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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

We're probably smarter than our Bronze and Iron Age ancestors

There's an interesting new preprint at bioRxiv focusing on cognitive ability in Europeans from the Bronze Age to the present:

Abstract: Human populations living in Eurasia during the Holocene experienced significant evolutionary change. It has been predicted that the transition of Holocene populations into agrarianism and urbanization brought about culture-gene co-evolution that favoured via directional selection genetic variants associated with higher general cognitive ability (GCA). Population expansion and replacement has also been proposed as an important source of GCA gene-frequency change during this time period. To examine whether GCA might have risen during the Holocene, we compare a sample of 99 ancient Eurasian genomes (ranging from 4,557 to 1,208 years of age) with a sample of 503 modern European genomes, using three different cognitive polygenic scores. Significant differences favouring the modern genomes were found for all three polygenic scores (Odds Ratio=0.92, p=0.037; 0.81, p=0.001 and 0.81, p=0.02). Furthermore, a significant increase in positive allele count over 3,249 years was found using a sample of 66 ancient genomes (r=0.217, p one-tailed=0.04). These observations are consistent with the expectation that GCA rose during the Holocene.

As far as I can see, the preprint overall makes sense, and this part is interesting in the context of population genetics, even if it just confirms what many of us here have already known.

Late Bronze Age European and Central Asian gene pools resemble present-day Eurasian genetic structure (17). Indeed, with values of Fst ranging from 0.00 to 0.08, the genetic distances between present-day European 1000 Genomes samples and the Ancient samples indicate little to modest levels of genetic differentiation (little differentiation corresponds to an Fst range of 0 to 0.05, and modest to an Fst range of 0.05 to 0.15 [41]). These values are lower than the distance between present-day Europeans and East Asians (F st =0.11) (17). Despite this the two ancient genomes belonging to the Siberian Okunevo culture (RISE515 and RISE516) were somewhat of an outlier, exhibiting modest differentiation relative to the EUR sample when compared with the other genomes in the sample (average F st =0.074 vs. 0.016 for the remainder of the sample). Their removal reduced the genetic differentiation between the two samples, yielding 99 ancient genomes, sourced from sites located in present-day Armenia (8.08%), Czech Republic (6.06%), Denmark (6.06%), Estonia (1.01%), Germany (10.1%), Hungary (10.1%), Italy (3.03%), Kazakhstan (1.01%), Lithuania (1.01%), Montenegro (2.02%), Poland (7.07%), Russia (36.36%) and Sweden (8.08%).

But this part is just weird.

Changes in allele frequencies can also occur via population expansion and replacement, perhaps driven in part by the relative advantage in conflict conferred upon populations by GCA. Consistent with this, as a possible result of the Neolithic revolution and during the Bronze Age in Europe, three Y-chromosomal haplogroups (R1a, R1b, I1), which are associated with farming or pastoralist cultures, came to mostly replace the formerly dominant hunter-gatherer lineages (associated predominantly with haplogroups G2a and I2) (32). Ancient farming societies in particular are associated with higher social complexity and the use of more complex tools (11); furthermore the contemporary distribution of these three haplogroups is positively associated with the variation in cognitive ability among contemporary European nations (32). The major population movements occurred in the period between 3.5 and 7.3 kybp, however, as noted in (17), westward migration of populations associated with haplogroup R1a continued from the Pontic-Steppe region between 5 and 1.4 kybp.

Needless to say, an intervention was begging, so I left the following comment at bioRxiv under the preprint. It'll be interesting to see how the authors incorporate this information into their model.

That's not correct.

G2a is the main early farmer lineage of Neolithic Western, Central and Southern Europe, and it arrived in Europe with early Neolithic farmers from Anatolia.

I2 is the main hunter-gatherer lineage of Mesolithic Western, Central and Southern Europe.

R1a and R1b appear to be the main hunter-gatherer lineages of Mesolithic and Neolithic Eastern Europe (keep in mind that the Neolithic in much of Eastern Europe was defined by the presence of pottery, not necessarily any type of farming).

At some point hunter-gatherers native to Western, Central and Southern Europe carrying I2 were acculturated into farming societies, and so I2 rose in frequency in farmer populations at the expense of G2a.

Then, during the Eneolithic/Copper Age, foragers on the Eastern European steppe carrying R1a and R1b mixed with pastoralists from the fringes of the steppe, like the North Caucasus, and became steppe pastoralists.

These steppe pastoralists with Eastern European forager-derived R1a and R1b then expanded rapidly and moved en masse into the rest of Europe, largely replacing the farmer G2a and I2 lineages there.

It's still a mystery how I1 fits into the picture. But it's probably just a North European forager-derived lineage that got caught up somehow in the expansions of the steppe pastoralists or their descendants.


Woodley et al., Holocene selection for variants associated with cognitive ability: Comparing ancient and modern genomes, bioRxiv, February 21, 2017, doi:


Karl_K said...

That Y haplogroup part makes me skeptical about the rest of the paper's conclusions. That isn't just a typo.

Davidski said...

Me too, but let's see what they do after reading my comment.

ser nam said...

Meh, I think it's true in general higher CGA people would have an advantage and excel but only to the extent that the society allowed them to i.e. get too powerful or rich and local king Ugg and his defensive tackle size thugs or another clan/tribe will pay you a visit and relieve you of your possessions and maybe a head. OTOH subsistence farmers aren't generally known for their abilities at trig, diff eq's or kinematics and dynamics either.

