Carping Aryans

It’s been a while since I’ve had a “Carping Comments” posting. Partly, I think, as those folks most interested in complaining and tossing rocks learned it didn’t work, partly as there have been less “political” topics posted.

But sometimes, folks reach back into the “Way Back” machine and take issue with an old posting. Now, one I didn’t expect to raise ire, did.галичина-halychyna/

So, I’m not really sure what to make of this guys complaints. It has a couple of interesting bits, but clearly he’s not up to having an open microphone. So it will go here.

The name used is “Brahmin”, but the “tag line” after it is “celtsarethieves x aryanking@xxxx” where I’ve taken the site name out of the email address so as not to provide free advertizing…

OK, what’s his complaint? That the mummies in Asia have the wrong type of DNA to be Celts. While using the correct technical term “haplogroup”, he calls it “Aryan blood” and “celtic blood” (note the choice of capitalization) He posted his complaint twice, I guess not understanding what “awaiting moderation” meant…

The Tarim Mummies belonged entirely to the Y haplogroup R1a1a and not R1b. So to claim they were celts is deviating or twisting the Truth. R1a1a is the Aryan blood and R1b is the celtic blood.
R1a1a is common to south and central asia,balk an countries and some east european countires.
Why do celts want to claim something their history to glorify them?

The Tarim Mummies belonged entirely to the Y haplogroup R1a1a and not R1b. So to claim they were celts is deviating or twisting the Truth. R1a1a is the Aryan blood and R1b is the celtic blood.
R1a1a is common to south and central asia,balk an countries and some east european countires.
Why do celts want to steal aryan history?

Now on the face of it, these comments have all sorts of issues. First off, no Celt I’ve known wants to “steal aryan history” nor claim anyone else’s history to “glorify them”. (I’m pretty sure most folks don’t really know Aryan history nor much of Celtic history either; and I’m pretty sure attributing one to the other would not cause most folks to even notice, either way.)

More serious is the assertion that there is ONE haplogroup that is an entire ethnic type. Human genetics just doesn’t work that way. We are all “mutts” to some extent. Heck, we even have varying degrees of Neanderthal DNA in us. There are a few genetic markers for particular races, but even those are found in divergent groups. It’s a ‘weight of the numbers’ thing. Haplogroups are particularly prone to being hashed up as they come from the male linage, so if a place were 100% one type of male (say they had just killed off the other tribe) and they took concubines per “victor”, you end up with a resultant population that is 100% “victor” haplogroup and 50% “vanquished” other DNA in the F1 generation. After a few generations you can end up at an even larger percentage of DNA being “vanquished” if conditions are right.

Similarly, you can get a haplogroup that promotes more “male sperm” success than “female sperm” success. That haplogroup will be advantaged and spread to dominate the local population even if the rest of the genes are dominantly “original”. Each chromosome moves independently. Even on a single chromosome there are areas that can jump off and mix. “Jumping genes”. So the presence of a particular haplogroup NOW tells you little about the culture THEN.

Now, the valid part of the complaint was that there is a haplogroup disparity of a minor degree. So what?

Research into the subject has attracted controversy, due to ethnic tensions in modern day Xinjiang. There have been concerns whether DNA results could affect claims by Uyghur peoples of being indigenous to the region. In comparing the DNA of the mummies to that of modern day Uyghur peoples, Victor H. Mair’s team found some genetic similarities with the mummies, but no direct links, stating that “modern DNA and ancient DNA show that Uighurs, Kazaks, Kyrgyzs, the peoples of Central Asia are all mixed Caucasian and East Asian… the modern and ancient DNA tell the same story.” He concludes that the mummies are basically Caucasoid, likely speakers of an Indo-European language; that East Asian peoples “began showing up in the eastern portions of the Tarim Basin about 3,000 years ago… while the Uighur peoples arrived after the collapse of the Orkon Uighur Kingdom, largely based in modern day Mongolia, around the year 842.”

So the mummies are of significantly mixed DNA, like most everyone from the region. But they are Indo-European speakers with tartan clothing and in a region not far from where historical Celts are well documented. “How much Celt?” Who knows. Its just speculation, at best. The grave goods would be a reasonable clue, but even those things are traded and mixed. Could these be non-Celts? Certainly. Perhaps they got their horse tack and tartan from the Celts in Turkey or northern Italy. Trade happens. Or they may have been “1/4 Celt” with Celtic mothers from a raid a couple of generations back. Dad’s haplogroup and mom’s clothing. Again, it’s all going to speculation for a while.

The earliest Tarim mummies, found at Qäwrighul and dated to 1800 BCE, are of a Caucasoid physical type whose closest affiliation is to the Bronze Age populations of southern Siberia, Kazakhstan, Central Asia, and the Lower Volga.

The cemetery at Yanbulaq contained 29 mummies which date from 1100–500 BCE, 21 of which are Mongoloid—the earliest Mongoloid mummies found in the Tarim Basin—and 8 of which are of the same Caucasoid physical type found at Qäwrighul.

Notable mummies are the tall, red-haired “Chärchän man” or the “Ur-David” (1000 BCE); his son (1000 BCE), a small 1-year-old baby with brown hair protruding from under a red and blue felt cap, with two stones positioned over its eyes; the “Hami Mummy” (c. 1400–800 BCE), a “red-headed beauty” found in Qizilchoqa; and the “Witches of Subeshi” (4th or 3rd century BCE), who wore 2-foot-long (0.61 m) black felt conical hats with a flat brim.[6] Also found at Subeshi was a man with traces of a surgical operation on his neck; the incision is sewn up with sutures made of horsehair.[7]

Many of the mummies have been found in very good condition, owing to the dryness of the desert and the desiccation it produced in the corpses. The mummies share many typical Caucasoid body features (elongated bodies, angular faces, recessed eyes), and many of them have their hair physically intact, ranging in color from blond to red to deep brown, and generally long, curly and braided. It is not known whether their hair has been bleached by internment in salt. Their costumes, and especially textiles, may indicate a common origin with Indo-European neolithic clothing techniques or a common low-level textile technology. Chärchän man wore a red twill tunic and tartan leggings. Textile expert Elizabeth Wayland Barber, who examined the tartan-style cloth, discusses similarities between it and fragments recovered from salt mines associated with the Hallstatt culture.

So who is this “Hallstatt culture”? Folks from the middle of Europe. Germans, Celts, Slavs all occupy the areas now or in the not too distant past. Celts were making beer in what is now Germany and Czech Republic in a couple of thousand BC. Ethnic types were scattered in valleys and regions. Which of them were the Hallstatt Culture? We don’t know. But it has links with Celts.

From the Eupedia link below:

The new Bronze Age culture flourished around the Alps (Unetice to early Hallstatt) thanks to the abundance of metal in the region, and laid the foundation for the classical Celtic culture. The Celtic Iron Age (late Halstatt, from 800 BCE) may have been brought through preserved contacts with the the steppes and the North Caucasus, notably the Koban culture (1100-400 BCE).

The Alpine Celts of the Hallstatt culture are associated with the S28 (a.k.a. U152) mutation, although not exclusively. The Italic branch (also S28/U152) is thought to have entered Italy by 1200 BCE, but there were certainly several successive waves, as attested by the later arrival of the Cisalpine Celts. The Belgae were another S28/U152 branch, an extension of the La Tène culture northward, following the Rhine, Moselle and Meuse rivers.

One common linguistic trait between Italic and Gaulish/Brythonic Celtic languages linked to the Hallstatt expansion is that they shifted the oiginal IE *kw sound into *p. They are known to linguists as the P-Celtic branch.

The Hallstatt culture was the predominant Central European culture from the 8th to 6th centuries BC (European Early Iron Age), developing out of the Urnfield culture of the 12th century BC (Late Bronze Age) and followed in much of Central Europe by the La Tène culture.

By the 6th century BC, the Hallstatt culture extended for some 1000 km, from the Champagne-Ardenne in the west, through the Upper Rhine and the upper Danube, as far as the Vienna Basin and the Danubian Lowland in the east, from the Main, Bohemia and the Little Carpathians in the north, to the Swiss plateau, the Salzkammergut and to Lower Styria.

It is named for its type site, Hallstatt, a lakeside village in the Austrian Salzkammergut southeast of Salzburg. The culture is commonly linked to Proto-Celtic and Celtic populations in its western zone and with (pre-)Illyrians in its eastern zone.

The Illyrians were even more poorly characterized; so who knows what the “(pre-)Illyrians” were.

