More Than Human

When archaic hominids lived for a  long time in special environments, they naturally developed genetic adaptations to those environments, and since such adaptive alleles are easily transmitted, requiring only a smidgen of gene flow, it’s not surprising to see some of the beneficial archaic alleles in modern humans living in such environments. So archaic  altitude-adaptation alleles were likely in modern Tibetans, and have apparently been found. They likely exist in Ethiopians, particularly since their altitude adaptations work so well, as do those of Tibetans.

It looks as if there is a specific suite of changes that is favored when living in dense tropical jungles – being some kind of Pygmy. We know that this has happened repeatedly (Pygmies, various Negritos).   Perhaps archaic humans lived in and adapted to that niche – they certainly had plenty of time to do so.   If so, we may expect to find archaic-origin adaptive alleles in those groups. There are already indications of of gene flow into Pygmies (and Bushmen) from an unknown but highly divergent archaic lineage.  Perhaps there were Pygmy versions of Denisovans or advanced erectus in Sundaland, which could then have contributed alleles to modern Negrito groups.

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90 Responses to More Than Human

  1. So, successful modern human have been grafted on to a tried and trusted root stock?

    • Sandgroper says:

      Maybe more like useful adaptive stuff has introgressed into modern humans which enabled them to survive in different environments – Ethiopian and Kenyan highlanders and Tibetans at high altitude, different suites of pygmies or just small people in tropical rain forest environments. Jungle Maya are small, reportedly – the report of that I saw attributed it to just malnutrition, but maybe it’s adaptive. You can’t trust these people with their ‘just so’ explanations for stuff. Tropical rain forests are not great environments for humans to thrive in, they’re nutrient-poor, unless the humans take matters into their own hands and slash and burn the forests.

      • dearieme says:

        Presumably slash-and-burn requires not only suitable tree species but also a suitable dry season. Are there equatorial regions that lack the necessary “Dry”?

      • Sandgroper says:

        Yeah, probably, but I’ve been in places really pretty close to the equator that definitely had dry weather, dry enough for long enough for things to burn, if not a dry season as such. There’s a valley on Kauai where it never actually stops raining, and all the trees are Pygmy versions, stunted, but that’s nowhere near the equator, it’s just a constantly wet place – it’s more like the air is constantly at dew point and water never stops precipitating out, rather than something recognisable as falling raindrops. It’s a weird place, very uncomfortable. No one lives there. The locals claim it is the wettest place on earth, but unless you have rain gauges absolutely everywhere, they can’t actually know that – I happen to know, for example, that there are largeish areas of Brazil that have no rain gauge coverage at all. Tropical-not-equatorial mostly has distinct wet and dry seasons, definitely dry enough for stuff to burn, even when you don’t want it to.

      • Patrick L. Boyle says:

        I have hiked on the Na Pali coast of Kauai. The day we were there it never stopped raining or dripping or drizzling. I didn’t fall down – a fact of which I was very proud of at the time. Everyone else we saw was covered in mud. Some of the other tourists fell almost continuously. It was like a movie outtake reel. But somehow I managed to stay upright. I’m 6’4″ which made that doubly surprising.

        In my high school yearbook I was named ‘Most likely to fall on his ass in the jungle’.

        Had I been a pygmy or some hobbit sized person I would certainly have been more sure footed. Could it be that one of the jungle adaptations for small stature is simply the ability to not always be falling down?

  2. Sandgroper says:

    There were also pygmies in the Queensland rain forest, if Birdsell is to be believed (and he was a fairly serious bloke). Birdsell himself was allegedly 6’1″ (so let’s say in truth probably about 6’0″), so…they vanished through mixing once epidemic disease arrived to kill endogamy by dramatically reducing mate choices. There are pictures on the Internet of a whole bunch of them, stark motherless naked, but I’m not in the business of pandering to perverts, so people can find those by themselves.

  3. Isn’t the best (and most inflammatory) summary of what Cochran just said, “both Out of Africa AND multiregional hypotheses are correct” ? Of course that was already implied by the Neanderthal DNA (non-Africans having them, Africans lacking them). But Cochran generalises to the whole world. And he says it with such gentle understatement that it deprives the sensitive an opportunity to be shocked.

