Monday, June 15, 2009

The Creation of a Fake Controversy: The Fula Origins

From time to time, one comes across mystification of certain western African ethnic groups by certain reactionary cults and like ideologues, whether it is in terms of certain intra-regional phenotypic variation and/or origins. We've seen an example of this sort of mystification in an earlier posting right here, although in this case, the authors point to definite facets of evidence that yet again underlie fictitious underpinnings of such mystification:

Recalling...

The origins of the Fulbe are the subject of debate, but the group is thought to be from outside Cameroon; on the basis of ethnic traditions and linguistic similarities between Fulbe languages and Tukulor (Toucouleur), an origin in the Futa Toro region of the Senegal river basin has been proposed (Newman 1995). - See: More on R1*-M173 bearers

Two notorious ideological camps that are known for propping up such controversy are Eurocentric extremists [and their ideological sympathizers, be it so-called "moderates" or "liberals"], and radical self-proclaimed "Afrocentric" elements, generally made up of non-African citizens. These two camps will for instance, insist that the counterpart ideological camp doesn't influence its idealistic approach to matters such as the subject of this post, but in fact, an attentive examination of their respective propaganda shows otherwise. Radical Eurocentric elements for instance, generally point to the so-called "anomalous" facial features of the Fula (Fulbe/Fulani) and conclude that it can only be an expression of their "mixed" ancestry, i.e. between the "stereotypical Negro" archetype and the "caucasoid/Caucasion" archetype.

Interestingly enough, Cerny et al. (2006) in a passing note:

HVS-I analysis of four Fulani populations revealed the different proportions of the mtDNA gene pool. A major role is played by West African mtDNA haplogroups, such as L1b, L3d, L3b, L2b, L2c, and L2d, which together make up 79.6% of the whole. The far from negligible presence of some haplogroups from western Eurasia (8.1%), such as U5, U6, and J1, is not particularly surprising in a sub-Saharan context because these haplogroups currently appear in North Africa. This may suggest an ancient origin of the nomads in the more northerly mountain massifs of the Central Sahara (Dupuy 1999). According to our own anthropological examination (data not shown), the non-sub-Saharan haplogroups are not carried by "West Eurasian-like" individuals, as might be anticipated, but were rather detected in common "Fulani type" peoples.

- Cerny et al. (2006), mtDNA of Fulani Nomads and Their Genetic Relationships to Neighboring Sedentary Populations

No doubt, the excerpt highlights the totally fallacious and highly idealistic nature of the faulty logic pushed forward by extremist ideologue cliques, in trying to attribute intra-regional west African diversity to gene flow from outside that region.

The "true" western African is not supposed to sport variation, according to radical Eurocentric extremist thinking. On the other hand, radical self-proclaimed "Afrocentric" elements feed off on this Eurocentric viewpoint of the "special" or supposed "outlier" orientation of the Fula, which no doubt also influences their all-too-readiness to preemptively claim primary descendancy from the Fula; you see, sections of the Black American community have long been told, or else given the impression, that they are of the "true Negro" archetype and naturally, that they descend from the so-called "true Negro" western African "types". At the same time, word is that the "caucasoid" archetype entails "fine features". What then does this mean? If the "caucasoid" archetype embodies "fine features", then the so-called "true Negro" archetype must be its opposite counterpart, i.e. "undesirable features". This causes "reaction" in elements of Black American communities who are highly sensitive to such perceptions, which have implications about their own physical looks. Henceforth, such elements rush to claim primary descendancy from *mainly* such groups bestowed [by elements of Eurocentric or European academia] with the caricaturization of "fine features"; of course said ideological elements, when pressed on it — as noted, will vehemently deny the influence of said Eurocentric concepts on their own reactions. Likewise, Black American communities have long been told that they are not related to ancient Egyptians. This adds another element to the reaction just now mentioned, because not only are elements of the Black American community ever eager to be primarily associated with those groups "blessed" with said "fine features", but also passionate about showing their Eurocentric ideological counterparts that they also have direct ties to the ancient Egyptians. This is where the ideological "opposites" converge: Eurocentric elements look for "non-western African" origins to explain away the supposed "anomalous" facial features of certain western Africans, and the common choices of the area of such origins are either in the Nile Valley or "western Eurasia"; similarly, elements of Black American communities and like-minded "Afrocentrists" link origins of certain"honorary" western Africans [you know — said to have said "fine features"] with the Nile Valley, albeit for a different reason: to lay claim to said group as their primary "representative" ancestral group, and one which links them directly to the Nile Valley, hence in direct rebuttal to the Eurocentric notion of Black Americans being "true Negroes" and descendants of "true Negroes" almost exclusively from "western Africa". Please note the emphasized words (italicized), because they are central to what drives these ideological cliques. In relation to the point just noted, it's worth recalling this from the extract posted above:

According to our own anthropological examination (data not shown), the non-sub-Saharan haplogroups are not carried by "West Eurasian-like" individuals, as might be anticipated, but were rather detected in common "Fulani type" peoples. - Cerny et al. (2006), mtDNA of Fulani Nomads and Their Genetic Relationships to Neighboring Sedentary Populations

An example of one line of argument the latter ideological camp put forward, is:

According to Diop and a few Wolof people I know, they came to West Africa from the "East", even though they may have originated somewhere in the North/West present Sahara region long ago. Even many of their customs and culture is similar to that of Northern Sudanese. I've seen many times from Sudanese/horn Africans how they feel Hausa/Fulbe/Songhai music is so similar to their own, but with a different language.

Naturally, the line above is suffering from internal contradiction, featuring an ad hoc hypothesis stemming from an underlying intention to make the claim less arguable or vulnerable to refutation, but the implications are clear. It is worth noting that the specifics of said customs and culture remain elusive, notwithstanding being put forth as a central rationale, while the language affiliation of the Fula is seen as a non-issue. The language aspect of the Fula, is however, quite a central issue in any argument about their origins; it's what makes them, well, "Fula"
the name of their language phylum. Linguistic examination of this language places it in the "Atlantic" cluster or branch of the Niger-Congo super-phylum. This means that Fula clusters with "sibling" languages that belong in the said "Atlantic" cluster before it clusters with any group outside of this cluster, including other Niger-Congo sub-phylums. On a more macro level, the Atlantic branch being a sub-phylum of the Niger-Congo super-phylum means that Fula more closely shares "genetic" relationship with other Niger-Congo languages before it does any language group outside of the Niger-Congo phylum. The Niger-Congo branch is unquestionably most diverse in western Africa than it is in either central, eastern Africa or southern Africa. This means that Fula, as a Niger-Congo sub-phylum, more than likely evolved in the area where the Niger-Congo phylum underwent the most diversification from a common "proto-Niger-Congo" ancestor. The Niger-Congo phylum is essentially absent in northeastern Africa, and so, an isolated case like the Fula presence in Sudan presents itself as an "outlier" in a case study of language distribution for that general region. This means, in order for one to diminish the importance of Fula being a Niger-Congo language and the associated implication of its western African origins, one must argue that it doesn't belong in the Niger-Congo super-phylum, and that the "Atlantic" cluster as whole doesn't belong in this super-phylum, not to mention whether that cluster is even deemed to exist at all. To this end, recall that Mulcare et al. (2004) make note of research, that could not ignore the very close relationship between the various Fula dialects and that of Tukulor. It would be quite a neat trick to demonstrate that such relationship doesn't exist.

The following perhaps provides a good indication of the shaky premise of an effort to demonstrate very close, if not "sibling", familial relationship between Fula and Ancient Egyptian, merely through a highly idealistic selection and cherry-picking of terms that supposedly give the "appearance" of phonological similarities, as opposed to an in depth objective and materialistic examination of the language structures or broad lexical index of the languages under study:

...here's some linguistic data comparing Fulani /Mdu Ntr...

