Brit-Am Anthropology and DNA Update (2 February, 2015, 13 Shevet, 5775)
1. Britain.Â Women are much more likely to believe in God and in life after death than men, researchers have found.
2. Powerful men may have fathered big chunks of world: DNA study by Robert Ferris
3. Who Killed the Men of England?Â by Jonathan Shaw
1. Britain. Women are much more likely to believe in God and in life after death than men, researchers have found.
Two-thirds have faith compared to fewer than half of men. Sixty per cent of women believe in the afterlife but only 35 per cent of men, said academics.
There was also a gender split among atheists. Men were much more likely to be definite that death is the end, 63 per cent against 36 per cent of women.
Just over half in the study said they were Christian. Most of the rest said they had no religion.
The findings support growing indications that women are more religious and Christian churches increasingly rely on them as worshippers and ministers.
Professor Voas added: 'Among believers, women are much more likely to be definite than men, and among non-believers, men are much more likely to be definite than women.'
But he said there was 'no obvious answer' as to why.
The UCL Institute of Education, London, quizzed 9,000 people as part of the British Cohort Study which is following the lives of 17,000 people born in 1970.
Among the 9,000 who contributed, 60 per cent of women believed in life after death, but only 35 per cent of men
2. Powerful men may have fathered big chunks of world: DNA study
by Robert Ferris
Friday, 30 Jan 2015 | 3:00 PM ETCNBC.com
The evidence for Genghis's influence on today's global gene pool is not iron-clad, but it is compelling, one team of scientists in 2003 found eight percent of men in 16 different Asian populations (0.5 percent of the global male population) shared nearly identical Y-chromosome sequences. Further DNA evidence traced their lineage to Mongolia about 1,000 years ago, which corresponds pretty closely with Genghis's reign.
The Y-chromosome is a good genetic marker because it is only found in men, while a man can father several sons by chance, there is a much lower probability that those sons will go on to father large numbers of sons themselves. The probability of having many sons increases if a man and his male descendants live in a social system that allows them to sire children with a large number of women. Such systems existed in many societies around the world.
Now geneticists say they have found Y-chromosome sequences that indicate at least 10 other major genetic lineages across Asia besides Genghis Khan's. Most of these can be traced back to periods in history when strong hierarchical structures began developing in societies in that part of the world. Those societies allowed powerful men to have many wives and concubines, increasing the chances that these genetic markers would be passed on to a growing share of the population.
The study supports previous evidence suggesting that the Great Scourge of the Steppes was not the only prolific patriarch in history. Earlier studies identified a common ancestor in the Ui Neill dynasty of Ireland, and a Chinese nobleman known as Giocangga, whose lineage was spread through his descendants, - monarchs and nobles in China's Qing Dynasty.
3. Who Killed the Men of England?
Â by Jonathan Shaw
There are no signs of a massacre, no mass graves, no piles of bones. Yet more than a million men vanished without a trace. They left no descendants. Historians know that something dramatic happened in England just as the Roman empire was collapsing. When the Anglo-Saxons first arrived in that northern outpost in the fourth century a.d., whether as immigrants or invaders is debated, they encountered an existing Romano-Celtic population estimated at between 2 million and 3.7 million people. Latin and Celtic were the dominant languages. Yet the ensuing cultural transformation was so complete, says Goelet professor of medieval history Michael McCormick, that by the eighth century, English civilization considered itself completely Anglo-Saxon, spoke only Anglo-Saxon, and thought that everyone had 'come over on the May ower, as it were.' This extraordinary change has had ramifications down to the present, and is why so many people speak English rather than Latin or Celtic today. But how English culture was completely remade, the historical record does not say.
Then, in 2002, scientists found a genetic signature in the DNA of living British men that hinted at an untold story of Anglo-Saxon conquest. The researchers were sampling Y-chromosomes, the sex chromosome passed down only in males, from men living in market towns named in the Domesday Book of 1086. Working along an east-west transect through central England and Wales, the scientists discovered that the mix of Y-chromosomes characteristic of men in the English towns was very different from that of men in the Welsh towns: Wales was the primary Celtic holdout in Western Britannia during the ascendance of the Anglo-Saxons. Using computer analysis, the researchers explored how such a pattern could have arisen and concluded that a massive replacement of the native fourth-century male Britons had taken place. Between 50 percent and 100 percent of indigenous English men today, the researchers estimate, are descended from Anglo-Saxons who arrived on England's eastern coast 16 centuries ago. So what happened? Mass killing, or 'population replacement,' is one possible explanation. Mass migration of Anglo-Saxons, so that they swamped the native gene pool, is another.
