September 22, 2011

50,000 Years of Nativism Down Under

Nicholas Wade writes in the NYT:
A lock of hair, collected by a British anthropologist a century ago, has yielded the first genome of an Australian Aborigine, along with insights into the earliest migration from the ancestral human homeland somewhere in northeast Africa. 
The Aboriginal genome bolsters earlier genetic evidence showing that once the Aborigines’ ancestors arrived in Australia, some 50,000 years ago, they somehow kept the whole continent to themselves without admitting any outsiders. 
The Aborigines are thus direct descendants of the first modern humans to leave Africa, without any genetic mixture from other races so far as can be seen at present. Their dark skin reflects an African origin and a migration and residence in latitudes near the equator, unlike Europeans and Asians whose ancestors gained the paler skin necessary for living in northern latitudes. 
“Aboriginal Australians likely have one of the oldest continuous population histories outside sub-Saharan Africa today,” say the researchers who analyzed the hair, a group led by Eske Willerslev of the Natural History Museum of Denmark. 
Dr. Willerslev is an expert at working with ancient DNA, which is usually highly fragmented. Use of the ancient hair reduced the possibility of mixture with European genes and sidestepped the political difficulties of obtaining DNA from living Aborigines.

The "political difficulties" boil down to the fear that current Australian Aborigines aren't closely related to the people who left archaeological traces in Australia, as long as 44,000 years ago, but are instead related to dingo dog-owning Asians or Polynesians who would have shown up a few thousand years ago. I'm not exactly sure why that would be politically bad for Aborigines, but Australian history is highly emotional, kind of like academic politics, perhaps because so little happened in the history of Australia. (A few years ago, a friend sent me an excellent history of Australia, but when I got done reading it, the only name I could remember is Sir Don Bradfordman, the great cricket player.) 

But ironically, this end run around Aboriginal sensitivities appears to have confirmed their fondest hopes about their vastly ancient pedigree. (I very seldom take an independent stand on specific questions of what happened tens of thousands of years in the past, because, well, what do I know?) 

The rest of the article is quite interesting, too, because it lays out all the reasons for why these results seem unexpected.
One thing worth noting is that despite evidently being separated for thousands of generations, Aborigines and Europeans are not only interfertile, but tend to come out looking overall European in just a few generations. The 1/8th Aborigine boy above looks like the young Bing Crosby, which is not uncommon. This is relevant to the question of how Neanderthals, Denisovans, and modern humans could successfully mate after a long separation.
By way of comparison, here are pictures, also from Ahnenkult, of the Greenland Eskimo descendants of Matthew Henson, the black sharecropper who was the right hand man of polar explorer Robert Peary. The half black / half Eskimo son looks like a comedian on BET, while the 1/4 black grandson doesn't look all that black but the 1/8th black great-grandson does. He looks like the actor in a 1990ss episode of Arliss who played a part-black part-Eskimo tennis prodigy.

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

Don Bradman

Steve Sailer said...

Well, then, make that zero names remembered.

Anonymous said...

"The early stone tools found in Australia are much simpler than the Upper Paleolithic tools that appear in Europe at the same era. “I don’t understand why they looked so primitive,” said Richard Klein, a paleoanthropologist at Stanford University."

How could they look so primitive compared to Europe...You don't suppose that I.Q. could have something to do....Whoops! Hehe. Just a little slip there, moving right along.

Anonymous said...

Steve, love your blog. But the 1/8th grandson looks black?

C'MON!. That's absolutely absurd. The guy *looks* 100% Asian!

Anonymous said...

http://img358.imageshack.us/img358/4535/australoid2bs4.jpg

A half-caste girl from near Fowler's Bay, South Australia. Many half-castes are indistinguishable from Europeans.

khmermaid said...

Unrelated but interesting http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/22/globalization-meets-beethoven-in-mumbai/?ref=asia

Kazakhs in the Symphony Orchestra of India .

Anonymous said...

The guy *looks* 100% Asian!


Yeah, I thought he looked like this Japanese guy I know.

Marco Lalo said...

Steve, Ron Suskind gets bitch-slapped here: http://www.slate.com/id/2304228/

But you love Suskind don't you? I mean he corroborates your prejudice about Obama.

Hereward said...

After they were cut off from the rest of Australia by rising sea levels at the end of the last ice age, the Tasmanians stopped working stone entirely. They had the simplest technology of any culture known to anthropology.