I - mi / ni
you - on / un
we - en / un
they - be / bu (people)
to be bad - bonude / boone
bad - boni / bon
death; to die - maayde;maayude / maati, moute, moout, mouti
last year - rawanen / snouf; ronpe
eye - yitere / eirti
blessing - barka / baraka
cow - nagge / naga
father - baaba / baba
...
the evidence is inexhaustible..

Here, all one needs to point out about the faulty logic behind the comparison, is to simply reference the variety and highly contrasting elements present in a single lexicon's set. For instance,...

Let's take say, "you" in Ancient Egyptian [language].

A number of words can mean "you" in Ancient Egyptian: e.g. tw (masculine, dep.), ntk (masculine, indep.), tn (feminine or plural, dep.), ntt (feminine, indep.) or nttn (plural, indep.); not to leave out affixed counterparts like
'-k' (masculine), '-t' (feminine), or '-tn' (plural).

The Ancient Egyptian word forms for "you" as just shown, are fairly well-known legitimate equivalents for the English "you", but are yet, markedly different from the "word" selected in that "Fulani-Ancient Egyptian" lexical comparison list. The word forms are also clearly structured in a definite grammatical format. This presents a linguistic situation that is more complex than that presented in the so-called "Fulani/Mdu ntr" list cited above.

As another example, let's take "I".

Here too, a number of derivatives come to attention:

'Wi/wy' (masculine, dep.), 'ink' (masculine, indep.), and affixed
'-i'.

Similarly, a Mdu Ntr term for "cow", as an obvious alternative to "naga" used the cited list above, is "[j]H.t", which itself is the de-neutered feminine version of
"[j]H", which is the equivalent of "ox".

Similar treatment can be applied to several of the other terms listed.

These examples serve to show that as a good rule of thumb, in any lexical comparisons between two distinct languages, designated words must be examined as to whether they are merely a derived form of a more basal term that is not subject to grammatical modification, whether there is more than one word for an idea or object and whether any such set of words were invented several times independently with respect to one another or whether they actually converge to a singular common ancestor, and in relation to this last point, in the event that one is dealing with word forms that were independently invented, raise the question as to which word form from a set with a variety represents the most basic manifestation as the denotation for an idea or name of an object.

Now of course, in lieu of the noticeably scarce evidence of linguistic basis for an eastern African origin for this group, i.e. the Fula (Fulani), ideologues of this idealistic hypothesis turn to certain cultural items that suggest "cultural affinity"; these are items like pectorals, artistic renditions that bespeak certain cultural respect for cattle or cow, gourd ornamentations, headrest designs, scepters and so forth, as discussed here: Examples of Cultural Similarities between those in the Nile Valley and those in other areas of Africa

These however, need not necessarily be suggestive of mass demic diffusion from the Nile Valley; rather, as hinted in that link, these may very well simply be relics of distant common cultural origins. One notable point of origin for such cultural convergence, is the Sahara; the once fertile Sahara has certainly proven to be one of the main areas of vibrant interaction between diverse autochthonous African populations in prehistory, that could have easily facilitated further cultural similarities between groups spread along its length. Cultural parallelism between western and eastern African, and possibly including southern African groups, can certainly be observable in just about any western African group used as a test subject, and hence, not something that the Fulani could be specialized or isolated for. If one were to read too much into this as the aforementioned ideologues do, then essentially entire western Africa would be envisioned as originating en mass from the Nile Valley
a highly questionable, if not unlikely, prospect.

The molecular genetic evidence side of things, closely follows that of language, as described above. All Fula samples undertaken are united by markers typical of "western African" ancestry. This means they are characterized by markers that diversified in western Africa.

mtDNA...

Despite the large size of the contemporary nomadic Fulani population (roughly 13 million people), the genetic diversity and degree of differentiation of Fulanis compared to other sub-Saharan populations remain unknown. We sampled four Fulani nomad populations (n = 186) in three countries of sub-Saharan Africa (Chad, Cameroon, and Burkina Faso) and analyzed sequences of the first hypervariable segment of the mitochondrial DNA. Most of the haplotypes belong to haplogroups of West African origin, such as L1b, L3b, L3d, L2b, L2c, and L2d (79.6% in total), which are all well represented in each of the four geographically separated samples. The haplogroups of Western Eurasian origin, such as J1b, U5, H, and V, were also detected but in rather low frequencies (8.1% in total).
- Cerny et al. (2006), mtDNA of Fulani Nomads and Their Genetic Relationships to Neighboring Sedentary Populations

Given what was readily available online on the study, including the mention of the 79.6% markers of West African origin, and the other 8.1% suggestive of coastal northwest African ancestry, it would appear that the remaining 12.3% of the sample were either "Pan-African" or "non-West African-specific" African markers. Not certain about this, because the actual tables of specific clusters of major markers were inaccessible at the time of examination, but if U6 was invoked in the markers of "Western Eurasian" origin, as the authors seem to have done elsewhere in their report, then that 8.1% contribution would actually be trimmed down further, considering that U6 is actually an autochthonous African marker, as discussed here: U6: A standalone clade?


As in African hunter-gatherers (Pygmies and Khoisan) and some populations from central Tunisia (Kesra and Zriba), three of the Fulani nomad samples do not reveal significant negative values of Fu's selective neutrality test. The multidimensional scaling of F^sub ST^ genetic distances of related sub-Saharan populations and the analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA) show clear and close relationships between all pairs of the four Fulani nomad samples, irrespective of their geographic origin. The only group of nomadic Fulani that manifests some similarities with geographically related agricultural populations (from Guinea-Bissau and Nigeria) comes from Tcheboua in northern Cameroon. -
Cerny et al. (2006), mtDNA of Fulani Nomads and Their Genetic Relationships to Neighboring Sedentary Populations

The message related here, goes back to the aforementioned "unifying" feature of Fula gene pools, primarily by definite markers of western African origin. Some may take it for granted that when the authors above state that "79.6%" of their Fula samples, taken together, constitute western African-specific markers, that this should simply be understood as, well, the obvious primary parental role of western African common recent ancestors to the contemporary Fula, while all else should be seen as "[foreign] admixture" to the autochthonous gene pool of the contemporary Fula, which as just mentioned, is west African in origin. However, as obvious as this is, there are individuals who are simply incapable of picking up on this straightforward logic, and instead, go onto profess ancestry elsewhere based on flimsy "admixture" elements
(supposedly "exotic" ancestry, vis-a-vis western Africa) invoked in the sample gene pool. Hence, one comes across ideologuesdepending on what ideological isle they belongwork hard at building shaky mythic origin theories around the small elements of any "admixture" component of the overall gene pool; for instance, one ideological side will swear that any fairly small occurrence of so-called "Eurasian" markers in the Fula sample indicates their ultimate "non-African", or more specifically, "western Eurasian" origin, while the other side will swear that "relic" markers, usually deemed to be persistent elements of distant or ancient common eastern African origin, indicates an east African ethnogenesis of the Fulain other words, the Fula are "in reality" or originally an autochthonous eastern African ethnic group instead of a western African one; their ethnogenesis as Fula or Fulani supposedly took place entirely in eastern Africa, but their present predominantly west African distribution is merely a function of their traditionally nomadic lifestyle, having recently migrated from east to west. The former ideologues for example, explain the predominant western African gene pool of the Fula, in terms of the Hamitic or "Hamitic-like" hypothesis, wherein the Fula, as originally a small "western Eurasian" group, undertook considerable genetic exchange with local western Africans, the supposed subjects of their final "back-migratory" destination. As for the latter ideologues, simply substitute the "western Eurasian" bit, and you get a similar situation, so that one gets, the Fula as "originally east African" in ethnogensis, considerably "admixed" with local west Africans on their westward migratory route along the Sahara. As the mtDNA examination shows [e.g. like the study cited above] however, such logic is just hogwash. All the "characteristic" markers of the Fula are of western African origin. To provide a demonstration for the message of this last entire passage, let's consider the following extract on the "admixture" test part of the aforementioned study:

