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Thread: Ancient Germans weren't so fair

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    Ancient Germans weren't so fair

    http://abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s1154815.htm



    This girl’s ancestors may have had darker skin that didn't burn so easily, ancient DNA suggests (Image: iStockphoto)

    Researchers may be able to make more accurate reconstructions of what ancient humans looked like with the first ever use of ancient DNA to determine hair and skin colour from skeletal remains.

    The research was presented today at an international ancient DNA conference in Brisbane, Australia, by German anthropologist, Dr Diane Schmidt of the University of Göttingen.

    She said her research may also help to identify modern day murderers and their victims.

    "Three thousand years ago, nobody was doing painting and there was no photography. We do not know what people looked like," Schmidt told ABC Science Online.

    She said most images in museums and books were derived from comparisons with living people from the same regions.

    "For example, when we make a reconstruction of people from Africa we think that they had dark skin or dark hair," she said. "But there's no real scientific information. It's just a guess. It's mostly imagination."

    She said this had meant, for example, that the reconstruction of Neanderthals had changed over time.

    "In the 1920s, the Neanderthals were reconstructed as wild people with dark hair and dumb, not really clever," she said. "Today, with the same fossil record, with the same bones and no other information - just a change in ideology - you see reconstructions of people with blue eyes and quite light skin colour, looking intelligent and using tools.

    "Most of the reconstructions you see in museums are a thing of the imagination of the reconstructor. Our goal is to make this reconstruction less subjective and give them an objective basis with scientific data."

    Genetic markers for hair colour

    In research for her recently completed PhD, Schmidt built on research from the fields of dermatology and skin cancer that have found genetic markers for traits such as skin and hair colour in modern humans.

    In particular, Schmidt relied on the fact that different mutations (known as single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs) in the melanocortin receptor 1 gene are responsible for skin and hair colour.



    DNA analysis showed this skull belonged to someone with red hair (Image: Sussane Hummel)

    "There is a set of SNPs that tells you that a person was a redhead and a different set of markers tell you they were fair skinned."

    She extracted DNA from ancient human bones as old as 3000 years old from three different locations in Germany and looked for these SNPs.

    Her findings suggest that red hair and fair skin was very uncommon among ancient Germans.

    Out of a total of 26 people analysed, Schmidt found only one person with red hair and fair skin, a man from the Middle Ages. All the other people had more UV-tolerant skin that tans easily.

    She said she was excited when she "coloured in" the faces that once covered the skulls, and had even developed "a kind of a personal relationship" with one of them.

    "It's not so anonymous," she said. "I think this is the reason why people in museums can do reconstruction because our ancestors are not so anonymous any more; they have a face you can look into."

    Unfortunately the genetic markers Schmidt used could not distinguish which of the ancient humans had blond versus black hair, and she could not determine eye colour.

    But, she said she was confident that this will be possible in a few years.

    Schmidt said that such research could also be used to help build up identikit pictures to help identify skeletons or criminals.

    The research has been submitted for publication.

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    Most Modern day Germans can Tan quite easily so what the article confirms isn't that suprising.

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    Seems they're manipulating the data to serve their political ends.

    So they found that only one out of 26 ancient Germans they studied was redheaded with the very fair redheaded-type skin. Big deal, that is nothing new. Actually that's higher than normal, redheads are more rare in modern Germany. This tells nothing of blondism. Having skin that isn't the redheaded type doesn't mean you aren't fair. You can still be fair and have tannable skin.

    "Unfortunately the genetic markers Schmidt used could not distinguish which of the ancient humans had blond versus black hair, and she could not determine eye colour."

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    I do not believe that complete purity is necessary, the little girls ancestors are obviously in the phenotypically important ones had fair hair, and fair eyes. I also think that most of todays German population is from the Scandinavian peninsula, although I am unsure

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    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernBoy
    I do not believe that complete purity is necessary, the little girls ancestors are obviously in the phenotypically important ones had fair hair, and fair eyes. I also think that most of todays German population is from the Scandinavian peninsula, although I am unsure
    This study says nothing of purity, it only claims that most Germans weren't redheaded... which despite their claim, doesn't mean they weren't blond or fairskinned. In a few years we should know that tho, which will be interesting.

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    Deutschland Ancient Germans Weren't So Fair

    Ancient Germans weren't so fair

    Anna Salleh in Brisbane
    ABC Science Online

    Friday, 16 July 2004



    This girl’s ancestors may have
    had darker skin that didn't burn
    so easily, ancient DNA suggests
    (Image: iStockphoto)

    Researchers may be able to make more accurate reconstructions of what ancient humans looked like with the first ever use of ancient DNA to determine hair and skin colour from skeletal remains.

    The research was presented today at an international ancient DNA conference in Brisbane, Australia, by German anthropologist, Dr Diane Schmidt of the University of Göttingen.

    She said her research may also help to identify modern day murderers and their victims.

