Redheads descended from Neanderthals?

From: Glenn Morton (
Date: Mon Jan 28 2002 - 23:30:49 EST

  • Next message: Walter Hicks: "Re: Redheads descended from Neanderthals?"

    There was an interesting anthropological observation last year while I was
    off the list. It seems that a genetic study of the melanocortin 1 receptor
    (MC1R) shows that this gene has enough variability to date it around 100,000
    years for its origin. This might not seem important until it is recognized
    that this is the red-hair gene. Red hair is only found in two places on the
    earth--Europe within the former territory of the Neanderthals and Papua New
    Guinea (but Harding seems to think that the Papuan example is a case of
    demographic history rather than selection (Harding and Rees)). Now, this
    gene is not found in Africans who, according to the Out of Africa view, are
    the only ones who are supposed to have contributed to the modern human gene
    pool. If that is true, then the question is where did the gene come from and
    why does it end up almost exclusively a trait found in regions previously
    occupied by Neanderthals--namely Europe? Given that this gene has 100,000
    years of history behind it, if the mutation had occurred among the earliest
    group to leave Africa, it should have gone in all directions and today be
    found among the Chinese and other groups. And this would tend to rule out
    such a scenario.

    So where did it come from? One hundred thousand years ago, the only people
    in Europe were the Neanderthals and most observers of this gene have drawn
    the conclusion that the red haired gene is from the Neanderthals. Indeed,
    Harding, the leading researcher has never said as much IN HER RESEARCH
    PAPERS, but she has said so in interviews:

    "So does that mean it is possible that Scottish redheads are directly
    descended from the Neanderthals? "It seems to be the logical conclusion to
    what I am saying," said Harding. "But I don't know if people are going to
    like me for saying that.""

    Given the strong bias against the concept of Neanderthal heritage among the
    Out of Africa advocates, I have no doubt people won't like her saying that.

    Lest people think that I am demeaning others for being related to the
    Neanderthals, I suspect I am also and if I am, I am proud of it because they
    were quite fascinating people. I suspect I have the MCR 1 gene, as I have a
    now graying red moustache, my grandmother was a red head and my brother also
    had a red beard, and I am decesnded from Scots on both sides of the family
    (10% of Scots are red-haired). And tonight I did something I had wanted to
    do for a long time, measure my crural index, which is difficult on a living
    person, but basically it is the tibia length/femur length ratio. All my life
    people have commented on my short legs. I have a torso, which if I had the
    legs to go with it would make me over 6 feet tall. But my legs 'compensate'
    and I am about 5'9". Making 4 measurements on my thigh length and tibia
    length, I came out with .78, .79, .81, and .85 which places my legs on the
    low side of modern crural indices. Stringer and Gamble relate that the
    modern average for the crural index is about .85 while Neanderthals ranged
    in the region below .8 meaning my legs are a bit Neanderthal-like, assuming
    my measurments are good!,1113,46_1011323,00.htm

    Now, the theological implications of this are obvious. If we have
    Neanderthal genes, even one Neanderthal gene, we simply can't have
    apologetical scenarios which separate us from them as is done by many of the
    apologists. So, why don't apologists pay attention to data like this? I
    wish I knew.


    Chris Stringer and Clive Gamble, In Search of theNeanderthals, (New York:
    Thames and Hudson, 1993), p.93

    R. Harding and J. Rees "Interpreting patterns of polymorphism in the
    melanocortin 1 receptor gene


    for lots of creation/evolution information
    personal stories of struggle

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