Admixture Analysis. The question of the maternal origin of the Fulani was investigated using Admix 2.0. This software was developed to estimate the contribution of parental populations to the population under study. Data were entered according to group C from the AMOVA (i.e., the Mandenka were not considered; see Table 3); the mutation rate was 0.00005 per year. Admixture coefficients ([m.sub.Y]) were calculated from allele frequencies without taking into account the molecular divergence between the alleles. Because the exact period of Fulani migration cannot be estimated from archeological studies, we selected 4,000 years rather intuitively as the time to the possible admixture event. Bootstrap estimates of the coefficients and their standard deviations were calculated using 1,000 replicates. The results are summarized in Table 4 and show that none of the selected groups made a dominant contribution to the mitochondrial pool of the sampled Fulani. The only weakly prominent parental populations are from the Nile valley.
- Cerny et al. (2006), mtDNA of Fulani Nomads and Their Genetic Relationships to Neighboring Sedentary Populations

The piece above has for example, been used to argue the idea that the authors are concluding a "Nile Valley" origin of the Fula. This piece, for instance:
question of the maternal origin of the Fulani was investigated, is emphasized to state that this segment of the mtDNA analysis was the only section of the examination that deals with the question of Fula origins; the fact that the just-mentioned "79.6 %" component bespeaks just that, i.e. the maternal origin of the Fula, is carelessly thrown out the window. Meanwhile, the following piece: to estimate the contribution of parental populations to the population under study, is used in tandem with the aforementioned one, to add an exclamation point to the skewed idea about the authors' supposed conclusion that places Nile Valley populations as "the" parental population of the Fula. Naturally, the advocates of this obviously skewed/distorted interpretation of the study in question did not avail themselves the opportunity to fully examine either the study in its entirety or the specific extract in question, and thereof, understand them. For instance, common sense intimates that "any" genetic contribution to Fula gene pool, as the case is for any biological group, whether it happens to be one of post-ethnogenesis of the Fula as the well-defined ethnic group they are, or prior, has to be "parental"; hence, even the so-called little elements of "western Eurasian origin" [i.e. markers], are "parental" contributions. After all, any and all genes can only be transmitted from a "parent(s)". This however, should not be interpreted as "THE" parental component, i.e. the "proto-Fulani". The extract above is certainly not saying or implying that Nile Valley populations are "THE" parental populations of the Fula, but that is nonetheless how the extract is used in the wrong hands. In fact, the piece says, "The results are summarized in Table 4 and show that none of the selected groups made a dominant contribution to the mitochondrial pool of the sampled Fulani. The only weakly prominent parental populations are from the Nile valley, saying the populations that figure relatively 'prominently' in a parental role, do so "weakly".

When pressed to explain how populations that are supposed to be "THE" parental "proto-Fulani" population of the Fula only "weakly"—rather than strongly—figure in said potential "parental" role, the rationale put forward as an answer, is that the said ancestry is so "ancient", that the "parental" link became "weak" with time. Meanwhile, it is worth noting that while the extract claims that none of the selected groups made a dominant contribution to the mitochondrial pool of the sampled Fulani, it is NOT saying that said "selected groups" did not make any contribution at all. This is where the term "weakly" comes into the picture, because what it is implying, is that even though the said "selected groups" may well have contributed to the Fula gene pool, relatively speaking, it just didn't appear to be at the magnitude as that suggested by the "allele" sharing observed between the said Nile Valley samples and the Fula samples. By the same token, neither did the Nile Valley samples show any significant degree of "parental" role, but one of fairly "weak" invocation at that. As one reads further on in the study at hand, one learns just how tenuous this link is, as evidenced by the genetic distance or F^ST analysis. Contrary to the aforementioned rationale put forward, 'time frame' is not being offered by the extract as the primary responsible factor for this observation. In fact, the extract notes, recap: Admixture coefficients ([m.sub.Y]) were calculated from allele frequencies without taking into account the molecular divergence between the alleles. What does this mean? Well, if time frame were offered as a rationale for the said "weak" invocation of parental role of the Nile Valley groups, then one would have to attribute such to "molecular" divergences accumulated over time, which as noted, was not considered in the "admixture" test, which in turn actually only detected select "allele" sharing between test samples. Furthermore, because the "molecular divergence" was not considered, the test was not able to detect or account for the more immediate familial ties between distinctive alleles under test, which would have otherwise shown closer relationship between the Fula and other western African sample groups, with whom they share predominantly typical west African ancestry, before they did with groups outside western Africa. For example, if two different alleles linked to the same common recent ancestor were only a single nucleotide away from one another, the "admixture" test here would not have detected it; the "admixture" test only takes into account the "shared" alleles and their incidence (frequency) in respective samples. Hence forth, even though the Fula maternal gene pool was predominantly or primarily western African, as meted out by the results of the study itself, the direct "parental" role of other western African groups to the Fula could not be discerned from the "admixture" test, because the typical west African markers that characterized the Fula samples belonged to clusters that were "internally" [from a within-cluster molecular level] distinct from those of many of the aforementioned western African groups, again even though they shared the same "west African" common recent ancestry (like in the 79.6% component mentioned).

This brings us to the F^ST distance test mentioned in the last passage:

In the introduction we mentioned several hypotheses for the origin of the (nomadic) Fulani. One well-known hypothesis is that the Fulani come from the Nile valley (e.g., Tauxier 1937). Analysis of F^sub ST^ distances, however, shows no close relationship between the sampled Fulani and the analyzed Nilotic populations. Admixture analysis, however, does not exclude the possible parental role of the Nilotic populations because the admixture coefficient for these populations is high. It is necessary to state that the conclusiveness of this finding is rather low. Further geographic sampling, particularly from Niger and other parts of the Sudanic belt of Africa, is needed to acquire a deeper insight into the genetic structure of the nomadic people of the African Sahel. - Cerny et al. (2006), mtDNA of Fulani Nomads and Their Genetic Relationships to Neighboring Sedentary Populations

The aforementioned notion, that the previous extract was supposedly the only section of the study that examined the "origin" of the Fula, is further falsified by this extract of the study. In fact, this is the passage that directly confronts the "Nile Valley origin" hypothesis; to repeat:
In the introduction we mentioned several hypotheses for the origin of the (nomadic) Fulani. One well-known hypothesis is that the Fulani come from the Nile valley (e.g., Tauxier 1937), concluding that the F^ST distancesthe focus of the present passage of this blog topic does not support such a hypothesis: Analysis of F^sub ST^ distances, however, shows no close relationship between the sampled Fulani and the analyzed Nilotic populations.

The study follows this line with reminding the reader that the "admixture" test section of their study, however, "
does not exclude the possible parental role of the Nilotic populations because the admixture coefficient for these populations is high", which recalling from above, did not rule out a very tenuous possibility of a "parental" role by certain Nile Valley groups, which were subjects of the study. This seeming contradiction between the F^ST distance and the "admixture" test is worth examining. The F^ST distance measures the genetic distances in pair-wise comparisons between the populations under study, taking into account both the variation between two populations and variation within respective test sample populations; this means the more two test populations are similar in their gene pool, the smaller the F^ST distance is likely to be. In this case, there is no close genetic distance between the Fula and the Nile Valley group, and indeed, the predominantly west African origin of the Fula should serve as the immediate telltale sign of this; whereas, those of the Nile Valley groups are likely to be dominated by typical eastern African markers. The "admixture" test on the other hand, did not rule out but also could not definitely prove immediate parental role of the Nile Valley groups; such a tenuous link is likely to be observed in just about any western African group as was the case for the nomadic Fula samples, because "relic" east African ancestry is scattered along the length of western Africa, and indeed elsewhere on the continent. The conventional understanding is that the major clades of the African L0, L1, L2, and L3 *ultimately* originated in eastern Africa, but that these clades dispersed to other areas of the continent, where they would eventually expand and undergo localized internal diversification, ushering in region-specific sub-branches. Hence, it is expected to see relics of distantthe keywords hereeastern African ancestry in the Fula, but then, this could just as apply to just about any other west African ethnic group. Deducing an east African "proto-Fula" from such retained "low-incidence" distant ancestry is therefore irrational, nor does it really specifically tie them to just the Nile Valley, but eastern Africa in general. See, from the study in question for example:

