Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Work In Progress

Radnorian was glancing through an old book, well one published in 2006, which stated that there had been no inter-breeding between Neanderthals and modern humans. By last year it was believed that modern humans, at least in Europe and Asia, had indeed interbred with Neanderthals and also with another group of hominids christened Denisovans. This year we find evidence that suggests that Africans, who only twelve months ago were seen as "pure" homo sapiens sapiens, have also interbred with other extinct hominids. Who knows what the position will be next year, I'm still hoping for an appearance by the abominable snowman.

A few years ago Radnorian was excited by the prospect that DNA was going to clear up various historical mysteries and I suppose it has sorted out a few, while creating many more. Was there an extermination or mass replacement of the British population of the West Midlands by the Anglo-Saxons? I don't know, I can't keep up.

What does seem apparent is that there has been very little DNA testing of populations in the British Isles compared with many other parts of the world. You still see articles about Welsh DNA, relying in part on the testing carried out in Llanidloes a few years. ago. An interesting location in its own right, being at the centre of the 16C English plantation of Arwystli, but maybe not typical of Wales as a whole - and I doubt if you could find anywhere that was typical of Wales as a whole. The presence of seemingly Balkan male DNA in Abergele, 7 out of 18 tested, is fascinating but how much more could be discovered with wider testing?

I wonder if political correctness has anything to do with the limited DNA testing in Wales. Victorians are correctly criticised for allowing their political prejudices about Empire, Protestantism, race and the German origins of the Royal Family to infect their work. But isn't something similar happening today, except the prejudices are more likely to be in favour of multi-culturalism and pro-Europeanism.

Anyway I'm adding this site to my blog-list.


Sidwaddell said...

The Denisovans? The dart player? http://images.sportinglife.com/07/12/330/ovens_denis_613029.jpg

old radnor said...

er .... I think you may have unearthed something there Sid ... I'm obviously a bit out of touch with popular culture since they repossessed my telly.