The Other Humans

Blonde Melanesians of the Solomon Islands


During the week of Christmas there was an exciting paper released that found that Melanesians have, on average, 4 to 6 percent of their genome derived from a third, previously unknown archaic human species, the Denisovans. This news has been written about in several mainstream publications and numerous blogs, so this post is more than a little belated, but I wanted to add my thoughts about this important discovery.

Who are the Denisovans?

Denisovans is the name now given to a human group that was discovered in Denisova cave in southern Siberia. Earlier in 2010, the mitochondrial DNA of a pinky bone was sequenced that showed a separate and divergent type of human was living in Siberia up until at least 30 to 50 thousand years ago. The sequencing of the mitochondrial DNA showed that these humans had diverged from living humans at least a million years ago. This person was dubbed the “X-woman.” Some anthropologists playfully called her the Yeti, which set off all kinds of internet speculation that this human was in fact the origin of legends of the abominable snowman and sasquatch. A molar belonging to another individual was found in the cave, so now we have a confirmed population.

The sequencing of the nuclear DNA from that same finger bone has shown that the Denisovans shared a common ancestor with Neanderthals and split off from them 50-100 thousand years after Neanderthals split off from us. This conflicts with the mitochondrial DNA study, which showed the Denisovans breaking off from us at least a million years ago. Why is this? This could be evidence that the Denisovan population had bred with another archaic human species and acquired the mtDNA from them. Or the Denisovans could actually be a much older group and share alleles with the Neanderthals because of inter-mixture.

Since we only have a finger bone and a tooth, we can only speculate as to what they looked like. The molar is fairly large, which would suggest a large jaw, but beyond that it’s anyone’s guess.

Why is this important?

A year ago, the out of Africa model of human evolution was so set in the minds of most that it was practically the consensus theory. Those that promoted the alternate multi-regional model were generally dismissed and any evidence suggesting that there was regional continuity between archaic non-Africans and modern humans was mostly ignored. The out of Africa model was neat and tidy and fit nicely into the “We are all one” meme now prevalent in Western leftist thought. Then last year, proof of Neanderthal introgression into modern non-Africans shocked much of the scientific community.

This was vindication for many that promoted the multi-regional model. Paleo-anthropologists have pointed to fossil evidence that supported this view for years, but geneticists had dominated the debate and in essence had told the world, “Our science is more sound than theirs,” and everyone believed it.

After the Neanderthal buzz settled, there seemed to be so much attachment to the simple out of Africa model that, unsurprisingly, some downplayed the discovery, stating, “Well, we are all still mostly out of Africa.” Instead of smashing the out of Africa model, the Neanderthal news seemed to just make a small dent to it.

Then the Denisovan paper was published. Now we have definitive proof of at least two archaic human species contributing to the modern human gene pool. If the Neanderthal discovery smacked the pompous smirk off out of Africa’s face, then the Denisovan discovery gave it a swift kick in the nuts.

The Denisovan story hasn’t gained as much traction in the popular mind as the Neanderthal one, which is to be expected. After all, Neanderthals are a widely known human species that have been portrayed for years in books and film. Finding out that most people in the modern world have Neanderthal genes is going to blow a lot more minds than news that an unknown species of humans passed some genes onto Melanesians, a group of people that the average person doesn’t care about.

What makes this discovery so important is that it shows the evidence previously used to make the claim that all humans have a recent common origin was wrong. This assertion was made by looking at mitochondrial DNA and the Y chromosome, which pointed back to Africa and we now know paints a misleading picture. The idea was so entrenched in mainstream science that the numerous studies showing otherwise were treated with skepticism and/or ridicule. Now it’s the out of Africa model that should be treated with skepticism. Evidence for the multi-regional model that was brushed aside will now need to be reexamined and reinterpreted. It now becomes not just possible, but probable, that modern humans are the result of the combination several extremely divergent human lineages.

Do Melanesians have the most archaic admixture?

With 4 to 6 percent Denisovan genes plus the 4 percent Neanderthal contribution, that would make Melanesians almost 10 percent “other human.” I think these results are actually a bit lower than the actual percentage. While Melanesians are shown to share genes with the Denisovans, considering that they were found in Siberia and the Melanesians are located at the equator, it may be that Melanesians received the genes indirectly from another group that had mixed with or diverged from the Denisovans. Melanesians may actually have more archaic lineage than we currently find.

