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View Full Version : The Bell Beaker phenotype and the flat occiput.....



Finn
05-22-2017, 07:08 PM
http://i64.tinypic.com/2r3hu03.png

The recent Bell Beaker (BB ) publication titled "The Beaker Phenomenon And The Genomic Transformation Of Northwest Europe" (http://biorxiv.org/content/early/2017/05/09/135962)has cause much rumor. Especially the fact that the scientist states that the BB replaced up to 90% of the Neolithic British population. There is a big relationship between the Dutch and BB (the Guardian in the overdrive: "Dutch hordes" (https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/may/20/dutch-invaders-stonehenge-ancient-britons)). And they were mostly rooted in the Steppe and not in Hibernia.

But how did those BB look like? The easiest answer is: divers. And they most probably were. But that's not the end of the story I guess.

I know physical anthropologist became non-existent. Most of their products were pseudo scientific and/or dead end street.

But recently I discovered in a symposium about the Bell Beakers in Oberried 1974 published in Lanting e.a Glochenbecher Symposium (Haarlem/Bussum 1976) a really interesting referral of the Swiss physical anthropologist Kurt Gerhardt.

About the phenotypes of the Bell Beaker he had some interesting observations, he underlines the diversity of the Bell Beaker phenotype and he denies phenotypes like DInarid or Borreby etc. in a convincing way.

But what astonished Gerhardt was that in Northern Europe before the Bell Beaker there are no findings of people with a flat back of their head, planocciput. During and after the BB there were a lot of findings, especially in the Rhenish and British BB were people had a flat occiput (in German: Planocciputale Steilkopf).

Gerhardt's theory is quite simple. He states that there were two basic European (hunter gatherer) phenotypes: crogmagnid and aurignacid (robust doliomorphic). During the BB periode both types evolved. This picture shows the different directions of the evolvements:

http://i64.tinypic.com/a5kh38.jpg

I don't sum up the all the evolvements. But for here, the most important one, is that Gerhardt states that the evolvement of the Aurignacid, in the third column, through a brachycephalic (shortening) and hypsimorphic (elongation) at once.

That's the one which is according to Gerhardt (based on finding onto the seventies) the most remarkable one along the BB.

A research (Pearson 2016 (http://dro.dur.ac.uk/17046/1/17046.pdf?DDD6+wmfr25+d700tmt)) published last year confirms Gerhardt's opinion:

"Statistical analyses of the Peak District sample confirm the existence of significant differences in cranial length measurements between Early Neolithic (c.3800–3400 cal BC) and Beaker/Bronze Age (c.2500–1500 cal BC) individuals, confirming the transition from dolichocephalic (long-headed) to brachycephalic (broad-headed) cranial forms. Certain individual skulls exhibited occipital flattening, a cranial modification probably caused by infants lying flat on their backs or being secured to a cradle-board. In contrast, two Neolithic- period skulls exhibit artificial cranial deformation resulting from infant head-binding to produce long skulls. This evidence for artificial skull deformation was recognized at the time of excavation (Bateman 1861; Wilson 1863: 273–4) but has been largely forgotten; it goes some way to resolving the long-term debate about the existence of racial types of brachycephalic Bell Beaker people and dolichocephalic Neolithic people across many parts of Europe (Abercromby 1912; Childe 1925: 90; Brothwell 1960; Brothwell & Krzanowski 1974; Gerhardt 1976; Brodie 1994) by introducing a cultural explanation for some of these differences in cranial shape."

Gerhardt supposed that the men with a flat occiput had some kind of "status aparte". Only due to infant cranial modification....or?

Jean M
05-22-2017, 09:48 PM
Gerhardt supposed that the men with a flat occiput had some kind of "status aparte". Only due to infant cranial modification....or?

