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Thread: Impact of The Little Ice Age in Europe

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    Lightbulb Impact of The Little Ice Age in Europe

    The following article, I hope will open a discussion on the ramifications of The Little Ice Age in Europe. It's impact in Northern Europe in particular has influenced Agricultural, Health, Economics, Literature, and Anthropology amongst many other aspects. The environmental pressures of The Little Ice Age (LIA) still have a strong effect on the region even today. It can be said that if not for the LIA, Northern Europe and indeed the world would be very different; the LIA has truly left it's mark on the history of man.


    The Little Ice Age In Europe
    Western Europe experienced a general cooling of the climate between the years 1150 and 1460 and a very cold climate between 1560 and 1850 that brought dire consequences to its peoples. The colder weather impacted agriculture, health, economics, social strife, emigration, and even art and literature. Increased glaciation and storms also had a devastating affect on those that lived near glaciers and the sea.


    Impact on Agriculture

    Lamb (1966) points out that in the warmest times of the last 1000 years, southern England had the climate that northern France has now. For example, the difference between the northen-most vineyard in England in the past and present-day vineyard locations in France is about 350 miles. In other terms that means the growing season changed by 15 to 20 percent between the warmest and coldest times of the millenium. That is enough to affect almost any type of food production, especially crops highly adapted to use the full-season warm climatic periods. During the coldest times of the LIA, England's growing season was shortened by one to two months compared to present day values. The availability of varieties of seed today that can withstand extreme cold or warmth, wetness or dryness, was not available in the past. Therefore, climate changes had a much greater impact on agricultural output in the past.

    Fig. 16 and 17 show the price of wheat and rye, respectively, in various European countries during the LIA.


    Figure 16: Prices of wheat expressed in Dutch guilders per 100 kg. in various countries vs. time. (Source: Lamb, 1995)


    Figure 17: Price of rye in Germany vs. time expressed as an index. (Source: Lamb, 1995)


    Each of the peaks in prices corresponds to a particularly poor harvest, mostly due to unfavorable climates with the most notable peak in the year 1816 - "the year without a summer." One of the worst famines in the seventeenth century occurred in France due to the failed harvest of 1693. Millions of people in France and surrounding countries were killed.


    The effect of the LIA on Swiss farms was also severe. Due to the cooler climate, snow covered the ground deep into spring. A parasite, known as Fusarium nivale, which thrives under snow cover, devastated crops. Additionally, due to the increased number of days of snow cover, the stocks of hay for the animals ran out so livestock were fed on straw and pine branches. Many cows had to be slaughtered.


    In Norway, many farms located at higher latitudes were abandoned for better land in the valleys. By 1387, production and tax yields were between 12 percent and 70 percent of what they had been around 1300. In the 1460's it was being recognized that this change was permanent. As late as the year 1665, the total Norwegian grain harvest is reported to have been only 67 - 70 percent of what it had been about the year 1300 (Lamb, 1995.)

    Fig. 18 shows a chronology of dearth and famine in Scotland during the LIA. Broken lines are years with reported dearth and full lines are years with reported famine.



    Figure 18: Dearth and famine in Scotland during the LIA. (Source: Lamb, 1995) Dots represent years with severe losses of stock (sheep and cattle), usually because of snow.


    Impact on Wine Production


    People keep records of their most important crops, grapes for wine-making being no exception. Ladurie (1971) notes that there were many "bad years" for wine during the LIA in France and surrounding countries due to very late harvests and very wet summers. The cultivation of grapes was extensive throughout the southern portion of England from about 1100-1300. This area is about 300 miles farther north than the areas in France and Germany that grow grapes today. Grapes were also grown in northern France and Germany at that time, areas which even today do not sustain commercial vineyards. At the time of the compilation of the Domesday Survey in the late eleventh century, vineyards were recorded in 46 places in southern England, from East Anglia through to modern-day Somerset. By the time King Henry VIIIth ascended the throne there were 139 sizeable vineyards in England and Wales - 11 of them owned by the Crown, 67 by noble families and 52 by the church (English-wine.com). In fact, Lamb (1995) suggests that during that period the amount of wine produced in England was substantial enough to provide significant economic competition with the producers in France. With the coming cooler climate in the 1400's, temperatures became too cold for grape production and the vineyards in southern England gradually declined.


    German wine production also declined during the cooling experienced after the MWP and during the LIA. Between 1400 and 1700 German wine production was never above 53% of the production before 1300 and at times was as low as 20% of that production (Lamb, 1995.)


    Impact on Forests During the Little Ice Age

    A study of the tree populations in forests of Southern Ontario by Campbell and McAndrews (1993) shows how the tree population in Europe might have been changed by the LIA. Their analysis of pollen demonstrated that after the year 1400, beech trees, the formerly dominant warmth-loving species, were replaced first by oak and subsequently by pine. Further, the forest under study appears to have remained in disequilbrium with the prevailing climate of today. That suggests that tree population distribution takes hundreds of years to recover from major climate changes.



    Impact on Health

    The cooler climate during the LIA had a huge impact on the health of Europeans. As mentioned earlier, dearth and famine killed millions and poor nutrition decreased the stature of the Vikings in Greenland and Iceland.


    Cool, wet summers led to outbreaks of an illness called St. Anthony's Fire. Whole villages would suffer convulsions, hallucinations, gangrenous rotting of the extremities, and even death. Grain, if stored in cool, damp conditions, may develop a fungus known as ergot blight and also may ferment just enough to produce a drug similar to LSD. (In fact, some historians claim that the Salem, Massachusetts witch hysteria was the result of ergot blight.)


    Malnutrition led to a weakened immunity to a variety of illnesses. In England, malnutrition aggravated an influenza epidemic of 1557-8 in which whole families died. In fact, during most of the 1550's deaths outnumbered births (Lamb, 1995.) The Black Death (Bubonic Plague) was hastened by malnutrition all over Europe.


    One might not expect a typically tropical disease such as malaria to be found during the LIA, but Reiter (2000) has shown that it was an important cause of illness and death in several parts of England. The English word for malaria was ague, a term that remained in common usage until the nineteenth century. Geoffrey Chaucer (1342-1400) wrote in the Nun's Priest Tale:

    You are so very choleric of complexion.
    Beware the mounting sun and all dejection,
    Nor get yourself with sudden humours hot;
    For if you do, I dare well lay a groat
    That you shall have the tertian fever's pain,
    Or some ague that may well be your bane.

    In sixteenth century England, many marshlands were notorious for their ague-stricken populations. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) mentioned ague in eight of his plays. Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) died of ague in September 1658, which was one of the coldest years of the LIA.


    Five indigenous species of mosquito are capable of transmitting malaria in England where they prefer the brackish water along river estuaries. The anaerobic bacterial flora of saline mud produces a strong sulfur odor that was widely believed to be the cause of agues in salt marsh areas (i.e. Shakespeare's "unwholesome fens.") The term malaria comes from the Italian term "mala aria" meaning "bad air."


    Impact on Economics

    In addition to increasing grain prices and lower wine production, there were many examples of economic impact by the dramatic cooling of the climate. Due to famine, storms, and growth of glaciers ,many farmsteads were destroyed, which resulted in less tax revenues collected due to decreased value of the properties (Lamb, 1995.)


