Human Races May Have Biological Meaning, But Races Mean Nothing About Humanity

By Razib Khan | May 2, 2012 12:04 pm

Razib Khan’s degrees are in biochemistry and biology. He has blogged about genetics since 2002 (see his Discover Blog, Gene Expression), previously worked in software development, is an Unz Foundation Junior Fellow and lives in the western US. He loves habaneros.

…At some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate and replace throughout the world the savage races. At the same time the anthropomorphous apes, as Prof. Schaaffhause has remarked, will no doubt be exterminated. The break will then be rendered wider, for it will intervene between man in a more civilized state, as we may hope, than the Caucasian and some ape as low as a baboon, instead of as at present between the negro or Australian and the gorilla.

The descent of man, and selection in relation to sex, Volume 1 – by Charles Darwin

The above quote is not to vilify Charles Darwin. On the contrary, I believe Darwin was a scientific hero whose work is the foundation of modern biology. Nevertheless, he was a man of his age. Despite the fact that Darwin was a political liberal from a family of liberals, with pristine credentials in progressive social movements of his day, such as the anti-slavery campaigns, it is clear that he had Victorian biases nonetheless; some of the passages in The descent of man clearly come from a fortunately bygone era, when white scholars and adventurers cataloged and surveyed the unexplored corners of our world, and created taxonomies of the “lower races” as if they were just part of the local fauna. The reality is that Charles Darwin’s age was fundamentally one of white supremacy. In the year 1900, one out of three human beings alive was of European extraction. In the four centuries since Christopher Columbus, Europe and its Diaspora had entered into massive demographic expansion—which many Victorians saw as survival of the fittest. Progressives of the late 19th and early 20th century, such as H. G. Wells, foresaw a future where the “higher races” would naturally marginalize those peoples who were lesser participants in civilization. Such was taken as the judgment of nature.

How 100 years do change things. And yet just as Darwin could not help but reflect the presuppositions of his era, so we in our day can not help but channel the zeitgeist. Like Charles Darwin, today’s scholars have concluded that humans are fundamentally an African species. But unlike Darwin they conclude from this that there is a biological, essential unity of humankind, such that talk of “civilized” and “savage” is rendered moot and irrelevant. We do look through the mirror of our ages darkly, seeing startlingly different insights from the same shadows of reality. Whereas racist assumptions and beliefs were supported by interpretations of science of the 19th century, today we attempt to harness science in the opposing direction.

The topic of human variation, and more plainly, race, is fraught. The past century has seen a wild swing from the widespread acceptance of the idea that human races are real, with big, important differences, to the opposite position: that race is fundamentally an illusion, a social construction of the human mind. But both of these arguments are mistaken. The established modern consensus about the equality of people, irrespective of race, is morally and ethically justified. But these beliefs we hold to be true do not derive from the natural science, which doesn’t present a clear moral lesson.

Assertion: Because most genetic variation occurs within races, two random individuals from different races may be genetically closer than two random individuals from the same race.

The image above, from a 2009 paper, is one of the clearest refutations of such assertions. An evolutionary chart, or phylogeny, of human population is not difficult to construct. Multiple different genetic methodologies have converged upon the same general pattern of Africans differentiating from non-Africans, and West Eurasians differentiating from East Eurasians, and so forth. Why? Though on any given gene, one may be more similar to an individual from some distant population than an individual from the same population, when looking at the average across many genes, there is a clear pattern whereby individuals from the same populations tend to share variants in common.

We can see this point by making an analogy between populations and families. Blue eyes are inherited in a roughly recessive fashion. That means that parents of opposite eye colors may have children with blue or brown eyes (as in the chart to the left), while people who are unrelated may share the same blue eyes with some of these children. Clearly on that particular gene, two unrelated individuals can be more similar than parents and their own offspring (e.g., brown eyed parent/blue-eyed child vs. blue-eyed strangers). But it doesn’t follow from this that parents and offspring are less genetically similar overall than strangers with the same eye color as some of the children. Rather, it tells us to be careful of extrapolating from just one gene when it comes to thinking about overall patterns of genetic relatedness.


