Mesopotamia - a tropic or arid tropic civilization linked to tropically adapted peoplesNordic Mesopotamia? Across the web Neo-Nazis and Human Biodiversity proponents (HBD) wage an arcane war of “racial science” built around claimed superiority of cold-climate “Nordic” peoples. Tropical areas it is claimed produced little civilization until the coming of cold-climate Asiatics and Europeans? But is this “the truth” as claimed? HBD proponents reference US anthropologist Carelton Coon heavily, a supporter of the southern segregationist cause during the 1960s (Caspari 2003). Coon and other of his ilk make 3 claims:
- The Sumerians may have been vaguely "Mediterranean" but part Negroid
- The Sumerians were identical to Englishmen
- The Sumerians were of "Aryan" or "Nordic" stock
"English" Sumerians and European' stock claimed in Mesopotamia: As to the Sumerians, Coon asserted that "Sumerians who lived over five thousand years ago in
Blue-eyed "Nordics" for the Mesopotamian Sumerians: L. A. Waddell (1930- Egyptian Civilization Its Sumerian Origin..) held that the Nile Valley civilization was due to the Sumerians and that t he first dynastic Pharaoh of Egypt, Menes, was identical to the son of Sargon the Great of Sumeria, and that a great empire extended from India in the east to Britain in the west and that it was ruled over by Sargon I and later by his son Manis Tusu, whom he equates with the Menes of the Egyptian kingdom. The actual Sumerians who controlled this world-girdling empire, Waddell maintained, were of blue-eyed Nordic Aryan stock. [quote:]
"The unity as regards type and source of the ancient civilizations of Sumerian Mesopotamia, India, Egypt is in keeping with the physique of the ruling people in all countries, which is shown by their portraits, sculptures and skeletal remains to have been of the long-headed, fair, grey or blue-eyed type recognized by moderns as marking the Aryan section of the caucasian race." (Waddell 1930)
The only thing wrong with the three approaches above is that they are nonsense. If anything the peoples of greater Mesopotamia more closely resemble the tropical variants of Africa than any reputed Europeans or "Nordics" as shown below..
Debunking 1: Greater Mesopotamia (Palestine, Iraq, Syria, southwestern Iran) falls within the Subtropic/Tropic Arid Zone, NOT the cold-climate zones of Europe or Asia. The subtropics are the geographical and climatic zone of the Earth immediately north and south of the tropical zone, at latitudes 23.5°N and 23.5°S. The Greater Mesopotamian area is assigned to the subtropics or the arid tropics by modern climatologists. (See: Troll and Pfaffen, 1964. ‘Seasonal patterns of the earth and Thompson, A. (1997) Applied climatology: pg 179;
Debunking 2: Peoples of the Palestine area, and the Sumerians did NOT look like cold-clime “white Nordics” or Asiatics. Modern data shows a wide range with more links to African sub-Saharan elements.
Debunking 3: Even China had its own subtropical zone hosting key centers of civilization, contradicting the claim of civilization in China as an exclusively cold climate phenomenon. Even in places like China, important strands of early civilization developed in Arid Tropic/subtropic areas such as in the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River zone, and the humid subtropical area around Xian, in Shaanxi province, a key cradle of civilization area in Chinese history. Subtropical Xian is the location of the famous Terracotta Army of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China.
Debunking 2: Peoples of the
DETAILS: THE NATUFIANS - early peoples of the Palestinian/israel area of ancient greater Mesopotamia
Modern scholars dismiss Coons “racial” analysis but confirm the sub-Saharan elements in the Natufians. [quote:]
“A late Pleistocene-early Holocene northward migration (from Africa to the Levant and to Anatolia) of these populations has been hypothesized from skeletal data (Angel 1972, 1973; Brace 2005) and from archaeological data, as indicated by the probable Nile Valley origin of the "Mesolithic" (epi-Paleolithic) Mushabi culture found in the Levant (Bar Yosef 1987). This migration finds some support in the presence in Mediterranean populations (Sicily, Greece, southern Turkey, etc.; Patrinos et al.; Schiliro et al. 1990) of the Benin sickle cell haplotype. This haplotype originated in West Africa and is probably associated with the spread of malaria to southern Europe through an eastern Mediterranean route (Salares et al. 2004) following the expansion of both human and mosquito populations brought about by the advent of the Neolithic transition (Hume et al 2003; Joy et al. 2003; Rich et al 1998)."This northward migration of northeastern African populations carrying sub-Saharan biological elements is concordant with the morphological homogeneity of the Natufian populations (Bocquentin 2003), which present morphological affinity with sub-Saharan populations (Angel 1972; Brace et al. 2005). In addition, the Neolithic revolution was assumed to arise in the late Pleistocene Natufians and subsequently spread into Anatolia and Europe (Bar-Yosef 2002), and the first Anatolian farmers, Neolithic to Bronze Age Mediterraneans and to some degree other Neolithic-Bronze Age Europeans, show morphological affinities with the Natufians (and indirectly with sub-Saharan populations; Angel 1972; Brace et al 2005)..”
