When did Western Hunter Gatherers become White?

BillMC

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The WHG are represented by I1 and I2. When they first came into Europe about 40,000 years ago they were Black, had blue eyes and Caucasian facial features and hair texture. They never arrived to the British Isles and Scandinavia until about 10,000 years ago.

According to the reconstruction of WHG remains found in Cheddar Gorgie in England - the 'Cheddar Man' was still Black. Due to the human body's need to generate vitimin D from sunlight in the northern latitudes I would have expect the skin tone of the WHG to have evolved into much lighter skin. Was it only the arrival of the Yamnaya R1a and R1b who introduced the genes for lighter skin?
 
The WHG are represented by I1 and I2. When they first came into Europe about 40,000 years ago they were Black, had blue eyes and Caucasian facial features and hair texture. They never arrived to the British Isles and Scandinavia until about 10,000 years ago.

According to the reconstruction of WHG remains found in Cheddar Gorgie in England - the 'Cheddar Man' was still Black. Due to the human body's need to generate vitimin D from sunlight in the northern latitudes I would have expect the skin tone of the WHG to have evolved into much lighter skin. Was it only the arrival of the Yamnaya R1a and R1b who introduced the genes for lighter skin?

I think the term "Black" is not accurate or is the term "White". The skin tones may have been darker because the WHG seemed to lack the snps on the SLCSLC24A5 Gene (rs1426654 for example), which explains maybe 25-35% of the variation in skin tone between modern Europeans (this marker is fixed today across Europe) and sub-Saharan African populations. But there are other genes that impact skin tone, maybe 19 or so, but there usually are about 3-4 that explain the majority of cross-sectional skin tone variation among various populations. East Asians (Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, etc) have skin tones as fair as Europeans and the SLCSLC24A5 (rs1426654 SNP) is not responsible for it. So the WHG were Europeans, albeit with darker skin tones than modern Europeans since they lacked the SNP noted above. However, there are many genes that impact skin tone and skin tones have evolved lighter to darker, darker to lighter since Homo Erectus first appeared. Take a look at this paper by Crawford et al 2017. It was an eye opening paper to me and as I went back and read it again, it really puts the skin tone variation into context using several sub-Saharan African populations to analyze many genes that impact skin tone. Look at the melanin index of populations in sub-Saharan Africa (Figure 2). Table 1 is also really interesting. Look at all the Genes and SNPS and look at what the ancestral alleles are in some cases. Many of the ancestral are actually the lighter ones and in fact, the lighter alleles are actually older in most cases suggesting as Homo Erectus in Ethiopia first loss body hair, skin tones may have been lighter/intermediate. The Darker skin allele found in the Nilotic populations, the darkest skin tone found in modern peoples, is actually more recent around 612k year ago and became fixed. The authors document that both both darkand light pigmentation alleles arose before theorigin of modern humans and that both lightand dark pigmented skin has continued to evolvethroughout hominid history. Interestingly, the authors also note that the Neanderthals and Denisovans contain all the ancestral alleles at every loci.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5759959/

Regarding my own DNA, on CTXN2 (rs2413887) I am CC, which is the derived lighter allele. On the HMG20B gene (rs7246261), I am CC which is the ancestral lighter alleles. I thought that was kind of interesting as I had never even considered those SNPS until I actually re-read this paper a few weeks ago and looked them up in my DNA file.


So to really get a picture of the skin tones of WHG, we would need to look at enough DNA to examine all the SNPS and genes that impact skin tone. Furthermore, do we really know how genes interacted back then? Regardless of the skin tone, the WHG were European, just not in terms of skin phenotype similar to modern Europeans. But to really get an accurate picture, would need to analyze all the SNPS and Genes that could impact skin tones, for example the ones in Table 1 of the Crawford et al 2017 paper and additional ones that were not analyzed such as SLSLC45A2 and BNC2 (highly associated with Neanderthal admixture) in the paper.

So my conclusion, skin tones are a very complex process that per Crawford et al 2017 has been adapting and evolving since Homo Erectus first appeared.
 
There are studies, I saw this
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5760011/

But long story short, WHG were never exactly white(as we know today at least), they were blue eyed though.

But with Scandinavian hunter-gatherers (SHG) there's a different story, some are blond but brown eyed(even brown skinned), others are white but with dark eyes and hair, other are white and blond but with dark eyes.

But one thing is for sure, the first Neolithic people(EEF) in our continent were white-skinned, yes, those that came from Anatolia(aka Turkey) were White.

