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31 January 2014

A Slightly Less-Evolved White Man

This is the face of a man who lived in the Iberian Peninsula 7000 years ago.
CNN is currently running a news-item on the subject of European physical anthropology that is just begging, through misunderstanding caused by lack of context, to be abused by those anti-White propagandists who insist that we all have Negro ancestry. The article quotes a Spanish scientist who says that a 7000-year-old skeleton found in northern Spain, whose closest modern genetic relatives live in Sweden and Finland, carries "African" genes for complexion, and therefore had "dark skin." How dark is not known.

"The biggest surprise was to discover that this individual possessed African versions in the genes that determine the light pigmentation of the current Europeans, which indicates that he had dark skin, although we cannot know the exact shade." [Carles Lalueza-Fox, quoted by CNN, 27 January 2014]

The man also differed from his modern Swedish and Finnish relatives in being lactose-intolerant, as are many Southern Europeans today. (The ability in adults to drink unfermented milk is a trait evolved in cold climates, where milk does not sour rapidly. About half of French people, for example, are lactose-intolerant.) Other Sources  report that this man also lacked the enzyme amylase for digesting starch, which became a highly advantageous trait after man settled into farming with the New Stone-Age (which had started in the Near East but had not yet reached Western Europe when this individual lived).*

The problem with CNN's article is that it does not explain (1) what is meant by "African" DNA, or (2) how this European is supposed to have gotten this "African" DNA. These are important questions, because the abuse of vague terminology and vague concepts is the stuff of which anti-White propaganda is made.

We know for example that African is a word with a variety of meanings. Africa originally was the name of a Roman province that included parts of modern Tunisia and Libya. In modern usage Africa can mean a continent or, euphemistically, if one wishes to avoid a racially unmistakable word like Negro, African can refer to a race found especially on that continent. 

The fact that there are other races that have inhabited Africa since prehistoric times – including Berbers in the north and east, who migrated into Africa from Europe during the Ice Age, retaining to this day blond hair, blue-eyes, and fair skin in the more remote, mountain-dwelling populations – is not well known to many Americans. Just as little known is the fact that the geographic distribution of Negroes was once much more limited than today, before the European colonial beneficence that caused an explosion of the Negro population in Subsaharan Africa (e.g. a 20-fold increase in Kenya between 1900 and 1952). Generally speaking, the farther back in time one looks, the less plausible the identification of African with Negro becomes.

That is why the use of the word African in this context is, perhaps unintentionally, misleading. In current American parlance "African" is a euphemism for Negro. By presenting the word African without any explanation that this is not what the scientist meant, CNN is inviting misunderstanding. We all know what is going to happen. This  example of a European with an “African” trait is going to be used as spurious evidence that White people all have Negro ancestry (and therefore we should not be repelled by the prospect of further mixing with Negroes). Get ready to hear it ad nauseam.

That theme of anti-White propaganda seems to be getting more and more common. We saw it, for example, in the recent trash-TV show where Craig Cobb was absurdly told that his DNA was 14% “Subsaharan African,” and in 2010 we were told that Adolf Hitler's Y-chromosome meant that he probably had Negro or Jewish ancestry, exactly two years after the same journalist had told us that it proved that he did not have a Jewish grandfather as rumored. (In fact Hitler's E1b1b chromosome is not rare but possessed by 5-10% of Germans, and its prevalence in the north and east of Africa suggests that it was brought thither from Europe by the primordially blond Berber people.)

Getting back to the man from La Braña, it can be verified, by checking other sources, that the quoted scientist, Carles Lalueza-Fox, in fact did not mean what many will assume when they read CNN's report. Clearer statements were quoted by other news-outlets, including the BBC:

"One explanation is that the lighter skin colour evolved much later than was previously assumed."
"It has been assumed that it is something that happens in response to going from Africa to higher latitudes where the UV radiation is very low and you need to synthesise vitamin D in your skin. Your skin becomes lighter quite soon," explained Dr Lalueza-Fox.

"It is obvious that this is not the case, because this guy has been in Europe for 40,000 years and he still has dark skin."[Carles Lalueza-Fox, quoted by Rebecca Morelle, BBC]

The long-standing belief has been that man was dark when he arrived in Europe and became pale as an adaptation to the low levels of sunlight in the north. What Lalueza-Fox is saying  is that unlike his relatives in modern Sweden and Finland this particular specimen of European man had not yet lost the gene for dark skin that his ancestors had in Africa. The persistence of that gene in some individuals has nothing whatsoever to do with Negro ancestry. No racial admixture in La Braña Man,  just retention of an archaic trait at a surprisingly late date, in a man who already had blue eyes.

But after all, in the Iberian Peninsula he wasn't very far north. The evolutionary pressure for fair skin was certainly less, if any, there compared to the Baltic rim. An interesting question in physical anthropology might be whether some of the swarthiness found in parts of Europe is explicable through such retention of an archaic trait, rather than the admixture that we know explains much of it.

In any case, as much as all the world loves blue or green eyes, and blond or auburn hair, complexion is not race. A Negro with albinism is still very recognizable as a Negro, and the man from La Braña, regardless of what his skin-tone may have been, is very recognizable as a member of our race, although in certain respects less evolved.
* An interesting and potentially inflammatory detail would be the man's cranial capacity. It was in the north that Europeans evolved, along with pale skin, the capacity for self-control represented by a more substantial prefrontal cortex. Does this man's dark complexion, which suggests less influence of the cold north, come with a less developed brain?