However, I look around me at people dependent on welfare, nanny states, some of whom can't change a tire or barely can boil water and even anecdotes of highly paid educated people who didn't know how to use a thermostat and had to be told how to test if an electrical outlet was working (both true) and I think Otzi's folk and the hunter gatherers had it all over them.

Karl_K said...

@ser nam

Your post didn't make any sense in terms of population genetics and intelligence.

If you look for genes that have an effect on intelligence, 99% of alleles are mutations that REDUCE intelligence. There are very few, if any, alleles that make someone super smart.

What does that mean in the long run?

It means that this isn't a 'single person' type of issue. Everyone has several shitty intelligence alleles. Luckily, intelligence is based on a lot of genes. More than any other known trait.

I won't explain further, as I'm sure nearly everyone here is on the higher end of the spectrum and can put two and two together to get four.

ser nam said...

Well I'll explain it a little slower. I don't see a major positive selection in a low tech farmer or a pastoral society with little specialization. Certainly there's a small skill set involved but a subsistence farming or cowherding society doesn't require a lot of highly intelligent folk to survive. So in effect it doesn't separate the chaff from the wheat.

Now if you get into more advanced societies like SW Asia where there's more organization, specialization and skill needed to run them, it makes sense that merit would rise and therefore be rewarded and propagate. Unless you're actually arguing intelligence isn't heritable.

Hope this helped you Karl.

AWood said...

I suspect I1 was almost entirely spread with Germanic people. That is its legacy and why it correlates almost exclusively with where these men settled. Was it the only Germanic lineage? No of course not.

Gunther said...

Atleast they got the correlation of intelligence with R1b/I1/R1a right, unfortunately they tried to put it on farmers when those haplogroups(and modern intelligence) correlates with the least historically civilized people(same pattern in East Asia. Head size and WHG people, not how domesticated humans are. Civilization likely only brought genius, not average intelligence(albeit genius is arguably more important).

I wish they would break down the information in this paper by specific samples/regions, etc, doesn't really tell us anything.

Something like this but for ancient genomes:

"1) Japan 1.235 2) Chinese, Bejing 3) Chinese, South 4) Vietnam 5) Utah Whites 0.838 6) British, GB 7) Finland 8) Chinese Dai 9) Iberian, Spain 0.728 10) Toscani, Italy 0.511 11) Colombian 0.201 12) Mexican in L.A. 13) Punjabi, Pakistan 0.091 14) Sri Lankan, UK 15) Puerto Rican 16) Bengali Bangladesh 17) Gujarati Indian, Tx 18) Indian Telegu, UK 19) Peruvian, Lima 20) US Blacks -0.904 21) Afr.Car.Barbados 22) Gambian 23) Luhya, Kenya 24) Esan, Nigeria 25) Yoruba, Nigeria 26) Mende, Sierra Leone -1.475"
(Based on Davide Piffer's 2015 GWAS hits for intelligence SNPs)

Gunther said...


I1 was just a less popular HG haplogroup, like mtdna U2 is less popular than U5. Most of the I1 in continental Europe is likely Germanic but Finnish I1 is completely unrelated and likely from a different HG source(Stora Forvar in Gotland had I1 I think?)

Karl_K said...

@ser nam

Sorry, no. That didn't help me understand at all.

You are assuming, based on absolutely nothing, that people in a low tech society have less selection for intelligence than people in high tech societies.

People in high tech societies can be much more successful with a much more specialized type of intelligence. In low tech societies, more people require a more general ability to deal with many situations.

Maybe I can be more clear for you.

The average ancestral human (if they could simply be made by taking the highest frequency allele at all loci), would be the most intelligent person in the entire world, based on these genome wide association studies. There have been almost zero new genetic developments that make people smarter in the last tens of thousands of years.

That means that all of these studies are basically looking at negative selection. Some populations have more, and others have less negative selection.

Palacista said...

It is an unjustified assumption that hunter gatherer lifestyle require less intelligence than farming/industrial societies, in fact a strong argument could be made that the opposite is the case.

Mongo said...

I thought that hunter-gatherers tended to be MORE intelligent than members of modern technological societies. The selective pressure for intelligence appears to be much greater for hunter-gatherers. For example, you need the following qualities to prosper as a hunter-gatherer:

1. Ability to recognize and exploit many hundreds of plant species, including how to make use of individual parts of the plants.

2. Very good sense of direction and ability to navigate through often-dense forest.

3. Ability to speak multiple languages.

4. Strong memory skills in general, there are no books to store information and a lot you need to know.

AWood said...


I agree with you on the point about I1 in Finland. The bulk of it appears to be a downstream unrelated node to the rest of west-central Europeans. All the more reason why I1 was likely a north-central Euro mesolithic lineage at its root. My point still holds though regarding I1. It was found in Germanic aDNA in NE Italy as well as 1 single sample from Anglo-Saxon England. The post-Roman age was succeeded by many Germanic tribes which is why it is so widespread in west-central Europe. Of course R1a, R1b, and to a lesser extend I2-M223 are also part of this equation.

Matt said...

@ KarlK; is that definitely more of "No strong selective sweeps" - no new *common* variants that matter, but there are lots of them, but they're mostly at low frequency in the population - or no new variants that matter at all?