Assertion: “We are all Africans”

Credit: Science

Today this assertion needs the qualifier “mostly.” To make a long story short, the “strong form” of the “Out of Africa” model of human origins seems to be falsified by the most recent genomic data. Rather, it looks as if modern human populations are a synthesis of a dominant “Out of Africa” lineage, flavored with assorted other populations, until recently known as “archaic modern humans.” The most famous of these were Neanderthals, but it looks as if they may just be the first in a long list of other ancestors humans interbred with. In fact, some hunter-gatherer African populations, the Pygmies and San, may harbor very deeply diverged ancestry from the mainline African stock. These are hominin lineages which separated from the lineage which led to the “Out of Africa” migration nearly ~1 million years ago, only to recombine in the last few tens of thousands of years with these hunter-gatherers (in contrast, the divergence between Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans occurred on the order of ~250,000 years ago).

What does all this imply? On a deep level, in terms of morals and ethics, pretty much nothing. If the human tree becomes more busy and complicated, does that entail that our moral and ethical systems should become more complicated and nuanced? I suspect that most people would react in horror at such a reconsideration, which goes to show that the precise nature of recent African origins for humanity was more of an icing on the cake, rather than a concrete basis of one’s motivation for human decency. How humans came about is less important than the fact that we are all human.


Assertion: Because modern humans are a young species, there has not been enough time for major differences to emerge between populations.

This is false. 5 to 10 thousand years ago a set of strangely mutated humans arose. They continued to be able to digest lactose sugar as adults, in contravention of the mammalian norm. In fact, humans are the only mammals where many adults continue to be able to consume milk sugar as adults. The rapidity of this shift has been incredible. 5,000 years ago almost everyone in Scandinavia was lactose intolerant. Today, very few are. The area of the European genome responsible for this shift is strikingly homogeneous, as a giant DNA fragment “swept” through populations in a few dozen generations.

The literature on recent human evolution is still evolving, so to speak. But it is clear that during the Holocene, the last 10,000 years, our species has been subject to a wide array of selective forces. Lactose tolerance, malaria tolerance, differences in color, hair form, and size, seem to be due to recent adaptations. And because of different selection pressures human populations will evolve, change, and diversify. Our African ancestors left 50 to 100 thousand years ago. If 10,000 years was enough time for a great deal of evolution, then the “Out of Africa” event was long enough ago to result in genetic diversification, which we see around us.


Assertion: Race is a social construction and a biological myth.

Race, the way we have traditionally thought of it, is indeed a social construction. But whether racial groups are purely a biological myth is debatable. There are serious biologists who believe that race is a useful framework. Race may be a biological myth, but there is no unanimous consensus on this topic, and those who dissent from the position that it is a myth are not marginal cranks. 100 years ago almost everyone agreed that race was real, and that the consequences of race entailed that populations should be subject to different standards of treatment. Today almost no one agrees with the proposition that populations should be subject to different standards of treatment (besides racism-countering policies like affirmative action), but there is disagreement on whether race is real or not.

The key issue is to move beyond the term race. Rather, the question is this: does evolution apply to humans? If so, then we must remember that variation is the very stuff of evolution. Not only does variation emerge as an outcome of evolution, but it is the raw material of evolution. The creationist Duane Gish is wont to say that if you tell people they are animals, they will behave like animals. The reality is that humans are animals, but we are no less human for it. Similarly, people fear that if you admit that populations may be biologically different it may lead some to conclude that they are morally different. But the fact is that different populations are biologically different, and none are less human for it.


CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, Top Posts
  • SS

    I think there is a typo: “That means that two brown-eyed parents may have two children with blue eyes (as in the chart to the left), while two people who are unrelated may share the same blue eyes. ” Either the chart and resulting blue eyed children statistic is incorrect or the statement about parental eye color to begin with is wrong.

