Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Body mass in the Nile Valley - increases due to agricuture not mass migrant influx

[b]In earlier studies (one of which Raxter herself did) US Blacks as a tropical people were used as a stand-in to estimate height of Ancient Egyptians. In those studies Black Americans were found to cluster closer to Ancient Egyptians than Europeans. That finding is not changed at all by Raxter's 2011 study. In fact, the new study AGAIN confirms that tropical peoples have similar limb proportions- hence Egyptians and Nubians cluster thereby. And the clustering of Black Americans has not changed one bit.[/b]
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Bi-iliac ranges are correlated with many things
including thermoregulation and locomotion. They are also
correlated with stature, and with a shift to agriculture.
Hence an "intermediate" bi-iliac range could be easily
due to any of the above, including a shift from the
mixed economy pre-dynastics, to the more agricultural
early dynastic/dynastic types. Such ranges change
slowly hence there would not be dramatic jumps in the data
over time. Thus "incoming Caucasoids" are not
needed to explain "intermediate" bi-iliac ranges
lest anyone be tempted to make that interpretation.



[b]QUOTES:[/b]
[i]"Furthermore bi-iliac breadth appears to change slowly over time,
likely due to multiple factors (thermoregulation, obstetrics,
locomotion) influencing its shape (Ruff 1994; Auerback 2007).."

"Generally narrower body breaths of the foragers contrast markedy
with the wider-bodied agriculturalists. Although bi-iliac breadth
has been argued to be stable over long periods of time (Auerbach,
2007), this shift in mean body breath may be indicative of changes
correlated with subsistence economy."

"Any use of the bi-iliac breath/stature body mass estimations
would inherently reflect changes in stature.." [/i]

"In this study, skeletal measures of body size were analysed to
evaluate the long-term impact of the transition to agriculture in the Nile
Valley..  Here we demonstrate that this transition is also  associated
with a modest reduction and subsequent improvement in stature and
body mass. This trend could be broadly interpreted in the context
of  models of relationship between body size and nutrition."
-- Pinhasi & Stock. 2011. Human Bioarchaeology of the Transition to Agriculture

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[b]Here are 7 reasons to NOT break out the champagne: mission NOT acomplished...  - critique in plain text below or blue text[/b]

 [IMG]http://blogs.e-rockford.com/applesauce/files/2011/05/bush_flightsuit.jpg[/IMG]


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1--[b]"Ancient Egyptians as a whole generally exhibit intermediate body breadths relative to higher and lower latitude populations, with Lower Egyptians possessing wider body breadths, as well as lower brachial and crural indices, compared to Upper Egyptians and Upper Nubians. This may suggest that Egyptians are closely related to circum-Mediterranean and/or Near Eastern groups, but quickly developed limb length proportions more suited to their present very hot environments. These results may also reflect the greater plasticity of limb length compared to body breadth.[/b]

^1-- Actually it doesn't automatically "suggest" AEs are
"closely related to circum-Mediterranean and/or
Near Eastern groups." [/b]All the data shows is that
the peoples of the Nile Valley had built-in native
variation as expected for the many different micro
climes of tropical Africa. Almost 20% of Egypt falls
within the tropic zone by the way.

And as noted above, bi-ilac ranges/breadth are also
correlated with several other things such as changes
in diet and lifestyle as other scholars show. For example
agriculturalists tend to have greater body breath
than exclusively foraging/hunting peoples. It does
not automatically follow that greather breadth ranges
mean "circum-Mediterranean" relations. Rather the shift
 to more dynastic agriculture, from a more mixed pre-
dynastic economy can well accommodate changes in body breath
without the need for any mass influx of "Near Easterners."

See quotes above to this effect.
And it should be noted that the pre-Dynastic
Badari, who cluster with tropical Africans were
ALREADY farming and stock-raising with some hunting/
foraging on the side. In other words, tropical
African variants were ALREADY engaging in the
agricultural practices that are correlated with greater
bi-iliac ranges. "Diffusion" from the Middle East
of plants such as wheat, is just that, diffusuion
that was adopted by the indigenous tropical variants
on their own terms. They could grow wheat or peas,
on their own ground, without needing any "wandering Caucasoids"
to be present. This is the precise point stated by Keita 2005, 1992.