The name of Illyrians as applied by the ancient Greeks to their northern neighbours may have referred to a broad, ill-defined group of peoples, and it is today unclear to what extent they were linguistically and culturally homogeneous. The Illyrian tribes never collectively regarded themselves as ‘Illyrians’, and it is unlikely that they utilized any collective nomenclature for themselves.[7] The term Illyrioi may originally have designated only a single people, that came to be widely known to the Greeks due to proximity.[18] This occurred during the Bronze Age, when Greek tribes were neighboring the Illyrii proprie dicti, the southernmost Illyrian tribe of that time, in Zeta plain, Montenegro.[8] Indeed, such a people known as the Illyrioi have occupied a small and well-defined part of the south Adriatic coast, around Skadar Lake astride the modern frontier between Albania and Montenegro. The name may then have expanded and come to be applied to ethnically different peoples such as the Liburni, Delmatae, Iapodes, or the Pannonii. In any case, most modern scholars are certain that the Illyrians constituted a heterogeneous entity.[21]

Pliny, in his work Natural History, applies a stricter usage of the term Illyrii, when speaking of Illyrii proprie dicti (“Illyrians properly so-called”) among the native communities in the south of Roman Dalmatia.[22] A passage within Appian’s Illyrike (stating that the Illyrians lived beyond Macedonia and Thrace, from Chaonia and Thesprotia to the Danube River) is also representative of the broader usage of the term.[23]

Mostly we know they were from an area near Yugoslavia, were not Greeks nor Romans (as both spoke of them as ‘others’) and are from an area where in ancient times some Celtic tribes were know to exist (along with a lot of other tribes of non-Celts).

In short, the Balkans are and were an ethnic mess.

It is tempting to think of them as, perhaps, some kind of proto-Slav, but the Slavs don’t speak of themselves as Illyrians…

IMHO it is reasonable (though unproven) to speculate that they may well have been a very early and perhaps somewhat divergent line of Celts. If so, we have a body of Celts stretching from Ireland, Britain, France and Spain, Czech and southern Germany, North Italy, and through Illyrian lands to central Turkey. So is it THAT hard to speculate “and a little further” to where we find physically similar people with similar grave goods and lifestyles?

Back at DNA

Now we think of Celts as being the folks in Ireland, Scotland, and some bits of other places (and the diaspora to the New World…). What the Carping Commenter did was a silly logic flaw. He said, in essence: “The Celts OF TODAY are dominantly R1b, so the Celts OF ALL TIME must have been too.” This ignores that genes move on there own distinct from culture and distinct from the history of nations. It ignores that haplogroups especially are prone to rapid shifts. And it ignores that the reference populations where he finds lots of R1a also contain LOTS of DNA from their former Celtic populations that have now been Romanized, Helenized, converted to British and French, et. al.

Lets take a look at a more realistic picture of the movement of haplogroups:

Haplogroup map of prehistory from Wiki

Haplogroup map of prehistory from Wiki

From the Wiki on Haplogroup R1b where it says as a caption:

“Possible time of origin less than 18,500 years BP
Possible place of origin Southwest Asia”

Got that? Southwest ASIA.

Were do we find our “Proto-R1b-Celts”? Southwest Asia. What is right next to Southwest Asia? South Central Asia… Note, too, that the R1a type has two dispersion paths as well… and both “root” in the area right next to where the two R1b dispersion paths originate. It would be terribly easy for a tribe of early Celts with R1a type to head east, and a tribe of Celts with R1b type to head west, then time erases the connection and we wonder what a people found only on the far West of Europe could have to do with an extinct people in Central Asia…

Also note that we’re talking about a population of people from several thousand years ago and a haplogroup that is not a whole lot older. There will be a period of ‘mixed type’ as the new group develops and spreads from the first mutation. Oh, and is there any evidence for those older “sort of a maybe b” type genes in a modern population?

R1b* (that is R1b with no subsequent distinguishing SNP mutations) is extremely rare. Two cases were reported in a large study of Turkey.[4] In a study of Jordan it was found that no less than 20 out of all 146 men tested (13.7%), including most notably 20 out of 45 men tested from the Dead Sea area, were positive for M173 (R1) but negative for P25 and M269, mentioned above, as well as the R1a markers SRY10831.2 and M17, so they are either R1b* or R1a*.[15] Hassan et al. (2008) found an equally surprising 14 out of 26 (54%) of Sudanese Fulani who were M173+ and P25-.[16] Wood et al. report 2 Egyptian cases of R1-M173 which were negative for SRY10831 (R1a1) and P25 (R1b1), out of a sample of 1122 males from various African countries, including 92 from Egypt.[17] Such cases could possibly be either R1b* (R-M343*) or R1a* (R-M420*) (demonstrating the importance of checking exact mutations tested when comparing findings in this field).

It is however also possible that some of the rare examples represent a reversion of marker P25 from a positive back to a negative ancestral state.

So is this evidence for Celts in Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Africa, etc.? Or just evidence that saying R1b == Celt is a bit broken?

The simple fact is that R1a and R1b are ‘close’ genetically. Very close. And the further back in time you go, the closer they get. They can say very little about the culture and ethnicity of the mummies.

This site: does a pretty good job of sorting out the genetics of Europe (to the extent it is even possible). They have a slightly older origin for R1b, but also place it right next to R1a in where it originated. If you look at their graph of Bronze Age cultures and gene types you will find R1B NOT in places like France, Britain, Ireland… but north of Greece and scattered about south west Asia a bit.

If you then scroll down to the modern distribution, you find it highest where it had been near zero, and relatively low where it had been the dominant form. Some of that is movement of the peoples, but some of it is just genetic drift. In those proto-Celtic areas, you still find bag pipes and Celts. But the R1b has moved over a ways. Also note that even in Ireland, it only reaches 80%. In any population there is variation. So finding a couple of mummies of one type does not preclude the population from having had some of the other types in it.

In short: Saying R1b “is the Celtic blood” is just wrong.

R1b is strongly correlated with Modern Day Celts. But not 100%. And R1a is spread all over too.

Anatolian or Caucasian origins ?

The origins of R1b are not entirely clear to this day. Some of the oldest forms of R1b are found in the Near East and around the Caucasus. Haplogroup R1* and R2* might have originated in southern Central Asia (between the Caspian and the Hindu Kush). A branch of R1 would have developed into R1b* then R1b1* in the northern part of the Middle East during the Ice Age. It presumptively moved to northern Anatolia and across the Caucasus during the early Neolithic, where it became R1b1b. The Near Eastern leftovers evolved into R1b1a (M18), now found at low frequencies among the Lebanese and the Druze.The Phoenicians (who came from modern day Lebanon) spread this R1b1a and R1b1* to their colonies, notably Sardinia and the Maghreb.

The subclades R1b1b1 and R1b1b2 (the most common form in Europe) are closely associated with the spread of Indo-European languages, as attested by its presence in all regions of the world where Indo-European languages were spoken in ancient times, from the Atlantic coast of Europe to the Indian subcontinent, including almost all Europe (except Finland and Bosnia-Herzegovina), Anatolia, Armenia, Europan Russia, southern Siberia, many pockets around Central Asia (notably Xinjiang, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan), without forgetting Iran, Pakistan, India and Nepal. The history of R1b and R1a are intricately connected to each others. Whereas R1b1 is found is such places as the Levant or Cameroon, R1b1b mostly likely originated in north-eastern Anatolia.
The Pontic-Caspian steppe cultures can be divided in a western group, ranging from the Don River to the Dniester (and later Danube), and an eastern one, in the Volga-Ural region. The Pontic steppe was probably inhabited by men of mixed R1a and R1b lineages, with higher densities of R1b just north of the Caucasus, and more R1a in the the northern steppes and the forest-steppes.

R1b almost certainly crossed over from northern Anatolia to the Pontic-Caspian steppe. It is not clear whether this happened before, during or after the Neolithic. A regular flow of R1b across the Caucasus cannot be excluded either. The genetic diversity of R1b being greater around the Caucasus, it is hard to deny that R1b settled and evolved there before entering the steppe world. Does that mean that Indo-European languages originated in the steppes with R1a people, and that R1b immigrants blended into the established culture ? Or that Proro-Indo-European language appear in northern Anatolia or in the Caucasus, then spread to the steppes with R1b ? Or else did Proro-Indo-European first appear in the steppe as a hybrid language of Caucasian/Anatolian R1b and steppe R1a ? This question has no obvious answer, but based on the antiquity and archaic character of the Anatolian branch (Hittite, Palaic, Luwian, Lydian, and so on) an northern Anatolian origin of Proto-Indo-European is credible. Furthermore, there is documented evidence of loan words from Caucasian languages in Indo-European languages. This is much more likely to have happened if Proto-Indo-European developed near the Caucasus than in the distant steppes. R1b would consequently have been the spreading factor of PIE to the steppes, and from there to Europe, Central Asia and South Asia.

So here we get a glimpse of how the R1b and R1a populations were living near and mixed with each other in the early years. Tied to the flow and spread of Indo-European languages.