For more information see Haplogroup G and the connection of the European Neolithic, the Catalhuyuk site and the Caucasus(all 3 haplogroup G). And also the first sample on record with the white skin gene(SLC24A5 gene in the Satsurblia cave individual).
 
It is not possible. "Whitest" regions today also have most WHG autosomal (baltic and scandinavian people). It is likely that 40,000 years ago nearly everyone was fairly dark skinned but by 5,000 BC the WHG would have been white, as white as europeans of today and exclusive carriers of light eyes

It is possible that skin and genes slightly alter to adjust to the climate (evolution). WHG were often living in cold regions (europe) so didnt take in as much sunlight
 
There are studies, I saw this
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5760011/
But long story short, WHG were never exactly white(as we know today at least), they were blue eyed though.
But with Scandinavian hunter-gatherers (SHG) there's a different story, some are blond but brown eyed(even brown skinned), others are white but with dark eyes and hair, other are white and blond but with dark eyes.
But one thing is for sure, the first Neolithic people(EEF) in our continent were white-skinned, yes, those that came from Anatolia(aka Turkey) were White.
For more information see Haplogroup G and the connection of the European Neolithic, the Catalhuyuk site and the Caucasus(all 3 haplogroup G). And also the first sample on record with the white skin gene(SLC24A5 gene in the Satsurblia cave individual).
People today with a lot of EEF autosomal are much darker skinned than people with a lot of WHG autosomal. By the time EEF invaded south europe around 6000BC WHG were already white and likely more "white" than EEF along with light eyes

Mediterranean people have a lot of EEF while baltic and scandinavian people have a lot of WHG, who looks more white to you?

If you read this you can also say that whg were lighter skinned than yamnaya people because scandinavians are lighter skinned than yamnaya people and biggest difference between scandinavians and other europeans is their higher levels of whg autosomal -
"Yamnayan DNA tested by Haak (2015), Wilde (2014), Mathieson (2015) showed that Yamna people (or at least the few elite samples concerned) had predominantly brown eyes, dark hair, and had a skin colour that was moderately light, lighter than Mesolithic Europeans, but somewhat darker than that of the modern North Europeans"
 
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People today with a lot of EEF autosomal are much darker skinned than people with a lot of WHG autosomal. By the time EEF invaded south europe around 6000BC WHG were already white and likely more "white" than EEF along with light eyes

Mediterranean people have a lot of EEF while baltic and scandinavian people have a lot of WHG, who looks more white to you?

If you read this you can also say that whg were lighter skinned than yamnaya people because scandinavians are lighter skinned than yamnaya people and biggest difference between scandinavians and other europeans is their higher levels of whg autosomal -
"Yamnayan DNA tested by Haak (2015), Wilde (2014), Mathieson (2015) showed that Yamna people (or at least the few elite samples concerned) had predominantly brown eyes, dark hair, and had a skin colour that was moderately light, lighter than Mesolithic Europeans, but somewhat darker than that of the modern North Europeans"

Yeah, but those people with my more whg also have huge amounts of steppe, and ancient north Eurasian (the real prelude for light skin). Whg just provided the blue eyes when mixed with the other populations like ANE who had lighter skin, and probably steppe as well... But who had majority dark eyes. I tested some ancient central and north euro samples and they all read all dark traits in skin, pigmentation, and hair color. I did my own and got very similar readings. These samples were very old though, around 5k yrs about so it makes sense. But how exactly they turned lighter, I'm not sure.
 
Yeah, but those people with my more whg also have huge amounts of steppe, and ancient north Eurasian (the real prelude for light skin). Whg just provided the blue eyes when mixed with the other populations like ANE who had lighter skin, and probably steppe as well... But who had majority dark eyes. I tested some ancient central and north euro samples and they all read all dark traits in skin, pigmentation, and hair color. I did my own and got very similar readings. These samples were very old though, around 5k yrs about so it makes sense. But how exactly they turned lighter, I'm not sure.
How do you explain scandinavians being lighter skinned and lighter haired than steppe people if not elevated levels of whg?
 
I got no clue about the Steppe population, but they are from the steppe right? Modern steppe people are pale already, I got no clue about how they were in ancient times but I wouldn't imagine theyd be all that different. Probably still darker than modern europeans though...

