Open Thread, 5/29/2017


The above talk from David Reich is very good. Highly recommended.

Chris Wickham’s Medieval Europe is pretty good, though it is very similar to his The Inheritance of Rome and Framing the Early Middle Ages.

Rod Dreher finds out it is highly like he has some African ancestry from a slave ancestor. This seems to be detected in 1 out of 10 whites using reasonable thresholds. Probably that that means that genealogically much more than 10% of Louisiana whites have lines of descent from people who were mixed-race slaves (though in French areas it might be mediated often by mixing with “free people of color”).

18 thoughts on “Open Thread, 5/29/2017

  1. “This seems to be detected in 1 out of 10 whites using reasonable thresholds. ”

    In the American South or in the US as a whole?

  2. Razib, thanks very much for the David Reich video link, it’s a great talk and very clear. I’ve read some of the papers you’ve highlighted from this field recently, but as a non-specialist they are harder to understand.
    – Of course, keep highlighting papers as well.

  3. The Q&A with Pääbo and Reich which followed is well worth sitting through also. Pääbo disposed of the ‘species’ thing re: Neanderthals and Denisovans, and Reich laid to rest any concerns (there are some in Europe, apparently, although the audience in Tel Aviv didn’t seem bothered about it so far as I could tell) about a resurgence of Nazi pseudo-science in updated form, plus plenty of other interesting stuff – you can’t hear all of the questions that were asked, but you get all of the answers, so don’t really need to.

  4. Razib,

    Would this be the low threshold? If I understood your previous post and comment with regard to one ancestor from a differentiated group, such as a Native American, many of us could have “one” African ancestor, but it might not show up in the ancestry test.

  5. so i need to do some tests, but really i think 0.5% SS african against non-african background is pretty robust. i would start getting uncertain closer to 0.1-0.2%. this is assuming 100K or more markers (which 23andMe has).

    the issue with closer groups like Native Americans is that they’re not as differentiated. there are some NE european groups which might have finnic or some other siberian admixture that get these %s (0.5%) without ‘real’ NA ancestry.

    basically, what i’m saying is that with modern DTC companies they use enough markers that something in the 0.5-1% range for sub-saharan ancestry is probably real admixture if you are european.

    now, the issue i’m alluding to is that there is a high probability 6 generations back you aren’t going to have any ancestry from a given ancestor. so there are ppl in rod dreher’s pedigree who are descended from this african (part) ancestor who have no segments. so if you are detecting 10% of european americans have african ancestry given 1% threshold, first, threshold should be lower i think. second, lots of people descend from the people who contribute to that 1% of the 10% who don’t have segments.

  6. I suspect that most people who can trace their ancestry back to Louisiana 200 years ago would more than likely have African ancestry. The presence of Quadroon Balls and a legal system that recognized rights of non-white mistresses, gives interracial relations an economic and legal basis that didn’t exist in other places. See Plaçage In the rest of the South relatively random interracial sexual encounters may ultimately produce someone who can pass if they can leave their immediate surroundings. But Louisiana had reliable incentives to invest in (female) offspring to “move up” the racial hierarchies.

    It’s interesting if Louisiana and South Carolina aren’t that different though. On the one hand, we have French/Spanish males settling in Louisiana and developing a legal/social system that accommodates for the missing European women. On the other hand, we have Anglos settling in South Carolina with wives, but the ratio of blacks to whites is so huge that there is still a lot of “stuff” that happens that is detectable in the DNA even if nobody ever talked about it.

  7. south carolina also had french huguenots.

    also, i think dreher is from the protestant subculture of louisiana that came later. so i didn’t want to overdo the french era stuff.

  8. Sorry, one site-related question: why do some comments not have the “reply” button underneath them?

  9. because threading only nests so far. otherwise you have to tack to end of the comment.

    should i turn threading off? it kind of annoys me….

  10. Turning off threading will require more quoting in replies in order to maintain a narrative coherence.

  11. ‘So the “conceptual penis” just made an appearance in Australian parliament.’

    A notable proportion of Australian politicians are dicks, but that was taking it a bit far. FWIW, One Nation is a tiny far right party led by the infamous Pauline Hanson (whose qualification for public office was running a fish and chip shop, and who my most deeply conservative friend refers to as “that red haired Nazi bitch”), who just won’t go away. Two decades ago she was getting air play by predicting that Australia was being “swamped by Asians”. Demonstrably, it hasn’t been. Now she is getting air play by predicting that Australia is being “swamped by Muslims”.

    Recent census data reveal that 4.2% of the Australian population are Muslims, with that % growing at only a very slow rate, and that the fastest growing religion in Australia is…wait for it…Hinduism (admittedly from a very low base of around 2% or so).

    I predict that this incarnation of One Nation will be short lived, as was its predecessor (at the demise of which Hanson was imprisoned for a period, although she did win on appeal and was released. At the time she said she was sick of the ‘treatment’ she had been getting in Australia and announced she was migrating to England to live. Unfortunately, her self imposed exile didn’t last very long.)

  12. Sorry – I should have clarified that in Australia, “Asian” refers specifically to East and Southeast Asians and excludes people from South Asia and the Middle East (so more like the USA usage and unlike the UK usage of the term). The recent census revealed that the “Asian” population of Australia is now around 4%. Some flood.

    Some Australians fear a “Chinese takeover”, whereas data actually reveal that the highest proportion of foreign investment in the country is actually British, with Chinese a long way down the list.

    And so much for claims by successive Australian Prime Ministers that Australia is a “successful multi-cultural society” – by any measure, it is overwhelmingly a white country, notably Anglo, and becoming increasingly so – it has high immigration, but the largest migrant group are UK and South African whites; so it is the recipient of a form of white flight from those countries.

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