All crazy suddenly. Why? Not just the motorcyclist. It was because a sudden dry squall came through the city, plus, probably, the Dem convention. And it was Friday. It is interesting when two or three little provokers come together to create a large social maelstrom - similar to my CFS. Didn't check if the moon was full.
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This post is about what I am, "genetically." I have never taken a 23-or-me, or etc. It would be nice to, but there is the privacy issue.
I began life as a fine young Celt, with lighter blondish/reddish brown hair. It turned dark brown somewhere along the road - maybe around 6 years old? 8? Most of my sibs have the same almost-black hair, because we are what is called, "Black Irish." My older brother's hair is blond, (and two sister's hair is a little lighter brown). This is because there is a little German in us. Although we are 100% Irish, there is a grandmother named "Smith." While Smith is fine as an Irish or English name, it tends to go back to Germany. That means small traces of Germanic. Forgiveably.
There were several incursions of populations into Ireland in the past, Celtic adn others. One mythical population was the "Milesians", (not the same as the Biblical Milesians). They were imagined to have come from Iberia, which is now Spain. There were in fact several Celt tribes in Spain long ago. Some or all may have originally come from the Middle East. So, it is not impossible that this myth might be true, or not-far-off. My skin tans very nicely, unlike that of the paler, freckled, red-headed Irish. These red-heads mainly derived from the Russian steppes, came down the Danube, into Denmark, where, with Scandinavians, they helped create Germanic languages. They also migrated to Ireland.
Genetically, redheads also tend to have pale skin, and be more, shall we say, temperamental, sensitive, or inflammatory. Thus the legends of the fiery, fighting celts in Roman times, and the fighting Irish during the civil war, and so on. Throw alcohol on top of that fire and you get something socially dysfunctional and mythically astonishing.
The 'gene' for red-headedness (R1b haplogroup) is found across Europe and somewhat to the east. But there is a related gene (R1a haplogroup) which also helps sport redheads, and that is more in Finland, Russia, etc. See these maps: R1b haplogroup | All red-heads (including R1a).
Being red-headed does not mean one is closer related to Neandertals, who may have been red-headed. Red hair, pale skin, and green or blue eyes could have emerged on their own in later Sapiens as an adaption to northern climatic and environmental conditions. But the constellation of red hair, light eyes, pale skin, and irascibility does make the possibility that a redhead may be more directly linked to Neandertal than average, if only in this one genetic component. And, more likely in other components.
But we do not know if the red-head gene/s derived directly from Neandertal. Ancient "Cheddar Man," in England, had dark skin and blue eyes - i.e., of southern derivation but already having a protective trait for snowy weather - was he a fluke? I don't think so. This is why genetics is so complicated. Because we are not really looking at easy hierarchies or trees of inheritance, we must always be looking at perpetual horizontal interactions.
Some people have more Neandertal genes, some more Denisovan, some more Erectus, and some even have Bonobo genes. And all species evolve in reaction to environment, which sometimes includes incorporating genes from other species via viruses. You might have a gene from a Chimpanzee, but via some circuitous route, not by direct inheritance. Or - it may only be identical to a Chimpanzee gene, but had actually emerged separately only centuries ago, in Lithuania, in a guinea pig. Pretty unlikely, but you get my, um, genetic drift...
Another wave that went into Ireland, but mostly into the West Coast of Britain, were people from Brittany and Amorica, not too long ago, relatively speaking. These people were similar to me, mainly dark-haired Southern Europeans. They were an admixture of 'indigenous people', like the Basque and Etruscans and many others, and migrating Celts, probably more from the areas of Greece and Turkey, than from the Scythian/Sarmatian steppes.
Then there were other waves, from the Nordic Vikings, who also settled in Normandy and later, intermingled with the natives there, becaming the Normans who who invaded England, Scotland and Ireland. And, of course, there were the Anglos and Saxons, who were highly Germanic. We don't think of them getting into Ireland, but lots of them did.
So, the main thing is that being 100% Irish only means one's recent ancestors are from that place, but also that one may contain genes from any or all of the people discussed here. Middle Eastern, Turkish, Germanic, Iberian, French, Norse, Roman, and so on. Actually, not many Romans, other than Catholic Priests, made much of showing in Ireland. This fact, and the limitation of other immigrants, allowed Ireland to preserve much of its archaic Celtic or Gaelic languages, and deities, which don't just bear some resemblance those in Sanskrit, but to those of the Algonquins, which is something that has yet to be explored further, along with why there are Jewish genes in the Cherokee, and so on. Additionally, Ireland held on to a music that was somewhat mideaval, protected by its insularity, and that developed into the Irish jigs and reels we love today, whereas in Europe, it got slowed down into chants and boring, homogenised classical music. But you can still see the similarities if you look.
A popular myth about the origins of the Black Irish, by the way, was that the Spanish Armada crashed on Irish shores, and out went all the little dark Spaniards to build a new race, mostly in the north of Ireland. But that idea is just blarney. It is an idea that may be reflective of the good possibility that the Black Irish might have come from Iberia, (and then from France).