    Cod fishing greatly decreased, especially for the Scottish fisherman, as the cod moved farther south. The cod fishery at the Faeroe Islands began to fail around 1615 and failed altogether for thirty years between 1675 and 1704 (Lamb, 1995.) In the Hohe Tauern mountains of the Austrian Alps, advancing glaciers closed the gold mines of the Archbishop of Salzburg who was one of the wealthiest dukes in the empire. The succession of two or three bad summers where the miners could not rely on work in the mines caused them to find employment elsewhere, which resulted in an abrupt end to the mining operations (Bryson, 1977.)

    Not all of the economic impact was bad. The fertile fishing grounds of the present day Newfoundland Banks were thought to have been found by fisherman in the late 1400's who were looking for the fish stocks that had deserted their former grounds as the result of the movement of colder waters from the north (Lamb, 1995.)

    English fisherman benefited by the southern movement of herring normally found in the waters off Norway. This increase in deep-sea fishing helped to build the maritime population and strength of the country (Lamb, 1995.) The failure of crops in Norway between 1680 and 1720 was a prime reason for the great growth of merchant shipping there. Coastal farmers whose crops failed turned to selling their timber and to constructing ships in order to transport these timbers themselves (Lamb, 1995.)


    Social Unrest

    Conditions during the LIA led to many cases of social unrest. The winter of 1709 killed many people in France. Conditions were so bad, a priest in Angers, in west-central France, wrote: "The cold began on January 6, 1709, and lasted in all its rigor until the twenty-fourth. The crops that had been sewn were all completely destroyed.... Most of the hens had died of cold, as had the beasts in the stables. When any poultry did survive the cold, their combs were seen to freeze and fall off. Many birds, ducks, partidges, woodcock, and blackbirds died and were found on the roads and on the thick ice and frequent snow. Oaks, ashes, and other valley trees split with cold. Two thirds of the vines died.... No grape harvest was gathered at all in Anjou.... I myself did not get enough wine from my vineyard to fill a nutshell." (Ladurie, 1971)

    In March the poor rioted in several cities to keep the merchants from selling what little wheat they had left.
    The winter of 1739-40 was also a bad one. After that there was no spring and only a damp, cool summer which spoiled the wheat harvest. The poor rebelled and the governor of Li�ge told the rich to "fire into the middle of them. That's the only way to disperse this riffraff, who want nothing but bread and loot." (Ladurie, 1971)

    Lamb (1995) reports the occurrence of cattle raids on the Lowlanders by Highlanders who were stressed by the deteriorating climate. In 1436, King James I of Scotland was murdered while hunting on the edge of the Highland region near Perth. The clan warfare grew so bad that it was decided that no place north of Edinburgh Castle was safe for the king so Edinburgh became the capital of the country.

    In England, the effect of starvation and the poor condition of the country encouraged men to enlist during the War of the Roses (1455-1485.) As tillable land was converted to other uses such as sheep rearing, the landlords who organized the conversions became the focus of many hostilities.

    One group in particular suffered from the poor conditions - people thought to be witches (Behringer, 1999.) Weather-making was thought to be among the traditional abilities of witches and during the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries many saw a great witch conspiracy. Extensive witch hunts took place during the most severe years of the LIA, as people looked for scapegoats to blame for their suffering.

    One of history's most notorious quotes might have been due in part to a rare extremely warm period during the LIA. In northern France in 1788, after an unusually bad winter, May, June, and July were excessively hot, which caused the grain to shrivel. On July 13, just at harvest time, a severe hailstorm (which typically occurs when there is very cold air aloft) destroyed what little crops were left. From that bad harvest of 1788 came the bread riots of 1789 which led to Marie Antoinette's alleged remark "Let them eat cake," and the storming of the Bastille.



    Art and Literature


    Writers and artists were also influenced by the great change in climate. In 1816, "the year without a summer," many Europeans spent their summers around the fire. Mary Shelley was inspired to write Frankenstein, and Polidori, The Vampire. Both authors, together with Byron and Percy Shelley, were in Switzerland, near Lake Geneva where Byron said "We will each write a ghost story." Percy Shelley also referred to a glacier in his poem "Mont Blanc" when he wrote "�and wall impregnable of beaming ice. The race of man flies far in dread; his work and dwelling vanish�"

    Neuberger (1970) studied more than 12,000 paintings in 41 art museums in the United States and eight European countries to test his hypothesis that paintings would accurately reveal the climate record. These paintings covered the period from 1400 to 1967. He categorized the blueness of the sky into a three-step scale consisting of pale blue, medium blue, and deep blue. Cloudiness was estimated according to the U.S. airways code: clear (less than 10 percent coverage), scattered (10 to 50 percent), broken (60 to 90 percent), and overcast (more than 90 percent cloud coverage.) In addition, the types of clouds were observed according to four families: high, middle, low, and convective (vertically-developed) clouds. Neuberger separated his data into three epochs. According to the data in Fig. 19 below, during the second epoch when the LIA was at its peak, cloudiness and darkness prevailed.


    Figure 19: Epochal changes in various painting features. (Source: Neuberger, 1970)


    Neuberger suggests that the similarities between the second and third epochs have more to do with a stylistic change in the third epoch to impressionism which produced hazy atmospheres and also to an increase in industrial pollution.



    Frequency of Storms

    Fig. 20 shows the number of reported severe sea floods per century in the North Sea region.




    Figure 20: Number of reported sea floods per century in the North Sea region. (Source: Lamb, 1995)



    During the LIA, there was a high frequency of storms. As the cooler air began to move southward, the polar jet stream strengthened and followed, which directed a higher number of storms into the region. At least four sea floods of the Dutch and German coasts in the thirteenth century were reported to have caused the loss of around 100,000 lives. Sea level was likely increased by the long-term ice melt during the MWP which compounded the flooding. Storms that caused greater than 100,000 deaths were also reported in 1421, 1446, and 1570. Additionally, large hailstorms that wiped out farmland and killed great numbers of livestock occurred over much of Europe due to the very cold air aloft during the warmer months. Due to severe erosion of coastline and high winds, great sand storms developed which destroyed farmlands and reshaped coastal land regions. Impact of Glaciers


    During the post-MWP cooling of the climate, glaciers in many parts of Europe began to advance. Glaciers negatively influenced almost every aspect of life for those unfortunate enough to be living in their path. Glacial advances throughout Europe destroyed farmland and caused massive flooding. On many occasions bishops and priests were called to bless the fields and to pray that the ice stopped grinding forward (Bryson, 1977.) Various tax records show glaciers over the years destroying whole towns caught in their path. A few major advances, as noted by Ladurie (1971), appear below:

    • 1595: Gietroz (Switzerland) glacier advances, dammed Dranse River, and caused flooding of Bagne with 70 deaths.
      1600-10: Advances by Chamonix (France) glaciers cause massive floods which destroyed three villages and severely damaged a fourth. One village had stood since the 1200's.
      1670-80's: Maximum historical advances by glaciers in eastern Alps. Noticeable decline of human population by this time in areas close to glaciers, whereas population elsewhere in Europe had risen.
      1695-1709: Iceland glaciers advance dramatically, destroying farms.
      1710-1735: A glacier in Norway was advancing at a rate of 100 m per year for 25 years.
      1748-50: Norwegian glaciers achieved their historical maximum LIA positions.

