January 10, 2012

'Denisovan' admixture may actually be from H. erectus

H. erectus (fem.) reconstruction
Neanderfollia mentions today[cat] a new paper published at the moment only at arXiv that re-analyzes the data from Reich 2010 and related papers and concludes that the Denisovan admixture may well be original from Homo erectus, and not even individuals closely related to the Denisova cave specimens after all.


This article shows how to fit reticulate finite and infinite sites sequence spectra to aligned data from five modern human genomes (San, Yoruba, French, Han and Papuan) plus two archaic humans (Denisovan and Neanderthal), to better infer demographic parameters. These include interbreeding between distinct lineages. Major improvements in the fit of the sequence spectrum are made with successively more complicated models. Findings include some evidence of a male biased gene flow from the Denisova lineage to Papuan ancestors and possibly even more archaic gene flow. It is unclear if there is evidence for more than one Neanderthal interbreeding, as the evidence suggesting this largely disappears when a finite sites model is fitted.

The paper needs some style revision but is otherwise very interesting, even if it's largely an exercise of statistical analysis, often resulting somewhat arid.

Some excerpts:

(...) one of the most surprising features of the planner NeighborNet model is that it does not reverse the positions of Neanderthal and Denisova, so that Papuan could have a unique split with the Denisovan (as Reich et al. 2010 suggest the Papuan lineage received ~5% of its genes from that lineage). As we will see later, the apparent reason for this would seem to be that the distance from Denisova to Chimp is more strongly underestimated than that from Denisova to Papuan. The underestimation of the Denisova to Chimp distance could be due to Denisova harboring some very archaic alleles, or it could be sequencing error.

(...)

The decrease in frequency of the DP pattern on X, particularly when compared to the NP pattern (which is near autosomal average frequency on X) suggests the possibility of asymmetric gene flow in this introgression event. If so, it would seem that this might be most readily explained by greater survival and reproduction of the offspring of Denisova males impregnating the modern human female ancestors of Papuans rather than the other way around.

(...)

Note the high frequency of the DNP pattern, which may be due to the Denisovan relatives that mixed not being closely related to the Denisovan sampled.

(...)

It seems tempting then to think that a model of three independent out of Africa lineages, with three independent mixings with the same population of Neanderthals (plus the independent Denisovan mixing event), would fit markedly better than the present model.

This last bit I find hard to believe, notably because we know of no Neanderthals ever existing in East Asia. In addition it would be a very odd coincidence that all three arrived to the approximate same amount of Neandrthal admixture. It seems much more likely that these smaller differences have been fixated as the three populations diverged in the Greater Eurasian expansion, after the OoA initial migration, when they probably incorporated the Neanderthal ancestry. (My two cents anyhow).

In any case, their conclusions follow:

Discussion

Overall, the fitting shows that a hierarchical structured coalescent model with at least two introgression events between archaic humans and out of Africa Moderns leads to a substantial increase in fit. Overall fit however, is still far far worse than could be expected. It seems that to improve the fit a number of factors may come into play. Firstly, there are too many private NH, NF and NP [Neanderthal-Han, -French and -Papuan] patterns. Secondly, the latter of these, NP, seems markedly less than the former two. Thirdly, there may be too many sequencing/alignment errors in the present data to confidently move towards refining so many parameters and the overall fit. The marked improvement in fit when a finite sites model is employed is consistent with this. One model that may do a better job of describing the data with fewer parameters is independent mixing of Neanderthal genes with Han and French, but to a nearly identical total degree. Also, lesser mixing of Neanderthal genes into Papuan, made up for by a larger proportion of archaic alleles in Papuans coming from the mixing with an archaic that is only slightly closer to Denisova than to Neanderthal. This would in turn suggest that the mixing with Neanderthals was not purely right out of Africa and it was not a single event. Instead, there may have been opportunity for European ancestors to pick up Neanderthal alleles, in the unknown part of Eurasia they existed in prior to moving into Europe, ditto and independently for the ancestors of the East Asians, while Papuan ancestors moved fairly rapidly through the zone of classical Neanderthals and picked up most of their archaic genes in the Indonesian region. The form of this ancestral population may have been about equally related to Neanderthals and Denisovans, but may also have had an appreciable proportion of even earlier (e.g., Homo erectus genes) in its genome. This last point comes up in a number of analyses including the resampled NeighborNet and the finite sites model, but confirmation is difficult as the rate of sequencing / assembly error could be having a similar effect.

For background in this blog and its antecessor Leherensuge (from oldest to most recent):

49 comments:

  1. Interesting. One of the most perplexing questions about the archaic genes in modern populations is why there are no surviving MT or Y haplotypes, not one, from at least two hybridization events. Curious. Yet this paper offers a tentative hypothesis:

    "greater survival and reproduction of the offspring of Denisova males impregnating the modern human female ancestors of Papuans rather than the other way around."

    AHA! So the F1 hybrid generation was composed of all individuals with modern mtdna and the males with archaic Y dna. Ok, that explains the lack of archaic mtdna survival.

    Now I will freely speculate. The F1 generation presumably was raised in a modern social group. If the archaic fathers were absent (likely) the F1 males would be disadvantaged by low status and have low reproductive success. On the other hand, the F1 females might have been low status as well, but would likely reproduce anyway. The F2 generation would be 1/4 archaic in autosomal genes, but carry only modern Y and mtdna. No doubt the stories weren't as tidy as this, yet something similar to this would explain 5% introgression with no Y or mtdna line survival.

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    1. Taking into account the likelihood of the archaic types to be 0-, and the resulting problems with reproduction, I would assume that most hybrids would be the result of archaic males and modern females.

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    2. Notice that now it seems apparent that Denisovans were Homo heidelbergensis (and that these are not ancestral to Neanderthals):

      → http://forwhattheywereweare.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-denisovans-were-not-alone.html

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    3. Also, do you have any objective reason to imagine that "archaic types" were "0-" (blood group 0 with Rh-, I understand)? I see not a single reason, really.

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  2. "One of the most perplexing questions about the archaic genes in modern populations is why there are no surviving MT or Y haplotypes"...

    There are only 2 Y-DNA (CF and D) and 2 mtDNA (M and N) lineages among non-Africans (excepting some transitional regions like Arabia possibly), that makes each having some 50% of (let's call it) "average chance", while archaic admixture is at the most 7.5% in some cases (and just 2.5% on average). So the chances of any such haploid lineage surviving are very low (hence not perplexing at all, at least not to me). Probably at least some (maybe many) other sapiens lineages were also lost in the process.

    Now, there's an X-DNA lineage that may well be Neanderthal.

    "greater survival and reproduction of the offspring of Denisova males impregnating the modern human female ancestors of Papuans rather than the other way around."