  • Brendan Bombaci

    As mentioned, individuals from separate bottlenecked genetic stocks, or “races,” generally have unique biological characteristics that give them bioregional (sickle cell anemia for malaria, Bergman’s Rule and Allen’s Rule, melanin production, etc.), and technological (i.e., lactose tolerance) adaptations which may differentiate them from other groups in very utilitarian or evolutionarily beneficial ways. Every stock has its own great advantages for climatological and cultural means. The more exogamy takes place, the more variation exists and, perhaps, the more various individuals will express phenotypes which are either positive or negative for their location and culture. This is both due to, and problematic of globalism. In theory, the rise of the diseases of modernity may be largely caused by a combination of this and the recent changes in macronutrient loading, sleep cycles, and environmental pollutants. If parents were to get (and afford to get) for their children a genomic readout (perhaps more helpful than a karyotype description) on the more widely known genetic adaptations and problems that exist today, we may be better able to prevent many maladies from taking shape later in life. This may involve moving to a different climate, following a certain diet, or doing and abstaining from particular activities. And it would certainly be a great addition to preventative medicine.

  • Ridahoan

    Nicely put. It seems to me that one socially motivated wing of biology has been asserting that there is no such thing as race by applying themes on the variation within vs without argument, while another wing, most visibly led by drug companies finding that some drugs work for some human populations and not others, continue to find fascinating and exploit biological differences between populations. Sometimes these populations break into what are commonly thought of as racial groups, and other times not. At this point I think few biologists talk in terms of race, but every human geneticist knows the importance of populations within our species.

    Now, let us not forget the remainder of our immediate biological family, the remaining hominids who are indeed close to extermination as this Prof. Schaaffhause predicted. They are not human but nonetheless clearly emotive and sentient. Here the biological differences are much clearer, but again, mere biology should not trump ethics.

  • Drake

    Interesting article. I’ve recieved sideways glances by some when I don’t outright dismiss the concept of race as a social construct or a meaningless fabrication. To be clear, the common usage of race(e.g white, black, asian) is a social construct, but the concept of genetic variation between groups of people is entirely plausible(if not obvious). As mentioned in the article, these differences are negligible in the larger schema(we are still all Humans afterall!), but the seemingly fundamentalist egaltarian philosophies common in modern sociology come acreoss as willfully ignorant. The inconsistency of the defintions/application of race in the USA and Brazil says nothing about the meaninfullness of race scientifically. All the inconsitency can logically imply is that different societies define race differently. No more, no less. It is like suggesting that since different societies define ‘obesity’ differently, then obesity must be a scientifically meaningless conept. The logic is astoundingly dubious.

  • Amos Zeeberg (Discover Web Editor)

    @SS: I’m not seeing the problem. The two brown-eyed parents (the top two squares) each have a recessive blue-eyed gene. Each sent a blue-eyed gene to both of their kids, who are therefore blue-eyed. So just in terms of eye color, the blue-eyed offspring might be more genetically similar to a stranger than to their own parents. That does not mean, of course, that they’re more similar overall to the stranger than to their own parents.

    Does that clarify anything?

  • Jan

    I agree with SS. I was also confused by the diagram used to explain eye colour. My understanding of Punnett squares is that the parent generation is represented by the rectangles and the potential offspring are represented by the four squares. If you have two brown eyed parents who both carry the blue eyed recessive gene, you will have 1 brown-eyed homozygous, 2 brown-eyed heterozygous and 1 blue-eyed heterozygous offspring. So the ratio of brown-eyed to blue-eyed offspring is 3:1.

    I understand your assertion that variation in one trait can be greater in a family than in the population as a whole but I think you’re diagram is incorrect. Both parents should be represented by Bb if you want to demonstrate how the blue-eyed offspring are produced. If you had BB and Bb as parents, all the children would have brown eyes but two would be heterozygous Bb and two would be homozygous BB.

