The Genghis-Khan effect

We know of several examples of a huge expansion of a paternal lineage, and several other cases seem likely to be the same thing.  It’s worth taking a close look at the first one found, the paternal lineage of Genghis Khan.

8% of the men in  Central Asia carry this y-chromosome, half a percent of all men. One of the authors of that study made an interesting mistake: Chris Tyler-Smith, in an interview, said “We don’t think that Genghis Khan was the common ancestor, because our best estimate of the time when the common ancestor lived was a few generations before he was born.”

Now that’s silly, because are big error bars in that kind of TMRCA, not least when you’re doing Y-chromosomes with STRs, the state of the art at that time. If you found a piece of trinitite at Alamagordo and came up with a date of  1943 from some kind of radioactive dating, forget it: it was July 16th, 1945, 05:29:21 MWT (plus or minus 2 seconds).  In much the same way, we know when Genghis Khan made his historical moves, and we know who the rewards flowed to – his sons, and a smaller fraction to his full brothers, not his cousins or whatever.  Genghis’s sons got countries, had harems, founded dynasties: he (or maybe his father, depending upon how successful Hasar and Hachiun were) is the TMRCA .

It seems to me that this error stems from geneticists thinking that genetic data is the only real data: sloppy genetic time estimates trump precise historical dates.  In much the same way, people (using the old too-high mutation rate) estimated that the split with Neanderthals was ~300,000  years ago, even though the fossil record clearly showed hominids in Europe shambling towards Neanderhood half a million years ago.  The new, lower estimates of the mutation rate have reconciled genetic and paleontological evidence on the split time  – but the geneticists should have realized that there was an inconsistency.

Unfortunately other disciplines have the exact same problem.

Anyhow, the existence of the Genghis effect should have us thinking more generally, about Clark’s survival of the richest, or about populations that grow from hundreds to millions in a few centuries, after chancing on a favorable ecological niche (moneylending, or being pacifist farmers in America, or perhaps a ruling class after a conquest).  A ruling class could end up replacing the original conquered population without even intending to, if it stayed fairly endogamous while having higher fertility than the serfs.

This entry was posted in Genghis -Khan effect, Neanderthals. Bookmark the permalink.

121 Responses to The Genghis-Khan effect

  1. Frito Bandito says:

    Did something similar happen with haplogroup R1a and indo-europeans, and haplogroup J and semitic groups, in the bronze age?

  2. Sandgroper says:

    It’s a strange sort of mistake to make. I’m not a scientist, but I earn my living applying science, and when you get an answer from using one method, the instinctive thing to do is to try to cross-check the accuracy of the answer using a different method – if there’s no other method, you wet your finger, hold it up to the wind, poke your tongue into a special position and try to sense if the answer ‘feels’ right in your guts. If you can get no sense at all, you get real nervous about risk, even though some ‘method’ tells you that the answer you have is the right one. But I guess that’s when real risk is involved. Getting the answer wrong about the most recent common ancestor in the case of Genghis Khan wasn’t going to physically hurt anyone.

    Still seems an odd thing to do, though, not to try to cross-validate with historical records or whatever. But then, as has been discussed, linguists seem to choose to do that wilfully – some of them think it is positively wrong to seek that kind of cross-validation.

    You can tell you are dealing with a bad engineer when the guy confidently gives you an answer to 7 decimal places, while ignoring an obvious piece of evidence that suggests he’d be lucky if he was right to within an order of magnitude. He might be a wiz at higher math, but he’s a bad engineer. Good engineers all know that, and they try very hard to drum that message into graduates. I don’t get why there are disciplines who simply insist on ignoring opportunities for cross-checks, even just to see if they are in the right ball park.

    FB – my gut is telling me this happened a lot, like from Greg’s second last post.

  3. dearieme says:

    Does Clark explain why it was the non-noble wealthy who multiplied in England? And did he say who they were – country gentry, merchants, lawyers, …?

    • James Miller says:

      The nobles had high death rates from fighting other nobles.

    • dave chamberlin says:

      This is my take from Gregory Clark’s “Farewell to Alms.” It took a very special malthusian stew of dozens of generations to change the European man from the one that entered the middle ages to one that exited in the fruits of the industrial revolution. Once the farmlands were filled the excess population had little choice but to try and survive as best they could in urban areas. The conditions in these urban areas were horrible for a majority of the population. Malthusian limits have often been pressed upon humanity before but what made this environment different in fundamental ways was that those that flourished and raised another generation had to outsmart, as opposed to out work or out fight, other struggling townsfolk placed in this hellish population sink continuously fed by the surrounding countryside. Gregory Clark did something far more difficult than hypothesize this, he went out and found direct evidence that showed evolution in motion working upon mankind.