--F. X. Ricaut, M. Waelkens. (2008). Cranial Discrete Traits in a Byzantine Population and Eastern Mediterranean Population Movements Human Biology. 80:5, pp. 535-564
Other scholars on the Natufians:
Larry Angel (1972): "one can identify Negroid traits of nose and prognathism appearing in Natufian latest hunters.(McCown, 1939) and in Anatolian and Macedonian first farmers, probably from Nubia via the predecesors of the Badarians and Tasians..."
C.L. Brace (2005): "If the late Pleistocene Natufian sample from Israel is the source from which that Neolithic spread was derived, there was clearly a sub-Saharan African element present of almost equal importance as the Late Prehistoric Eurasian element."
DETAILS: THE SUMERIANSThe Sumerians had a range of physical variation with clear resemblance to tropical Africans on 4 counts:
Count 1- Linkages to other tropically adapted peoples and Upper Egypt: Sir Arthur Keith (1934 - Al-'Ybaid: 216,240) also held that the Sumerians were related to Englishmen. [Quote:] "The Neolithic people of English long barrows are also related to them- perhaps distantly" Such resemblances between older tropically adapted Europeans and peoples outside Europe, such as in Africa, has been noted by Brace 2005 (The Questionable Contribution of the Neolithic) and by Hanihara (1996) as to the resemblance of other peoples in the greater Mesopotamian area to tropical Africans (Hanihara 1996- Comparison of craniofacial..') Keith speculates as to links between the Sumerians and Afghanistan and Baluchistan, but in actual comparison of data, Keith notes that Sumerian specimens he examined showed some resemblance to specimens from tropical Upper Egypt (described by researcher Dr. Fouquet in Vol II of Morgan's 'Sur les Origines de l'Egypt- 1896) but had no resemblance to other Egyptian specimens. [Quote:]"They were akin to the predynastic people of Egypt described by Dr. Foquet, but differed from all other predynastic and dynastic Egyptians." (Keith 1934, in Al-'Ubaid, pp. 216,240)
Count 2- Dolichocephalic crania of the negroid "EurAfrican" type: Dolichocephalic crania in older analyses are often seen as a marker of "negroid" or African variants, not "Nordics." Buxton and Rice (1931- 'Excavations at Kish') examined 26 Sumerian crania and calculated 17 as Eurafrians, five Mediterraneans/Australoid, and four Armenoid, showing that long-headed people were the dominant element in Sumeria. Penniman (1923-33) excavated 14 crania at Kish, describing 2 as brachycephalic and eight dolichocephalic or EuraAfrican type adn 4 miscellaneous.
Dolichocephalic crania in older analyses are generally considered a marker of "negroid", mulatto or sub-Saharan variants. [quote:] "The peoples in north-western Europe.. are medium-headed, on the average.. Head shapes vary outside the "White Race" too. Most members of the "Black Race" are long or medium-headed and most members of the "Yellow-Brown Race' are short-headed." (Boyd, W. races and People. 1955).
The Catholic Encyclopedia (1913- "Human Race") also notes dolichocephaly as a marker of "blacks", asserting as to "the Ethiopian race" that: "the skull is dolichocephalic, the forehead full, the cheek-bones prominent, the nostrils wide, the alveolar arch narrow and prominent, the jaws prognathous, and the lower jaw large and strong."
Count 3 - Sumerian specimens likened to Egyptians of the Western Desert. [quote by Penniman at Kish excavations:]"First there is the Eurafrican.. In ancient times, this type is found in Mesopotamia and Egypt and may be compared with the Ombe Capelle skull. It is possibly identical with men who lived in the high desert west of the Nile in paleolithic times.." (-Penniman, T.K. "A Note on the Inhabitants of Kish.." Excavations at Kish, 1923-33 Vol 4. pp 65-72)
Comparison of Sumerians to people of the western Desert - One recent (2008) study notes:"..the Qarunian (Faiyum) early Neolithic crania (Henneberg et al. 1989; Midant-Reynes 2000), and the Nabta specimen from the Neolithic Nabta Playa site in the western desert of Egypt (Henneberg et al. 1980) - show, with regard to the great African biological diversity, similarities with some of the sub-Saharan middle Paleolithic and modern sub-Saharan specimens.This affinity pattern between ancient Egyptians and sub-Saharans has also been noticed by several other investigators.."
