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Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Ancient ancestry and complex traits in Estonians (Marnetto et al. 2022)


Over at Current Biology at this LINK. Here's the summary:

The contemporary European genetic makeup formed in the last 8,000 years when local Western Hunter-Gatherers (WHGs) mixed with incoming Anatolian Neolithic farmers and Pontic Steppe pastoralists. 1–3 This encounter combined genetic variants with distinct evolutionary histories and, together with new environmental challenges faced by the post-Neolithic Europeans, unlocked novel adaptations. 4 Previous studies inferred phenotypes in these source populations, using either a few single loci 5–7 or polygenic scores based on genome-wide association studies, 8–10 and investigated the strength and timing of natural selection on lactase persistence or height, among others. 6,11,12 However, how ancient populations contributed to present-day phenotypic variation is poorly understood. Here, we investigate how the unique tiling of genetic variants inherited from different ancestral components drives the complex traits landscape of contemporary Europeans and quantify selection patterns associated with these components. Using matching individual-level genotype and phenotype data for 27 traits in the Estonian biobank 13 and genotype data directly from the ancient source populations, we quantify the contributions from each ancestry to present-day phenotypic variation in each complex trait. We find substantial differences in ancestry for eye and hair color, body mass index, waist/hip circumferences, and their ratio, height, cholesterol levels, caffeine intake, heart rate, and age at menarche. Furthermore, we find evidence for recent positive selection linked to four of these traits and, in addition, sleep patterns and blood pressure. Our results show that these ancient components were differentiated enough to contribute ancestry-specific signatures to the complex trait variability displayed by contemporary Europeans.

This is a fascinating effort, but I'm not taking it too seriously until I see the results reproduced with several cohorts from very different parts of Europe. The reason being is that at least some of the outcomes might be specific to Estonia, and reflective of its own peculiar recent population history.

For example, the authors find that among Estonians blond hair and blue eyes show a high association with Anatolian farmer ancestry (see table S4).

Now, some people might be surprised by this link between light pigmentation and Near Eastern ancestry. However, I'm not, because I know that quite a few Estonians, especially northwest Estonians, harbor recent north German and/or Scandinavian ancestry.

Obviously, north Germans and Scandinavians are some of the blondest haired and lightest eyed people in Europe. But they also have more Anatolian farmer ancestry than Estonians. So it might well be that in Estonia these traits are strongly linked with recent Germanic ancestry rather than ancient Anatolian ancestry.

In fact I'm willing to bet that this is indeed the case. I'm also willing to bet that blond hair and blue eyes won't show a strong association with Anatolian farmer ancestry in other European countries, but rather with steppe herder ancestry or even, in some cases, minor Siberian admixture.

Citation...

Marnetto et al., Ancestral genomic contributions to complex traits in contemporary Europeans, Current Biology (2022), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2022.01.046

See also...

Mainstream media: Europeans owe their height to Asian nomads

Blond hair is only indirectly associated with Anatolian ancestry in Estonia...duh

109 comments:

Copper Axe said...

I was thinking something similar about waist/hip circumference and its correlation with Yamnaya/steppe ancestry here. Those boys on the East Baltic can get real thick, and given the high amount of steppe_eba in the region, anyone who has a 'diminished' amount of such ancestry will probably have somewhat recent ancestry from somewhere else where the people are less likely to be built like a fridge.

I'm not a big fan of association studies like this. I find it more fruitful to actually look at snps from (a wide variety of) ancient samples over prolonged periods, and draw conclusions from there.

On a side note I would really like a study that looks into frequencies of snps commonly associated with athleticism and fast/slow twitch muscle fibre development amongst ancient peoples.

alex said...

I'm also willing to bet that blond hair and blue eyes won't show a strong association with Anatolian farmer ancestry in other European countries, but rather with steppe herder ancestry or even, in some cases, minor Siberian admixture.

And how would you calculate this any different to how these authors attempted to calculate it?

zardos said...

It is not just the more recent Germanics, but ancient Baltic and Slavic people too have more EEF ancestry than local Bronze Age and the incoming Uralic people.

Grant said...

Davidski,

"I'm also willing to bet that blond hair and blue eyes ... steppe herder ancestry or even, in some cases, minor Siberian admixture."

Wouldn't WHG be a more obvious source for blue eyes, considering that early/relevant examples of such traits, like the Motala remains, were something like 70–90% WHG (iirc)?

Wise dragon said...



The researchers from the BA Hungary paper, Daniel Gerber et al. do link blue eyes and blond hair to Steppe ancestry. To me, it's not really plausible that the Anatolian farmers are the source for blond hair and blue eyes in Europeans. In fact, BA and present-day Europeans with the highest ANF ancestry, are the darkest ones. Something seems off.

From Daniel Gerber et al paper:

"Supplement
3.2.1)SNPs of pigmentation
For pigmentation assessment, we used a custom set of phenotypically relevant SNPs listed in the HIrisPlex-S system 77, which we extended with variants from the SNP edia database 78, for results, see Supplementary Table S5. SNPs were called with the following filters:trimmed read ends (2 bp), Base Quality>30, and Mapping Quality>30.According to the available data, BAD 002, despite providing weak signals for pigmentation, likely blends to the average Neolithic European variation. S 9 from Bk-I had European light, almost pale skin that probably had no freckles and was likely a bit less sensitive to sunburn. His hair was dark blonde and his eyes were likely blue, which traits are in accordance with previous studies of people with steppe origin 79. Bk-II shows almost uniform makeup, even with sparse data only a couple of variants show heterozygosity within the population. Accordingly, the overall pigmentation was dark, skin colour was probably darker than today’s average European, however, light and blue eye colouration occurred, thus most individuals probably had lighter hazel or green eyes, in addition of other SNPs associated with light pigmentation, freckles and blonde hair, which may have played a role in their appearance. The individuals in the Bk-II population were probably more sensitive to sunburn and had low tan response. Surprisingly, Bk-III shows a high variability of pigmentation patterns. The colouration of the preceding population appears, but more and well pronounced lighter pigmentation pattern scan be observed. Two individuals (S14 and S17) from the mass grave probably had reddish blonde hair, green eyes and pale skin, maybe even freckles, likely as a result of admixture to populations of various origin."

Besides, Reich also asserts that the KITLG gene for blond hair probably entered continental Europe in a population migration wave from the Eurasian steppe, by a population carrying substantial Ancient North Eurasian ancestry. Hanel and Carlberg in their study likewise concluded that populations bearing Ancient North Eurasian ancestry were responsible for contributing gene alleles lightening European hair color.

Andrzejewski said...

Definitely not a minor Siberian. They are East Asian.

The blondness in Estonians is due to Pontic Steppe Herders. Period. Neither to Anatolian farmers from Middle East, nor to Uralics from Siberia.

Andrzejewski said...

@Davidski “ I'm also willing to bet that blond hair and blue eyes won't show a strong association with Anatolian farmer ancestry in other European countries, but rather with steppe herder ancestry or even, in some cases, minor Siberian admixture.”

How Siberian? How is it related in some cases to blondness?

Simon_W said...

"I'm also willing to bet that blond hair and blue eyes won't show a strong association with Anatolian farmer ancestry in other European countries, but rather with steppe herder ancestry"

Makes absolutely sense, if you think about countries like Italy or Greece, where light complexions are plausibly associated with Germanic and Slavic admixture, respectively.

Simon_W said...

....which is associated with more steppe ancestry than the locals had, I must add.

ANI EXCAVATOR said...

Off-topic, but to get your attention David.

Why does it seem in G25 that all Balto-Slavic populations have a special kind of WHG ancestry, but in formal statistics and qpAdm that many slavic populations, like Poles, do not need any WHG ancestry at all, just EEF and Steppe?

Davidski said...