    • Sandgroper says:

      I’m pretty damned sensitive and have personal reasons for positively wanting OAA without modification to be true, and I thought everyone with a functioning brain had already accepted Out of Africa with Multi-Regional Add-Ons – I mean, anywhere AMH’s got to that had resident archaic Homos, there had to be a bit of interbreeding, as a default assumption, and therefore retention of something at least neutral, provided they were not too distant for all of the female progeny to be sterile. I could imagine breeding with floresiensis could be a problem, depending on which way round, probably, but erectus can’t be too much of a stretch – whether you could produce a fertile female occasionally is another question. Neanderthals and Denisovans, obviously yes; other archaic whatevers, we don’t yet know, but the indications that there was some interbreeding with something archaic within Africa are pretty strong, I thought. But WTF would I know? I just read stuff, my brain doesn’t actually function as such.

      • You can tell by the fact that Paabo hasn’t been ostracised or picketed that people haven’t exactly caught on to the meaning behind “Non-Africans have some Neanderthal admixture”. Which suggests a way to do some controversial research. Mince words !

      • Sandgroper says:

        Maybe publishing his sexual orientation and speaking in a funny accent (yenome) was a form of self defence. I hadn’t thought of that.

      • The fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

        Hmmm, I am failing to understand the sarcasm here.

        I would have thought that the Homosexual Theory or Human Origins or the Trangendered Theory of Human Origins would be more acceptable.

      • The fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

        Make that: The Homosexual Theory of Human Origins.

      • Sandgroper says:

        *sigh* Look, I’m supposed to be the stupid part-Aboriginal here. In both hemispheres.

        You could maybe have the Homosexual Theory of Human Organs, but I would much rather you didn’t.

    • Andrew says:

      Yeah, Cochran is pretty good with theory. But, often you need to show the data to get people to buy off on your theory. Often that data is controversial such as Introgression amounts in Biaka Pygmies. Michael Hammer did this talk where he argued for a multiregional model applied to Africa. His case is weaker since he does not include findings that others consider controversial.

      There is some interesting stuff after 14:00.

      • dave chamberlin says:

        You seem to imply that Cochran is a pretty good theorist but isn’t a hard data guy. Being trained as a physicist he is far more prone than the old school archeologists to dive into and comprehend the latest genomic data as it becomes available. He also finds the outright censorship of “controversial data” which isn’t scientifically controversial at all, it’s just data, to be ridiculous. This title that gets hung on any and all findings that lean in the direction of human biodiversity that it’s “controversial” is a dead horse that needs no more beating. Are any scientists using updated data arguing with Micheal Hammer that there are no signs of introgression of archaic humans into African populations? No. So what’s controversial besides some ignorant fools don’t like the subject matter. Hammer was just making a general lecture for lay people so you wouldn’t expect him to cite sources of data. I’m glad you find the importance of substantiating theories with hard data Andrew, I think you will find that attitude is shared here.

      • Andrew says:

        Hi Dave,

        I am responding to a thread based on Pseudoerasmus’ response.

        “Which suggests a way to do some controversial research. Mince words !”

        My point is that Hammer had some data which could have shown more variation in Africa, but he paid lip-service to the variation. He minced words and the result was he was less convincing. The audience was UCSD STEM students who I would expect to understand the logic of theorizing and perhaps some biological anthropology.

  4. dave chamberlin says:

    My guess is the most important adaptions picked up by AMH’s so far were a number of intelligence enhancement genes when AMH’s interbred with neanderthals exactly at that point in time when there was a severe bottleneck of all AMH’s leaving Africa. Now Cochran has already cautioned me that this is not yet proven and he is right. It is highly probable but there are other possibilities. I’m hoping that Steve Hsu is right that given enough whole genome comparisons between geniuses and average intelligence people there will be established a genetic architecture of intelligence AND tying back to this thread a number of them will be from our neanderthal inheritance. But I don’t think that whatever percentage of our variation in intelligence is due to mutational load will be discovered through this method. Still, it is exciting to know that real methods are in process of being created that can be used to answer questions that up to now we can only speculate about.

    • The correlation between IQ and everything good is a strong indication of the importance of mutational load in determining IQ.

      • Anonymous I says:

        Not at all. IQ being correlated with everything good could just as easily be a result of cross-assortative mating. Intelligence can always be used on the mating market to buy spousal traits of equal or lesser value.

        (Of course, this isn’t to say that mutational load doesn’t affect IQ; it probably does.)

