… and so is nearly every European

Research by Harvard and Tubingen universities shows that nearly all presentday Europeans are descended from three admixed groups: west European hunter-gatherers, early farmers from the Near East, and, a later addition after the initial admixture, ancient northern Eurasians. You can read a report of the research, ‘New branch added to the European family tree,’ at Harvard Medical School report of 17 September 2014.

The original article about the research is ‘Ancient human genomes suggest three ancestral populations for present-day Europeans’, in Nature but only a summary is available for free.

I have deleted a link to an article on this in Past Horizons of 16 September 2014 as it seems to have been removed from the website.

Earlier posts
Our mother, 143 000 years ago 12 August 2014

Ranivorous Britons 16 October 2013

Cornish grass 25 May 2013

The origins of the Cornish 8 March 2013

Cornish and English bulging 6 January 2013

How we got to Britain 4 November 2012

Monkeys and me 24 October 2012

English and Cornish share a part neandertal ancestry 23 October 2012

A common source for the English and Cornish 14 May 2012

A walrus, a mouse, and a man went into a bar 18 July 2010

Puny boundaries 19 May 2010

To see oursels as ithers see us 17 May 2010

A wondrous mixture 8 May 2010

The Cornishman, the Englishman, and the frog 2 May 2010

The first Cornishman 1 May 2010

Cornwall 5460 years ago (The Balaresque study) 31 January 2010

Atomising people 12 September 2008

Blue-eyed Cornish and English are brothers 31 January 2008

English and Cornish are sisters under the skin 20 July 2007

English and Cornish have same milk gene 10 March 2007



RIEUX Adrien et al ‘Improved calibration of the human mitochondrial clock using ancient genomes’ in Molecular biology and evolution August 2014. You can access a free pdf of the full text here.

This research shows that the most recent common female ancestor of homo sapiens dates from 143 000 years ago. We’re all related, as I have said many times on the blog. Where those claims of distinctiveness go wrong is that they stop too soon; despite claims of antiquity, they do not look far enough into the past to see our commonalities. This is not to say tribal differences have not been constructed since but they are comparatively recent and they are only layers on our commonality. I think we should primarily focus on our commonality rather than the constructs and phenotypic traits that separate us.

Of course, 143 000 years ago all homo sapiens were still in Africa. That means we Europeans are all – English, Cornish, and the rest – the descendants of colonists and settlers.

The nationalist ancestry and descendancy delusion

A telling rebuttal to nationalist ancestry and descendancy particularity is this from research into our commonality: “No matter the languages we speak or the color of our skin, we share ancestors who planted rice on the banks of the Yangtze, who first domesticated horses on the steppes of the Ukraine, who hunted giant sloths in the forests of North and South America, and who labored to build the Great Pyramid of Khufu” – Modelling the recent common ancestry of all living humans Douglas LT ROHDE et al Nature 431 pages 562-566, 30 September 2004. (Free summary but full item chargeable.)

Earlier posts

Ranivorous Britons 16 October 2013

The origins of the Cornish 8 March 2013

Cornish and English bulging 6 January 2013

Monkeys and me 24 October 2012

English and Cornish share a part neandertal ancestry 23 October 2012

A common source for the English and Cornish 14 May 2012

A walrus, a mouse, and a man went into a bar 18 July 2010

Puny boundaries 19 May 2010

To see oursels as ithers see us 17 May 2010

A wondrous mixture 8 May 2010

The Cornishman, the Englishman, and the frog 2 May 2010

The first Cornishman 1 May 2010

Cornwall 5460 years ago (The Balaresque study) 31 January 2010

Atomising people 12 September 2008

Blue-eyed Cornish and English are brothers 31 January 2008

English and Cornish are sisters under the skin 20 July 2007

English and Cornish have same milk gene 10 March 2007

Here are three items: bus, train, track. Your task is to pair up any two of them that you think go together.

Okay, have you done that? Now you can read on.

This was a triad test in a study that revealed differences between people from rice-farming south China and wheat-farming north China, roughly divided by the river Yangtze. Put briefly rice farming involves much cooperation between workers and over time that encourages collectivist attitudes; wheat farming conversely encourages individualist attitudes.