      I have had fruitless conversations with friends and family regarding the evolution of human intelligence. People as a rule believe what they want to believe. My opinions make very little difference upon the opinions of others. But well written books like “Farewell to Alms” and “The 10,000 Year Explosion” are evidenced based rather than opinion based and it has been my experience that stubborn equality idealists can finally “get it” once they have read these books.

      There has always been multiple pressures placed upon humanity to adapt to new pathogens, new foods, and greater ingenuity. What I see different in this environment is two important differences. First of all the long term results of population sink is normally a population that dwindles away to nothing, leaving little mark, but this one was continuously replenished. Secondly intense competition by what people today call “hustling”, using ingenuity to make a living and survive, became more important than it had been.

      • dearieme says:

        “Once the farmlands were filled” they were emptied again by the Black Death. I don’t know how long it took for the population to return to pre-Black Death levels – into Modern Times, I’d think. And then on the continent they were emptied again in many countries by the Thirty Years war.

    • Greying Wanderer says:

      Arranged marriages within the upper caste – due to preserving / maximizing fixed rather than human capital – while the next layer down relied more on marrying human capital?

      • Greying Wanderer says:

        A stonemason for example – his fixed capital is a few tools – it’s the human capital that gives him the edge. People in that artisan niche today are still very careful about not marrying dummies.

        • j says:

          Stonemasonry is a highly specialized trade since its beginning 4000 years ago. To practice it requires highly specialized tools, which in all times were expensive. Just to mention a few: Plug and feather (wedges and shims, pins and feathers and feather and tare) – a three-piece tool set used to split stone. You need also mallets and hammers of different weight and form, trowels, rulers, straightedges, you may ned a Lesbian rule, etc. You need capital to renew your kit and to finance projects, and to survive workless months. The stone itself is expensive and the transportation, etc. Socrates was a stonemason, definitely a middle class professional. In good times, he may have been a capitalist with a workshop and slaves. Today you cannot set up a workshop for less of 200,000 dollars (tools alone).

          About artisans dont marry dummies, how did you get that impression? What about Xantippa?

          • Greying Wanderer says:

            The sort of itinerant stonemasons that built the European cathedrals didn’t have a lot of fixed capital. They had human capital.

            “About artisans dont marry dummies, how did you get that impression?”

            Personal experience. It’s very noticeable.

            (By dummy I mean someone below the same IQ level.)

          • Wrath says:

            As upsetting as it may seem, I think a good analogy of a stone mason in modern society would be a tattoo artist in terms of skill set, mind set, specialization and tools.

          • j says:

            Wrath: Tattoo artists, in terms of skill, yes. The difference is that that the artists works alone with a few thousand dollars worth of capital, the stonemason has necessarily work within the framework of a project, as a team. And possessing the skill was far from enough, to be accepted in a project you had to have credentials such ten years apprenticeship with a recognized master, being part of a guild and of course, connections. I would rather compare the Middle Age itinerant stoneworker with an itinerant master driller: he needs skill, credentials, connections but to be independent, he needs capital. Otherwise he has to join a drilling team or company. Experienced drillers are very well paid. They cannot be too careful about not marrying a dummie since there few smart girls around drilling sites like McMunro in the Antartic, South Sudan, Alaska, etc.

    • Steve Sailer says:

      Isn’t it likely that most of the descendants of nobles turned into commoners? For example, Winston Churchill spent his political career in the House of Commons even though he was the first son of the second son of a duke.

      • TWS says:

        Worked for my family we were welsh nobility, then minor welsh nobility, then well off land owners/sheriff types, then American colonists, then very quickly despite having a fort and a town most became pioneers, finally most even the oldest sons were poor frontier folks. Through the Great Depression my branch of the family lived in such isolated areas they pretty much couldn’t get poorer.

        They kept having kids and most kids were a rung lower than their parents or grand parents.

  4. Dale says:

    You write, “It seems to me that this error stems from [academic field]ists thinking that [academic field] data is the only real data.”

    Another example may be in the European data: I remember seeing a summary of the then-current data which said that the Y-chromosome “time back to the small ancestral population” was several thousand years less than that time for mitochondria. That suggests to me that there was an event where a small group of invaders became the new ruling class over an undisturbed bulk population.

  5. The interesting thing about the Mongol expansion is that a Mongolian language expansion didn’t happen with exception of few Kalmyks in Russia.

    The Turkic language expansion still is the most surprising because they conquered established IE people like the Tocharians, Iranians and Greek Anatolia!

