Just the name Cheddar man gives me the creeps.  Sounds like the title of a slasher film.

MSN reports:

DNA from a 10,000-year-old skeleton found in an English cave suggests the oldest-known Briton had dark skin and blue eyes, researchers said Wednesday. Scientists from Britain’s Natural History Museum and University College London analyzed the genome of “Cheddar Man,” who was found in Cheddar Gorge in southwest England in 1903.

Scientists led by museum DNA expert Ian Barnes drilled into the skull to extract DNA from bone powder. They say analysis indicates he had blue eyes, dark curly hair and “dark to black” skin pigmentation.

The researchers say the evidence suggests that Europeans’ pale skin tones developed much later than originally thought.

“Cheddar Man subverts people’s expectations of what kinds of genetic traits go together,” said Tom Booth, a postdoctoral researcher at the museum who worked on the project.

“It seems that pale eyes entered Europe long before pale skin or blond hair, which didn’t come along until after the arrival of farming.”

So it seems the earliest Caucasoids looked pretty much identical to today’s South Asians, except with blue eyes or green eyes, as some rare South Asians today have.


Also interesting was this quote:

Cheddar Man is the oldest complete skeleton found in Britain. Humans had lived in Britain off and on for thousands of years before his time, but they had been wiped out during periodic ice ages.

So once again we see evidence of just how hard it was to survive the extreme cold of the ice age, thus supporting Richard Lynn’s claim that cold winters were a major selection factor in the evolution of alleged racial IQ gaps.

Of course if climate were the only factor we’d expect Inuit to be among the World’s smartest people, and they don’t appear to be (though they are among the biggest brained), so obviously some other factor(s) would have to be involved too, if you accept HBD.  Richard Lynn argued the other factor was population size increasing the odds of favourable mutations (Inuit lacked big populations and were geographically isolated).

In his 2006 magnum opus, Race Differences in Intelligence: An Evolutionary Analysis, Lynn writes:

The Arctic Peoples experienced the severest winter conditions of all the races with coldest winter temperatures of about -15°C and falling to about -20° C during the main Wiirm glaciation. In response to these cold winters the Arctic Peoples evolved more pronounced forms of the morphological cold adaptations of the East Asians, consisting of the flattened nose, the short legs and thick trunk, the subcutaneous layer of fat that gives the skin a yellowish appearance, and the epicanthic eye-fold. These severe winters would be expected to have acted as a strong selection for increased intelligence, but this evidently failed to occur because their IQ is only 91.

The explanation for this must lie in the small numbers of the Arctic Peoples whose population at the end of the twentieth century was only approximately 56,000 as compared with approximately 1.4 billion East Asians. While it is impossible to make precise estimates of population sizes during the main Wurm glaciation, there can be no doubt that the East Asians were many times more numerous than the Arctic Peoples. The effect of the difference in population size will have been that mutations for higher intelligence occurred and spread in the East Asians that never appeared in the Arctic Peoples. The East Asians consisting of the Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese would have formed a single extended breeding population of demes in which mutant alleles for high intelligence would have spread but would not have been transmitted to the Arctic Peoples isolated by high mountain ranges and long distance.

The Arctic Peoples did, however, evolve a larger brain size, approximately the same as that of the East Asians, so it is curious that they do not have the same intelligence. A possible explanation for this is that the Arctic Peoples have evolved strong visual memory that would have been needed when they went out on long hunting expeditions and needed to remember landmarks in order to get home in largely featureless environments of snow and ice. An increase of this ability would have required an increase in brain size but is not measured in intelligence tests.

A further possibility is that one or more new mutant alleles for more efficient neurophysiological processes underlying intelligence may have appeared in the East Asians but not in the Arctic Peoples.

There is a further anomaly in the intelligence of the peoples of Northeast Asia concerning the IQs of the Mongols of Mongolia and the closely related Samoyeds of Northern Siberia. There are no studies of the intelligence of these peoples but their low level of cultural development and technology suggests that it is not so high as that of the East Asians of China, Japan, and Korea. Yet these peoples also experienced many thousands of years of severe winter environments that have produced the pronounced morphological cold adaptations of the epicanthic eye-fold, short legs, and thick trunk that evolved in the Arctic Peoples. The probable explanation of this anomaly is the small population size of these peoples (the population of present- day Mongolia is approximately 2.4 million and there are only a few tens of thousands of Samoyeds of Northern Siberia) and they have been isolated from neighboring peoples by the Gobi desert and high mountain ranges, so new mutations for higher intelligence did not occur and their geographical isolation would have prevented the acquisition of these mutations from other races.

JayMan on the other hand argued that it was not population size, but civilization, that explains why not all cold winter races score high.  He argues that races that had both cold winters and civilization evolved the highest IQs (Northeast Asians), and those that had neither remained the lowest (Bushmen, pygmies, Australoids) , with the rest falling in between.

JayMan writes:

So it seems that different latitudinal regions have different ceilings. Broadly speaking, the IQ ceiling in sub-Saharan Africa is lower than it is North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, which is in turn lower than it is in Europe and Northern Asia. Average IQ is allowed to rise somewhat in these northern regions, as the Mongolians, Siberians, Inuit, and Native Americans demonstrate. Civilization then takes it “all the way”.

Of course others might argue civilization was the cause, not the product, of high IQ.