    Take this with a pinch of salt, because in parts of Colombia and other such places the opposite is actually true: successive waves of European males caused the X-DNA (and autosomal DNA) to be very slanted towards Europe (while female lineages are almost exclusively native). It's a hurried conclusion that may well be wrong.

    "The F2 generation would be 1/4 archaic in autosomal genes, but carry only modern Y and mtdna. No doubt the stories weren't as tidy as this, yet something similar to this would explain 5% introgression with no Y or mtdna line survival".

    It's a plausible explanation indeed, although I imagine it was more complex than that anyhow. And, considering the very low levels of admixture (it's not like we are 50% Neanderthals, not at all), the chances of a haploid Neanderthal lineage surviving just regular drift are almost zero.

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  3. @Joy. In general, interspecies hybrid breedings produce more fertile homozygote offspring (i.e. XX, i.e. female in humans) rather than hetroxygote offspring (i.e. XY, i.e. male in humans). This is called Haldane's Law. Thus, if the ancestrally remaining individuals were archaic male with modern human female, then the absence of archaic mtDNA follows and Haldane's law explains the lack of archaic Y-DNA. Also, modern human male to archaic female hybrids would likely have been raised in the archaic tribe and their hybrid ancestors would have gone extinct with the other members of the archaic hominin tribe.

    @Maju

    "This last bit I find hard to believe, notably because we know of no Neanderthals ever existing in East Asia. In addition it would be a very odd coincidence that all three arrived to the approximate same amount of Neandrthal admixture."

    A three admixture event scenario would be odd. I agree. A two admixture event, with more or less contemporaneous admixtures by similar sized groups of modern humans who share a culture and genes, with Neanderthals who share a culture and genes, at similar rates, doesn't seem the odd. The relevant variables that determine the amount of admixture would have been parallel and very similar to each other.

    Obviouly the admixture could not have taken place in East Asia, as there weren't Neanderthals there. But, the split between proto-West Eurasians and proto-East Eurasians that was followed by migrations during which admixture happened could have plausibly taken place in SW Asia, Asia Minor, Iran, or South Asia, all of which were within the Neanderthal at times that would fit this split (ca. 50,000 to 100,000 years ago, give or take). The split of the proto-West and proto-East groups into genetically distinct populations that didn't admix further from each other surely must have taken place somewhere fairly close to their common point of origin. And, anyplce after that split, we'd see independent admixture events producing private alleles in both groups at high rates.

    This is the first suggestion I've seen of potentially different and independent Papuan and non-Papuan wave Asians, however, and the evidence on that score in this paper seems quite equivocal.

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  4. "considering the very low levels of admixture (it's not like we are 50% Neanderthals, not at all), the chances of a haploid Neanderthal lineage surviving just regular drift are almost zero."

    To lose the haploid Neanderthal lineages from random drift you need it to happen either very early on (within just a few generations of hybridization) or at an extreme bottleneck in a pretty small to start with population. If you have a decent sized population (effective size of a few thousand), the Neanderthal haploid lineages come anywhere close to fixation (which takes something like 5-15 generations in full, and is close to statistical reality at the early end of that range), and have an expanding population, it starts to become much less likely that lineages will be lost (particularly lineages that could once have been as common as two percent at a fixation in a population of a few thousand that is expanding). An expanding demographic with few bottlenecks that are not very severe looks likely for several thousand years as the modern humans move into and colonize virgin territory in Asia.

    Effective population size at time of admixture and number of admixture events are also more or less inversely related given the known admixture percentage. The smaller the effective population size, the fewer the number of admixture events, and the more likely that lineages of any part of that hybrid genome could be lost via random drift for longer periods of time.

    If you have one admixture to an effective source population of 25 you need one event. Realistically, source populations on the order of several hundred to the low thousands seem to fit the other data better, so you need something more like one admixture event per generation for a couple of centuries. The kind of repeated, low frequency admixture pattern is much less prone to lineage loss than a small number of simultaneous admixture events in larger populations, unless you have a mechanism such as the one I suggest above, to keep particular kinds of lineages (Y-DNA and mtDNA) from accumulating. The presence of the X lineage you identify argues that structure that specifically suppressed uniparental lineages, rather than random drift, is the more plausible interpretation.

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  5. "In general, interspecies hybrid breedings produce more fertile homozygote offspring (i.e. XX, i.e. female in humans) rather than hetroxygote offspring (i.e. XY, i.e. male in humans). This is called Haldane's Law".

    It's not so much that extra XXs are produced. The fact is that genes with deleterious effects on the X chromosome will be expressed in the single copy XY example. Survival is lower or, if survival is comparable, XY are more likely to be infertile. For many mammal species crosses males are infertile even though females may occassionally be fertile.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haldane's_rule

    "when the resulting offspring of parents crossed from different lineages exhibits sterility but is otherwise healthy, that offspring will tend to be of the heterogametic sex, which exhibits two different sex chromosomes (as in XY) ... when two parental lineages become so evolutionarily divergent as to exhibit genetic differences, but do not become mechanically isolated, fusion of the gametes may be uncooperative, causing inviability and the preferential production of the homogametic sex, which exhibits two of the same sex chromosomes (as in XX). The heterogametic sex is rare in this case".

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  6. I have just replied at your blog, so I hope not to be too redundant. Anyhow:

    "Obviously the admixture could not have taken place in East Asia"...

    But it is in East (SE) Asia where the main (or at least most important) Chinese, European and Papuan lineages seem to diverge: Y-DNA MNOPS and mtDNA R. These three populations have large amounts of these two lineages:

    (1) Y-DNA-wise, Han are mostly NO (O3 notably), Europeans are mostly P (R1 specially) and Papuans have at least a lot of M and N and maybe also MNOPS* (though maybe it's all a single lineage, yet to be described). We can track the origins of P to Bengal and Bihar, where P* is still important, and those of NO to SE Asia or South China, where we still find all three lines of O and quite a bit of N*.

    (2) mtDNA-wise, totally in parallel, Papuans have lots of P, Han have quite a bit of F and B and Europeans are like 95% R0 (HV), U and R2'JT (JT). Again tracking the origin of R seems relatively straightforward and appears to be near Bengal.

    Hence we have the last and main divergence episode of these three key populations in SE Asia or maybe Bengal, somewhere where we do not have any reason to expect diverse Neanderthal or even neanderthaloid populations. Do we?

    I haven't got yet through the fine detail of all the statistics considered in this paper but the preliminary caveat is quite rotund.

    "To lose the haploid Neanderthal lineages from random drift you need it to happen either very early on (within just a few generations of hybridization) or at an extreme bottleneck in a pretty small to start with population".

    I am of the opinion that the admixture happened BEFORE the expansion in South Asia and at that time the proto-Eurasian population, possibly living in the Persian Gulf swamps, was quite small.

    It must have been because only two male and two female lineages (Y-DNA CF and macro-D; mtDNA M and N) of all kinds have survived from that time. Were there other lineages? Most probably. Did they survive? Clearly not. It's not like we are carrying 200 lineages from that time: just two (of each gender).

