Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Cheddar Man

There's a lot of deliberate misinformation promulgated by the media about Cheddar Man, much of it meant to weaken the claims of Britons to their own land and their own heritage, and promote the nihilistic mulit-culti death of Western Civilization.  Razib Khan, who himself has no British ancestry to speak of is a pretty good objective scientist, and his points above can be summarized in a few dot points:
  • We don't know how dark he is.  Portraying Cheddar Man as if he were as dark as a sub-Saharan African is kind of ridiculous.  Most likely, he was the same "darkness" as your typical WHG population, which may well have been as dark as a blue-eyed Papuan, but which much more likely was more like the darkness of a modern Turk or Arab or Bedouin.  Especially considering that the WHG supposedly migrated out of the Middle East into Europe following the LGM.  But, we really don't know, because these prehistoric populations don't really resemble any modern populations anymore.  But maybe a stockier blue-eyed, darker skinned Afghan or Tajik or something like that would come relatively close in some ways, although only by coincidence.
  • It's a bit of a moot point, as the WHG genetics was almost completely overwhelmed and contributed surprisingly little to the Neolithic population of Britain, which would have been EEF and "Sardinian-like."
  • Which in turn matters surprisingly little, because the Neolithic population was almost completely replaced (90%) by a Bell Beaker invasion in the Chalcolithic/EBA.  It's entirely possible that Cheddar Man has no living descendants at all, and if he does, his genetics is so muted by subsequent waves of migration of peoples who are vastly genetically different, that his "contribution" to the Britons today is negligible. (If you're thinking that the English have too high of a percentage of EEF DNA to have that make sense, keep in mind that the Bell Beaker folks already picked up plenty of EEF DNA as they crossed the European Continent before they jumped across the Channel.  Much of the EEF DNA in the modern English and Scottish, etc. isn't going to be "native" British EEF, but continental EEF that arrived with the Bell Beakers.)
Some of the depictions of Cheddar Man from the past.

University of Manchester sculpt of Cheddar Man.

The Channel 4 propaganda Cheddar Man.  Usually it's shown without good lighting, which makes the sculpt look even darker.

Another depiction of Cheddar Man, who probably looks a little too modern European.

And now, Loschbour Man, a different WHG specimen, but part of the same genetic population as Cheddar Man.

The classic reconstruction of the WHG phenotype.

The average admixture levels of modern populations of various countries today; blue is WHG, red is EEF and green is Yamnaya (which is about half EHG and half CHG admixture itself.  And EHG is an admixture of Ancient North Eurasions, ANE, and something that's not too dissimilar to WHG itself.  It's turtles all the way down)

I'd be really curious if there's an easy way to come up with your individual breakdown if you are the descendant of a European, like I am.  I'm personally about 1/8 Portuguese, which is probably the same as Spanish (regular or north?  Dunno; my specific ancestors are from Madeira), and the other 7/8s is probably a good 50/50 split between English and Scottish with thinner strands of Irish (probably just like Scottish) and Prussian.  Curious that there's no Germany on the chart below.  Just guessing, based on that, I'd say my own ancestry is WHG in the low teens, EEF in the mid 40s and Yamnaya in the mid 40s.  Although phenolotypally, I appear to be a relatively normal Anglo-American.  My dad has a much stronger resemblance to the Portuguese side, but then again, he has twice the Portuguese ancestry I do too.  My mom is very stereotypically New England Anglo-American transplanted in the mid 1800s to the West.  It's curious, in some ways, that given that half of my ancestry is New England Puritan, originally arrived at Massachusetts in the late 1600s, that I don't think of that side as formative to my personality, behavior, or identity at all; I consider myself an Anglo-Scottish Borderer type guy by both personality, appearance, and culture, although that's at best only 3/8s of my actual genetics.

I sure wish there were a modern population that had as high a percentage of Yamnaya (or better yet, EHG) and WHG as the Sardinians do EEF.  Then we might have a pretty good idea of what exactly they looked like.

Then again, maybe we wouldn't, because it doesn't account for other changes that aren't just a factor of hybridization of genes between populations.  What exactly has caused, for instance, the high incidence of pale skin and blondness in northern populations?  Some of it is from founder populations, but looking at, for example, the Estonians.  They are about as Nordic a population phenotypically as you get, and yet they have a high percentage of WHG (darker skinned and haired) and Yamnaya, which may not have been all that blond and light-skinned themselves.   At least the CHG element of the Yamnaya population wouldn't have been, which may have made up a significant chunk their social elite at at least one point, if the genetic analysis of a handful of their burials is any guide to the population overall.  Which, maybe it is or isn't.  And for that matter, there's no reason to believe that the ANEs were blond or pale skinned necessarily either, although maybe they did already trend towards the latter, at least.

It seems likely that sexual selection favored the continuation of the diversity of skin, hair and eye colors once they appeared, but where in the world did they come from in the first place?  It seems difficult to point to a founder population that already had those features and spread them in successor populations, so it must have been something else.

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