    • j says:

      The Mongols and Manchu rulers forbid the learning and use of their languages by the Chinese.

    • Dale says:

      You write, “The Turkic language expansion still is the most surprising…”.

      I think I’m not understanding you — if they conquered, well, anybody, why is it surprising that their language expanded? Or are you saying that it’s surprising that someone conquered “established IE people”? (Are such people unusually resistant to conquest?)

  6. JayMan says:

    Well, it seems that not too many people have the ability to zoom out and look at the big picture, even in the sciences. Whatever meager edge I happen to have, that’s primarily behind it.

  7. Jaakko Raipala says:

    There are counter-examples to upper class replacement, too, like Hungarians who are basically the same as their neighbours and display no genetic affinity towards any other Finno-Ugric ethnicity. They’ve been digging up graves from around the Hungarian conquest and discovering that the peasants have much the same set of haplogroups as modern Hungarians while the graves with signs of wealth have entirely different people, many with N1c typical of Finno-Ugric and some Turkic peoples.

    Another example would be Finns where Swedes made up an economically and politically dominant minority for a very long time, yet ethnic Finns display no R1b or Q which are found in Swedes and the Swedish minority in Finland and I1 and R1a in Finns are of different subclades with mutation dating so far making them look far, far older in Finland than the medieval arrival of the current Swedish minority. Yet the Swedish minority in Finland display rather high rates of N1c which is common in Finns and Saamis but definitely not in Scandinavians.

    Assimilation tends to go from the poorer ethnicity to the richer one so socio-political dominance often means the dominant ethnicity is the one being genetically influenced and not the other way around. That upper classes have more children doesn’t actually mean that the upper class is replacing the lower classes if the upper class is replacing its genes through assimilation. Half-Finnish half-Swedish children were easily accepted as Swedes and they were usually raised as Swedes since that was beneficial. (A converse example would be African-Americans who actually do have white genes since half-black children were not be accepted into the dominant ethnicity.)

    In fact, considering that Swedish male/Finnish female was the much more common marriage and that even male chromosomes of the Swedish minority seem to be half-Finnish, it seems like the Swedes in Finland managed to mostly replace their genes while still maintaining clear signs of Swedish origins in Y-DNA. Meanwhile they made no real contribution to Finnish genes.

    • gcochran9 says:

      In the case of Hungary, I’d blame the Ottomans.

      It can go both ways. If the people on top choose to live in cities that are demographic sinks, they can disappear. The case that I understand least is India: if some caste (presumably a high caste) had higher-than-average fertility, you’d think it would overflow into other castes and homogenize things, but this doesn’t seem to have happened, at least not much.

      • I met many Hungarians who prefer to be associated with the Turks than the Uralic family, they think that the Hungarian language is closer to Turkish than Finno-Ugric.

        • Jaakko Raipala says:

          You have to be a total loon to think that Hungarian isn’t a close relative of Khanty and Mansi, on the level of loons who believe that English isn’t a relative of German. Typically the anti-Finno-Ugric brigade doesn’t actually deny that Hungarian is an Ugric language, they just try to deny that the Finno- branch is related to the -Ugric branch.

          We also have our own anti-Finno-Ugric brigade on the same mission for different reasons: the Finno-Permian branch is the European or “European + some Mongoloid” looking people while the Ugric branch is the opposite (except for Hungarians), thus widespread dislike of Ugric “relatives” in Finland. The Finnish anti-FU brigade typically comes up with various theories in which Finns are the only original white people and Indo-Europeans are some sort of swarthy invaders who picked up blue eyes from Finns, eg professor Wiik:

          Finno-Ugric studies in general are plagued by the problem that only two nations have enough resources to run any and Finns and Hungarians both have their obsessions about where they really want to belong. Those N1c1 discoveries in Hungarian tombs made the anti-FU and pro-Turk people scream in terror about how low the sample size is and I don’t know why since if anything N1c1 is an interesting link between Turkic and FU speakers…

          • dearieme says:

            “the level of loons who believe that English isn’t a relative of German”: that’s a lunacy I’ve not met. I must have led a sheltered life.

          • Kate says:

            “loons who believe that English isn’t a relative of German”

            it’s part of the ‘Englishness doesn’t exist’ mentality – ask a person in England what ethnicity they are and they say – “I’m English – 1/16th Romany, 1/8th French etc.” – and the remaining 30-75% ? “Dunno”. A population that magically appeared from nowhere with no origin. I met a man who had celtic tatoos all up his arm, so I asked him if he was Irish and he said, ‘it’s really cool, I discovered that my paternal great grandfather who emigrated to Canada was Irish!”. Cool. And the remaining 87%? Shrug. Invisible English!

