peoples of asia.

these things are all likely a result of thousands of years of resisting cultural or physical assimilation by invading chinese forces from the north who had vastly superior numbers and weren't blocked by any natural geographic barriers. their genetic self defense mechanism was to circle the wagons as tightly as possible.

italy has a similar situation as japan, with the alpine italians being smarter and lighter. you can see this on the italian national soccer team which has several blue eyed italians. i think a lot of the industry is in the north (ferrari's main factory is in maranello) and i'm under the impression that most (all?) of the italian nobel science winners are northerners (marconi was from bologna for instance). i don't know for sure though, haven't checked. i think most of the italians who came to the US were from mid or southern italy, however.

italy is also not a natural nation, but a union of like 4 or 5 peoples, all forced to speak italian, which some of them resent, and who would rather speak their historical local language. we don't hear much about this in the US, though this is somewhat the case in many nations in europe, which are moderately artificial constructs of a couple related but still distinct peoples. even the big nations which seem like natural nations -germany, france, spain - have one central unifying imperial language forced on all the citizens but several local languages live on with a few million speakers. in germany you're forced to speak what they call high german or standard german, but there's like 4 or 5 languages in germany as well. 'high' here indicating the elevation, so the higher elevation germans have imposed themselves on the others.

jody said...

this trend, of intelligence, height, and color on a sliding scale, is the general trend in all of western europe though.

the scots are smarter than the english, person for person, and have more yellow hair and red hair. the germans and dutch are smarter and taller than the french and austrians, who are smarter and fairer than the spanish and italians, who are smarter than the portuguese and the greeks. the swedes are about the same intelligence as the germans and dutch but have more yellow hair, in following the sliding axis. curiously, the norwegians and danes are less intelligent.

the fins appear to be the smartest europeans person for person, and surprise, they live the furthest north - some even have slightly slanted eyes, which makes a good case that this is an adaption to protect eyes from cold, high speed wind. east asians have it too, but it declines in prominence as you move further and further into south asia.

there seems to be an east west divide in europe on a couple traits, so the north-south sliding axis does not always correctly predict what is going on, and this makes it harder to figure out what the basic underlying mechanisms are. more than one thing has to be happening at the same time in europe which shapes the people. intelligence declines in central europe out to eastern europe - the germans are smarter than the poles, who are smarter than the belarussians, ukrainians, and romanians - but then it goes back up again, as the rus are smarter than those groups too, and they're further east.

i've posted before about the strength division - the northern europeans being stronger than the southern ones and the gradient sliding sort of uniformly across the continent from north to south. strength throwing was a part of scottish highland games, whereas the english preferred games of hand eye coordination. brian shaw, an american from colorado, won world's strongest man this year. he's won twice now, 2011 and 2013, and at only 31 years old, may be on his way to becoming one of the great strength athletes of all time. shaw is a scottish name. the american record holder with 3 wins is bill kazmaier, a german name. the all-time record holder with 5 wins is mariusz pudzianowski, who is polish. northern europeans have all the world records in throwing, powerlifting, and most of the world records in olympic lifting. once exception i've posted before was eric spoto, who is part italian for sure, and who has the highest bench press of all time.

Anonymous said...

Would have, should have is a good story. But this is not what happened to homo sapiens if you look at the whole timeline. This is not about begging the question. This is a list of events as they occurred:

I wasn't responding to your point about Neanderthals here. I was making the theoretical case for why it would take longer to adapt physiologically than culturally and through intelligence. It would take longer, if it's possible at all, to take an anatomically modern human, who walks on 2 legs and already has a large brain and utilizes cultural adaptation, and adapt him physiologically to northern climates - evolving thick fur, fat, and evolving into a 4 legged carnivore or herbivore like a wooly mammoth or a bear - than it would to make him adapt culturally and through higher intelligence. Culture and intelligence are high leverage adaptations. Basic physiological ones aren't and take longer and are much more painstaking to evolve.

Anonymous said...

So, this is what happened. Cold winters did not make Neanderthals smarter than homo sapiens sapiens. We are now 4% Neanderthal, not 96% Neanderthal. We used to be the same, we separated, and the group that stayed in Africa longer became the more intellectually potent one.

There's no evidence that the Neanderthals were displaced because they were less intelligent. The Neanderthals had larger brains than modern humans. There's more than one way to skin a cat, and having greater intelligence is not the only way to replace a population. Less intelligent populations can displace more intelligent ones. It happens all the time.

Anonymous said...

(marconi was from bologna for instance)

Marconi was half Irish/Scots. At any rate, he shouldn't have won the Nobel Prize, as the work he was recognized for was actually pioneered by Oliver Lodge.

Anonymous said...

@ Steve & Josh Yellowfever

Both of you are wrong. Neither Fujian nor Guangdong scores the highest in China.

From historical records of China's Imperial Exam and PRC's Gaokao, the Yangzi Delta - Jiangsu and Zhejiang Provinces(also includes Shanghai in between)- generally has the highest scores.

The people of this region are Wu people, a branch of Han Chinese. The Wu most likely have the highest average innate IQ in the world (after added several Flynn points in the coming years).

As a region the Wu have avg IQ notablely higher than Hong Kong(108, Cantonese mainly)and Singapore (106, Cantonese + Fujianese + other Han branches). Any Chinese knows that.

As a people, they are very likely higher than Ashkenazi Jew's, even though it is not politically correct for IQ experts to say so, perhaps because it is even a bigger taboo to challenge "the Chosen One " than listing white/black IQ differences. For one, Wu's average brain size is larger than Ashkenazi Jew's, you bet.

You've seen plenty of evidences of this already and the ongoing PISA scores will continue to prove this, year after year... just watch the incoming PISA 2012 scores on Maths, I predict that Jiangsu and Zhejiang's average scores (even thouth they're likely to be deliberately discriminated against by PISA through subjectively selecting 80% of test scores from rural poor areas of the two provinces like they did in 2009), if disclosed, will be considerablely higher than Hong Kong, Singapre and Korea.

Or btw just for example, Steve Hsu and Jememy Lin"sanity" are Wu by ancestry.

Anonymous said...

Hokkaido was settled as recently as the late 1800's. It didn't open up for colonization until after Maine did here in the States. Northern Japanese are the fairly recent descendents of Japanese pioneer/colonists; possibly the IQs reflect a more questing nature.