@Andrzejewski & Grant

For example, in parts of Sweden blond hair and blue eyes might be strongly associated with Siberian ancestry because Finns are blonder than Swedes, so Swedes with recent Finnish ancestry will have a higher level of Siberian ancestry and possibly more blue eyes and blond hair.

But this association is unlikely to be present in those parts of Sweden where Siberian ancestry is of Saami origin, because Saami are darker than Swedes.

Davidski said...

@ANI EXCAVATOR

Balts and Slavs, and the peoples they mixed with, do have a special kind of ancestry.

I call it Balto-Slavic drift, and it does affect the G25 much more than formal stats. That's why plots of Europe work so well with G25 data.

But this issue makes it difficult to model the ancestry of anyone with a high level of this drift, because reference samples that have it will be preferred and their ancestry proportions exaggerated.

So you have to either use distal or proximate reference sources, and check with formal stats to see what's happening.

Davidski said...

@zardos

It is not just the more recent Germanics, but ancient Baltic and Slavic people too have more EEF ancestry than local Bronze Age and the incoming Uralic people.

Yes, true, although I think the minor but significant gradient of west to east recent Germanic ancestry in Estonia is likely to be more important in this case than older layers of ancestry that have had more time to even out.


Davidski said...

@alex

And how would you calculate this any different to how these authors attempted to calculate it?

The authors should've looked at Estonia's complete population history and mapped these complex traits against that.

Tom said...

Does HG ancestry play into this at all?

https://imgur.com/a/lvHNn4t

Poles and Ukrainians have equal amounts of steppe ancestry but anyone who has been to Poland and Ukraine knows that Poles are much blonder generally speaking

Davidski said...

@Tom

I doubt that there's any association between HG ancestry and pigmentation in Poland and Ukraine.

There probably is within Europe, but within Poland and Ukraine things like recent Germanic vs Balkan ancestry will be more important.

old europe said...



steppe people were darker than modern europeans. It is now universally recognized. CWC in turn were lighter than Yamnaya and Andronovo was even lighter than average CWC. It is as clear as sky light that steppe people acquired this phenotyp from the strong WHG admixed farmers of northern Europe, wxpecially the GAC cultural complex.
ANE as a source of nordic phenotype is unliklely if you think that ANE rich people in south centralk Asia are even darker than northern Africans. The main point is this: it is not the anatolians per se the source of the nordic phenotype but the northern european farmers.

Davidski said...

@old europe

You're missing the point.

Tom said...

@Davidski

Thanks. Is additional HG ancestry a factor in making Scandinavians so much blonder than West Germanics or does it just come down to more steppe ancestry and selection? Is Germanic ancestry in Poland even big enough to have had an effect on phenotype? What if the pure Slavic ancestors of Poles were just fair and Balkan ancestry in Ukraine is what causes the difference, not Germanic ancestry in Poland

Steppe said...

The oldest blond hair mutation occurred in an ANE lineage in Yana Russia and of course the EHG had an ANE component and EHG also belongs to the vector/admixture of the steppe population

Matt said...

@Davidski, that's a good shout I think, I thought the same.
Blonde hair does seem likely to have some strong post-EMBC/LCA selective imprint in Europe.

Another obvious example is British gradient of red/blonde hair - https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.01.30.478418v2 -
"Across the UK there is a correlation between place of birth and hair colour; red hair being more common in the north and west, whilst blonde hair is more common in the east."

(At the same time, lighter skin more associated with north and west, and some reports are that height is greater in south and east).

(Another note is that since red hair is much more simple Mendelian than blonde hair, this also may help explain why extremely dark hair is thought to be more common in the north and west).

Despite the gradient of steppe ancestry being clearly North and West>South and East.

Height seems likely to be firmly Yamnaya/Steppe associated, but I think the effect size is up for debate. I could believe about 3 inches difference in adult male height at the time of Yamnaya and some substantial selective effects afterwards.

I think the models that basically estimated that Yamnaya were like, 12 inches taller on average than EEF (and 6 inches taller than the tallest present day European population!) and there'd been no selection since seem pretty unlikely (possible but unlikely), and there are some signals that selection has happened afterwards. (Which also may lead to sometimes the signal of Yamnaya ancestry and height being reversed over a small scale, which could be the case if we compared Croats with Hungarians or perhaps Belgians with Irish/Scottish etc).

E.g. here's a quick selection of some selection scans Refoyo-Martinez presented at ISBA 09 - https://imgur.com/a/aAsEQln

If they are a true estimate, they would predict that Yamnaya/Steppe people were probably about as tall on average as modern day Northern Europeans (not much taller), but were probably less blonde and darker skinned. It's also possible this might be slightly overestimated in Yamnaya because of a particular selective burial practices - the early Corded Ware family cemetaries might give us a better signal of what the real differences were for a general sample?

Rob said...

Wasn’t Copper Axe saying the WSHG - linked Kumsay beasts too ?

ulfing said...


@Matt
"If they are a true estimate, they would predict that Yamnaya/Steppe people were probably about as tall on average as modern day Northern Europeans (not much taller), but were probably less blonde and darker skinned."

it is my understanding that the Yamnaya average was 175 cm, so significantly shorter than modern day Northern Euros and West Balkanites.

Andrzejewski said...

@old europe “ . It is as clear as sky light that steppe people acquired this phenotyp from the strong WHG admixed farmers of northern Europe, wxpecially the GAC cultural complex. ”

Sure, especially the dark types from the Katowice graves.

As for South Central Asians - they are overwhelmingly East Asian.

Arza said...

@ANI EXCAVATOR

qpAdm is blind to everything that is not referenced in the right pops. If we had such HG in a pure form, we would be able to put it in the right pops and everything would work as expected.

Zesty said...

Estonia and Finland have both high % of Baltid/Danubian/East Europid(call them as you want) phenotypes.Round headed,brachy skull,concave snub-nose,endomorph-fleshy body type and ofc very blonde hair,blue eyes and ultra pale skin complexion...such looks cannot be associated with neolithic farmers.And even Germanics/Scandos are not that frenquent in this phenotype/profile either.Ofc there are some phenotypes that both eastern/northeastern euros and germanics sharing.An example the 'infamous' nordid race that we all know from ww2 when nazis portrayed it as the 'master-aryan' race.This phenotype IMO has its roots in the Corded Ware Culture and its not 100% a Germanic/Scando phenotype as germanic nationalists want to believe.It can be found out of Germanic groups even among Slavs,Balts.Even Indo-Iranic-Indo-Aryans had probalby such looks before they mix with the native populations.

The answer of blonde hair and blue eyes among northern europeans and more specific among Germanic and Balto-Slavic-Baltic Finnic groups has to do with Corded Ware Culture and its GAC admix.It seems a combination of Yamnaya like pop mixing with GAC peole rich in EEF/WHG mix gave rise to these blonde phenotypes that we see today among northern euroopeans with some of them being more dolichocephalic and others being more brachycephali.Its impossible anatolian farmers to had such phenotypes and its visible from modern south europeans who look nothing like this.Again,the answer of blonde hair and blue eyes is somewhere hiden in the culture of Corded Ware.

Copper Axe said...

@Rob
"Wasn’t Copper Axe saying the WSHG - linked Kumsay beasts too ?"

Yeah there were several approx. 2 meter tall skeletons at the Kumsay site. I wouldnt assume this would be representative of the entire population as the people there probably all were relatives. But there definitely were giants roaming east of the Yamnaya. They recently also uncovered a 190 cm Yamnaya male from Bulgaria. Meanwhile Funnelbeaker males regularly show up being 157 cm, and they even seem a bit shorter than LBK for example.

Andrzejewski said...

@Cobra “ It seems a combination of Yamnaya like pop mixing with GAC peole rich in EEF/WHG mix gave rise to these blonde phenotypes that we see today among northern euroopeans with some of them being more dolichocephalic and others being more brachycephali.Its impossible anatolian farmers to had such phenotypes”

Where do you think GAC came from?