        • Nador says:

          You can easily find such Turkish oriented Hungarians. Though if you really look for freaks you can also find people who seriously promote a Hungarian-Sumerian language family (and some even genetic relatedness). And then there are those who think Hungarians came from the fourth planet of Sirius…
          Hungarian language indeed has some Turkic loanwords, thus it is possible to make up some semi-believable theory for a Turkic origin, but by that standard Hungarian should be a Slavic language, as we have even more Slavic loanwords.

          • Jim says:

            I believe that at least at one time it was fairly popular among Hungarians to name children “Attila”. They thought they were descendents of the Huns. Actually “Attila” is a Gothic word meaning “Daddy”. Most of the Hunnish hordes actually consisted of Ostrogoths and various other East Germans.

            I believe that Hungarians don’t have much genetic difference from other Eastern Europeans. Apparently the Magyars didn’t leave much genetic trace.

          • j says:

            Jim, No way. Not one of the dozens of the conquering Hungarian leaders had a name remotely Gothic. There is not one old Hungarian document written on “kutyabor” (dog-skin) that has Gothic words. The Hungarians (Magyar) who remained in Central Asia and did not join the conquest, still speak a language understandable for common Hungarian speakers.

          • Jim says:

            I think you misunderstand me. I’m not saying that the Magyars had anything to do with the Goths.. I was referring to the fact that at one time the Hungarians erroneously believed that they were the descendents of the Huns. As for Attila the Hun his name was almost certainly the Gothic word “Attila” which combines the root “atta” – father and “-la” a Gothic diminuitive.

          • Nador says:

            Jim, I believe the Turkic origin of Attila/Atilla is more likely. It is still a moderately popular name in Hungary (and Turkey).
            J, it was probably just a wrong choice of tense, but for the record: there are no Hungarians who remained in central Asia and still speak Hungarian these days. It was probably so for a few centuries after the conquest of the Carpathian basin, but the ascendance of the Mongols put an and to that in the 13th century.

          • Jim says:

            Also I’m not saying that Attila himself was a Goth but most of his horde was. I doubt that there were ever enough actual Huns in the West to make a self-respecting horde.

          • Cplusk says:

            Attila is not a Gothic word it’s probably Turkic just like Attila’s son’s name Dengizich (Modern Turkish Deniz (means sea)) Huns were originally Turkic/Proto-Turkic peoples from Central Asia.

      • Greying Wanderer says:

        I think there may be a connection somehow to different outcomes between groups marrying primarily for fixed capital (e.g. land) and marrying primarily for human capital (e.g. brains and health aka looks).

  8. JayMan says:

    Well, this is how Peter Underhill put it back in 2004:

    To some geneticists, the whole story seems incredible. “It’s complete conjecture!” says Underhill.”There are no living relatives of Genghis Khan that anyone can document, as they did for Thomas Jefferson. And the other problem I have is they estimate the age of that lineage to be about a thousand years—it could be easily 3,000 years old, depending on which mutation rate you use. You could have 3,000 years of this chromosome dispersing across Central Asia. You don’t need to invoke Genghis Khan screwing every woman in sight. It just doesnt compute with me.”

    Fortunately, in the very same article, you had someone setting it straight:

    “What is the alternative?” asks Tyler-Smith. “We know from the genetics that this pattern originated in Mongolia or nearby a thousand years ago or some similar time. So the alternative to its being spread by Genghis Khan is that his Y chromosome, despite his reported 20,000 descendants, is not visible in the genetic record now but that of another person has spread in this unprecedented way.”

    • gcochran9 says:

      Hank Greely, a law professor at Stanford, had a somewhat similar critique that was referenced in Slate, which in itself proves that he’s wrong.

      Underhill’s and Greely’s mind are not right. Why? Well, in Underhill’s case, it could be the Ring eating away at him. More generally, I would ascribe this kind of mistake to

      A. Ignorance. Hard as it is to believe, there are people (well over 99% of the population) who know almost nothing about the Mongols and their legacy. They don’t know about the harems, about the dynasties – and they don’t know about the long-lasting mystique of the Golden Family, such that even a macher like Tamurlane had to have a member as his front man. More generally, reading much outside your field is not required or encouraged. Tunnel vision is the beau ideal.

      B. They have trouble understanding mathematically simple but anti-intuitive things like exponential growth. Being modern Americans, they also have trouble understanding that baby-making is important. Then there’s the reflex that anything interesting must be wrong.

      C. Dumb.

      • Add in D. Preconceived idea that will not uninstall. Very powerful in all of us.

