Genetic distances in Europe, temperament and ancient subsistence modes
I came across this genetic plot of European relatedness on the Web. I haven’t been able to verify its source, however, it does seem at least somewhat intuitively correct.
We can overlay a triangle and we get a rough North — Southeast — Southwest correspondence. There are huge differences in temperament between Northern Europeans and Southern Europeans. People in the north are generally more introverted (e.g. Russians, Fins and British people are more introverted than Italians and Turks).
The cold Northerners and the hot, fiery Southerners is a common cliché in Europe. Is it just a stereotype, or does it contain real genetic different origins, as the plot suggests?
David Reich writes in Who We Are and How We Got Here (2018):
When we applied the Three Population Test to diverse human populations, we detected negative statistics when the test population was northern European, proving that population mixture occurred in the ancestors of northern Europeans. We tried all possible pairs of comparison populations from more than fifty worldwide populations and found that the mixture evidence was strongest when one comparison population was southern European, especially Sardinians, and the other was Native Americans. It was clearly Native American populations that produced the most negative values, as we found that the statistic was more negative when we used Native Americans for the second comparison population than when we used East Asians, Siberians, or New Guineans. What we had found was evidence that people in northern Europe, such as the French, are descended from a mixture of populations, one of which shared more ancestry with present-day Native Americans than with any other population living today.
If Northern Europeans are more closely related to ancient hunter-gatherers, who are Sardianans (the second corner of the triangle) related to? Reich writes
that migrating farmers whose ancestors originated in the Near East spread over Europe with little mixture with the hunter-gatherers they encountered along the way, a sharp contrast to Luca Cavalli-Sforza’s model for the farming expansion into Europe that had been popular until this time and that emphasized extensive mixture and interaction with the local hunter-gatherers during the expansion.5 The new model would not only explain the striking genetic contrast between hunter-gatherers and farmers in Sweden around five thousand years ago. It would also explain why the ancient farmers were genetically similar to present-day Sardinians, who plausibly descend from a migration of farmers to that island around eight thousand years ago that largely displaced the previous hunter-gatherers.
So, the Sardinians are most closely related to the Anatolian farmers who displaced European hunter-gatherers. This is also visible in the following genetic map of Europe that shows that Sardina is the country with the highest amount of the Anatolian farmer genome, whereas northern Estonia has the highest amount of hunter-gatherer admixture.
This map also gives us the key to the third corner. The third genetic component is made up by Yamnaya pastoralist genes. The third corner of the triangle has close ties with Caucasian nations with a long history in pastoralism. We can also see this Yamana East-West gradient to a certain extent in the above map.
In summary, we have a North-South gradient that represents the amount of hunter-gatherers vs food producing farmers and herders and a less perfect (South)-West-(North)East gradient that represents farmer — herder genetic admixture. This picture is somewhat corroborated by the fact that hunter-gatherers disappeared only recently in the Eurasian North.
Back to temperament, there should be high correlations with temperament types. Here are the correlations for Myers-Briggs and Ayurveda:
Once mixed, these three “tribes” were to influence history in completely different ways. E.g. I have argued that the spread of Protestantism can be explained by adoption by freedom-loving hunter-gatherer and herder types, vs sticking with catholicism by more traditional and hierarchically-minded farmer types.
Check out my book Understanding History: Herders, Horticulturalists and Hunter-Gatherers for more:
Originally published at http://the-big-ger-picture.blogspot.com on January 12, 2022.