Ancient Egyptian population biology

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Mark of Kri, May 2, 2016.

  1. Mark of Kri Registered Member

    There's not yet been any conclusive DNA sampling from ancient Egyptian remains. However I found the following study on blood typing:

    - Paoli G. (1972). "Further biochemical and immunological investigations on early Egyptian remains". Journal of Human Evolution. 1: 457-466.
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  3. Mark of Kri Registered Member

    Craniofacial measurements can be used to determine the biological distance/genetic relatedness between human breeding populations.

    In 2014, the anthropologist Alexandra Klales took measurements from 25 ancient Egyptian crania from Akhmim, Upper Egypt. One of these skulls (AMSC 29) dates to the First Intermediate Period (c. 2181 - c. 2055 BCE), three (AMSC 6, 9, 30) date to the Third Intermediate Period (c. 1069 - c. 664 BCE), four date to the Late Period c. 664 - c. 332 BCE (AMSC 8, 19, 20, 23) and seventeen to the Ptolemaic Period c. 332 - c. 30 BCE (AMSC 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 25, 27).

    Here are the results when compared to the 28 world-wide populations from Howell's Craniometric Data Bank:

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    As Klales points out although 17/25 crania date to the Greek (Ptolemaic) rule of Egypt when there was movement of peoples there from Greece which might be thought to be poorly representative of the native Egyptian population, Akhmim "effectively resisted Ptolemaic rule for a time and remained 'native Egyptian' (Chan et al. 2008:2024). Therefore, it can be assumed that the population of Akhmim from the Ptolemaic period would have remained more biologically stable, despite in-migrations, than other areas of Egypt at this time and comparisons can be drawn to investigate population continuity and change in the entirety of Egypt."

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  5. Mark of Kri Registered Member

    When I get the time, I'll post about the results in more detail and my interpretation. They're pretty interesting.
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  7. Mark of Kri Registered Member

  8. Mark of Kri Registered Member


    AMSC 1 = Zalavar (ZAL)
    AMSC 2 = Egypt (EGY)
    AMSC 3 = North Japan (NJA)
    AMSC 4 = Egypt (EGY)
    AMSC 5 = Guam (GUA)
    AMSC 6 = Dogon (DOG)
    AMSC 7 = South Japan (SJA)
    AMSC 8 = Egypt (EGY)
    AMSC 9 = Zulu (ZUL)
    AMSC 10 = Ainu (AIN)
    ASMC 11 = Egypt (EGY)
    AMSC 12 = Egypt (EGY)
    AMSC 13 = Egypt (EGY)
    AMSC 14 = Ainu (AIN)
    AMSC 15 = North Japan (NJA)
    AMSC 16 = Ainu (AIN)
    AMSC 17 = Ainu (AIN)
    AMSC 18 = Moriori (MOR)
    AMSC 19 = Zulu (ZUL)
    AMSC 20 = Ainu (AIN)
    AMSC 23 = Egypt (EGY)
    AMSC 25 = Ainu (AIN)
    AMSC 27 = Eskimo (ESK)
    AMSC 29 = Moriori (MOR)
    AMSC 30 = Mokapu (MOK)
  9. Mark of Kri Registered Member

    "A high degree of heterogeneity in this sample is suggested by the fact that 25 individuals classified into 11 different populations... most of the individuals in the sample (n=18) were classified into a group outside of Egypt. The low typicalities for virtually of all these individuals, suggest that although they were forcibly classified into a particular group, they are highly atypical and non-representative of that particular group into which they were grouped. Overall, these results suggest a high degree of variation in the sample, as well as, a complex population history, likely with influences from many regions... The Akhmim sample proved to be incredibly diverse with individuals classifying into many widespread populations." (Klales, 2014)

    Although despite this heterogeneity, as Klases points out "the population with the highest individual membership (n=7) was the Egyptian sample."
  10. Mark of Kri Registered Member

    Note that only 3/25 (12%) of the Akhmim skulls group with populations (as craniometric means) from Sub-Saharan Africa: AMSC 6 = Dogon, AMSC 9 = Zulu (ZUL), AMSC 19 = Zulu (ZUL). In my view this study debunks Afrocentric claims (e.g. Diop) the ancient Egyptians had close biological affinities to Sub-Saharan African populations.
  11. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    During the long period when the Egyptian rulers were building the pyramids (each one an astoundingly enormous project) there was a tremendous need for laborers to perform the work. People came from everywhere to take these jobs and be paid for them.

    The Biblical story of the Jews being slaves in Egypt is simply not true. They came looking for honest work like everyone else; they even brought their families and the women and children were able to prepare meals and perform myriad other chores that did not require great strength. Because the Jews were virtually the only immigrants who could read and write (they have always placed tremendous importance on literacy: you can't get a bar mitzvah without proving that you can read a section in the Torah chosen at random by the rabbi), they were disproportionately elevated into positions of leadership.

    There was no "exile" in Egypt, no "slavery." When their work was done they gathered up their families and went back to Israel, considerably wealthier than when they left. The fanciful story in Genesis was written by someone who didn't like Egyptians--perhaps because their civilization was larger, more advanced, more powerful and more prosperous than Israel.

    From what I've read, it seems that the first time the Jews were enslaved was the Babylonian captivity around 400BCE--roughly 1,500 years later than the alleged slavery in Egypt. By this time, Iron Age civilization was well-developed in the large region comprised of Mesopotamia, northeastern Africa and much of Europe, not to mention China and India; while Bronze Age civilizations were in full flower in Japan and Central America.
  12. Mark of Kri Registered Member

    Craniometric variation in Ancient Egypt and influences from the East
    The 84th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2015)

  13. Mark of Kri Registered Member

    The 85th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2016)

    Population Dynamics of Ancient Egypt and the Neighboring World: A Craniometric Analysis
    Department of Applied Forensic Sciences, Mercyhurst University

    The Ancient Egyptians are often viewed as one distinct historical group; in reality, the population history of Ancient Egypt is very dynamic, with population movement both within Egypt and between Egypt and the Mediterranean world. Morphological features of skeletal remains can be used to examine biological relationships and/or gene flow that may not be discussed in the historical record.
    In order to understand the dynamics of the populations of Predynastic and Dynastic Egypt as well as their relationship to populations from Nubia, the Levant, and Greece, a multivariate craniometric analysis was performed using samples from these regions. Archival data of cranial measurements were gathered from several sources. Cluster analysis from Mahalanobis D2 matrices obtained from Canonical Variates Analysis and Principal Components Analysis were used to explore group affinities. Population continuity was found between the Predynastic and Dynastic Periods, as well as throughout the Dynastic Period, though there were statistically significant differences between Egyptian sub-groups. The relationships between the Egyptian populations reflected distinct patterns based on region, time period, and socio-economic status. Strong relationships were also found between populations from Egypt and populations from Nubia, Palestine, and Greece, suggesting there was migration and gene flow between the four regions.

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