Other human populations are also likely to have introgression into their gene pool from ancient human species. Another study has shown evidence of archaic admixture in over 50 percent of Chinese, with an origin in eastern Asia that is 2 million years old. And another study shows 13 percent archaic lineage in some sub-Saharan African populations.

What’s important to remember is that fossil evidence is always sparse and discoveries of new species is often by accident. There are likely human species that we may never know about and without having the sequenced genome of these extinct species it becomes impossible to draw a direct comparison between these species and modern human populations.

What’s for certain is that the out of Africa model has been forever altered. It is on a trajectory to become the new fringe theory. The origin of homo sapiens is far more complex than that simple model and we should look forward to more discoveries of verifiable admixture in humans.

A note on species

There’s a general misunderstanding about the taxonomic definition of species. It’s often assumed that if two populations can mate and produce fertile offspring, then they’re part of the same species. This is often true, but not always. Many different recognized species can and do mate. Wolves and coyotes, for example, have produced a new hybrid species called the coywolf(I prefer wolfyote) that has become a menace in the eastern United States. The two species of orangutan, the Bornean orangutan and the Sumatran orangutan, also can mate and produce healthy offspring and they don’t even have the same number of chromosomes.

I bring this up, because some have stated that the Denisovans are not a separate species but a branch of homo sapiens. Species are generally classified by morphological differences, yet there is no set measure to delineate species. We barely know anything about how Denisovans may have differed from us physically, but we do know that they probably shared a common ancestor with Neanderthals, who are usually considered a separate species. If we use the mitochondrial DNA, which we have seen can be problematic in making these assessments, then they split off from us even before the Neanderthals did.

Given that evidence, I’d say the Denisovans should definitely be labelled as a different species from us. This causes pangs for some because of the implications. This would mean that some groups of humans(most likely all) are hybrids of multiple species. I think that this is the more sensible conclusion, rather than the incredibly simplistic idea that humans just appeared suddenly in Africa some 200 thousand years ago and somehow avoided mixing with any other human species they encountered. If history has shown us anything, it’s that humans will have sex with practically everything, human or otherwise.

See also The Denisova Genome FAQ at John Hawks’ blog.

The Most Racist Commercial Ever?

In my last post, I wrote about Africans in Thailand and how Thais generally don’t like them there. The discussion that followed made me remember a Thai commercial that’s been floating around for a while. I’ve come across this commercial many times over the years on other blogs and websites and it’s usually shown under a headline like, The Most Racist Commercial Ever! I don’t really think that it’s the most racist commercial; it’s actually kind of funny to me with its bizarre tone.

First of all, before you watch it, realize that this commercial is made for Thailand and Thai viewers. I’ve seen some get extremely angry over this commercial and I find it ironic because many that do are anti-racists and one of the cornerstones of that ideology is cultural relativism. Judging this from a Western multi-culturalist perspective should be verboten for those that hold that world view. I mean, all cultures are equal, right?

 

Is this commercial racist? By Western standards it may seem that way, but it’s actually against prejudice. The Black man was being friendly to the little girl and we’re made to feel sorry for the way that he was treated. Then by the end we can see that he’s tried to help so many others and the situation that he experienced was a common occurrence. We are left with the message, Appearance can be deceiving (the narrator actually says, “Don’t judge by looks”).

But wait, this commercial only works if we understand that it would be a normal reaction in Thailand to be afraid of a Black man. To many, this itself is racist, even though the commercial tells us that’s wrong. The imagery of the mother treating the Black man in such a harsh way is upsetting to many and enough for some to declare this commercial the most racist ever.

Some comments have claimed that the way that he is shown climbing the pole is racist, because in the eyes of some, he appears to climb like a monkey. I think that’s subconscious racism on the part of those that make that claim. How else would you climb a pole? Thailand was once mostly jungle and there’s still tree climbing competitions annually. I think most Thais would be impressed with the Black man’s superhuman pole climbing skills. And that’s part of the point.

Many are so focused on the racial imagery that they fail to comprehend what this commercial means to say. The commercial is metaphorical. The balloon represents plaque in hard to reach places. The black man, of course, represents black herbal toothpaste. His superior pole climbing skills are meant to show the toothpaste’s effectiveness. The mother, upon seeing the Black man, fears and rejects him, much in the same way that she might feel if she saw her daughter putting a strange brown colored substance into her mouth. The viewer is made to feel sympathy for the Black man and the way that he was treated. He fades into an image of brown toothpaste on a toothbrush, transferring the feelings of sadness onto the toothpaste. So next time a person who saw the commercial is at the store, he’ll see the toothpaste, remember the mistreated Black man and feel sorry about his prejudicial feelings and think, “If a Black man can be good, maybe black toothpaste can be as well.”

