Monday, February 25, 2008

Mechta-Afalou and the so-called Mechtoids: Continued!

Part 1 of this subject:
Mechta and Afalou: Do they and the so-called "Mechtoids" constitute a type with the "Cro-Magnon"? [clickable link]

The following are personal notes of the present author, largely made on a discussion...

It is worth noting that, just as Howell's collection falls short of representing a broader spectrum of regional inter-African variability, so is Groves' even smaller selection from this collection for comparative analysis, using the select "contemporary" groups as a basis for comparing the late Paleolithic/early Holocene specimens. This needs to be taken into consideration when recalling on Groves' claims about the so-called "caucasoid" and "negroid" intra-African geographical transition in the Paleolithic and how this divide supposedly shifted, with the so-called northern "negroid" territorial limit having shifted southward to some extent in the post-Paleolithic periods, in particular - the present.

Recalling Groves,...

a wide sparsely populated region whose people are intermediate morphologically between “Caucasoid” and “Negroid”. While the late and terminal Pleistocene populations of northern Africa were noticeably more robust than their present-day descendants (as were those of Europe), like them they were differentiated into more northerly “Caucasoid” and more southerly “Negroid” morphologies. **Yet the transition between these two geographic forms was much further north in the terminal Pleistocene than today**; the terminal Pleistocene Nubians and the Asselar skull are as “Negroid” as are the modern Teita of Kenya; the intermediates were the people of Afalou-bou-Rhummel in Algeria.

Going onto Groves' Factor analysis

Click on the image for greater resolution
 
The means of selected modern samples from the dataset of Howells (1973) were entered along with those of the fossil samples into a factor analysis to assess the interrelationships of the samples.

The males of the Afalou, Taforalt and Cro-Magnon samples lie far to the right on the diagram (Fig. 4), on factor 1, followed by Nubia male, Asselar, Cro-Magnon female, and Norse and Egypt male; to the left (scoring low on factor 1) are Dogon and Teita males, and the females of the remaining samples. On factor 2, Cro-Magnon, Taforalt, Norse and Egypt score positively, and Afalou and the sub-Saharan and Nubian samples score negatively.

Factor 1 represents robusticity, factor 2 represents the sub-Saharan/Caucasoid contrast. The Caucasoid populations (Egypt, Norse, Cro-Magnon) score positively on factor 2, the sub-Saharan Teita score negatively. The modern Dogon (Southern Mali) samples are intermediate. The fossil Nubians who were described as being Mechtoid score strongly negative, as does the Asselar skull (Central Mali). What is especially interesting is that Afalou also scores negatively, if only slightly; it occupies the same morphological position as do the modern Dogon.

Present author's take: Of note, is that in the figure in question, the Dogon which Groves' analysis deems "intermediate", it just so happens that the male specimen fell on the "positive" end, while the female counterpart on the "negative" end. Meanwhile, as claimed in Groves' notes above, the Nubian fossils which have been described as being "Mechtoid", report "negatively". That Groves considers the Dogon the modern "intermediate" specimen between two so-called "geographic morphologies" of "caucasoid" and "negroid" would be interesting to anyone who is familiar with the Dogon people.

An old New York Times piece on the Afalou...

"The discovery of a new race of neolithic man at Afalou, Algeria, with strange resemblances to the Natufians recently found in Palestine, was announced by the french scientists, Marcellin Boulle and Heri Vallois. Like the Natufians, these hitherto unknown people had some of their incisor teeth knocked out in early life and their limb bones were strong. Their discoverers were unable to connect them with either the Neanderthal man or the Negro or with mediterranean types of modern times."

What's interesting about this piece, is that it makes note of the "resemblances" between the Natufians and the Afalou. In a few years of discovery, in the 1930s, Natufians were then deemed by certain researchers of the time to have "negroid" tendencies. This was before any link between Natufians and early farming practices was made. Taking this into consideraton, one has to pause and think, when the New York time piece says:

"Their discoverers were unable to connect them with either the Neanderthal man or the Negro or with mediterranean types of modern times."

In relation to the above: Perhaps, the "generalized" modern type?!

Either the discoverers didn't have the credentials necessary to make educated comparative observations, or they knew something they didn't want to share with the reading public or their target audience.