      • a very knowing American says:

        Also, academic historians and archeologists have worked hard for more than a generation to push the idea that being interested in some of the more lurid, sensational, and horrifying bits of the past — especially warfare — is hopelessly lowbrow and possibly reactionary, the province of Civil War reenactors, Bernard Cornwell fans, collectors of Nazi memorabilia, etc. So the Battle Axe Culture turns into Corded Ware, the Dark Ages turn into Late Antiquity, Vikings were mainly traders, and so on. Compare Jack Weatherford’s history of the Mongols — not bad in its own way, but relentlessly downplaying the grisliness — with Harold Lamb’s unsparing, compulsively readable earlier book on Genghis Khan.

        • dearieme says:

          “Vikings were mainly traders”: a friend of mine refers to the Greater Norwegian Co-Prosperity Sphere.

        • Dale says:

          This is getting off the track, but it was only recently that I ran into the information that much of the Norse’s trading was in slaves, and a considerable part of the work of the Vikings (= Norse raiders) was capturing slaves in coastal areas. (Which also accounts for why they could move in the area of present-day St. Petersburg, across to the Volga and down to Byzantium — slaves had a high markup and could bear a lot of trading expense.)

          There’s an interesting contrast with Africa: The Vikings could capture slaves themselves, and so their raiding provided incentive for the consolidation and strengthening of the European states of the Middle Ages. (Apparently it was a significant factor in the development of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.) But in Africa, neither the earlier Arab slavers nor the later European ones could survive the local diseases, so they had to buy slaves that had been captured by locals. The result was fragmentation of local political authority, as the basis of support for a state was being able to raid the neighbors for slaves. The effects linger today. One analysis ( notes that the areas of Africa that exported the most slaves are the ones that are most underdeveloped today. “Recent research suggests that without the slave trades, 72% of Africa’s income gap with the rest of the world would not exist today.”

    • I believe it was Woody Allen who said “Shakespeare never wrote all those plays. It was someone else named Shakespeare.”

      • gcochran9 says:

        The earlier version had it that the Iliad and Odyssey weren’t written by Homer, but another Greek of the same name.

        • ursiform says:

          I remember that one.

          And then there was the idea the Bach wasn’t inventive enough to have written his greatest works, that there had to have been another, unknown but greater, baroque composer who wrote his greatest works.

        • Jim says:

          The difference is that William Shakespeare is actually documented in history independently of his plays and poems. So the hypothesis that someone else, also named Shakespeare, wrote the plays is a meaningful though improbable asserttion. We have nothing like that for Homer so the assertion that another man of the same name was the author of the Illiad and Odyssey doesn’t even have meaning.

        • Lars Grobian says:

          I stole Allen’s joke and claimed that the Beowulf Poet was actually somebody else.

          So as long as you don’t count the other 99.9999% of his output…

      • gcochran9 says:

        ” Hurrah for Old Bill Shakespeare;

        He never wrote them plays;

        He stayed at home, and chasing girls,

        Sang dirty rondelays …

      • georgesdelatour says:

        There’s also the “Jesus Myth” theory, which claims that no historical Jesus of Nazareth ever existed. The theory isn’t simply that Jesus was not divine, or that the Christian accounts of his life are unreliable, but that no such historical person was baptised by John the Baptist or crucified by Pilate. Apparently some first century Jews created a fictional character by synthesising the stories of Mithras, Osiris, Buddha and Krishna. Or something.

        • Sandgroper says:

          I went through as much of that as I could find, and came to the conclusion that it’s not possible to be certain either way, but that he probably was an historical person – but a very different one from that portrayed in the Gospels – more likely an apocalyptic Jewish preacher called Yeshu ben Joseph who was certain the world would end within one generation after his death, and who was executed by crucifixion by Pilate for sedition. In that respect, if indeed he did exist, he was just one of thousands executed the same way for more or less similar reasons. It also seems likely that he had several brothers and sisters, or half brothers and sisters, and Joseph was either his real father or his step-father. His mother Mary was probably around 12 years old when he was born.

          I didn’t make any of that up. There are some Biblical historians who are serious historians unswayed by religious belief and who have no axe to grind or ideology to peddle. I don’t care if anyone believes any of it or not, and I’m not interested in getting into any debates about it, I just find it interesting for its own sake.

          A lot of the alleged ‘historical’ detail about his life as recorded in the Gospels is clearly false, including where and when he was born. And whoever wrote the ‘John’ Gospel was on crack.

          • Jason B says:

            Sand – could you please help a guy out and link to some good starting material to read on this? It’s something I’ve very recently become interested in. I’m thinking of the “no axe to grind” type material that you mention.