--Ricaut and Walekens (2008) 'Cranial Discrete traits..' Human Biology, 80:5, pp. 535-564
Quote on Qarunian (Faiyum) desert area remains (c. 7000 BC)"The body was that of a forty-year old woman with a height of about 1.6 meters, who was of a more modern racial type than the classic 'Mechtoid' of the Fakhurian culture (see pp. 65-6), being generally more gracile, having large teeth and thick jaws bearing some resemblance to the modern 'negroid' type." (Beatrix Midant-Reynes, Ian Shaw (2000). The Prehistory of Egypt. Wiley-Blackwell. pg. 82)
Count 4 - Link of Mesopotamian U'baid culture with tropical African phenotype: (quote) "Another impression that arose on the first examination was that the Eridu skulls showed a marked prognathism .. Keith's interesting conclusions-that the skulls of the ancient Sumerians were relatively narrow, that they were dolichocephalic, a large-headed, large-brained people, approaching or exceeding in these respects the longer-headed races of Europe, and that the men's noses were long and wide-is applicable to some of the 'Ubaid dead of the latter half of the third and the beginning of the second millennium B.C." --Cambridge Ancient Hist, Vol 1, Part I, 1970, p. 348; 358.
The Sumerians called themselves "the black headed people." They had nothing do do with any blond "Nordics", as shown in their song: "Lament for Urim"
Quote: "Sumerian literature itself refers more often to 'the Land' that it does to 'Sumer', and to its inhabitants as 'the black-headed people.' (Black, Cunningham and Robson, 2006. pg- 1)
Lament For Urim "The scorching potsherds made the dust glow (?) -- the people groan. He swept the winds over the black-headed people -- the people groan. Sumer was overturned by a snare -- the people groan. It attacked (?) the Land and devoured it completely. Tears cannot influence the bitter storm -- the people groan.
The Land's judgment disappeared -- the people groan. The Land's counsel was swallowed by a swamp -- the people groan. The mother absconded before her child's eyes -- the people groan. The father turned away from his child -- the people groan. In the city the wife was abandoned, the child was abandoned, possessions were scattered about. The black-headed people were carried off from their strongholds. "
Forkm: --Jeremy Black, Graham Cunningham, Eleanor Robson. The Literature of Ancient Sumer. (2006) Oxford University Press. 250,12,309,
5) Modern research comparisons of Sumerians with Mediterraneans dismiss any close affinity.
Osteological remains from "48 local populations from Southern Europe and the Middle East, ranging in time from 3100 B.C. to 200 A.D.," disconfirms the two regions "as a single interbreeding group of populations. "-- (Finkel D. 1978. Spatial and temporal dimensions of Middle Eastern skeletal populations. JR Hum Evo, 7:3. 217-229)
Keita 1992 also dismisses notions of a "Mediterranean race":“Mediterranean,” connoting a “race,” “one interbreeding population,” at the craniometric level, is questionable as defining the “Middle East” during the Bronze Age (Finkel, 1974,1978), invalid as a term linking geography to a uniform external phenotype (see Snowden, 1970; MacGaffey, 1966; Keita, 1990), inaccurate as a metric taxon for many groups previously assigned to it (Rightmire, 1975a,b), and problematic as a bony craniofacial morphotype denoting a “race” or mendelian population because of its varied soft-part trait associations and wide geographical distribution (see “Hamitic” in Coon et al., 1950; Gabel, 1966; MacGaffey, 1966; Hiernaux, 1975; Rightmire, 1975a).
“Hamitic”, a label once used for some African groups (Fulani, Galla, Beja, southern ancient Egyptian), is seen by some as equivalent to “Mediterranean White” (e.g., Vercoutter, 1978), but Hiernaux (1975) points out that it is incorrect to view fossil and living groups once so designated as being “closely related to Caucasoids of Europe and western Asia.” The term “Hamitic” has been dropped by linguists and historians as well as by anthropologists because of its contradictions, its inadequacies, and the theory of race and race history to which it was attached (McGaffey, 1966; Sanders, 1969; Hiernaux, 1975).
Likewise “Brown Race” is sometimes used as a synonym for Mediterranean White, though this interpretation is historically somewhat inaccurate (MacGaffey, 1966). Sergi (1901), perhaps the father of the original Mediterranean Race concept (Angel, 1983, personal communication), saw this taxon as being “autonomous” in origin, not of the Black or White “races.” Physical anthropologists express divergent views on the characteristic bony craniofacial morphology which is to define the “Mediterranean type” (personal correspondence from the late J.L. Angel, M-C. Chamla, and A. Wiercinski)."
-- Keita S. 1992. Further Studies of ancient crania from North Africa. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY 87:245-254 (1992)
6) Modern CAT SCAN analysis of early Iranians shows a population with dolichcephaly and broad noses.