It is not certain here what date the NY times piece was released or the full report, but it could be possible [aside from not having yet fully studied the specimens for finer details] that the claim for not being able to draw a connection with the said “types”, has something to do with the notion that the Afalou supposedly resemble or have affinities with the Upper European specimen named Cro-Magnon [who have been viewed as European ancestors]. Remember that Elliot Smith denied any possible ties between the Natufians and the “Negro” type(s), even though other Eurocentric scholars of his time at least acknowledged traits which they associated with the “Negro” type(s). If Afalou was deemed to have been “Negroid”, while resembling the Cro-Magnon, then this would be tantamount to saying that European ancestors, as Cro-Magnons, were “Negroid” or had “Negroid” tendencies as well. Would the Eurocentric scholars of that era have gone that far? The present author believes one can draw his/her own conclusions on this.

The Cro-Magnons don’t tie with contemporary coastal Berbers, as Brace points out, while Briggs and Groves’ seem to imply that the Afalou are not devoid of the so-called “Negroid” traits, painting them as “Intermediate” specimens. Groves’ comparison of the Afalou with the Dogon as being “intermediate”, is particularly interesting, given that we have an idea of what the Dogons look like.

Furthermore, Groves tells us...

“Arambourg et al. (1934) referred to these robust North Africans as the “Mechta-Arbi race”; Ferembach (1962) as Ibero-Maurusians, or Epipalaeolithic, after their lithocultural association. Briggs (1955) divided the Afalou and other samples into four “types” (Palaeomediterranean, African Mediterranean, African Alphine, and true Mechta-Afalou). Anderson (1968) considered them far too homogeneous to warrant this treatment, and indeed Briggs’s analysis is in the typological tradition that held sway up until about 1940, but was thereafter increasingly discarded” — C. Groves, 1999.

Briggs must have felt that he saw enough variations between the North African samples, so as to warrant the said four "types". But as Groves points out, others later, felt that the samples were less heterogeneous to warrant Briggs' kind of labeling, into four African "types". The legitimacy of a single type to which the above specimens, including the European Cro-Magnons, supposedly belong, will be re-visited shortly.

Groves goes onto say:

Exactly the same process of gracilisation seems to have taken place in this region; Carlson and Van Gerven (1977) attributed it to a change in masticatory function, associated with the processes leading to the adoption of agriculture. The largest collection, from Tushka and Sahaba, was described by Anderson (1968); he considered them in the context of “Negroid origins”, but ended by concluding that they are strongly resemble the “Maghrebian Cromagnoids”, as he called Mechta-Afalou populations, but considered that they were “half-way to ‘Negroidization’”, and demonstrated the late derivation of sub-Saharans from Caucasoids

Briggs, as pointed out earlier, felt that the North African samples, the African Mediterraneans, weren't devoid of "Negroid" traits, but acquired these from "Negro" females on their migration path. Anderson on the other hand, interestingly uses "Negroidization", meaning that the originally "Caucasoid" groups evolved into the "Negro" [Sub-Saharan as Groves put it] type. "Caucasoids" spawning "Negroids"; one wonders where that has been heard before?

Alternatively, how about the "Caucasoidization" [we all know why this term doesn't exist] of the original "Negroids"? Funny business! It should be obvious to anyone by now familiar with Out-of-Africa hypothesis of modern human origins, the overwhelming ongoing scientific consensus, that the idea of "negroids" evolving from "caucasoids" is utter descredited nonsense. Moreover assessment of the distribution pattern of human skin pigmentation alleles corresponds well with the Out-of-Africa hypothesis, as do most other genetic monophyletic units; links to that topic:

Skin pigmentation gene alleles [clickable link]

Skin pigmentation gene alleles Part 2 [clickable link]

Revisiting the issue of a "type" to which "Mechtoids" supposedly to belong...

“Arambourg et al. (1934) referred to these robust North Africans as the “Mechta-Arbi race”; Ferembach (1962) as Ibero-Maurusians, or Epipalaeolithic, after their lithocultural association. Briggs (1955) divided the Afalou and other samples into four “types” (Palaeomediterranean, African Mediterranean, African Alphine, and true Mechta-Afalou). Anderson (1968) considered them far too homogeneous to warrant this treatment, and indeed Briggs’s analysis is in the typological tradition that held sway up until about 1940, but was thereafter increasingly discarded” — C. Groves, 1999.