        • gcochran9 says:

          It is not as glamorous as it once was, mainly because the higher-frequency Mendelian diseases like CF were explained first, but people keep finding rare Mendelian diseases. You see such articles in the American Journal of Human Genetics all the time. Roughly every other one is associated with significant mental retardation. There are a lot of genes expressed in the brain (most of them), and a lot of ways to go wrong.

      • dave chamberlin says:

        The importance of mutational load is not yet known but my guess is we are going to find out in the next couple of decades. I defer to experts like Cochran to estimate how important mutational load is in the large variance between people in intelligence, I simply don’t know. We live in interesting times because after we find out what mutational load has done than the next logical step is to fix it in a fertilized egg before it begins dividing. Many in the public are going to get all riled up and work to prohibit altering a human in an artificial way but how pissed can they get if all the scientists/doctors are doing is fixing, in a sense giving the next population mind glasses so that they have a perfect mind’s eye. Now I’m running off on one of my very speculative sci-fi tangents, but sometimes that’s fun and I’m trying to separate it completely from the more serious and cautious scientific hypothesizing.

      • William Newman says:

        “The correlation between IQ and everything good is a strong indication of the importance of mutational load in determining IQ.”

        Sort of, but it’s also the kind of outcome you could see accidentally if the nervous system is just so particularly fragile so that it tends to be collateral damage from anything going wrong. And at least from handwaving daily experience, it seems like it is. There are lots of ordinary bad things — accidental toxins, illness, hypoxia — that can make you unconscious. There aren’t many bad things that shut down your immune system, make your skin fall off, dissolve your bones, stop your heart, or otherwise cause absolute failure of other systems. (I think there are malicious toxins, like those evolved for venoms or designed for warfare, that might stop your heart, but a random mineral or industrial solvent isn’t so likely to do it.)

      • Anonymous says:

        William Newman, how is that disagreement? What do you mean for the one scenario to “accidentally” look like the other? It sounds like the same scenario to me. If the nervous system is fragile, then mutational load should have a big impact on it.

      • The fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

        There are a lot of genes expressed in the brain (most of them), and a lot of ways to go wrong.

        And is that part of the reason for the greater male variance in IQ?

        That is, with two copies of most genes on the X chromosomes, most females will have at least one good copy?

      • The fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

        That is, with two copies of most genes on the X chromosomes, most females will have at least one good copy?

        Writing things like that helps me to see the full picture.

        I guess that there are several effects here. One would seem to be that females are buffered against the effects of bad alleles on the X chromosome because they need to inherit two copies to get the negative effect.

        Another could be that for genes on the X chromosome that have a dosage dependent effect (and given that X inactivation is random), females would seem to get the average dosage specified by each allele, while males get the full dosage of their only allele.

      • TWS says:

        Do we find more or different mutations between those of us with local archaic admixture and those without? Another question doesn’t introgression mean that there might have been more admixture but those genes have been lost?

  5. Greying Wanderer says:

    “Hmmm, I am failing to understand the sarcasm here.”

    Defense mechanisms against PC attacks follow PC logic not logic logic.

  6. The fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

    it’s not surprising to see some of the beneficial archaic alleles in modern humans living in such environments.

    So which archaic populations had the genes for building complex and large scale societies? Which one(s) has the genes for the three Rs?

  7. Matt says:

    Like Cochran is describing, the variants of interest from the Neanderthals, those which are polymorphic or fixed in at least some non-Africans, might be the ones where they were really divergent in their selective pressures. The variants which cover the same territory are much more likely to be all AMH, I would think, as they likely had a larger population size for a long time, so better mutations. – “Testing these hypotheses (re: Neanderthal abilities) is difficult without biological data from living Neandertals; however, the sequencing of multiple Neandertals opens up the possibility of reconstructing Neandertal phenotypes (or phenotypic trends relative to AMH) based on the effects of “Neandertal alleles” present at low frequency in modern human populations.

    Broadly, language- and motor-skills related regions of the brain show enlargement associated with the human alleles while vision-related regions show expansion related to Neandertal variants. Results for social intelligence are mixed.”

    (Results for social intelligence being mixed is interesting as it suggests that the goofy sounding Dunbar idea of disproportionate AMH increase in social capabilities, if true, was probably mediated by increased social skill through more general increases in language and motor control, not specifically social abilities).

