Top critical review
Who We Are and How We Got Here
Reviewed in the United States on May 27, 2018
This is an interesting account from the front lines of the new and groundbreaking field of genomic archeology.
It is not an easy read for the nonspecialist, but it does present quite a few shiny little gems for the careful sifter, and some fascinating new and paradigm-shifting theories.
The author begins by explaining that this field - at least in terms of the scale and precision his current findings are based upon - is brand-spanking new, that it really only got underway in about the year 2015, and that therefore his findings should be understood as being tentative and subject to modification or reversal at any time thanks to the torrent of new data becoming available practically every day.
That said, here is a sample of ‘the good stuff’:
-The number of genes you have is finite - about 20,000, based on current estimates. You get an almost equal number from both mom and dad, but for ancestors prior to your parents, the random shuffling of recombinant dna make it unlikely you will have exactly 25% of your genes from each of your four grandparents. Still, the odds are very high that you will inherit at least some genetic material from everyone in your direct ancestral line back to about seven generations.
Beyond the seventh generation, however, the odds of your having genetic material from any one specific remote ancestor rapidly diminishes, until by the time you get back to the fifteenth generation of your genealogical ancestry, there is only about a 3% chance you are related to any one of them genetically.
(Unless of course, there was a lot of cousin-marriage in your tree.)
-A supervolcano in southern Italy (Campi Flegrei) massively erupted about 39,000 years ago, and the resulting multi-year-long winter was probably the ultimate cause of neanderthal extinction, as well as that of the first wave of early-modern Europeans.
-The succession of early modern human cultures in Europe after 37,000 BC (Aurignacian, Gravettian, and Magdalenian) represent events in which culture changed because the underlying racial or ethnic population substantially changed.
-The BIG PICTURE is this: Peoples come, peoples go. These groups can be done-in by natural disasters, diseases, famine, war, or some combination of the above. Old races merge together, creating new races. Races sometimes die out, or are subsumed into larger groups which are themselves the result of previous mixings of earlier races. And, yes, according to the author there are such things as biologically distinct races, though they are mutable and blendable over time.
-People often move far from where they were born, sometimes reproducing and dying a continent away from their place of origin.
-The genetic history of modern people indicates that throughout history and prehistory there have been many warlike events in which one group of people conquers another. The men from the losing side are typically killed, and their women are often taken as wives or concubines by the leaders of the victorious side. These leading men produce an outsized number of children relative to other men. The evidence shows up clearly in our genome.
-After the end of the last Ice Age, farmers from Anatolia expanded into Europe, largely replacing the earlier hunter-gatherers, especially in the south. Mixing between the two groups occurred gradually in the north, so that by about 5,000 years ago most Europeans were primarily descended from Anatolian farmers, with a lesser degree of ice-age hunter gatherer ancestry.
-It was not until after 5,000 years ago that the European genetic mix began to resemble modern populations. This was the result of a massive Indo-European migration into Europe from the eastern steppes. A combination of diseases (including Bubonic Plague) and warfare resulted in a huge replacement of the first farmers by the invading Indo-Europeans , especially in the north: a 90% turnover in Britain, a 70% turnover throughout Central Europe (The Corded Ware Culture), and a 30% turnover in Iberia. The evidence from this time also indicates a significant influx of Indo-European bloodlines throughout India, especially in the north.
-China and India are two Asian countries with huge populations, but they have vastly different genetic population dynamics. In China, there tends to be one vast, relatively undifferentiated population pool, whereas in India, there is no one Indian population at all, but rather a huge number of small caste and sub-caste populations which have seldom intermarried for the past 4,000 years, and each of which have developed their own unique genetic signatures and set of genetic proclivities, including diseases and other health problems.
-It appears the Japanese people are the result of an 80/20 blend of Korean and Ainu bloodlines. But don’t tell them that.
...and much, much more, from all over the world.
The author did suffer one serious moral failure, which reduces his score in this book review from a four to a three.
Towards the end of ‘Who We Are’, in a chapter no doubt designed to be an apologia addressed to his friends in academia who are located on the Insane Equity-obsessed Left, he tries to deflect accusations of heresy towards himself by calling out three respectable scientists and writers - James Watson (the Nobel Laureate!), Henry Harpending, and Nicholas Wade - as ‘racists’.
Maybe Reich did it because he has a guilty conscience - after all, in this book he practically proves the old Aryan Invasion Story to be true.