Another thing I'm not sure about, if there are mostly not common variants that explain IQ, does this sort of methodology in the link actually work? IIUC since the ancient samples are genotyped for common polymorphic SNPs and their methodology is comparing whether the ancients had one set of common SNPs (associated to higher CA) or another (associated to less).

Arch Hades said...

I didnt even know they had the genes that indicate/cause higher cognitive ability mapped. Would be nice if they did a study comparing modern racial groups too.

Volodymyr Lutsyk said...

"Then, during the Eneolithic/Copper Age, foragers on the Eastern European steppe carrying R1a and R1b mixed with pastoralists from the fringes of the steppe, like the North Caucasus, and became steppe pastoralists."
There is also a possibility for a 2 component (CHC(Maykop(Kemi-Oba))+Anatolia_Neolithic (Trypillya)) admixture from pastoralists on the territory of Southern and Eastern Ukraine. The Neolithic component is weakened in Khvalynsk and Samara cultures. And the Amerindian component comprised 10% of Samara HG, 5,5% of Samara Eneolithic and drops to 3,5% in Yamnaya of Samara. It hovers around 0 in Corded Ware culture and Sintashta. Such a distribution of this component favours a more Western source for Yamnaya, as well as Sintashta, with no Amerindian component and higher levels of Anatolia_Neolithic.

Davidski said...

You're misinterpreting Admixture output.

There's no Amerindian component in Samara HG or Yamnaya, they just share ancient ancestry with Amerindians.

Try and model Samara HG or Yamnaya as part Amerindian with formal stats. You won't get anywhere.

Karl_K said...


I think it has to due with how many genes are involved in intelligence. Let's suppose that 500 genes spread throughout the genome have a clear impact on IQ, and if any of them have a drastic mutation, it leads to a few points drop in IQ.

As long as there are no new mutations that increase IQ by tens of points at once, purifying selection for the ancestral alleles will dominate the entire genome. It would be nearly impossible for any allele that causes a 1 point jump in IQ to spread, because any random person will also have several alleles that lower their IQ by 5 points each, and selection for IQ just lowers the frequency of deleterious mutations.

You can see a similar thing with growth rate in bacteria. If you randomly mutate bacteria, you will get thousands and thousands of mutants that grow slower than the original strain did. You basically never get mutants that grow faster than the original strain. They have E. coli experiments that have gone on for decades, just diluting and passaging cells, so that the fastest growing cells are selected every day. When you put the modern cells in a side by side race with the original strain, they don't even win.

Volodymyr Lutsyk said...

"There's no Amerindian component in Samara HG or Yamnaya, they just share ancient ancestry with Amerindians."
However, it makes a huge difference as European Corded Ware culture almost completely lacks this ancestry, suggesting that its Urheimat is to the west of Samara and Khvalynsk. The same goes true for Sintashta.

Matt said...

KarlK: "It would be nearly impossible for any allele that causes a 1 point jump in IQ to spread, because any random person will also have several alleles that lower their IQ by 5 points each, and selection for IQ just lowers the frequency of deleterious mutations."

Well that's where I don't quite understand still.

If you've got Person A, who has, say, IQ 100, because they have several variants that lower their IQ by 5 points each (from theoretical of anywhere between 125-200 and more depending on what we mean by several).

Then you've got B, who has 101 being in the same situation and having that one variant with a +1 advantage. These are two average people.

Seems like B should have the selective advantage over A at least, and his genotype should spread, if there's any IQ->fitness relationship.

Obviously B won't have a fitness advantage over C, who has IQ 105 just by having one deleterious variant, and C's genotype will have more advantage over A than B's, but there are plenty of As for B to compete against (statistically most individuals in the population will be As or more so).
Unless it's somehow winner takes all for C?

The bacteria doesn't really seem to work for me, because there you've correlated having an increase in potential de novo mutations with an overall increase in mutational load (with the obvious implication for overall fitness).

Anyway, btw, do you have any idea about the other question on whether this methodology could even work, if the genetic architecture is as you say it is?

constantincretan said...

The increase of POLYedu is not a proof for increase of genotypic intelligence.
Fistly, many variants that favor education are variants that favor only 'domestication', not intelligence.
Secondly, we can imagine the situation of selection pressure strong enough only to maintain the actual level of intelligence. In this case, for a new generation, there are two possibilities:
1. The selection eliminates ALL de novo detrimental mutations on intelligence, and the POLYcog remains unchanged
2. The selection eliminates only partially the new detrimental mutations, and POLYcog increases, but intelligence does not increase.
It is possible POLYcog increases, even if genotypic intelligence decrease, if there is a positive selection on intelligence, but not strong enough to compensate de novo mutations that decrease intelligence.
Furthermore, many common variants that favor intelligence are shared with health and fitness, and even if the selection pressure on intelligence is zero, it is expected that POLYcog increases, due of pleiotropy.
Only on negative pressure on intelligence, like today, the POLYcog will decrease.
Also, rare variants are more important than common variants for the genotypic intelligence of today Europeans (Hill, 2017). But rare variants are rather detrimental for intelligence (Spain, 2015; Mannik, 2015). Also most of deleterious variants arose last 5,000 at 10,000 years (Fu, 2013, 2014). It is expected Neolithic and post-Neolithic periods rather decrease than increase the genotypic intelligence.
Also, in Europe, measures of Neolithic (autosomal DNA, Y-DNA haplogroups, time since onset of agriculture) negatively correlate with today IQ, and this correlation is stronger than correlation between IQ and latitude/temperature or distance from Africa. Between hunter-gatherer and Indo-european ancestry (autosomal DNA and Y-DNA haplogroups) there is a positive correlation in Europe.
Also, the IQ in Europe increases with distance from the 'cradle of civilization' and with time of onset of metallurgy. The today IQ in the 'cradle of civilization' is around 80, and the IQ of Lapps, Ainu or Yakuts is around 100. Complex civilization does not increase the intelligence more than a northern hunter-gatherer life-style.
Also, the 'survival of the richest' in pre-industrial Europe seem be not true. The English Upper class had the lower fertility than Lower class between 1630 and 1830 (De la Croix, 2017).