From the phylogenetic point of view the mtDNA sequences from sub-Saharan Africa have been classified into L-type haplogroups (Chen et al. 1995, 2000; Watson et al. 1996, 1997; Rando et al. 1998; Bandelt et al. 2001; Pereira et al. 2001; Torroni et al. 2001; Brehm et al. 2002). About 30 sub-Saharan L-type haplogroups have been identified, and their ethnic or geographic origins and coalescence times have recently been summarized (Salas et al. 2002, 2004; Kivisild et al. 2004; Rosa et al. 2004). It seems that the main diversifications originated in East Africa but that the West African regions also contributed to the recent, wide mtDNA diversity
- Cerny et al. (2006), mtDNA of Fulani Nomads and Their Genetic Relationships to Neighboring Sedentary Populations

This
piece is simply repeating the oft said line about L-type mtDNA haplogroups likely having originated in eastern Africa, which is supposed to apply for *all* western Africans and indeed the rest of humanity, but that the ensuing "diversification" of haplotypes, like the ones the Fula are primarily known for, are of western African origin. Additionally, this west African diversification forms part of the "wide mtDNA diversity" involving L-type haplogroups. As funny as it may seem, this extract itself has erroneously been interpreted by certain individuals to mean that Fula lineages, specifically, are of "mainly east African origin" and that west African regions only recently contributed to this gene pool. The fact that the 79.6% figure of west-African specific [i.e. "sub-Saharan"] component had already been cited by the study, apparently failed to serve as a dead give-away to these individuals. Speaking of which, the study lays out the major components as follows:
  • The most numerous haplogroups are L3b (determined by the motif 16124, 16223, 16278, and 16362) and L3d (determined by the motif 16124 and 16223); these two haplogroups could not be distinguished from each other when only the HVS-I sequence was available. However, because both share the same geographic origin in West Africa, the HVS-II motif and RFLP polymorphisms were not further studied for a more specific molecular determination. Together, the L3b and L3d haplogroups contain 62 sequences with 12 haplotypes.
  • The second well-diversified haplogroup found in the Fulani nomads sample is L1b (50 sequences, 10 haplotypes), with the determining HVS-I motif 16126, 16187, 16189, 16223, 16264, 16270, 16278, and 16311, the origin of which also lies in West Africa (Salas et al. 2002, 2004).
  • All the other haplogroups identified are represented by conspicuously lower numbers; the most numerous among them, comparatively speaking, are L2b and L2c, which are also of West African origin.
- Cerny et al. (2006), mtDNA of Fulani Nomads and Their Genetic Relationships to Neighboring Sedentary Populations

One would think that with such a straightforward layout of the major components of Fula maternal gene pool, that there would be very little room for misinterpretation; alas, that hasn't stopped certain folks from confusing themselves over this simple information. It says right there, in plain English, that each of the said major components are of western African origin.

To give a brief synopsis of the message of the study at hand, it should be reiterated right off the bat, that the study has reconfirmed what other studies have found, and addition to certain "sedentary vs. nomadic" gene pool differentiations between Fula communities:

  • The Fula maternal gene pool is primarily or predominantly western African in origin. It therefore logically follows, that the main diversification of the Fula maternal gene pool originated in western Africa.
  • Even though these are typical west African-specific markers, the internal variation of their "clusters" suggest that the nomadic sections of the Fula, in contrast to sedentary Fula, generally have not gained much contribution from surrounding sedentary west African groups. What does this then mean?
It means that the Fula must certainly have an autochthonous western African origin, since not onlyas noted aboveare their characteristic maternal markers predominantly or primarily west African-specific, but also the internal variations of the clusters of these markers show no indication of any dominant genetic contribution from the Fula's neighboring or surrounding sedentary western African groups, except for that isolated case of the Mandinka [a sedentary western African group] which shows close matches with the nomadic Fula samples, thereby urging the authors to leave the Mandinka out of other case studies, like the "admixture" test.

Recalling...

On the other hand, the sampled Fulani groups differ from all other neighboring settled populations, including the Fulbe (Fulani) reported by Watson et al. (1997); the only exception to this is the Fulani sample from Tcheboua (Cameroon), which is not differentiated from three populations of the Central Sahel (the Hausa, Fulbe, and Yoruba).
- Cerny et al. (2006), mtDNA of Fulani Nomads and Their Genetic Relationships to Neighboring Sedentary Populations

If the neighboring west African groups have not contributed much to the nomadic Fula gene pool, and yet, it is still predominantly west-African specific, this ought to tell any clear-headed person that the Fula must have an autochthonous west African origin, and underwent ethnogenesis which entailed a considerable degree of endogamous or within-ethnic group inbreeding, thereby contributing to accumulation of genetic variation that became largely internalized within that ethnic group. It is for this reason, the nomadic Fula show a good degree differentiation from other west African groups when subjected to the "admixture" test, even though like the latter, their gene pool is primarily west African-specific.

  • About 79.6%, not counting U6, are of west African specific markers; where does this leave the remainder, which is not in that 8.1% figure?
As noted earlier, those markers [some 12.3%] would have comprised "pan-African" markers, which west African groups generally or basically share with eastern African groups, or else markers acting as 'relics' of eastern African ancestry, which were historically picked up along the Saharan corridor. It should be reiterated that markers acting as relics of distant east African origin are scattered, if not fragmentary in some cases, along the length of western Africa, and throughout the rest of the continent.

As a little side note: The basic eastern African markers scattered across western Africa are likely to sport relatively lower internal variation than their western African-specific counterparts, simply because the latter seems to have undergone major expansions and accompanying internal variation that accumulated over time, thereby considerably altering the original basic structure of the markers that provided the basis for the initial expansion events. In a few words: west African-specific markers are those that underwent extensive localized diversification in western Africa, while those markers suggestive of most common recent ancestry in eastern Africa, in most cases, are acting as relics of the original markers that provided the basis for the ones that have come to characterize typical west African-specific ancestry. Using such relics of east African ancestry to conjure up some "recent east African origin" stories is irrational, because as just noted, such ancestry is scattered across western Africa and elsewhere on the continent, and could be observed in just about any west African ethnic group.

  • Throughout the passages above, quick references to differences between nomadic and sedentary Fula have been made, notwithstanding genetic unity between them, including the level of genetic contribution from non-Fula groups neighboring the Fula, wherein nomadic Fula seemed to have received much less gene flow from neighboring sedentary populations than the sedentary Fula; well, here's another example of differentiation between the nomadic groups and the sedentary ones:
Some differences of the maternal gene pool between the nomadic and sedentary Fulani populations are also apparent from research conducted in physiological characteristics, for example, lactase persistence; the incidence of this trait among sedentary Fulani is far lower than among their nomadic counterparts (Holden and Mace 2002). - Cerny et al. (2006), mtDNA of Fulani Nomads and Their Genetic Relationships to Neighboring Sedentary Populations
  • The authors of the study above make a quick but notable reference to Y-DNA marker examinations of the past:
Y-chromosome data of 22 African populations, including the Fulani from Burkina Faso and northern Cameroon, were analyzed by Cruciani et al. (2002). The main result of Cruciani's study is that different populations from northern Cameroon (Fali, Ouldeme, Daba, and some mixed samples) reveal traces of backmigration from Asia to Africa because of a high proportion of haplotype 117. However, the Fulani sample from northern Cameroon considered by Cruciani and colleagues shows a rather low frequency of this haplotype, and the Fulani, which have a high frequency of haplotype 43, are situated as outliers. Cruciani et al. (2002) also showed that the Fulani from Burkina Faso have reduced diversity, because only two Y-chromosome haplotypes were observed in their sample. - Cerny et al. (2006), mtDNA of Fulani Nomads and Their Genetic Relationships to Neighboring Sedentary Populations