Recap: Briggs must have felt that he saw enough variations between the North African samples, so as to warrent the said four "types". But as Groves points out, others later, felt that the samples were less heterogenous to warrent Briggs' kind of labeling, into four African "types".

Let's examine this:

Recalling the present author's take: The specimens previously placed under the ‘Mechta-Afalou’ actually don’t represent a “type”, but an assortment of specimens that share affinities in some respects, and not so much so in others. Even “robusticity’, which it seems has been seized by some to justify classification into a “type” or “categorization”, varies.

...which is not incompatible with Brace's observation on "Cro-magnon" as well:

Paul Broca himself had promoted the view that the Basques represent the continuing existence of the kind of Upper Paleolithic population excavated at the Cro-Magnon rock shelter in the village of Les Eyzies in the Dordogne region of southwestern France in 1868 (38-40). Shortly thereafter the “old man” -“le vieillard” -found in that rock shelter was elevated to the status of typifying a whole “Cro-Magnon race” regarded as ancestral to not only the Basques but also the aboriginal inhabitants of the Canary Islands (37, 41-44)…

When the Basques are run with the other samples used in Fig. 1, they link with Germany and more remotely with the Canary Islands. They are clearly European although the length of their twig indicates that they have a distinction all their own. It is clear, however, that they do not represent a survival of the kind of craniofacial form indicated by Cro-Magnon any more than do the Canary Islanders, ***nor does either sample tie in with the Berbers of North Africa*** as has previously been claimed (37, 44-45).



To test the analysis shown in Fig. 3, Cro-Magnon, represented by the x in Fig. 4, was removed from the European Upper Palaeolithic sample and run as a single individual. **Interestingly enough, Cro-Magnon is not close to any more recent sample**.

Clearly Cro-Magnon is not the same as the Basque or Canary Island samples. Fig. 4 plots the first and second canonical variates against each other, but that conclusion is even more strongly supported when canonical variate 3 (not shown here) is plotted with variate 1. If this analysis shows nothing else, **it demonstrates that the oft-repeated European feeling that the Cro-Magnons are “us” (46) is more a product of anthropological folklore** than the result of the metric data available from the skeletal remains... — Brace et al. 2005

...and in response to analyzing the following Groves' piece taken from his publication, “The terminal Pleistocene and early Holocene populations of northern Africa”, 1999:

To the southeast, further cranially robust remains have been described from Nubia, on the Egyptian-Sudanese border (Anderson 1968; Wendorf 1968a, b; Carlson and Van Gerven 1977). Exactly the same process of gracilisation seems to have taken place in this region; Carlson and Van Gerven (1977) attributed it to a change in masticatory function, associated with the processes leading to the adoption of agriculture. The largest collection, from Tushka and Sahaba, was described by Anderson (1968); he considered them in the context of “Negroid origins”, but ended by concluding that they are strongly resemble the “Maghrebian Cromagnoids”, as he called Mechta-Afalou populations, but considered that they were “half-way to ‘Negroidization’”, and demonstrated the late derivation of sub-Saharans from Caucasoids.

There are therefore a number of hypotheses about these terminal Pleistocene samples, which we propose to test this paper:

1. That the Mechta-Afalou populations are a generalized “robust” Homo sapiens population (Lahr 1994), or alternatively that they are robust because they are “Cromagnoid” in morphology, i.e. resemble the Upper Paleolithic populations of Europe (Ferembach 1985, Brauer and Rimback 1990)

Groves' results, with regards to 'robusticity':

Lahr’s (1994) hypothesis, that the Maghrebian samples resemble the Cro-Magnons, is true as far as the males are concerned, but not for the females. Cro-Magnon females are robust, as are Co-magnon males; Taforalt females, however, are not so robust.

As far as morphology is concerned, Groves' approach to discriminant analysis yields:


The discriminant analysis shows that the Nubian scatter is so wide that it is some of the Nubian males, rather than any of the Maghrebian ones, that are Cromagnon males’ nearest neighbors. The nearest neighbour of the Cromagnon females, however, is the sole Afalou female.