  • Amos Zeeberg (Discover Web Editor)

    @Jan: Whoops! Yes, an editing error there. Fixed it.

  • Graham

    There is no doubt that a lot of textbook rewriting will be required in the future. According to the DNA evidence that we have, the Denisovans were a large – thus genetically diverse – population about which we currently know almost nothing. They seem, for a start, to be more genetically diverse than the Neanderthals who ranged across Europe and parts of Asia, and yet we know almost nothing about them at present. Far more work needs to be done in Asia on tracking down Hominin remains.

  • Stefano

    The link in “falsified” is a manipulation: it links up with Svante Paabo’s group work on the Neanderthal genome, which simply suggests some Neanderthal/Sapiens interbreeding. It does not “falsify” out of Africa.

    And in any case the human lineage DID start in Africa. And in any case, the largest amount of human genetic repository IS in Africa.

    Not quite sure what the point of the post is: the fact that humans are subjected to natural selection? Hardly shocking, isn’t it?

    It is a shame that the subtle undertone of the post fails to mention that RACE as it has been used DOES NOT match the patterns of substructure that can be inferred from genomic variation: i.e. there is far more differentiation between a Nigerian Yoruba and a Kenyan Masai than there is between an Italian and an Indian.

  • crookedshoes

    The eye color chart is an oversimplification. It states in the text of the article that blue eye color is inherited “roughly” like a recessive allele… That is true but patently oversimplified since eye color is governed by at least three genes. So the darkest eyes would be AABBCC and the lightest would be aabbcc. There are many variations because eye color is a polygenic trait. If eye color were truly the way this punnett square depicts, then there would only be blue and brown eyes.

  • Paardestaart

    The idea that biology would ever trump ethics is uncivilized and primitive..Such a pity that uncivilized and primitive ideas have had so much sway. If only scientists had been more responsible and courageous, how much suffering would have been spared us, how many disastrous legislation would have been avoided, and how much social animosity and even hatred would have been spared us..

  • NMObserver

    For most people who don’t read science (and that’s a lot of people) the idea of race, I think, goes something like this: a certain array of physical characteristics indicate your “race” (i.e. your defining category amongst human beings) which then correlates to where you are from, how intelligent you are, what language you speak, what cultural traits you practice, and what your last name is or should be. I think the misunderstanding is that while “race” might exist in the sense that your DNA can tell you a lot about the migratory paths taken by your ancestors and whether or not they bred with other hominids or even about recent physical adaptations to the environment, “race” doesn’t exist in the sense that there is any correlation between these things and your physical characteristics now, your intelligence, the language you speak, the culture you practice, your national origin or citizenship, nor your last name. You could randomly choose 100 people from around the world that all have the physical characteristics identified with Africans and the chances are strong that there will be lots of differences in language, culture, intelligence, national origin, last name and probably even the migratory paths taken by their ancestors. The only overarching similarities will be the superficial physical characteristics. For most people, the idea that a person’s physical appearance does not necessarily tell you about a person’s cultural practices, language spoken, intelligence, national origin, or their last name is counterintuitive. But most people don’t realize this because they don’t read science very much, especially the science about human origins. They’ve been steeped in the belief that humans can be categorized by virtue of their appearance since the time they were born. So for them, race does exist and they use it every day as a way of mentally categorizing people they meet and then making decisions about how to interact with them. It’s a kind of shorthand for dealing with people in the world. Granted, it’s a flawed shorthand—often very flawed–but they use it nevertheless. I think this is the point of this article.