"it has been suggested based on archeological data that the population of Mesopotamia began to be influenced by Persians after the Achaemenean domination.. this study depicts the dolichocranic population as tending to have a relatively lower orbit and broader (lower) nose, and vice versa in the brachycranic population."-- Naomichi O, et al. 2009. Geometric morphometric study.. An Sci 117
Sumerian summary: While they were their own variant and not absolutely 100% identical to other tropicals, several excavations and analyses link the Sumerians with tropical much more than Europeans in terms of (a) resemblance to Upper Egypt predynastic specimens, (b) dolichocephalic features, and (c) resemblance to tropical peoples of the Western Desert, and (4) similarities of the Mesopotamian U'baid specimens to other tropicals in terms of prognathism. This is consistent with the pattern shown in items a, b and c above.
The Penniman excavation of Sumerians found 8 out of 14, or 57% to be dolichocephalic, suggesting again the range of variation in the ancient Sumerians including tropical African features. Buxton and Rice found 17 out of 26 crania or 65% to be a similar tropical variant. This links again with the observations of Keith and the resemblance between Sumerian skulls and those of tropical Upper Egypt. Modern reanalyses of the data find both the Rice-Buxton and the Peniman data falling within the range for Saharao-tropical variant Africans (Van Sertima and Rashidi, 1987, p.23), confirming the Upper Egyptian matches with the Upper Egypt data of Fouquet reported by Keith (1934), and Penniman's Egyptian linkage. Ricaut and Walekens show that data in the Western Desert points once again to linkages with an African tropical variant, and the Cambridge History shows the Mesopotamian U'baids, precurors of the Sumerians to have a similar tropical affinity.
GREATER MESOPOTAMIA - OTHER PLACES- IRAN- still show links to tropical Africans
In addition to the Palestinian data, data from Iran show that early West Asians looked like today’s sub-Saharan Africans.
quote:"Distance analysis and factor analysis, based on Q-mode correlation coefficients, were applied to 23 craniofacial measurements in 1,802 recent and prehistoric crania from major geographical areas of the Old World. The major findings are as follows: 1) Australians show closer similarities to African populations than to Melanesians. 2) Recent Europeans align with East Asians, and early West Asians resemble Africans. 3) The Asian population complex with regional difference between northern and southern members is manifest. 4) Clinal variations of craniofacial features can be detected in the Afro-European region on the one hand, and Australasian and East Asian region on the other hand. 5) The craniofacial variations of major geographical groups are not necessarily consistent with their geographical distribution pattern. This may be a sign that the evolutionary divergence in craniofacial shape among recent populations of different geographical areas is of a highly limited degree. Taking all of these into account, a single origin for anatomically modern humans is the most parsimonious interpretation of the craniofacial variations presented in this study."
(Hanihara T. Comparison of craniofacial features of major human groups. Am J Phys Anthropol. 1996 Mar;99(3):389-412.)
Conclusion: The HBD claim is false. Tropical peoples did indeed develop advanced civilizations without needing cold-climate "role models". Mesopotamia is in the Arid tropic (subtropical) zone and developed advanced civilizations long before reputed European or Asiatic cold-climate “leaders”. The peoples who developed these ancient civilizations did NOT look like cold-climate “Nordics" or Eastern Asiatics. Instead, they show a range of variation, including clear resemblance on some counts to other tropically adapted peoples of Africa. Scholars who deny these findings are inconsistent - like Coon above. Resemblances between Sumerians and other tropical peoples covers (a) Upper Egyptians, (b) dolichocephalism, (c) high desert Egyptians, and (d) U'baid specimens showing prognathism and other features within the range of tropical variants.
4 peoples of Greater Mesopotamia all show
some link to tropical African variants
Joint products of "racial evolution"...
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--Dolan, Wicherts et al 2004. Investigating the nature of the Flynn effect. Intelligence 32 (2004) 509-537
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Oubre, A (2011) Race Genes and Ability: Rethinking Ethnic Differences, vol 1 and 2. BTI Press
For summary see: http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/05-02-18/
--S OY Keita, R A Kittles, et al. "Conceptualizing human variation," Nature Genetics 36, S17 - S20 (2004)
--S.O.Y. Keita and Rick Kittles. (1997) *The Persistence ofRacial Thinking and the Myth of Racial Divergence. AJPA, 99:3
HBD RACE EVOLUTION CLAIMS DEBUNKED BY GENETICISTS
Alan Templeton. "The Genetic and Evolutionary significnce oF Human Races." pp 31-56. IN: J. FiSh (2002) Race and Intelligence: Separating scinnce from myth.
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Oubre, A (2011) Race Genes and Ability: Rethinking Ethnic Differences, vol 1 and 2. BTI Press
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Wicherts and Johnson, 2009. Group differences in the heritability of items and test scores
--Joseph Graves, 2006. What We Know and What We Don’t Know: Human Genetic Variation and the Social Construction of Race
J. Kahn (2013) How a Drug Becomes "Ethnic" - Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law and Ethics, v4:1