  8. Matt says:

    Re: pygmies, Denisovans and Tibetans, there are apparently a small ethnicity of “Mongoloid pygmies” (e.g. even shorter than Mongoloids normally are, and the typical height of pygmies) in the vicinity of Tibet, called the Taron –

    They’re vanishingly small as a group, and there may be none left now, it would be a shame if we weren’t able to get (with their consent and understanding) genetics samples from them to investigate their height, whether it is an inbreeding related phenomenon, or more relating to selection (and perhaps the pre-AMH populations of the region).

    • Sandgroper says:

      How tall are Mongoloids ‘normally’, would you say? Or have you never been to the north of China?

    • dearieme says:

      “They’re vanishingly small as a group”: presumably you mean in number rather than in stature?

    • Harkonnen says:

      They’re thought to be a genetic subset of the Derung, and not an ancient population but one that arrived as recently as the 1880s. Their height almost certainly is due to their thyroids like the ‘European pygmies’ of Kollman turned out to be, and almost certainly those of the Atlas mountains.

  9. Matt says:

    How tall are Mongoloids ‘normally’, would you say? Or have you never been to the north of China?

    Nope, never been to or imagine there’ll be anything worth going to in the North of China. Population averages tend to be about 6-4 inches shorter than Northern Europeans, 4-2 inches taller than South East Europeans. Tallest populations might be on a level with South East Europeans, shortest in South East Asia can be only 5 ft 2 in for male height.

    • Sandgroper says:

      On a level with south-east ‘Europoids’? I doubt that.

      Nothing worth going to in northern China, ya think?

      I’m taller than the average northern ‘Europoid’, and I developed an inferiority complex in Beijing trying to find a woman who was less than 2″ taller than me.

      • Matt says:

        The young men, who should on the basis of general trends nutrition be the tallest, are about 5 foot 8 according to the general discussion on the net, and I assume there’s the normal pattern where women are about 4-6 inches shorter than the men, so should average about 5 foot 2 to 5 foot 4.

        Pretty similar to South East Europeans on average, I would’ve guessed once you average out the tall guys like the Dinaric Alps and the shorter populations.

        If you’re about 40-50 and you had trouble meeting a women who was shorter than about 6 foot – 6 foot 2 in Northern China, then I don’t know what to tell you other than that seems really very odd.

      • Sandgroper says:

        There’s a difference between seeing things with your own eyes, and believing what you read from general discussions on the Internet. Unfortunately, most people don’t actually know what they are talking about in terms of first hand observations of data.

        That’s at least one reason for going to northern China – you don’t know what you will find when you get there, and it might surprise you.

      • The fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

        My observation is that Northern Chinese seem, on average, taller than Southern Chinese. It is not unusual to see someone from Northern China who is 6 foot tall. It’s pretty unusual to see someone from Southern China who is that tall.

      • misdreavus says:

        Northern Chinese are roughly one standard deviation taller than southern Chinese – taller than most southern Europeans, yet not as tall as Scandinavians or the Dutch. You’d immediately notice a difference that large.

        Average height in Shandong province among young men is roughly 5’9″ or thereabouts – yet the height distribution is very uneven (hence why visitors to the region, in general, notice a greater preponderance of tall men than you might expect from the regional mean). Secular increases in height have yet to peter out in NE Asia, while they appear to have stopped completely throughout most of western Europe.

      • Matt says:

        Well, I still doubt that, but we will see how it turns out.

        On genetic ancestry height clines in Europe –“We found that ADNI individuals with a NW ancestry are on average 4 cm taller than ADNI individuals with a SE or Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry (p = 7.3 × 10−6), consistent with previously observed differences in height across Europe [30]. “ That’s about 1.5 inches in the same US society. You’ll get some SE populations and NW populations above and below that average, no doubt. Body height was least in Italy (177 cm in men and 163 cm in women) and greatest in the Netherlands (184 cm and 171 cm, respectively). Italians aren’t particularly tall or short for Southern Europeans based on the lists which float around, around average. Still, perhaps all this is just data and not from my own eyes and who needs data?