It was 70% Anatolian farmers.

MaxT said...

Yamnaya dudes from Kutuluk kurgan graves in Russia are just 5'3, not particularly tall but plenty of fancy grave goods suggesting these were chieftain burials. I don't think any Yamnaya were as big as modern Dutch dudes.

Selection for taller height and lighter pigmentation of skin and hair happened within Northern EuropeCWC AFTER WHG-EEF-Steppe mixing. Blonde phenotype is combination of selections, all of which took place within Europe and within last 4000 years.

@Cobra
Agree with you on that

Hannibal said...

There has never been a single study documenting Yamnaya hair color, nor any study to link blond hair to globular amphora complex or WHG.

There is no way that admixture with WHGs or Globular Amphora increased blond hair in Steppe people. On the contrary, it would have darkened it.

un said...

Phenotyping
https://avatars.mds.yandex.net/get-zen_pictures/1997030/80324556-1611229727931/orig

https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/7/4/eabd6535

Matt said...

@ulfing (and anyone else interested), I can't remember what good study sets of steppe cultures came out with but that seems plausible.

For actual heights I do know there have been a couple of papers printed which included estimates for samples who have been genotyped and are on G25 (lead authors I think were Stephanie Marciniak, Iain Mathieson and Samantha Cox).

Just taking the male samples, estimate steppe ancestry and then use PAST4 to add a regression line to height on, I get an estimate of about +8cm going from 0% Steppe ancestry to 100% steppe ancestry and looking at samples before 1000 BCE (to reduce an effect where Scandinavian samples from around 1000 AD look unusually tall, which could be due to later selection).

See here for plots showing examples: https://imgur.com/a/WrbYe3E

The regression line tends to indicate that the average for the non-steppe group is 166cm and steppe at 100% would be 173cm.

This isn't massively impacted by removing high HG ancestry individuals (may go up a centimetre) because Euro HG on average seem similar to Barcin in stature (though some EuroHG groups as some times were taller than others).

So I'd find your estimate of 175cm believable, and EEF probably around 166/167cm in the same conditions. About a 3 inch difference probably.

Of course this is all under ancient nutrition and both would likely be taller under modern nutrition (which is probably much more optimal for height than any ancient steppe/farmer nutrition package).

Using these sort of ancient samples seems useful because using moderns only results in a compound of converging ancestry proportions with diverging post-EBA selection. Here's a plot using only the 1000 BCE samples only: https://imgur.com/a/E0yFdZB. It creates a complete absurdity where 0% steppe would be estimated at 150cm and 100% steppe at 195cm (almost 1.5 feet taller!), because it compounds a higher degree of selection over a much shorter range of ancestry.

Copper Axe said...

@MaxT

"Yamnaya dudes from Kutuluk kurgan graves in Russia are just 5'3"

The male from Kutuluk (SVP58/I0444) is 176cm rather than 160 cm. There were only two Yamnaya graves at Kutuluk and that individual is the only one who got his heigt published so I'm not sure where you got "Yamnaya dudes from Kutuluk kurgan graves" from...

alex said...

"Hannibal said...
There has never been a single study documenting Yamnaya hair color, nor any study to link blond hair to globular amphora complex or WHG.

There is no way that admixture with WHGs or Globular Amphora increased blond hair in Steppe people. On the contrary, it would have darkened it."

And why is that? We actually have phenotypic predictions for a lot of steppe samples and the vast majority are predicted brown haired and brown eyed. The KITLG gene mutation that *did* come from North Eurasia (but still wasn't carried by most steppe people) is a relatively rare SNP in modern Europeans (~25% in the CEU cohort) so it's definitely not solely responsible for lighter hair colour.

It's amazing that people have been intensely following this hobby for years and still can't accept the facts because they go contrary to their preconceived notions. The modern northern European phenotype is a northern European-specific phenomenon and was driven by selection. There was no blonde, blue-eyed Aryan race in the Pontic steppe, get over it.

ulfing said...

@Matt

"The regression line tends to indicate that the average for the non-steppe group is 166cm and steppe at 100% would be 173cm."

I actually had a look at Alexandra Kozak's paper from 2020 again after I wrote 175, and the averages she quotes are actually from 170 to 175 +-3 cm depending on the method of measurement, so your estimate is actually bang on.

"Of course this is all under ancient nutrition and both would likely be taller under modern nutrition (which is probably much more optimal for height than any ancient steppe/farmer nutrition package)."

Good point. Although I wrote they were "significantly shorter" than the relevant moderns, that is only their actual height, but obviously they were subject to different enviromental stressors than modern pops. So for all I know, their polygenic height potential could actually have been as high or higher than moderns. I don't know if there was any research to that effect, but AFAIK heritability of height is rather well understood nowadays, so it probably could be done (so instead of running broad statistical analyses, perhaps yamnaya genomes could be directly analysed for their polygenic height potential). Perhaps someone had already done so.

"This isn't massively impacted by removing high HG ancestry individuals (may go up a centimetre) because Euro HG on average seem similar to Barcin in stature (though some EuroHG groups as some times were taller than others)."

The tallest I've seen so far are UP pre-glacial maximum Euros at 179 cm average, but I don't know how much of that carried to neolithic HGs (not much, I'm guessing).

Rob said...

From the link Un posted, it shows that the blonde phenotype became fixed recently, although the background could be Baltic hunter-gatherers.

Zesty said...

@Andrze

GAC is a mix of ANF+WHG.

GAC+a yamnaya like pop=Corded Ware.

Yamnaya was not blonde and they were not that pale skinned like modern North euros are.

ANF people were not blonde either. As for WHG i think that some clans/tribes were very dark skinned with dark hair but some WHG tribes(SHG, BHG etc) from Scandinavia, the Baltic lands could had been more White and with lighter hair and eyes.

Anyway,i think its obvious that Blondism is something progressive in human history. I am pretty sure that the majority of people worldwide in the Copper Age/EBA period were looking dark overall.

Matt said...

Just another quick comment to add to my last comment where I plotted the steppe ancestry of actual genotyped samples (as estimated from G25) against the estimated stature, for male samples.

Here's another set of plots where I've done the same thing, but restricted to male samples from Hungary or further north, between 5300 BCE to 1400 AD, and done a plot against time, then put splines against them. There are about 61 usable samples here. (Samples from Hungary, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Netherlands, Lithuania, Britain, Sweden, Latvia, Ireland and Estonia).

Plots: https://imgur.com/a/gKfQoKj

Looking at these samples, we can see that steppe ancestry peaks sharply in the set around 2500 BCE and all the samples from after that period have at least 30% steppe ancestry, with the average around 40%.

But when we fit a spline to height and time, we don't see a very sharp increase in height among samples at that time. There's an increase but it's relatively modest. (The spline would estimate around 166-167cm at 3000 BCE then probably around 170cm at the time of 2500 BCE). Instead the massive increase is seen after 0AD in the Viking and British gladiator samples.

But is this because the Scandinavian population was so much taller? Probably not necessarily, although there may have been selection. It may be that the Viking dna project just sampled a lot of taller than average warriors and this is less the case in earlier eras, and it wouldn't be surprising at all if gladiators were taller than average either.

(This would be improved by a lot more usable sampling with stature estimates in 4500-3000 BCE and 1500-0BCE though. This data is over two years old so possibly that's around now).

ulfing said...

Minor correction, I wrote +-3 cm depending on the method of measurement, that should actually be +-1.5 cm.

Desailly said...

So who were the blue-eyed, fair-skinned people in the Peki'in cave?

un said...