    "Three thousand years ago, nobody was doing painting and there was no photography. We do not know what people looked like," Schmidt told ABC Science Online.

    She said most images in museums and books were derived from comparisons with living people from the same regions.

    "For example, when we make a reconstruction of people from Africa we think that they had dark skin or dark hair," she said. "But there's no real scientific information. It's just a guess. It's mostly imagination."

    She said this had meant, for example, that the reconstruction of Neanderthals had changed over time.

    "In the 1920s, the Neanderthals were reconstructed as wild people with dark hair and dumb, not really clever," she said. "Today, with the same fossil record, with the same bones and no other information - just a change in ideology - you see reconstructions of people with blue eyes and quite light skin colour, looking intelligent and using tools.

    "Most of the reconstructions you see in museums are a thing of the imagination of the reconstructor. Our goal is to make this reconstruction less subjective and give them an objective basis with scientific data."

    Genetic markers for hair colour

    In research for her recently completed PhD, Schmidt built on research from the fields of dermatology and skin cancer that have found genetic markers for traits such as skin and hair colour in modern humans.

    In particular, Schmidt relied on the fact that different mutations (known as single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs) in the melanocortin receptor 1 gene are responsible for skin and hair colour.


    DNA analysis showed this skull
    belonged to someone with red hair
    (Image: Sussane Hummel)

    "There is a set of SNPs that tells you that a person was a redhead and a different set of markers tell you they were fair skinned."

    She extracted DNA from ancient human bones as old as 3000 years old from three different locations in Germany and looked for these SNPs.

    Her findings suggest that red hair and fair skin was very uncommon among ancient Germans.

    Out of a total of 26 people analysed, Schmidt found only one person with red hair and fair skin, a man from the Middle Ages. All the other people had more UV-tolerant skin that tans easily.

    She said she was excited when she "coloured in" the faces that once covered the skulls, and had even developed "a kind of a personal relationship" with one of them.

    "It's not so anonymous," she said. "I think this is the reason why people in museums can do reconstruction because our ancestors are not so anonymous any more; they have a face you can look into."

    Unfortunately the genetic markers Schmidt used could not distinguish which of the ancient humans had blond versus black hair, and she could not determine eye colour.

    But, she said she was confident that this will be possible in a few years.

    Schmidt said that such research could also be used to help build up identikit pictures to help identify skeletons or criminals.

    The research has been submitted for publication.

    [Source]


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    Post Re: Ancient Germans Weren't So Fair

    I don't know about the genetic evidence, but the bog-bodies I have seen all appeared to be quite fair-haired, even taking into account the possible effects the acid bog might have made upon the hair


    red franz


    girl of windeby

    and I was also under the impression, from what little I've read on it, that the MC1R gene controlled rufosity and freckles, not blondness so looking for that then would only tell them whether that person was a "bloodnut" and not whether they were blond...

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    Post Re: Ancient Germans Weren't So Fair

    According to an article which I think we have on file somewhere, fair pigmentation as we know it, arose after agriculture made its way past the 55th degree latitude marker in the area of the east Baltic region. Here, the the natives either needed to eat a lot of meat and fish or had to have light skin if eating mostly grain in order to get the necessary vitamin D. Grain has almost no vitamin D and besides eating grain, these people were getting protein from milk sources which is also low in D. The result was a rapid lightening of the skin (and perhaps linked hair). If these were the original Indo-Europeans, then these were the first truly lightly pigmented Europeans except for the ginger-gene carrying far western Europeans of possible mixed sapiens-Neanderthal ancestry.

    This might mean that UP people, for instance, were darker than we imagine. I wasn't until fairly recently, according to this interpetation, that they aquired lighter pigmentation along with new eating habits, from their neighbors. With the new eating habits, these traits would have been selected for just as in the original population and so the genes spread rapidly. This also implies an east to west spread for these genes and a north to south spread also.

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    Re: Ancient Germans Weren't So Fair

    If I understand you correctly, this aricle suggests that UP people were dark.

    Well, from what little I have read about UP races, I thought most of them were dark, except for Cromagnons perhaps. The Indo-European Hallstatt Nordics introduced light skin, hair, eyes etc. This explains why most northern europeans are not blond haired, blue eyed scandonordics. Hasn't this been the consensus all along? How do the findings in this article differ from our previous understanding of the subject?

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    AW: Ancient Germans Weren't So Fair

    Thats no surprise since extremely depigmented skin and red hair aren't that common in most regions anyway. This is not really significant until she's able to:
    Unfortunately the genetic markers Schmidt used could not distinguish which of the ancient humans had blond versus black hair, and she could not determine eye colour.
    Skandonordids have a relatively high percentage of people being able to tan even today and red hair is not that common anyway. So we should wait until greater samples can be examined with a method which really can whats crucial: Distinguish somewhat fairer skin from more dark one and blond from black hair...
    I dont think too much people expect Germanics being all red haired and constantly sunburned, even typical Skandonordids have a certain variation and usually (though more often limited) ability to tan.
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