The R1a / R1b separation came later, not first. It was not Aryan R1a vs Celtic R1b. It was a Proto-Indo-European mixed R1a / R1b early culture that spread in different directions. Each tribe (likely of related males with related / similar haplogroups) moving out in different directions resulting eventually in divergent genetics percentages and cultures. And those mummies were speakers of a very early Indo-European language in the Tocharian area IIRC:

Tocharian or Tokharian is an extinct branch of the Indo-European language family. The name is taken from the people known to the Greeks (Ptolemy VI, 11, 6) as the Tocharians (Greek: Τόχαροι, Tókharoi). These are sometimes identified with the Yuezhi and the Kushans. The term Tokharistan usually refers to 1st millennium Bactria, which the Kushans ruled. A Turkic text refers to the Turfanian language (Tocharian A) as twqry. Interpretation is difficult, but Friedrich W. K. Müller has associated this with the name of the Bactrian Tokharoi.

Today, mainly two branches of Tocharian are known: Tocharian A (Turfanian, Arsi, or East Tocharian) and Tocharian B (Kuchean or West Tocharian). Documents in these languages exist roughly from the 3rd to 9th centuries AD; before they became extinct, their speakers were either absorbed or exterminated by the expanding Uyghur tribes. Both languages were once spoken in the Tarim Basin in Central Asia, now part of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China.

Were Tocharians Celts? Likely not. IMHO, they were more likely “Celt Cousins”. (But one really has to ask if ANY population from 2000 to 3000 years ago is the same as any modern population… we evolve both genetically and culturally). Note how the history says things like “usually associated with” and “sometimes identified with”. It’s largely guesswork and pet theories. Made more so by the tendency for peoples to change… would you really call the Americans of today the same culture as the Puritans of New England? Or “the same” as the British, Scots, and Irish of Great Britain and Ireland?

What we can say is that the physical type was similar, the genetics is at least related, and the grave goods speak to a very similar if not strongly related culture. The languages were related (though different … but compare Texan English with Oxford and that’s just 200 years) and the peoples originated from the same area of south central Eurasia. Does that make the mummies Celts? Nope. But it makes it POSSIBLE that they were Proto-Celts and with good reason to think so.


OK, so who were those Aryans?

In colloquial modern English it is often used to signify the Nordic racial ideal promoted by the Nazis. As the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language states at the beginning of its definition, “Aryan, a word nowadays referring to the blond-haired, blue-eyed physical ideal of Nazi Germany, originally referred to a people who looked vastly different. Its history starts with the ancient Indo-Iranians, peoples who inhabited parts of what are now Iran, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.”[9][14]

In Iranian context the original self-identifier lives on in ethnic names like “Alani”, “Ir”.[15] Similarly, The word Iran is the Persian word for land/place of the Aryan[16](see also Iranian peoples).

Properly used, it means the peoples of Iran, Pakistan, North India etc… One presumes that “Brahmin” knows this from the choice of names. The simple fact is that the Hindu are not particularly known for red hair, tartans, etc. They do speak an Indo-European language…

Haplogroup F and descendants

Haplogroup F and descendants

Gee… not a lot of R1a type originating in India, Iran, Pakistan… Yes, it is found there, but is not characteristic of folks. The wiki on R1a type says:

Haplogroup R1a is the phylogenetic name of a major clade of human Y-chromosome lineages. In other words, it is a way of grouping a significant part of all modern men according to a shared male-line ancestor. It is common in many parts of Eurasia and is frequently discussed in human population genetics and genetic genealogy. One sub-clade (branch) of R1a, currently designated R1a1a, is much more common than the others in all major geographical regions. R1a1a, defined by the SNP mutation M17, is particularly common in a large region extending from South Asia and Southern Siberia to Central Europe and Scandinavia.

Currently, the R1a family is defined most broadly by the SNP mutation M420. The recent discovery of M420 resulted in a reorganization of the known family tree of R1a, in particular establishing a new paragroup (designated R1a*) for the relatively rare lineages which are not in the R1a1 branch leading to R1a1a.

R1a and R1a1a are believed to have originated somewhere within Eurasia, most likely in the area from Eastern Europe to South Asia. The most recent studies indicate that South Asia is the most likely region of origin.

So again we have R1a originating next to where R1b originated. Yes, it is connected to the “Nordic types” and thus to the Nazi Aryan Myth, but the reality is that the true Aryans are from Iran and India. Rather brown and not very Nordic. So our Carping Commenter has bought into the Nazi Racist Propaganda, but not read much of the science and history of true Aryans. Oh, and take a look at this map. Notice that even in the Nordic type areas the density of R1a1a is not as high as in other places.

R1a1a Distribution

R1a1a Distribution

Original Image

Frankly, I don’t see how you can make one ethnic group out of the R1a1a distribution. It’s just splattered all over Eurasia.

Oh, and I think the Scots will be rather surprised to discover they are honorary Aryans… and not so much Celts…


The simple fact is that the notion of an “Aryan blood” haplogroup is just incredibly wrong and rather stupid.

Even the idea that it somehow makes one a “Nordic Type” is clearly wrong.

Even the idea that it somehow isn’t in Celts is wrong.

In Summary

Our Carping Commenter wanted to toss a racial bomb and run. We don’t do that here. They have some kind of ‘hang up’ on ‘blood’ and think that genetics is a pure thing. It isn’t. We all have thousands of genes from all over the planet. Nobody is a pure genetic type (not that it matters) as we all are mutts with some genes with mutations and errors in them. Even a cursory look at the humanity around you will show the Red Headed Grandchild effect. I’ve seen a couple of folks with very black skin and bright blue eyes (rather attractive in an exotic way and definitely causes you to think about ‘jumping genes’…). I’ve seen Asians with freckles and curly hair (also rare) and I’ve seen a black man’s heart transplanted into a white man as it was the closest genetic match. I’ve seen brown Mexicans with a red headed kid and they have even found the Cohen Gene (a relatively sure marker of a specific clad of Jews) in black African tribes that claim to be Jewish descendants and even a few found in Native American populations (causing folks to wonder what Jew went where when and supporting the stories of Jews reaching North America in pre-Columbus times).

So you have a very few mummies with a particular gene type in one chromosome. Doesn’t mean much. Not enough number to be statistically valid as a racial identification type even if all the OTHER issues discussed above did not exist. In the context of “all the rest” it becomes silly to talk about “Aryan Blood” as r1a1a haplogroup.

So was this a small group of R1a1a Celts that wandered East as their R1b cousins headed West? Or were they a bit more distantly related as “not quite Celt Indo-European speakers with red hair and a taste for Tartan”? We’ll likely never know. Heck, it is even reasonable to say they might be completely non-Celtic connected. Perhaps they just were some Northern European types that ended up in Central Asia and liked the look of Tartan they got from a Celtic trader some generations back. It’s possible.

But for my money, it’s a more reasonable speculation to say that the Celts spread out both East and West (as we know they did) with some variation in gene types (as we know there are) and some went a bit further East (and perhaps did it a bit earlier than we thought); then got ‘cut off’ by various tribes of passers by as armies raided this way and that. Eventually merging in with the Asian population that turned up from the East and leaving us with a more Asian type (but genetically mixed) population today. Yet with a curiously “Celtic like” ancestry found deep in the ground and from long ago.

And you just can’t square that history with a view of “blood” as being one specific type per race. Especially in the haplogroup genes. As that Eupedia link very nicely explains, there are many things that make those genes more prone to percentage changes out of proportion to the other genes:

The phylogeny of R1b proved that this scenario was not possible, because older R1b clades were consistently found in Central Asia and the Middle East, and the youngest in Western and Northern Europe. There was a clear gradient from East to West tracing the migration of R1b people (see map above). This age of the main migration from the shores of the Black Sea to Central Europe also happened to match the timeframe of the Indo-European invasion of Europe, which coincides with the introduction of the Bronze-Age culture in Western Europe, and the spread of Italo-Celtic and Germanic languages.

Historians and archeologists have long argued whether the Indo-European migration was a massive invasion, or rather a cultural diffusion of language and technology spread only by a small number of incomers. The answer could well be “neither”. Proponents of the diffusion theory would have us think that R1b is native to Western Europe, and R1a alone represent the Indo-Europeans. The problem is that haplogroup R did arise in Central Asia, and R2 is still restricted to Central and South Asia, while R1a and the older subclades of R1b are also found in Central Asia. The age of R1b subclades in Europe coincide with the Bronze-Age. R1b must consequently have replaced most of the native Y-DNA lineages in Europe from the Bronze-Age onwards.