"We examined alleles related to phenotypic traits in the ancient genomes (Supplementary Data 7). Notably, three of the AAF carry the derived allele for rs12193832 in the HERC2 (hect domain and RLD2) gene that is primarily responsible for lighter eye color in Europeans22." 10000 у.a
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-09209-7

"We retrieved the alleles associated with predicting skin, eye and hair color166 and computed the probability of skin, eye and hair shade for the Aşıklı-128 individual using the tool HIrisPlex (http://hirisplex.erasmusmc.nl/). Probabilities of 0.968, 0.019 and 0.009 for having intermediate, very pale and pale skin color were obtained respectively, including a high probability of having light hair color (> 0.99). Regarding the eye color prediction, probabilities of 0.547, 0.338 and 0.115 were obtained for brown, blue and intermediate color, respectively."
10000 у.a
https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(21)00423-1

"It is also interesting to remark that, except for two individuals, the majority of individuals from Verteba cave have the
variant of SNP rs12913832 associated with blue eyes and the other two associated with dark eyes." 22 samples
https://www.researchsquare.com/article/rs-1044480/v1

Matt said...

@ulfing, missed your point about Kozak's paper, thanks for that info. Fairly reassuring when multiple facts point in a similar/close direction!

MaxT said...

@Copper

It's Kutuluk I, Kurgan 4, Grave 1

"The mound of Kutuluk near Samara, Russia, dated to about twenty-fourth century BC, containing the skeleton of a man, age estimated at between 35 and 40 years old and about 152 cm tall."

Wise dragon said...

@Andrzejewski


"Where do you think GAC came from?

It was 70% Anatolian farmers."


Minoans were 75% Anatolian farmers who totally lacked WHG or EHG admixture and they were very swarthy. Here's the thing the GAC has as much ANF component as the Minoans. However, the difference between these two ANF-rich people is the 30% Western Hunter-Gatherer ancestry in GAC. Therefore, I do believe that blondism can be linked to the European HGs rather than Anatolians.

Wise dragon said...

@Matt

"The tallest I've seen so far are UP pre-glacial maximum Euros at 179 cm average, but I don't know how much of that carried to neolithic HGs (not much, I'm guessing)."


The Gravettian hunter-gatherers had an average of 183.5 cm (6 ft 0.2 in). The women of the Gravettian were much shorter, only 158 cm (5 ft 2 in) tall.

Xdzyn said...

@Davidski,i don't think Finns are blonder and have a higher percentage of blue eyes than Swedes. The vast majority of Finns have black hair, brown or green eyes and East Asian features. Only in the western and southern regions of Finland (which includes the capital Helsinki), there are a greater number of people with blond hair and blue eyes, mainly because this region was conquered by Sweden in the 11th century during the Crusades.Correct me if I happen to be saying something wrong..
.

Hannibal said...

@Cobra


There is no way for you to know that Yamnaya were not blond, because no study has ever documented their hair color. Clearly many researchers believe Yamnaya had blond hair, but does it matter? We already know that Yamnaya lacked other things Corded Ware had, like R1a. Yamnaya might not even be the source of the putative "Yamnaya-like" ancestry in Corded Ware.

The majority of Scandinavian Hunter Gatherers were dark haired and dark skinned, especially the late ones.

Hannibal said...

@alex

Blond hair is also relatively rare in Europeans. I hope you don't actually believe more 25% of Europeans are naturally blond haired, even in Northern Europe.

The rate of blond hair phenotypes in the Fatyanovo sample is comparable to modern Europeans, and you have no way of substantiating your claim that most Steppe people didn't carry the blond hair allele on KITLG. The rate of blond hair and blue eyes in the Andronovo and Siberian Kurgan cultures is higher than in any Northern European populations.

Yamnaya were mixed with dsrk haired Caucasus Hunter Gatherers (~50%), and don't represent a typical Steppe culture. But I'd just like to remind everyone that no study documents their hair color, and they could have been heavily blond for all we know.

I also noticed that studies greatly vary on other Yamnaya characteristics, like lactose tolerance.
In some studies, the Yamnaya sample is 0% lactose tolerant, while in one study there was a sample with 20-25% lactase persistance.



Dave the Slothtopus said...

Blogger Matt said...
"Just another quick comment to add to my last comment where I plotted the steppe ancestry of actual genotyped samples (as estimated from G25) against the estimated stature, for male samples."

Just for your notes, although maybe too modern, I26830 a NLD DF19 MBA sample from Paterson, was estimated to be 181cm (5'11"), and was pretty high-steppe.

I26830 Wervershoof61_V638 Altena, Eveline This study Direct: IntCal20 3429 89 1620-1311 calBCE (3210±60 BP, GrA-18886) Netherlands_MBA Noord-Holland, Wervershoof-Zwaagdijk Netherlands, buried with bronze "rapier" and amber beads

Draft Dozen said...

@alex
"still can't accept the facts"
Instead of the word facts, use the word data.
So, according to Un's link middle age estonians didn't have pale skin at all, but 50% of intermediate skin
According to this
https://sun9-4.userapi.com/c850732/v850732354/1c4b45/YTTRx3YXkrM.jpg
middle age estonians also have 50% of intermediate skin
And according to this
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EyCvZbMU4AEC9Xc.png
No pale skin, but 25% of intermediate, and 25% unpredictable intermediate-dark+dark+black
Aha, very plausibly
One more. Sungir 6 High Middle Ages 1100–1220 AD. Despite having derive alleles in SLC45A2, SLC24A5, also got ASIP, rs2424984, Veddoid brown skin 6/6; ASIP, rs6058017, Veddoid brown skin 5/5; KITLG, rs642742, Veddoid brown skin 2/3
So, he was kinda a mestizo/mulatto? Despite closeness to Ukr, Bel, Pol. Give me a break.
One more thing, I think you are aware that the early Tarim mummies, despite the Asian admixture, did not have dark/black hair and skin, and I think you know what their phenotypic alleles show.

Tom said...

Media jumped on this too quickly and sensationalistically

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-10489451/Europeans-owe-height-Asian-nomads-blue-eyes-hunter-gatherers.html?fbclid=IwAR2dhsWnElLEp5Dc-l7eGmgbQvVTlkz8vicjXpNitIXjxS5WBMJxjllWmQQ

https://i.dailymail.co.uk/1s/2022/02/08/16/53927901-10489451-image-a-5_1644336230066.jpg

Davidski said...

Science media is garbage.

But that's not surprising, considering the low standard of science papers.

Asian nomads. Haha.

Tom said...

@Hannibal

'Blond hair is also relatively rare in Europeans. I hope you don't actually believe more 25% of Europeans are naturally blond haired, even in Northern Europe.'

Rubbish statement

Davidski said...

Well, fair hair isn't that rare across the northern half of Europe.

Most kids have blond hair, which then darkens with age, so in adulthood about 50% of the people there have fair hair.

Davidski said...

@Xdzyn

The vast majority of Finns have black hair, brown or green eyes and East Asian features.

Where are you getting your information from?

DragonHermit said...

Some correlation/causation problems in general with these types of discussions. There's clearly been some more recent selective pressure for these features in certain parts of northern Europe, that is independent of any ancestry.

It's not as simple as X population has certain % A or B ancestry therefore % phenotypical features.

Europeans in general had darker features during the Neolithic. A lot of these lighter features were exacerbated during the Bronze and Iron Age.

Copper Axe said...

@MaxT

"It's Kutuluk I, Kurgan 4, Grave 1

"The mound of Kutuluk near Samara, Russia, dated to about twenty-fourth century BC, containing the skeleton of a man, age estimated at between 35 and 40 years old and about 152 cm tall."

Which source did you get that from? Was it from an article or a web page?

P. Kuznetsov - An Indo-Iranian Symbol of Power in the Earliest Steppe Kurgans:

"Specialist A. Khokhlov of Samara State Pedagogical University determined that the skeleton was of a male 35-40 years old (Fig. 5). His legs were unusually long, especially thelower legs. His forearms also were long. He stood more than 176cm. tall, which is taller than the average height of modern European men. His skull and facial dimensions place him within the hypermorphous Europoid type, which is common among the Eneolithic and Bronze Age populations of the northern part of steppe belt in the Volga-Don region. A graphic reconstruction of the face of the Kutuluk skull made by D. V.Pezhemsky and E. R. Abuzyarova gives an idea of his appearance (Fig. 6). He had a sturdy build, wide shoulders, and a well-developed muscular system. Detailed examination of the joint surfaces of the skeleton led A. Khohlov to the conclusion that the Kutuluk man was unusually active, particularly in walking and/or running."