        On differences within Asians and between Asians and Western people

        “On the Asian mainland there are also clinal patterns with taller statures among the pastoralists of the Xinjiang region in northwestern China and shorter statures among the agriculturalists further south in China and Southeast Asia. In the Himalayan region stature varies inversely with altitude. Our research on Chinese collections reveals a complicated pattern of regional temporal-spatial variation that is likely to be explained by socioeconomic factors related to fluctuations in food production and status-related
        differences in resource access. “

        The data on European male heights during the last 2000 years show a decline that is more precipitous than that we have documented in our Chinese samples which appear to have been constant for several millennia. The absolute values, on the other hand, are different; during the last 2000 years the heights of European males averaged 170.9 cm (5 foot 7 inches) which is substantially greater than the 159.6 cm (5 foot 3 inches) average value our data suggest for Chinese males. – Study on long bones “The three regional groups differ significantly in group means of average femur and tibia lengths for both males and females. The results here show that North-western males and females have longer leg bones than do the other regional populations. This result is not surprising given the greater average height of Northwestern “Caucasian-type” populations compared to eastern Asian populations from studies of modern populations, which also show that while modern Chinese are shorter, they have relatively longer total arm length (Baten n.d.; Eveleth and Tanner 1990:224-235). From a selected survey of Asian and European stature the taller average height of Europeans has been a prehistoric trend for several millennia (Walker and Eng 2007). “ The Northwestern “Caucasian type” people here seem likely to be essentially Iranian types, although perhaps they were Tokharian and slightly different.

        North and South Chinese (Guangdong vs Beijing) have about the same FST as North and South Italians. Slightly lower between the Chinese pair.

      • Gordo says:

        Sandgroper, are you hinting at Tocharians?

      • Sandgroper says:

        I was referring more just to genetic substructure and very visually obvious regional height differences. If you travel around China, you don’t need to be told it exists, or would make a stupid statement like “even shorter than Mongoloids”.

      • Sandgroper says:

        misdreavus has pretty much nailed it, like he always does.

      • Matt says:

        I don’t really give a huge f**k about the North Chinese or their height.

        I mentioned a tiny group of Mongoloid people along the borders of Myanmar. Who are interesting, as pygmies.

        I mentioned that they were very small even by the standards of Mongoloid groups, who tend, systematically, to be smaller.

        Somehow this seems to have become touchiness about how the North Chinese are apparently anecdotally taller than Italians and not as tall as Dutch, or something (which I doubt), and how I should’ve gone on about them as an exception or something. If African groups were generally rather small, and someone said “Small even for Africans”, would you expect this person to disclaim on the Maasai?

      • Sandgroper says:

        No, it’s about the first statement you made being stupidly inaccurate. Never mind.

      • TWS says:

        Look what you put on your driver’s license is your own business but if you have trouble finding women shorter than you in Beijing I doubt you’re taller than the average bear. Unless you’re including women and children.

      • Sandgroper says:

        I don’t put my height on my driver’s licence, and what you doubt is of no interest to me.

      • TWS says:

        Touchy about our height are we? That’s okay, it’s the most common thing men lie about. Just buy yourself some lift shoes and you’ll be taller than the women around you. Nothing to be ashamed of we can’t all be 6’4″.

        If you want to believe the women of Beijing are towering giants go a head if it makes you feel taller. Perhaps you’ve been hanging out with the Olympic basketball team or the army’s female ‘honor guard’ they have a 172.2 cm + height requirement. I know that’s not that tall compared to say any European male pop but I promise lifts will make a difference. You’ll be head and shoulders taller than Prince or Tom Cruise in no time. No need for the leg lengthening surgery popular in China.

      • Sandgroper says:

        Here’s a little quiz for you, just to see exactly how retarded you are: In which part of China has leg lengthening surgery been popular?

      • TWS says:

        Sandgroper my friend I’m sure you can find a hospital that does that without my help. However, I urge you to resist the impulse. Embrace yourself just the way you are. I know you’re in Northern China home of the freakishly tall women who are taller than the average European man but there’s hope. If you reject the well meant advise of lift shoes and staying out of the ladies basketball team locker rooms there are other fish in the sea. Remember, in just this thread we discuss women who do not look Manute Bol in the eyes without tilting their heads and they exist all over Asia and Africa.

        Pygmies and Negritoes can still be found despite their dwindling numbers. Any of their adult women would probably be able to wear heels when you go out without embarassing you. Short can be sexy and virile. Look at James Caan, Mickey Rooney or even Peter Dinkledge, they have full and satisfying romantic lives.

        As for the whole unkind ‘retarded’ remark, I’ll overlook that much as I might accidentally overlook you if you were standing next to e without a stepstool or stilts. Stilts, now there’s an option I never thought of you can even run in stilts if you practice. Just wear wide leg trousers and no one will know.

      • Sandgroper says:

        Too hard for you?

        Here’s a few more:
        What is the minimum height requirement for recruitment to the Chinese military?
        What is the minimum height requirement for recruitment to the American military?