          • Sandgroper says:

            Jason, I found Géza Vermes persuasive, just on the grounds of his knowledge of the period, his logic, and thoroughness. I haven’t looked at the stuff in a long while now, though. Once Vermes had satisfied my curiosity, I kind of dropped it.

            Whether you believe Vermes or not, he’s good to read. Dead now, but good. You could argue that Vermes was grinding some kind of axe, but I don’t think so.

          • Jason B says:


          • ziel says:

            On crack, perhaps – but it must have been some pretty good stuff:)

          • Jim says:

            What was the author of the Book of Revelations on?

          • Ian says:

            Jason: take a look at Robert M. Price’s “The Christ Myth Theory and Its Problems” (there’s a Kindle edition). The main point, IMHO: Paul’s Christ is a very different Christ from the ones (plural intended) from the gospels. Paul sounds more like a proto-gnostic, or something alike, than a catholic Christian.

            Of course, as the book’s title says, the theory has its own problems, though it could explain a lot of strange things in Christianity. What sense does it make the atonement explanation about Christ sacrifice? A god kills part of himself in order to content himself. However, if the original doctrine was a Gnostic one, it would be even crazier, but at least more coherent: a part of the Godhead offers himself to the Demiurge to rescue part of Humanity.

        • Paul Conroy says:


          There was a famous Jewish historian called Josephus who lived in the time of “Jesus”, but never recorded anything about him. He did however record a preacher whose description seems to be John the Baptist.

          As we now know from the Nag Hammadi Library, John the Baptist was a member of the Essene Cult, and preached about a coming savior, but never mentioned one that had already arrived.

          The Christian Jesus was created by the Counsel of Nicea, where the various Jewish myths and legends were gathered, sorted and edited into an organized canon – now known as the bible. For good luck they decided to stop preaching the coming of Jesus and say he had arrived already…

          • roelm says:

            The First Council of Nicaea (325) issued a creed regarding the Arian controversy and some canons (church laws). It did not touch on the question of Scriptural canon.
            The New Testament canon was formalized later through such councils as the Council of Laodicea (363) and the 3rd Council of Carthage (397) and also in epistles like that of St. Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria (367).

          • roelm says:

            However, there were indeed very early lists of New Testament books, such as the Muratorian fragment (about 170 AD): But formally promulgated, dogmatic lists came later.

          • georgesdelatour says:

            Josephus confirms that James, brother of Jesus, was head of the Jerusalem Church.


          • Sandgroper says:

            I think the jury is still out on whether the reference to James was in Josephus’ original version or added fraudulently by someone else later. Certainly some fraudulent stuff was added – whether that bit was fraudulent or in the original is at least uncertain.

            Vermes did say that, in terms of ‘public awareness’/influence, John the Baptist was a bigger noise at the time, so it’s no real surprise that Josephus was aware that he had been around. But whether he actually knew Jesus had been around is uncertain because of the fraudulent alterations to Josephus’ writing. Unfortunate, because if it could be proved genuine it would pretty well nail it (sorry, bad choice of words).

          • Sandgroper says:

            roelm – nice reference. Thanks.

  9. r321 says:

    I think it’s the humour here that keeps me coming back,

    “A ruling class could end up replacing the original conquered population without even intending to, if it stayed fairly endogamous while having higher fertility than the serfs.”


  10. MawBTS says:

    “A ruling class could end up replacing the original conquered population without even intending to, if it stayed fairly endogamous while having higher fertility than the serfs.”

    George Orwell stopped Animal Farm just when it was getting really interesting. What would have happened if things had continued, with the pigs growing more and more numerous and the serf animals barely holding even?

    • dave chamberlin says:

      You know George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” would be a damned good template to work off of to teach the masses how evolution works on humans. We know all too well that only 1% of the population is smart enough to enjoy and benefit from reading non fiction covering complex subjects. I read that book in third grade and loved it, I had no clue or care that it was a morality tale about communism. If anyone could pull off it off it’s Cochran.That weird world of the House of Rats still sticks with me. Flesh that story out and fill with oddball characters and you just might have a best seller.

    • Ian says:

      What would have happened if things had continued…

  11. roelm says:

    ” A ruling class could end up replacing the original conquered population without even intending to, if it stayed fairly endogamous while having higher fertility than the serfs.”

    Does this apply in the case of the Anglo-Saxons and the conquered Britons?

  12. Kate says:

    “I would guess rural towns.”

    market towns, ? burghs, as originally designed by ATG to be convivial centres of commerce. How many babes were conceived on market day amid the hubbub of livestock, coins and ale?