Kuznetsov was one of the people who excavated the Kutuluk mounds by the way.

Also Haak et al 2015 - Massive migration from the steppe is a source for Indo-European languages in Europe:

"Kutuluk kurgan cemetery I, located 60 km east of the city of Samara, contained:

SVP58/I0444 (central grave 1, kurgan 4, 3335-2881 calBCE, AA12570)

The remains are of male aged 25-35 years (Fig. S3.2), estimated height 176 cm, with no obvious injury or disease, and buried with the largest metal object found in a Yamnaya grave anywhere. The object was a blunt mace 48 cm long, 767 g in weight, cast/annealed and made of pure copper, like most Yamnaya metal objects."

Zesty said...

@Hannibal

Sorry,but Yamnaya had nothing to do with blonde hair.Thought,you have a point about your second statement that yamnaya might not be the source we looking for in the Corded Ware Culture.But its 80-90% a similar population.Pretty much a combination of EHG/CHG.It is ydna making it complicated not the autosomal DNA.

Zesty said...

@Hannibal

You are wrong about Yamnaya pigmentation, but you have a point saying Yamnaya might not be the source of the Yamnaya-like ancestry in CWC given the different Y-DNA. SHG has little relevance as it has not made a significant genetic contribution anywhere.But we are not sure if they were dark haired/skinned.I will still insist that some HG groups were lighter.

Hannibal said...

@Tom
@Davidski


Please provide a source that says Europeans are 50% naturally blond.

To have truly blond hair you have to be GG for rs12821256 (KITLG). The European populations with the highest percentage of this phenotype are less than 25% GG.

Also, Scandinavia and the Baltic region clearl do not have a monopoly on blond hair: French and English are just as likely, if not more, to be blond.

Source:


https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4704868/figure/F1/?report=objectonly

So much for the "blond hair is Northern European" fantasy still floating around on anthropology forums. Siberians are more likely to be naturally blond than some European ethnicities.

Davidski said...

@Cobra

Germanic ancestry (genome-wide and Y-haplogroups) in northwestern Estonia and even in parts of Latvia isn't a controversial issue, and not a topic worth debating.

The sources of this ancestry should be obvious:

- recent Swedish settlements

- Hanseatic League

- Germanic crusaders

- Vikings.

Hannibal said...

@Cobra


No need to apologize for things you know nothing about. Non-Steppe Europeans played no role in the spread or evolution of blond hair.


https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/exd.14142


"Interestingly, ancient North Eurasian derived populations, such as eastern hunter-gatherers and Yamnayas, carried the blond hair allele rs12821256 of the KITLG gene to Europe.[66] "

"The rapid increase in population size due to the Neolithic revolution,[64, 80] such as the use of milk products as food source for adults and the rise of agriculture,[81] as well as the massive spread of Yamnaya pastoralists likely caused the rapid selective sweep in European populations towards light skin and hair."

Zesty said...

@David

I know that Estonians and even Finns prolly have Germanic input.There is no doubt about it.But i can't connect their blondism specific with these people.I am pretty sure that balto-slavs,balto-finns have blonde phenotypes from their ethnogenesis times.Many blonde people from Estonia and Finland looking way closer to North Slavs and Balts rather to Scandinavians or to Dutch,Germans.

Xdzyn said...

@Davidski, Finns are no more blond and blue-eyed than Swedes or Danes. And yes, Finns have an Asian (Siberian) phenotype, as do some Scandinavian people.

Paul said...

@Xdzyn

Entirely incorrect. Most Finns do not have East Asian features. Finns are indeed blonder than Swedes and it doesn't make sense to point out that this is only true for Southern and Western Finns given this is where MOST Finns are from.

https://popdensitymap.ucoz.ru/finland.png

Davidski said...

@Hannibal

You're talking about a genotype that has a high association with blond hair in specific European populations, not the genetic cause of blond hair.

So GG at rs12821256 isn't the same thing as having blond hair.

Blond hair is a complex trait, and it hasn't yet been explained properly with genetics.

So it's entirely possible to have real blond hair and not have GG for rs12821256.

In fact, I know people who are real life examples of this.

Davidski said...

@Hannibal

Also, Scandinavia and the Baltic region clearl do not have a monopoly on blond hair: French and English are just as likely, if not more, to be blond.

Hahaha.

Hannibal said...

@Davidski


There is no evidence that any other allele than rs12821256 is capable of producing truly blond hair (meaning not dirty blond/light brown hair, but true blond hair).

All other putative alleles that are alleged to POSSIBLY be associated with blond hair do not produce the "bleach" effect of rs12821256, as demonstrated by the study I posted, which used genetically engineered mice to demonstrate rs12821256's effects.


Again, if you can't show experimental genetic evidence, I'm not accepting it. I see this as another unfounded hearsay that becomes a meme as soon as enough people say it to eachother. The only thing we can say for sure is that rs12821256 = genetic bleach, and everything else = inferred weak. So until I see a study proving otherwise, I'm sticking to what that paper said.

Davidski said...

@Xdzyn

It seems to me that you're mixing up Finns with Saami.

Hannibal said...

@Paul


Could you please show us a study that says Finns are blonder than Swedes? People are saying this all over the underground anthropology web, but I cannot find any studies or evidence of any kind that endorses this opinion.

The best I can find appears to be a random sourceless picture on Google images, which I suspect is the root origin of this meme.


In this study, Finns had a slightly higher percentage of blond phenotypes than Danes, but less than English, and not more than Icelandic people.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4704868/figure/F1/?report=objectonly


I really doubt that Finns are more blond than other Northern Europeans based on my experiences having visited Finland in the last 20 years. I also believe it is clear that most of these "blond" Northern Europeans derive their hair color from hydrogen peroxide rather than DNA. It is unlikely that any European country is more than 25% naturally blond, in my view.

Wise dragon said...

@Cobra,


According to the Hanel & Carlberg paper, the massive spread of Yamnaya pastoralists likely caused the rapid selective sweep in European populations towards light skin and hair. The increase in the frequencies of the alleles of the genes SLC45A2 resulted in Europeans becoming really pale.


Besides, the Romans encountered all kinds of Europeans, they saw Germanics, Celts, and Slavs, thus Europeans on the fairer side. In fact, pretty much all Roman historians and eyewitness accounts noted that among the Northern Barbarians the Germanic tribes were the blondest and the most blue-eyed people, even blonder than the Gauls/Celts who were also considered pale and fair-haired folk. So, long before the Nazis who are always being brought up, when Indo-Europeans or blond hair is discussed, the ancient Romans considered the Germanics as the embodiment of the blue-eyed blonds.

Davidski said...

@Hannibal

You don't understand how this works.

rs12821256 just shows a high association with blond hair in certain populations.

So genetic blondness, as currently defined, isn't the same as actual blondness in all populations.

But feel free believing whatever it is that you want to believe.

Hannibal said...

@David

rs12821256 is causal for, not just associsted with, light hair in *mice*.

It sounds like you're suggesting that having homozygous rs12821256 is *not* associated with blondness in *every* human population. But the effect was demonstrated in lab mice.

Even the heterozygous mice had a lightened hair color, with just 1 insertion of rs12821256.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4704868/figure/F1/?report=objectonly



"Heterozygous (Slpan/+) and homozygous (Slpan/Slpan) mice have lighter coats than control (+/+) animals, demonstrating that alteration of even a single copy of the region upstream of Kitlg can reduce hair pigmentation."