        What is the definition of “Mongoloid?” (Should be an easier one for you, because there are two possible correct answers.)
        What is the height definition of a pygmy? (Another one with two possible answers.)
        What is the ‘normal’ height of a Mongoloid? Is it more like the mean height of, say, Vietnamese or Filipinos, or more like the mean height of natives of Shandong Province? Of course, depending on which definition of Mongoloid you gave, it could have included people who, during the 19th Century, were the tallest people on earth. While we’re at it, you might as well give us your answer on who they were.

      • Sandgroper says:

        BTW, you appear to be too retarded to realise that China uses the metric system, and there’s no way they would specify the minimum height requirement for the female honour guard to the nearest 2 millimetres. Just saying.

      • TWS says:

        What is with the hostility and the poorly veiled references to mental retardation? Are you really that sensitive about your height?

        As for the questions answer them yourself. By your tone and attitude you already have the answers. And you’re just squirting squid ink anyway hoping we’ll forget your rather colorful claim. Lets stick with your claims.

        You made the rather fantastic claim that one, you are taller than the average Northern European man and two you cannot find women who are not at least two inches taller than you in Beijing. In fact going so far as to say, “I developed an inferiority complex in Beijing trying to find a woman who was less than 2″ taller than me.”(That’s a direct quote in case you have forgotten.

        Two inches taller than a man (you) taller than the average Northern European man (as you described yourself)? Let’s just look at Germany as an average, taller than say Switzerland but shorter than Norway, Denmark, or Sweden. German men are 5’11”. That would mean the average height of the women you encountered in Beijing was 6’1″ or better. You still want to stick with that?

        Worse for you, you claimed that you had trouble finding women shorter than that meaning the average woman must be still taller than 6’1″ in Beijing or you would encounter somewomen shorter than 6’1″ occasionally. Unless of course you are hanging out at some kind of club for freakishly tall Asian women.

        So I’ll ask you a serious question, you still want to say the average woman you encountered, (not even the average just those yousaw) was 6’1″?

      • TWS says:

        Sandgroper you got me. I do not use the metric system on a regular basis and I am working on a mobile where I cannot go back and check whether I saw 172 or 172.2 cm so I gave the honor guard the benefit of the doubt you’re right it is 172 cm not 172.2 cm.

        So does that change anything? You are claiming you simply couldn’t find women shorter than 6’1″ in Beijing. Is that really true? I am a big enough man to admit a mistake. Can you rise to the occasion and correct your statement where you’ve come up a tad short? You’ll never feel as tall as when you tell the truth.

        BTW I am having entirely too much fun. I’m going to quit baiting you and while I’ll not offer an apology for my taunting (you’ve been too ill mannered). I will say I am done.

        Have a good night.

      • Sandgroper says:

        I was engaging in joking hyperbole to illustrate that there are a lot of tall people in Beijing. Having said that, I do see a lot of girls there taller than me, and I’m 5’10” in bare feet.

        Now man up and answer the questions, which any retard can find the answers to.

      • TWS says:

        Look Sandgroper you did good. You admitted you were wrong. You should have just said that from the beginning.

        For the second time, no I will not answer your questions for the reasons I already listed. Tell you what, you answer your own questions. You obviously already know the answers and I’ll even stipulate what you post is correct. I was just busting your chops because of what you wrote. I harbor no ill will and genuinely apologize for being a jerk. If you want to share demographic info with me on China go ahead. I’ll pay attention but I’m too old to look up answers you already know and have at your fingertips. I am aware that the people of Northern China are taller than the south but I’d be interested in learning more. If I wasn’t I wouldn’t be here.

      • Sandgroper says:

        Fair enough.

        During the 19th Century, North American Plains Indians were the tallest people in the world. They fit under one of the definitions of Mongoloid (the one that’s obviously the most wrong).

        To qualify as a Pygmy, you need to be an adult male shorter than either 4’11” or 5’1″, depending on which definition you believe. (From memory, the shortest ‘normal’ humans might be Vietnamese, but I need to check that.)

        Even if you use “Mongoloid” to mean East Asian, a much more restricted definition than the original, you’re talking about vast land areas with huge populations, with a great deal of regional variation in height including, in some regions, and in modern times, some really quite tall people.