    Figure 1: Dates of regular instrument observations for various locations. (Source: Lamb, 1995)


    The barometer and thermometer were invented by Torricelli and Galileo, respectively, in the first half of the seventeenth century. Early rain gauges being used to record precipitation were sometimes exposed on roofs, which led to inaccurate readings due to splashing out and to loss of water via evaporation. (These problems led Englishman Richard Townley in 1676 to lead a pipe down through his house so he could accurately measure the rain from his own bedroom!) Therefore, in order to determine earlier climate, investigators infer the climate record from physical and biological fossil data including, among others, oxygen isotope ratios detected in ice cores, tree-ring dating, ice flow and glacier data, and archeological discoveries, and also from records intended for other purposes such as weather diaries, shipping logs, tax records, crop production and pricing records, allusions to climate in art and literature, etc.

    A careful examination of the climate record reveals that Europe experienced a prolonged warm period known as the Medieval Warm Period (hereafter referred to as MWP) between the years 600 and 1150, cooling of the climate between the years 1150 and 1460, a brief warming between the years 1460 and 1560, followed by dramatic cooling known as the Little Ice Age (hereafter referred to as LIA) between the years 1560 and 1850.


    Oxygen Isotope Record

    Measurement of the ratio of O18 vs. O16 isotopes in ice indicates the temperature of the snow at the time it was formed. Higher ratios of the heavier O18 oxygen isotope indicate the snow formed at a higher temperature while lower ratios indicate the snow formed at a cooler temperature. Therefore, a graph of this ratio vs. time can illustrate the temperature record. Fig. 2 shows the ratio of O18 vs. O16 from an ice core taken from northwest Greenland.


    Figure 2: Ratio of O18 vs. O16 in Greenland ice core vs. time. (Source: Lamb, 1995)

    The isotope data implies that during the MWP temperatures were typically above normal and that after the year 1150 temperatures were typically cooler, especially during the LIA. Ice core data from Wyoming (Naftz et al., 1994) and Peru (Aber, 2000) also supports a global warm period consistent with the MWP and a global cool period consistent with the LIA.


    Tree Ring Data

    By studying the width of tree rings (dendrochronology) history of annual tree growth can be determined. Individual rings represent individual years while the width of each ring shows the growth rate during that year. The width of rings from trees found at higher altitudes and higher latitudes is generally a function of temperature where wide rings indicate warm years and narrow rings indicate cool years (Lamb, 1995.) Because the pattern of rings is similar to a fingerprint, dendrochronologists are able to construct a chronology by matching similar ring patterns found in living trees, construction timbers, and fossil trees. Fig. 3 shows how a fossil timber in a river bed is dated by noting matching ring patterns found in building timbers and in living trees.


    Figure 3: Matching ring patterns from various sources to date fossil timber. (Source: Baillie, 1982)


    LaMarche (1974), Lamb (1995), and Baillie (1982) have cited various tree-ring data that indicate warmer temperatures during the MWP and cooler temperatures during the LIA. Fig. 4 shows tree-ring widths of bristle cone pines in California during the end of the MWP and through the LIA that suggest warm and cool climates during the MWP and LIA, respectively.



    Figure 4: Tree-ring widths vs. time from California Bristle Cone Pine trees. (Source: Tkachuk, 1983)


    North Atlantic Drift Ice

    Drift ice is carried from the arctic ice pack and the waters north of Iceland by ocean currents. In colder times, arctic waters carry the ice southward while in warmer times the Gulf Stream dominates the Iceland area, keeping drift ice away. Iceland and Greenland are far enough north to observe this ice but far enough south so that they are not always surrounded by drift ice. Drift ice was carefully observed by Icelanders both from shore and from ships because it threatened ships and therefore affected commerce. Drift ice can be considered a thermometer of the north Atlantic.

    From 1846 to present, detailed records have been kept in Iceland that show the number of months drift ice appeared along with the temperature. Bergth�rsson (1969) has estimated past north Atlantic temperatures using a drift ice vs. temperature correlation derived from recorded data. For example, he observed that if ice is sighted in 20 months of one decade and 22 months of the next decade, that second decade was about 0.1oC cooler than the first. By analyzing various clues to reports of drift ice, he applied this correlation to estimate temperatures back to 1591. Using other historical references to past climate, he extended his temperature estimates back to the year 900. Fig. 5 shows the results of his research and Fig. 6 shows the variation in amount of polar ice seen from Iceland (Lamb, 1977.) Both illustrate the MWP and the LIA quite well.




    Figure 5: Estimated temperatures vs. time by Bergth�rsson, 1969. (Source: Bryson, 1977)





    Figure 6: Number of weeks polar ice appeared at Iceland coast vs. time by Lamb, 1977. (Source: Tkachuk, 1983)


    Glacier Waxing and Waning

    Although continental glaciers have not covered North America and Europe for the last 10,000 years, mountain glaciers in Scandinavia and the Alps can be used to record the climate record. Because glaciers are massive, they respond to long-term temperature and precipitation variations on a time scale of decades and centuries.

    Those living near these glaciers have recorded in various ways the impact that these glaciers have had on their lives. Glaciers grow during winters by accumulating snowfall and glaciers decline during summers due to above-freezing temperatures. For a glacier to maintain its position, snowfall must equal snowmelt. Cooler summers result in less snowmelt and longer winters increase the number of days of potential snowfall. It should be noted that cooler winters may also bring drier air which could decrease snowfall, however snowmelt has been determined to be a greater factor in glacier movement than snowfall (Ladurie, 1971.) Ladurie (1971), Lamb (1995), and others have extensively documented the glacial history of Europe and North America during the LIA. Aber (2000) notes at least six phases of glacier expansion separated by milder intervals:
    1. 1560-1610: Major advances by all glaciers.
    2. 1640-1650: Glacier maximum in Switzerland.
    3. 1670-1705: Glacier maximum in Austria.
    4. 1720-1750: Glacier maximum in Norway.
    5. 1816-1825: Minor advances by all glaciers.
    6. 1850-1890: Glacier maximum in Canada/Iceland.



    Figure 7: Rhone glacier viewed from the same vantage point from 1750 (top) and 1950 (bottom.) (Source: Lamb, 1995)
    Fig. 7 (Lamb, 1995) shows the Rhone glacier (Alps) viewed from the same viewpoint in 1750 (top) and again in 1950 (bottom.) During the LIA this glacier dominated the landscape but by 1950 had retreated noticeably.


    Vikings During The Medieval Warm Period

    During the years 800-1200, Iceland and Greenland were settled by the Vikings. These people, also known as the Norse, included Norwegians, Swedes, Danes, and Finns. Fig. 12 shows the various routes the Vikings took to these locations and others.




    Figure 12: Routes various Vikings traveled. (Source: McGovern and Perdikaris, 2000)


    The very warm climate during the MWP allowed this great migration to flourish. Drift ice posed the greatest hazard to sailors but reports of drift ice in old records do not appear until the thirteenth century (Bryson, 1977.) The warmer climate would also result in a greater harvest in Iceland than would be experienced today so the land must have looked more inviting in the past than it does today.