What other genes are equally specific to lightening hair color, with as substantial of an impact? I am not aware of a single non-albinistic gene or even an assortment of genes that can do what rs12821256 can do.

I'm no trying to be an asshole. I'm genuinely seeking information. This topic has been a disorganized mess of opinions and superstitions for too long. KITLG remains the only tested, viable candidate for truly depigmented hair in non-albino people, and its modern distribution comes primarily from population movements out of the Eurasian Steppe, in the bronze and iron ages.

Davidski said...

@Hannibal

I'm not sure how else to explain this to you, but you're taking these casual associations in regards to complex traits way too seriously.

See that's why you just claimed that English and French people have more real blond hair than Scandinavians, which is total bullshit.

Do not spam my comment section with bullshit or I will ban you.

Fanty said...

I recall an article in a German print magazine about the pigmentation of the Bajuwarian DNA probes. (6th century probes from the Bajuwarian tribe. A Germanic tribe that Bavaria is named after)

That article claimed that 80% of the tested Bajuwarians must have been light blond (a haircolor that only 4% of modern Bavarians have) and that the scientists had been surprised by finding such extreme blondism outside of Sweden. They especially had not expected that at the feet of the Alps.

Also interesting to consider:
Codex Manasse (A medieval song book with pictures. Created 1300 in Switzerland. Showing various people from the Holy Roman Empire mostly). It has 137 pictures of people in it and, while browsing the images, my guess is, that like 70% of them are blond, 20% are red and 10% are brown haired.

Either this is artistic freedom or people had been much lighter haired in 1300 than in 2022.

Davidski said...

The prediction of complex traits from genetics is in its infancy.

And the more complex the trait, the more difficult it is to predict, especially in different populations that haven't been widely sampled.

This means that our ideas about what ancient populations looked like based on genetics aren't going to be very accurate, and often probably completely wrong.

Andrzejewski said...

@wise dragon “ However, the difference between these two ANF-rich people is the 30% Western Hunter-Gatherer ancestry in GAC. Therefore, I do believe that blondism can be linked to the European HGs rather than Anatolians.”

All the GAC samples so far, including that extended family from the mass grave in Katowice had darker features

ancestralwhispers.org said...

The Late Neolithic samples of Azerbaijan and Copper Age samples of Armenia seem to show a certain degree of depigmentation, particularly a high prevalence of light eyes and light brown hair. So there is a certain correlation between light features and Anatolian ancestry.

https://i.imgur.com/iQjCFQG.png

Davidski said...

@Hannibal

Yamnaya were mixed with dsrk haired Caucasus Hunter Gatherers (~50%), and don't represent a typical Steppe culture.

More bullshit.

Yamnaya was very similar to Eneolithic steppe populations like Sredny Stog and Khvalynsk and there's no evidence that it had any actual Caucasus ancestry.

In fact, Sredny Stog samples are very similar to Yamnaya samples.

So Yamnaya was a typical Pontic-Casian steppe culture.

Hannibal said...

@AncestralWhispers.org (the fake reconstructions guy)


Your chart doesn't say what you think it does.

Hannibal said...

@Davidski


I am not saying Yamnaya had recent Caucasus admixture, which is of course bullshit.

I am only saying that they were modelled as a 50/50 mix of Eastern Hunter Gatherers and Caucasus Hunter Gatherers, and were, therefore, not typical of the broader steppe populations that preceded them, like Eastern Hunter Gatherers and Ancient North Eurasians.

I actually specifically said Eurasian Steppe, not Pontic-Caspian Steppe. We all know the blond hair gene on KITLG is from Siberia, on the eastern fringes of the Western Steppe. It evolved north and East of the Pontic Caspian Steppe, just like the 50% of the ancestry that went in to Yamnaya (Eastern Hunter Gatherers).


Quoting David Anthony, page 55:

"this new type was very similar to the EHG/CHG admixture that characterized nine Yamnaya culture individuals from six kurgan cemeteries in the Volga-Ural steppes, dated to 2800-3200 BCE (Haak, et al)."



Yamnaya appear to be genetically different from the original inhabitants of the broader Eurasian Steppe. I said this in the context of the evolution of blond hair, which dates back to the Pleistocene, in response to the bozo who said that it was rare among Steppe people. It was in fact common among Eastern Hunter Gatherers, who were ~75% Ancient North Eurasian. That's all.




PP said...

https://www.reddit.com/r/Maps/comments/bg097t/the_blonde_vs_brunette_map_of_europe/
Looking at the map, blonde hair is common at aereas with Germanic, Baltic and Baltic Finn people.

And yes, Finns have Baltic and Germanic components in their genes.

Target: Finnish_Central
Distance: 2.0387% / 0.02038730
41.2 Baltic_EST_BA:s19_X08_1
35.4 England_Saxon:I0161
14.6 DEU_Unetice_EBA:I0164
6.6 RUS_Krasnoyarsk_BA_scaled:kra001
2.2 RUS_Karelia_HG:I0061
0.0 Iberia_N:I0409
0.0 ITA_Villabruna:Villabruna
0.0 Yamnaya_RUS_Samara:I0438
0.0 RUS_Progress_En:PG2001
0.0 TUR_Barcin_N:I0724
0.0 GEO_CHG:KK1
0.0 IRN_Hajji_Firuz_C:I2323
0.0 IRN_Ganj_Dareh_N:I1290
0.0 MAR_Taforalt:TAF009
0.0 RUS_Tyumen_HG:I1960
0.0 RUS_Kolyma_Meso_Kolyma_River
0.0 RUS_Shamanka_N:DA247
0.0 CHN_Yellow_River_LN:PLTM310

Davidski said...

@PP

The map is bullshit.

It was done by some idiots at Apricity based on pictures of football players.

Zesty said...

@Hannibal

Nice trolling. You really think i am taking you serious? You dont even undeestood what i write above. Blondism is a progressive phenomenon that it took place in the Corded Ware Culture. I am not saying that GAC or Anatolian farmers had blonde hair or they cobtribute to it.Selection progress played a role. And for the last time, yamnaya had Zero relation with blonde hair. Keep dreaming...

As for british and French being blondier than Balto-Slavs, Balto-Finns and North Germanics we are laughing here. Finns,Estonians, North Slavs, Balts are way blondier than northwest europeans.Even Scandinavians and North Germans-North Dutch are not thatblonde like northeast europeans.

Matt said...

A couple of figures from scientific papers might help improve this discussion:

A) https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07691-z - "Genome-wide study of hair colour in UK Biobank explains most of the SNP heritability" - 2018 - "Here, we have extensively mapped the genes responsible for hair colour in the white, British ancestry, participants in UK Biobank. MC1R only explains 73% of the SNP heritability for red hair in UK Biobank, and in fact most individuals with two MC1R variants have blonde or light brown hair. We identify other genes contributing to red hair, the combined effect of which accounts for ~90% of the SNP heritability. Blonde hair is associated with over 200 genetic variants and we find a continuum from black through dark and light brown to blonde and account for 73% of the SNP heritability of blonde hair."

The Manhattan Plot shows there are lots of variants across the whole genome that affect blonde hair - https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07691-z/figures/1 . Strong contrast to red hair evident.

It is misspecified to be having too much of a discussion about whether one or another particular variant is present in an ancient individual.

B) From https://www.pnas.org/content/118/1/e2009227118 - "The evolution of skin pigmentation-associated variation in West Eurasia" - 2021, using >1000 ancient genomes.

This figure 2 is worth a look - https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/118/1/e2009227118/F2.large.jpg . It looks quite complicated but basically shows shows a set of crossplots of variants where the x-axis is time and the y-axis is ancestry, and the variants are colour coded as to whether the depigmenting variant has increased or decreased over time. (There are 6 different sets because Mathieson and Ju examine 3 different data sets, and 2 different SNP subsets).