    "If you have a decent sized population (effective size of a few thousand), the Neanderthal haploid lineages come anywhere close to fixation (which takes something like 5-15 generations in full, and is close to statistical reality at the early end of that range)"...

    Which is the population size needed for only two lineages surviving? I'm not sure but that is the right and true effective population size. Not small enough for only one lineage surviving but not large enough for three either.

    You can imagine that there was some sort of semi-bottleneck as the Persian Gulf swamps shrunk after the Abbassia Pluvial and people had to search for alternatives, one being to migrate to the East, eventually reaching a prime quality land: South Asia. But by then the Neanderthal admixture episode was probably over.

    "The presence of the X lineage you identify argues that structure that specifically suppressed uniparental lineages"...

    The origin of that lineage is not fully clarified but in any case, it is not one of two but one of many (six or eight at least) and it does not seem to be too common anywhere (except America where it must have been enhanced by a random founder effect).

    It's not structural but random: you just needed too many heads for any Neanderthal lineage to survive with just 2.5% admixture. IF 2 have to survive, there is 97.5% chance that the both are NOT Neanderthal. Another thing would have been if 20 or 40 lineages would have survived from that period: but nope.

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  7. "Hence we have the last and main divergence episode of these three key populations in SE Asia or maybe Bengal"

    But it is the 'last' episode. In their ancestral form those lines must have arrived there from somewhere else. As an aside, I'm rather inclined to place the spread of Y-DNA MNOPS and mt-DNA R a little further east than Bengal/Bihar. Perhaps towards South China/Vietnam.

    "somewhere where we do not have any reason to expect diverse Neanderthal or even neanderthaloid populations. Do we?"

    Nor do we expect to find Denisovans there. Even if 'Denisovan' is erectus we would expect SE Asian erectus to be considerably different from SE Asian erectus.

    "I am of the opinion that the admixture happened BEFORE the expansion in South Asia"

    But possibly independent of it.

    "Were there other lineages? Most probably. Did they survive? Clearly not".

    Agreed. The African lineages replaced them. However there may not have been too many other African lineages that emerged with M, N, D and CF.

    "It's not like we are carrying 200 lineages from that time: just two (of each gender)".

    But we're probably carrying aDNA from multiple lineages, many non-African. We know of at least two, and I'm sure more will emerge.

    "Which is the population size needed for only two lineages surviving?"

    It's not just a function of sixe of population. Time is important too: i.e. number of generations. I think that, as a rule, in a population of constant size one lineage is lost every generation, all things being equal. I'm sure someone of mathematical bent can clarify.

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  8. "Were there other lineages? Most probably."

    IMHO, this is probably not the case. I think it is highly likely that the initial out of Africa population has a single mtDNA genotype (basically the most basal form of L3 at around the time that L3 emerged and expanded), and a very small number of Y-DNA genotypes.

    The L3 dervatives that managed to make it past the first couple of generations probably numbered more than five or six - obviously the most basal M, the most basal N, perhaps one of the Arabian specific L3 types, and probably not more than one or two more than that (which may have been among that groups that didn't leave the Levant to more favorable refugia as conditions became more arid there and died out as a result ca. 75,000 BP). Migration via extended family in radiative ways so that the different branches of migration didn't run into each other for a long time would leave each branch of migration more or less monogenetic in uniparental markers.

    This fits a pattern of older ancient DNA samples and long isolated populations tending to have a small founding population genome set.

    A lot of the diversity we see in modern populations in uniparental haplogroups that don't share a recent common ancestor is probably derived from admixture when one population from a distant area migrates into another's turf and the two communities merge.

    For example, I think that some of the genome diversity we see in Melanesians and Australian Aboringals comes from admixture of at least two pre-Papuan, pre-Australian waves of migration into Southeast Asia that merged, adding more ancestral haplogroups to the mix, before crossing oceans to their new homelands.

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  9. "But it is the 'last' episode".

    Last and main, I said (and I do not think it is structurally distinct from the rest of episodes, forming a continuum.

    Wherever they came from (and IMO that is the very same region) it does not matter because we still have most of the haploid ancestry of the three key populations splitting up at that point and not before.

    You guys can cling all you want to your burning nail of your 'West Asian origin' faith but that is not what the data indicates at all. Now can the rest of us have a rational discussion?

    "Even if 'Denisovan' is erectus we would expect SE Asian erectus to be considerably different from SE Asian erectus".

    And that is exactly what the paper says that the "Denisovan" ancestry in Papuans is and indicates. Read it please: Papuans (etc.) are not direct descendants (by that branch) from the Denisova women but of a very distant "cousin", "cousin" that probably lived near where they and all the other "Denisovan" admixture is found (logically): SE Asia.

    "It's not just a function of sixe of population. Time is important too"...

    Sure but that's avoiding the question.

    "I think that, as a rule, in a population of constant size one lineage is lost every generation, all things being equal".

    Nonsense! A population of any size? No, not at all! Maybe it happens in your mind where that population probably has n=2 but not in real life, where nothing like that really exists.

    Size is critical, time also but size is the most critical element and you can't just ignore it. There are equations for that: please read about them and stop wasting our time.

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  10. "It's not just a function of sixe of population. Time is important too: i.e. number of generations. I think that, as a rule, in a population of constant size one lineage is lost every generation, all things being equal. I'm sure someone of mathematical bent can clarify."

    As a first order approximation, the survival of a lineage is roughly a function of the absolute, rather than the relative, number of people who have that lineage in the current reproducing population. A lineage that includes 500 members is going to last a long time whether it is embedded in a population of thousands or tens of millions, absent population structure plus selectively discriminatory bottlenecks (like ethnic genocides). A lineage that includes 50 members is at much greater risk in the long run.

    Also, lineages are purged much more rapidly if there population history has lots of booms and busts than it is if it has a steady but gradual growth, even if the average growth rate over time is the same. Heuristically, as a first order approximation, a lineage's survival probability is roughly minimum effective population over the entire time range times initial proportion of particular allele produces a mean expected absolute population size which determines the likelihood of a lineage surviving although multiple instances of introgression over a long period complicated this analysis during the period when introgression is taking place, and multiple busts of almost the minimum amount in a single bust approximation are a modest amount more culling than a single bust of the same magnitude. After all, the rigorous mathematical issue is "what is the probability that the absolute number of people with this lineage will be below "x" at some point", where in the case of extinction, "x" is 1.