I'm betting on cradle-boarding. The flat occiput appears in all the BB people derived from Bell Beaker East. Could be related to horse-riding? I just throw that out as a suggestion. Women needing both hands for the reins might prefer their baby to be tightly strapped on to them. Or is this a mad idea? See Navajo cradleboards: http://navajocodetalkers.org/navajo-cradleboard-story/

Finn
05-23-2017, 07:22 AM
I'm betting on cradle-boarding. The flat occiput appears in all the BB people derived from Bell Beaker East. Could be related to horse-riding? I just throw that out as a suggestion. Women needing both hands for the reins might prefer their baby to be tightly strapped on to them. Or is this a mad idea? See Navajo cradleboards: http://navajocodetalkers.org/navajo-cradleboard-story/

Could be the case.
But not all of them had a flat occiput. Was it selective? Why did they choose certain baby's and others not?
Could it also be a genetic thing? When people with a flat occiput had within the BB a "status aparte" could this endorse some kind of natural selection?
It don't want to personalize this whole thing but my head shape and that of one of my sons is clearly "flat occiput", but not as a result of some kind of practices.

Finn
05-27-2017, 07:32 AM
Prof Louwe Kooijmans about the BB chance in phenotype:
https://books.google.nl/books?id=6PwUAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA319&lpg=PA319&dq=flat+occiput+bell+beaker&source=bl&ots=bQRNEKoU-v&sig=Dxwds5HA4lU-FrGYJ0iHhlZ_PAA&hl=nl&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj3i7-jxY_UAhVBbFAKHSgjCwoQ6AEISzAI#v=onepage&q=flat%20occiput%20bell%20beaker&f=false

Hando
05-28-2017, 04:55 AM
Could be the case.
But not all of them had a flat occiput. Was it selective? Why did they choose certain baby's and others not?
Could it also be a genetic thing? When people with a flat occiput had within the BB a "status aparte" could this endorse some kind of natural selection?
It don't want to personalize this whole thing but my head shape and that of one of my sons is clearly "flat occiput", but not as a result of some kind of practices.
I have a lot of Dutch and Northern German/Scandinavian friends. I remember an Irish girl saying that the Irish refer to Nordic type people as "blockheads." I don't mean this as a derogatory statement. I'm just curious if such squarish skull types indeed fit in with what you said about you and your son? I remember watching a documentary where a Bavarian said that in Germany they call northern Germans square heads.

Finn
05-28-2017, 08:51 AM
I have a lot of Dutch and Northern German/Scandinavian friends. I remember an Irish girl saying that the Irish refer to Nordic type people as "blockheads." I don't mean this as a derogatory statement. I'm just curious if such squarish skull types indeed fit in with what you said about you and your son? I remember watching a documentary where a Bavarian said that in Germany they call northern Germans square heads.

;) I guess the Bavarians and the North Germans are always a bit rivalizing.....and that makes stereotypes. There are more than the Dolph Lundgren-type in the North ;)
Yes there are Lundgrens, or in Gerhardt terms, Brachymorphe Cromagnide kind of phenotype, and I guess on the average you can find (Gerhardt already stated that) them at most in the Balticum (high HG component), but als in other parts of NW Europe. IMO in NW Europe the phenotypes are divers, like they already were in BB times!

JohnHowellsTyrfro
05-28-2017, 12:34 PM
I have a lot of Dutch and Northern German/Scandinavian friends. I remember an Irish girl saying that the Irish refer to Nordic type people as "blockheads." I don't mean this as a derogatory statement. I'm just curious if such squarish skull types indeed fit in with what you said about you and your son? I remember watching a documentary where a Bavarian said that in Germany they call northern Germans square heads.

"Square head" was a derogatory British term for Germans, which I think goes back to WW1 or maybe WW2 , no offence intended. It's not used in recent times. "Blockhead" in British terminology generally means someone who is stupid ( wooden block I've always thought), not with any German connection that I know of. John

Finn
05-28-2017, 05:21 PM
I have a lot of Dutch and Northern German/Scandinavian friends. I remember an Irish girl saying that the Irish refer to Nordic type people as "blockheads." I don't mean this as a derogatory statement. I'm just curious if such squarish skull types indeed fit in with what you said about you and your son? I remember watching a documentary where a Bavarian said that in Germany they call northern Germans square heads.