You can see from this that for example the variant the depigmenting SLC45A2 has increased and is associated with time and not with the sudden shifts of ancestry in Europe (e.g. the frequency did not change very suddenly with Anatolian or steppe ancestry but was more affected by time), while SLC24A5 and IRF4 have been associated with turnovers of ancestry (e.g. Neolithic farmers substituting WHG, which led to a dramatic increase of depigmenting SLC24A5 and a decrease of depigmenting IRF4).

(They don't include the KITLG snp and note - "Some studies (76, 78) detect a signal of recent selection in Europeans at the KITLG SNP rs12821256 that is functionally associated with blond hair color (79). We find no evidence of selection on the West Eurasian lineage at this SNP in our time series analysis, but this may reflect a lack of power to detect a relatively small change in frequency. ". But anyway, KITLG is just one allele in a highly polygenic trait!)

In principle something like this may be possible with the SNPs with highest influence on blonde hair colour.

Davidski said...

That's what I was trying to say.

Blonde hair is complicated!

But I couldn't be bothered looking for quotes and data from papers on my phone.

Copper Axe said...

By the way for a this talk about blondism (very complex trait, involves many different snps) I do want to mention that I've seen several Yamnaya and Afanasievo samples with Mc1r > R151C and R160W mutations, but none of them were homozygotes. However if you find several heterozygotes you are bound to run in a homozygous individual.

Interesting perhaps because a red haired storm god seems to be something that goes back to late PIE and/or early Corded Ware going by comparative mythology.

Copper Axe said...

Also doesnt it seem that a lot of the "blond hair" predictions on Hirisplex seems to be connected to being homozygous for rs16891982 and rs12913832? That seems to be the main difference snp-wise.

Hirisplex is known to often predict dark brown haired NW Euros as having much lighter hair than they actually have and this could be a part of it.

This could also explain why in the one study with 19 GAC samples they all were predicted with brown hair, while on Genetiker's site the few GAC samples had blonde hair.

Matt said...

@Davidski, yeah I didn't say so in my comment and it might have come across that I didn't but I got the message that's what you were talking about.

Wee e said...

@hannibal

Blond Melanesians do not appear to have the genes that have been associated with blond hair in Europeans.

Blond Solomon Islanders were thought to be blond (and some are very bright blond) fromTYRP1: (also found associated with blondism in mice) which European populations with blondism apparently don’t share. But then other Melanesians that have blond hair were found not to have TYRP1 either.

As with Europeans, in populations where it exists, it’s at around five to ten percent of the population. As with Europeans, some people continue blond all their lives, some get browner hair.

Wee e said...


I feel that people on this forum sometimes lump in red-headedness and blondism as if these are just different intensities of the same thing. As someone who has spent most of my life in a country with more than its share of redheads, could I just clarify something?

Red-headedness involves having plenty of pheomelanin, not just an absence of eumelanin (?hypopigmentation?)
So blond and ginger are not simply different gradations on a single continuum.

Many people with almost-black head hair have ginger that shows in beard, chest and pubic hair. (Or shows up more in certain light). It is not at all unusual for the carroty-haired child to have parents and some grandparents like this. Or just plain or brown/dark brown.

Blondism — bright yellow-white hair or pale ashy hair, of the sort you see in the Scandinavian and Baltic countries, isn’t simply a paler form of red hair as such.

Assuwatama said...

I have some red/coppery head cousins.

They look pretty much Irish/Scottish. I wonder where it came from. Fair, Yellow/Green eyed, Freckles & Red/coppery hair.

Those in my line are Fair with light to dark hair. Me & My father have reddish/light brown hair scattered in a predominantly black beard.

No foreigner in their family line for at least 200 years but family members from 3 living generations show these features.

Andrzejewski said...

Who knows? Maybe Sredny Stog and Corded Ware inherited blondism from Ukraine HG, Bug Dniester, Dnieper Donets, Triployan and/or Narva HG by way of admixture?

Linguistically, though, I don’t foresee anyone beyond Sredny Stog speaking PIE.

Hannibal said...

@Cobra

Let's see you provide just one credible link to support anything you're saying. I've offered you several but you just ignore them.


Provide a single piece of evidence that selection in Corded Ware is the origin of blond hair in Europeans. A single quote any feasibly credible author will do. U can't do that, though.

You're not even willing to say that Corded Ware was blond, but you somehow know that Corded Ware selection created blond hair?


Just face it, you are a stubbornly opinionated human being. Let me show you what a link looks like:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/exd.14142


"Interestingly, ancient North Eurasian derived populations, such as eastern hunter-gatherers and Yamnayas, carried the blond hair allele rs12821256 of the KITLG gene to Europe.[66] "

"The rapid increase in population size due to the Neolithic revolution,[64, 80] such as the use of milk products as food source for adults and the rise of agriculture,[81] as well as the massive spread of Yamnaya pastoralists likely caused the rapid selective sweep in European populations towards light skin and hair."

Paul said...

@CopperAxe

Which populations would you guess were the most athletic or had SNPS for the most fast twitch muscle fibre?

Hannibal said...

@Copper Axe

A more likely explanation for Genetiker's charts, which were uploaded to WordPress.com, is that his charts are simply bullshit.

Who is Genetiker anyway? Some anonymous guy seeking "employment"? Did anybody ever step back and consider that an anonymous panhandler with a WordPress.com account is not legit?


Steppe said...

The oldest blond hair mutation occurred in an ANE line in Yana Russia and of course the EHG had an ANE component and EHG also belongs to the vector/admixture of the steppe population, are you sure the blond hair is not from the steppe population? than from an EEF population. There are also blonde Balts and Germans, clearly the Latvians had experienced a lot of Germanic admixture in the Middle Ages

Fanty said...

" lump in red-headedness and blondism as if these are just different intensities of the same thing. "

Well, the Romans did aswell. After all Tacitus claims all Germanic people beeing red haired. Oddly...

In another book when he talks about Picts, he repeats that and says that the Picts must be of Germanic stock originaly because they look the same: Huge bodies and red hair.

Also, Frederick Barbarossa was said to have wheat blond hair combined with a red beard.

I myself (German with known anchestry (pedrigree) from South-West-Netherland, North-West Germany, East Prussia, South Poland and Lithuania) (and 23andMe thinks there is some 6% Scandinavian) have blond hair (white as a kid, dark blond now) and a red beard (but only the chin part is red)

Andrzejewski said...

@Hanibal CHG were 1/3ANE

Unknown said...

@Steppe

You are wrong. It's Afontova Gora 3 (AG3) girl who has oldest 'blonde' mutation. She is about 16-14,000 years old.

Unknown said...

Literally everyone in Eurasia has KITLG and KITLG does seem to be "homogenized" gene in Ireland, Oceania and Americas based on map in this study. But is this sole gene that leads to blonde hair? very unlikely

Global allele frequencies and haplotype patterns at three genes with signals of positive selection.
https://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/article/figure?id=10.1371/journal.pgen.1000500.g004

Not the sole determinant

https://www.nature.com/articles/ng.3019
"The SNP identified by Guenther et al. is, of course, not the sole determinant of hair color. Change in KITLG expression in human follicles is one of many factors contributing to differences in hair pigment...as of now it remains
unclear how the decrease in KITLG expression causes blond hair in Europeans."


For example, previously it was believed Melanesian blond hair was associated with TYPR1 gene but this is not the case anymore. It's still unclear what causes blonde phenotype in Melanesians.
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajhb.22795

Unknown said...

In the study, rs12821256 KITLG associated with hair lighting, unlike rs1881227 KITLG, only reduces hair color by 20% in humans, that's not enough to create light blond or blond hair.

"Effect of a single SNP (rs12821256) on hair color. The distal upstream hair follicle enhancer of KITLG contains a predicted LEF-binding site overlapping the blond-associated SNP (underlined nucleotide). LEF strongly binds the ancestral allele, whereas weak binding of the derived allele reduces gene expression by ~20%, resulting in lighter hair color."