    Also, any given sequence of busts is exactly equivalent to some single bust that is somewhat more severe than the worst actual bust, the relationship is highly non-linear with the deeper busts having much greater weight in the equivalent depth of the single bust equivalent relative to many shallow busts, and one could, in principle come up with some rule of thumb estimates relating, for example, normally distributed percentage booms and busts in an overall population expansion curve to an equivalent single bust scenario (I suspect that the rule of thumb comes out to something on the order of a hypothetical single bust of 65%-85% of the worst actual population bottleneck that the population experiences in a series of hits within a range of fairly reasonable assumptions.) So, roughly, you can take estimated lowest ever effective population, multiply it by 3/4th, multiply it by proportion of a haplogroup, get a mean expected minimum number of carriers, assign a standard deviation to that mean (probably something on the order of the sampling error for a poll of that many people in a population equal to the adjusted minimum expected population) and used a normal distribution to estimate the likelihood that a given lineage will be purged.

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  11. Andrew: we are going to drift away too much if we start debating the original haploid makeup of early Eurasian Homo sapiens but just for the record, I think that:

    (1) We must make a difference between the Arabian stage and the arrival-to-South-Asia stage: surely a lot of haploid diversity was lost in that founder effect, then partly destroyed by the Arabian dry climatic bouts and back-migration, but still survives in some mtDNA lineages in the peninsula.

    These lineages are not just L3 but also L4, L6 and L0, so I presume that the first "Eurasians" had a diversity of African lineages and not just L3 (although it seems that all were L3'4'6 and L0, no suspect L2, L1 nor L5 have been found yet).

    (2) The fact that only L3-derived lineages made it across Hormuz (or the Baloch desert or however you imagine it) is probably because these diverse African lineages in Arabia had some ethno-geographic structure and the group best fit (by maybe mere distance or preferred habitat or coastal way of life or whatever) was mainly L3-derived.

    At that time the coalescence of the M node was almost complete or fully completed, although the expansion would only happen once in South Asia. The coalescence of N may well have been unfinished and be just one of several "African" (L) lineages that traveled in minority with M or (maybe) in the wake of M with much lower chances of success. Most just did not make it (were "drifted out" by majority clades early on) but N managed to leave a legacy, which would eventually become really important thanks mostly to a descendant: R.

    Why R (and by extension N) succeeded so unexpectedly even if it began in clear disadvantage? Luck maybe or maybe dogs (if dingos arrived to Australia with early Aborigines it'd be indication that they were already working together even if the bond was later broken locally) or your call...

    ...

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  12. ...


    "A lot of the diversity we see in modern populations in uniparental haplogroups that don't share a recent common ancestor is probably derived from admixture when one population from a distant area migrates into another's turf and the two communities merge".

    It's possible but not necessarily true. There is absolutely no rule by which two or more haploid lineages can't coexist for a rather long time, specially if each is dominant in a different clan or valley (but same population or tribe or ethnicity) or the population is large enough.

    Statistics tend to fixation but tending is not achieving it. If I say in an equation that "X tends to infinite", that does not mean that X ever reaches the impossible(?) infinite state but that it keeps growing forever.

    In our case we do not need to reach infinite but totality, which may be a much smaller number. Given enough time and a sufficiently small and isolated population, fixation will happen but these conditions are almost never met anyhow.

    We can't just assume that a limit tendency happens always, it will just happen if the sequence is never interrupted but that almost never happens.

    If I keep throwing 10 dices once and again, I will some day get all 10 sixes... but you are not going to wait seated, will you? But, sure, statistically it will happen some day if I keep doing it once and again.

    "For example, I think that some of the genome diversity we see in Melanesians and Australian Aboringals comes from admixture of at least two pre-Papuan, pre-Australian waves of migration into Southeast Asia that merged, adding more ancestral haplogroups to the mix, before crossing oceans to their new homelands".

    But it is also very possible that those groups migrated broadly together and/or that they were rapidly succeeding waves and/or that they even all migrated in a single wave which was dominated by the most successful clades, with the smallest ones having to carve their own niche in isolated locations or barely surviving the larger clades' dominance in the same broad population.

    We can only decide if these lineages migrated together or separately from context and the context is not too clear (apparent "estimated time" differences are relatively small and the overall process is too mixed to discern clearly different processes). You can think what you wish, of course, but that is paleo-fiction and goes well beyond prehistoric reconstruction.

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  13. "(if dingos arrived to Australia with early Aborigines it'd be indication that they were already working together even if the bond was later broken locally)"

    We know that this isn't the case. The dingo's arrival in Australia is well documented in archaeology and was accompanied by unmistakeable impacts on the Australian ecology logically related to their arrival at exactly the same time. The dingo arrived in Australia tens of thousands of years after modern humans did.

    If one were to look for a technological edge, a capacity to operate boats in deep water, although without accurate navigation out of sight of the shore, would be a plausible guess supported by other evidence (like the earliest archaeological evidence of deep sea fishing in Indonesia).

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  14. "Statistics tend to fixation but tending is not achieving it."

    When you are talking about orders of magnitude of multiple thousands of individuals of effective population size or more, and time periods on the order of magnitude of dozens of generations or more (i.e. a few centuries or more), the law of averages gets very close to absolute. By the time you are in the tens of thousands or more and millenia, deviations from the average merely by random chance are extremely modest.

    Random chance is extremely important. But, it is heavily weighted towards time periods when populations are small and overwhelmingly driven by the first half a dozen generations or so.

    Once you get to scales of time and population where the law of averages becomes very strict in securing fixation, just about everything that is observed that deviates from the law of averages has to be due to some kind of populuation structure that is non-random.

    So, in general, when trying to make sense of these issues, once an early fixation state generating equalibrium is achieved one should focus almost entirely on non-random forces like serial founder effects from multiple rounds of migrations of parts of communities that are more related to each other than random chance would predict.

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  15. "The dingo arrived in Australia tens of thousands of years after modern humans did".

    Maybe. There seems to be some indications it could be the case.

    Also there's no knowledge of dog in New Guinea either, as far as I know. We may want to discard dogs as "technological edge" for this case then.

    "If one were to look for a technological edge, a capacity to operate boats in deep water"...

    That accounts for arrival to Sahul (for all lineages that arrived) but hardly seems to have any relation to what the continental branches of the "MNOPS/R" population did: in East Asia they may have only arrived to islands like the Japanese archipelago or the Aleut chain already in America rather late, if at all. In West Eurasia there's no particular indication of any correlation with seafaring either (Terry once suggested that maybe Y-DNA T and mtDNA M1 were related to seafaring but these are out of the "MNOPS/R" set).

    Something I've been munching around is that maybe the mtDNA N&R expansion (or at least the R one if you think they are separated) may be related with the Toba supervolcano. Toba could have left SE Asia rather bare of people and it is in SE Asia (and West Eurasia) where mtDNA R made most of its impact. The dates we are considering nowadays for the OoA could well allow for such a Toba-related phenomenon. Personally I'd throw N into the equation, really, because Toba would have opened a niche at the expense of M-derived lineages for its also star-like expansion (even if its star is more modest than that of R and certainly than that of M).

    In that case, we would not need for any techno-edge, just opportunity and luck.