Karl_K said...

I think constantincretan makes valid points. What exactly are we measuring here in the association studies? It is an interesting question that does not have a simple solution.

Nevertheless, we can usually broadly classify people based on sime kind of IQ test, and you can find genetic loci, very many loci, that are associated with IQ. But, the effects are weak and population specific, and the marks of selection are also weak.

If we were actually breeding people strictly based on performance on IQ tests, than we could easily generate a strain of humans that perform incredibly well on those tests, with all of them having >200 IQ.

But that is not how the selection has been working in the real world. The people who do the best on IQ tests are not selected to have the most successfully reproducing families.

Instead, the absolute lowest IQ people just have significantly fewer successful children, and that lowers the most detrimental alleles in the population.

The bacteria comparison obviously has no recombination, but it demonstrates how hard it is to improve an already optimally fine tuned complex system.

constantincretan said...

If you are interested by the subject, I can send you my paper about, published this winter in Mankind Quarterly.

mickeydodds1 said...

Ancient Steppe peoples. Managing to offend modern Spaniards and Indians simultaneously.

André de Vasconcelos said...

How does it offend Spaniards?

Gunther said...


We likely have the same view on the main source of intelligence differences in humans, but as a person who follows IQ and IQ studies extremely closely, there are no legitimate IQ studies on Lapps, Ainu, or Yakuts. The source for Lapps you're likely referring to is a study that made an estimate based on Finnish IQ.

We do have however a good IQ study on various Chinese nomadic ethnic minorities, ranging from 101-103(British standardization at 100) for various larger groups(both northern and south), 100 for Mongolians, 96.5 for Evenki(Manchuria), 93 for Dai(far southern China). The thing is, these are all with Han Chinese having 105 in this study. So, there is clearly significant outside influence, it obviously isn't going to be solely northern HG cold winters ancestry.

It isn't going to be any due to any ancient civilization selection though, an increase in IQ from HGs likely happened earliest in the Medieval era and as late as the 1700s/1800s when education and accidental eugenic breeding may have come into play. Ancient civilizations were just 5% elites running everything and the remainder of the 95% near slave serf farmers, this would have no affect on the average intelligence of an entire population.

It should also be noted that Amerindians have a very homogenous IQ, from North America to Peru at 87(although near 80 for equatorial groups), and they are largely northern adapted. I have my own theories for this(arctic lifestyle is more static and easier than a more seasonal but cold winter climate where you have to plan ahead), but Amerindians are one of the main arguments against the cold winter theory.

Also, Amerindians are extremely inbred(Karitiana are the most inbred population on earth), and as are modern Arabs(who have an IQ around 85, not 80), but the affects of inbreeding on IQ still doesn't make up for the gap between them and northern Europeans/East Asians, however they still have a lot of room for improvement by simply not marrying 1-4th cousins.

On a final note, you also mentioned Neolithic European correlation with IQ. There are no IQ studies done on Sardinians, so not really. Other southern Europeans south of Croatia and save for Spain have a lot of extra non-Neolithic Middle-Eastern admixture.

Gunther said...


Also, cold winter theory/HG ancestry can't answer for everything because of IQ differences between NW Euros and NE Euros(and yes, they are there, if you think otherwise you're citing Lynn's outdated older books when there have been studies as recent as 2014 that confirm the NW/NE gap), which most likely involves different breeding patterns between Medieval or later west and eastern Europe. It's either that or inbreeding(IBD runs suggest Poles/Russians more inbred than western Euros, haven't seen 10-16 MB long runs of homogyzosity for them which would be more telling), or ANE being some Amerindian-esque group.

Gunther said...


"There's no Amerindian component in Samara HG or Yamnaya, they just share ancient ancestry with Amerindians.

Try and model Samara HG or Yamnaya as part Amerindian with formal stats. You won't get anywhere."

Didn't you have a blog post showing a paper that argued MA-1 was admixed with East Eurasians rather than a source of admixture? Are you claiming MA-1 is a population outlier like Taiwanese Aborigines? Can you not break up ANE into WHG/East Eurasian like you did broke up WHG in Basal Rich K7?

Davidski said...

I'm not sure what point you're trying to make?

Amerindians are not the same as MA1 or, more importantly, EHG, which is what Samara HG is and what Yamnaya is made up of in large part.

They have different proportions of ancient components and different recent drift patterns.

My point was that Volodymyr misinterpreted output from Admixture, and my point stands.

Davidski said...