However, a massive migration and nearly complete anihilation of the Paleolithic population can hardly be envisaged. Western Europeans do look quite different in Ireland, Holland, Aquitaine or Portugal, despite being all regions where R1b is dominant. Autosomal DNA studies have confirmed that the Western European population is far from homogeneous. A lot of maternal lineages (mtDNA) also appear to be of Paleolithic origin (e.g. H1, H3, U5 or V) based on ancient DNA tests. What a lot of people forget is that there is also no need of a large-scale exodus for patrilineal lineages to be replaced fairly quickly. Here is why.
Polygamy. Unlike women, men are not limited in the number of children they can procreate. Men with power typically have more children. This was all the truer in primitive societies, where polygamy was often the norm for chieftains and kings.
Status & Power. Equipped with Bronze weapons and horses, the Indo-Europeans would have easily subjugated the Neolithic farmers and with even greater ease Europe’s last hunter-gatherers.If they did not exterminate the indigenous men, the newcomers would have become the new ruling class, with a multitude of local kings, chieftains and noblemen (Bronze-Age Celts and Germans lived in small village communities with a chief, each part of a small tribe headed by a king) with higher reproductive opportunities than average.
Gender imbalance. Invading armies normally have far more men than women. Men must therefore find women in the conquered population. Wars are waged by men, and the losers suffer heavier casualties, leaving more women available to the winners.
Aggressive warfare. The Indo-Europeans were a warlike people with a strong heroic code emphasising courage and military prowess. Their superior technology (metal weapons, wheeled vehicles and warhorses) and attitude to life would have allowed them to slaughter any population that did not have organised armies with metal weapons (i.e. anybody except the Middle-Eastern civilizations).

Genetic predisposition to conceive boys. The main role of the Y-chromosome in man’s body is to create sperm. Haplogroups are determined based on mutations differentiating Y-chromosomes. Each mutation is liable to affect sperm production and sperm motility. Preliminary research has already established a link between certain haplogroups and increased or reduced sperm motility. The higher the motility, the higher the chances of conceiving a boy. It is absolutely possible that R1b could confer a bias toward more male offspring. Even a slightly higher percentage of male births would significantly contribute to the replacement of other lineages with the accumulation effect building up over a few millennia. Not all R1b subclades might have this boy bias. The bias only exist in relation to other haplogroups found in a same population. It is very possible that the fairly recent R1b subclades of Western Europe had a significant advantage compared to the older haplogroups in that region, notably haplogroup I2 and E-V13. Read more
Replacement of patrilineal lineages following this model quickly becomes exponential. Imagine 100 Indo-European men conquering a tribe of 1000 indigenous Europeans (a ratio of 1:10). War casualties have resulted in a higher proportion of women in the conquered population. Let’s say that the surviving population is composed of 700 women and 300 men. Let’s suppose that the victorious Indo-European men end up having twice as many children reaching adulthood as the men of the vanquished tribe. There is a number of reason for that. The winners would take more wives, or take concubines, or even rape women of the vanquished tribe. Their higher status would garantee them greater wealth and therefore better nutrition for their offspring, increasing the chances of reaching adulthood and procreating themselves. An offspring ratio of 2 to 1 for men is actually a conservative estimate, as it is totally conceivable that Bronze-Age sensibilities would have resulted in killing most of the men on the losing side, and raping their women (as attested by the Old Testament). Even so, it would only take a few generations for the winning Y-DNA lineages to become the majority. For instance, if the first generation of Indo-Europeans had two surviving sons per man, against only one per indigenous man, the number of Indo-European paternal lineages would pass to 200 individuals at the second generation, 400 at the third, 800 at the fourth and 1600 at the fifth, and so on. During that time indigenous lineages would only stagnate at 300 individuals for each generation.

Based on such a scenario, the R1b lineages would have quickly overwhelmed the local lineages. Even if the Indo-European conquerors had only slightly more children than the local men, R1b lineages would become dominant within a few centuries. Celtic culture lasted for over 1000 years in Continental Europe before the Roman conquest putting an end to the priviledges of the chieftains and nobility. This is more than enough time for R1b lineages to reach 50 to 80% of the population.

So the haplogroup type does not tell you much about the REST of the genetics and the culture of a people. It can, does, and has changed over time for large populations.

OK, with that said:

It could well be that the cultural artifacts were ‘left overs’ from an earlier Celtic time and that the haplogroup R1a1a came into the area with some invasion or another. We just don’t know. Some speculation from the Eupedia:

An early group of R1b1b people is thought to have migrated from Caspian Sea region to Central Asia, where it evolved into the R1b1b1 (M73) branch. This variety of R1b occurs almost exclusively in very specific Central Asian populations. The highest percentages were observed among the Uyghurs (20%) of Xinjiang in north-west China, the Hazara people of Afghanistan (32%), and the Bashkirs (55%) of the Abzelilovsky district of Bashkortostan in Russia (border of Kazakhstan).

Central Asian R1b1b1 could correspond to the Tocharian branch of the Indo-Europeans. It is possible that the Tocharians split from the main R1b body as early as 7,000 BCE. Over the centuries some groups of these nomadic tribes ended up around the southern Urals, others in the Tarim Basin (Xinjiang) or in southern Central Asia. Another theory is that a group of early horse riders from the Repin culture (3700-3300 BCE) migrated from the Don-Volga region to the Altai mountain, founding the Afanasevo culture (c. 3600-2400 BCE), then moved south to the Tarim Basin.

Mummies of fair-haired Caucasian people were found in the Tarim Basin, the oldest of which date back to 1800 BCE. The modern inhabitants of the Tarim Basin, the Uyghurs, belong both to this R1b-M73 subclade (about 20%) and to R1a1 (about 30%). This could mean that they had become a hybrid R1b-R1a society by the time they reached the Tarim Basin. But R1a1 could also have arrived independently during the later Indo-Iranian migrations (approx. 2000 BCE), or much later through some nomadic Scytho-Iranian tribes (after 700 BCE).

Notice the direction of that migration. From the Caspian into Asia.

So we could claim, I suppose, that the R1b type shows Celts were in Asia long ago, and then attempt to claim that made Celts out of Uyghurs, Hazara in Afghanistan, and the Bashkirs of Russia… But the reality is that haplogroup is not a good marker of culture. Guys “get around” but culture tends to travel with the moms. We also have evidence of a mixed type in the present day Uyghurs and speculation about when it became so mixed. So it’s quite possible that a Celtic base culture had some powerful Indo-Iranians come through the area and left it with some added R1a type, but still a Celtic core culture and bulk genetics.

But I don’t think so.

Wider testing of the genetics seems to indicate a straight forward European origin. Marching right across the Celtic areas of the Alpine Celts. Only later did the genetics get more highly mixed. But without a good timeline with both history and mummy genetics plotted on it, and more samples, it will never be certain.

A team of Chinese and American researchers working in Sweden tested DNA from 52 separate mummies, including the mummy denoted “Beauty of Loulan.” By genetically mapping the mummies’ origins, the researchers confirmed the theory that these mummies were of West Eurasian descent. Victor Mair, a University of Pennsylvania professor and project leader for the team that did the genetic mapping, commented that these studies were:
…extremely important because they link up eastern and western Eurasia at a formative stage of civilization (Bronze Age and early Iron Age) in a much closer way than has ever been done before.[11]

An earlier study by Jilin University had found an mtDNA haplotype characteristic of Western Eurasian populations with Europoid genes.[12]

In 2007 the Chinese government allowed a National Geographic team headed by Spencer Wells to examine the mummies’ DNA. Wells was able to extract undegraded DNA from the internal tissues. The scientists extracted enough material to suggest the Tarim Basin was continually inhabited from 2000 BCE to 300 BCE and preliminary results indicate the people, rather than having a single origin, originated from Europe, Mesopotamia, Indus Valley and other regions yet to be determined.[13]

However, In 2009, the remains of individuals found at a site in Xiaohe were analyzed for Y-DNA and mtDNA markers. They suggest that an admixed population of both west and east origin lived in the Tarim basin since the early Bronze Age. The maternal lineages were predominantly East Eurasian haplogroup C with smaller numbers of H and K, while the paternal lines were all West Eurasian R1a1a. The geographic location of where this admixing took place is unknown, although south Siberia is likely.[14]

It has been asserted that the textiles found with the mummies are of an early European textile type based on close similarities to fragmentary textiles found in salt mines in Austria, dating from the second millennium BCE. Anthropologist Irene Good, a specialist in early Eurasian textiles, noted the woven diagonal twill pattern indicated the use of a rather sophisticated loom and, she says, the textile is “the easternmost known example of this kind of weaving technique.”

Mair claims that “the earliest mummies in the Tarim Basin were exclusively Caucasoid, or Europoid” with east Asian migrants arriving in the eastern portions of the Tarim Basin around 3,000 years ago while the Uyghur peoples arrived around the year 842.[3] In trying to trace the origins of these populations, Victor Mair’s team suggested that they may have arrived in the region by way of the Pamir Mountains about 5,000 years ago.