The frequency if occurrence of the horizontal-oval form of the mandibular foramen compares more closely to the Cro-Magnons in the Nubian than in the Maghrebian sample. In the Maghreb sample, it occurs in 1/15, ie. 6.7%, but in the Nubians in 4/18, that is 22.2% (in the Sahaba sample by itself, 4/14, or 28.6%).

According to Frayer (1992), in 38 late upper Paleolithic specimens (approximately contemporary with the present samples) this form occurs in 5.3%, although in 9 Early Upper Paleolithic specimens it was seen in 44.4%.

North African "Mediterraneans" [now defunct] and the so-called Mechtoid North African specimens were just part of early attempts of European researchers to seek a "European-like" component in north Africa, which in the case of the "Mechtoid" types, took the guise of using the so-called Cro-magnon specimen as the model to build the comparison around. Some of these researchers saw cranio-morphological resemblances between the so-called "Mechtoid" African specimens and the European "Cro-Magnon" specimen, as the present author has noted earlier, yet were not totally oblivious to the differences as well, which prevented them calling the African examples as plainly "Cro-magnons"...just as there were attempts to associate what was dubbed "African Mediterraneans" with the other so-called "Mediterranean" specimens, who just so happened to also belong to this one big happy family of "caucasoids".

Interestingly, as noted earlier herein, there had been some linkage drawn between the so-called "Mechtoid specimens" , i.e. the Mechta-el-Arbi, the Afalou-bou-Rhummel, the Taforalt specimens and possibly the likes of the Jebel Sahaba specimens of the Nile Valley, with what were dubbed as "Mediterranean racial types":

Recap: "The Negroid increment of which there is evidence in some of our Northern Neolithic Series, notably Kef-el-Agab 1 and Troglodytes 1, may have well come in the same way from the South to *add* to the *already* slightly **Negroid Hamitic cast** of the African Mediterraneans and of their **partial derivative**, the Mechta-Afalou Type." — Briggs

In another recap, Briggs goes onto to note that, again with regards to the so-called "Mediterranean racial type":

"...Type B which fits, in all essential respects, the usual definition of the Mediterranean racial type, but sometimes shows also certain morphological peculiarities commonly known as "Boskopid," as well as Negroid features among females. Type B therefore was classified as African Mediterranean...It may have well acquired its "Boskopid" traits on the road, near the headwaters of the Nile, and kidnapped a few Negro or heavily Negroid women on its way west before turning northward into Northwest Africa. The peculiar characteristics of such women could have been restricted largely to females, at least for a time, by artificial selection in the form of preferential mating." - Source: Briggs, Stone Age Races of Northwest Africa, pgs 81,89.

So, apparently both the so-called African "Cro-Magnoid-like" specimens [aka the "Mechtoid"/"Mechta-Afalou" type] in no way actaully represented a single cranio-morphometric type [wherein the "Cro-magnon" is used as the model of morphology], as the notes herein bring to light; the Maghrebian specimens are clearly distinguished from the so-called Mechtoid examples found in the Nile Valley, like the Sahaba specimens. We also know that the Megrebian examples, not in any way to be associated with contemporary northwest Africans, are clearly distinguished from the "Cro-Magnon" of Europe [seemingly acknowleged even in the terming of the "North African Cro-Magnoids" appellation—"iod" implying "likewise but not quite [what is the model]"], as demonstrated above in Groves' discriminant analysis where even some so-called "Nubian" specimens actually clustered closer to the European "Cro-magnoid specimens" than the Maghrebian examples. Yet, in Groves factor analysis, which he uses as his supposed gauging tool to term the "caucasoid" or "negroid" inclination of the specimens in question, the "Nubian" specimens were supposedly inclined towards the so-called "Negroid" tendencies, while the European "Cro-magnoid" specimens and the Maghrebian Taforalt series, to put it in Groves' terms:

On factor 2, Cro-Magnon, Taforalt, Norse and Egypt score positively, and Afalou and the sub-Saharan and Nubian samples score negatively.

...where essentially groups who scored "positively", were implied to have an inclination towards the so-called "caucasoid" tendencies...but it gets interesting, in continuing with Groves' claims:

Factor 1 represents *robusticity*, factor 2 represents the **sub-Saharan/Caucasoid** contrast. The Caucasoid populations (Egypt, Norse, Cro-Magnon) score positively on factor 2, the sub-Saharan Teita score negatively. The modern Dogon (Southern Mali) samples are intermediate. The fossil Nubians score strongly negative, as does the Asselar skull (Central Mali). What is especially interesting is that Afalou also scores negatively, if only slightly; it occupies the same morphological position as do the modern Dogon.