    The Norse peoples traveled to Iceland for a variety of reasons including a search for more land and resources to satisfy a growing population and to escape raiders and harsh rulers. One force behind the movement to Iceland in the ninth century was the ruthlessness of Harald Fairhair, a Norwegian King (Bryson, 1977.)


    Icelandic Vikings


    Vikings travelling to Iceland from Norway during the MWP were probably encouraged by the sight of pastures with sedges and grasses and dwarf woodlands of birch and willow (Fig. 14) resembling those at home.



    Figure 14: Sedges, grasses, and dwarf woodlands of birch and willow. (Source: McGovern and Perdikaris, 2000)



    Animal bones and other materials collected from archaeological sites reveal Icelandic Vikings had large farmsteads with dairy cattle (a source of meat), pigs, and sheep and goats (for wool, hair, milk, and meat.) Farmsteads also had ample pastures and fields of barley used for the making of beer and these farms were located near bird cliffs (providing meat, eggs, and eiderdown) and inshore fishing grounds. Fishing was primarily done with hand lines or from small boats that did not venture across the horizon (McGovern and Perdikaris, 2000.)



    Greenland Vikings

    In 960, Thorvald Asvaldsson of Jaederen in Norway killed a man. He was forced to leave the country so he moved to northern Iceland. He had a ten year old son named Eric, later to be called Eric R�de, or Eric the Red. Eric too had a violent streak and in 982 he killed two men. Eric the Red was banished from Iceland for three years so he sailed west to find a land that Icelanders had discovered years before but knew little about. Eric searched the coast of this land and found the most hospitable area, a deep fiord on the southwestern coast. Warmer Atlantic currents met the island there and conditions were not much different than those in Iceland (trees and grasses.) He called this new land "Greenland" because he "believed more people would go thither if the country had a beautiful name," according to one of the Icelandic chronicles (Hermann, 1954) although Greenland, as a whole, could not be considered "green." Additionally, the land was not very good for farming. Nevertheless, Eric was able to draw thousands to the three areas shown in Fig. 15.



    Figure 15: Ancient Norse settlements. (Source: Bryson, 1977)


    The Greenland Vikings lived mostly on dairy produce and meat, primarily from cows. The vegetable diet of Greenlanders included berries, edible grasses, and seaweed, but these were inadequate even during the best harvests. During the MWP, Greenland's climate was so cold that cattle breeding and dairy farming could only be carried on in the sheltered fiords. The growing season in Greenland even then was very short. Frost typically occurred in August and the fiords froze in October. Before the year 1300, ships regularly sailed from Norway and other European countries to Greenland bringing with them timber, iron, corn, salt, and other needed items. Trade was by barter.

    Greenlanders offered butter, cheese, wool, and their frieze cloths, which were greatly sough after in Europe, as well as white and blue fox furs, polar bear skins, walrus and narwhal tusks, and walrus skins. In fact, two Greenland items in particular were prized by Europeans: white bears and the white falcon. These items were given as royal gifts. For instance, the King of Norway-Denmark sent a number of Greenland falcons as a gift to the King of Portugal, and received in return the gift of a cargo of wine (Stefansson, 1966.) Because of the shortage of adequate vegetables and cereal grains, and a shortage of timber to make ships, the trade link to Iceland and Europe was vital (Hermann, 1954.)

    By the year 1300 more than 3,000 colonists lived on 300 farms scattered along the west coast of Greenland (Schaefer, 1997.) However, even as early as 1197, the climate had turned much less favorable and drift ice was beginning to appear along the vital trade routes (Lamb, 1995.) Cool weather caused poor harvests in an already fragile climate. Because of the poor harvests there was less food for the livestock which resulted in a decreased meat supply. These conditions made it even more vital that trade continued with Iceland and the rest of Europe.

    Due to an increase in drift ice along Greenland's east coast, the sailing route had to be changed. Ships had to head farther south and then turn back to reach the settlements along the southwest coast. The longer distance and increased threat of ice caused fewer ships to visit Greenland (Bryson, 1977.)

    Ivar Bardsson, a Norwegian priest who lived in Greenland from 1341 to 1364, wrote: "From Snefelsness in Iceland, to Greenland, the shortest way: two days and three nights. Sailing due west. In�the sea there are reefs called Gunbiernershier. That was the old route, but now the ice is come from the north, so close to the reefs that none can sail by the old route without risking his life." (Ladurie, 1971.) In 1492, the Pope complained that no bishop had been able to visit Greenland for 80 years on account of the ice (Calder, 1974.) It is most likely that his Greenland congregation was already dead or had moved on by that time. Hermann (1954) notes that during the mid-1300's many Greenlanders had moved on to Markland (presently Newfoundland) in search of a more suitable environment, mainly due to a cooler climate and over-use of their natural resources.


    The graves and ruins in Greenland show that the people did make an attempt at civilized living until the end but the cold and lack of proper nourishment took a heavy toll (Bryson, 1977.) The early Greenland Vikings stood 5'7" or taller but by about 1400, Lamb (1966) states that the average Greenlander was probably less than five feet tall. After World War I, Denmark sent a commission to Greenland which found the remains of the early settlements. In their last years, the Greenland Vikings were severely crippled, dwarflike, twisted, and diseased (Hermann, 1954.)


    The Decline of the Vikings in Iceland

    The Vikings in Iceland did not escape the negative impact of a rapidly cooling climate either. Although not completely wiped out like the Greenlanders, Icelandic Vikings were hit hard by the climate change. Olafur Einarsson (1573 - 1659), a pastor in eastern Iceland, wrote the following poem (Bryson, 1977) which illustrates the troubles Icelanders faced:
    Formerly the earth produced all sorts
    of fruit, plants and roots.
    But now almost nothing grows....
    Then the floods, the lakes and the blue waves
    Brought abundant fish.
    But now hardly one can be seen.
    The misery increases more.
    The same applies to other goods....

    Frost and cold torment people
    The good years are rare.
    If everything should be put in a verse
    Only a few take care of the miserables....
    Lamb (1995) reports that the population of Iceland fell from about 77,500, as indicated by tax records in 1095, to around 72,000 in 1311. By 1703 it was down to 50,000, and after some severe years of ice and volcanic eruptions in the 1780's it was only 38,000. Average height declined from 5'8" during the tenth century to 5'6" in the eighteenth century. Lamb (1995) attributes much of the decline in population to the colder climate and increased ice flow. The harvest years were so cold that there was little hay to feed the livestock so thousands of sheep died. During the MWP, Icelanders grew grain over much of the island but by the early 1200's only barley, a short-season grain, was being grown. Lamb (1995) notes that there was also an increase in glacier growth and subsequent flooding from bursts due to volcanic activity under the ice. By the 1500's conditions were so bad that all attempts at grain growing were abandoned and Icelanders turned solely to the sea for their survival. The shellfish near the shores were destroyed by increasing amounts of ice so cod fishing became the Icelanders main source of food and trade. As the cooler waters moved southward, the cod were forced farther southward until they were too far offshore for the primitive Icelandic ships to reach.

    As the warmer climate brought the Vikings in increasing numbers to Greenland and Iceland, the cooler climate was equal to the task of decreasing those numbers. By the time Columbus set sail in 1492, Greenland was "dead" and Iceland was struggling to survive its failing crops, starvation, and a collapsing fishing industry.