Also, cold winter theory/HG ancestry can't answer for everything because of IQ differences between NW Euros and NE Euros.

This is linked to wealth and funding.

Warsaw is the highest ranked European city in the latest PISA, the reason being that it's the wealthiest and best funded part of Poland at the moment and the closest to Western Europe in this regard.

Gunther said...


"This is linked to wealth and funding."

Ugh. It really isn't, though. PISA and Academic results =/ IQ. Government education spending doesn't really correlate with IQ or even academic results either way, both in the EU and especially in America where black students get much more spent per head than white students do. Urban non-Jewish Poles also underperform urban NW Euros in America.

I guess it didn't cross your mind to consider Warsaw as a city does better than other European cities because of this whole third world migration thing we've been having since the 50s. Also, do you have a source for PISA scores by cities(not that I doubt your claim, I'm curious about the scores)? Capitals as a whole are made up of more intelligent people than their rural or non-capital counterparts, again, likely dating back to the medieval period. I don't know specifically about NW/NE Euro differences but education and economy has long been debunked as a main source for IQ differences between humans.

As for the whole ANE thing, maybe I misunderstood, but I took your comment as saying EHG/Yamnaya had no Amerindian. Surely if ANE is a mix of WHG/Mongoloid(which is what I was asking?) then EHG/Yamnaya do indeed have Amerindian.

Davidski said...

Urban non-Jewish Poles also underperform urban NW Euros in America.

Sounds like bullshit.

Do you actually have any stats comparing second generation American Poles to NW Euros?

Davidski said...

Surely if ANE is a mix of WHG/Mongoloid(which is what I was asking?) then EHG/Yamnaya do indeed have Amerindian.

Speaking of IQ, what happened to yours?

Gunther said...


I have US Census Bureau education attainment and per capita income stats for self identified Poles vs self identified anything else from any region in the US. Milwaukee, Chicago, whatever other Polish hotspots you can think of. Just holler if you want them.

"Speaking of IQ, what happened to yours?"

You could atleast answer the question before hurling insults for no reason. Can ANE be modeled as WHG/East Eurasian like European farmers can be modeled as WHG/Basal Eurasian or is it a population outlier?

I'm also curious, do you think all intelligence differences in humans come down to education spending and economy or are you just being self defensive about Poles?

Gunther said...


2) Don't know about second generation, but I can definitely break it down by age group.

constantincretan said...

for Gunther

There are studies on IQ of Lapps (Armstrong, 2014), Ainu (Kura, 2014) and Yakuts (Shibaev, 2016).
The IQ of Amerindians is not very homogenous. Rindermann (2017) found an IQ of 71 in Ecuador (65 in highlands, 75 in lowlands). Peruvians have an IQ of 84 (Millones, 2015), and Inuits have an IQ of 91.
In Europe, higher runs of homozygosity (due of a more ancient inbreeding, not of a recent inbreeding) correlate with higher IQ. Historical smaller populations of northern hunter-gatherers selected more for intelligence than larger civilized southern populations.

Davidski said...


They need to be second, third etc. generation, because you need to make sure their language skills are on a par with those of the others.

If you can't do that, then your stats aren't useful for what you're testing or rather trying to prove (although they are still useful for other things).

Gunther said...


I would think pinning it down to group ages 18-24/25-35 would be enough to make sure they're second/third generation(doubtful there's much new Polish immigrants to the US), but yes, I guess you can't be 100% sure.


I know of the Lapp/Ainu studies. The Lapp one is a compilation of studies which includes tests without verbal IQ sections. The Ainu study is an estimate. The Yakut study on the other hand seems good, and I thank you for showing that one to me. Pretty significant if Yakuts have that high of an IQ(but it still shows there's other factors than just cold winter theory as Han are higher). 87 for North American Indians and 84 for similar non-tropical Peruvian Amerindians(unless they were from the Peruvian amazon in the north of the country) is pretty homogenous. I already mentioned Amerindians around the ecuator had lower IQs. Inuits aren't Amerindians, they have Siberian admixture, which fits nicely into them being inbetween Yakuts/Mongolians/Evenki and Amerindians in terms of IQ.

Karl_K said...

In any case (despite what you read on certain types of websites and blogs), IQ testing really measures IQ only as related to the original test group, and in in the same society. There is almost no way around this.

There will never be a way to accurately measure IQ of the pure Khoe-san people, in reality.

You can't take babies and treat them exactly the same and teach them the same and measure their IQ using a magic unbiased test that avoids all the obvious pitfalls.

There are certainly genetics of being super smart yet doing poorly on IQ tests.

Fanty said...

"Urban non-Jewish Poles also underperform urban NW Euros in America."

Why would that be?
In sourcs I saw, Poles are higher in IQ than most NW Europeans.

From memory that list (a 2007 or 2008 one) was like...
Europes IQ beeing the highest in the center and becoming lower to the fringe (in virtualy all directions)

Europe only:

1. Germans 107
2. Dutch/Poles 106
3. Italians/Swedes 104


Austrians 103

Swiss, Finnish, Danish 101

And some very strong differences between genetical very similiar populations like:
English 100, but Irish 92

Spanish 100, but Portugese 92

Swedes 104, but Norway 96

Low fringes:

Russia, Greece, Ireland, POrtugal.... all 91 or 92ish

But high cross-shaped center (Sweden, GErmany, Italy, Dutch, Poles)

Davidski said...