This evidence remains controversial. While it neither supports or refutes the contemporary nationalist claims of the present-day Uyghur peoples, it does show that such claims can be oversimplistic. Mair has said that, like many Central Asian peoples, modern Uyghurs are a mixture of both Caucasians and East Asians, warning against ignoring a complicated genetic and cultural history. In comparing the DNA of the mummies to that of modern day Uyghur peoples, Mair’s team found some genetic similarities with the mummies, but “no direct links”.

About the controversy Mair has claimed that:
The new finds are also forcing a reexamination of old Chinese books that describe historical or legendary figures of great height, with deep-set blue or green eyes, long noses, full beards, and red or blond hair. Scholars have traditionally scoffed at these accounts, but it now seems that they may be accurate.[15]

The “bottom line” for me is that some guys headed out to the Central Asian “boonies” with some European type wives, then over the years some “East Eurasian” wives got into the mix. Different areas had somewhat different “mixes” (no surprise there) and eventually the whole area got over run a few times (and the Tocharians died out or blended out of existence).

Did they start out Celts, then become “something else”? Probably. But that is the history of all civilizations. They change. France is not filled with the same Celtic culture of a few thousand years ago. Spain is not an Arabic province (though the influence and some of the genes remain) nor do they retain much Celtic core. Folks in England no long speak the dialect of Saxons and the Irish of America have little Clan Tartan on them. But that does not change our Celtic roots…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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37 Responses to Carping Aryans

  1. NZ Willy says:

    Anytime we uncover some new truth, it turns out to be different than our preconceptions. Old history especially: when the “Tyrolean ice man” was dug out of the Alpine glacier in 1991, people marvelled at the sophisticated clothing and artifacts which told of a sophisticated European culture 5000 years ago. We’ve forgotten where we came from. Back in those days there was not much mixing of peoples — you stuck with your own kind if you wanted to live. That applies to Germans and Celts too, there wasn’t much mixing, and not during the Anglo-Saxon conquests of England either — piles of Celtic skulls attest to that. So don’t get too hung up on your Celtic heritage unless you’re Irish, Scots, Welsh or Cornish.

    As for Indo-Europeans, we don’t know for sure what they looked like, but it’s clear that Europeans evolved further in appearance in place, in Europe. That’s why the Scandinavians are so fair, because they didn’t need the pigment up there. Apples, dogs, horses all show us how rapidly life can change in just a couple thousand years — people too.

    I wonder what happened to those Europeans of the Asian steppe. Would be sad if they came to a bad end.

  2. Ralph B says:

    I may be bending the topic a little here…from celts to genetic tracking

    What I see in these genetic trackers is a way to help validate some historical and biblical texts. For example the Jewish gene in Africa, think Queen of Sheba and the Jewish scholars that were to go back with her (some texts have Solomon and her having a child)

    Now I know there is not enough here to give complete confirmation, but there is support. While the evidence certainly knocks down the “Ayrian” crapola, it adds some weight to biblical history or at least doesn’t rule it out. Pretty freakin’ amazing if you ask me.

  3. Kalki says:

    R1a and R2 most likely originated somewhere between Northern India(extending up to present day Uttar Pradesh and Bihar) and the Pamirs. The age, frequency, diversity and haplotype variation spread across all castes and cultures within India has been found to be the highest in all cases. Considering haplogroup F most probably originated in India(again highest incidence and age in all aspects) and almost all non African haplogroups derive from F – one conclusion(not popular with Europeans in general because of the IE language dilemma) is that after a coastal migration from Africa, India was a refuge for most of non-African humans during the Ice Age. Post glacial warming allowed migration east and west.

    Yes you are correct about ‘Aryans’ being from present day Iran, and South Asia. Hitler amongst a few others in the west bastarized the term ‘Aryan’ along with symbols like the swastika(a religious symbol of good – found all over India). Europeans who claim to be ‘Aryans’ are totally misinformed and very often just plain racist in nature.

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    @NZ Willy:

    The mummy and genetic evidence shows them living in mixed european / asian communities as their community average genetics drifted to a more asian total mix. Maternal DNA shows more asian while paternal is more european type. Basically, the guys had Asian Babes for spouses and the community slowly became predominantly of the Asian type. You now find folks with substantially the same “grave goods” and material culture buried above the graves of their Euro type great grandfathers… but with more Asian genes.

    You find these mixed Eurasian types all over Mongolia and Central Asia today.

    So “what happened to them”? Unlike many other places where folks fought clan by clan and died clade by clade these folks shared their lands and lives with their Asian neighbors, intermarried, and made central Asia a fascinating genetic hodge podge and cultural mix.

    I also have to wonder if we looked just a bit further east would we perhaps find a place where the predominantly Asian male type slowly gained some Euro type genes as their Euro type wives had influence… But the mummies are not available from those areas to tell us if their was “spouse swapping” both ways…Or perhaps one ought to look up north to the Mongols.

    Oh, and remember that the Huns came to Hungary from the Asian Steppes, so not all European types stayed in Asia. Some headed into Europe… It’s really a fascinating bit of history and genetics…

    @Ralph B:

    There have been two completely different groups in Africa found with the Jewish genes. One has been granted rights to return to Israel (from somewhat more northern Africa IIRC). The other had an oral tradition that said they started out near Ethiopia and migrated south to near South Africa. Forensic analysis of genetics, language, culture, confirm their story. Status on ‘right of return’ is still being thought about.

    At any rate, there is confirmation for the Biblical Narrative all over the place. As a history book, the Bible is holding up pretty well.

    To the best of my knowledge, a proper analysis of the Ethiopians genetics has not been done sufficient to say if Sheba did bring home some extra gifts… The problem in part is that the Cohen Gene is only in one clan of the Jews, and I’m pretty sure the King was not of that clan… So it’s harder to say if that one line was extended into Ethiopia or not. The history may be more helpful than the genetics for that question. And the history on both ends says “Yup, it happened as in the Bible”. More or less…


    It’s pretty much undeniable that the Neanderthals were hanging on on the edge of the ice while the moderns were off in warmer places. It’s pretty well established that the northern half of Europe was under ice. Seems pretty clear to me that the European types, especially the Northern European types, had to come from south and east… And that runs through the Caucasus and into India. Language and genetics tell the same story. (Though exactly where one ends India and begins non-India is a bit flexible… I could easily see the Euro Type being just past the Kashmir mountain areas and so isolated from the bulk of India during an Ice Age. Perhaps northern Iran / Turkey and off toward the Caspian?

    Frankly, culture and genetics drift so fast that what “they” were 10,000 years ago ought to be seen as “not us” in all cases. We all derived from them, but we are not them. Even terms like “Euro type” are broken in a small way as they are not “European Types” in any modern sense. They were a type that no longer exists, but has some decendents in Europe. It’s that old “cross the same river twice” things. The genetic and linguistic rivers flow and we are only around in a small slice of it…

  5. Pascvaks says:

    Very interesting! More on Ötzi, the Tyrolean Iceman, can be found at the link below; seems old Ötzi belonged to Y-haplogroup G2a4. Not R1 or R2. (But I bet the guys who killed him were Celts;-)

  6. dearieme says:

    Some scholars now think that the whole business of linking the Halstatt and La Tene cultures to the Celts is simply an error. Others argue that the idea of The Celts is such an incorrigible muddle that the term would be better abandoned altogether. Others again argue that there was an identifiable cultural/language group legitimately called Celtic but that it had little to do with Central Europe, and lived pre-historically in what are now France, Spain, and the British Isles, with extensions in historical times into Northern Italy. (And presumably some moved by conquest to Galatia in what is now Turkey. How they are meant to have done this without moving through Central Europe isn’t clear to me.) A few decades ago some argued that the Teutons written about by the Romans were Celts – in the sense of speakers of a Celtic language – and that the German speakers arrived in Germany later on. I don’t know what their evidence was.

    Whether some consensus on this mess will emerge I have no idea: it would presumably need to combine genetics, linguistics, history and archaeology. Anyway, I suspect that laying down the law on Celts and Aryans is a mug’s game.

  7. bruce says:

    Only tangentially on topic, Many of you may know it is easy to have your genomes mapped. With it comes knowledge of health risks associated with your “type”, among other interesting bits.
    Its simple, send a company your spit, they provide the packaging, and some dollars…

  8. DocMartyn says:

    There are essentially two ways to discover that ‘race’ is a completely stupid way to divide the Human Race into groups.
    1) You can embark on a decades long study genetics, anthropology, history and ethics.
    2) You can sleep around a lot.

    I recommend the latter, although slightly more expensive and requiring more athleticism than the former, it has a large number of fringe benefits.
    As a Ph.D. student I was given a mission by the head of the department that required a specific observational skill.
    I was given the quest of obtaining the hair of a true Blond, Brunet and Redhead, however there was no necessity of them being maids.
    Different hair types give different e.p.r. spectra, but the ladies are notorious in having their cuffs not matching their collars.

