BAMAD no.29

 DNA and 
 Anthropology Updates 

Updates in DNA studies along with Anthropological Notes of general interest with a particular emphasis on points pertinent to the study of Ancient Israelite Ancestral Connections to Western Peoples as explained in Brit-Am studies.


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Brit-Am Anthropology and DNA Update
1. Amerindians-Middle East-Druze DNA Connection Proven?
2. Scythians had Different Origins
3. Lies Are Written All Over Your Face
Uncontrollable Muscles in the Face Reveal Lying, New Research Shows

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1. Amerindians-Middle East-Druze DNA Connection Proven?
A recent thread on the list
available from their online archives
suggests a connection between the Druze Population of Lebanon, Syria, and
Israel and Amerindians of North America.
The interested party will have to find his own way through the pertinent postings
and statistics but we will lighten the way a little by giving a few extracts from different sources:
The Druze: A Population Genetic Refugium of the Near East
Haplogroup X is one of the exceptions to this pattern of limited geographical distribution, and is found at low frequencies among West Eurasians[2], northern groups of Native Americans[3], as well as in northern Africa and the Near East[4]. A very high global genetic diversity has been reported for haplogroup X[4].

The Druze population has a unique historical, social and demographic structure, which is closely connected with their religion. The contemporary Druze population constitutes a small minority in four countries of the Near East: Syria, Lebanon, Israel and Jordan. In total, the estimated population number is fewer than 1,000,000 in the Near East and fewer than 100,000 in the Druze Diaspora. The Israeli Druze population is estimated at 150,000, and is distributed over three geographical
subregions: the Carmel, the Galilee, and the Golan Heights. It has been postulated according to historical records that the origin of the Druze in each of these regions is different. Although the Druze represent a small percentage of the total population of the countries of the Near East in which they reside, their concentration in mountainous districts has produced a compact social structure, resulting in a nearly exclusive majority in some geographical regions, and therefore a low frequency of admixture with other populations. Druze customs strongly favor marriage within the same village or the same geographical area[5].

Previous studies described a high frequency with a low diversity of both the X1 and X2 subhaplogroups in the Druze population[4], [7]. This was attributed to a founder effect, genetic drift, and population expansion[4].

Altogether we sampled 311 different paternal households from 20 Druze villages in Northern Israel,

Brit-Am Note: The study was based on a Druze population in northern Israel BUT the authors state above,
"It has been postulated according to historical records that the origin of the Druze in each of these regions is different".
This means that what holds for the Druze in Israel might not hold elsewhere.
The study concentrates on the X mt[female] haplogroup.

This village [Pekiin], is believed to be one of the oldest Druze villages in Israel, and is mentioned in historical records dating from the 13th century. These records specifically note that certain villages in the Galilee accepted the Druze religion during the "Dawa" and never left this geographic region[23], [24].


Brit-Am Note: Israelite Origins? It could be that the Druze inhabitants of Pekiin in the Galilee are descended from Jews.

What I find interesting is the conclusion that the original population (or
at least circa 500 AD) of the mideast had a lot more X than we see now.

How does the relate to the biggest concentration of X haplogroup in the
Algonquian in the Great Lakes area? Notice that is Algonquian not
Algorquian. (small joke)
Scott Norton
Norton DNA Project


From: "Scott Norton" <>
Subject: [DNA] Druze
Date: Fri, 9 May 2008 12:17:52 -0600

*" Native American X mtDNA falls into subclade X2a, with an HVR motif of
200G and 16213A. The X samples in the Druze paper didn't have either one of

*Does this suggest Native American DNA is older or younger than the Druze?

The X haplogroup FTdna Family group gives the Druze as X2b and the Native
American/First Peoples (Ojibwa, Nuu-Chah-Nulth, Sioux, Na-Dene-Navaho,
Yakima) as X2a.

Is this still correct in light of the new report?

From: ellen Levy <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Druze

I'm not so sure that this can't be logically
determined, Ann. It would depend on whether X2a occurs
only in Native Americans. If so, then the answer is
probably that it developed after reaching the New
World, unless one could present a reasonable argument
as to why the X2a lineage for some reason became
extinct in the Old World. Otherwise, it likely
developed in Southwest Asia and migrated to the New

Is this the case? Is X2a restricted to Native

Ellen Coffman

From: ellen Levy <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Druze

It is not always that you get to ask and then answer
your own question.

I found the study, "Origin & Diffusion of mtDNA
Haplogroup X" by Reidla. According to the author, X2
has undergone a recent population expansion into
Eurasia, probably around the LGM.

Interestingly enough, they note that the X2a clade is
composed of two distinct Native American sequences.
If I'm reading this correctly, X2a is lacking entirely
in the Old World, including in Siberia. Furthermore,
the position of X2a in the phylogenetic tree suggests
a very early split from the other X2 clades, likely at
the beginning of the expansion and spread out of the
Middle East.

If true, it would be logical to argue that X2a
developed as soon as this haplogroup hit the New
World. It would be interesting to see if the
development of this clade corresponds to timeframe
that scientists believe the New World was settled.

As an aside, I noted that the researchers in this
study acknowledged the high frequency of X2 among
Druze (also, among Georgians and Orkney Islanders).