It is worth noting that haplotype 117 is the same marker that was the subject of R1*-M173 chromosomes in northern Cameroon earlier on this site; see:
R1*-M173 in Africa [a topic that is regularly updated]. Haplotype 43 corresponds to E1-M33 chromosomes, a marker that seems to figure regularly in Fula samples. Indeed, Cruciani et al.'s (2002) northern Cameroonian Fula sample featured E1-M33 as the predominant marker, and while haplotype 117 (R1*-M173) occur in much lower frequencies than this marker, the latter were still detected in noticeable frequencies. It is important to note that R1*-M173 incidences was not limited to the Fula sample, but was featured in other northern Cameroonian groups, most of them non-Bantu speaking groups. Naturally, this means that the Fula picked R1*-M173 markers up along their west-to-central African migratory path or via the Chadic region; it wasn't an autochthonous Fula marker as the case seems to be in terms of E1-M33, E3a and possibly E2-M75. However, it appears that northern Cameroonian Fula groups did not stay put in the vicinity of central Africa and/or Chad, but that they headed further eastward, and wound up in Sudan. Indicators of this migratory trajectory is evidenced from the fact that the Sudanese Fula predominantly featured R1*-M173 [Hassan et al. 2008], the markers first implicated in Cruciani et al.'s (2002) Cameroonian Fula sample, and yet still retained their E1-M33 ancestry, which is considered to be a typical west African-specific paternal marker.
  • Despite this predominant R1* representation, there's something still unmistakable about the Sudanese Fula sample: they retain their western African ancestry, as indicated per E1-M33, which was absent in all autochthonous Sudanese groups, save for other western African groups now in Sudan like the Fula [see the authors' references to the Senegalese Wolof, and their Sudanese Hausa sample, for example].
The elevated frequency of R1*-M173 in the Sudanese Fula implies that they drew from just a section of a pre-existing west African [starting from Cameroon] Fula population that had considerable frequencies, though not predominant, of R1*. This would ensure that the original diversity pattern attained in the parental Fula group would have been lost in the divergent nomadic Fula group that headed eastward. Thus, if Hassan et al.'s (2008) Fula sample are any indication, then it is reasonable to assume that random genetic drift might well have elevated the R1* component of the male gene pool, while it worked the other way on the west African-specific markers like E1-M33, which the Sudanese group still retains. An indicator of this reduced genetic diversity can be seen from the fact that northern Cameroonian Fulbe/Fula featured Hg A3b2, Hg E1-M33, Hg K2 and Hg R1*-M173, while the Sudanese group only featured Hg E-M33, Hg R1*-M173, and Hg E3b1. As one can see, putting Hg E3b1 aside, the Sudanese Fula gene pool appears to carry diversity which is a subset of that of their northern Cameroonian brethren. It is easy to understand how Hg E3b1 figured in the Sudanese Fula, while Cruciani et al.'s (2002) Fula sample showed no signs of it; the Sudanese Fula naturally picked up meaningful Hg E3b1 ancestry from neighboring autochthonous Sudanese ethnic groups, likely fellow nomadic pastoralists characterized by these markers. Hg E3b1 after all, appears to be a prominent marker in autochthonous Sudanese gene pool. All that side, the Sudanese Fula bear R1*-M173 and E1-M33 markers just as their northern Cameroonian Brethren do. This is what one would expect, if they derived from a segment of northern Cameroonian Fula or like group in the vicinity of that area as a subset of that segment, thereby only featuring only a portion of the diversity of their parental population.

It's insightful to note that Cruciani et al.'s (2002) Burkina Faso Fula sample too featured noticeable frequencies of Hg E1-M33; this marker appears to be a regular occurrence in Fulbe samples, regardless of how divergent they may be with respect to one another; here though, it assumes the role of the next dominant marker, after Hg E3a, which appears to generally be predominantly represented in many western African Fula samples, further west of Cameroon. Rosa et al.'s (2007) Fulbe/Fula sample too were predominantly featured by E3a markers (~75%), and yes, it too was noticeably featured by E1-M33 (~ 7%). As Rosa et al.'s (2007) sample reaffirms, E3b markers are scattered across the western Sahel and "Sub-Saharan" areas in low incidences, and it appears to be performing just that function in the Guinean [Bissau] sample, wherein *all* the groups represented were tested postive for the marker, usually in low but noticeable incidences. In the case of the Guinea Bissau Fula, overall frequency of E3b-M35 comprised about 12% of the sample, the bulk of which was E3b1/E-M78 (~10%), with the remainder being the paraphyletic E3b*. Indeed, as Cerny et al. (2006) note, Cruciani et al.'s (2002) Burkina Faso Fulani sample was characterized by a relatively reduced paternal lineage diversity, with only Hgs E1-M33 and E3a being featured therein. By contrast, we see greater diverstiy in the Guinean Fula sample, featuring Hgs E1-M33, E2-M75 (~1.7%), E3a, E3b, A1 (~ 1.7%) and R1b (~1.7%). The nomadic tradition of the Fula apparently comes across in the Fula samples taken from different areas; recurring markers like the aforementioned E1 suggest continuity across the Fula spectrum, but whereas the northern Cameroonian Fula featured Hg A3b2, the Guinean sample featured the Hg A1 derivative, the most common A-M91 marker in western Africa. Hg A3b2 was featured in the Guinean sample, but in the Balanta sample. Likewise the Cameroonian Fula sample featured Hg K2 and the paraphyletic Hg R1*, which were not represented in the Guinean Fulani sample, but as just shown, a derivative of these markers, R1b, managed to get into the Fula gene pool, but in noticeably low frequency (~1.7%). The different patterns observed here, again appear to bespeak the traditionally nomadic pastoralist lifestyle of the Fula, wherein a portion of the gene pool in the areas they spend any meaningful time, they managed to pick up a piece of the gene pools therein. The other differences, as already noted in earlier passages, are likely a manifestation of whether a Fula group is sedentary or nomadic. This notwithstanding, it's worth reiterating that continuity is observed in the paternal gene pool. The telltale sign of this unifying feature unequivocally re-affirms their west African origin and ethnogenesis in this region as an ethnic group. Henceforth, it is no accident that dissidents of this fact, are unable to account for why, even the Sudanese Fula, the *only* attestable eastern African community of the Fula [pending demonstration of tangible material otherwise] , retain relics of their western African ancestry in the form of E1-M33 markers, while this marker appears to be absent in the traditional autochthonous ethnic groups of Sudan and northeastern Africa in general. They surely must have been in western Africa at some point in their bio-history, so as to have picked up ancestry typical of western African areas. Furthermore, the fact that the Sudanese Fula retain their "Atlantic" language subphylum of the Niger-Congo phylum is glossed over by these same ideological dissidents, even as they fail to account for the fact, and even as this cultural trait again bespeaks their ultimate western African origin. Little wonder a question such as this, "Can I get an *elaborate* grammatical and syntax correspondence between Fula and Ancient Egyptian?, is greeted with graveyard silence.

