[ExI] Strange mystery explained

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Mon Jun 4 20:12:08 UTC 2018

A few years ago there was considerable news about genetic studies that
at first looked like 17 women were reproducing to every man who did
so.  There was a lot of discussion but no consensus emerged.

Now a couple of students at Stanford have published a potential
solution.  How they reached this solution is fascinating in itself.
However, to cut to the chase, it looks like patrilineal early farming
groups were killing off each other's males.  This considerably
diminished the variations of Y chromosomes since when one group got
the upper hand, it was common for the winners to kill the losers to
the last man (and boy) and take the young women as booty.  It seems
this process started when the Neolithic agricultural revolution began
and ended when violence between patrilineal clans was suppressed by
Chieftains or a State.


It's not an easy article to read, but worth it.  It's a case where a
social/cultural invention (agriculture) eventually resulted in a huge
genetic change. I wonder if there is a signal in that data of how
often war between the tribes broke out?  This would give us an idea of
how fast the population reproduced in the early days of agriculture.

The quote from Numbers seems to be backed up by genetics.



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