Present author's take: So [as already noted yet again], a Maghrebian specimen, namely the Afalou specimens, occupy the same position as the "modern Dogon" [although a Dogon male scores positively], which is the "intermediary" position? Well, we know what the modern Dogon generally look like...but if anything, at the least, this is yet indication that even the Maghrebian series don't all converge into a single cranio-morphometric "type".
[Note: Norse, Egypt, Dogon and Teita are supposed to be relatively modern examples from Howells' database — 1973]

Just as the so-called "Cro-Magnoid" actually fails to show a single morphological type, so does the so-called "Mediterranean racial type", as can be seen from the pains at which various researchers were trying to reconcile the seemingly so-called "Boskopid" and "Negroid" traits in "African Mediterranean" specimens with the basic ideology behind the so-called "Mediterranean racial type". Obviously the so-called "African Mediterraneans" notably differed from their so-called "Mediterranean" counterparts from across the other side of the Mediterranean sea, prompting these researchers to explain away what Briggs dubs as "morphological peculiarities". Now of course, as far as as the present author can tell at this point, we are not offered any specific extra-cranio-morphometric biological evidence that such "morphological peculiarities" were simply acquired from "miscegenation" between "African Mediterraneans" [whom by implication, were presumably devoid of such "morphological peculiarities" initially] and other groups which were presumably 'typified' by the said "morphological peculiarities", as opposed to being either relics or indicators of the natural micro-evolution of the said "African Mediterraneans". Of the present author's estimation, it seems that the attempt to draw up a type, around the Cro-Magnon model, as is the case to draw up a "Mediterranean racial type", is nothing more than futile Eurocentric attempt to create "types", more likely 'racial types', in which European specimens are presented as models, and extend this European family type into North Africa...as though an attempt to make North Africa into an extension of Europe, as opposed to its being factually [and objectively] part of Africa both geographically and biologically. The bio-anthropological goal of Eurocentric doctrine has historically been to create pseudo-scientific racial types or their subtly transparent "euphemisms", that will extend the associated "European-affiliated" family as much as possible into areas of interest. The pains at which Euro-researchers sought to create "types" around 'Euro-centered' or 'Euro-affiliated' models, can be exemplified in that seen in the following:

recap: “Arambourg et al. (1934) referred to these robust North Africans as the “Mechta-Arbi race”; Ferembach (1962) as Ibero-Maurusians, or Epipalaeolithic, after their lithocultural association. Briggs (1955) divided the Afalou and other samples into four “types” (Palaeomediterranean, African Mediterranean, African Alphine, and true Mechta-Afalou). Anderson (1968) considered them far too homogeneous to warrant this treatment, and indeed Briggs’s analysis is in the typological tradition that held sway up until about 1940, but was thereafter increasingly discarded — C. Groves, 1999.

Translated source: Para conocer al hombre: Homenaje a Santiago Genovés a 33 años como investigador en la UNAM, by Santiago Genovés, Universidad Autónoma de México Instituto de Investigaciones Antropológicas, 1990.

Speaking of which—with regards to the Afalou‘s being “neither Negro or San”, on the other hand, from Groves, to repeat...

factor 2 represents the **sub-Saharan/Caucasoid** contrast. The Caucasoid populations (Egypt, Norse, Cro-Magnon) score positively on factor 2, the sub-Saharan Teita score negatively. The modern Dogon (Southern Mali) samples are intermediate. The fossil Nubians score strongly negative, as does the Asselar skull (Central Mali). What is especially interesting is that Afalou also scores negatively, if only slightly; it occupies the same morphological position as do the modern Dogon.