Thailand Cracks Down On Its Africans

An African man sits in handcuffs and a Thai police officer displays confiscated drugs

An article in the Bangkok Post details the Thai police’s efforts to crack down on West Africans and the illegal drugs that they peddle. While this operation was promoted as an effort to attack the drug trade, the Thais explicitly targeted the Africans in the country, who have long been seen as a problem in Thailand.

There’s a small but significant population of West Africans(mostly Nigerians) in Thailand. They’ve been a source of social friction for some time in Thailand with both Thais and tourists alike objecting to their presence. Many are in the country illegally and deal in the black market. Through bribes and corruption within the Thai police, they’ve been able to keep their presence strong. Now Thais are making an effort to change that.

Using tactics that would be impossible in politically correct Western countries, Thai police blocked off an area of Bangkok known as Soi Africa(Africa Road) to prevent anyone from escaping. All foreigners were detained and their passports and visas were checked. They also searched every individual for banned contraband and even forced every person to take an onsite urine test to check for drugs. Anyone that tested positive was arrested.

From the article:

Pol Col Chatchai said Soi 3 had become a West African community, with several hundred often gathering in one place which made it ”very difficult” to arrest them with drugs. ”We have to use immigration laws to arrest them even when we know they are selling drugs, this is very frustrating.”

He estimated there were ”many thousands” of West Africans in the country, adding ”We shouldn’t allow them to stay in Thailand so easily; and that’s why we will ask the Immigration Bureau to join our operation and check their passports.”

Pol Col Chatchai also said their behaviour was aggressive when compared to other nationals, and they often shouted and spoke aggressively to people. ”We have to control them and not allow them to behave like that in our country. They don’t have any manners. People from the Middle East and Europeans are polite and nice to our women but not the West Africans. They will insult and abuse them,” he said.

I’m personally glad to read that the Thais are finally attacking this problem. In 2001, I went back to Thailand for the first time since I was a kid and I was shocked when I first encountered the African community in Bangkok. Their attitude and demeanor was so out of place. Thais are well known for their friendly and placid behavior, so much so that Thailand is called the “Land of Smiles.” While some Western tourists can be obnoxious with their disregard for Thai sensibilities, the Africans really take it to another level. Some poorly behaved Westerners can be tolerated because they bring money into the economy, but what do these Africans bring into Thailand besides crime and violence?

New App For Our Multi-Cultural World

I don’t own an iPhone, but apps like this make me consider switching over. Word Lens is an app for iPhones and iPod touches that instantly translates signs from English to Spanish or vice versa right before your eyes. This could be useful for travelling abroad, but I’d find a lot of use for it right in my own neighborhood.

Right now they only offer translations between Spanish and English, but they’ll be adding more languages down the line, which will probably cause more confusion than convenience on your trips to China once Chinese is translated to Engrish.

 

The Joys Of Riding The Bus

My son sometimes rides the city bus from his school, which is in a majority Black part of the city, into downtown to hang out with his friends. I encourage him to do this, since I want him to develop his sense of independence and to learn how to cope with unpredictable situations. I realize that riding the bus poses a risk, but that’s part of life. Hopefully, he’ll never have to deal with a situation like we see in the video below. I’ve told him to NEVER listen to or use his iPod when he’s on the bus, whether he’s alone or with his friends. I had to show him this video to help reinforce those instructions in his mind.

In the video below, we have another bus attack. I know. It happens so often, it barely seems noteworthy anymore. This one stuck out to me, because the perps were females and the victim of the assault was pregnant and even after the thugs were made aware of that fact, they didn’t cease with their assaults.

I was amazed at the guy’s restraint. The first blow to my head would’ve sent me into a murderous rage, but the guy in the vid seemed almost apathetic to the kicks and punches to his skull.

From the news story about the incident:

Without warning, one of the suspects grabbed an MP-3 player away from 17-year-old Jessica Redmon-Beckstead, who was on the bus with her boyfriend, Jason DeCoste, 19. In the moments that followed, the suspects punched and kicked both Redmon-Beckstead and DeCoste on the bus, despite the posted signs alerting passengers that video-surveillance cameras are on board.