You can read a summary of the research in ‘Large-scale psychological differences within China explained by rice versus wheat agriculture’ in Science here but the full article requires a subscription. Googling the title of the article throws up several commentators on it.

What was your pairing? In very simple terms – too simple – if you paired train and bus you are an individualist, if you paired train and track a collectivist. The different modes of growing the crops involve cooperation for rice and more independence for wheat.

So, how did you do? Rice or wheat?

Read too this by Rachel Laudan for a questioning view. She reminds us that there is not a monolithic Chinese culture – I might add just as the places that nationalists call Cornwall and England are many Cornwalls and many Englands.

Note
TALHELM Thomas et al ‘Large-scale psychological differences within China explained by rice versus wheat agriculture’ in Science 9 May 2014 (Volume 344, pages 603-608)


RANIVOROUS BRITONS

16 October 2013

I have written several posts about the commonalities of people everywhere – and indeed what we have in common with other animals.

Now read this. The British, well, the inhabitants of what is now Wiltshire, were eating frogs’ legs around 9500 years ago.

Frogs have long vanished from the British diet but the article with cheery patriotism says we ate them before the French.

You see, we are not only related to the pipid frog, we ate frogs too.


CORNISH GRASS

25 May 2013

I have often drawn attention to our wide and varied family, explaining that you – and, yes, me – come from stardust and are related to the pipid frog and that the differences between the Cornish and English are trivial.

Now Brian Cox has reminded us that we are related to grass. He says we and grass “share the same common ancestor. You are all related. You were once the same”. More, “the fundamental similarities between all living things outweigh the differences” (Brian COX Wonders of life BBC 2013. Hat tip Maria Popova where you can read more).

Earlier posts on this theme
The origins of the Cornish 8 March 2013
Monkeys and me 24 October 2012
English and Cornish share a part neandertal ancestry 23 October 2012
A common source for the English and Cornish 14 May 2012
A walrus, a mouse, and a man went into a bar 18 July 2010
Puny boundaries 19 May 2010
To see oursels as ithers see us 17 May 2010
A wondrous mixture 8 May 2010
The Cornishman, the Englishman, and the frog 2 May 2010
The first Cornishman 1 May 2010
Cornwall 5460 years ago (The Balaresque study) 31 January 2010
Atomising people 12 September 2008
Blue-eyed Cornish and English are brothers 31 January 2008
English and Cornish are sisters under the skin 20 July 2007
English and Cornish have same milk gene 10 March 2007


Cornish people have a bulge. So do English people. Come to that so do the French, Zimbabweans, and Chinese.

A study of the heads of anatomically modern humans – homo sapiens, that’s you and me – suggests that prefrontal bulging marks us out from extinct human species such as Neanderthals. We living humans have such a lot in common, such a lot, don’t we?

Note
Bruner E et al ‘Geometric variation of the frontal squama in the genus homo: Frontal bulging and the origin of modern human morphology’ American Journal of Physical Anthropology (online 4 January 2013). The full article is for payment but the abstract is free.


HOW WE GOT TO BRITAIN

4 November 2012

Steadily we are learning more about the origins of our homo sapiens species and our travels to populate the world. A readable account of some latest research is here (‘Scientists use genetics and climate reconstructions to track the global spread of modern humans out of Africa’ in University of Cambridge Research News 17 September 2012).

An abstract of the research is here (‘The great human expansion’ in PNAS 17 October 2012 Brenna M HENN and others). The full paper is available for payment.

Turning to this corner of the world, the work of the Ancient human occupation of Britain project, uncovering the first humans to live here, suggests that the date of the first human occupation of Britain is more than 800 000 years ago. The story is one of coming and going, settling and leaving, until around 12 000 years ago when the ancestors of most of us current occupants arrived: we presentday people have relatively shallow roots in Britain.

Our human occupying history thus began long before the arrival of Celtic-speaking migrants in Britain. It is unacceptable to arbitrarily put the starting point of our story where it suits Cornish nationalist or Anglo-Saxon nationalist myths and politics. We should acknowledge all the long years of Britain’s history.

Notes
This summary time chart of human occupation of Britain is informative.

This is about the Ancient human occupation of Britian project. There is a book: Homo britannicus (2006) Chris STRINGER Penguin