  13. dearieme says:

    If your Anglo-Saxon tribe wants to put men in the field against your neighbours, you may have to cultivate the consent of your British population. Do that for long enough and the barriers will soon be gone. I dare say it might have been the need for manpower to fight the Danes that ended any surviving segregation.

  14. Hey Dr. Cochran what do you think of this:

    Neotony and human evolution.

    • Toad says:

      wiki Mongoloid#Neoteny:

      “The Mongoloid skull, whether Chinese or Japanese, has been rather more neotenized than the Caucasoid or European”

      “Mongoloid races are explained in terms of being the most extreme pedomorphic humans”

    • Matt says:

      In some features humans (and more broadly the homo lineage) are very neotenous – the proportion of the neurocranium to the face and body – in others, not very, even peramorphic – the relative proportions of the lower limbs to the body, the proportion of face size to the body. Many features distinguishing humans from our closest relatives are not ones which show much of a neonate-adult pattern in our closest relatives.

  15. John Hostetler says:

    The psychology behind this seemingly willful ignorance has its own Darwinian aspects, of course.

    Differential reproductive success is part of the enduring legacy of maternal investment in children, a story with many facets, mostly well known here I’m sure. For example, it has been said that 90% of the human females who have ever lived have had at least one child, but only 50% of the males have.

    One question this raises is why severe depression does not overwhelm a greater proportion of the men who gradually come to realize they will be in the childless half. One proposed answer is the male imagination: from early boyhood, we all imagine ourselves as alphas, and seldom give up that self-image entirely – we see ourselves as having more alpha-like status than we actually possess, and other men as having less.

    Scientists, and academics in general, tend to have personality profiles oriented to high intellectual success, moderate social status and financial success, and rather lower success in street fights and attracting a high lifetime number of voluntary female sexual partners, or a low number of highly attractive ones, for that matter.

    It makes sense that many of these people would unconsciously avoid recognizing Temugin among the great alphas of all time.

  16. Kate says:

    Supposing Genghis had 1,000 children and each child had 4 children and each generation multiplied by 4. Going back from Genghis, 250, 62.5, 15.6, 4, 1; five generations back from Genghis, a single man could have given rise to the same number of descendants via average family size. ?

    • setstamov says:

      Nonsense. The growth rate at this time in Mongolia was less than 1.1. 13-th century Mongolia had a population of about 200 000 people – give or take 100 000. Back in 1960-s Mongolia had a population of exactly one million people., Have every 13th century Mongol had 4 surviving offspring, today’s number of Mongolians would have been 12 and a half billions. But they are not – they are 2.5 millions. Which tells us that it would have taken more than a 1000 generations for an average Mongolian to catch up with the number of Genghis offspring. 1000 generations (actually more) is a big number, and leads us back to 23 000 BC; so if it was not Genghis, it must have been somebody who has lived 25 000 years ago. Which is nonsense.

      • j says:

        Ghengis’s large descendence makes sense if you consider that they exterminated large part of the population of the conquered territories. They razed and destroyed million people cities like Baghdad, Samarkand, etc. and there were no survivors. In a two-month razzia alone they reduced Hungary’s population in half. The population bottleneck was so large that the Genghiside genetic contribution wa significant and grew exponentially in the following generations.

    • Toad says:

      “and each child had 4 children”

      329 years later, a distant grand-child is still getting benefit from his legacy.

      Mughal Empire

      Akbar the Great, Mughal Emperor 1556

      list of his first 50 wives taken from jehangirnama and other official records. He had 300 wives officially

  17. Sean says:

    ” A ruling class could end up replacing the original conquered population without even intending to, if it stayed fairly endogamous while having higher fertility than the serfs.”,

    Yes In theory, but it seems like the kind of runaway result that would be rare in practice. I think an endogamous expanding conqueror class would result in overproduction of the elite class and a fall in its status; they would start fighting among themselves to maintain their position as nobles. The population of warriors would have been falling with raids and duels. War plague famine and death.. Serfs would be necessary to do the work to maintain the conquerors in the style to which they had become accustomed. When there was a shortage of serfs, a lord would have to start treating his own a bit better (a la the cycles of Peter Turchin).

    • Greying Wanderer says:

      I think it might vary depending on factors like the level and severity of warfare in each situation

      Assuming the conquering elite marry women from their own group and have illegitimate – or at least lower status – mixed children with women from the conquered group then

      if you have this situation followed by centuries of relative peace (or at least a form of warfare with a relatively low casualty rate among the elite) then you can easily imagine the possibility of their excess children slowly drifting downwards socially and increasing the percentage of conqueror dna among the total population.