TGGP said...

Wouldn't hair only contain mtdna? Latin America has very Amerindian mtdna, but because of all the male europeans that came over and bred with the natives their overall genome content (Y chromosome in particular) is different.

Anonymous said...

Exactly. He looks much like a Japanese friend of mine, too.

I just can't get over the fact that Steve thinks this 1/8th grandson has the *slightest* black phenotype. Not a scintilla!! Where is Steve getting this?

I would defy anyone to look at him and without knowing the back story declare that they thought he was anything but Asian. Not a chance.
I would believe Steve Sailer had black ancestry before I believed this guy did.

Anonymous said...

Don Bradman was probably the greatest sportsman that the world has ever produced - if greatness is measured by the sheer distance in achievement between one man and any other rival in the history of a game. We can argue endlessly about who is the greatest hitter in baseball or the greatest pitcher or we can argue endlessly about who is the greatest golfer or the greatest soccer player. In cricket there is virtually no argument even though the game has been played for over 140 years by many nations (10 officially). That requires a very special kind of talent.

Steve Sailer said...

Yes, Bradman's statistics are way out beyond anybody else's. I'm trying to think of somebody comparable in any other field. Maybe the guy who dominated checkers for decades? Maybe if Tiger Woods had stayed as dominant up through age 50 he would have matched up.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"Steve, love your blog. But the 1/8th grandson looks black?

C'MON!. That's absolutely absurd. The guy *looks* 100% Asian!

9/22/11 8:57 PM" I agree, the man looks 100% Asian, and this comes from an Asian. Moreover, even if he DOES look visibly black, using the sample size of two families is still extremely unscientific. If you compile random mugshots of 1/8 Aboriginal children, some of them will probably look visibly Aboriginal, and some not so. Facial features is not an exact science.

"The "political difficulties" boil down to the fear that current Australian Aborigines aren't closely related to the people who left archaeological traces in Australia, as long as 44,000 years ago, but are instead related to dingo dog-owning Asians or Polynesians who would have shown up a few thousand years ago. "

Or maybe they just do not want to know the extent of their white ancestry. Not many people want to be reminded that their ancestors were victims of rapes. Or maybe they feel the idea of a bunch of white men doing scientific experiments on them to be highly insulting and controversial. I do not know. This is just my non-Eurocentric speculation.

catperson said...

People who are even 1/4 black tend not to look black so I too am baffled by how Steve could think a 1/8th person does. Michael Levin once proposed a good rule of thumb. If you are at least 75% black, you are black since racial traits stabilize around the 75% mark.

I would apply this to every race. Anyone who is at least 75% East Asian is East Asian; anyone who is at least 75% white is white. Ashkenazi Jews are 60% white (and maybe much less), and 40% non-white caucasoid (and maybe much more) so I would classify them as multi-racial, assuming caucasoids can be divided into two separate races. However when Ashkenazi Jews mate with whites, their children should probably be considered white because such offspring are as much as 80% white (exceeding the 75% cutoff). Anyone who has less 75% membership in a single race should be viewed as multiracial.

Georgia Resident said...

Eh, not seeing the extensive evidence of negroid phenotype in the grandson and great-grandson. Though I would agree that in general, half-black people (mixed with any other race) tend to look more black than anything else, whereas other racial mixes tend to look genuinely intermediate in features.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the 1/8th aborigine who looks like Bing Crosby: my kids are 10% of Native American ancestry, but the same thing goes for them.

Of course, they're "Hispanic" to the federal government. And for college applications...

Eric Rasmusen said...

Commenters: think about it. Is the 1/8 black grandson the older Japanese-looking guy or the younger guy?

syon said...

catperson: "Ashkenazi Jews are 60% white (and maybe much less), and 40% non-white caucasoid (and maybe much more) so I would classify them as multi-racial, assuming caucasoids can be divided into two separate races."

Er, one can't subdivide Caucasoids into separate races. Of course, one could subdivide Caucasoids into sub-racial categories: Nordic, Mediterranean, etc. The preponderance of genetic divergence within the Caucasoid race lies along a North to South continuum.

Big Bill said...

anon 1:01 am: "Or maybe they just do not want to know the extent of their white ancestry. Not many people want to be reminded that their ancestors were victims of rapes. Or maybe they feel the idea of a bunch of white men doing scientific experiments on them to be highly insulting and controversial."