Even simple visual aids such as this, demonstrating the obvious "outlier" nature of Fula language presence in Sudan, the only eastern African territory in all of eastern Africa implicated in its distribution, proves to be quite challenging for the grasping capacity of ideologues mentioned time and again over the course of this topic:
insertmapu800.gif
The last several passages discussed above will, and should, help any perspective reader answer the following questions, as it pertains to Cerny et al.'s (2006) examined extract:

The question of the maternal origin of the Fulani was investigated using Admix 2.0. This software was developed to estimate the contribution of parental populations to the population under study. Data were entered according to group C from the AMOVA (i.e., the Mandenka were not considered; see Table 3); the mutation rate was 0.00005 per year. Admixture coefficients ([m.sub.Y]) were calculated from allele frequencies without taking into account the molecular divergence between the alleles. Because the exact period of Fulani migration cannot be estimated from archeological studies , we selected 4,000 years rather intuitively as the time to the possible admixture event. Bootstrap estimates of the coefficients and their standard deviations were calculated using 1,000 replicates. The results are summarized in Table 4 and show that none of the selected groups made a dominant contribution to the mitochondrial pool of the sampled Fulani. The only weakly prominent parental populations are from the Nile valley . - Cerny et al. (2006), mtDNA of Fulani Nomads and Their Genetic Relationships to Neighboring Sedentary Populations

Why despite the Fula lineages being overwhelmingly west African in origin, as the authors' results cite, do they say...

1)"none of the selected groups made a dominant contribution to the mitochondrial pool of the sampled Fulani"?

2)The only weakly prominent parental populations are from the Nile valley ?

3)Why..."the Mandenka were not considered"?

4)And what is the implication of this:

"Admixture coefficients ([m.sub.Y]) were calculated from allele frequencies without taking into account the molecular divergence between the alleles."

As typical as the Fula are, i.e. genetically and culturally, in their west African character, if some other western African group were the subject of discussion and had these very same traits, there would be no question about it, that NO controversy whatsoever would so much as be generated about them; to put it simply, the evidence is overwhelmingly one-sided: the west African origin!
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Miscellaneous notes:

This pertains to excerpts taken from: The Genetic Structure and History of Africans and African Americans

Sampling entailed...

We studied 121 African populations, four African American populations, and 60 non-African populations for patterns of variation at 1327 nuclear microsatellite and insertion/deletion markers. We identified 14 ancestral population clusters in Africa that correlate with self-described ethnicity and shared cultural and/or linguistic properties.

With noticeable mention of...Fulani (Nigeria and Cameroon), the Baggara Arabs (Cameroon), the Koma (Nigeria), and Beja (Sudan)

Moving onto excerpts of interest...

Mitochondrial DNA analysis indicates that Fulani have lineages of predominantly West African origin and that they cluster together and close to the Mandenka population from Senegal [S93].

By contrast, Y chromosome analyses of Fulani
sampled in the Sudan indicates shared ancestry with Nilo-Saharan and Afro- Asiatic speaking populations [S89].

The line about the mtDNA is essentially a reversion back to what has been cited in the main post above, as observed by Cerny et al. (2006). The line about the Y chromosome analysis however, is quite misleading; one only needs to refer to Hassan et al. (2008) [see: Y-Chromosome Variation Among Sudanese] to see how: The Sudanese Fula sample here, as noted in the main post above, predominantly featured Hg R1*-M173 markers in the uniparental paternal gene pool. This marker is in fact generally quite rare in "Afro-Asiatic" speaking populations; rather, its highest incidences has thus far been reported in Niger-Congo, Nilo-Saharan and "Afro-Asiatic" (Chadic) speaking groups in northern Cameroon, with smaller occurrences in the rest of central Africa [see Luis et al. 2004]. Nilo-Saharan groups in Sudan itself, it should be noted, did NOT share this ancestry with the Sudanese-based Fulbe at all. This reverts back to what had already put forward in the main post, about the implication being that these Sudanese Fula derived from a section of the northern Cameroonian Fula, wherein the Hg R1*-M173 is featured in a considerable but not the predominant frequency.

The only marker that the Sudanese Fula shared with Nilo-Saharan and Afrasan ("Afro-Asiatic") speaking Sudanese groups was Hg E3b1 (M78). Common sense however, intimates that this aspect of the paternal gene pool was largely picked up from neighboring populations, only after the Fula situated themselves in Sudan. It makes sense, since after all, E3b1 is one of the prominently featured markers found in the Sudanese sample.

To recap, there's something still unmistakable about the Sudanese Fula sample: they retain western African ancestry, as signified by Hg E1-M33, which was absent in all autochthonous Sudanese groups; the only other groups where this marker was implicated in Hassan et al.'s (2008) work, were, well, the well-established west African groups like the Hausa and Wolof. When pressed on to explain away this anomalous feature of the Sudanese Fula's paternal gene pool, dissidents of the west African origin noticeably become mute on the matter.

These results raise the possibility of differential patterns of male and female gene flow into this population.

Whatever may be "differential" about male and female gene flow patterns in Fula sample, no doubt influenced by matters like life style - recalling on nomadic vs sedentary, both the maternal and paternal gene pools communicate the same thing: west African origin!

Our analysis, using genome-wide nuclear markers and STRUCTURE, indicates that the Fulani have distinctive ancestry [fuchsia] at K = 14 in the global analysis [Figs. 3,4] and at K = 9 -14 in the Africa analysis [Fig. S13]. The Fulani cluster with the Chadic and Central Sudanic speaking populations at K <13> They also cluster near the Chadic and Central Sudanic speaking populations in the NJ tree based on population genetic distances [Fig. 1].

Fula samples taken from either central Africa or Sudan are expected to cluster with groups in central Africa-Chad, as the Fula would have arrived in Sudan via a central African and/or Chadic corridor, having experienced a bottleneck [see main blog post]. The central African Fula in turn would have arrived ultimately from Atlantic-coastal regions of western Africa, where their ethnogenesis as the Fula-"proper" likely occurred.

The pattern of the Sudanese Fula's Y-DNA composition is for instance, undoubtedly different from their western African brethren, but continuity still exists via recurring typical western African markers that unite all Fula groups, regardless of where they spread to; e.g. primarily Hgs E1 and E3a, and a lesser extent, Hg E2. Either of these clades are telltale signs of so-and-so Fula groups' western African ancestry.


In the global STRUCTURE analysis, the Fulani show low to moderate levels of European/Middle Eastern ancestry [blue], consistent with mtDNA and Y chromosome [S89] analyses, as well as the presence at low frequency of the -13910 mutation associated with lactose tolerance in Europeans in this population [S94].

Again quite misleading. Yes, understandably, "low" levels of shared ancestry attributable to potential "European" ancestry, might be correlated with "low level" incidences (~1.7 %) of R1b [pertaining the Rosa et al.'s (2007) Guinean sample] or relics of this ancestry attained from coastal northwestern populations [Imazighen] seen on the mtDNA side [Cerny et al. 2006], as cited in the main post. However, in the case of Fula samples, from northern Cameroon through to Sudan, a good degree of presumed shared "European/Middle Eastern ancestry [blue]" may very well actually be linked to common "distant" ancestry, as the paraphyletic R*-M207 and R1*-M173 markers suggest; these latter two are essentially rare to absent in "Middle Eastern" and "European" populations, which are mainly characterized by more downstream markers, especially European populations, who have no upstream markers for R1. Now, because R1b and R1a markers are still 'molecularly' linked to the upstream R*, any group bearing the latter or else any intemediary nodes between the upstream R* and the downstream R1a and R1b will "appear" to share ancestry with Europeans and/or possibly "Middle Easterners", which could misleadingly be misread as ancestry from "European/Middle East". Given the features of northern Cameroonian and Sudanese Fula sample uniparental male gene pool, it is a safe bet that this is the underlying issue at work, especially when the red flag of "moderate" levels is evoked; the Fula uniparental gene pool specifics , whether maternal or paternal, simply do not bear out "moderate" ancestry from "Middle East" or "Europe".

Recalling a previous blog post here
, R1*-M173 in Africa, we have:

Interestingly, having re-visited Wood et al. (2005), it should be pointed out that paraphyletic clade of R*-M207 was detected amongst some "Afro-Asiatic" African groups, along with the paraphyletic clade R1*-M173 [it is worth noting that authors implicate the Egyptian sample here as something other than that of Semitic speakers (Arabic)], while some Niger-Congo groups though in small frequencies [pooled] — tested positive for the paraphyletic R1b*, lacking the established downstream R1b markers. Henceforth, R*-M207, lacking downstream mutations have been identified in African groups via this study; and yes, the basic nodes of all Hg R's downstream clades had been accounted for, which means that R*, as predicted above, is NOT relegated to the Indian sub-continent. All in all, this suggests that African Hg R pool is more diverse than many seem to think.