      However if you have a warrior elite who are particularly violent or they get involved in a very long-running war with a high casualty rate among the elite (Hungary vs Ottomans?) then the opposite might be true and over time the excess mixed children might be drawn upwards to replace noble lines that have died out. In this case the elite might eventually end up still retaining the y dna of the conquerors but autosomally be almost identical to the conquered population.

      So Farewell to Alms might require a prior farewell to the elite fighting on the front line?

      • Sean says:

        As I understand it, Malthus only applies to the conquerors’s class in what Gregory Cochran is saying. But warrior consider themselves gentry and are loath to become farmers- who are not thought to be real men. Given no internicine warrior class violence , you would have elite over-production of the noble warrior class. Now if the serfs were declining (so there was less surplus for warrior overclass to live on ) would the warriors really say to their sons “Look I am afraid we can’t afford to be warriors gentry any more, so my proud son you are going to have to go live in a hovel and grovel to the gentry .”

        It is true a self class delcline (slow or quick like the Black Death) would cause the lower warrior class be perlously close to becoming serf class. But there would be a hell of a lot of fighting betreen the warriors to prevent their family being relegated.

        • Greying Wanderer says:

          ” would the warriors really say to their sons…”

          that’s an interesting thought.

          I think it would have to happen in stages i.e. a baron equivalent’s son becomes a landed knight-equivalent and a landed knight-equivalent’s son becomes a freelance knight-equivalent and the freelance knight equivalent’s son becomes a man at arms etc.

          But even then yes it’s an interesting thought re hidden causes of civil wars etc. It’s well attested in another direction i.e. lots of brigands and pirates after a war when men who had got used to fighting for a living decide it’s more fun than staring at cows all day so it does make me think that if there were a lot of fighting men without enough landed places for them all that that might have an political effect.

  18. Kate says:

    what I meant was, thinking back to the question posed a few posts ago – where did R1b and R1a come from – I’m asking if the same effect – of many descendants – could also be achieved, over a longer time-scale, through average reproduction. ?

    • Kate says:

      In other words, maybe there never was a Genghis-style reproductive event amongst the R-people. Maybe R-people colonised rather than conquered. Remember what the Cochise leader said, native Americans weren’t annihilated; they lived to see another casino.

    • Toad says:

      If r1b’s aboriginals were HGs, pop density would be very low, especially in N. Europe. The colonized territory would be effectivly uninhabited. If your diet is cattle, you can colonize a new area with no need to improve the land. The cattle just walk in and eat the grass. And cattle can give you a high pop density. Expansion could be very rapid.

      Distribution of haplogroup R1b in Europe

      • Kate says:

        “The cattle just walk in and eat the grass.”

        I’ve herd that.

        I never know what to make of Eupedia. For instance there is great detail about Haplogroups in different ethnic groups, but how reliable is the data; it seems to be either not well known or not well regarded. Whereas, Prof Cochran seems to know for certain what he’s talking about.

  19. Kate says:

    “People in that artisan niche today are still very careful about not marrying dummies.”

    They’re the only free-thinkers we have left. Corporate and public sectors both operate a (in effect totalitarian) ideology that employees have to adhere to.

  20. Dale says:

    He siad, “because our best estimate of the time when the common ancestor lived was a few generations before he was born”.

    Of course, the data doesn’t constrain the actual history very closely, but it does seem to be true (from Wikipedia) that Genghis Kahn was the scion of a powerful lineage, so it’s possible that a bunch of his male kin got in some serious gene spreading as well. (“Temüjin was related on his father’s side to Khabul Khan, Ambaghai, and Hotula Khan, who had headed the Khamag Mongol confederation and were descendants of Bodonchar Munkhag (c. 900).”)

    • gcochran9 says:

      Wrong. Genghis’s sons inherited countries, his two surviving brothers were princes with noticeable territories in eastern Mongolia. The advantages they received were orders of magnitude greater.

  21. Sidra says:

    I’m an American who is half Finnish and according to oral family history we are descended from Genghis Khan. Recent DNA testing of sibling showed that my Finnish heritage also includes some Swedish, Estonian, Saami, ancient Siberian and Mongolian, descended from Genghis Khan! I’ve been trying to figure out how that happened since the Golden Horde supposedly never got that far. Close, but no cigar. I’ve seen a couple of postings by other Finnish Americans who also have oral family stories of being related to Genghis Khan. I know from my reading that the Saami were discriminated against and many immigrated to US as either Finns or Scandinavians. That might have been true for a subgroup of Finns, like my ancestors, who also had Mongolian heritage. I get sense that many Finns are shamed of possible Mongolian DNA, while I personally find it extremely interesting. Since I’m Scots-Irish on my mother’s side, glad to know I’m not 100% boring white bread! (-:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s