Currently the Human Biodiversity (IQ = basically all nature) thing is mostly Voodoo magic with some science thrown in.

This will change in a few years, or maybe a decade or so, but don't expect a lot of so called facts spouted by the leading HBD proponents to be upheld.

It'll be a lot like the time before ancient genomics, when we had a few "genius" online gurus trying to work out the ancient peopling of Europe using early 20th century physical anthropology.

They didn't get much right, and most of what they did get right was already obvious anyway.

Karl_K said...


"Currently the Human Biodiversity (IQ = basically all nature) thing is mostly Voodoo magic with some science thrown in."

These people have an agenda. That is all. They are looking for scientific support for being racists.

Merculinus said...

This is one of the authors (D.Piffer). I write to inform that we uploaded a new version to Biorxiv, taking on board Davidski's argument. In fact, we got rid of the whole haplogroup thing, which is too controversial and replaced it with more solid (e.g. genome-wide based) evidence.BTW, I personally agree that R1b is not a marker of Neolithic farmers, I think it's a Celtic marker associated with Indo-Europeans, although I wouldn't totally dismiss the thesis that it reflects Paleolithic hunter-gatherers. But the jury is still out and I think it's better to leave this topic out of the paper, as it would just distract attention away from the core ideas.

Peter Klevius said...

According to a theory, starting in my 1992 book, something happened in the north some 50 kya that made humans much more intelligent than previous big skulled Homos (compare Jinniushan and other pre-modern northerners). The new ("mongoloid") highly intelligent human then spread south and diluted (while itself becoming diluted) its predecessors (incl. the so called Neanderthals) while leaving the "race" pattern we see today. The artifacts and genetics from the Denisova cave seem to confirm it.

Moreover, the example of Homo floresiensis seems to offer a possible explanation, i.e. that some Homos were temporarily island isolated and dwarfed in tropical SE Asia, resulting in a better packed (or just better functioning) brain. When this new brain setup entered mainland Asia it spread into existing bigger skulls of its relatives. At some point this new Homo managed to hybridize with the so called Neanderthal (we do know that Denisovan and the so called Neanderthal were related already long before this) which seems to have been impossible, or at the least without any noticeable effect until then (also consider the spectacular Liujiang skull). As a result of possibly multiple hybridization events some Homos ended up with a combination of a very smart brain setup in a very big skull.

Signs of this revolution started some 50,000 bp in the Altai region (compare e.g. sewing needle and stone bracelet in the Denisova cave). As a consequence of the north being "the cradle of intelligence" combined with the fact that the north is more sparsely populated, one would assume that the spread of human intelligence was "diluted" when hybridizing with the so called Neanderthal etc., hence leaving it more concentrated in the north.

Now, consider that people in the north used to be quite small (but with big or at least average skulls) compared to, say the so called Kurgan people. A possible scenario is then that big "Kurgans" (and later Vikings etc.) mated with "northerners" (many of them lived/acted in the border zone) resulting in some offspring becoming both big and intelligent.

Unlike intelligent but small northern males the intelligent Kurgan males became successful warriors in a time when size still mattered. And precisely because this happened in a sparsely populated (no urban centers as in the south) forest/river/steppe environment, raiding was easy and probably resulted in cumulative wealth and status on its progression down to "civilizations".

I got this picture when analyzing the origin of the Viking phenomenon which I consider being just the last in a long chain of similar developments.

And the "blond beasts" probably developed east of the Baltic sea and in Fennoscandia which happens to be the darkest winter area where some kind of farming was still possible thanks to the Gulf stream, but at the same time extremely vulnerable for climatic changes affecting the population size. Unlike the northerners these farmers/fishers/hunters needed as light a skin as possible to keep their D vitamin levels intact.

I'm neither blond, big, or "mongoloid", nor do I feel I resemble Homo floresiensis. I'm just a "bastard" as the rest of us. And no, the physiognomy of a person can never say anything about her/his mental capability.

epoch2013 said...

This, while there is good evidence that the brain actually shrunk over the millennia, corrected for body weight that is.

epoch2013 said...


Everybody has an agenda. HBD people at least are not bothered by the smothering dogma that any difference between races - which science proved don't even exist, mind you! - mustn't, can't and therefore won't be true.

The agenda of the anti-racists is even larger and more difficult to cope with because nobody dares to challenge it, or even consider it. You don't want to be called racist, now do you?

I don't know, neither do I care if I'm racist or not. I truly wish all the people the best and truly feel sorry for those whose lives are screwed, no matter what race, ethnicity or even collective ethnic guilt ]* they have.

]* See Germans after WW2 for examples of that.

Karl_K said...


I agree, facts should not yield to what we want them to be. There is a lot of smothering in the study of human variation, which is a clear backlash to the dominance of people with certain genetic backgrounds in the economics of the world. When science is used to justify a natural reason for that dominance, it should fall under the most intense scrutiny, because almost all of the science is coming from the same cultures that people claim have some kind of genetic advantage.

There is an enormous conflict of interest, and it won't be resolved easily. Meanwhile, I think the ideas should be presented carefully, as many people just try to fit 'scientific facts' into their preexisting worldview to justify how they treat people.

Grey said...

Poland was one of the first countries to artificially add iodine to the diet (1935).