Lighter eyes from whg and dark skin mixed with ANE's brown eyes and light pale skin (which is very high in scandinavians). That explains it to a certain extent. Overtime, even the whg probably got lighter and lighter themselves due to the environment they were in for thousands of years even before intermixing occured. And then in more modern times, lighter skin was a sought after trait which was being sexually selected in woman by the probably darker blue eyed predominante males. Overtime the population became lighter in both eyes, and skin as a result.
 
People today with a lot of EEF autosomal are much darker skinned than people with a lot of WHG autosomal. By the time EEF invaded south europe around 6000BC WHG were already white and likely more "white" than EEF along with light eyes
Mediterranean people have a lot of EEF while baltic and scandinavian people have a lot of WHG, who looks more white to you?
If you read this you can also say that whg were lighter skinned than yamnaya people because scandinavians are lighter skinned than yamnaya people and biggest difference between scandinavians and other europeans is their higher levels of whg autosomal -
"Yamnayan DNA tested by Haak (2015), Wilde (2014), Mathieson (2015) showed that Yamna people (or at least the few elite samples concerned) had predominantly brown eyes, dark hair, and had a skin colour that was moderately light, lighter than Mesolithic Europeans, but somewhat darker than that of the modern North Europeans"

You really need to do some research. Look up all the papers on the search engine which deal with pigmentation. Then look up the arrival of farmers from Anatolia. It wasn't 6,000 years ago; it was 8,000 + years ago.

So, do you have papers which provide pigmentation data for WHG from that time period showing they carried the snps for "European fair" skin? If you don't then your statement should be given no credence.

So, no, WHG didn't have modern European skin tones.

Nor, for that matter did the steppe people. They were darker than modern Europeans as well. Now, Sintashta type people were more fair, but then they had picked up European farmer genes. If you do your research you'll find more than one paper which proves this.

Now, as to the European farmers, yes, they were probably more fair than the WHG, but most of them did not carry the derived copy of 45A2, which was selected for later. Nor did the CHG people carry it.

There were some Anatolian farmers who carried both the major light skin genes and light eyes, one even added light hair to it. However, something happened evolutionarily in Europe where people of mixed ancestry wound up with the two major light skin genes of the farmers, the blue eyes more common in WHG, and light hair. Climate, specifically latitude, definitely has a something to do with it, as we've known for a long time, i.e. in more northern latitudes it's harder to get Vitamin D, although if you eat a lot of fish and organ meats you can get it that way. In today's Europe those in more northern or more cloudy areas (Ireland) have the palest skin. Light eyes usually, although not always, go along with it. Blonde hair need not be included, i.e. the Irish again.

All of this is explained in great detail in the many papers written about the subject.

It's called evolution. If you're going to study genetics of any kind it's important to understand it.

If you think about it logically, you'll realize that the WHG fled into the north and far northeast to get away from the farmers, or to islands far in the west, the very areas where there is less sunlight. So, it's not that the WHG alleles for pigmentation CAUSED the lightening of skin, but that the MIXED people who had a decent amount of WHG happened to live in areas of low sunlight. Correlation is not causation.

Btw, Sardinians have quite a bit of WHG above the amount in the EEF, and no one would call them fair.

Now, before you argue the matter further, it would be better if you would read the darn papers.
 
@angela
6,000BC is 8,000+ years ago

And I already mentioned people that lived in north for tens of thousands of years evolved to have lighter skin so scandinavian WHG would have been light skinned by 3,000 BC. The facts are that scandinavians of today are ligher skinned than steppe people (who only moved out 5,000 years ago) and have highest percentage of WHG autosomal so it's simply a case of 1 + 1 = 2 because I don't think we have found any alien fossils that mixed with scandinavians

How else do we explain why scandinavians are lighter skinned, lighter haired, lighter eyed than steppe people
 
And I already mentioned people that lived in north for tens of thousands of years evolved to have lighter skin so scandinavian WHG would have been light skinned by 3,000 BC. The facts are that scandinavians of today are ligher skinned than steppe people (who only moved out 5,000 years ago) and have highest percentage of WHG autosomal so it's simply a case of 1 + 1 = 2 because I don't think we have found any alien fossils that mixed with scandinavians

How else do we explain why scandinavians are lighter skinned, lighter haired, lighter eyed than steppe people


I am inclined to agree with you. It was about 40 thousand years ago when they first came to Europe and about 10 thousand years ago they came to the British Isles. Surely they must have evolved lighter skins in order to get more vitimin D. Yet the reconstruction of Cheddar man shows him to be as dark as a sub Saharn African.
 