        So saying these “Mongoloid Pygmies” were “even shorter than Mongoloids are normally” is a bit like saying they were shorter than a piece of string. It implies that even (all) Mongoloids are really short, which is simply not true. There are some really rather short ones, and in some areas there are some really quite big ones. And the big ones are getting noticeably bigger.

        In any case, the “Mongoloid/Caucasoid” thing really doesn’t work any more, we have much better data now, and I don’t understand why people persist in using it, let alone fall for gross over-simplifications like “tall Caucasoids/short Mongoloids”, when much more fine grained understanding and analysis are now possible.

    • Sandgroper says:

      I’ll also point out that the Chinese are still growing. The People’s Liberation Army has recently announced that it has to redesign all of its 30 year old tanks, because the soldiers don’t fit into them any more.

      The Cultural Revolution ended 38 years ago.

      Isn’t it a bastard when people keep shifting the goal posts?

      • The fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

        Do you have a link for that?

        Here’s the problem.

        1. Tank height needs to be as small as possible.
        2. 30 years ago the Chinese were likely using Russian designs for tanks and I don’t see them making much is the way of changes in those designs.
        3. They can always find shorter personnel for their tanks. Even if they need to field 100,000 tanks, surely it will not be hard to find 400,000 tankers who are shorter than average among the 1.3Bn Chinese?

        So, without some pretty good evidence I am not sure this supports the claim that their heights have been increasing, however, other evidence might.

      • Sandgroper says:

        There is other evidence. Matt gave a reference that showed Chinese height increasing from the beginning of the 20th Century. With post-Cultural Revolution economic reform, you can bet as a certainty that height increase has been accelerating since then (as has obesity, by the way). Be that what it may, the PLA are going to replace all of their tanks because, they say, the existing ones are giving the current generation of tank crews physical issues because they are too cramped.

      • The fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

        OK, here is an article on it:

        They say:

        Using a gun that was too short for one’s build would affect one’s firing accuracy, the report warned.

        However, that is bullshit. I am between 5’6 and 5’7 in height, and an AK47 works fine for me, as it does for tall Americans, who have to make do with the M4. The Chinese have been using AK47 look-alikes and then they shifted to a bullpup design in the type 95, which has a 5.8mm round that is vastly inferior to the 6.5mm Grendel round, and the overall length is shorther (the barrel is only 14.5 inches, while the minimum legal barrel length in CA is 16 inches.)

      • Sandgroper says:

        Allow for poor reporting and lousy translation, but if that is actually what the report said, yeah, it’s bullshit. The demographic data really don’t surprise me though.

  10. The fourth doorman of the apocalypse says:

    More on admixture …

    “Principal findings indicated a major dichotomization of the dataset into (1) an early Southeast Asian sample with close affinities to modern Australian and Melanesian populations and (2) a very distinct grouping of ancient and modern Northeast Asians.”

  11. vector says:

    dr? mr? Cochran are you thinking this is just a good place to look for one trait from archaic sources or are you thinking the altitude genes are just the visible tip of a whole iceberg of unique archaic genes? if the latter what does this do to out of Africa?

  12. Zarf says:

    Three-part question: About twenty years ago people were saying that everyone’s mitochondrial DNA indicates descent through the maternal line from a common ancestral group in Africa 60,000 years ago. Is this still held to be the case? If so, how is DNA from Neanderthals, Denisovans and others supposed to have been picked up except through the paternal line? It seems very unlikely that we would have acquired all of this “alien” DNA only through the paternal line; if that is what is supposed to have happened, how would it have happened?

    • Anonymous says:

      The numbers for Y and mt coalescence are problematic.

      Just because we get all our mt DNA from one woman who lived 60k years ago doesn’t mean that all the other women alive at the time didn’t pass on other, autosomal genes. Perhaps the neanderthal DNA comes from a male, but the half-breed might not have been male, in which case there was no Y contribution. Or maybe the first generation was male, but eventually the male line died out. Similarly if the contribution was female. Y and mt don’t get mixed, so they are winner take all. Autosomal genes do get mixed, so many ancestors contribute a little bit, including neanderthals, etc.

  13. Sandgroper says:

    No one knows how the first matings went (M-F or F-M, although I have a theory of my own,which is that it had to be Neanertal male – AMH female), but it looks very likely that any hybrid male offspring were sterile. Any Neandertal mtDNA would not have lasted very long.