  • Jorient

    This article is about as non-scientific as you can get. It reads like a nightly newscast on MSNBC, so far from reality as to be totally meaningless. It is time to get beyond this nonsense and move on to real science. The first clue of irrelevancy is the use of the “blue eyed” chart. That has been the heart of most non-scientifics since the fifties when it was found in every book on psychology, sociology and biology. Of course, it also showed up in every liberal publication you could find. We simply have to stop using pseudo–science to promote liberal agendas and explain away the real world. Redefining words do not make them go away. We either have to all be the same or celebrate our differences. You can’t have it both ways. As long as we have this mushy talk, we will never make any progress! Did you hear that, progressives? We are looking for progress/growth/understanding, not some redefinition of reality.

  • Nathan

    1st Assertion rebuttal rebuttal: The assertion is using the the colloquial version of the word race, and in that sense it is correct. Nobody refers to ‘Western Eurasian” as a race. And while we’re on the topic, the phylogeny described is not equivalent to the biological definition of race. Eye color in particular doesn’t even fit that division…Fail.

    2nd Assertion rebuttal rebuttal: Humans are all mammals. Well mostly, our species also bred with apes in it’s extant past…Do you see the failure in logic there? We are all still African, but we’re also partially neanderthal, and denisovan, and any other ‘extinct’ archaic human you want to add in pending evidence of interbreeding. Fail.

    3rd Assertion rebuttal rebuttal: None of the differences listed are major. It’s almost as if you thought the assertion was; ‘there hasn’t been enough time for any new mutations to spread throughout the population’ because that’s the only assertion you managed to refute. Nice strawman. Since we came ‘out of africa’, which is the actual timeframe for us to gain races not enough time has passed. Our species population only got large enough, and geographical divided enough for it to be a possibility since then, because, in case you forgot, you need divergent populations. Populations, plural. Got it? Fail.

    4th Assertion rebuttal rebuttal: Again, you’ve misunderstood the use of the word race. Not only do humans not fit the definition of biological race, making any statement to the contrary a reference to myth, but the colloquial sense itself is based upon myths and is itself one. Yes humans evolved, and are still evolving, and yet we have no races still. Fail.

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  • TGGP

    “In the year 1900, one out of three human beings alive was of European extraction”
    That’s surprising, I thought China + India (which encompassed a lot more territory then) would match them. Through I was led to Lothrop Stoddard’s famous book and he starts by noting that whites had political control over most of the earth’s territory, but were still a minority of the total population.

    NMObserver, just because 100 random people will have a lot of variation within-group does not mean there will be “no correlation” between group-membership and other traits. For example, we know that a great many people of african descent speak english (a language associated with whites/europeans). But if Swahili is almost a 100% predictor of African descent, then we can say that African ancestry is correlated with speaking Swahili (even if it’s a minority language among our random 100).

  • AndrewV

    @13 Jorient Here is a clue for you. The author of the paper is a secular conservative.

    @14 Nathan you and Jorient also appear to be a great examples of the Dunning–Kruger effect.

    The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which unskilled individuals suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than average. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their mistakes.

  • Nora

    As a Political Scientist (I apoligize in advance for not doing ‘real’ science), studying in South Africa, I naturally have some serious personal reservations about using the word ‘race’ to define anybody. A ‘neutral’ scientifically-rooted definition is, and has been, easily misused. We cannot discard this as another person’s problem in any discussion on race.

    That being said, I have a question about the scientific definition of race, or ‘substructure’. If we take the concept of different races in science as a given, where do totally mixed population fall?

    The Masai (who dont just live in Kenya but all over East Africa) are relatively homogenous so they make a favourite example of ‘African populations’. In contrast, in South Africa, we have a large population of ‘Coloureds’ (NOT in the American sense) who are descendents of important Malaysian slaves, the local populations, White settlers and whoever else was around. Now, under apartheid they were defined as a race based on a common language, culture etc.

    My question is, in this globalised word, using the Coloureds as an example, how can any population which has so many different ancestors and genetic variations be defined as a race, even scientifically? Who do they share common undertones with? Where can science begin to classify races when humans have aleays reproduced across all races?

