June 13, 2011

Interview about Morton skull collection @ Penn

This was the topic of a recent article which rehabilitated Morton and exposed Stephen Jay Gould's scientific misconduct.

23 comments:

Onur said...

In every major aspect of human variation we see race, and always the same races. Races are not arbitrary categories; the more we study human variation, the more consistent races become.

eurologist said...

Very, very nice talk. E/PO is such a difficult thing to do.

terryt said...

"the more we study human variation, the more consistent races become".

I suppose to avoid the conotations of the word 'race' we could use 'subspecies'. But that introduces more problems because many associate the prefix 'sub' with 'inferior'. Perhaps we should just refer to 'geographically distinct populations'.

Onur said...

I suppose to avoid the conotations of the word 'race' we could use 'subspecies'. But that introduces more problems because many associate the prefix 'sub' with 'inferior'. Perhaps we should just refer to 'geographically distinct populations'.

Actually, race is an unnecessary term as subspecies already denotes the same meaning and in a more unambiguous way and, unlike race, it is used not just for humans but also for other animal species. The term geographically distinct population is too long thus necessitates using abbreviations like GDP. Also we do not need to create a new category just for humans. The subspecies category we apply to other animal species equally applies to humans. So subspecies is the best term to use for human macro groupings.

Onur said...

But that introduces more problems because many associate the prefix 'sub' with 'inferior'.

Irrelevant, as everyone either belongs to a subspecies or is a hybrid of two or more subspecies.

terryt said...

"The subspecies category we apply to other animal species equally applies to humans".

I tend to agree. However the fact that human subspecies have become more mobile than are most other subspecies we have more clinal variation in our species than occurrs in most other species. That clinal variation is far from unknown in other species of course, but it does mean many people are able to claim that human subspecies are somehow different from other subspecies.

Onur said...

I tend to agree. However the fact that human subspecies have become more mobile than are most other subspecies we have more clinal variation in our species than occurrs in most other species. That clinal variation is far from unknown in other species of course, but it does mean many people are able to claim that human subspecies are somehow different from other subspecies.

Subspecies aren't pure categories in whatever species they are found. Almost every subspecies (not necessarily every individual member of the respective subspecies though) has some admixture from other subspecies. In contact zones of different subspecies, admixture from other subspecies rises to high levels and we classify such individuals and groups as hybrids of different subspecies. To give examples from modern humans; there is a transition zone in the Sahara Desert where Caucasoid-Negroid hybrids dwell; Ural/West Siberia area of Russia (I am only referring to the indigenous non-Russian people there) and Central Asia are transition zones where Caucasoid-Mongoloid hybrids dwell; another transition zone is between the Greater Iran and the Indian Subcontinent where Caucasoid-Dravidoid hybrids dwell (I am using Darvidoid as a subspecies category for the vast majority of Subcontinentals); there are many people who are hybrids of two of more subspecies in South and Central Americas today as a result of the European colonialism and African slavery.

terryt said...

I agree 100%. But persuading others is almost impossible. Maju, for one, is very reluctant to see things in such a manner.

horacioh said...

Mr Dienekes.

You have authorized my two last message about this issue please publish it; I will thank you in advance.

Dienekes said...

horacioh, you have been told repeatedly that you are banned, so no more messages by yourself will be accepted on the blog. All your blog posts and e-mails to my address immediately go to the spam folder.

Claudia said...

The North Americans are a variable mixed people with haplotypes from Europe –exclusively or not-, Africa and indigenous Americans also Asians as a "result of the European colonialism and African slavery" consolidated progressively and more extent day bay day in the whole population.
The southern end of America from Argentine mainly -with more than 97.5% of Y European markers the rest from indigenous Y males- also Uruguay in a few minor extent, etc. are almost only population from Europe mixed progressively or not with mestizo -Europeans and indigenous the last by mtDNA maternal basically - at different levels, with the resemblance of only Europeans.
Races are Genetically and scientifically False also inexistent more at the interbreeding history of the world at whole times from prehistory to now. There are not races but Ethnics yes –when established population at a while in the OoA Theory shows more and more valid-. We say haplotypes frequencies and the haplotype profiles of populations that come from haplogroups and familiar pedigrees related within geographical, historical, Linguistical and cultural –also creeds- binds. Therefore, in Humans the term “Sub- Species” or “races” have not scientific basis.
Dr. Claudia Manzini,Geneticist Ph D

Onur said...