    On the other hand the expansion of N&R is very much oriented (besides SE Asia) to the "frontiers" of the time: Australasia, NE Asia and West Eurasia, which rather indicates population limits and need to find new, relatively empty or accessible territories. If population density was high then the Toba explanation does not seem fitting. Finally the timing of R by "molecular clock" approximation (calibrating at R0=48 Ka., the beginning of the colonization of West Eurasia) would seem to be within the 60-50 Ka parenthesis and not 74 Ka ago (the period of Toba).

    Well, guess that the issue remains open.

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  16. Re. the second post, Andrew, I will not argue a single point: if you get 100 people and get them in a can (or isolated valley or remote island) and Goddess Fortuna is not doing anything too odd, that's about it: you would be right.

    But people is normally not that isolated, size matters, time matters and when the statistics are not too overwhelming at least, luck matters as well. We know of a lot of lineages that are too small to be there statistically speaking, as they diverged from the rest 60 thousand years ago or more (for example, Y-DNA A1b might have diverged 150,000 years ago for what I know and is a small minority everywhere, same for A1a). But they are there against all odds - or more probably with some odds in favor, we just need to estimate the figures implicated and consider that if the odds are 95% against, maybe 19 such lineages succumbed for it to survive... 99% is it? Then 99 lineages died out for one that has survived probably. Etc.

    "non-random forces"

    There's no such thing: Chaos always succeeds in the long run. What we have learnt hopefully from the previous century's most important scientific discovery is that you can't predict anything with 100% certainty and that the longer it takes and the more complex the system is, the less you can predict anything. It is only thanks to this humility that we can make reasonably accurate predictions in the most chaotic facets of life, like meteorology, ecology or, ultimately, everything.

    But there is a point past beyond which we have to acknowledged that our predictive (or 'postdictive') capability collapses. We cannot know where Pluto was 2000 years ago: the uncertainty is just too big, even if it follows a quasi-regular orbit. That's something we must accept (or accept the consequences of wrong descriptions of reality).

    Similarly we cannot reconstruct to full detail the past of humankind, no matter how much data we accumulate and how well we interpret it. There's always an element of uncertainty and that's one that grows quickly as we try to force the past to what we infer through statistical estimations (with arguable parameters, often nothing but a hunch, and maybe even questionable functions in some cases as well, never mind considering for simplicity that 95% is the same as 100%: it is not: you'll be wrong once every 20 tries approximately - never mind the average, which typically does not have a likelihood of more than 50%).

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  17. "Migration via extended family in radiative ways so that the different branches of migration didn't run into each other for a long time would leave each branch of migration more or less monogenetic in uniparental markers".

    I agree. And that is what makes it so unlikely that both M and N migrated east through India.

    "Last and main, I said (and I do not think it is structurally distinct from the rest of episodes, forming a continuum [MNOPS/R]".

    It is difficult to call it the 'last'. Other migrations have occurred since. It was responsible for the majority of remaining modern haplogroups but it was simply the next in a long line of previous migrations. Those migrations must have carried the MNOPS and R ancestors to SE Asia/South Asia.

    "You guys can cling all you want to your burning nail of your 'West Asian origin' faith but that is not what the data indicates at all".

    Maju. It is you who is clinging to a burning nail of a migration from Africa to SE Asia by flying saucer.

    "Nonsense! A population of any size? No, not at all!"

    Yes. You are ignoring the 'constant size' qualification. Surely if one woman has two daughters who survive to reproduce, then obviously some other woman cannot produce a daughter that survives to reproduce. Her line is lost. It is irrelevant whether the population contains 50 or 50,000 females.

    "Also, lineages are purged much more rapidly if there population history has lots of booms and busts than it is if it has a steady but gradual growth"

    Exactly. We cannot assume continuous growth in the human population, either as a whole or in each isolated population.

    "These lineages are not just L3 but also L4, L6 and L0, so I presume that the first 'Eurasians' had a diversity of African lineages and not just L3"

    You seem unable to grasp that even in your own diagram of some time back you show that the outside-Africa members of these haplogroups are all younger than the 23 mutation level of L3. They cannot have emerged from Africa with L3.

    "The coalescence of N may well have been unfinished and be just one of several 'African' (L) lineages that traveled in minority with M"

    Andrew's recent comment shows N's survival in such a scenario is extremely unlikely.

    "Why R (and by extension N) succeeded so unexpectedly even if it began in clear disadvantage?"

    R 'succeeded'. N basically did not. Its expansion is much more limited than that of R.

    "Luck maybe or maybe dogs (if dingos arrived to Australia with early Aborigines it'd be indication that they were already working together even if the bond was later broken locally) or your call..."

    Dogs arrived in Australia a mere 6000 years ago at most. Probably carried with some sort of 'Austronesian' arrival on the continent.

    "There is absolutely no rule by which two or more haploid lineages can't coexist for a rather long time"

    But if one lineage greatly outnumbers the other the minor lineage is unlikely to survive long term.

    "Given enough time and a sufficiently small and isolated population, fixation will happen but these conditions are almost never met anyhow".

    Certainly not these days, but the same cannot be said for all of prehistory.

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  18. "For example, I think that some of the genome diversity we see in Melanesians and Australian Aboringals comes from admixture of at least two pre-Papuan, pre-Australian waves of migration into Southeast Asia that merged, adding more ancestral haplogroups to the mix, before crossing oceans to their new homelands".

    Agreed. But:

    "it is also very possible that those groups migrated broadly together and/or that they were rapidly succeeding waves and/or that they even all migrated in a single wave which was dominated by the most successful clades"

    I think not. The distinctiveness of Australian and Papuan lineages make it very likely that the two regions were colonised separately. They do share some haplogroups but these appear to be possible later arrivals still.

    "If one were to look for a technological edge, a capacity to operate boats in deep water, although without accurate navigation out of sight of the shore, would be a plausible guess supported by other evidence"

    Maju and I have been arguing that one since we first communicated. I personally think you are absolutely correct, but the navigation would not be completely blind. Most of the year it would be possible to tell the cardinal points.

    "That accounts for arrival to Sahul (for all lineages that arrived) but hardly seems to have any relation to what the continental branches of the 'MNOPS/R' population did"

    As Maju is aware, I completely disagree. Efficient boating, once developed, allowed people to move rapidly along rivers and sheltered shorelines. The Ganges River and the East Eurasian coastline seem both to have been the expansion route for these particular haplogroups.

    "We know of a lot of lineages that are too small to be there statistically speaking, as they diverged from the rest 60 thousand years ago or more"

    Presumably such lineages have basically remained isolated for a long time. Such a lineage widespread today would indicate a recent expansion.

    "Similarly we cannot reconstruct to full detail the past of humankind, no matter how much data we accumulate and how well we interpret it. There's always an element of uncertainty"

    Thank you Maju for posting the latest developments regarding the past. Much appreciated.