Sorry, my eye skipped over the B.C.

They are described in the literature as SHG, a sub-set of WHG. They can be modeled as containing either ANE or EHG. We've known this since 2014.

See:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scandinavian_Hunter-Gatherer

For a Wiki article it's quite good.

It's absolutely clear that the major skin lightening alleles entered Europe with farmers from Anatolia. CHG also had one type, from which it could have gone into the steppe, and of course, there was some EEF in the steppe as time passed as well..

In Scandinavia, as I pointed out, the blue eyes of the WHG "met" with light skin alleles. However, originally, the "phenotypes" were quite varied, not homogeneous.

However, a recent paper found that the SHG pigmentation alleles didn't have much of a genetic impact on the rest of Europe.

Instead, the lighter hair, skin and blue eyes combination was picked up by the steppe people from the farmers they encountered as they entered central Europe.

Those admixed people went on to colonize the northern regions of Europe, which had a very low population density, so the impact was greater. Of course, as time went on, more heavily EEF type people also moved northward.

See:
https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(22)00108-7

Discussed here:
https://www.eupedia.com/forum/threa...peans?highlight=pigmentation+European+farmers

@Bill,
Please read the relevant papers, which have been much discussed here. Just put pigmentation in the search engine, or pigmentation-WHG etc.
 
ANE is a much better candidate than EEF lol but do we have a map of ANE autosomal frequencies in europe? It needs to peak in scandinavians in order to make a case and which y dna lines are present in scandinavians today from ANE?
 
I am inclined to agree with you. It was about 40 thousand years ago when they first came to Europe and about 10 thousand years ago they came to the British Isles. Surely they must have evolved lighter skins in order to get more vitimin D. Yet the reconstruction of Cheddar man shows him to be as dark as a sub Saharn African.

I think ultimately it could just be propaganda, blue eyes and black skin are super rare - it is counter science. Melanin which is responsible for dark skin is also responsible for dark eyes, blue eyes have the least melanin

British people have a lot of WHG autosomal so by this logic a lot of british people should be dark skinned, why would only the blue eyes remain but not the dark skin? I think its BS
 
^^I think most people here have read enough papers to ignore your a-scientific posts.

I would suggest that you put pigmentation into the search engine, which will lead you to the relevant papers.

Knowledge should inform opinion.
 
Surely things are not so simple: a common association in West is an even lightest skin associated to light eyes, statistically, not linked to blond hair. (we can be sure that a lot of light eyes are associated with light hair, with an origin more in East or North-East; more than a mutation (and locus) esplain light eyes). So, if we can be quasi sure that the most effective mutations for light skin occurs among Anatolian for one, and among more North-Eastern people for another, I think we cannot exclude a less effective mutation having affected the northernmost ones of WHG's at some stage (I ignore which one) concerning skin, with a less striking depigmentation. After all this time in rude and not often sunny climate... But it's still a personal hypothesis.
 
To avoid misunderstandings: this or these suppoed mutations among WHG's could not confer them what we call a "white" or even today "European" skin!
 
ANE is a much better candidate than EEF lol but do we have a map of ANE autosomal frequencies in europe? It needs to peak in scandinavians in order to make a case and which y dna lines are present in scandinavians today from ANE?

David Reich suggests that the KITLG gene for blond hair probably entered 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 also report that populations harboring ANE ancestry were responsible for contributing gene alleles lightening European hair color. In fact, Hanel and Carlberg conclude that Steppe people likely accumulated the light skin alleles via genetic drift as well as the massive spread of them likely caused the rapid selective sweep in European populations towards light skin and hair.

With that being said, the authors of the Estonian paper associate blond hair and blue eyes with Anatolian farmers. To me, it makes more sense that the WHGs that had typically blue eyes were responsible for blue eyes in Europeans than EEF that mostly had dark eyes. When taking into consideration that ANF and Europeans ( ancient and current) that are predominantly or largely ANF/EEF are overwhelmingly dark-haired, eyed, and not particularly pale, I find the conclusion (based on Estonians) that EEF generally or solely contributed to blue eyes and blond hair in Europeans not entirely convincing.
 