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  • Jason Antrosio

    Hi Nora,
    I would agree that this is an important consideration. A close look at the genetic-cluster plot above reveals these are sampled from populations that would be considered native to Africa, Asia, and Europe. The Americas are obviously not included. But as you point out, in the last 500 years, these populations have almost all been reshuffled and moved around. Interestingly, the place where the idea of race emerges and is held most firmly in place are the colonial places: the Americas and South Africa. Those are also the places where–I suspect–one would most likely get a smear across the canvass if contemporary populations were plotted. We can talk about admixture fractions from ancestral populations, but that also involves interpretive and sampling exercises as Razib’s post on Finding Fake Roots clarifies.

  • Geack

    @ 11. Paardestaart:
    “If only scientists had been more responsible and courageous…” What are you talking about? Scientists have had depressingly little impact on social behavior. They are certainly not the source for racism and all the other group hatreds people have cherished over the millenia. We have generally treated biological theories the same way we treat religious texts – ranting about whichever parts support our collective prejudices at a given point in time and ignoring the rest. I supposed one might mourn the fact that science hasn’t magically cured all humanity’s inherent flaws, but to blame science for those flaws is simply nonsense.

  • Jorient

    Comment to AndrewV

    @17 AndrewV says that Nathan and I suffer from the Dunning–Kruger effect. That may be true, but isn’t that the classic liberal argument…attacking the individuals rather than what they say? Doesn’t that shut down the dialogue and therefore allow the attacker to win by default? The problem is that to discuss major issues such as evolution and races can’t be done in an article or one liners, or by redefining words. It takes years of careful study and at least a long discussion. Sorry I didn’t take the time to do that. I have only studied evolution for forty years. Guess I will just have to start over.

  • Tanya McPositron

    @Jorient, et al:

    I hold my Dunning-Kruger Effect dear! Sometimes, being science-y is better than being a scientist–no? I always say that I am just dumb enough to see things clearly.

    For example, I have this theory (hypothesis?) that Dunning-Kruger resides on (in?) the same gene that codes for optimism, OXTR…

    Just wait and see. Betcha I’m right.

    (I usually am)

  • cwhig

    A couple in England gave birth about eight years ago to this set of twins. Are they the same race?

    • Alexander

      Obviously they are both of mixed “race”/population/ancestry like their parents. Phylogeny is not based on morphology. Mixing after the f1 generation is not even.

  • Peter Deepinsky

    Difference as an empirical vs. ethical judgement. In the past our understanding of the world was shaped largely by theology; today it is increasingly empirical. Too bad most people are unable to think empirically, and necessarily their ability to behave ethically is impaired. I imagine over time this may change, but I am left to wonder if we, as a species, have enough time.

  • Marmalade

    An article like this, no matter how well intentioned, ends up seeming confused in part. I get the sense that too much is getting mixed up together and clarity of thought is lacking in places. We don’t seem to have the language to speak accurately about this topic. We end up reifying the concepts we begin with.

  • Albert

    The Nordic Race

    A ‘RACE’ in human terms is a breed of man that evolves in ‘TOTAL ISOLATION’ for at least 50,000 years (interbreeding occurs because of isolation and time). The Nordic Race was an inbred and homogeneous racial type with blond hair, big blue eyes, white skin, towering height (6 – 7ft Giants) and large cranial capacity (1600cc). All uniform in appearance, all the same!


    The first humans ‘H.sapiens/Black African‘ evolved around 250,000 years ago in North Eastern Africa from H.Erectus. These people were little different to the Black African “nomadic racial tribes” that inhabit the Ethiopia ‘North Eastern Africa’ region today. The environment there has not changed at all since that time, so neither have they! Anthropologists are sure that this first human race arose in this region as there have been so many archaeological finds that it strongly suggest this is the case (It is an area isolated by mountain ranges and the sea). A tribe of these first humans “Black African” migrated out of North East Africa about 125,000 years ago. (This migration and origin theory is usually called the ‘Out of Africa Theory’).