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  19. "It is you who is clinging to a burning nail of a migration from Africa to SE Asia by flying saucer".

    Do you deny the existence of flying saucers? You heretic!

    It has been recently known that every single star in the universe has planets, hence the flying saucer theory has been corroborated: no doubt some of those planets harbor hyper-intelligent life able to produce flying saucers and their hyper-intelligent and hyper-nerdy young ones enjoy kidnapping Middle Paleolithic people and moving them around the planet (and it's been argued that even between planets) in esoteric experiments of unknown intent and more than dubious ethics.

    That way whole civilizations have been doomed or arisen according to the caprice of hyper-intelligent but clearly immature teenagers which we know as the gods.

    Hail Eris!

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  20. Discordianist jokes apart, my argument, Terry is that minority lineages often die out but sometimes survive and even succeed against all initial odds. When they do they have often been close to dying out several times. And that's how N arrived to SE Asia (no flying saucers in my theory: it is complete).

    ... "the outside-Africa members of these haplogroups are all younger than the 23 mutation level of L3".

    Slightly younger (emphasis in slightly and in some cases at least they may be older but have long enough stems to cast a shadow of uncertainty).

    In any case older than M, N or R (depending which) and hence coalesced before the backmigration from South Asia, which is my point: sustained low level flow from Africa into Arabia until Asian pressure compensates (and even overwhelms a bit).

    "R 'succeeded'. N basically did not. Its expansion is much more limited than that of R".

    Some N subclades (and notably R, of course) succeeded quite a bit: N9, A and the Australian lineages (S and O) notably. I do not think it is important anyhow because N's star-like pattern is large enough (and growing) to illustrate that it did succeed even if maybe not as much as its "daughter" R. Not only the star-like pattern is very explicit but also the fact that N subclades (even excluding R) are scattered through all Eurasia, Australasia and America.

    In some aspects N shows more "success" than M (absent from Australia and West Eurasia mostly): these two niches were specifically monopolized (almost exclusively) by N. But N is also everywhere else, even if in minority.

    So N did succeed. I can't believe you question this.

    "But if one lineage greatly outnumbers the other the minor lineage is unlikely to survive long term".

    The 'term' was not long enough it seems or your concept of 'likelihood' is simply to vague to be of any use. Or both.

    ...

    Continues?

    Seriously: quote less write more with your own words. I'm stopping reading you if your reply is not at least doubly long as the quote you react (because all you do is reacting). It is truly lack of respect for the rest that you "debate" that way: all the time with one-liners and reacting to what the rest say.

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  21. "Do you deny the existence of flying saucers? You heretic!"

    No, I don't deny their existence but I'm reasonably sure that haplogroup N did not travel from Africa to SE Asia in one.

    "That way whole civilizations have been doomed or arisen according to the caprice of hyper-intelligent but clearly immature teenagers which we know as the gods"

    Have you read 'The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy' by Douglas Adams? If you haven't I'm sure you'd enjoy it. The first three books in the series are the best, but the film was absolutely awful. Don't go to see it whatever you do!

    "my argument, Terry is that minority lineages often die out but sometimes survive and even succeed against all initial odds".

    It is quite possible to come up with examples of where a minority haplogroup has survived in a particular region for a considerable time. But it is impossible to come up with any convincing examples of where such a haplogroup has traveled as a minor component in company with a major haplogroup, and then later expanded in its own right. I know you believe such has happened with N, A and a few Ls, but the argument is hardly convincing.

    "sustained low level flow from Africa into Arabia until Asian pressure compensates (and even overwhelms a bit)".

    Possible. But I'd be very surprised if it is eventually shown the other L haplogroups left at the same time as the L3 lineages that were to give rise to M and N.

    "but also the fact that N subclades (even excluding R) are scattered through all Eurasia, Australasia and America".

    But apart from R they are remarkably absent from the much of greater India. And R could well be an immigrant into greater India, from somewhere like Assam, or perhaps Yunnan.

    "In some aspects N shows more 'success' than M"

    Yes. M is spread through a narrow band from Africa (presumably a back-migration) through India to East and SE Asia, and Melanesia. Its greatest diversity is emerging as being in the Assam/Yunnan/Burma region. In fact it's beginning to look as though each little valley in the region gave rise to its own M haplogroup. It is certainly very unlikely that M haplogroups entered China via the SE Asian coastline, although some may have entered SE Asia by such a route. But even then a land trip through Thailand and the Malay Peninsula is just as likely.

    "(absent from Australia and West Eurasia mostly): these two niches were specifically monopolized (almost exclusively) by N".

    N is also common in both the west and the east of Central Asia. And all that is very difficult to reconcile with a migration through India.

    "I'm stopping reading you if your reply is not at least doubly long as the quote you react (because all you do is reacting)".

    It is your blog, so I'm really just trying to point out some weaknesses in your ideas.

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  22. "Have you read 'The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy' by Douglas Adams?"

    Of course.

    "But it is impossible to come up with any convincing examples of where such a haplogroup has traveled as a minor component in company with a major haplogroup, and then later expanded in its own right".

    You are asking the elm tree for apples: we don't have that kind of knowledge in a way that you can say unquestionably "it was that way". Each time we address the past we face the trouble that it is not anymore here, with all the problems it implies.

    However your beloved Polynesians have been scattering haplogroups all around the Pacific in conditions quite akin to any such experiment and they certainly brought with them lineages that are small elsewhere but in some of their islands have become important or even dominant. You know that scenario much better than I do, so you tell me: aren't the Polynesian clades all them more or less examples of small haplogroups that have experimented sudden expansions in the Polynesian destination islands (most of which were devoid of humans before their arrival)?

    Whatever the case there is no logical impediment for what I say to happen, you have just castled against such idea. Your arguments are all like "unlikely", "I don't think so"...

    Unlikely is that you can persuade anyone unless you work much harder in your theory and get some serious support.

    "N is also common in both the west and the east of Central Asia. And all that is very difficult to reconcile with a migration through India".

    Blah... Do you even read what you write?

    I can exactly say that "N is also common in both the west and the east of Central Asia. And all that is very difficult to reconcile with anything but a migration through India".

    "I'm really just trying to point out some weaknesses in your ideas".

    Do it properly or do not. Provide a consistent discourse and data, don't beat dead horses and do not reply with one-liners that force me (if I even care to consider the matter at all) to reach back to previous comments, links or who knows what other references, implicit in your mind when not in mine when I read.

    Have always the reader present when you write, or at least when you review your writing before clicking the "publish" button (and yes: do that: re-read your comments before publishing, please).

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  23. "we don't have that kind of knowledge in a way that you can say unquestionably 'it was that way'".

    But we do actually have knowledge of 'it was that way' when it comes to examples of haplogroups that remained in their region of coalescence during the development of their 'stem'. What we don't have at all of is unequivocal examples of a haplogroup developing a long stem while on the move.