Crovata said...

Your comment resulted with unreasonably forced removal of reference to the Y-DNA haplogroup-population expansion in source by H. Rindermann (2012), i.e. the correlation between the general cognitive ability (GCA) and the Y-DNA haplogroup-population expansion. It does seem a bit sketchy and vague, however there's an empirical need for a specific research on this matter.

1) "Changes in allele frequencies can also occur via population expansion" it points to possible evolutionary correlation between allele frequencies and specific Y-DNA haplogroup, possibly even mtDNA haplogroup.

2) "furthermore the contemporary distribution of these three haplogroups is positively associated with the variation in cognitive ability among contemporary European nations" it points to the note above and need for a more specific and focused research on the allele frequencies/IQ in European nations/populations with substantial/mainly Y-DNA haplogroups which are not Indo-European R1a and R1b.

In the previous research on alleles associated with higher educational attainment and higher IQ and their correlation to specific nation/population, specifically "Estimating the genotypic intelligence of populations andassessing the impact of socioeconomic factors andmigrations" (2015) quote "the relationship between the 4 SNPs g factor and IQ is due to natural selection on a specific phenotype and not the result of aspurious correlation arising from genome-wide evolutionary processes such as random drift or migrations... comes from the finding that the rank of sub-continental genotypic scores of intelligence did not perfectly match measures of genetic distances obtained from neutral markers and was an independent predictor of IQ".

In "Factor Analysis of Population Allele Frequencies as a Simple, Novel Method of Detecting Signals of Recent Polygenic Selection: The Example of Educational Attainment and IQ" (2013) concluded that, quote, "frequencies of alleles associated with higher educational attainment... the results are similar across the HapMap and 1000 Genomes data sets: East Asian populations (Japanese, Chinese) have the highest average frequency of “beneficial” alleles (39%), followed by Europeans (35.5%) and sub-Saharan Africans (16.4%)... IQ increasing alleles were highly correlated with frequencies 14 of educational attainment alleles... The extracted factor reached highest values among East Asians (around 1-1.5), Europeans have a slightly lower factor score (0.1-0.4), and Africans obtained the lowest (negative) factor score (-1.4/-1.6)... The results show that this evolutionary process, which was already far advanced at the time when modern humans spread across the globe approximately 65,000 years before present, has continued in modern human populations after that time. It invalidates theories that
assume, explicitly or implicitly, that human cognitive evolution has ended with the first appearance of physically modern Homo sapiens".

I could not read the work by H. Rindermann (2012), but in the previous research (2013), as well "Correlation of the COMT Val158Met polymorphism with latitude and a hunter-gather lifestyle suggests culture–gene coevolution and selective pressure on cognition genes due to climate" (2013), Sardinians had PC1 -0.59 i.e. Met 0.36 with IQ 90, in both with both lowest scores among listed European nations, with comparison to Italians (Tuscany) PC1 0.14 i.e. Met 0.46 with IQ 97.

As can be seen from Distribution of European Y-chromosome DNA (""), there's significant Y-DNA difference between Tuscany and Sardinia; R1b 52.5-18.5%, I2 1.5-37.5%, which positively correlates to the remark above from the new research (2017) that the Neolithic Indo-Europeans (R1) had higher cognitive ability and thus more complex and advanced social organization, culture and tools, compared to Mesolithic Europeans (I2), which eased their conquer and expansion of Europe from Pontic–Caspian steppe.

Crovata said...

As for correlation between GCA factors and Y-DNA haplogroup-population expansion will do a simple and rough sketch between researches from 2013 and Y-DNA hgs from YTree (

Pygmy and Bushmen (with lowest factors and IQ 54) significantly belong to the oldest Y-DNA hgs A and B, thus it confirms the "Pygmy vs non Pygmy data set", as the "non Pygmy" belong to the hg CT. CT branches into DE, and majority of African people (with second-lowest factors and IQ 71) belong to hg E, while Ainu, Ryukyuans and some Tibetans who belong to hg D are not included in this data, but there were significant cultural and social differences (hunter gatherer vs farmer etc) between hg D (Jomon) and O (Yayoi) people from mainland Japan, and thus should be done a regional research in this aspect.

To hg CF belong the majority of non-African populations. It branches into C (established branch) and F (semi-established branch as it mostly branches and includes the majority of Eurasian people). The indigenous people of Australia mostly belong to C1, while of Papua New Guinea, Micronesia also significantly belong to C1, as well K and M (F's sub-branches), and have lower factors and IQ 82. However, to C2 belong Siberian-Tungusic, Mongolian and some Turkic speaking people in North and East Asia who have a relatively high factors and IQ 100 (Mongolia), which could indicate admixture with O and N populations (see below).

The Middle East and Southeastern Europe, compared to other parts of Europe mostly of Indo-European Y-DNA haplogroup origin as seen from "" (2012), has slightly lower IQ in ME between 82.5-92 while SE between 82-98. The ME and SE are characterized by F's subranch IJ, i.e. J in ME and I in SE, with the exception of Albania (lowest IQ in the region with 82) and Montenegro (IQ 86) with also high frequency of Y-DNA haplogroup E. Roughly, from west Croatia to south Greece and east Romania, the frequency of R1a-R1b i.e. R1 haplogroup is lower compared to other parts of Europe: Croatia (R1 32.5% - IQ 98), Bosnia and Herzegovina (19.5% - 93), Serbia (24% - 90), Montenegro (17% - 86), Albania (25% - 82), Bulgaria (28% - 93), Romania (29.5% - 91). It is indicative that beside genetic heritage, isolation, selection, social organization, historical-cultural events, such low IQ is also due lower modern standard and education, but as is pointed in the research, neverthless specific population has limited full potential according to its genetic potential. As mentioned above, these nations should be included in future allele/IQ data sets for better understanding of the topic and simple empirical evidence.