During the incident, one of the suspects can be heard accusing DeCoste of stealing her cellphone. According to sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. John Urquhart, DeCoste briefly met the girl at a party last summer and has denied taking her phone. His girlfriend, who was three months pregnant at the time of the attack, did not know any of the suspects, Urquhart said.

DeCoste tells the attackers that his girlfriend is pregnant, and one replies: “Nobody hit her in the stomach,” while encouraging her friends to “hit her in the face.”

“During the course of the video all the suspects are seen laughing during the course of the assaults and even joke about how they did not get any money from the victims. One of the suspects is heard complaining that she broke her nail,”…

Redmon-Beckstead needed six stitches to close a gash over her left eye, while DeCoste suffered bruising.

Female, underage, I don’t care. If I was in that situation, those bitches would be the ones getting stitches.

Free Broadband For Every “Nappy Headed Child”

This video is from a speech that FCC commissioner, Mignon Clyburn(also daughter of Congressman, James Clyburn), gave at a race conference. As you watch this, pay attention to the crazed, scheming look on her face. Let her bitter and hateful tone seep into your mind. Listen to her sickening sense of entitlement. And then think about the position she holds.

I’ve become really desensitized these days, but I my teeth were grinding as I watched this. The stupidity is just astronomical. How does she suppose we give free internet to every “nappy headed child?” Obviously, they’ll need a free computer as well. And not any hand me down, size don’t fit computer from some patronizing rich White person. That just won’t do. They need to best free stuff to gain a proper sense of pride in themselves, don’t you know?

We’re in a new era now, where beggars can not only be choosers, but they can be in charge as well.

Some Thoughts On Racism

On other blogs and a few times here, I’ve been called a racist. This is used as a shaming tactic meant to stir up some sense of guilt, but because of the overuse of the term, it’s become a toothless attack with little meaning. When I was a kid, to call someone a racist meant that they had hatred for other races. This is the usual implied meaning of the word when used as an insult. Most people use it as a synonym for bigot(something I’ve been called as well).

Now here’s the definition of bigot:

a person who is intolerant of any ideas other than his or her own, esp on religion, politics, or race

I’m plenty tolerant of other races, religions and even other political beliefs, so I sometimes get annoyed when others hurl that accusation at me as it’s a baseless attack. I think it reflects more on the accuser’s emotional and intellectual deficits than it does on the character of the accused. That supposed insult always conjures up images for me of a small child, his face red and eyes welled up with tears, crying out at someone that hurt his feelings. “You’re a racist!” is the equivalent of calling someone, “a big doodie head.” It amounts to the same infantile reaction.

Now, the term racist is a very broad term. While most use it to mean that the person targeted is some type of irrational hatemonger, many are aware of the fact that it can be loosely interpreted and try to use this to their advantage to distract from the issue at hand. I usually see this line of attack: “You’re just a racist!,” to which I reply, “I don’t hate other races at all. I live and work around other races and get along fine with most other people.” Then I usually get, “Well, don’t you believe that races have different inherent qualities?” to which I respond, “Yes,” which of course is followed by, “See, you’re a racist!”

That line of thinking is just stupid. Most everyone in the world understands that races have different physical features; we just disagree on the amount of differences. Anyone can understand that Blacks normally have dark skin and kinky hair, which are inherent qualities. Of course, some race deniers would see that statement and say, “Some Blacks have light skin and straight hair! You’re a racist!” Like I said, just stupid.

Here’s the dictionary definition of racism:

1. a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
2. a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

Well, none of those definitions fully applies to me. While I do believe that various groups have distinctive traits and divergent group averages, I don’t believe that means that some groups have the right to rule others. I see group differences as a matter of fact in much the same way that I accept that East Asians have different hair than sub-Saharan Africans. If being observant makes one a racist than I guess the dumb and blind are the only true non-racists among us.

I wanted to note that I do occasionally use the term, “racist”, myself. I’ve used it on this blog and when I do it, it’s meant to highlight the hypocrisy of liberals, other minorities and supposed anti-racists, who often times hold equally “racist” views, except about Whites and sometimes Asians, neither of whom seem to be seen as groups worthy of protection from having their feelings hurt. It’s funny to me how some White liberals will run to defend their favored minority groups, as if they were helpless children in need of a noble White Knight to slay the wicked dragon called Racism.