    "However your beloved Polynesians have been scattering haplogroups all around the Pacific in conditions quite akin to any such experiment"

    And the lineages all connect geographically with their individual ancestors. Easily traced.

    "and they certainly brought with them lineages that are small elsewhere but in some of their islands have become important or even dominant".

    Such as? I can think of no examples. All Polynesian lineages are easily traced to their region of origin and are common there. Study of Polynesian haplogroups has the advantage over most other regions because each island is discrete. On continents there is far more overlap and consequent confusion. In fact what I learnt during study of Polynesian origins is exactly the method I've used to trace all haplogroup expansions. Certainly some haplogroups have become progressively greater in proportion as the Polynesians expanded eastward, but that is purely a product of other haplogroups dropping off along the way.

    "aren't the Polynesian clades all them more or less examples of small haplogroups that have experimented sudden expansions in the Polynesian destination islands (most of which were devoid of humans before their arrival)?"

    That is indeed the case, although to use the term 'small haplogroups' is not applicable. They are all quite common in their region of origin. And not one of those haplogroups developed a long stem while on the migration out to the islands. The pattern of expansion is easily discerned. Even where there has been back migration.

    "Whatever the case there is no logical impediment for what I say to happen"

    Perhaps not. But there is an even more logical explanation, but you are completely opposed to it for some unknown reason. Surely we would expect to see a chain of related haplogroups strung out along any expansion route, exactly the same as we see for the Polynesian expansion.

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  24. "All Polynesian lineages are easily traced to their region of origin and are common there".

    So what we find in Easter Island is common in Philippines or whatever you consider "their region of origin"? Are you sure?

    Well, no. 90% of Rapa Nui Y-DNA is C-P33, a lineage that is totally absent everywhere except parts of Polynesia itself (mostly Tahiti and Samoa). So this lineage expanded only on the march, and actually at a quite advanced stage of the expansion.

    You may say that C-P33 is direct descendant of C-M208. And it is correct, but C-M208* is very rare even in New Guinea's coasts (2/15), where is most common everywhere.

    So random amplification happens even among your dearly Polynesians (of which you don't seem to know so much anyhow) and the thin trail that we can still attempt to follow today may well have been erased totally if the conditions were Paleolithic with small populations and very long spans of time for that to happen.

    A different and complementary example is Vanuatu, a place in the middle of nowhere, so to say, which holds a huge diversity of lineages (no they have not drifted towards fixation yet after so many thousand years: some lineages are more important but small lineages also exist).

    I'm using Karafet 2010 as reference. You know or should know that data, why do you pretend that you know some other elusive data that is not there? I spent some 20 minutes replying to this: is it worth my time? Shouldn't you first have spent those 20 minutes yourself thinking your answer and documenting the data and saving MY damn fucking TIME?!

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  25. "So what we find in Easter Island is common in Philippines or whatever you consider 'their region of origin'?"

    Basically yes. Although Y-DNA C2 actually comes from south of the Philippines. Obviously some Filipino haplogroups were dropped off along the way and new haplogroups have entered the Philippines, but what you question is basically the case.

    "90% of Rapa Nui Y-DNA is C-P33, a lineage that is totally absent everywhere except parts of Polynesia itself (mostly Tahiti and Samoa)".

    You seem to be incapable of understanding haplogroup expansion. C2a1-P33 is derived from C2a-M208, which in turn is derived from C2-M38, which appears to have originated in Southern Wallacea. They are all the same haplogroup actually.

    "So this lineage expanded only on the march, and actually at a quite advanced stage of the expansion".

    Again you demonstrate that you don't know what you're talking about. The Polynesian expansion was delayed for 1000 years in the triangle Fiji/Samoa/Tonga before they were able to advance further into what is now Eastern Polynesia. C2a1-P33 almost certainly developed in that region, not while the Polynesians were on the move. The same is the case with Polynesian mt-DNA B4a1a1. It is derived from B4a, which is common in Taiwan and the Philippines but B4a1a1 developed in the Fiji/Samoa/Tonga triangle.

    "but C-M208* is very rare even in New Guinea's coasts (2/15)"

    Not in the least surprising. New Guinea was very little involved in the Austronesian's eastward expansion. It was basically bypassed. Interestingly, as Ebizur pointed out some time ago, any Y-DNA C is quite rare in the islands north of New Guinea. The standard explanation is that New Guinea haplogroups have exapnded since the early Austronesians passed by. That was understood to be the case long before haplogroups were even discovered.

    "So random amplification happens even among your dearly Polynesians"

    Nothing 'random' about it. It is very easy to see what has happened, and why. And it can hardly be described as a 'thin trail'.

    "A different and complementary example is Vanuatu, a place in the middle of nowhere, so to say, which holds a huge diversity of lineages (no they have not drifted towards fixation yet after so many thousand years: some lineages are more important but small lineages also exist)".

    Vanuatu is much closer to SE Asia and to New Guinea than is Polynesia. It has received a great many haplogroups over the years, especially from New Guinea.

    "You know or should know that data, why do you pretend that you know some other elusive data that is not there?"

    Of course I know the data. What are you claiming I didn't know? It seems to be the case that you don't understand the data.

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  26. I'm not an expert in DNA exacts, but what do you think of this viaduct DNA finding in the Philippines?

    (relatively old paper)

    http://secret.biomedicalgerontology.com/OneSecret.pdf

    Filipino cultural lore has long secretly held that they were the first people (Adam)


    - @Denisovans (Twitter)

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  27. The paper is not "old" at all (just 2 years or a bit more) but is a bit imprecise and thick (too much text, no graphs of any sort). So what is the exact question?

    Nothing to do with 'Adam' nor 'Eve' anyhow; the origin of humankind is in Africa.

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  28. Just a few more comments regarding the Polynesians:

    "So this lineage expanded only on the march, and actually at a quite advanced stage of the expansion".

    Even if we concede that the haplogroups 'expanded only on the march' we can see immediately that they do not have 'long stems'. And each haplogroup coalesced completely within the geographic range of its immediately ancestral haplogroup. Not one of them can be considered to have developed any sort of stem while on the move. To me it is completely reasonable to suppose that the N-derived haplogroups A, N1'5 and N2 all 'coalesced completely within the geographic range of its immediately ancestral haplogroup' and none 'can be considered to have developed any sort of stem while on the move'.

    "the thin trail that we can still attempt to follow today may well have been erased totally if the conditions were Paleolithic with small populations and very long spans of time for that to happen".

    In fact that seems to be exactly what has happened with 'trail that we can still attempt to follow today' for Y-DNA C2. But the remnants are still scattered along the route the haplogroup took out into the Pacific.

    'A different and complementary example is Vanuatu, a place in the middle of nowhere"

    You may consider it 'the middle of nowhere' but it is exactly on the route the Polynesians' ancestors took to the eastern Pacific.