Not quite, Anon. Consider "Not many people want to be reminded that their ancestors are rapists" or "Not many people want to be reminded that their grandmother happily bred 'up' with white men."

This awareness on the part of black Americans causes them acute anxiety, particularly when issues like racial favoritism and racial reparations come up.

There are several psychic maneuvers that preserve black mental equilibrium and unified black consciousness.

First, pretend that all race mixing was rape and not voluntary. [black good, white bad]

Second, pretend that all children born of white/black mixes are "black" (the non-existent "one-drop rule") [white pollutes black, but the blackness remains.

Third, deny that black racism exists. A hi-yalla "black" person who discriminates in favor of hi-yalla "black" folks is not practicing "racism" (since he is "black"), he is practicing "colorism".

Mexicans have a similar psychically-troubled relationship with their mixed-race roots. Google "La Malinche" for more info on Cortez's mistress/slave/translator/Aztec aristocrat, or go here for brief precis.

Black folks still deny their almost universal mixed-race-ness, pretend that there really is such a thing as "black", and pretend that all their women were rape victims (rather than voluntary race mixers).

The psychic need to maintain these fictions also explains the huge community pressure on black women today not to mongrelize with white men.

What really drives American "black" folks nuts is when they go to Africa and are called "coloured" (not "black") because of their obvious mixed blood, or go to some Caribbean countries where light-skinned mixed-race folks are called (and treated as) "white".

tom mix said...

"People who are even 1/4 black tend not to look black so I too am baffled by how ..."

Not for the most part. "Quadroons" -- as 1/4 blacks were known in the old days -- were usually had recognizably black ancestry. Halle Berry (esp before her plastic surgery) would be a good example. There were exceptions, of course. The "black" parent of many of the half-black celebrities one sees are not 100% black. "Negroid" was a better word since it brought to mind a certain phenotype and not just a color. They still usually looked as if they had some sub-Saharan black ancestry.
In the antebellum South, anyone less than 1/8 black was legally white. How this played out socially, I don't know, but legally they were white, for the simple reason an that "octoroon" -- 1/8 black -- did look more white, or entirely so, and the child she would have with a white man, would certainly be white.
This came from several generations of observation in the Gulf States, in a society comprised of large numbers of blacks and whites living in close proximity, starting in the late 1600s and going in the mid-1800s. After the Civil War, the 'One-drop' rule came into law, and anyone with known black ancestry would be designated "black" on the census form, no matter what they looked like. This is what caused many "mulattos" -- a term which technically meant 50% black, but in common usage meant "mixed" -- to just leave the whole shebang and re-locate somewhere more northern where no one knew them. And of course there would have been no incentive to "pass" for black. Without a known family and history in the community, blacks would have rejected them anyway. The idea that blacks accept Caucasoid looking people as black, due to some possible, or even certain but miniscule, black ancestry, is nonsense. They only do that when they want to claim some achievement of that person for "their race."

Ortu Kan said...

TGGP: Wouldn't hair only contain mtdna?

No, that's not necessarily true, though mtDNA is for a number of reasons more stable than nuclear DNA.

This team sequenced the whole genome and were able to identify 2.8 million SNPs -- a much sounder basis for, e.g., ruling out recent European admixture than mtDNA alone (which, by the way, represents a new subclade of O; his Y DNA falls in macro-haplogroup K-M526*).

Chicago said...

There seems to have been a variety of types that lived in Australia going far back in time. In the early '70's they discovered the "Mungo Man" (actually a female). Another ancient inhabitant is also known to have existed, the "Kow Swamp" people. Both are quite different. Aborigines were thought by some to be a blend of both.
New Guinea was also a part of Australia up to fifteen thousand years ago.
The out of Africa concept is obviously not the final answer, with parts of multi-regional evolution thinking being picked up again.
Things are still being worked out. And they won't be if politics is allowed to hinder progress.

Anonymous said...

@Steve - Charles Murray reckons Tiger will never get his touch back. His mistakes will haunt him mentally and just enough to jeopardise his chances at pro level.

People often talk of strength and skill in sports but the mind is a very powerful factor in all this and the moment that gets screwed, performance can get messed up very very quickly. Bradman, incidentally, was renowned for possessing superhuman qualities of mental concentration - which very few people have. There were many players who seemed to have his skill but could not churn out the performances he did and that could all be down to his ability to concentrate superbly for long periods of time.