As for the matter concerning lactose tolerance, it has been pointed out here before, how this has nothing to do with European ancestry. Recap, see:
More on R1*-M173 bearers

In summation, the piece essentially rehashes the well-understood facts of primary west African ancestry of the Fula, both in terms of genealogy and language, along with genealogical "admixture" elements picked up over the course of migratory events, but suffers from matters, as laid out in detail in the main blog post, pertaining to idealistic urges for mystification where none is necessary or warranted.

*Watch for updates.

A spin-off post of this topic has recently been posted here: Reviewing: The Genetic Structure and History of Africans and African Americans
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Miscellaneous reading...

Perceptions of Sudanese Fulani inside Sudan itself may well be instructive, particularly to those who might harbor preconceived notions about local perceptions without having set foot in the region; to aid in this, here a few extracts taken from the net:

November 1, 2008 — Omer al-Bashir, the embattled president of Sudan, has been reported to have made a statement in a Sudanese newspaper al-Ayaam two months ago that the Hausa Fulani people are not Sudanese and that they should not vote in the 2009 general elections stipulated by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA)! This sparked off a vigorous protest in the Hausa Fulani communities all over the Sudan especially in the city of al-Gadhariff in Eastern Sudan. During the protest, in which people from the Hausa neighborhood organized a peaceful march led by a group of tribal leaders and officials in a popular demonstration to hand a memorandum of protest to the Head Quarter of the Gadhariff state to express their disapproval of President al-Bashir’s reported offensive statement that the Sudanese tribes of Hausa, Fulani, Bornu and Tama groups as non-Sudanese and they not have the right to participate in the upcoming elections in Sudan. Government of Sudan forces backed by heavy weapons attacked the unarmed civilians and chased them into their neighborhoods using tear gas and live ammunition, which resulted in the martyrdom of four people who were killed in cold blood and hundreds were wounded and among the seriously injured were children and women and local hospital had difficulty coping with the casualties. Accordingly, the NCP regime added insult to injury. The irresponsible, imprudent and a racist statement by the president al-Bashir and the killing of peacefully demonstrating civilians are deplorable.

We all know that the Hausa Fulani people are hard working, devout Muslims of high moral code and patriotic Sudanese citizens who are widely distributed all over the country for centuries. They have contributed immensely to the development projects. It is unfair and an unjust accusation on the part of a president of a nation to label his fellow compatriots as aliens. Though it is appalling, but not surprising as al-Bashir is not a stranger to controversy with respect to random and misjudged statements of his personal views. He is renowned for the vulgarity of the language he tends to use without giving any attention to the consequences it may lead to. Al-Bashir’s blunders have tarnished the Sudanese reputation and the once good name of Sudan. Similar reckless distasteful obnoxious assertions were made by Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein, Sudan’s Minister of Defence, who was reported to have stated in a press conference at the Sudanese Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Thursday March the 13th 2008 at 11:45pm in an answer to the question whether it was true that the Government of Sudan (GOS) was planning to settle Five Million Egyptians mainly from Upper Egypt, the Nile valley south of Cairo, in the Northern Region ”Shamaliya” by saying: " If we assume the argument that the government seeks to resettle 5 million Egyptians in northern region why not? What is good of 8 million people in Darfur, all of whom are Africans came from abroad. Isn’t it better for you those who come from Egypt or those Africans who have come from West Africa?! "... - By Mahmoud A. Suleiman, The Hausa - Fulani are Genuine Sudanese, Mr. President!

Read further here

The following are from photo-journalist Vit Hassan in Sudan, who has also contributed to National Geographic...

Image 1
Woman from a Umm Bororo tribe wearing traditional clothing..
Umm Bororo are nomads with cattles by origin from Nigeria...

Taken in Eastern Sudan,close to Ethiopia.

Image 2
Dance of girls from a Umm Bororo tribe.(No cropping)

-This is for Globaltrotter-

Taken in Eastern Sudan,close to Ethiopia.

Image 3

Image 4
Woman from a Falata Uda tribe.
Falata are divided to 13 main branches:Uda,Voila,Djafun,Dooga,Nara,
Malle,Dindima,Adamawa,Danedji,Gamba,Sisilbi,Fuuta,Boodi..

They are nomads with cattles.
She wearing traditional colorful clothes of a Falata Uda tribe...
By way-"boodum" means in their language-'beautiful'...

Image 5
Another boy with a traditional hair style of a Umm Bororo tribe...

Image 6
2 girls from a Umm Bororo tribe coming back to home from market.
They keeping dishes with kind of white joghurt...

Taken in Eastern Sudan,close to Ethiopia.

[Note that the Sudanese Fula retain usage of large gourd pots or bowls, very common in western Africa, especially in areas near the Atlantic Ocean]

Image 7
Girl from a Falata Gamba tribe.
She has small tribal marks ("shluh" )in the shape of sun.This means-she is from Falata Gamba tribe..

Taken in Eastern Sudan,close to Ethiopia.

Image 8
Woman from a Falata Uda tribe wearing traditional colorful clothing of her tribe...
They are divided to 13 main branches..
Women of Falata 'Uda' are by their features close to some tribes in Chad..

Taken in Eastern Sudan.

Image 9
Girl from a Umm Bororo tribe.
They are nomads with cattles,by origin from countries in Western Africa.

They are divided to many main branches and every branch have a different marks("Shluh")on their faces..She has also unique black tatoo on her lips...

Taken in Eastern Sudan,close to Ethiopia.

Image 10
Boy from a Umm Bororo tribe.
They are by [b]origin from countries in Western Africa[/b].
Unmarried boy has a sign of his possition long hairs...

Taken in Eastern Sudan,close to Ethiopia.

Image 11
Girl from a Umm Bororo tribe

Image 12
Man from a Falata tribe selling "Hidjab"

...otherwise known as "jujus" in some quarters; again, a common sight in western Africa, where one comes across fortune "prescribers" [for lack of a better term in English; it is supposedly passed off as their 'trade, expertise, specialty or turf'] of certain "Quranic" lines enclosed in leather 'casings' [via sewing through leather].

Source: Photos and accompanying notes [in blue] by Vit Hassan - taken from here: Link

More seen here, another site: Link 2


Elsewhere, we have the following pages taken from Sudanese anthropologist Rogaia Mustafa Abusharaf's work - Female Circumcision 2007:

 -

 -

Source: Female Circumcision 2007 (click on the images for higher resolution)

If these extracts are any indicators, the perception concerning the Fulani's ultimate arrival from western Africa appears to be a widespread one even in Sudan itself, by both right-wing elements and liberal ones.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm Afro-American and can vouch for a few of the things you mentioned.

Though this says nothing on the meat of this entry, I've never heard of any of my brethren promoting the Fulani as being ancestors of us let alone just because of the fact that all Peul don't converge on some "stereotypical-African type".

However I'm quite familiar with a few in our camp mimicking lame Eurocentrist tactics, which means they are probably just like their adversaries -- they take everything about these origins debates way to seriously save for what (with some probability) may really have happened. Though, those that i know who are submissive are so in a totally inverse way than is initially portrayed here; people who have pride (aka the majority) in their (in most cases) ambiguous African/black ancestry actually take pride in features we typically and exclusively have compared with whites but so much so we juxtapose these two and buy into our features as being the only indigenous "pure and authentic" African/black features, anyone not having tightly curled hair for example being mixed or even for the extremists, "mutts", despite the fact that we have a lot of physical variation ourselves, but this is the insanity of the racial construct.