India and Pakistan have low factors and IQ 82 and 84 respectively. Although in both Pakistan and most of India there's high frequency of Y-DNA R1a (Aryans arrival), they are significant admixture of haplogroups L, H, O and J, depending on the ethnic group and region, especially for India. The data set for India could be empirically misleading for conclusion as included Keralite from South India, where hg-O is 0%, and Kachari from Northeast India, where hg-O is 79.7% - two totally different populations and historical-geographical regions.

Seemingly, to the K2 haplogroup branch belong the populations with highest factor and IQ. It branches into K2b and K-M2335. From K2b branches Kn2b1 i.e. M and S, which are high in populations of Papua New Guinea, but they show low factor and IQ 82.5, which beside selection/isolation and climate pressure, could be influenced (personal remark) by small amounts of DNA of an extinct human species which was recently reported. Another K2b branch is P from which branch Q and R.

Crovata said...

However, according to the remark, quote, that the "Native Americans have much lower factor scores than East Asians, despite their high genetic resemblance... implies that the selective pressures for higher IQ continued after the split" (2013) is empirically vague, at least from genealogical perspective, as Native Americans mostly belong to Y-DNA hg-Q while most of the East Asians belong to the Y-DNA hg-O, i.e. in the data set there's no Asian nation with mostly or significant frequency of Y-DNA hg-Q to compare the factor scores with those of the Native Americans with mostly Y-DNA hg-Q. Thus it should be done a research and comparrison between Native Americans and nation/population who live in Siberia, like Kets (93%), who are especially interesting due to possible relation between Yeniseian languages and Na-Dene languages, Selkups (66%), Siberian Yupik (39%), Nivkhs (35%), Chukchi (33%), Tuvinians (38%), or Turkmen in Golestan (42%) and Jawzjan (31%). As for Inuits high Met frequency and IQ compared to average of all Native Americans, it seemingly favors "cold climate pressure", but there exist too many differences in Met data among Native Americans regional populations, 0.013-0.55, indicating other or various reasons, or it can be easly counter-argued by "warm climate pressure" of Mayan (0.55) i.e. lack of the same among other Native Americans (<0.55) who live in "warm climate". Also note that Q is sister branch, at least was 31,900 years ago, of R with high GCA.

The majority of European population belong to the R1 i.e. R1b or R1b branches. It is interesting that specific populations like Basque, who are mainly R1b, had low (-0.30) PC1 factor, which could indicate some older heritage which predated Indo-European genealogical (R1b) assimilation. R1a and R1b are the youngest haplogroups, around 22,800 years old.

K-M2335 branches into NO i.e. N and O. They are a few thousand years older than R. To N belong populations of Northern Eurasia like Yakut, Saami and Finns, while to O belong populations of East Asia like Chinese, Koreans, Japanese, and both groups had high(est) factors and IQ. If it is argued that those populations have inherited highest average factors, then the argument for "cold climate pressure" in Yakut people (N) and Inuit people (Q) is a bit vague.

To conclude - it is complex topic and each Y-DNA haplogroup does and does not necesarilly indicate specific alleles/IQ rather than human evolutionary expansion Out of Africa, along with it other events like social selection, isolation drift, climate pressure and so on. However, it needs further research and confirmation on empirical data and specifical regional levels, as Y-DNA (and mtDNA) could indicate (there's a need for an average factor of its own) cognitive ability of specific genealogical group of Homo sapiens sapiens throughout history of human evolution and expansion. Removal or censorship of "controversial" issues is not productive and scientifical approach.

constantincretan said...

For the polygenic score of 9 SNP that has the highest correlation with measured IQ of population (r=0.9), Piffer found Bronze Age Eurasians had 92% of the score of today Europeans. The increase was of 9% during 4,000 years, equating with 132 generations. Per generation, the increase of POLY-EDU was under 0.07%. If POLY-EDU accounts for 33% of genotypic education, the increase of genotyipc education by common polymorphism is 0.07%x33%=0.023%, equating with 0.023 IQ points.
If the selection is strong enough to eliminate, by each generation, rare SNP decreasing-IQ equating with 0.046 IQ points (two fold the common SNP, because rare SNP accounts for 66% of genotypic education), it is necessary that the average 70 de novo mutations per individual decrease the genotypic intelligence with only 0.1IQ points for the decrease of the genotypic IQ with 0.1-(0.023+0.046)=0.031 IQ points by generation and 0.031x132=4.092 IQ points by 4,000 years. In this case, Bronze Age Europeans had the intelligence of today Chinese and pre-industrial Europeans. But if the 70 de novo mutations decrease the intelligence with 0.5 IQ points, the genotypic intelligence will decrease with 0.431 IQ points by generation, and with 0.431x132=56.892 IQ points! In this case, Bronze Age Europeans had a genotypic IQ above 150 points!