QUOTE: [i]
Furthermore, the archaeology of northern Africa does not
support demic diffusion of farming from the Near East.
The evidence presented by Wetterstrom indicates that early
African farmers in the Fayum initially incorporated Near
Eastern domesticates into an INDIGENOUS foraging strategy,
and only over time developed a dependence on horticulture.
This is inconsistent with in-migrating farming settlers,
who would have brought a more abrupt  change in subsistence
strategy. "The same archaeological pattern occurs west of
Egypt, where domestic animals and, later, grains were
gradually adopted after 8000 yr B.P. into the established
pre-agricultural Capsian culture, present across the northern
Sahara since 10,000 yr B.P. From this continuity, it has been
argued that the pre-food-production Capsian peoples spoke
languages ancestral to the Berber and/or Chadic branches of
Afroasiatic, placing the proto-Afroasiatic period distinctly
before 10,000 yr B.P." [/i]
--Source: The Origins of Afroasiatic
Christopher Ehret, S. O. Y. Keita, Paul Newman;, and Peter Bellwood
Science 3 December 2004: Vol. 306. no. 5702, p. 1680
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2--[b]Stature regression equations derived from American Black populations may therefore not be appropriate to estimate the statures of ancient Egyptians.[/b]

^^In earlier studies (one of which Raxter herself did)
US Blacks as a tropical people were used as a stand-in
to estimate height of Ancient Egyptians. In those studies
Black Americans were found to cluster closer to Ancient Egyptians
than Europeans. That finding is not changed at all by Raxter's 2011 study.
In fact, the new study AGAIN confirms that tropical peoples have
similar limb proportions- hence Egyptians and Nubians cluster thereby.

Even if stature was over-estimated in earlier
studies as Raxter claims, the data STILL showed US
Blacks closer to AE proportions. Whether the use
of US blacks is "appropriate" to estimate the
statures of AEs makes little difference because
in limb to limb comparison, the AE's are closer
to the US blacks. Throw out the stature estimation
task and this central result STILL stands.

 [IMG]http://www.profilethai.com/download/original/raxterrufftrinkhauscombo.jpg[/IMG]
[i]Even if stature estimation is excluded the
bottom line results are STILL the same- the AE's
cluster more closely with US Blacks.[/i]
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3-- [b]but quickly developed limb length proportions more suited to their present very hot environments. [/b]

^^A misleading claim by Raxter. Actually limb
length proportions do not "quickly" change, but
are heavily genetically embedded.

 [IMG]http://img189.imageshack.us/img189/5873/limbproportionsgeneticc.jpg[/IMG]
[i]Limb proportions DON'T "quickly" change. They are
rather slow in fact. Hence tropical proportions
found in the Nile Valley are not the product of
"Mediterranean" or "Middle Eastern" migrants who
"quickly" changed to "tropical Africans." Limb
proportions don't work that way.[/i]
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4-- [b]The present results for bi-iliac breadth are also consistent with various genetic studies that have found modern Egyptians to have close affinities to Middle and Near Easterners (Manni et al., 2002; Arredi et al., 2004; Shepard and Herrera, 2006; Rowold et al., 2007) and Southern Europeans/Mediterranean groups (Capelli et al., 2006). [/b]
^^No surprise there. We all know MODERN Egyptians
are not identical to the ancients and are more
varied, a result that shows up in ancient samples as well.
Note below that Zakrewski found one widely used sampling
set was not at all typically Egyptian. And whether samples
were pooled or not pooled in other studies MADE LITTLE
DIFFERENCE. The AEs STILL cluster more with tropical
Africans than Europeans or "Middle Easterners."

 [IMG]http://img51.imageshack.us/img51/3571/kemp2005combodendro.jpg[/IMG]
Some tail end sampling sets are not typical of Ancient Egypt.

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5--[b]Some of these authors suggested their results may have been associated with a diffusion from the Near East during the expansion of early food-producing societies[/b]
^^Sure some plant and animal domesticates filtered
into AE from the "Middle East." That was/is never at
issue. But most of the archaelogical evidence shows
no mass influx of "Caucasoids" or "circum-Mediterranean"
types to instruct the natives. QUOTE:

[i]Ovacaprines appear in the western desert before the Nile valley proper (Wendorf and Schild 2001). However, it is significant that ancient Egyptian words for the major Near Eastern domesticates - Sheep, goat, barley, and wheat - are not loans from either Semitic, Sumerian, or Indo-European. This argues against a mass settler colonization (at replacement levels) of the Nile valley from the Near East at this time. This is in contrast with some words for domesticates in some early Semitic languages, which are likely Sumerian loan words (Diakonoff 1981).. This evidence indicates that northern Nile valley peoples apparently incorporated the Near Eastern domesticates into a Nilotic foraging subsistence tradition on their own terms (Wetterstrom 1993). There was apparently no “Neolithic revolution” brought by settler colonization, but a gradual process of neolithicization (Midant-Reynes 2000).[/i]
-- Keita and Boyce, Genetics, Egypt, And History:  Interpreting Geographical Patterns Of Y Chromosome Variation,
History in Africa 32 (2005) 221-246
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6--[b]Ancient Egyptians "as a whole" [/b]
Sure. If you lump in the more varied New Kingdom types
and Hyskos/Roman era/Greek era types you will get more variation.
Everyone knows the tail end period of AE had more variation.
Even Zakrewski says that one tail-end series is not
"typically" Egyptian. That was never at issue. What is at issue
is the genesis and maintenance of the pre-Dynastic
and early Dynastic period. Later periods were to
have a more mixed pattern, The 12th Dynasty for example
had several pharaohs of Nubian origin (Yurco 1989), as
did the 18th, as did the 25th. Raxter highlights the "close links"
with "circum-Mediterranean" types it seems, but not the other way.

