Updates in DNA studies along with Anthropological Notes of general interest with a particular emphasis on points pertinent to the study of Ancient Israelite Ancestral Connections to Western Peoples as explained in Brit-Am studies.
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Brit-Am Anthropology and DNA Update
The last untouchable in Europe
2. An Updated World-Wide Characterization of the Cohen Modal
3. Caucasoid Phenotypic Variation
The last untouchable in Europe
The only living Cagot traces the roots of her pariah people, who endured
centuries of brutal prejudice for reasons no one can even remember
By Sean Thomas
If the word "Cagot" means nothing to you, that is not surprising. The history of
the Cagot people is obscure; some assert it has been deliberately erased. Marie
certainly believes that: "To talk about the Cagots is still a bad thing in the
mountains. The French are ashamed of what they did to us, the Cagots are ashamed
of what they were. That is why no one, these days, will confess they are of
As Marie-Pierre avers, the truth about the Cagots is obscure. The people first
emerge in documents around the 13th century. By then they are already regarded
as an inferior caste, the "untouchables" of western France, or northern Spain.
In medieval times the Cagots ? also knows as Agotes, Gahets, Capets, Caqueux,
etc, were divided from the general peasantry in several ways. They had their
own urban districts: usually on the malarial side of the river. These dismal
ghettoes were known as Cagoteries; traces of them can still be found in Pyrenean
communities such as Campan or Hagetmau.
For hundreds of years, Cagots were treated as different and inferior. In the
churches, they had to use their own doors (at least 60 Pyrenean churches still
boast "Cagot" entrances); they had their own fonts; and they were given
communion on the end of long wooden spoons. Marie-Pierre adds: "When a Cagot
came into a town, they had to report their presence by shaking a rattle. Just
like a leper, ringing his bell."
Daily Cagot life was likewise marked by apartheid. Cagots were forbidden to
enter most trades or professions. They were forced, in effect, to be the drawers
of water and hewers of wood. So they made barrels for wine and coffins for the
dead. They also became expert carpenters: ironically they built many of the
Pyrenean churches from which they were partly excluded.
Their provenance is opaque. That is partly because the Cagots themselves have
disappeared from view. During the French Revolution, the laws against Cagots
were formally abandoned - indeed many Cagots pillaged local archives and erased
any record of their ancestry. After 1789, the Cagots slowly assimilated into the
general populace; many may have even emigrated.
Nonetheless, there are historical accounts that afford an intriguing glimpse.
Contemporary sources describe them as being short, dark and stocky. Confusingly,
some others saw them as blonde and blue eyed. Francisque Michel's Histoire des
races maudites (History of the cursed races, 1847), was one of the first
studies. He found Cagots had "frizzy brown hair". He also found at least 10,000
Cagots still scattered across Gascony and Navarre, still suffering repression ?
nearly 70 years after the Cagot caste was "abolished".
So who is right? It's a confusing picture. But Marie-Pierre Manet-Beauzac, "the
last Cagot in the world", has no doubts where she comes from: "I believe the
Cagots are descendants of Moorish soldiers left over from the 8th century Muslim
invasion of Spain and France. That's why some people called them 'Saracens'. I
am quite dark, and my daughter Sylvia is the darkest in her class."
2. An Updated World-Wide
Characterization of the Cohen Modal
[A Very Important Paper
Confirms claims made by Brit-Am:
DNA Racial Classifications Refuted!
Case Study: "The Cohen Gene"]
J.E. Ekins1, E.N. Tinah2, N.M. Myres1, K.H. Ritchie1, U.A.
Perego1, J.B. Ekins1, L.A.D. Hutchison1, L. Layton1, M.L. Lunt1, S.S. Masek1,
A.A. Nelson1, M.E. Nelson1,
K.L. Pennington1, J.L. Peterson1, T. Tolley1, S.R. Woodward1 1) Sorenson
Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF), Salt Lake City, UT, USA; 2) Department of
Micro and Molecular Biology, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, USA
The bulk of the CMHg chromosomes were observed in J1 (54.1%)
and J2 (41.7%), with a small portion falling outside of haplogroup J (4.2%).
Members of the CMHg were
observed throughout the world, with significant frequencies in various Arab
(34.2%), Oman (22.8%), Iraq (19.2%), Palestine (8.0%).
The significant presence of CMH chromosomes in deeply
divergent clades J1 and J2 (>25ky), indicates the present CMH definition is not
sufficient to distinguish
lineages that likely arose by parallel IBS mutations. An expanded STR definition
is proposed which
allows differentiation between CMH-compatible chromosomes in J1 and J2.
A world-wide sampling of 12,372 individuals with known paternal geographic
origin was surveyed for
occurrence of chromosomes compatible with at least 5 of the 6 STR alleles
defined as members of the CMHg (Thomas et al.
chromosomes were observed in 49 countries in Eurasia, Africa, America, and
Of note in the geographic distribution of CMHg chromosomes is the high
occurrence in Middle
Eastern regions that are not traditionally considered admixed with mainstream
populations. CMHg types are seen in high frequency in Yemen (34.2%), Oman
(21.9%), and Iraq (19.2%) populations with a presence also in various parts of
the Levant and
Anatolia, although with lower incidence. The great majority of the observations
chromosomes in these geographically defined Middle Eastern populations occurs in
individuals harboring only 5/6 CMH STR alleles. In contrast, individuals
matching at 6/6 of the
CMH markers are found in the greatest proportions in Eastern European
observation is compatible with known Jewish diasporan movements into that area.
both 5/6 and 6/6, were observed at lower levels throughout Europe and South
In agreement with previous observations (Thomas et al. 1998), both Sephardic and
Ashkenazi self-identified Cohanim
exhibited the highest frequency of the CMHg (65.2%-67.1%, 47.4%-52.2% 6/6) of
any other subgrouping surveyed, ethnic
or geographic. Other Jewish designations also present CMHg individuals, although
at lower levels (<25%). Many
other non-Jewish groupings have a comparable occurrence of the type: Muslim Kurd
(22.1%), Bedouin (21.9%), and
Armenian (12.7%). However the frequency of 6/6 CMH chromosomes is markedly
higher in Jewish than in non-
Jewish populations, where individuals matching at only 5/6 markers are most
commonly observed. Note that in
comparing estimates from Figures 1 and 2, the most frequent occurrence of CMHg-compatible
chromosomes following the
Cohanim occurs in Yemen, which is currently inhabited by a Muslim Arab
3. Caucasoid Phenotypic Variation
1) Swedes and Dutch are more Nordic than Germans, who have a
strong Alpine component; and Britons are distinguished from all by the
Mediterranean elements in their population.
2) Likewise, Spaniards and Portuguese are more Mediterranean than Italians and
Greeks, who both have Alpine and Dinaric elements in their make-up.
3) Eastern Slavs (Ukrainians) show the Baltic/Uralic "Slavic look" more
prominently than western Slavs (Poles/Czechs) and southern Slavs
(Serbians/Croatians), who resemble their non-Slavic neighbors.
4) Despite much crossbreeding with the spread of Islam, three Middle Eastern
Mediterranean types are well-defined: Irano-Afghan of Iran, Orientalid Arabian,
and Berberid Tunisian of North Africa.
5) The average Caucasoid looks, well, average -- he could fit in just about
anywhere; and the four constituent composites have distinctive looks that
sharply delineate their respective regions.
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