    I am more closely related to any man on this planet than I am to my wife and daughter.

  9. Pascvaks says:

    From wikipedia –

    “The Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) refers to a period in the Earth’s climate history when ice sheets were at their maximum extension, between 26,500 and 19,000–20,000 years ago,[1] marking the peak of the last glacial period. During this time, vast ice sheets covered much of North America, northern Europe and Asia. These ice sheets profoundly impacted Earth’s climate, causing drought, desertification, and a dramatic drop in sea levels.[2]”

    Have a feeling that it also forced various issolated pockets of humanity to break camp and move long distances and “huddle” together (and “bundle” too, in order to save body heat, etc. etc.;-) This was the Last Greatest Really Bad Climatic Depression. People “gravitated” toward the most hospitable pockets for food and water and all those “modern” conveniences we have long sense taken for granted, but may one day may have to re-discover. Bet they tended to have an election by mortal combat for Top Dog more often than we would like to think. I have a feeling one of these places was called Eden; it was a real paradise, but nothing lasts forever.

  10. Jeff Alberts says:

    NZ Willy

    As for Indo-Europeans, we don’t know for sure what they looked like, but it’s clear that Europeans evolved further in appearance in place, in Europe. That’s why the Scandinavians are so fair, because they didn’t need the pigment up there. Apples, dogs, horses all show us how rapidly life can change in just a couple thousand years — people too.

    The pigment argument never made much sense to me. Mainly due to the Eskimos and North American Indians. They don’t “need the pigment” there either, but they have certainly kept in for tens of thousands of years.

  11. adolfogiurfa says:

    The trouble is, at least for those who support, covertly or overtly, the human homogenization called “globalization” and “democratization” (while being in reality a “Brave New World” program of the very few to “maximize” their assets and profits all over the world) that talking about races, tradition, culture and history, opposes their purported goals to be imposed on us, mere gamma “commoners”. That is why, also, if you see the educational curricula all over the world, teaching subjects have changed radically for the worse, so as to achieve an “anthill” or a “bee-hive” social organization, where traditional hieratical order is totally subverted. However, cosmic laws and order cannot be changed as the diversity of colors of the spectrum or, what is the same, the musical octave cannot be supressed by wish or by someone´s “illuminated” desire.
    Such a conspiracy, if it exists, and it seems so, is like the conspiracy of cancer cells in a body: If they succeed the body itself dies….what a victory!
    Singularity and holy individuality will prevail, no matter how many foolish “illuminated” and chosen elites may think to rule upon free thinking and independent souls.

  12. DocMartyn says:

    “Jeff Alberts

    The pigment argument never made much sense to me. Mainly due to the Eskimos and North American Indians. They don’t “need the pigment” there either, but they have certainly kept in for tens of thousands of years.”

    We have two selection pressures at work. Low levels of uv light need to fall upon out lower skin cells to activate vitamin D. High levels of uv light increase the rate of skin cancer.
    Now, low vitamin D levels will have the biggest effect in childhood and so directly affect breeding success, whereas increased cancer levels tend to hit in later life, after women have had their children.
    The amount of vitamin D precursor is dependent on diet. If you eat a fish diet, of seal/whale blubber/liver you will have high levels of circulating vitamin D.
    A while ago a group of European polar explorers were hungry and shot a polar bear. They ate the raw liver and over the next few days their sun exposed skin fell off in sheets; vitamin D toxicity.

    Innuit are tropical humans. They live in a tropical, high temperature/high humidity, environment. Just because they carry their climate with them does not make it any less important.
    They also live in party of the world where the uv levels are very high, their faces and hands get huge amounts of uv, directly and reflected from snow. They have a diet rich in vitamin D.
    The steady state levels of pigmentation are tune to protecting them from skin cancer and allow them to convert enough vitamin D precursor in their face and hands.

  13. bruce says:

    pole pigment

    But really, its sort of a moot issue, perhaps the light skin mutation never made its debut at the pole, or maybe light skin isn’t even a feature a mother could love in some places.
    Another theory has to do with eye sensitivity, maybe the pole people had good eyes to begin with? Heck maybe the neanderthal was light skinned?

  14. Jerry says:

    Anyone getting excited (an carping) about capital ‘A’ Aryans from thousands of years ago needs to dial that number: 1 900 GET-A-GRIP and have your credit card ready!!

    Interesting to learn that Iran means ‘land of Aryans’, maybe the Little Corporal knew some stuff. He did look kinda like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    On Tex-speak, seems to be widely understood: | Texas Governor Rick Perry was attacked by all the GOP candidates at Monday’s GOP debate. He was stubborn, belligerent and he mispronounced some words. The next morning Iran released two U.S. hostages and wondered aloud why we can’t all just get along.

  15. DocMartyn says:

    Actually, we know that the Neanderthals had diverse skin variation and that the out of Africa population that became the modern Chinese when Black-white-brown using a subset of pigmentation genes.

    The Indian population shows a similar pattern, but I don’t have the ref to hand, and really should be doing something else at the moment.

  16. E.M.Smith says:


    Per this chart:

    There isn’t a lot of G type around, but a significant part of it is in Italy. I’d wager he was a Southern / Middle Italian that wandered into the Alps. Did he meet some Celts on the Alpine side? Donno….

    It’s an interesting chart. Kind of gives a real good idea how non-uniform the haplogroups are even inside identifiable European sub-populations.


    More or less my view on it too. IMHO, tribes were wandering around a mostly empty place. VERY large cities were on the order of 1000 people. To think there was any non-muddle in the place is just silly.

    OTOH, I do think the Celtic culture did not just suddenly appear and dominate all of the Iberian peninsula, France, Britain, Ireland, Scotland, and the Bavarian / Czech areas ‘from nothing’. There was a long precursor period… about which our history is largely ignorant.

    So to my POV, it’s a much possible that they were all over as that they were bottled up. But it’s interesting to see where the clues say “maybe here too…”


    I’d love to do it if I was certain that it would NEVER land in the hands of the government, ANY employer or candidate, or my health insurance provider (now or future), or ANY company selling other forms of insurance or drugs or…

    @Jeff Alberts:

    Two things:

    It’s about Vit D and the Eskimo have a standard practice of dividing up the liver and kidneys such that each person gets the right dose of Vit C and D. Bears, in particular, have so much Vit-D in them that the liver is toxic in large doses. So, lots of dietary Vit-D, don’t need to be white. Basically, they invented natural vitamin pills.

    Second, it’s more about the cloud cover than latitude (though latitude is part of it). You need high latitude AND lots of cloud cover to get the low UV needed for Vit-D failure (along with a diet low in Cod Liver Oil and Bear Liver…) to induce rickets. Basically, the Eskimo and related live in the dryer sunnier parts and eat to compensate. The “whites” were optimized for inland lifestyle under heavy cloud with long dark winters. Lat and Long matter…

    There would also be a ‘self selection bias’ as those with the Redhead Gene would tend to move to non-sunburn places were it not for sunblock… I know as I’ve pondered moving to Cloudy / Cold more than once in my life while waiting to get over a sunburn…


    I’ve a thesis that the Roman central control model is still in battle with the Celtic distributed meritocracy and freedom. Sadly, it is many of the descendants of Celts that were Romanized that are now pushing a Roman style central power agenda. The USA “bottom up” model has a very Celtic style to it; and the consistent efforts to subvert it and move to a Roman Central Government are never ending…


    Oh, see you covered the Bear Thing already…

    (Note to self, read all first, then respond… ;-)

    Didn’t know we had enough Neander DNA to catch variance levels… then again, it’s been a while since I looked it up. The “RedHead Gene” comes with light skin color as it breaks the structure of melanin in all tissues. We know some of the Neanders were Reds.


    There is evidence for red headed Neanderthals. (Different gene type, though) and speculation they were light skinned. It’s possible that the “white / blond / redhead” was culturally selected for by hybrid descendants (Hey, looks like Grandma!) …


    Ya’ll don havta unerstant it to see how BIG they gun is they got…

    There are many Celtic and German ancestry folks living in Texas. I think it shows through… IMHO, “it’s a powerful mix”… then again, I may be biased ;-)

  17. DocMartyn says:

    ‘We know some of the Neanders were Reds.’

    Broke my heart when the neanderthal gene was finally finished. had always hoped Red Heads = Neanderthal genes. Well, norther Europeans have 7% Neanderthal DNA, hurray!!. However, they used a different mechanism to go red; modern humans have a deficit in the MC1R gene and the Neanderthals had a point mutation in the same gene, BUT its a different point mutation. They got the result using parallel evolution. So the Celts are not the direct decedents of Neanderthals, but I am. We lost a romantic theory and gained an insight into our promiscuous ancestors.