    "However your beloved Polynesians"

    Just a few months ago you were accusing me of racism. Has something changed?

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  29. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. I do not welcome racists here. Still, as I already wrote a reply, here you have it:

      Tropical humans had black (brown, heavily melanic) skins for sure. Modern tropical humans all do with very few exceptions and it may be related to skin cancer protection (they did not wear clothes, at least not many) and folate production.

      Chimpanzees are in fact black, excepted the children (cubs or whatever you call them), while our common cousins the bonobos and gorillas are black-skinned from birth. It is unclear however how the pigmentation works among them. What is clear is that skin color is anything but a neutral feature among humans, instead being deeply implicated in key vitamin synthesis (folate, vitamin D), being potentially a matter of life and death.

      Another different issue is when did non-tropical humans begin losing their darker shades. IMO that happened soon after they began dwelling in relatively low radiation latitudes, say 40º north, because vitamin D (which is normally synthesized by the skin) is critical for the correct development of our brains, specially as kids (and that's why children and to lesser extent women, who carry them in the womb, are usually somewhat paler than adult men, everything else equal and tend to have rosy cheeks in many cases - what favors vit. D synthesis even when fully clothed).

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  30. Anyway, I get sick of seeing every single reconstruction of prehuman peoples made to not only have black skin, but, even the facial structure of black Africans, which I don't even know what I'm supposed to call them anymore, since people from Africa believe the word Negro is the "N" word and even call it that here in Sweden, they also don't like being called African, and I thought there were names to the 3 races but unless they changed them I'm at a loss of 'how not to offend people' based on what I call them; which I am also sick of.

    BunBun, the word "negro" simply means "black". So if black people consider it pejorative, that means they don't want to be called "black" and are even ashamed of being black.

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    1. If you look at her (?) profile, it's obvious that she (?) is a racist/white supremacist. So please don't feel the troll.

      The connotations of each word in each language and context are not something you or I can easily discern. Also there is people who is more susceptible.

      Here for example North Africans usually don't like to be described as "Moors", even if the word is deeply rooted since Roman or even older times. In Europe often the simple careless reference to race is considered of dubious taste. Even if it may be idealist, it is often considered politically correct that we are first of all people and that race is not more important than hair color or height.

      Of course there's a growing worrying racist trend, specially towards the Northeast of the continent. But hopefully Humanist values will succeed - even if only for the sake of our survival as species. We won't survive a WWIII for sure: fascism is most dangerous and must be stopped on its heels by any means necessary (as Malcom X would say).

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  32. Still, I don't understand the black resistence to the word "negro". It has exactly the same meaning as the word "black". So, if blacks have no problem to be called and call themselves "black", they should have no problem to be called and call themselves "negro" too.

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    1. That's probably a variable, a matter of age and specially North American usage. According to Wikitionary:

      In the United States of America, the word 'negro' is considered acceptable only in a historical context or in proper names such as the 'United Negro College Fund'. 'Black', which replaced 'negro' from 1966 onward, or the more recent 'African-American' (from the 1980s), are the preferred alternatives, with neither being categorically preferred as an endonym (self-designation) or by publications.

      Prior to 1966, 'negro' was accepted and in fact the usual endonym – consider The Negro, 1915, by W. E. B. Du Bois – which itself replaced the older 'colored' in the 1920s, particularly under the advocacy of Du Bois (who advocated capitalization as Negro). Following the coinage and rise of Black Power and Black pride in the 1960s, particularly post-1966, the term 'black' became preferred, and 'negro' became offensive; in 1968 'negro' was still preferred by most as a self-designation, while by 1974 'black' was preferred; usage by publications followed.


      It is not offensive as "nigger" but it is one of those words that has certain historical connotations... so it's delicate.

      In Spanish it is not normally offensive as it is the word that translates as Black/black. Pejorative can be for example (in Spanish) "negrata" but it depends of context and familiarity and there's not any single word that is comparable in offensiveness to English "nigger".

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    3. I want to end this discussion by saying that if I were black I would certainly not be offended by the word "negro" and would even use it for myself (because it sounds cool to the ear).

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  33. BTW, in BunBun's profile I saw nothing racist. From her profile she seems to be against Islam. I am against Islam too, does that make me racist?

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    1. Blogs she follows: anti-red "American" nationalist Republican, a blog dedicated to white (only white) victims of crimes by people of other races or minority groups, a "Westernist" racist (anti-black, pro-Zionist) blog, a blog about alleged "Black racism" (never mind white anti-black racism, right?), a blog about an alleged genocide of Boers (white South Africans who kept a racist apartheid regime until "yesterday"), several quite abusive Zionist (Jewish colonialist racism) blogs...

      Etc. I don't feel like checking every other blog. I just reached to the letter I (and did not check all: too many!)

      You or I are anti-Islam only in the sense that we are strongly secularist and dislike and oppose superstition and brainwashing cults in general. That is quite different from those who are exclusively Islamophobic and reject Islam and only Islam, while supporting similarly hateful and questionable Judaism or Christianity.

      This "Bunny" individual is clearly a Breivik clone. Be careful with such kind. They do not like Turks either and it's not because of religion or whatever: they are just racist, xenophobic, irrational Nazis (except that they do embrace Zionism and Judaism - at least on the surface - after all Israel is their "crusader state").

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    2. I am not much informed about the blogosphere, so I don't deem myself in a position to make further remarks on that topic.

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    3. Just go and check those blogs yourself, as I did. Maybe I have a sharper more trained "political eye" but I find hard that, after dwelling in a number of them, many things do not strike to you as offensively racist and/or shockingly White/Jewish supremacist.

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    4. Luis, I have neither the time nor the inclination to check them. I don't care whether BunBun is racist or not. This is your blog, so you have the authority to delete her and anyone else's posts here. I don't. I am just a passerby here. So please don't treat me as if I am the owner of this blog.

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    5. You cast doubt and I explain how can you clarify those doubts. That's all.

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    6. But I did not persist in my expression of that doubt and said:

      "I am not much informed about the blogosphere, so I don't deem myself in a position to make further remarks on that topic."

      Which means, I don't have a clear opinion on whether BunBun is racist or not. I later added that I don't care about it.

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  34. I realise this quote is from a deleted comment but:

    "I don't even know what I'm supposed to call them anymore, since people from Africa believe the word Negro is the 'N' word"

    The 'N' word that many object to is not so much 'Negro' but 'Nigger'. As far as I'm aware it is still OK to call Africans Negro although African-Americans prefer 'Black'.

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Please, be reasonably respectful when making comments. I do not tolerate in particular sexism, racism nor homophobia. Personal attacks, manipulation and trolling are also very much unwelcome here.The author reserves the right to delete any abusive comment.

Preliminary comment moderation is... ON (sorry, too many trolls).