    Conclusion

    After the mid-1800's, the climate of Europe has shown a dramatic warming trend. Some of this warming is attributed to the increased output of greenhouse gasses as a by-product of the Industrial Revolution. Experts disagree to what extent the changing climate is attributable to man as opposed to natural causes.


    Conventional wisdom is that climate changes occur slowly due to the huge scale of the ocean-atmosphere system. New data, however, suggests that major climate shifts can take place on the order of decades. Schuster (2000) has studied ice core data from a glacier in Wyoming and determined that the LIA may have ended in just ten years. Severinghaus and Brook (1999) have shown that the last major glacial period 15,000 years ago abruptly ended over just a few decades, followed by a prolonged warm spell. These data suggest that it might be possible to reverse climate trends on a fairly short time scale, however more research is needed in this area, especially given the fact that much of the present day global warming might be attributed to man-made sources.

    Technology is a double-edged sword. It has allowed advanced societies to deal with climate changes more efficiently, but has also played a large role in the current global warming. If the global warming continues, there will be a rise in sea-level due to increased melting of land-based ice in Greenland and Antarctica. In addition to coastal flooding where 50% of the world's population resides, as this lower-density fresh water is added to the oceans, will the large-scale ocean current conveyor belt "switch off" or change in intensity? How will the jet stream position change to compensate for the warmer atmosphere? Will there be severe heat and drought where climates are mild today, and will there be cold, wet conditions where it is presently dry? These are the questions that must be considered knowing the fragile balance between life and climate.

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    Re: Impact of The Little Ice Age: Europe

    Very interesting article and probably a factor of great importance if looking at the European racial developments. Its important to stress the fact that Nordisation is not cold adaptation, but that Nordids are made for moderate warm to moderate cold climatic conditions in the temperate climatic regions in which seasons and changing conditions (versatile adaptation) are important. Like I said, the people of Western Europe, along the Atlantic coast, tended to keep a rather Nordo-Mediterranid (Lepto-Dolichomorphic) character while the poor farmer regions of continental Europe were more Alpinised.

    Compare the response of the coastal regions:

    English fisherman benefited by the southern movement of herring normally found in the waters off Norway. This increase in deep-sea fishing helped to build the maritime population and strength of the country (Lamb, 1995.) The failure of crops in Norway between 1680 and 1720 was a prime reason for the great growth of merchant shipping there. Coastal farmers whose crops failed turned to selling their timber and to constructing ships in order to transport these timbers themselves (Lamb, 1995.)
    With the possibilities of dependent farmers on continental Europe:

    The winter of 1739-40 was also a bad one. After that there was no spring and only a damp, cool summer which spoiled the wheat harvest. The poor rebelled and the governor of Li�ge told the rich to "fire into the middle of them. That's the only way to disperse this riffraff, who want nothing but bread and loot." (Ladurie, 1971)
    Also what I always referred to if looking at herder warriors and their response in hard times = war and stronger group selection:

    Lamb (1995) reports the occurrence of cattle raids on the Lowlanders by Highlanders who were stressed by the deteriorating climate. King James I of Scotland was murdered while hunting on the edge of the Highland region near Perth. The clan warfare grew so bad that it was decided that no place north of Edinburgh Castle was safe for the king so Edinburgh became the capital of the country.
    Again its interesting to see that one sided specialisation and reduction occured mostly in the times of the colder and therefore worse periods for more versatile-progressive types

    A careful examination of the climate record reveals that Europe experienced a prolonged warm period known as the Medieval Warm Period (hereafter referred to as MWP) between the years 600 and 1150, cooling of the climate between the years 1150 and 1460, a brief warming between the years 1460 and 1560, followed by dramatic cooling known as the Little Ice Age (hereafter referred to as LIA) between the years 1560 and 1850.
    The Little Ice Age came together with increased population size, dependent social structures (from tribal to feudal) and subsistence pattern and nutrition more based on grains, new and widespread plagues (smallpox, pest, tuberculosis, malaria etc.) and contraselective social (f.e. higher religious celibacy of the racially more progressive elements, which were more often mercenaries and insurrectionists too).
    Compare with brachycephalisation in Bavaria from Günther after Pröbst:

    Different lines: 1. Roman period, 2. Great Migration, 3. Early-, 4. Late-Middle Age, 5. Present of Bavaria.

    The direction of phenotypical modification is clear:

    Lamb (1995) reports that the population of Iceland fell from about 77,500, as indicated by tax records in 1095, to around 72,000 in 1311. By 1703 it was down to 50,000, and after some severe years of ice and volcanic eruptions in the 1780's it was only 38,000. Average height declined from 5'8" during the tenth century to 5'6" in the eighteenth century.


    The isotope data implies that during the MWP temperatures were typically above normal and that after the year 1150 temperatures were typically cooler, especially during the LIA. Ice core data from Wyoming (Naftz et al., 1994) and Peru (Aber, 2000) also supports a global warm period consistent with the MWP and a global cool period consistent with the LIA.
    The very warm climate during the MWP allowed this great migration to flourish. Drift ice posed the greatest hazard to sailors but reports of drift ice in old records do not appear until the thirteenth century (Bryson, 1977.) The warmer climate would also result in a greater harvest in Iceland than would be experienced today so the land must have looked more inviting in the past than it does today.
    The Norse peoples traveled to Iceland for a variety of reasons including a search for more land and resources to satisfy a growing population and to escape raiders and harsh rulers. One force behind the movement to Iceland in the ninth century was the ruthlessness of Harald Fairhair, a Norwegian King (Bryson, 1977.)
    Again, during warmer times, with better nutrition and general living conditions we see a rise of the Nordid populations and expansive moments, which last usually over the good period since the higher population will lead to a strong pressure for migration especially if after good conditions bad follow.

    Animal bones and other materials collected from archaeological sites reveal Icelandic Vikings had large farmsteads with dairy cattle (a source of meat), pigs, and sheep and goats (for wool, hair, milk, and meat.) Farmsteads also had ample pastures and fields of barley used for the making of beer and these farms were located near bird cliffs (providing meat, eggs, and eiderdown) and inshore fishing grounds. Fishing was primarily done with hand lines or from small boats that did not venture across the horizon (McGovern and Perdikaris, 2000.)
    Subsistence primarily based on animal husbandry and wild animals as I stated for most progressive types, again this fits into my scheme.

    The graves and ruins in Greenland show that the people did make an attempt at civilized living until the end but the cold and lack of proper nourishment took a heavy toll (Bryson, 1977.) The early Greenland Vikings stood 5'7" or taller but by about 1400, Lamb (1966) states that the average Greenlander was probably less than five feet tall. After World War I, Denmark sent a commission to Greenland which found the remains of the early settlements. In their last years, the Greenland Vikings were severely crippled, dwarflike, twisted, and diseased (Hermann, 1954.)
    Obviously no chance to keep that way of living under such circumstances and as I said, naturally Nordids and not even Cromagnids/Dalofaelids are really made for the cold, though Dalofaelids should be able to cope with it better as long as the energy level is high at least (Dalofaelids have more weight, muscles, fat, broader extremities etc. all important mainly if its about keeping the heat)

    Lamb (1995) reports that the population of Iceland fell from about 77,500, as indicated by tax records in 1095, to around 72,000 in 1311. By 1703 it was down to 50,000, and after some severe years of ice and volcanic eruptions in the 1780's it was only 38,000. Average height declined from 5'8" during the tenth century to 5'6" in the eighteenth century.
    Long term phenotypical modification shows us most of the time in which direction selection goes too. If there is a genetic base for that direction of modification (poor living conditions, hunger, diseases, unergonomic work lead to shorter staturs with shorter extremities and smaller, shorter, but still broad and lower heads) - we can assume that the population will change in that direction on the long run as it was the case in the poor continental areas - Alpinisation.