I've also heard of the other thing you mention; some of us taking things a step further than just being respectful and interested in a culture and people that happened to be "black" and located on the African continent having set the tone for even Western world powers who happen to be top dog today ("black" and "african" both in the past maligned here in the U.S. as a tactic of psychological warfare all for the sake of economic exploitation). Some of us get curious as to how connected Africa might be and whether or not they can trace an ancestral inroads to Kemet or some sort of other connection (like Tassili n'Ajjer may potentially be).

Mystery Solver said...

Anonymous poster,

With regards to the issue about certain sections of the "diaspora" laying claims to Fulani ancestry, I base this on empirical observation of posts made on a discussion board, Egyptsearch in particular. At any rate, thanks for sharing your opinion; you are entitled to it.

So long.

The Big Valley said...

Great post as usual.
A related "anything but black" bandwagon is assorted Somalis, Ethiopians or Egyptians (some bogus personas) who go to great lengths to "dissociate" themselves from "African types" - thus falling into the trap laid for them by Eurocentrics. THey will pathetically keep trying to "dissociate" even when the scientific evidence to the contrary is staring them in the face.

Excellent analysis of the issues.

Maju said...

I of course think that the Fula are a genuine African people and a clear example of the exuberant African diversity.

Anyhow, I just wanted to mention Bryc 2009, which is actually a paper on the origin of Afro-Americans, but where the distinctiveness of Fulani appears as striking (but not Euroasiatic by any means).

I also must say that I'm saddened by the racist attitude of the Bashir theocracy and that Sudan would surely be much better off with an Africanist government that acknowledge the diversity and rich history of the country rather than this Arabist regime.

Mystery Solver said...

Maju writes:

Anyhow, I just wanted to mention Bryc 2009, which is actually a paper on the origin of Afro-Americans, but where the distinctiveness of Fulani appears as striking (but not Euroasiatic by any means). .

There is nothing in the Byrc 2009 publication that has not already been dealt with under Tishkoff et al.'s "The Genetic Structure and History of Africans and African Americans", 2009. The link to the blog post dealing with that is posted above.

The Fula are both nomadic and sedentary bunch, and so there is no simple or singular pattern in their atDNA gene pool other than the common denominator in that they derive from the same base populations as other western African groups.

joshua.gatera said...

If you don't mind me recommending a future topic?

There has been several recent studies on the Fulani, both peer-reviewed and amateur, which seem to imply that the Fulani, and in particular the Wodaabe, possess some significant autosomal NW African admixture via STRUCTURE runs. Given that you seem to be an expert on the topic, I think that it would be genuinely helpful if you made a followup post on the subject.

Mystery Solver said...

joshua.gatera

Thanks for commenting. Your recommendation sounds like a swell idea; I'll look into it.

In the meantime, I urge you to look up on the following entry, if you haven't already done so; it explores a segment of the autosomal genome, in the form of the Lactase-affiliated MCM6 gene, and is different from the specifics discussed under the present topic--see: Lactase persistence genotypes and malaria susceptibility in Fulani of Mali: Review!

Jamal said...

As an African American I will like to point out that the majority of African Americans don't know what a Somali or a Fulani is. At the same time, African Americans care little to nothing of African heritages and traditions. Those who do speak of such are generally from the Afrocentric camp and that group's influence on the community has long since died out in the Malcolm X and Kruma age.

Now those who do mention such in these times should be able to show some sort of genetic connection and even that's hard to do. Take for instance this Fulani post. Fulani people themselves will tell you there's no such thing as a "pure" Fulani. They believe themselves to be mixed...this points out that the claim of 76ish percent only applies to a certain population where only a certain amount of samples were taken. It cost too much money to sample 14 million people.

Jamal said...

African Americans generally speaking know absolutely nothing of a "Fulani" or a "Somali." Those words are as foreign to us as "Africa." Maybe those in the Midwest know what a Fulani or a Somali is.

On the other note there are those who've done DNA testing...africanancestry.com, etc.

Secondly, the idea of sampling 76.something ish percent of about 14 million people is quite absurd. Where did these geneticists get such a large amount of money to sample over 50% of an entire ethnic group that consist of Fulanized people (whom the poster didn't even account for) as well????

Thirdly no Fulani attest to being a "pure" Fulani. It's always Fulani and some other ethnic so I believe the poster misrepresented the populations sampled.

Sampling that many people will cost a lot of money!

Mystery Solver said...

Jamal,

You make an interesting observation; I have come across few African Americans who come from that perspective.

As for as the "pure" Fulani thing goes, I don't know what that is supposed to mean in any other case. I will say though, that the Fulani are a legitimate ethnic group in their own right, and have their heritage/ethnogenesis and history like any other ethnic group. Fulani have a degree of intra-ethnic conservatism among them, in terms of marital relationships are concerned, just like other groups.

DNA tests have brought to attention that nomadic western-African-based Fulani communities are generally more ethnically-conservative than their sedentary counterparts; how so? Well, even though these nomads share the same modal western-African uniparental (particularly mtDNA; see blog entry] clades as other non-Fulani speaking sedentary western African groups, the sub-clades found in nomadic Fulani only had few matches outside the Fulani samples!!!

The few exceptions were seen between relatively higher matches between the Gambian Mandinka samples and the nomadic Fulani samples; this has already been pointed out in relative detail in the blog entry in question.

Ps: Some people of European descent also like to claim special "bloodline" with Fulanis, primarily driven by the supposed tendencies in the "facial" structures of Fulani personalities--which goes to show just how much they actually know Fulani people... as outsiders, but utilize certain DNA studies to defend a preconceived dogma; I address that issue in another entry, among a number of other entries on the Fulani: See Lactase persistence genotypes and malaria susceptibility in Fulani of Mali: Review!, if you haven't already!

mr.pple nation said...

I am more offended in this observation than elated. I don't think you can exclude or include Fulani blood from black Americans. For one we are from west and central Africa , that covers a large territory, and I have noticed hoe Africans in general tell us we come from Africa , but if we claim a certain tribe they always jump to disprove us. Then they get mad about us not wanting to claim African ancestry, that's very contradictory to me. Like the author went out of his way to provea ppoint I don't think he still proved it is not in us. And all that stuff talking about we want to claim Fulani cause of their features further ostrocize a relationship on the subject. I think we need to analyze the data before we talk. Then to base your reference on a forum that is just out right dirty and is worst than anything the euro or afro centrist are doing.

Mystery Solver said...

To...

mr.pple nation,

Thank you for your feedback on the subject matter.

My aim is not to "offend", but to inform, or at the very least, raise a discussion. With that said, content of the blog entry makes no case for "exclusion" of "Fulani blood" from "Black Americans"...which I suspect is the "offending" item in the blog entry. Rather this is what was pointedly said:

...rush to claim primary descendancy from *mainly* such groups bestowed [by elements of Eurocentric or European academia] with the caricaturization of "fine features"

Note the emphasized word!...and before that too spurs a protest, remember that the blog entry also is talking about "elements" of "Black Americans"; hence, obviously not all.

Somebody telling another that "they come from Africa" is not saying much, other than simply what it says, i.e. that someone comes from Africa...a continent. It is not a rubber stamp for implying that one can pick any location on the continent or any group thereof, as their ancestral lineage.

Just a matter of personal observation: usually continental Africans will tell "outsiders" that they "are from Africa" when asked, rather than be specific about their geographic origin, because in many cases, particularly in the so-called "Western" nations, Africa is rarely portrayed as the *truly diverse* continent that it is! Africa is almost always dismissed as one country, that is either a desert waste land for the most part, or just covered with thick forests.

As for citing a "reference" that happens to be a "forum", is simply a matter of giving a specific example to a reader where the author has come into contact with the given situation at hand. Otherwise, things are merely reduced to the ambiguity of hearsay generalizations.

It's unfortunate that you feel offended. Subject matters, however painful, have to be raised in pursuit of truth, even if some sensibilities are struck in some quarters.