[ExI] The Great Culling
avant at sollegro.com
Mon Jun 14 11:11:16 UTC 2021
Quoting Rafal Smigrodzki:
> ### A couple of years ago I hypothesized on this list that the Yamnaya
> culture triggered a phase transition starting about 10k years ago, by first
> developing superior war technologies that allowed long-range warfare, which
> gave the Yamnaya males the ability to slaughter other males and take their
> women. Since increased geographical distance between the winner males and
> the captive females optimized their mating distance, the resulting
> offspring were phenotypically superior to parental populations, allowing
> them to further expand by slaughtering ever more men and taking ever more
> genetically distant females, eventually leading to their overrunning almost
> all of Europe, Middle East, and India. Similar but smaller expansion/phase
> transition waves occurred also in other parts of Asia. The present article
> does not show anything dramatically new but it does provide a comprehensive
> view of this transition across the world.
So I was digging around in the article's supplemental data and their
best graph is on page 5 here:
I took that graph and added data points consisting the earliest known
domestication of various species color coded to match the culture they
first arose in and attached it to this email.
It turns out you were exactly right for Central Asia. The moment
they domesticated horses, the diversity of Y-chromosomes crashed. Your
explanation of the superiority of mounted archery makes a lot of sense
here and Yamnaya culture did originate on the central steppes of Asia.
> Interestingly Africa was least affected by the transition. No horses, no
> big wars?
Horses were domesticated about 5500 years ago in central Asia which
did correspond to the culling of Central Asia (cyan) and although for
some reason the culling began in Europe about 1000 years earlier in
Europe (yellow). Why? It could be because the only animal domesticated
at the time by Europeans were bees. So they had to have domestic
animals culturally imported so to speak. Perhaps in a situation
similar to that of Africa.
The less affectedness of Africa might be indicative that nothing was
apparently domesticated there so it had to wait for all the livestock
to be imported. Therefore there seems to multiple rounds of less
severe culling presumably as domesticated animals were imported from
> So no, I don't think this was an alien breeding plan but rather some
> enterprising nomads figuring out how to fight from horseback in formation
> using bow and arrows in superior numbers to attack the men of small
> isolated tribes without taking many losses so as to keep going at it for
> thousands of years, until they ran out of less organized men to kill. In
> other words, this Great Culling of Men was due to the invention of
> organized war run by professional warriors.
Ok, so for Central Asia, a case can clearly be made for military
superiority afforded by horse-mounted warriors causing the culling of
less organized males. But that does not explain how the domestication
of cattle by the Near Easterners and Southern Asians, precipitated the
culling of those cultures as shown on the attached figure.
In fact, all but three of the geographic region/culture on the graph
experienced the Culling almost immediately after domesticating a
specific animal. The East and South East Asians were culled right
after they domesticated chickens and pigs. The Andean people in South
America experienced the Culling right after they domesticated the
llama and the alpaca. Chickens, pigs, and llamas have no obvious use
in warfare, yet nonetheless presaged the Culling in their respective
At this point, I am thinking along the line of zoonotic viruses doing
the actual Culling. It would not spread person to person and only
affect the people directly handling the animals who were probably all
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