The nicely tanning skin is undeniable. However, some place names in Ireland suggest there were darker people there many thousands of years ago - like 6,000. The original, non-Celtic hunters and gatherers must have been not long removed from Africa, as the ice age glaciers and snow retreated. Same for the rest of the British isles.
So, what am I? I am all of these things. However, I do descend from the original Niall of the Nine Hostages, who was a prominent king, largely of the north, on my father's side. (London)Derry was the main haunt of our ilk, but our clan held the most northern part of Ireland, which, mind you, is not in Ulster. At some point this, and other northern parts of Ireland, allied with tribes in Western Scotland, which included Iona and the Isle of Lewis and Harris. Together, they called this kingdom Dal-Riada. It existed briefly in the early centuries of the first millennium. But it contained people of a similar sort, though their languages may have been diverging. They were all basically the original Scots-Irish, the Dal-Riadans.
Whereas my father's side of the family was a permanent farming family in the north of Ireland, my mother's maiden-name family had a history of hopping back and forth between Northern Ireland and Scotland. But the name seems to have originated in said Isle of Lewis and Harris, once of Dal-Riada. So, I am a Dal-Riadan, and I have 101 spots. My mother grew up in an Irish Ghetto of Glasgow/Dumbarton, where she met my travelling-pants father.
Even though my mother and father are so genetically similar, I saw differences in them. My father showed a more patriarchal, agrarian nature, and my mother showed remnants of a finer, by-gone linen aristocracy, gone to coarseness through urbanisation. Glasgow is known to have been a rough city. Much as my green Italian sister-in-law wishes to scoff at.
So, I am Black-Irish, Dal-Riadan, Scots-Irish, all are pretty much the same thing. My home and place of birth is Australia. I grew up in the USA, after having been kidnapped by those very same Black Irish scoundrels discussed above. The Irish were second-rate people according to the English, and many Americans. I was thence born into a land of former criminals, and cultured in a land of future criminals holding the largest amount of prisoners in the world. I can't make any sense of any of it. Although, the one beautiful thing behind all of my lives and my ancestry has been NATURE.
I am presently boiling up some cabbage, btw. Does that make me a bad person? If it makes you feel any better, as a black guy on "Modern Family" said, "I haven't eaten a potato in four years!"
Am I a Neandertal? Don't we all just wake up so many times and ask ourselves this very question? I definitely have Neandertal genes, as do most of you. (Which might even help explain my CFS. Might). I don't have the red-hair/pale-skin/etc. gene, which could have been Neandertal. But I think I inheritted the nose. To some extent. Many Jews seem to have inheritted it. Many in a certain area of Spain, possibly related to Steve Carrel, have inheritted a long pointy version. They might have come from Neandertal, or else emerged later in Sapiens.
In any case, the big nose was thought to be meant for warming the sinuses in cold climates. It went along with the blue or green eyes, the white skin, the red hair, the over-hanging brow-ridges - all a climate survival package. But, lately, it has been argued that the big nose, and brow-ridge, developed in order to protect the male face from being punched by other dastardly males of the species. How about that one? In which case it would certainly comport to the Irish.
Me da, descended from the High Niall, had a nose resembling that of a younger Ed O'Neill. And maybe Patrick Stewart. And definitely Liam Neeson - an Irish man who's name, idk, might have derived from, "Niall's-Son," (in which case the Norse were somehow involved). They also have an archaic face that you can find buried in the peat bogs of Britain. Or check out the Ice Man.
Anyway, I got more of a straight nose, more from my mother's father, but it is not small, compared to most watered-down Americans. SOME people still value the sense of smell, let me just say. My eyes are Brown but with a hint of my mother's bright green eyes. I didn't inherit my father's receding forehead until the last few months, after quitting the drug, Finasteride. By coincidence, Finasteride is made from leprechaun guano.
Compared to the rest of the USA, my height is below the male average. But it is right at the male average for the world. I see it as an evolutionary advantage allowing people to get more value out of their SNAP benefits. Early Homo Sapiens in Europe were smallish. The Neandertals were comparative giants, and surely inspired legends, all the way down to Goliath. Still, northern people tend to be larger, as do animals, so as to conserve heat, and beat up southern pipsqueaks.
Another source for the myths was when ancient miners dug up the bones of mammoths. The ivory had been taken, and the skeletons resembled those of giant humans. Today, Americans, black and white, are the world's giants, due to their hyper-nutritious or caloric diets. Due to all the food preservatives, Americans also take longer to decompose, which I suppose is convenient.
This post was about WHAT AM I? But I spoke so much about Neandertals and red hair, I am adding it to those series, which you can link to via the tags. More tags later.
My final comment is this: despite, or because of, all the millennia of Irish and human evolution, and my family's genes being so relatively homogeneous, there is no getting on between us, and this says to me that we are all basically a petty, unsettled and doomed species. Good night.
Also see these earlier GO WEST posts!