    • Zarf says:

      Are hybrid male offspring always more likely to be sterile than hybrid female offspring? Throughout the animal kingdom? Also, why do you think that the first matings had to be between Neanderthal males and AMH females? Because Neanderthal males and AMH females would have found each other attractive but AMH males and Neanderthal females wouldn’t have found each other attractive?

      • Zarf says:

        I found this on Wikipedia under the heading “Archaic human admixture with modern humans”:
        “No evidence of Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA has been found in modern humans.[11][12][13] This would suggest that successful admixture with Neanderthals happened paternally rather than maternally on the side of Neanderthals.[14][15] Possible hypotheses are that Neanderthal mtDNA had detrimental mutations that led to the extinction of carriers, that the hybrid offspring of Neanderthal mothers were raised in Neanderthal groups and became extinct with them, or that female Neanderthals and male modern humans did not produce fertile offspring.[14]”

      • Sandgroper says:

        No, because I think matings were far more likely to be ambush rape events, and I don’t see an AMH male overpowering a Neandertal female.

      • Fxkv says:

        So the Neanderthal finds the Sapiens girl attractive, anyway. But then she gives birth to a half-Neanderthal baby girl who grows up … and a Sapiens man must have found this hybrid attractive, if we’ve got Neanderthal genes.
        But how about this — a lone Neanderthal man, last of his little group, gets adopted by a Sapiens band who see him as a powerful magical helper, kind of a laconic Tom Bombadil; endowed by them with this weird sort of high-status role, he becomes attractive to the young women of the band. His enormous shoulders and forearms just add to his appeal, and his troll-face isn’t much of a drawback because it signals super-duper-masculinity.
        Wouldn’t you want to have a Neanderthal in your gang? Sapiens bands probably fought battles over who would get to have the last lone Neanderthal in the area as wizard-guide. Everyone in the group would want to be his best friend.

      • Sandgroper says:

        No, the hybrid offspring had to have been accepted into an AMH group, which further encourages me to think the mother needed to be an AMH, and if it was accepted and grew up as a member of the group, then finding a mate was not an issue, especially for a female.

  14. Zarf says:

    That’s what my friend Fxkv had in mind. It just seems to us that if AMH males were willing to have sex with a half-Neanderthal woman they were probably also willing to have sex with a fully Neanderthal woman. (Lots of little guys walk around with humongoid girlfriends in my neighborhood.) Also, on the inability of AMH males to overpower a Neanderthal woman — several of them out on a hunting expedition could certainly do it; even two would be enough, with one of them pointing a spear at her as the other does the dirty work. But in any case, AMH males would have had a much easier time overpowering Denisovan women, since the Denisovans weren’t as burly as the Neanderthals, but there’s no Denisovan mtDNA in Asians either (right?) despite evidence of interbreeding with that population as well.

    • Sandgroper says:

      Out of interest, how do you know Denisovans were not as burly?

      • Zarf says:

        I don’t — I was just assuming they were like those proto-Neanderthal guys in the Spanish cave from 430,000 years ago — a fleshed-out head of one of them is in the Natural History Museum in NYC. They could only benchpress 315 pounds, on average, whereas the Neanderthals, like Tolkien Dwarves, could benchpress 500 (I mean without ever having worked out before.) But my point is that we’ve acquired genes from various humanoid groups (haven’t we?), and their women weren’t necessarily all as hard to rape as the Neanderthal women were.

  15. Greying Wanderer says:

    I think the obsession with rape is misplaced. In a tropical environment where the females could feed the offspring on their own then maybe – it certainly works that way in the Congo today. However I don’t see how that’s feasible in the frozen north. I think permanent captives or bride trading is more likely.

    • Sandgroper says:

      Well, it’s hardly an obsession, old chap LMAO. I wouldn’t rule out those possibilities.

      As long as we can get everyone off the notion of ‘romantic trysts’, I think I’d accept just about any realistic scenario.

      I don’t know why everyone is so keen on the idea that the Neandertals concerned must have been female (have you seen Wilma? I wouldn’t.) I’ve thought about the head size thing, but Neandertal females are likely to have had just as many problems because of the shape of the birth canal.

  16. Simon in London says:

    Just saw this in the Daily Mail –

    It has the ‘3000 year evolution’ per Wade AND the archaic Denisovan introgression(?!)

    • gcochran9 says:

      3000 years is wrong, obviously so, but that was a claim from the same group that has produced the Denisovan identification. Reporters repeat what they’re told.

  17. Pingback: Let’s Get Small | West Hunter

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