June 12, 2010

Composite faces of Iran

Made with Sqirlz Morph.

Here are the answers to the Guess his Origin challenges.

Composite of 8 Isfahan Jews:


Composite of 8 Yezd-i-Khast villagers:


Bonus: composite of 8 Kinareh villagers:


Another bonus: composite of 16 Lurs from Pusht-i-Kuh:



The pictures were taken from Henry Field's Contributions to the anthropology of Iran, Vol. 2 (1939). The individuals for each composite were the youngest ones, rejecting individuals with a peculiar expression/closed eyes/very open mouths/extreme asymmetries etc.

23 comments:

  1. So where is Yezd-i-Khast?

    I got almost right the first one: Iranians (even if Jews). I'd like to know if the second are Kurds or not.

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  2. Yeah. The pictures of the Jewish Iranians screamed (at least to me) `Israeli/Palestinian`. I have met both Israelis and Palestinians who look like the Isfahan Jew composite.

    As for the Lurs composite, I suppose that`s where Ahmadinejad comes from or near. AHmadinejad looks very much like a Hindu/Pakistani and quite unlike both the `Kinareh` and `Pusht-i-Kuh` people.

    At least that`s my humble opinion based on observation only. I am not an anthropologist nor do I aspire to become one. (Disclaimer)

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  3. I really was convinced that #1 was Armenian/Kurd/Eastern Turk (Anatolian basically).

    #2 I thought Syrian Turk - semitic + bit of european and bit of turkish (eyes).

    Ahmadinejad's "look" is more common than in Iran that previously thought. What I found really interesting in all the studies is how the "Elamo-Dravidian"/Semitic gene really does show a relationship between Persians, west of the Great Deserts, and Pakistanis & South Indians.

    Really brings to my mind how mixed populations are particuarly the Muslim world, which is the borderland of every civilisation.

    To further what Maju said; its a cosmopolitan population (one Islamic civilisation constantly mixing with neighbours) but highly endogamous (consanguienity being encouraged). Its a weird dichotomy but that pattern really does persist.

    The best example are Punjabi Sindhi Muslims. Sindhi Muslims are known to have several ancestral clusters (baloch particularly, haris & rajput tribes) but inbreeding rates are so high that a heterogenous population homogeneising (like the Druze)..

    That's why non-Muslim populations in the Muslim world are "conservative" in gene flow; the Turkish, Sub-saharan and other influxes very rarely enters (Copts can be safely assumed to be the descendants of Egyptians as of 700AD, whereas Muslims have Turkish, Bedouin Arab and Nubian ancestries as well).

    Just visually however these populations blend into each other; there are very few sharp differentiators otherwise it would have been noted on.

    I think the search for purity (my instinct in these searches), particularly in the Muslim & Mediterranean world and populations, will be very tough to discover. Its because they've been continously and densely population for millennia.

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  4. The Lurs are basically Irano-Afghans (C.S. Coon) or fine Iranids (E. Eickstedt), pretty typical actually, would like to see the individual images.

    Kinareh are more robust Iranids/Irano-Afghans, tend somewhat towards Northern variation.

    Yezd-i-Khast might be more Cromagnoid, Alpinoid influenced in comparison.

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  5. The Lurs are basically Irano-Afghans (C.S. Coon) or fine Iranids (E. Eickstedt), pretty typical actually, would like to see the individual images.

    Kinareh are more robust Iranids/Irano-Afghans, tend somewhat towards Northern variation.

    Yezd-i-Khast might be more Cromagnoid, Alpinoid influenced in comparison.

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  6. and bit of turkish (eyes)

    While those kinds of eyes can also be found at Turks, they aren't typical Turkish eyes. Typical Turkish eyes are more open and more general Caucasoid type eyes, like this one (a relative of mine from Central Anatolia - from my father's side):

    http://www.turizminsesi.com/images/author/14_b.jpg

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  7. This is the facial composite of the Turkish national team (it represents typical Turks better as it is a facial composite of 23 Turks and belongs to young and thus non-crinkled faces):

    http://s876.photobucket.com/albums/ab329/786512/08/?action=view&current=90726ba8.jpg

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  8. Turkish national team

    Correction: Turkish national football team

    Source: http://s1.zetaboards.com/anthroscape/topic/3425796/1/

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  9. Has anyone tried compositing the entire set of faces and running Eigenface on it?

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  10. I will be a bit more precise:

    No.1 looks like Halil, a Palestinian co-student of mine originally from Ashdod, at the University. The composite picture and Halil look exactly the same (it is as if they are twins).

    No. 1 also looks like an Israeli electrician I knew from Eilat.

    No. 2 brought to my mind a Turk from the far Eastern provinces. He, however, would have been quite out-of-place in Aegean Turkey. People there would consider him a foreigner as he does not look like a typical Turk.

    No. 3 looks quite mainstream European. I suppose that at at least some of the persons in the composite images must have had bright-coloured eyes and/or fairish hair? I am guessing that the type represented by this particular composite image is quite rare in Iran.

    Pls note that due to my job, I have visited all the Persian Gulf states incl Iran. From my experience:

    No. 1 would not be very common in Iran.