Truth said...

"Second, pretend that all children born of white/black mixes are "black" (the non-existent "one-drop rule") [white pollutes black, but the blackness remains."

So I take it you'd be OK with your daughter marrying a half-black guy?

Anonymous said...

Come to think of it, Dvorak and Karl Marx look about a million times more black than that octoroon.

Anonymous said...

This awareness on the part of black Americans causes them acute anxiety, particularly when issues like racial favoritism and racial reparations come up.

Well, except when it causes them intense pleasure, such as when they pass the "brown paper bag test" to get into the best sororities at Spelman or to walk the beach at Oak Bluffs*.





*<COUGH>
   soetoro dunham
</COUGH>

Anonymous said...

WRT Cortez...

In his diary he noted that the Aztec elites were shockingly WHITE -- effectively blonde.

We now know that Soletreans crossed the Atlantic some 5,000 to 7,000 years before the Asiatics -- hence the sobriquet: the ancient ones.

More than once Cortez & Co. noted with astonishment that the locals ALWAYS assumed that Whites would come across the sea -- and would have exalted status.

This belief system was a direct consequence of the mind bending impact when Asiatics met Soletreans over 10,000 years ago -- and found them in possession of EVERYTHING.

This triggered a very long period of European blood on top... and Asiatic blood on bottom.

The Aztec blood lust may have entirely stemmed from fear of genocide at the hand of the more numerous Asiatics.

Such fear was not misplaced: more and more evidence substantiates repeated genocides by the Asiatics against their elite Soletreans.

Oral traditions even point to the Europeans as the actual architects of the great Incan ruins. The Incans were too young an empire to have built them. Notably, they weren't using them -- they were abandoned long before the Spaniards arrived.

Again, as with the Aztecs, the Incan elites were laden with European traits.

More than they ever could imagine -- their own skin color; colored their campaigns. It had that much of a psychic impact because it entirely conformed with their own oral histories.

They knew for an absolute fact that White Europeans existed some vast distance to the east. That tale had been repeated across more than 10,000 years.

syon said...

Truth: "So I take it you'd be OK with your daughter marrying a half-black guy?"

I'd be okay with my daughter marrying a 25% Black guy. 100% White + 25% Black = 88% White and 12%* Black.


*Yes, I'm rounding off.

hailtoyou said...

Ortu Kan, at the bottom of his post, links to photos of Admiral Peary's own mixed-race (supposed) descendants in the far north.

1.) Admiral Peary himself.

2.) Son of Peary and an Eskimess (He ends up looking Central-Asian, he could be the brother of the President of Kazakhstan, here).

3.) The grandson of #2, i.e. the great-grandson of Admiral Peary. he has a longer head than I'd expect among Eskimo, I'd suppose that being the 12.5%-Nordic genetic share manifesting itself?

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

"Not many people want to be reminded that their ancestors are rapists" or "Not many people want to be reminded that their grandmother happily bred 'up' with white men."

Consider: if their grandmother was raped, who does that make their grandfather? They are descended from the white rapists, not me.

Of course all of us have rapists somewhere in the family tree. All of us - just not these particular rapists.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

I'd be okay with my daughter marrying a 25% Black guy. 100% White + 25% Black = 88% White and 12%* Black. *Yes, I'm rounding off.

Why the hell bother? Pointing out the rounding cost you about 22 keystrokes. Simply including the decimals would've cost you 4. Or you could've let us figure it out on our own...

Ortu Kan said...

he has a longer head than I'd expect among Eskimo, I'd suppose that being the 12.5%-Nordic genetic share manifesting itself? -- hailtoyou

The Greenland Eskimos are famously dolichocephalic.

stari_momak said...

"Eskimess"

LOL -- only on iSteve.

corvinus said...

WRT Cortez...

In his diary he noted that the Aztec elites were shockingly WHITE -- effectively blonde.


I've heard similar things said about the Incas. Of course, the Spaniards quickly baptized, Hispanicized, and intermarried with these whiter upper classes -- since the Spaniards ran both Mexico and Peru for hundreds of years, they'd be expected to do so with the Aztec and Inca elites far more than with the run-of-the-mill Indios.