Ellen Coffman

For a Brit-Am Summary of the above and more discussion see:
Q3. Is there any DNA evidence linking the Amerindians to Ancient Israel

2. Steppe Scythians had Different Origins
Archaeology, Ethnology, and Anthropology of Eurasia, vol. 4 (32), 2007, pp. 143-157


A.G. Kozintsev

(no abstract)

"First of all, the variation between the Scythian groups must be assessed in order to compare it with the total variation. The average distance between all the 22 Scythian groups is 6.30; that between the 17 steppe groups, 5.25; that between the five forest-steppe groups, 5.88; and that between the steppe and the forest-steppe groups, 8.04. As will be seen below, these values are not at all small by the general standard."


"Our results agree with the conclusions made by A.Yu. Alekseyev (1993), who speaks of two Scythian cultures, separated by a sharp gap: one archaic, distributed mostly in the forest-steppe and in the northern Caucasus, another classical, distributed in the steppe. It appears reasonable to assume that the two cultures were associated with tribes differing in origin, and that the term "Scythians: can be used with regard to the forest-steppe people only in a broad sense."


"Therefore, contrary to a widely held belief, which, until quite recently, was shared by all physical anthropologists, not a single biological fact (at least insofar as craniometry is concerned) suggests that the only, or at least the principal ancestors of the steppe Scythians were people of the Timber-grave culture. Now that this culture is represented by numerous populations from various parts of its distribution area, the above statement can be made with certainty not only with regard to the steppe Scythians in general, but also with regard to the vast majority of local steppe populations as well."


"The hypothesis formulated by Kovalev (see above) does not contradict the fact that gracilization began in the southern part of the Caucasoid distribution range. At the same time, this hypothesis agrees with the theory of two Indo-European homelands ? the early one, Near Eastern, and the late one, European, situated in regions from the Balkans (Diakonov, 1982) to Central or even Northern Europe (Safronov, 1989; Klein, 1990 and in print), i.e., areas covered by the depigmentation process."

"Craniometrical findings indirectly support the theory that the forest-steppe Scythians were autochthonous. Both for this group as a whole and for its local populations, including the earliest one, from Medvin, the most distinct ties are those with people of the Timber-grave culture of the Ukraine, especially with the group from the ground burials of that culture. No less relevant are ties with the Belozerskaia group. The isolated position of certain forest-steppe Scythian groups, which reveal no ties with other populations, may point to a key role of microevolutionary (especially random) processes.

{4. Parallels between the steppe Scythians and people of the Timber-grave culture evidently do not attest to the local origin of the former. They are less distinct than parallels with earlier Bronze Age populations (those associated with the Pit-grave and Catacomb cultures) and therefore point not so much to the local roots of the steppe Scythians as to the fact that their ancestors were Indo-Europeans (most likely Indo-Iranians), some groups of which migrated during the Bronze Age as far east as Eastern Central Asia. The return of their ancestors to the North Pontic steppes in the Early Iron Age was apparently the key factor in the origin of the steppe Scythians (at least of the relatively late populations represented in our database)."

3. Lies Are Written All Over Your Face
Uncontrollable Muscles in the Face Reveal Lying, New Research Shows
Lies Are Written All Over Your Face
Uncontrollable Muscles in the Face Reveal Lying, New Research Shows
April 30, 2008

Porter's research [Stephen Porter's forensic psychology lab at Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia]
expands upon work done by many others, including the well-known American psychologist Paul Ekman, who is working with security officials at several major U.S. airports to help them recognize the uncontrollable expressions that show a person is lying.

All of them, however, are building on a suggestion by Charles Darwin 126 years ago.

"A man when moderately angry, or even when enraged, may command the movements of his body, but ? those muscles of the face, which are least obedient to the will, will sometimes alone betray a slight and passing emotion," Darwin wrote in "The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals."

That idea has been refined considerably in recent years.
"The face has about 43 muscles directly linked to particular facial emotional expressions," Porter said.

Porter, who has been studying deceptive behavior for 15 years, has a new study in the current issue of Psychological Science that indicates it is possible for persons involved in law enforcement and airport security, and the rest of us as well, presumably, to learn how to recognize those tell-tale expressions of deceit in someone else, even if we can't control it in ourselves.

His research shows earlier studies that indicated those expressions lasted less than a fifth of a second were incorrect, because in many cases they last nearly a full second long. That should allow a trained eye enough time to detect them, he added.

During the experiment, an untrained observer sat behind the computer where the image was not visible, and rated each participant's performance.
A lack of training, which was intentional, resulted in a predictable finding: You can't tell who's lying unless you've been trained.
"We found they were pretty bad at it," Porter said. In fact, they could have been just as accurate if they had flipped a coin.
But were the people able to falsify their emotions? The answer to that came when the experts viewed footage of the experiment in slow motion.
All of them flunked. Each one showed an involuntary muscular reaction at least once, Porter said.

The researchers were able to document those involuntary micro-expressions less than a second long, but that's because ten Brinke spent more than a year carefully analyzing more than 100,000 video frames.

Lee Dye is a former science writer for the Los Angeles Times. He now lives in Juneau, Alaska.

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