Yet no archaeological or historical evidence from the fth and sixth centuries hints at the immense scale of violence or migration that would be necessary to explain this genetic legacy. The science hinted at an untold story.
An exemplar of this new approach is geneticist Mark Thomas of University College London, whom McCormick invited to speak at Harvard as part of the initiative in December 2007. Thomas was among the scientists who first identifed the suggestive pattern of Y-chromosome distribution among British men in 2002; he had been seeking a plausible explanation for the data ever since. As he recounted in a lecture titled, 'No Sex Please, We're English: Genes, Anglo-Saxon Apartheid, and the Early Medieval Settlement of Britain,' Thomas had found that genetically, not one of the English towns he sampled was significantly different from the others. Welsh towns, on the other hand, were significantly different from each other and from the English towns. Most importantly, he found that inhabitants ofÂ the Dutch province of Friesland were indistinguishable genetically from the English town-dwellers. Friesland is one of the known embarkation points of the Anglo-Saxons, and the language spoken there is the closest living relative to English. ('Listening to a Frisian speak,' says Thomas, 'is like listening to somebody speak English with a frog in their mouth.')
'But still, the genetic data are quite robust,' Thomas pointed out. 'This is where the idea of an apartheid-like social structure comes in.' Â He has advanced a theory that a sexually biased, ethnically driven reproductive pattern, in which Anglo-Saxon males fathered children with Anglo-Saxon females and possibly Celtic females, while the reproductive activities of Romano-Celtic males were more restricted, is the most plausible explanation for the demographic, archaeological, and genetic patterns seen today.
There is some support for this in ancient English laws, which indicate that Britons and Anglo-Saxons were legally and economically different even in the seventh century, long after the initial migration. Thomas cited wergild (blood money) payments as one example: 'Killing an Anglo-Saxon was a costly business, but killing a native Briton was quite cheap.' This points to differences in economic status. And differences in wealth 'almost always result in differences in reproductive output,' he said. 'Sometimes two- and three-fold differences.' To the extent Anglo-Saxons were able to have and support more children, this could lead to a gradual replacement of the indigenous Y-chromosome over many generations. Simulating such an advantage, and choosing an arbitrary figure of 10 percent migration, Thomas found that the Y chromosomes of native Britons could have been replaced in the general population in as few as five generations.
But the genes themselves have even more to tell us, says David Reich, professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School. The Y-chromosome can be a particularly revealing signature of the past when compared to other kinds of genetic data. Among African Americans in the United States, for example, Y-chromosomes are about 33 percent European, he says, though the proportion varies from city to city. But those same African Americans' mitochondrial DNA, which comes from the female line, is only about 6 percent European. And that, says Reich, 'tells you about the history of this country, in which men contributed about three-fourths of the European ancestry that is present in the African-American population data. The data speak to a history in which white male slaveowners exploited women of African descent, a fact that is well documented in the historical record. That there is evidence of this in genetic data should be no surprise.'
An even more remarkable history, says Reich, is told in the genes of the men and women living in Medellin, Colombia. Most Americans associate Medellin with the drug cartels of that isolated region. But the remoteness has also preserved a genetic legacy that can be traced to the conquistadores. As described in a paper by Andres Ruiz-Linares of University College London, the Y-chromosomes of men in Medellin are 95 percent European, while the mitochondrial DNA of the women is 95 percent Native American. Spanish men and Native American women created a new population, confirming the recorded history of the region.
Even more can be gleaned when we look at the X chromosomes of a population like this, says Reich. That is because men carry just one X-chromosome, and women carry two, so women contribute two-thirds of the X-chromosomes in a given population. If the pattern of European Y-chromosome and Native American mitochondrial DNA in Medellin had been established in a single generation, one would expect the X-chromosomes to be one-third European in origin, contributed by men, and two-thirds Native American, contributed by women. But in fact, X-chromosomes in Medellin are mostly European, revealing that there were subsequent waves of European male immigration into the population over several generations: fresh shiploads of conquistadores coupling with a mixed population of women. This sort of analysis could be brought to bear on the question of Anglo-Saxon migrations, as well, he believes, and would at least suggest whether the Anglo-Saxons arrived all at once or during a longer period of time.Â