Claudia, what has happened in the New World in the last 500 years is irrelevant for the rest of the world and for the status of the extant subspecies (=races) of humans. The human variation cannot be explained just by using the ethnicity category; that is like focusing just on a piece of a puzzle and neglecting the whole picture. In reality, many human geneticists already use subspecies categories for modern humans, even if unwittingly, by grouping modern humans based on geographical categories such as West Eurasians, East Eurasians, South Asians, Amerindians, Sub-Saharans that correspond to human subspecies. Genetics has empirically shown more than other disciplines that modern human subspecies are real categories that have real correspondences in human variation.

terryt said...

"We say haplotypes frequencies and the haplotype profiles of populations that come from haplogroups and familiar pedigrees related within geographical, historical, Linguistical and cultural –also creeds- binds. Therefore, in Humans the term 'Sub- Species' or 'races' have not scientific basis".

That same argument could be used to claim there is no such thing as 'subspecies' in many other species as well. For example American bison have different mtDNA from European bison. European bison mtdna is much closer to cattle mtDNA than is American. Similarly with mallard ducks. European mallards share mtDNA with Asian spot-billed ducks whereas American mallards share mtDNA with American black ducks. No-one would claim anything other than that the three were separate species, but also few would argue than the two mallard populations are separate subspecies. Some populations of wolves and coyates share mtDNA but few would regard them as anything other than distinct species. There are numerous other examples. So haplotypes can be shared by species or subspecies. Consequently haplogroups are insufficient for distinguishing species or subspecies.

Onur said...

Yes, Terry. Extant human subspecies are in the same degree of variation as many other animal subspecies. The only reason that comes to my mind about why extant human subspecies are denied by the biological consensus is ideological unwillingness to make biological divisions between modern humans. Making such a division is considered as something "evil".

Sure, there are some issues about extant human subspecies that are open to dispute, such as the status of South Asians and whether East Eurasians and Amerindians are related but separate subspecies or parts of the one and the same subspecies (the same dispute can be made for Pelaeo-Africans and Neo-Africans although they are more likely to be separate subspecies), but the main divisions are unchallengeable. Modern humans must have at least 4 subspecies (the optimal number is more than that).

terryt said...

"Modern humans must have at least 4 subspecies (the optimal number is more than that)".

I think we could get away with five. Two African types, 'Khoisanoid' and West African. Other Africans are basically a hybrid between these two with some additions from outside Africa. The other three are found at the geographic margins of the ancient human geographic range: 'Caucasian', Northeast Asian and 'Australoid. Again all other populations are basically a hybrid between one or more of these.

"The only reason that comes to my mind about why extant human subspecies are denied by the biological consensus is ideological unwillingness to make biological divisions between modern humans".

And ther fact that the divisions can be only very ill-defined. The hybrid zones or clines between the five basic groups are very gradual, usually. There is a fairly abrupt division between the Papuans and the SE Asian hybrid zone for example.

"there are some issues about extant human subspecies that are open to dispute, such as the status of South Asians"

I would guess that South Asians have a basis of 'Australoid overlain by later 'Caucasian' and Northeast Asian immigrants.

"whether East Eurasians and Amerindians are related but separate subspecies or parts of the one and the same subspecies"

The Amerinds seem to have some 'Caucasian' element, probably represented by Y-hap Q. The mtDNAs are mainly Northeast Asian, so they are yet another hybrid between two of the basic human 'subspecies'.

Onur said...

Terry, you seem to be too purist when it comes to define subspecies. As I wrote above, subspecies aren't necessarily pure categories. This is true for other animal subspecies and also true for human subspecies. But of course there is a limit in the allowable admixture from other subspecies in a subspecies; beyond that limit individuals and populations are no longer defined as members of a subsepecies but as hybrids of two or more subspecies. In short, the hybrid zones between human subspecies are much more limited in size and scope than you suggest.

The origin of the Y-hap Q is open to dispute. In Eurasia some clades of it seem to be Caucasoid (especially those in West Asia and Europe) while most of its clades seem to be Mongoloid, so Amerindian clades are more likely to be Mongoloid. Autosomally also Amerinidans are WAY closer to East Eurasians than to West Eurasians, so they can be defined as Mongoloid.