    This is the beginning of “the incredible human journey“.

    125,000 years ago a tribe of the first humans: Black African (Black Africans) migrated from North East Africa to Scandinavia, to the West of present day Norway’s mountain ranges. They settled there, living by the coast, they were a coastal people. Approximately 65,000 years of TOTAL ISOLATION in Scandinavia, the original Black African race tribe evolved (changed physically and mentally to suit their very different environment the environment there is often cold. icy and dark) to The Nordic Race – a racial group with blond hair, big blue eyes, white skin, towering height (6 – 7ft Giants) and large cranial capacity (1600cc).

    There was a much warmer period (inter-glacial) during the last ice-age that started around 130,000 years ago called the Eemian (The time when the first Black Africans migrated North), which was the opening this Black African tribe needed to settle in the North of Europe (Scandinavia). This inter-glacial period lasted longer than is claimed. It lasted at about 60,000 years and not just 16,000 years. The Nordic Nordic Race that had evolved after about 65,000 years then left Scandinavia before the ice age got to inhospitable due to the freezing temperatures as skeletal remains throughout Europe and Asia has shown, see: ‘Cro-Magnon’ (They were forced out by the environmental conditions of the ice-age ‘extreme cold’ after about 65,000 years of TOTAL ISOLATION – the inter-glacial period had come to an end).

    The Unique Nordic Race

    This unique racial group could only have evolved in Northern Europe ‘Scandinavia’ because the lack of light through out the year and icy conditions are the only environmental factors that can explain the evolution of blond hair, blue eyes, white skin, big brains, etc… There is simply nowhere else on earth where these physical and mental traits could have developed, as they are so very different in physical appearance compared to the other races of man, the environment to must also have been so very different. Yes, the encapsulating mountain ranges in Norway stand out clearly as their place of evolution. (The earth’s water levels were substantially lower 60,000 years ago (4 to 6 meters), so the habitat where the Nordic race evolved (remember: a coastal people) is now well below the sea). The real physical evidence of them originating from there has been totally destroyed by the all consuming ice age and risen sea levels.

    Later than the first migration waves of these first humans (Black African) from Africa migrated to India, Far East Asia and finally from there to Australia. Certainly clinging to the coastline as they traveled. The original migrations of Africans to India, Far East Asia & Australia most likely happened later than the first migration to Scandinavia. Never the less about 60,000 years ago there were ‘FIVE’ distinct ‘ROOT RACES’ on earth:

    Nordic | Indian | Far East Asian | Black African | Australian-Aboriginal

    Human Root Races

    There were other species of humans on earth including the red haired Neanderthal and Denisovan man who our Indo-Far East Asian-Nordic ‘Eurasian‘ ancestors must have bred with to some degree. We know this as fact as DNA genetic testing has found around 2-3% Neanderthal DNA has been found among many Indo-Far East Asian-Nordic Types. Each racial group had evolved to their environment which is what happens in the animal world. Each racial grouping would have been very interbred and homogeneous at that point ‘65,000 years ago’ because they were descended from such a few people, over such a long time period (tens of thousands of years). The Nordic race was pure, containing no foreign genetic material such as ‘Indian’ or ‘Far East Asian’ – Totally untainted.


    Approximately 45,000 years ago the Nordic race moved out of their icy habitat ‘Scandinavia – Norway’ as the ice-age was getting more extreme. They migrated South through Europe. There numbers grew as they found a less harsh and more rewarding environment, they split up and formed small communities throughout different parts of Europe, at one point the only people in Europe ‘modern humans’ had white skin, blonde hair and blue eyes. I would never say that Europe was full of Nordics at any point, there were so few of them to use the word ‘full’ would be a misnomer! The Nordic Race descent from the North of Europe was what lay behind the killing off of the Neanderthals (genocide). Groups of these Nordics then migrated into Asia, where we now know as Iran (Iran actually means “Land-of-the-Nordics”). Somewhere around this area in the Middle East an Nordic Race racial tribe came face to face with an Indian racial tribe that had also left their habitat India Map(India – also enclosed by mountains and the sea). What this was like is any ones idea: fighting or friendship? The first mixing of races occurred. A new people were formed:

    Arabic or Indo-Nordic people, (Mostly Indian racial composition). With time these Arabic ethnic groups grew in number, they expanded and moved West occupying the Middle East and then further Westwards into North Africa. These Arabic tribes in North Africa then migrated further Northwards up in to where we now know as Spain, Italy and Greece, mixing with the Nordic Race tribes already settled there, which formed the basis of the original Spanish (Basque types), the Italians and the Greeks. So brown hair and brown eyes (traits from our Indian ancestors) which are genetically dominant over blonde hair and blue eyes, which are genetically recessive, took over in many parts, which is why so many Europeans have these ‘darker’ features. The same thing happened in Far East Asia. Nordics mixed with Far East Asian forming the Chinese ethnicity.

    An ethnicity is basically a sub-race, a mixed race people that have homogenized through interbreeding. Example: Arabic. There is no Arabic race but there is an Arabic ethnicity.

    YES: Racially, Europeans are part Indian and Far East Asian to varying degrees. (but mostly Nordic)

    The more Northwards you go in Europe the more Nordic people are. The more Southwards you go in Europe the more Indian people are. The more Eastwards you go in Europe the more Far East Asian people are. that is how it is.

    Do not be fooled by those who tell you what I have written here is false. I assure you this information is true. It is not publicly debated. It should be televised again and again and again because we live in an open democracy. We need openness about race!

    • Romi Abhimanyu

      This is very interesting and covers a great deal. have you studied this subject or is it something you have gleaned from wide reading as a lay person ? I think it was more lucid than the article that it was a comment on. :)

  • Szymon Baranowski

    Africans best fit to african climate, Europeans best fit and were thousands of years adjusting to european climate. Evolution is so much relative to local context. Differences between us in one context might be irrelevant in different might be crucial. Because of it different groups of people will have different understanding of their identity. Individual in America would see diversified population as something obvious and normal since he never seen and never lived in different context, individual from ethnicly homogenic Slavic country in East Europe who never lived in multiethnic society would find really hard time to accept different society than one he used to for whole his life. And both societies have equal right to stay in their own context if people living there choose and feel this kind of world they are living in is natural to them. It would be also really sad to see world moving into one unified structure loosing it’s variety, unique identities and regional phenomenons.

  • Szymon Baranowski

    The biggest modern prejudice is that society should accept everything this society wasn’t in the first place and someone says them to be. If we want world where everyone feel comfortable living in we need to let people think and live as they want even if their view is different than ours. That’s called tolerance and democracy. If some society wants to live alone in isolation they have right to it by their own free decision and to be who they want to be and to decide who they want accept in their home and who not. Multietnic society isn’t only possible, viable concept in this world, the same as there is no universal morality, social structure, ethnic ideal, cultural shape or scientifical truth. Living in East Europe you would see there are different societies, different concepts in this world and each of them has same right to be called equal. And why would people need to listen to some small group of people telling them how they should behave? This would be totalitarianism in it’s ultimate form. People are different and they have right to be different and to stick together in their differences if they like so. There also is no ultimate great world we could travel to. There are as many dream worlds as many people there are on earth and as many paths to go.

  • Valdemar Eppstein

    “Assertion: Because most genetic variation occurs within races, two random individuals from different races may be genetically closer than two random individuals from the same race.”
    Does this mean that genders are a social construct as well?
    There is no question among biologists that on average men have more muscle mass than women, but on the other hand there is a greater difference in muscle mass between the worlds strongest man, and the worlds weakest man, than there is between the average male and female.


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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