Recap: So, a Maghrebian specimen, namely the Afalou specimens, occupy the same position as the "modern Dogon" [although a Dogon male scores positively], which is the "intermediary" position? Well, we know what the modern Dogon generally look like...but if anything, at the least, this is yet indication that even the Maghrebian series don't all converge into a single cranio-morphometric "type".
[Note: Norse, Egypt, Dogon and Teita are supposed to be relatively modern examples from Howells' database — 1973]

The discriminant analysis shows that the Nubian scatter is so wide that it is some of the Nubian males, rather than any of the Maghrebian ones, that are Cromagnon males’ nearest neighbors. The nearest neighbour of the Cromagnon females, however, is the sole Afalou female. - Groves

What seems to be at work here? It looks to be what the present author calls the "Spanish crania" syndrome:

"race classification of all individuals in this sample using the Forensic Data Bank option. Of the 95 individuals, 42 (44 percent) were classified as white, 35 percent as black, 9 percent as Hispanic, 4 percent as Japanese, 4 percent as American Indian, and the remaining three individuals as Chinese and Vietnamese" - Ubelaker et al., Application of Forensic Discriminant Functions to a Spanish Cranial Sample, 2002 [see: Cranio-morphological Variation]

The above pre-historic "Nubian" crania display a phenomenon not uninterestingly distinct from their more modern counterparts:

“If Fordisc 2.0 is revealing genetic admixture of Late Period Dynastic Egypt and Meroitic Nubia, then one must also consider these ancient Meroitic Nubians to be part of Hungarian, part Easter Islander, part Norse, and part Australian Aborigine, with smaller contributions from the Ainu, Teita, Zulu, Santa Cruz, Andaman Islands, Arikara, Ayatal, and Hokkaido populations. In fact, all human groups are essentially heterogeneous, including samples within Fordisc 2.0. Using Fst heritability tests, Relethford (1994) demonstrated that Howells’s cranial samples exhibit far more variation within than between skeletal series. There is no reason to assume that the heterogeneity of the Late Period Dynastic Egyptian population exceeds that characterizing our Nubian sample. This heterogeneity may also characterize the populations in the Forensic Data Bank; Fordisc 2.0 classified the Meroitic Nubians not as either all black or all white but as black, white, Hispanic, Chinese, Japanese, and Native American. - Williams et al. 2005 [again see: Cranio-morphological Variation]

Such is the result of preconceived attempts to force superficial population variations to undeviating non-overlapping socio-ethnic or "racial" types.

Synopsis: The European inclination to see themselves in North Africans, a region home to one of the most glorified highly-structured social complexes of antiquity — notable examples being Kemet and Kush, is what this whole "Mechtoid" deal is about; in this case, the Cro-Magnon was the Eurocentric template of choice. However, as Brace noted, nothing about the cranio-facial morphology of the contemporary Imazighen suggests a link to Cro-Magnons. And indeed, genetics backs him on this point as well.

As we have seen, even the attempt to relate prehistoric North Africans to European counterparts has virtually failed, as the Mechtoid concept shows; the specimens designated as such neither display a single cranio-morphological type nor robusticity, as the term "Mechtoid" implies. Heck, they are all not even dated to the same time frames. So, it is nothing more than the Eurocentric concept, as Brace again noted, to use "Cro-Magnon" and say that the "Cro-Magnon represents us"...with the "us" meaning "European". Brace characterized this belief as being more of an anthropological "folklore" rather than fact. In fact, Brace says that the Cro-Magnon doesn't tie with any of the contemporary European specimens he studied. So again, the Mechtoid concept and its supposed relationship with Cro-Magnon, is nothing more than another Eurocentric way of trying to relate North Africa to Europe...essentially a *wishful* desire to see north Africa as more an extension of Europe than the actual continent [Africa] its attached to. However, it fails miserably not only for reasons just noted, but also from the fact that none of the so-called Mechtoid specimen 'types' covered here have ever been located in Europe itself.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

the attempt to draw up a type, around the Cro-Magnon model, as is the case to draw up a "Mediterranean racial type", is nothing more than futile Eurocentric attempt to create "types", more likely 'racial types', in which European specimens are presented as models, and extend this European family type into North Africa...as though an attempt to make North Africa into an extension of Europe, as opposed to its being factually [and objectively] part of Africa both geographically and biologically. The bio-anthropological goal of Eurocentric doctrine has historically been to create pseudo-scientific racial types or their subtely transparent "euphemisms", that will extend the associated "European-affiliated" family as much as possible into areas of interest.