I think the most contentious area is South Asia. It can be defined as a hybrid zone between Caucasoids and an ancient subspecies (not Australoid according to genetics) that is somewhat closer to Mongoloids than to Caucasoids.

The 4 subspecies system isn't far from optimal actually. I name the 4 subspecies so: Caucasoid, Mongoloid, Negroid (including all Sub-Saharans) and Australoid. For the sake of practicality, I favor categorizing the overwhelming majority of South Asians as a single subspecies of their own, which I call Dravidoid. So we come up with 5 extant subspecies of humans.

Onur said...

Actually, much (not necessarily most) of the Horn of Africa is a hybrid (transition) zone.

terryt said...

"Autosomally also Amerinidans are WAY closer to East Eurasians than to West Eurasians, so they can be defined as Mongoloid".

I agree that Amerinds look a bit like a branch of the Mongoloid subspecies, but by no means entirely. As 'splitters' we could nominate them as yet another subspecies but to me it seems we can easily see them as a hybrid between the Mongoloid and Caucasian subspecies.

"The origin of the Y-hap Q is open to dispute. In Eurasia some clades of it seem to be Caucasoid (especially those in West Asia and Europe) while most of its clades seem to be Mongoloid, so Amerindian clades are more likely to be Mongoloid".

I think it unlikely that Q was originally associated with the Mongoloid subspecies. Its closest relation is R, almost certainly and India haplogroup that expanded into Central Asia via Iran and Afghanistan. To me it looks most likely that Q formed somewhere in that region from the accompanying ancestral haplogroup: P.

With the possible exception of X it seems that none of the American mtDNA lines accompanied Q at that early stage. The American mtDNA lines are all East Asian: C, D, B and A. Those haplogroups must have been picked up along the way as the wave advanced. These East Asian femele lines provided the genetic drift towards the Mongolian subspecies as Y-hap Q moved northwest to America.

terryt said...

A few more thoughts, with apologies to Dienekes. This may take a couple of posts.

I suggest the American mtDNAs were picked up in the above order. It's possible that A didn't even come in with Q. It may have been the last in, by land, accompanied by the Mongoloid subspecies' haplogroup C3b. The two haplogroups may form the basis of the most Mongoloid-looking Americans, the Na-Den-speaking people (although the haplogroups, especially mtDNA A, spread further than the languages).

And some Americans along the Northwest coast look to be almost part of the Polynesian subspecies. The haplogroup most definitely circum-Pacific is mtDNA B. One subclade of B4b (B2) in America and one subclade of B4a (B4a1a1a) in Polynesia. Opposite ends of a coastal expansion around the Pacific from somewhere between the Southn China Sea and the Sea of Japan. Possibly the B4a subspecies in the south and the B4b subspecies in the north.

The other two haplogoups, C and D, seem to have originally had a home in China as far north as Mongolia. And I'm sure they were the first mtDNA haplogroups to reach America. The N-derived haplogroups arrived later.

So I suggest the Americans are basically a hybrid between two subspecies. That ntakes care of the two North eurasian subspecies. Any comments?

terryt said...

"I think the most contentious area is South Asia. It can be defined as a hybrid zone between Caucasoids and an ancient subspecies (not Australoid according to genetics) that is somewhat closer to Mongoloids than to Caucasoids".

We could quite validly claim two subspecies to the southeast beyond Eurasia, the region of the Australoids. It is generally easy to tell an Australian Aborigine apart from a New Guinea Melanesian. Australians have wavy hair and Melanesians have tightly curled hair. It is not the same as African 'peppercorn' hair though. It doesn't break off, and so makes perfect 'Afros'.

And just as Y-hap Q may not have originally been associated with the Mongoloid subspecies so Y-hap C may not have originally been either. Its related haplogroups C2 and C4 are present in southern Wallacea and in Australia respectively. But apart from (probably Austronesian) C2a Y-hap C is not present in New Guinea. There we find mainly F-derived Y-haps: M, S and K (although K2 is also present in Northwest Australia).