 [IMG]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-y962OyaKpYA/TuwpoZWg92I/AAAAAAAAAjc/FoUvu685n54/s1600/ancient_egyptians_were_not_black_tropicalmelak.jpg[/IMG]

Whether stature estimation is involved makes little difference.
AEs STILL cluster more with Black Americans. And limb proportions
do not "quickly" change.
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[b]7-- Finally Raxter's  presentation doesn't make a dime's worth of difference on the fact that based on limb proportions, AEs cluster more towards Nubians and other tropical Africans than Europeans or Middle Easterners. Body breath indexes are accounted for via dietary/economic shifts and do not necessarily point to any influx of "Middle Easterners" or "Mediterraneans" [/b]

Note how Raxter presents the data:

 [IMG]http://picturestack.com/368/335/KKKPicture22Q8.png[/IMG]

A-- It is admitted that the AEs have more tropical proportions.
B-- It is admitted that the Nubians have even more tropical proportions.
C-- But then the author quickly leaps to highlight body breath and talk about close links with
Europe and the Mid East.

--In fact though, there are EVEN CLOSER links in A and B above than C, between Egyptians and other Africans via limb proportions. Highlighting body breadth cannot obscure this reality.

[b]Why not the flip side of the "intermediate" body breadth picture? If half is Euro/Mideast, then the other half is African. But why is the highlight only one way towards the Euro/Mideast side where body breadth is concerned?[/b]

And if body breadth is "intermediate"- half of the "close links" - then the second half
of the body breath equation is with tropical Africans. If intermediate body
breadths tell about Euro/Mid East Links, then THE OTHER HALF LIKEWISE SPEAKS
OF AFRICAN LINKS. But how come Raxter never uses a consistent approach on
this count - on the flip side?

 Raxter's blanket claim of Egyptians as a whole
is flawed. Her main data point is Lower Egypt. But
even this varied over time. In the early period,
the limb length proportions of northern samples,
per Kemp cited above show more affinities with
the Africans rather than the Europeans. Also
flawed is Raxter's blanket notion of "quickly developing"
tropical limb lengths, for which she offers little
clear evidence. To the contrary, as other scholars show,
limb proportions are relatively stable, genetically
embedded, and do not quickly change.

If anything the weight of the overall Nile Valley
picture also points to another alternative- that
of tropical Africans with extreme proportions-
having  such proportions modified over the millennia by
(a) cooler Mediterranean temperatures of Egypt,
and (b) a shift to a more agricultural lifestyle.

The Egyptians are more similar to the Nubians via limb proportions.
Both peoples are from warm climes as Raxter notes.
Hence the link with US blacks on limb proportions,
 another tropical people from warm climes, and
who have the same typical linear body build, IS
NOT IN THE SLIGHTEST BIT AFFECTED. The limb proportion
data still stands. Body mass variation is accounted
for by (a) adaptation to cooler climates, and (b)
a shift to more agriculture. This does not at all
rule out small scale migration from the Levant/Maghreb.
We all know it occurred, as well as trade links,
prisoners taken in warfare from Palestine etc.
But mass influxes of "Mediterraneans" or "Middle Easterners"
are not at all needed to give the peoples of the
Nile Valley diversity or variation in body mass.


FINAL QUOTE:

[i]"Generally narrower body breaths of the foragers contrast markedy
with the wider-bodied agriculturalists. Although bi-iliac breadth has
been argued to be stable over long periods of time (Auerbach, 2007),
this shift in mean body breath may be indicative of changes correlated
with subsistence economy."[/i]

[i]"In this study, skeletal measures of body size were analysed to
evaluate the long-term impact of the transition to agriculture in the
Nile Valley..  Here we demonstrate that this transition is also 
associated with a modest reduction and subsequent improvement
 in stature and body mass. This trend could be broadly interpreted
in the context of  models of relationship between body size and nutrition." [/i]

-- Pinhasi & Stock. 2011  The Bioarchaeology of the Transition to Agriculture

 Gratuitous body mass data.. :)

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