    Advantage of Alpinisation, something I wrote on Dodona one week ago:
    They need less ressources to stand hunger, diseases and hard unergonomic work with a minimum of energy. Their body is made to keep energy, not to lose it. Both if its about heat and energy itself - they are made for saving and having "cushions for bad times" (literally). They adapt themselves to given situations easier (emotionally) and are more frugal and compliant - which influences their - if compared with Nordids - more zyklothymic psychic component.
    They are more oriented on strong emotional bounds, get usually more and earlier children if compared with people of the same class of more mature-progressive racial type, especially in the 19th and early 20th century in Europe. Now they get less children ("because all do it that way...") too though still more.

    In earlier times you find them mostly as an element which "goes with" more propulsive elements and were often more or less valuable companions of Nordid, Mediterranid, Dinarid groups. When the whole group was becoming sedentary, dependent and peaceful again, the rise of Alpinisation was almost inevitable. Not because they achieve more, but because they do whats necessary for reproductive success - not too much risks, constant caring for their closest people, constant work - without overdoing it, getting children...

    Diseases and hunger might have played crucial roles if its about Alpinisation. Poor grain food, hunger and diseases arent that good for most progressive variants. They are not good for anybody, but some might be able to cope with it better. F.e. its known that tuberculosis was more dangerous for Leptosomics than for Pyknics (Alpinisation is brachymorphisation, tendency towards a reduced Pyknic body type to a high degree) even under the same circumstances f.e.

    In coastal areas where other food sources, more challenges and trade were present, Alpinisation, infantilisation and brachycephalisation were not as extreme usually interestingly...mostly in the poorer inner lands and areas of retreat under dependent peasants Alpinisation (and Baltisation) were really strong.
    Its interesting to compare with this German article about the reduction of height and changes in head shape due to environmental factors:
    http://forums.skadi.net/showthread.php?t=44985
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    Last edited by Agrippa; Saturday, December 24th, 2005 at 08:21 PM.
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    Re: Impact of The Little Ice Age: Europe

    From the prospective of an anthropologist one thing is certain about The LIA, it was a bottleneck for many northern populations, but we must understand the type of pressure that was applied to them. Despite the fact that the pressure was a miniature Ice Age, people were not freezing to death, the technological invasions in building, insulating, heating, and clothing were advanced enough to keep the vast majority alive. The pressure applied during LIA was largely nutritional, crops failed, livestock failed, and people starved to death. This means cold adept persons were not necessarily selected for, those who required less caloric intake for sustaining life were favored by selection instead.

    It is my belief that during this time in the north, gracialization was selected for over robustness for it's lower caloric demand. Prior to the LIA the robustness which had evolved in the region (UP types), were much more common then they are today, likewise gracialized individuals were less common. Gracial genes had been introduced during the Indo invasions, and remained in the populations being neither largely selected for or against until the LIA. The agricultural techniques brought to the region by the invading gracialized peoples were no longer as use full in such a cold climate, however the population levels had risen to the point that agriculture was necessary to produce adequate food supplies, so people starved. More importantly people starved almost equally regardless of wealth (what good is money if there is NO food to buy with it?).

    This miniature ice age was different in terms of selection, than the previous Ice Age. The previous Ice Age was much colder, and human clothing, and shelter was much more rudimentary. The major concern was freezing to death, and individuals more capable of not doing this were selected for, and became the progenitors for many generations. As the people in Europe at the time were hunter-gathers, and populations were much smaller, nutrition did not play as large of a role in selection. Game in the region were likewise, cold adapted species, and in enough abundance to sustain the human populations in most areas during the last Ice Age.

    The native Iceland population, I believe gives us the best model for interpreting the anthropological effects of the LIA. Iceland was very much so isolated from the rest of Europe, as ships had difficulty reaching the island with so many icebergs in the North Atlantic. The Icelandic certainly under went major nutritional pressures from the LIA, more so than most other populations that managed to live threw the period in the north. The original population of Iceland, prior to being cut off from the rest of Europe was most predominantly UP, with a relatively low percentage of the population carrying the genes for gracialization initially. Do to moderate to severe prolonged pressure favoring gracialization, the Icelandic have become much less robust than other equally predominate UP heritage populations. We see to a greater effect here than perhaps anywhere else 'selection gracialized' UP's (certainly not fully gracialized). Of course these genes would have to have been introduced in the Icelandic homeland of Scandinavia by a gracial people prior to the colonization of Iceland. This fits, we know the vast majority of UP types received at least some Indo (gracial) genes from a cross-section of Eurasia by the time of the LIA.
    Last edited by Bismark; Sunday, December 25th, 2005 at 11:08 AM.
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    Re: Impact of The Little Ice Age: Europe

    Agrippa, though I realize your position on Alpinisation and food shortage, and you make a good point of it, I don't think the conditions in the LIA favored it. Energy via heat loss is less common with Alpinisation as a result of extremity size and shape, and the bodies often over average fat reserves delay starvation, this is true. However, the LIA lasted hundreds of years, fat reserves, and cold adaptations preserving heat-energy I don't believe are a match for lower average calorie demands of the gracialized, and reduced (reduction is the process leading to gracialization) individuals, over a lifetime.

    I think the LIA could also in part have played a role in the further reduction of Alpines. The smaller an animal (human in this case) is, the less calories it needs to maintain normal function over time. Alpines in the farmlands of central Europe would not have fish from the sea, or as much wild game to use as a food source, in the event of crop/livestock famine. While in the case of Brunn's, most resided in lands not as suitable for farming (Norway, Ireland, ect), and were less dependent on farming from the beginning of the LIA. Many of them relied heavily on food sources not as heavily affected by the LIA (fishing, ect). As a result they suffered less selection do to lack of nutrition. I think it can be said that, some Borreby populations under went reduction during this period as well, varying by location.

    The Important thing to take from this is genes don't just appear. If a population under goes change there must be an advantage in the changes being selected for. We are a collection of genes, as much as a population is a collection of people. If the genes for certain traits don't already reside in a population they can't become more abundant in a population when a pressure favoring those genes is applied. New genes don't just appear; successful gene mutation (rare) leading to evolution is a long random process taking thousands of years. I submit that the LIA was to short of a time period for these changes to manifest themselves (independently in many cases). Therefore the changes we see after the LIA must have been caused by genes already present in the populations that were favo(u)red during the process of evolution. We can only assume that these genes were introduced previously by genetic drift and invasion, and were in lower percentage before natural selection consolidated them in their populations.