  18. Jeff Alberts says:


    Ok, so maybe the Eskimos are covered. But what about all the other “native american” tribes all throughout the Americas, with all kinds of dietary and climatic differences, they still have generally the same pigment.

  19. DocMartyn says:

    The native Americans are actually six distinct founder populations who entered the America’s via the Northern land-bridge. They was an initial input a floow period and then a lot of exchange between America and Siberia.

    Each of the incoming waves from Siberia, appeared to have some technological advantage, and pushed the existing peoples further South.

  20. Matthew W says:

    That’s a long post to get to the point of…..?????
    Did the carper have a case?

    [ No. He was very wrong on all the points in the “long stuff”… -E.M.Smith ]

  21. E.M.Smith says:


    Yeah, as I noted above too “different gene type”. Really annoying to first hear “Reds!” in the news… then the followup with a different mutation. FWIW I’ve also seen reports that Neander DNA has been found in multiple European populations and in Asians (there were several crossings per that thesis, with the ones in Asia being a bit different mix) but not in blacks of the era. But since then there has been enough mixing that one of the cranial genes is in something like 80% of the total human population (and I’d speculate is why humans have such difficult child birth… larger Neanderthal skulls…)

    My point was just that there are so few Neanderthal gene sets decoded that we can’t do population or statistical comparisons. We can’t know if the modern red head gene was also in Neanderthals, but only one out of several in Neanderthals crossed over into moderns and it was not represented in the skeletons. Basically, we can’t see the negative space of what we do not know. So the question of “did redheads come from Neanderthals and bring de-pigmented skin with them?” can not be definitively answered. We can only say “no evidence yet”, and that’s pretty weak.

    We can say what positively was in the small sample of Neanderthals, but we can’t say what was not in them as our samples are too small to make such statements. (If we only had a half dozen modern DNA samples, we know for certain we would not capture much of the modern diversity, for example.)

    @Jeff Alberts:

    The “eastern” Indians had some amount of “European type” DNA It looks like some remnant of a “Clovis People” European type mixed in with the influx of Asian types that came after the impactor blasted into Canada and messed things up… As a consequence, you can meet some Indians that do not have the typical “Asian” look of Western Indians, but look very European. I’ve met a couple of such who swore they were full blood Indians. Also, contemporaneous paintings of the early Eastern Indians shows a more Euro type than the western.

    Finally, the American Indian tends to brown, not black. We’ve talked of black and white, but not brown… The brown type is best for areas of transitional UV levels. They darken a lot in the summer sun, then lighten in the winter. That is why you find African Blacks in the hot, dry, sunny plains of Africa, but find browner types in more shaded parts of the world.

    The mortality rate increase from rickets with latitude and clouds is known, as is the mortality rate from excess skin cancer in sunny places, by race. It’s a simple matter to calculate the population impact of the two mortalities. It comes down to “25,000 years, more or less” for both directions for that impact to swap black for white. In the intermediate areas you will get brown. I think we see this in the Indo-European population where we range from translucent near albino redhead skin, to black-as-Africans folks in the plains of India (and with brown in between). Caucasians all.

    What did we start out as? Doesn’t really matter. In 25,000 years the skin color of your progeny will be adjusted to match the Vit-D / Skin Cancer profile of the insolation of a place. BTW, one can make a good case that the American Indians have not had quite enough time to be adapted in all cases, given some assumptions about migration paths. But even there, the tribes from cloudy north east are more pale than the ones from Navajo / Hopi clear desert areas…and it doesn’t matter if that is due to their ancestors or their selection after survival…

    Sidebar on Australia:

    It will be incredibly interesting in Australia. The Aboriginal population is as black as they come (well adapted to the very Sunny Australia). The newcomers are very pale. With modern diet we’ve made the rickets driver pretty much irrelevant, but the skin cancer driver is still with us.

    In theory, Australia will slowly darken, being brown in about 10,000 years and very black again in 25,000 years. But perhaps with different tribes of clearly different racial morphology in other ways… Then again, sunscreen and indoor living may make it take longer ;-)

    FWIW, this is not a hypothetical for my family. My Mother had a skin cancer (likely from the move to California from England at an early age) while my wife needs a UV Lamp in winter to avoid some health issues (S.A.D. and other low vit-D effects – the Vit-D in the diet is not enough to “fix it” and the pills don’t help as she needs a particular Vit-D variant, but UV makes the right variant to dispel her issues, both mood and bones). In my own family I can see pressures moving one line toward the cloudy areas and another toward the more sunny…

    We are remarkably tied to the sun, and in “just the right amount” too or we become sick. In some cases to the point of death. (Rickets can be deadly, skin cancer clearly is.)

    For anyone doubting the European type Indians, just start looking at tribal pictures of folks from the East… or look at Kennewick Man, and dig into the Clovis People. There were some Clovis type points found after the catastrophic destruction… A minor genetic component by now, but the gene types found in American Indians are definitely showing some admixtures from Europe. Of particular interest is this map of Haplogroup X:

    and this one of R1:

    “The genetic sequences of haplogroup X diverged originally from haplogroup N, and subsequently further diverged about 30,000 years ago to give two sub-groups, X1 and X2.

    Sub-group X2 appears to have undergone extensive population expansion and dispersal around or soon after the last glacial maximum, about 21,000 years ago. It is more strongly present in the Near East, the Caucasus, and Mediterranean Europe; and somewhat less strongly present in the rest of Europe. Particular concentrations appear in Georgia (8%), the Orkney Islands (in Scotland), (7%) and amongst the Israeli Druze community (27%). Subclades X2a and X2g are found in North America, but are not present in native Latin Americans.”

    What is not clear is how the various genes American Indians have in common with European types got there. Over the land bridge, or that Altantic Crossing thesis…

    At any rate, I think that’s why the American Indians have an intermediate look to them as well. Not really an Asian look. More of an Asian with European admixture. Heavier facial bones. Etc.

    At any rate, one thing is very clear from the modern gene mapping:

    Nobody is a pure anything. Genes have been swapped all over the world forever and we’re all mutts to some extent.

  22. Sera says:

    Perhaps his name is a clue to his argument?

  23. E.M.Smith says:


    Good Catch!

    That wiki article specifically calls out R1a vs R1b, so indicating that it is in wider use as some kind of argument for superiority of the brahmins:


    Distribution of R1a (purple) and R1b (red).

    In terms of association with other races, the highest levels of R1a (>50%) are found across the Eurasian Steppe: West Bengal Brahmins (72%), and Uttar Pradesh Brahmins, (67%), the Ishkashimi (68%), the Tajik population of Khojant (64%), Kyrgyz (63.5%), Sorbs (63.39%), Poles (56.4%), Ukrainians (50%) and Russians (50%) and in the Central India among the saharia tribe of Madhya Pradesh R1a*(22.8%) and R1a1(28.07%). It is also found in relatively high frequencies in several South Indian Dravidian-speaking tribes including the Chenchu and Valmikis of Andhra Pradesh.

    So they run the logic backwards… Something like “If we brahmin have a high R1a, and we know we are superior, then others without it must be inferior.” Failing to note that there are a lot of brahmin without R1a, many great folks with other haplogroups, and the R1a vs R1b vs other on that particular gene doesn’t really do much anyway. (And they also don’t ‘get it’ that the gene moves independently of the rest of the genetic package. A single gene or chromosome can get ‘remixed’ away from the rest of the genes from that parent in following generations – thus the occasional blue eyed black, white with epicanthic folds (asian eyes), and the wide diversity of hair colors… )

    It’s not just this one guy who has some attachment to this genetic notion, it’s a lot of them (as it’s in the wiki…). Didn’t know it was that wide spread…

    BTW, as a genuine American Mutt, I’m likely one of those with a mixed genetic package. Don’t know if I’m R1a or R1b. The Smith surname traveled with the Y chromosome and we don’t know where he came from. Some guy named Smith who worked iron for a living got off a boat in Virginia in the 1700s. That’s where the trail stops. English? Irish? German? Nobody knows… And since names traveled with the occupation, he could have been a smith from some other ethnicity who hopped a boat and got anglicized on landing.

    Yet later that line crossed in with German / Swiss (Amish) and a Celtic line (Irish). That mix then married Mom, who is “English”. But digging into her background a bit, we find a mix too. Some Viking, some more local British (probably Celtic), and a smidge of French.

    So what do you call all that but “mutt”?

    Yet I could lay claim to being an Ayran if I wished (that German / Viking percentage) and most likely have an R1a genotype (as that’s the best guess of where the Smith came from – probably Germanic). But Grandma was a 1st generation Irish who married this Amish/German / Mystery Smith mix, and that Irish cultural influence traveled down the maternal influence line. So I have more cultural affinity to Celtic than to German culture. (But must say: I’m far more American than anything else.)