Another corrolary: saying that Mexico is 10% white, or Peru is 15% white, must be taken with a grain of salt. Counting elite Aztecs and Incas and their part-Spanish progeny as criollos rather than mestizos undoubtedly doctored the numbers a bit.

corvinus said...

As for Aborigines: from reading Aussie message boards and such, even PC Australians readily admit that "Abos" aren't the brightest bulbs in the box. In fact, one common slur for Aborigines is "Homo erectus", and this is not just in reference to their low intelligence and seeming primitiveness. A surprisingly large number of Australians actually think Aborigines are Homo erectus.

Oddly enough, one possible reason Aborigine-white mixes look highly white is because the Aborigines actually have blond hair sometimes. Don't know about blue eyes, though; pretty sure that trait is specific to northern Europe.

Truth said...

Hey, Perry's grandson is a pretty good looking dude.

No Homo.

catperson said...

Richard Lynn reported that as of a certain date (1970s?) no Australian aboriginal had ever obtained a PhD. He said this is evidence against the common assertion that the full range of intelligence exists in all races.

I would love to see the day when Australia has its own Obama: A half-white, half aboriginal who becomes prime minister of the country. They already have a woman prime minister.

Steve Sailer said...

Peary's grandson looks like he should have his own dynasty on "Game of Thrones."

Hail said...

Ortu Kan,
"The Greenland Eskimos are famously dolichocephalic."

I had never heard that.

Now, the anthropological principle of "borealization" states that any population living in extreme cold tends towards brachycephaly (for heat conservation). How does one explain the Greenland-Eskimo being an exception to this?

Peary himself is dolichocephalic, yet his son seems, to me, to be bracycephalic. So clearly his mother was brachycephalic, anyway.

Anonymous said...

I had never heard that.

It's seems like a widely reported fact in the older anthropology materials than actually looked at CI.

http://tinyurl.com/6fb7fxh

"The most narrow headed people are the Eskimo and Negro"

Are you sure you're not mistaking relatively broad and short crania for relatively broad and short faces here, anyway? A broad face (short vertically compared to width) can go with a long cranium.

I'd guess that borealization is just a trend. Polar bears have a longer and relatively narrower cranium than brown bears, &c.

Leonard said...

As far as I am aware, the first full-blood Aboriginal Australian ever to acquire a college degree was Charles Perkins, subsequent civil servant and Aboriginal activist, at the University of Sydney in 1965. It was front-page stuff in the Australian newspapers at the time. Here's Perkins's graduation photo (h/t to Wikipedia):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:CharlesPerkinsGraduate01.jpg

The first female full-blood Aboriginal Australian to get a degree appears to have been a teacher, Margaret Valadian, very shortly afterward. My memory suggests (a Google search has proven unavailing and I don't have Who's Who in Australia to hand) that Dr. Valadian acquired her Ph.D. no later than 1970. There might have been other full-blood Aboriginal Ph.D. holders by then.

JSM said...

"I would love to see the day when Australia has its own Obama: A half-white, half aboriginal who becomes prime minister of the country. They already have a woman prime minister."

A half-White half-Aboriginal Australian PM would NOT be an Obama.

Obama is half White and half Black from Africa.

If Obama were half White and half American aboriginal, he'd be a mixture of White and Sioux Indian, or something.
Only if that were so, if you got a half-White and half Aust Abo could say you they had their Australian Obama.

Anonymous said...

Why are you trying to pass off that Jap and his Chinese friend as Eskimos?

NOTA said...

I wonder if Australian aboriginees have any specific genetic adaptations to desert conditions. Is there any research on this?

Anonymous said...

Interesting article about white man and natives. Exhibit A.

Intersting article about white man and natives. Exhibit B.

Anonymous said...

Are we sure this guy isnt the 1/16th black descendant of an explorer?

Anonymous said...

Anon said - Or maybe they just do not want to know the extent of their white ancestry. Not many people want to be reminded that their ancestors were victims of rapes.

Because of course thats the only way white genes got into their gene pool in the last 200 years. And what with Aboriginal women so damn irresistable to white men.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see the day when Australia has its own Obama: A half-white, half aboriginal who becomes prime minister of the country. They already have a woman prime minister.

Obama could just as easily be the Australian Obama. Stanley Ann Dunham could just as easily have been born Australian as American ie she comes from identical British origins. And Obama's dad was from Kenya.