    The cold weather of the LIA caused selection in many European populations, all with the same tendencies, reduction and more prevalent gracialization, simultaneously and independently. Though the cold was not the direct force behind this, as it prevented few from reproducing, and reconstituting their genes. Nutrition played the major role in the LIA gene selection. Those who aren’t able to eat enough to keep themselves alive die of starvation, those who do, become the progenitors of the next generation of their population.
    Last edited by Bismark; Sunday, December 25th, 2005 at 09:07 PM.
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    Re: Impact of The Little Ice Age: Europe

    Despite the fact that the pressure was a miniature Ice Age, people were not freezing to death, the technological invasions in building, insulating, heating, and clothing were advanced enough to keep the vast majority alive.
    Like it is with nutrition, people died seldomly because of the cold alone, but it weakened, crippled them, made 'em ill.

    The pressure applied during LIA was largely nutritional, crops failed, livestock failed, and people starved to death. This means cold adept persons were not necessarily selected for, those who required less caloric intake for sustaining life were favored by selection instead.
    The better cold forms are more muscular, but Alpinisation means the opposite. Its the compromise of keeping with a minimum of energy a maximum of heat and save as much of the energy as possible for bad times with a lower physical performance and social adaptation - concentration on close relatives and social adaptation.

    It is my belief that during this time in the north, gracialization was selected for over robustness for it's lower caloric demand.
    Not so much in the North though because other factors were more important there. Furthermore general gracialisation is rather associated with warm climate.

    Prior to the LIA the robustness which had evolved in the region (UP types), were much more common then they are today, likewise gracialized individuals were less common.
    If you mean with robustness bone structure, probably yes, but if you mean pyknomorphic forms, most likely no.

    however the population levels had risen to the point that agriculture was necessary to produce adequate food supplies
    Thats absolutely true.

    More importantly people starved almost equally regardless of wealth (what good is money if there is NO food to buy with it?).
    Thats not true, we can see in most cases that at least the highest classes had enough to eat, they might have just lived "somewhat" worse. The problem was there for the middle and lower classes, with the former losing ground, being downgraded and the others probably even their life.

    The previous Ice Age was much colder, and human clothing, and shelter was much more rudimentary. The major concern was freezing to death, and individuals more capable of not doing this were selected for, and became the progenitors for many generations. As the people in Europe at the time were hunter-gathers, and populations were much smaller, nutrition did not play as large of a role in selection. Game in the region were likewise, cold adapted species, and in enough abundance to sustain the human populations in most areas during the last Ice Age.
    Indeed, that produced the high performance hunter of the North, the Cromagnid Europid, though we can see various other forms even in earlist times. A major reason because both those higher hunter cultures and the rather leptodolichomorphic herder-warriors had such high levels was that they preferred quality before quantity - birth control and even infanticide seem to have been the rule. In poor-sedentary farmer groups the mass for itself was efficient and people were bred which became earlier more children and cared more or less for all of them. Children were a working force, more children more workers. For hunters and herders more children didnt meant more, but less. So a balance had to evolve, with just high performance types being primarily selected, both by the parents, in the group and between the groups - group selection, fights for territories, ressources and status.

    The original population of Iceland, prior to being cut off from the rest of Europe was most predominantly UP, with a relatively low percentage of the population carrying the genes for gracialization initially. Do to moderate to severe prolonged pressure favoring gracialization, the Icelandic have become much less robust than other equally predominate UP heritage populations.
    The Icelandic population is not that gracile and though this effect you mentioned is at least a possibility, if you mean with gracile Nordid in the narrower sense (Skando- and Eastnordid) then the advantage of Nordisation was not there. The peak of Nordisation should have been from the late Neolithic times to the Early Iron Age, the time of mobile warrior, herder and chandler-specialist and semi-nomadic mixed-economy farmer warriors. If we look at the records, thats pretty much the case. Warmer periods helped the progressive Leptodolichomorphic groups to expand and to use the land.
    In those times Cromagnoid + derivatives were less successful, but unreduced Cromagnids were more successful than later, because they could compete in the high performance area of that time, though with a slight disadvantage, whereas they can't compete in the low energy one. The Leptodolichomorphics are the more balanced form (just cold harms them really), Cromagnids are peak types too but have to react more drastically if the available ressources shrink and the conditions change - both by selection and modification.

    In the poor and plagued times of sedentary and social stable societies the Leptodolichomorphics (L-D) might have decreased, but not the Cromagnids increased but only their reduced derivatives. In the time of mass societies, like early industrial age and time of later extreme social contraselection the same is true, Cromagnids further lose and the L-D lose their peak too.


    Agrippa, though I realize your position on Alpinisation and food shortage, and you make a good point of it, I don't think the conditions in the LIA favored it.
    Depends on the region in question, which backup capacities were available. You should consider certain specific deficiencies more, especially inner continental areas and the impact of diseases too. Sinse finally more people died because of diseases in a weakened condition than from the starvation itself.

    I don't believe are a match for lower average calorie demands of the gracialized, and reduced (reduction is the process leading to gracialization) individuals, over a lifetime.
    Thats true, but again, f.e. on Greenland many people died because of diseases again and the clothes were inadequate, you can prove that if looking at the remains.
    Furthermore you shouldnt make the mistake and confuse leptomorphisation with reduction or gracialisation - all three tendencies can come together or on their own - f.e. very robust leptomorphics (typical bony Nordids or Nordindids f.e.).
    Extreme Alpinids and Pyknics in general have finally rather gracile bones, broad doesnt have to mean robust and Alpinisation is the reduction of size, robustness and "loss of form" (less muscles, shorter-broader, more fat) of their (mostly) Cromagnoid ancestors.

    I think the LIA could also in part have played a role in the further reduction of Alpines.
    Definitely. But thats what meant with Alpinisation - both that the Alpinoids became more numerous and more extreme, whole populations or at least subsets of it were selected in that direction and modification shows the way - again long term modification shows the direction and the modification (of Cromagnoids) under extreme hunger is partly "pseudo-Alpinid" - just without the fat so to say.

    The smaller an animal (human in this case) is, the less calories it needs to maintain normal function over time. Alpines in the farmlands of central Europe would not have fish from the sea, or as much wild game to use as a food source, in the event of crop/livestock famine. While in the case of Brunn's, most resided in lands not as suitable for farming (Norway, Ireland, ect), and were less dependent on farming from the beginning of the LIA. Many of them relied heavily on food sources not as heavily affected by the LIA (fishing, ect). As a result they suffered less selection do to lack of nutrition. I think it can be said that, some Borreby populations under went reduction during this period as well, varying by location.
    Exactly. Obviously a fully unreduced Cromagnid (rarity) is the most expensive European type. His muscles were not just there (during the Ice Age f.e.) because it made him more effective (higher performance), but because it was helpful to keep the heat - which muscles produce and fat keep. There are various breaks if its about such climatic adaptations in my opinion. If cold is too extreme, the fat will increase whereas muscles stay more or less the same - or even less = Borealisation.
    If it gets warmer, almost the same effectiveness of the body is possible with less energy = leptomorphisation. Since thats probably related to certain advantageous psychic traits for bigger social unities the advantage after the Ice Age was clear. So both after the Ice Age and with the beginning of higher civilisation there were areas in which more or less unaltered Cromagnids could survive en masse better or worse. Alpinisation and general infantilisation is to a high degree a defensive strategy in my opinion. Its the way to survive in a generally rather subdominant position for Cromagnoids in Europe - a change of form to survive genetically.