    How anyone expects to sell any “genetic superiority mythology” to a typical American with that kind of history is beyond me. (But it’s fun to watch ;-)

  24. Pascvaks says:

    FWIW – One of the old sayings my Irish Old Man used to come out with throughout my childhood (hense it’s still up there between my ears and comes out every so often when in deep discussions with my twentys-something kids) was – “You are what you eat!” Of course there are very many ways to “eat”, not just by ingestion.

    Can’t get it out of my mind that “races” are something that go back beyond the last Glacial Max. (Saw a recent photo of a piece of amber with feathers in it, that memory made me think during this discussion that light and dark skin and hair and eye color differences, etc., aren’t recent either). But, here’s the punch line, “races” are heightened, deepened, more distinctly defined during Glacial Max when survival is most difficult in the less than ideal areas. Let’s say that the next glacial starts tomorrow, over the next 50K years people are more and more issolated on the continents, they blend (Birds&Bees101), they absorb (UV/Diet/Etc.), they breath (smoke,dirt,virus,etc.), they go through another Glacial Max and huddle a little more tightly – in 80K you’ve got four or five brand new “races”.

    PS: Naturally there will be the “interlopers” from other pockets introducing their genes occassionaly and gumming up the gene pool.

    PPS: TIME or Newsweek had a cover story a while back about the North American Gene Pool and featured a computer generated picture of a young lady who ‘reflected’ the mix of the genes on the continent today. Looks like were all going to look like “Native Americans” in about 80K. (I’m a pessimist, just look what we’re doing to the economy now, there’s no hope;-)

  25. Pascvaks says:


    Not to worry, Sperm Banks will go the way of all such repositories once the girls get bored, soon they won’t even be able to give the stuff away. Redheads are safe. Indeed, if the thermometer keeps dropping, and the Chinese get really serious about genetics (Chinese Girls love red hair), there will be more red heads on the planet than cavemen in Europe. (The way they’re sinking trying to save Athens it shouldn’t be much longer either; aren’t Germans wierd, 70 years ago they couldn’t care less about Greeks?)

  26. DocMartyn says:

    “Genes have been swapped all over the world forever and we’re all mutts to some extent.”

    We have actually evolved to desire people with genes different from our own; we are programmed to love exotics.

    We smell and through kissing, taste, other people MHC complexes, and want what we don’t have.

  27. E.M.Smith says:


    Strange you should say that… Part of what attracted me to my spouse was her skill at things I didn’t do so well… She also liked that I was good at things she found frustrating (like math ;-)


    Not to worry, the Redhead Gene will be preserved via running underground as a recessive trait… I’m nominally “Dark Ash Blond” but the red shows in highlights, my beard, and my daughter ;-)

    And oh, BTW, I’ve been a donor… so there’s plenty of “Ginger Genes” out there, just waiting for the next Ice Age to be called upon ;-)


    My blond sister married a very tall very red redhead. When he was stationed in Japan, they would go out to the countryside and regularly draw a crowd… She told us the women would want to touch the hair and those with a bit of English would say “Pretty! Pretty!”… Oh to be a red head in Asia…

    One can only wonder if the Tocharians suffered a similar fate, and thus the eventual progeny being of a more Asian type a few generations higher in the strata of the burial grounds. Oh, and there are occasional redheads in the Asians of Western China and nearby…

    Interesting about the “look like Native Americans” as we’ve got some reason to believe that THEY came from an Asian / European mix in the first place. The more things change, the more history rhymes…


    I think I may have finally found a hotel that I like and that has some things I was lacking (like a decent desk / table for using the laptop…) As it stands, I can likely get back to doing near daily updates if I’m careful with my time.

  28. Robin Melville says:

    Always interesting, often astounding. What a fascinating blog this is. Thank you E.M. Smith.

    What’s very striking to me is how recently we’ve all settled down and developed a powerful sense of “place” after thousands of generations of “wandering”. I suppose the final phase in Europe began in the last millennium BC when the “Germans” were driven in huge numbers out of Scandinavia as it refroze after the Holocene Optimum. Spreading out East, West and South. The Vandals are fascinating as they migrated right down to N. Africa before re-entering Europe and founding the kingdom of Sicily — so crucial as the crucible of the renaissance.

    The genetic success of each migration, it seems to me, depends almost entirely upon technology. The “Celt” dominance of N. Europe, for example, has been suggested because they were the transmission belt of iron technology. The success of the Saxons in N.E. Europe and Britain may well be because they invented the coulter which allowed the cultivation of heavier soils. Thus they were able to support greater populations or provide more food for the same population by growing food on previously marginal land.

    Sometimes the technology is, as in the case of the Mongols, in the methodology of warfare. How different would our world be now if they had actually conquered Europe, as they so nearly did?

    I can see I’m randomly straying off-topic, so will stop. But thanks again for sharing your many and varied thoughts with us all.

  29. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Robin Melville You touch the issue of technologies, that take us to lost technologies, lost science and lost knowledge, as the neolithic knowledge about earth/ground currents…as that described in John Michell´s “The New View Over Atlantis” and, last but not least, the wrong dicotomy, which began at the beginning of our current era, that of matter and spirit, which was used as a source for power by the church, establishing the opposition between possibility of knowledge and impossibility of the same: gnosticisim vs. agnosticism, where the second one established “dogmas” instead of rational knowledge with the sole purpose of power (“they were the only who could know”, as the nowadays liberals :-) )

  30. E.M.Smith says:

    @Robin Melville:

    I’m not real “hung up” on being exactly “on topic”. It’s more like “sort of in the neighborhood” that matters (and even then if it’s really interesting, well, anything goes ;-)

    So if we’re talking “genetics of human migrations” and things wander into genetics of the turnip or migration patterns of geese, well, “close enough”… and if things wander into the history of some arcane ethnic group with really interesting stuff, I’ll be reading along with everyone else… Sometimes those digressions result in whole new threads when they get rolling enough to need it; so don’t “self edit” too harshly…


    On one of the threads there was a comment with AlGore in the lead-in, that then has some Very Interesting planetary stuff in the last half. I think it was this one:

    If you skipped it, I think you want to sit through the AlGore part to get to the Planet part. There is a nice presentation, with photos, of the various “Planet Changes” that have happened this last high solar activity cycle. Pretty much ALL of the planets showing unusual and excessive activity / changes and some of it sure looks like electrical hot spots to me (rampant speculation…).

    At any rate, I’m ponding a posting from it, but it would take a while to chaise down the links to the original works, so will likely take a while.

  31. Jerry says:

    @ pascvake @ E. M.
    lol, Not to worry guys, I was never worried that the reds could not figure out how to keep going the old fashioned way even if the banks close. :)

  32. E.M.Smith says:


    Interesting find…. I thought the Armageddon scenario in this posting:

    was rather interesting too. I’ve had similar (though not as detailed nor as religion driven) scenarios come to mind. We’ve talked about Turkey and it’s turn to a stronger more radical Islam.

    I’m pretty sure that at some point the Middle East war of Armageddon will break out. You can pretty much put all of Islam on one side against Israel. We get pulled in on the Israeli side (internal US politics assure that). I’d typically assumed Russia would end up on the Islam side due to their long history of “taking the other side”. That article points out, though, a resurgent Orthodox Christian view might bind much of the old Orthodox area together with Greece against Turkey. Interesting POV…

    (I think he goes a bit off the likely path by asserting the USA ends up on the EU side against Russia, reprise of the Cold War roles; forgetting that we’re broke, very tired of all these “adventures” and wars without a vote of congress, and, frankly, most Americans think the various FSU Countries still ARE part of Russia – or don’t even know they exist at all anyway… so would NOT be interested in sending family over their to die for something they don’t care about. )

    Still, an interesting view inside the Russian POV on how a new Middle East Armageddon could spread into a WWII 1/2 of sorts…

    (Personally, I’d be in favor of just letting Russia clean up the Middle East and keep any parts they like. I’m tired of trying to fix that mess and you know the Russian will sell the oil anyway.)

    At any rate, an amusing diversion. Oh, and an “on topic” hook:

    Russia is named for The Red, after the red hair and beard of some of the folks who formed the country. (There, now it’s related to the topic here ;-)

  33. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M.: You are right, you better “fight for freedom” inside the US than outside: As an example you could send some missiles to the EPA headquarters, there is one of the multiple and real menaces you have :-)

  34. adolfogiurfa says:

    BTW, you, being americans, ignore your real WMD´s: MacDonald´s, KFC, jeans, Adam´s chiclets, coke, etc, these are devastating :-)

  35. adolfogiurfa says:

    Sorry! , I was forgetting the worst of all WMD´s: “Al Baby”

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