people's obsession with the skin pigmentation is futile. The skin color could have very well been "black" as in sub saharan esque. And what does it really matter? WHG are an old ancient group with a very unique drift that is quintessential to europeans dna... it derived out of the middle east 20-30 ybp and before this probably africa. If it wasn't that dark, it was still *most likely* darker than dark olive, and probably reaching light brown type skin judging from the genotype data. Hell, it could have very well could be closer to medium brown, to dark brown-- it's up for interpretation. One thing is for certain, it was darker than the average contemporary european, that is pretty much irrefutable. Interestingly enough, some europeans still have whg skin genes occur even in the far reaches of northern europe... which are a sign of old gene signals coming back. It is not unlikely for dark skin and light eyes to occur simultaneously bc of whg data... it actually debunks that myth. A combination of a light eyed man today mixed with a darker skinned woman, or vice versa can create a phenotype similar to what a whg may have been -- ofc ignoring autosomal analysis (we can't have a 100% whg anymore). Anecdotally: I have a cousin with light brown skin pigmentation and the lightest green/blue eyes you'd ever see, it is a combination our early european ancestors had early on. Years after lots happened. Many subsequent groups who had different snps, usually lighter in pigmentation mixed and made darker skin (a native european trait) less common. Sexual selection of pale stock in the north is clearly prevalent as well, for we see lighter eyes, and hair both in these more isolated areas. It isn't necessarily bc of ancient group mixing thousands of years ago but bc of sexual selection occuring between dark males and very pale woman & vice versa. Genetic recombination of ancient groups, particularly, from ANE bringing light skin, and EEF who had tendencies to light skin... overtime created a tendency to light skin. The higher combination of ANE (light skin, blonde hair) mingled with WHG (blue eyes) mixed with sexual selection of light skin saturated dark skin away. Although, even today you can find native north europeans with darker than normal skin :)

Maybe we ought to be be a bit more open-minded today. Maybe if you ever see a european who says they are 100% european and have darker skin than you'd expect... you could consider it not unusual (and instantly assume foreign ancestry, particularly ssa, or middle eastern) because at one point all of our FIRST ancestors had it themselves ;) Just some food for thought.
 
people's obsession with the skin pigmentation is futile. The skin color could have very well been "black" as in sub saharan esque. And what does it really matter? WHG are an old ancient group with a very unique drift that is quintessential to europeans dna... it derived out of the middle east 20-30 ybp and before this probably africa. If it wasn't that dark, it was still *most likely* darker than dark olive, and probably reaching light brown type skin judging from the genotype data. Hell, it could have very well could be closer to medium brown, to dark brown-- it's up for interpretation. One thing is for certain, it was darker than the average contemporary european, that is pretty much irrefutable. Interestingly enough, some europeans still have whg skin genes occur even in the far reaches of northern europe... which are a sign of old gene signals coming back. It is not unlikely for dark skin and light eyes to occur simultaneously bc of whg data... it actually debunks that myth. A combination of a light eyed man today mixed with a darker skinned woman, or vice versa can create a phenotype similar to what a whg may have been -- ofc ignoring autosomal analysis (we can't have a 100% whg anymore). Anecdotally: I have a cousin with light brown skin pigmentation and the lightest green/blue eyes you'd ever see, it is a combination our early european ancestors had early on. Years after lots happened. Many subsequent groups who had different snps, usually lighter in pigmentation mixed and made darker skin (a native european trait) less common. Sexual selection of pale stock in the north is clearly prevalent as well, for we see lighter eyes, and hair both in these more isolated areas. It isn't necessarily bc of ancient group mixing thousands of years ago but bc of sexual selection occuring between dark males and very pale woman & vice versa. Genetic recombination of ancient groups, particularly, from ANE bringing light skin, and EEF who had tendencies to light skin... overtime created a tendency to light skin. The higher combination of ANE (light skin, blonde hair) mingled with WHG (blue eyes) mixed with sexual selection of light skin saturated dark skin away. Although, even today you can find native north europeans with darker than normal skin :)

Maybe we ought to be be a bit more open-minded today. Maybe if you ever see a european who says they are 100% european and have darker skin than you'd expect... you could consider it not unusual (and instantly assume foreign ancestry, particularly ssa, or middle eastern) because at one point all of our FIRST ancestors had it themselves ;) Just some food for thought.

I agree for the most with your explanations except maybe for the real imput of sexual selection because we don't know exactly its results (many factors at play, difference between elite and commoners, reprodiction rates ...).
That said, I'm interested in pigmentation as well as in other descriptive traits of ancient populations (often our ancestors) and I don't qualify this as an obsession.
 

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