In further support of the two subspecies idea we even have reasonably separate mtDNAs. Australia has N-derived haplogroups S, N13 and N14 as well as M-derived haplogroups M14, M15 and M42'74. New Guinea has M-derived haplogroups M27, M28 and M29'Q but its only N-derived haplogroup (apart from apparently Austronesian B4) is R-derived P. Northwest Australia even has representatives of this haplgroup. So it looks as though we may have two subspecies in the region.

One of, or more probably both, the Australian and Melanesian subspecies must have come from mainland SE Asia. But the Mongoloid subspecies has subsequently spread over and hybridised with these subspecies on the mainland. And eventually this mixture took off into the Pacific, where it formed the Polynesian subspecies. But this last subspecies is also easily explained as being a hybrid between at least two other subspecies.

So the eastern element of the Dravidoid subspecies could easily have been brought in by any of the two (or three) eastern subspecies, but mainly by elements of the Mongoloid. The Dravidoid subspecies is most easily explained as being a hybrid between eastern and western subspecies, Caucasian and Mongoloid/Australoid.

So the Americans, the Polynesins and the Dravidoids are all hybrids between other subspecies. I'd bet a lot of money that the 'orginal' subspecies they were formed from were themselves formed from hybrids between previous subspecies of H. erectus.

Any thoughts on the matter?

Onur said...

Terry, even if Y-hap Q was originally Caucasoid, I think its varieties in Siberia and East Asia were already Mongoloidized before reaching the Americas. Also, I tend to see the divergence of Asian Mongoloids and Amerindians more as Asian Mongoloids deviating from the original Mongoloid type than the other way around. So I see Amerindians closer to the original Mongoloid type than Asian Mongoloids are (this is the position of many biological anthropologists).

Genetics neither supports an Australoid or Mongoloid or Australoid-Mongoloid origin scenario for the ASI part of South Asians. Any connection of ASI with Australoids and Mongoloids should be distant enough to separate it from both as a distinct subspecies. I think a part of Southeast Asia, before being swarmed by Mongoloids, was a transition zone between ASI and Australoids.

terryt said...

"So I see Amerindians closer to the original Mongoloid type than Asian Mongoloids are (this is the position of many biological anthropologists)".

I've often seen that claimed. However it doesn't make sense. Presumably by the time people were able to enter America the population in northeast Asia was already fairly substantial. What on earth could have led to a widespread change in just that northeast Asian population towards a single particular characteristic? It implies a very strong selection pressure in the northeast Asian population that had not existed earlier, and had no effect on human populations anywhere else.

"Genetics neither supports an Australoid or Mongoloid or Australoid-Mongoloid origin scenario for the ASI part of South Asians".

There is a reasonable amount of Y-hap O in South Asia, presumably representing a Mongoloid input. And some mtDNA M haplogroups are almost certainly back-migrations to India from further east: D, M8/C, M9/E, M10, M12'G. And others could be: M13'46'61, M49, M50, although they may simply have originated in Northeast India and subsequently spread into East Asia.

"I think a part of Southeast Asia, before being swarmed by Mongoloids, was a transition zone between ASI and Australoids".

Almost certainly so. And Y-hap MNOPS is almost certainly SE Asian in origin, so P/R/Q must have carried some SE Asian/Australoid genes with it as it moved back west through India. And mtDNA R looks very likely to also have originated in SE Asia, so that provides more than enough SE Asian/Australoid genetic influence in South Asia. So there is actually no shortage of genetic support for movement into South Asia from further east, both Mongoloid and Australoid.

"Any connection of ASI with Australoids and Mongoloids should be distant enough to separate it from both as a distinct subspecies".

And that introduces the old problem of 'splitters' versus 'lumpers'. How different does a population have to be before we classify them as 'subspecies'?

Onur said...

Terry, I don't have a strong opinion regarding the origin of the Mongoloid subspecies. But I don't see a strong sign of a Caucasoid element in unadmixed Amerindians; they seem to be just a variety of the Mongoloid subspecies.

Asian Mongoloids only gained high population densities with the Neolithic expansions; so they could evolve in significant ways prior to the Neolithic expansions.

Genetically ASI are distinct enough from Mongoloids and Australoids to be classified as a different subspecies. On the other hand, Andaman Islanders seem to be genetically close enough to ASI to be classified as from the same subspecies with ASI.