BAMAD no.55

 DNA and 
 Anthropology Updates 

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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BAMAD no. 55
Brit-Am Anthropology and DNA Update
12 July 2009, 20 Tammuz 5769
1. Israelite and Neighborhood Origins of Western DNA?
2. Humans capable of (but not good at) assessing relatedness from faces
3. Population and DNA Changes in Europe

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1. Israelite and Neighborhood Origins of Western DNA?

B-A Explanation:

The remark below indicates that R1b1b2 (Now Prominent amongst Irish, British, and West Europeans) originated in SW Asia meaning the region of Israel and its surroundings.

Date: Mon, 29 Jun 2009 23:23:35 -0400
From: Vincent Vizachero
Subject: Re: [DNA] R1b Origins (was OurEuropeangeographicalblock. . .)

I'm saying that the most upstream types of R1b1b2 are more frequent in
SW Asia than in NW Europe.

Frequency requires a numerator AND a denominator:.  You provided only
the numerator, and I gave you the rest of the picture.


2. Humans capable of (but not good at) assessing relatedness from faces
June 28, 2009
Humans capable of (but not good at) assessing relatedness from faces Proceedings of the Royal Society B doi: 10.1098/rspb.2009.0677 Human ability to detect kinship in strangers' faces: effects of the degree of relatedness
Gwena, Kaminski et al.

The resemblance between human faces has been shown to be a possible cue in recognizing the relatedness between parents and children, and more recently, between siblings. However, the general inclusive fitness theory proposes that kin-selective behaviours are also relevant to more distant relatives, which requires the detection of larger kinship bonds. We conducted an experiment to explore the use of facial clues by "strangers", i.e. evaluators from a different family, to associate humans of varying degrees of relatedness. We hypothesized that the visual capacity to detect relatedness should be weaker with lower degrees of relatedness. We showed that human adults are capable of (although not very efficient at) assessing the relatedness of unrelated individuals from photographs and that visible facial cues vary according to the degree of relatedness. This sensitivity exists even for kin pair members that are more than a generation apart and have never lived together. Collectively, our findings are in agreement with emerging knowledge on the role played by facial resemblance as a kinship cue. But we have progressed further to show how the capacity to distinguish between related and non-related pairs applies to situations relevant to indirect fitness.

3. Population and DNA Changes in Europe
B-A Explanation:

The source below brings a series of facts showing that (1) populations change sometimes quickly even when no major emigration-immigration has been recorded, e.g.Netherlands with up to 80% change over last 300 years.
(2) DNA changes. Ancient DNA in the British Isles, Iceland, Tuscany (Italy), Central Europe, Denmark, etc, is different from that of Modern Times. This may be due (as the author assumes) to demographic changes (one type becomes more predominant, another diminishes) or (as we think is also possible) changes in the DNA itself.

Also interesting in relation to this whole thread (mtDNA as a stand-in for Y-DNA, modern distribution reflecting ancient distribution, etc.): From Dieneke's blog at

Part II of his discussion of a paper: UPDATE II (Jul 2) From the paper: Analyses of mtDNA diversity in the British Isles (T ?pf et al. 2007), and Iceland (Helgason et al. 2009), also showed sharp differences between historical and current populations. In addition, a large fraction (up to 80%, depending on the region considered) of the Dutch surnames were displaced from the areas in which their frequency was highest three centuries ago (Manni et al. 2005). Nobody can tell whether the Netherlands represent an exception or the rule, until similar studies are carried out elsewhere, and there is no comparable information on previous centuries. However, the point here is that a genetic discontinuity between present and past populations seems rather common in the few European countries studied so far. Deep demographic changes in the last two millennia are both suggested by the analysis of ancient DNA in Tuscany, Iceland and Britain, and empirically demonstrated in the Netherlands. Our failure to reproduce by simulation the observed haplotype number of the contemporary Tuscan samples may mean that such changes involved multiple immigration processes, too complex to model at present. The paper by T ?pf et al. in turn points to this study of ancient British mtDNA which I had forgotten about. That study shows an increase of haplogroup H (as most of the OTHER probably is) in modern times compared to the past, and the drastic reduction of some haplogroups as U5a1 and U5a1a. Other cases of apparent drastic change over time, involves the Central Europeans (reduced haplogroup N1a) compared to early Central European farmers., and medieval vs. modern Danes (reduced haplogroup I). So, the picture does seem to suggest substantial changes in mtDNA gene pools over time across many parts of Europe and time frames. Whether this reflects population movements or selection, remains to be seen. In the paper on the Netherlands, for examples (Manni et al.) cited in this paper shows that the original surnames in a region can be rapidly replaced over a genealogical time frame. Studies such as these put into question the widely held assumption that modern gene pools reflect prehistorical events, such as the repopulation of Europe after the glacial age, or the advent of farming. If genetic change is so substantial over 100 generations, we are rather foolish, I believe, to attempt prehistoric reconstructions about events that took place 300 or even 600 generations ago.

Thread: R1b Origins (was OurEuropeangeographicalblock. . .)
Specific Author: Lost source.

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