    No. 2 would be fairly common.

    No. 3 would be very rare.

    No. 4 would be extremely common.

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  11. It is obvious from the style of moustaches that the last three men are orthodox Muslims (Sunni or Shia), as they have the prophet Muhammad-style moustaches (according to Hadith), in which moustache is shaven in such a way as to leave a small blank above the upper lip and another in the middle of the moustache. Christians, Jews, Druze, Yazidis and non-orthodox Muslims like Alevis and Ismailis do not have such a religious tradition, so they usually let their moustache grow freely in the aforesaid areas when they grow a moustache (like the Jewish man in the first photo).

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  12. It is obvious from the style of moustaches that the last three men are orthodox Muslims (Sunni or Shia), as they have the prophet Muhammad-style moustaches (according to Hadith), in which moustache is shaven in such a way as to leave a small blank above the upper lip and another in the middle of the moustache. Christians, Jews, Druze, Yazidis and non-orthodox Muslims like Alevis and Ismailis do not have such a religious tradition, so they usually let their moustache grow freely in the aforesaid areas when they grow a moustache (like the Jewish man in the first photo).

    Here, of course, I am referring to facial composites while saying man.

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  13. @Achaean: I've seen a lot of Iranians, and it's possible my experience might not be representative, but the "typical" Iranian I've seen does not look like #4. (Which doesn't mean no Iranians look like that. Only that that's not the "typical" Iranian look I've seen.)

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  14. Achaean,

    According to several Iranians friends I have, blond hair is not that uncommon in Iran. Apparently, it's more common in the north of Iran, especially with people who are originally from Azerbaijan.

    My impression with these images is that they are a subsample of the many faces you see in Iran. The Iranians I know mostly don't fit into these four "types".

    To me, that's the most interesting thing about these facial averages: there doesn't seem to be one look, or even four, that you can give to Iranians.

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  15. I only saw the Jew and the Yezd. I don't have any idea about the origins of those villagers, they all look foreign to me i.e non European but the Jew looks the most European, Southern European but still not quite fully Southern European.

    I though the Yezd mob were Kurds by another name. As for the Jews in Iran, they probably look pretty much like their neighbors.

    It was fun trying to guess those morphs even if they are rather odd looking.

    I know a hell of a lot of people who do not look like their stereotype for their ethnic group or nationalities. Why should those villagers?

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  16. I was right on the Jew and the Kurd...My radar is rarely wrong.

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  17. I was right on the Jew and the Kurd...My radar is rarely wrong.

    What Kurd?

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  18. @Dienekes...Sorry, the Persian from Fars Province in Iran.

    Persians and Kurds both speak Iranian languages.

    I was close enough...shut up...lol

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  19. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been revealed to have Jewish ancestry...[http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/6256173/Mahmoud-Ahmadinejad-revealed-to-have-Jewish-past.html] in fact his surname used to be Sabourjian – a Jewish name meaning cloth weaver.

    According to the article: "The Sabourjians traditionally hail from Aradan, Mr Ahmadinejad's birthplace, and the name derives from "weaver of the Sabour", the name for the Jewish Tallit shawl in Persia. The name is even on the list of reserved names for Iranian Jews compiled by Iran's Ministry of the Interior."

    This is interesting because I think that he looks very much like the first (Isfahan Jews) composite.

    Interestingly, Aradan is only about 628 km from Esfahan.

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  20. Joel, I would say only one thing: Don't believe everything you are told in the media. It isn't so strange if he really has Jewish ancestry (even if it is extremely recent), what is really strange is your response to this news. You should be more skeptic and cautious.

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  21. Onur,

    I was only quoting the Telegraph article as a source; it is up to others to perform their own research to decide whether its claims have merit.

    In addition, I believe his mother would have had to have been Jewish for him to be considered Jewish (by Jews), unless he was raised in the Jewish faith.

    That being said, it is interesting that out of all four composites, the top one would appear (at least to me, the casual observer) to be the closest match to Ahmadinejad, especially in full-face pose.

    Of course, even if we had his Y-DNA, it still might not enlighten us as to whether or not he had any paternal Jewish ancestry.

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  22. I was only quoting the Telegraph article as a source

    You didn't seem to be just objectively quoting the Telegraph article:

    Joel: "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been revealed to have Jewish ancestry...[http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/6256173/Mahmoud-Ahmadinejad-revealed-to-have-Jewish-past.html] in fact his surname used to be Sabourjian – a Jewish name meaning cloth weaver."

    How do you know Sabourjian is a Jewish surname or exclusively Jewish surname? And how do you know it means "cloth weaver"?

    Here is a Guardian article aimed to refute the claims in the Telegraph article:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/oct/05/mahmoud-ahmadinejad-jewish-family

    Again, I should remind you that I don't know which article is correct or more correct. But the claims in the Telegraph article sound much more implausible to me, but that is just my personal opinion.

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  23. This is from a 1939 finding! Thanks for enlightening us with the research of our racist past!

    This stupid blog is all about how "white" a population is and whether X population has any non-white admixture or not!

    Blog after blog you seem to be comparing people's faces with how more of less European some individual is.

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