Excellent point and you have documented and backed it extensively with examples and data. I think the same use of "types" that you note also forms part of the pattern in many DNA analyses, typically claiming or pumping up elements defined as "Caucasoid" under different labels ("Eurasian", "Oriental" or "Middle Eastern"), excluding or redefining contrary data, and then once the desired racial model had been established, contrasting them with "true" types carefully defined as far south of the Sahara as possible. I think it was either on your blog or an embedded link where Keita and others critiqued the method.

One study of gene and language flow for example, repeatedly excluded African data not meeting assigned racial categories, removing Chadic, Omotic and Cushitic speakers to create the impression that Ethiopians are an anomaly, i.e. Africans who speak the language of Caucasians. When gene-frequency clustering in another survey did not adhere to the designated Caucasian categories (European and Middle Eastern) the study's authors simply excluded the non-European DNA samples to achieve desired results. According to one review (Keita and Kittles 1997): "The data in effect were tailored to fit into the traditional racial schema." The racial models used in similar research have also been queried, particularly when data from various peoples held to be 'representative' of certain racial classifications (Berbers for example) continually shifts between 'assigned' categories, calling the validity of the categories themselves into question.

(The Persistence of Racial Thinking and the Myth of Racial Divergence, S. O. Y. Keita, Rick A. Kittles, American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 99, No. 3 (Sep., 1997), pp. 534-544)


Another element of the pattern is to group DNA initial data into the "types" you mention BEFORE running an analysis, thus skewing or massaging final results along certain lines.

" "the molecular and biochemical proponents of this model explicitly use racial categories in their initial grouping of samples. For example, 'the large and highly diverse macroethnic groups of East Indians, North Africans, and Europeans are presumptively grouped as Caucasians prior to the analysis of their DNA variation. This limits and skews interpretations, obscures other lineage relationships, deemphasizes the impact of more immediate clinal environmental factors on genomic diversity, and can cloud our understanding of the true patterns of affinity.' "
(Leiberman and Jackson 1995 "Race and Three Models of Human Origins" in American Anthropologist 97(2) 231-242)


YOu also quote Brace's 2005 study. How do you see the differences with his 1993 study in which he asserted that Egyptians, Somalians, Nubians, etc had no relation at all to "sub-Saharans" but to folks in distant India, etc? Yet in 2005 his data seems to be saying something different.

Mystery Solver said...

anonymous writes:

YOu also quote Brace's 2005 study. How do you see the differences with his 1993 study in which he asserted that Egyptians, Somalians, Nubians, etc had no relation at all to "sub-Saharans" but to folks in distant India, etc? Yet in 2005 his data seems to be saying something different.

The whole problem lies on Brace's context of "sub-Saharan", which it is apparent, he subconsciously equates with the "true Negro" concept. He essentially admitted that his first test didn't include enough test specimens from sub-Saharan Africa, which goes back to the point I made about Fordisc elsewhere, wherein misleading information is provided by not testing populations in between two given populations in geographical extremes of point A and point B. In 2005, his distorted perception of "sub-Saharan" once again showed it s ugly head, when he spoke of Somali crania having "a hint" of "sub-Saharan"; and so, the 2005 study was not entirely immune from his warped up unscientific characterization of "sub-Saharan". It is clear from this, that Brace essentially equates "sub-Saharan" with the idealized "Negro" archetype.

does-not-really-matter said...

"It should be obvious to anyone by now familiar with Out-of-Africa hypothesis of modern human origins, the overwhelming ongoing scientific consensus, that the idea of "negroids" evolving from "caucasoids" is utter descredited nonsense."

Not necessarely. OOA2 does not imply that the early Homo sapiens were already "negroid" at all, this can even be a rather racist assumption of black people/negroids as "less evolved"/primitive.

It's perhaps simply wrong at even a preliminary inspection. Today's black Africans tend to have considerably smooth/round skulls, whereas early moderns were more like caucasoids and australoids. The glabella is also not very marked. The only thing that may be more similar is alveolar prognathism, even though I'm not sure if it's really "the same" or an homoplasy.

Even though some nordicist-like afrocentrists would perhaps put a different spin and say that the original is better and whatever came after that is inferior, degenerated.

It could simply be that the "negroid" type is more modern than caucasoid, which is actually more basal, to the dismay of some white supremacists who like to link basal/primitive with African and inferiority.