    I submit that the LIA was to short of a time period for these changes to manifest themselves (independently in many cases). Therefore the changes we see after the LIA must have been caused by genes already present in the populations that were favo(u)red during the process of evolution.
    Exactly, in fact thats one reason, like I already mentioned in other threads here and elsewhere, why Alpinisation and Dinarisation were in some regions stronger than in others, even if the conditions were similar. There were already enough combinations present in the genpool - they had just to be selected whereas in other regions just very small or even no numbers of expressed Alpinid characteristics existed - to have a similar effect it would have needed much more time there than f.e. in the West Alpine areas were already reduced Berids (small step) and fully evolved Alpinids lived (= "French Alpines").

    We can only assume that these genes were introduced previously by genetic drift and invasion, and were in lower percentage before natural selection consolidated them in their populations.
    I think tendencies of Alpinisation should be already present in poor-cold areas for hunters and gatherers, with an emphasis on gatherers, more immobile, less energetic food, no high physical demands (like for the hefty Cromagnid hunters of the colder and the agile and mobile Leptodolichomorphic/"Aurignacid" forms).

    Nutrition played the major role in the LIA gene selection. Those who aren’t able to eat enough to keep themselves alive die of starvation, those who do, become the progenitors of the next generation of their population.
    Certainly, but other factors shouldnt be excluded. There was overpopulation, more cities, new social determining factors (stronger social dependency), social contraselection and as the main factor - diseases. As I said, a major advantage of small, gracile boned pyknomorphics is a better resistance to some diseases, not just a more efficient use of energy - what causes their higher frequency of modern adiposity - and also the ability to stay active with a minimum of nutrition. F.e. a very hefty-robust Cromagnid might have survived too, but the constant unergonomic work with a minimum of energy input and weakened by diseases might have been more problematic for him as was his lower social adaptation. The possible psychic component - social adaptation, frugal and compliant way of living, shouldnt be ignored. Typical zyklothyme tendencies were in such poor farmer societies much more advantageous than in a herder-warrior or hunter group.
    Last edited by Agrippa; Tuesday, January 3rd, 2006 at 04:16 AM.
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    Re: Impact of The Little Ice Age: Europe

    I must say I've been watching this thread closely with anticipation over the last week. Agrippa, I thought you and Frans would be likely to respond, though neither of you have been on much over the last week, so this as given me good opportunity, to study the reaction of others (or lack of reaction, as it is). Although none of the statements I made were incorrect, many of them were one dimensional, and could have been expanded on greatly. However, no one save you and Frans (via private message) made the next step and did so, or at least they were not compelled to by way of expressing their thoughts publicly. Although I'm sure most of those who read this (on Skadi) would be capable of comprehending it, other than you and Frans, no one took the next step in the thought process, though some others may have been capable of it. They were content to gather information as book or computer does without postulating, drawing conclusions, or interpreting the facts according to the knowledge they had already obtained. There was a lack of Intuition and, or the desire to use it regarding the subject at hand.

    Furthermore we have divulged into only one subject of which the LIA has had effect, Anthropology. No one as of yet has gone into the other aspects of which the LIA has had an effect. I must therefore ask, if this continues, that this thread be moved to the general anthropology forum. If we are to discuss only the anthropological effects, and not the general effect the LIA had on the history of man, then the topic has little reason to remain in the history forum.



    Causes of Deaths Resulting From the LIA:
    Nutrition and, temperature were the major reason for selection during the LIA. Not necessarily directly, but through as Agrippa said, by means of making the population in many areas more susceptible to other causes of death. Namely, illness, and general weakness. As many generals can tell you, prolonged extreme cold and less than adequate rations makes illness more prevalent, and a man only half the soldier he would otherwise be on the battlefield. General weakness plays an important role on selection, as the cliché, though true, 'survival of the fittest' statement shows us.


    Effects on Populations:
    Though it may be further debated, I resolutely hold that reduction of bone mass during the LIA was favored by selection. The more gracial individuals (gracial types evolved the reduced genes in their warmer climates) held a distinctive advantage over the more nutritionally demanding rugged types. I think the Alpine type was perhaps the best suited to survive when both nutritional, and cold-temperature pressures were applied. The Alpine type has the advantage of bone (and body of course) shape for extreme cold survival, and is sufficiently reduced enough to not have such high caloric demands. It is likely the alpines were reduced to there current degree during the LIA. The same could be said for the Borreby type, that enough nutritional pressure was applied that we see a trend towards reduction in many of their populations as well. Brunn's did not receive this nutritional pressure as greatly for they often inhabited areas ill suited for farming (often mountainess, and rocky), so their food supplies were not damaged to the extent of much of north and central Europe. Do to this, we see much less reduction in their populations, they certainly retained their rugged structure more so than others. On the whole, I would have to say that nutrition was the most determining factor of survival during the period.


    In My Former About Iceland:
    The reduction I spoke of was in the form of the Tronder subtype. Which has taken dominance in the island over the Brunn type which made up the vast majority of it's initial population. As Iceland has had little gene influence until industrial times, the extreme pressures applied made it a prime example for the 'reduction by nutritional pressure hypothesis'. The Tronder subtype (as with many) is attributed mostly to a blending of two types (Hallstatt and Brunn and, at times slight Keltic). Certainly the genes of a less rugged type are there, otherwise we wouldn't see any difference in type. However the fossil record of Iceland shows us that they must not have had as significant of a Hallstatt population as their appearance would suggest. Over the last millennium reduction must have played a large role in selection, in order to see the Hallstatt genes so vividly in the population. The bottleneck favored those possessing those reduced genes whether they were 10% Hallstatt, and 90% Brunn, or 90% Hallstatt, and 10% Brunn. Conclusion: Appearance is a poor indicator of gene make up, because over time pressures can influence them on the population as a whole. Two Icelanders of different morphology (race), given that their ancestors are not recent immigrants, will likely be more genetically similar to each other than to another of their morphology from another nation (pre-modern era, do to immigration gene flow).


    .
    Last edited by Bismark; Tuesday, January 3rd, 2006 at 09:50 AM.
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    Re: Impact of The Little Ice Age: Europe

    If we are to discuss only the anthropological effects, and not the general effect the LIA had on the history of man, then the topic has little reason to remain in the history forum.
    The LIA is a general problem, we can't reduce it to one thing, history is right for it, we just interpret it. But in many ways the biological effect was the crucial one, with the "greatest impact" on the long run together with sociocultural change.

    The Tronder subtype (as with many) is attributed mostly to a blending of two types (Hallstatt and Brunn and, at times slight Keltic). Certainly the genes of a less rugged type are there, otherwise we wouldn't see any difference in type. However the fossil record of Iceland shows us that they must not have had as significant of a Hallstatt population as their appearance would suggest.
    Do you have any sources for that claim?

    given that their ancestors are not recent immigrants, will likely be more genetically similar to each other than to another of their morphology from another nation
    Obviously, and they are a natural unity as a population. But finally racial specialisation is about adaptation, genes without function and genes which dont influence the phenotype (phenotype is obviously more than just physical appearance) are of secondary importance.
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