Wise dragon said...

@Fanty

"I recall an article in a German print magazine about the pigmentation of the Bajuwarian DNA probes. (6th century probes from the Bajuwarian tribe. A Germanic tribe that Bavaria is named after)

That article claimed that 80% of the tested Bajuwarians must have been light blond (a haircolor that only 4% of modern Bavarians have) and that the scientists had been surprised by finding such extreme blondism outside of Sweden. They especially had not expected that at the feet of the Alps."


What do you mean with light blond, do you mean platinum/ white blond? The thing is blond (albeit in different shades) hair is pretty much common among Southern Germans. Southern Germans are blonder than people think. In addition, I saw a while ago, on AG a paper about medieval Bavarians and they turned out to be Scandinavian- like genetically speaking.

Nevertheless, that the Germans are getting darker and less blond was observed 20 years ago. The truth of the matter is, native Germans are selecting against blond hair and blue eyes. Furthermore, many local Germans are of foreign or part foreign European origin, thus Germans by assimilation. There are millions of Germans who were originally from Poland, Russia, Hungary, Romania, certain parts of Ukraine, the Balkans, etc. Plus, thanks to social engineering and nonstop advertisement, and the glamorization, romanticization of interracial datings, the number of interracial couples and mixing is strongly rising.

When you go on the street, shopping you barely see all blond couples since the most Nordic-looking Germans have often exotic and foreign partners and kids with them. You actually don't need a study but only your eyes to witness on a daily basis that the Germans are getting darker and will be rather swarthy in the nearer future. So it makes perfect sense, that Germans back then were blonder than current ones, although blond Germans are still very present.

Wise dragon said...

@Cobra


Although I do agree with most of what you've said I have to disagree on one point with you. The ancient Romans have encountered and saw Germanics, Celts, Slavs, all European populations who were considered fair. So they knew what they've looked like and compared them to each other. In fact, several Roman historians and eyewitness accounts throughout history always noted that the Germanic folks were the blondest and the most blue-eyed folks among the Northern Barbarians, even lighter than the Gauls/Celts who were also very fair. So, long before the Nazis that people ALWAYS bring up when Indo-Europeans or blond hair is being discussed, the Romans associated blondism and blue eyes with Germanic people the most.

According to the ancient Romans, the Germanic folks were the embodiment of the blue-eyed-blonds. With that being said, present-day Germans are getting darker and less blond because of selection against blond hair and blue eyes.

MaxT said...

@Copper
That makes sense

@Unknown

You might be right since rs12821256 KITLG is homogenized (CC) in only 0.6% of CEU samples. 27.4% carry it in mixed heterogenized (CT) form. Clearly something more is involved here.

https://www.snpedia.com/index.php/Rs12821256

In contrast rs1667394 HERC2 is associated with combination of blonde hair and blue eyes in Europeans. 72.1% of CEU are homogenized (AA) for this and 27% are heterogenized (AG). rs1667394 increases susceptibility to Blond rather than brown hair 4.94 times for carriers of the A allele. rs916977 in north almost nears fixation.

https://www.snpedia.com/index.php/Rs1667394

Some studies have pointed out some EEF were light-haired, out of 23 sampled individuals only 5 had light hair shade. It probably came with combination of blue eyes, since only 4 individuals had blue eyes out of those samples. Maybe both due to mixing with HG?

"eye and hair color prediction of 37 Early Neolithic farmers sequenced across Europe and Anatolia [2,3,17,30] revealed that four individuals presented high probabilities of being blue-eyed(p=0.55-0.91), 23 were predicted to be brown-eyed (p=0.76-0.99), and 10 individuals did not have enough data to make a prediction. In total 23 individuals exhibit a high probability for dark hair pigmentation (p=0.57-0.99), five had most likely a light hair shade; the remaining nine farmers lacked data for meaningful hair pigmentation prediction (S1 Table)"

Interestingly SHG had more depigmentation SNPs than WHG and EHGs.

"Selection was driving the differences in eye color, skin, and hair pigmentation as part of the adaptation to different environments [50–53]. All of the depigmentation variants at these three genes are in high frequency in SHGs in contrast to both WHGs and EHGs (Fig 4B)."..."Therefore, the unique configuration of the SHGs is not fully explained by the fact that SHGs are a mixture of EHGs and WHGs, but could rather be explained by a continued increase of the allele frequencies after the admixture event, likely caused by adaptation to high-latitude environments"

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5760011/

Combinations of SNPs carried by HG, EEF and steppe with increased allele frequencies due to selection lead to blonde phenotype in CWC. Fatyanovons from Corded Ware are almost entirely blond & blue eyed, first time we see such light pigmented population in steppe, unlike previous samples.

Wee e said...

@fanty
Yes, of course you can have a mix of blond and red hair. It’s just not necessary to be blond, or to have a blond parent or grandparent, to have red hair. It often skips generations; so your blondism might come from a completely different ancestor than your ginger does.

My country is one of those whose modern stereotype is red-headedness. Darker haired people are the majority in the population, and also the majority of relatives of people who have red hair, and also the majority of individuals who have a mix.

About half of our population have blue and blue/grey eyes, but there are also a lot with lighter brown and with hazel (speckled greenish & copper or yellow mix, sometimes with a ring of grey). But most of those people also have dark hair, reasonably enough, because the majority of the population does. And a number if people who are definitely blond have dark brown eyes.

(I am on shaky ground here, but I seem to remember people associating ginger hair with R1b1 lineages; don’t quote me on that. If I haven’t garbled it, it still may be just association since we are overwhelmingly R1b1, rather than causation. Ducks and raspberries.)

Apparently Spain actually has quite a high proportion of people with the red-head gene. But most of them don’t show red hair, except perhaps on the face and body.

Anyway, I don’t really know what the objective criterion is for blond: people in some countries call “blond” what would be considered firmly a mid-brown in another country.

Hannibal said...

Everything you're saying is a lie. Fatyanovo weren't 100% or even 10% blond, and early Steppe samples do have predicted blond hair.

Selection cannot make Corded Ware blond in the manner of a few hundred years. There is no genomic evidence for selection of blond hair in modern Europeans, and your claims about allele fixation in Europeans is all fucked up and incorrect.

JR97 said...

@Matt @MaxT @CopperAxe @Unknown

Hey

Ju Mathieson et al. 2021 mentioned TYPR1 is selected for in hunter-gatherers lineage. TYPR1 is associated with melanesian blond hair in some studies but other recent studies don't think so. I was surprised to see this either way. Do you think it may also be contributing to blonde hair or hair lightning here? Maybe they think KITLG is not selected in west eurasians since it has quite low homozygote AA in northerners?

"The TYRP1 locus has been previously identified as a target of selection in Europeans (5, 8, 9, 74, 75), although some studies (76, 77) have questioned this finding. Our analysis shows some support for selection at this locus, with a 20-SNP window centered around rs1325132 being in the top 1.1% of genome-wide PBS windows on the hunter-gatherer lineage. Some studies (76, 78) detect a signal of recent selection in Europeans at the KITLG SNP rs12821256 that is functionally associated with blond hair color (79). We find no evidence of selection on the West Eurasian lineage at this SNP in our time series analysis, but this may reflect a lack of power to detect a relatively small change in frequency."

https://www.pnas.org/content/118/1/e2009227118

C said...

Blonde hair distribution (E>W) is from Anglo-Saxon and a bit of Norse settlement. Ginger hair distribution (W>E) is Celtic ancestry.

I think the difference in complexion and prevalence of ginger hair between Gaels (Irish & Scots) and Britons (Welsh & Cornish) is worth noting. Gaels are much redder, paler, and blue-eyes. I think this is attributed to Britons receiving more Celtic DNA (2nd IE) than Gaels who kept more Bell Beaker DNA (1st IE). This could explain their language divergence too.