"Caucasoid"/"proto-caucasoid" as an earlier form seems to fit some recent studies, like one that concluded that the Hoffmeyer skull was more similar to Cro-magnon than to present-day Africans of any type. Eurocentrics even see that as an opportunity to claim that caucasoids evolved somewhere else and migrated way down to SA Africa even in the most remote past. To me it seems more reasonable to assume that the "caucasoid"/proto type is actually originally African.

That does not mean that they were super-pale nordics with blonde hair and blue eyes of course. Whatever was the pigmentation of the ancestral species, that was probably their pigmentation. If they were already pretty much naked and having to spend much time under the sun, then they were likely relatively dark, like the various peoples of equatorial regions and their several shades.



(I'm sorry if it's a triple post, it was unclear if it really did work on submission, this will be my last attempt)

Mystery Solver said...

does-not-really-matte wrote:

Not necessarely. OOA2 does not imply that the early Homo sapiens were already "negroid" at all, this can even be a rather racist assumption of black people/negroids as "less evolved"/primitive.

The racialist archetypes (e.g. “negroid”, “caucasoid”, etc) are put into quotation marks because these terms not meant to convey the author’s (aka my) application of the word. I do not personally subscribe to these typological constructs. Anybody who is familiar with this site, or my postings elsewhere, should already know this. That said: If by “negroid”, ideologues mean “black people”, then a lot of early anatomically modern Europeans, like the so-called “Cro-Magnon”, would have fallen into that category. “White” skin by estimation of DNA assessment, was determined to have come about some time in the early mid-Holocene period or so, i.e. 6 (minus) ky ago.

It's perhaps simply wrong at even a preliminary inspection. Today's black Africans tend to have considerably smooth/round skulls, whereas early moderns were more like caucasoids and australoids. The glabella is also not very marked. The only thing that may be more similar is alveolar prognathism, even though I'm not sure if it's really "the same" or an homoplasy.

You’ll need to substantiate your talk of “early moderns” being more like “caucasoids and australoids”, with specifics. It also seems as though you don’t distinguish between “caucasoids” and “australoids”? This is why I don’t subscribe to these racialist labels, because their adherents are rarely specific in their description or the validity of their assumptions. Whose glabella is supposedly “not very marked”?

I find it interesting that you accused somebody else of “racist assumption”, yet you take it for granted that “alveolar prognathism” is a feature peculiar to “black Africans”.

Mystery Solver said...

does-not-really-matte wrote:

It could simply be that the "negroid" type is more modern than caucasoid, which is actually more basal, to the dismay of some white supremacists who like to link basal/primitive with African and inferiority.


Again these terms are very problematic, because 1) they are not objective/scientific, and 2) are rarely specific. Earliest modern humans in Africa, where they originated, cannot possibly have been “caucasoid”. The Caucasus is not where they would have derived their features. Utter silliness to call the earliest modern humans “caucasoid”, when they had nothing to do with the Caucasus mountains.

"Caucasoid"/"proto-caucasoid" as an earlier form seems to fit some recent studies, like one that concluded that the Hoffmeyer skull was more similar to Cro-magnon than to present-day Africans of any type. Eurocentrics even see that as an opportunity to claim that caucasoids evolved somewhere else and migrated way down to SA Africa even in the most remote past. To me it seems more reasonable to assume that the "caucasoid"/proto type is actually originally African.

Early modern humans tend to cluster with one another in certain respects than they do with any recent humankind, that is because of the smaller time separation between them. For instance, earliest modern humans tend to feature more “robust” cranio-facial profiles than most recent humans do. This is not to say that there were no variations between early modern humans, but that in certain measurements, they cluster with one another first, before they do with recent humans; so it really depends on the determinant(s) being used to compare the skulls.

Mystery Solver said...

...

does-not-really-matte wrote:

That does not mean that they were super-pale nordics with blonde hair and blue eyes of course. Whatever was the pigmentation of the ancestral species, that was probably their pigmentation. If they were already pretty much naked and having to spend much time under the sun, then they were likely relatively dark, like the various peoples of equatorial regions and their several shades.

The earliest modern humans would have been dark-skinned people as found in many parts of Africa today. The reason is simple: modern humans emerged in the vast tropical region of the continent. Skin pigmentation would have already been established in our immediate ancestral hominid, which too, by all indications (from paleontological record), emerged in the tropics of Africa, before spreading.