"Square head" was a derogatory British term for Germans, which I think goes back to WW1 or maybe WW2 , no offence intended. It's not used in recent times. "Blockhead" in British terminology generally means someone who is stupid ( wooden block I've always thought), not with any German connection that I know of. John


C.S. Coon stated about the (British) Bell Beaker (1948) :"The Beaker skulls as a whole are large, long and high vaulted, whatever their shape" " in "GB 1/3 of the whole are plan occipital" "they approach metrically W÷rms" (Germany-Finn).

I could fit in the description of Gerhardt about the plan occiput Bell Beaker but as said I don't want to personalize this. I found a celebrity with great resemblances to this type (IMO): Ryan Gosling. He has a large head, high vault, wide forehead, prominent cheekbones and a pointed chin....and somewhat topped (maybe not as extreme as mine) of back of the head. If he likes it or not, but I guess he could be a kind of "Bell Beaker type" ;)

http://i67.tinypic.com/2s8pll0.jpg

http://i65.tinypic.com/2qimjdf.jpg

http://i64.tinypic.com/2u97k37.jpg

JohnHowellsTyrfro
05-28-2017, 08:20 PM
Two rugby players Rhys Webb and Mike Phillips who happened to play rugby for Wales in the same position, scrum half. Would they fit the pattern? Just as examples. John

16358 16359

lukaszM
05-28-2017, 11:45 PM
Could be the case.
But not all of them had a flat occiput. Was it selective? Why did they choose certain baby's and others not?
Could it also be a genetic thing? When people with a flat occiput had within the BB a "status aparte" could this endorse some kind of natural selection?
It don't want to personalize this whole thing but my head shape and that of one of my sons is clearly "flat occiput", but not as a result of some kind of practices.

First of all not all flat occiputs resulted from cradle-boarding. Such cradles aren't used since years in Europe but still we have people with flat occiputs.
Also we have long headed Europeans now and nobody use artifical lenghtnening of child heads in Europe.

My god it's pure bullshit that there weren't brachy and doli racial types in the past, because all were artificially deformed.

Such deforming existed but probably was limited to few people and only exageratted some genetic tendencies to given head form.

sktibo
05-29-2017, 02:25 AM
I'm not sure if it's the best example but based on my family I've always assumed head shape is semi random:
My mom and dad are both mesocephalic, my brother and I are both dolicephalic... Lots of our cousins are quite brachycephalic, most of our family is meso. Not sure how we ended up as doli but we are indeed related.
I assume Bell Beakers were largely brachycephalic due to the practice of cradle boarding unless I'm misunderstanding this, I assume any population has variation to some degree.

Finn
05-29-2017, 07:07 AM
Two rugby players Rhys Webb and Mike Phillips who happened to play rugby for Wales in the same position, scrum half. Would they fit the pattern? Just as examples. John

16358 16359

Looks like....But hard to judge John.

Finn
05-29-2017, 07:24 AM
I'm not sure if it's the best example but based on my family I've always assumed head shape is semi random:
My mom and dad are both mesocephalic, my brother and I are both dolicephalic... Lots of our cousins are quite brachycephalic, most of our family is meso. Not sure how we ended up as doli but we are indeed related.
I assume Bell Beakers were largely brachycephalic due to the practice of cradle boarding unless I'm misunderstanding this, I assume any population has variation to some degree.

Agree with semi random. More doubts with the laid up on practices, I will go with the posting from LukasM.
Gerhardt pointed also at the Baden Culture, (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baden_culture) the planocciptal configured there. The spread of the Bell Beakers to NW Europe also started from this area!

lukaszM
05-29-2017, 09:57 AM
Agree with semi random. More doubts with the laid up on practices, I will go with the posting from LukasM.
Gerhardt pointed also at the Baden Culture, (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baden_culture) the planocciptal configured there. The spread of the Bell Beakers to NW Europe also started from this area!

Probably in NW-Europe people with flat occiputs are rare, but here in Poland I see such in every bigger crowd (of course still there are minority). There aren't always specifially Dinaroid, but usually looks like typical Poles, just with flat head's back. I'm sure they weren't articficially deformed...

lukaszM
05-29-2017, 10:03 AM
Similar to this one for example. For me one of the typical Polish looks.

https://antropologia-fizyczna.pl/images/typologia/michalski/11-al.jpg

Finn
05-29-2017, 11:25 AM
Similar to this one for example. For me one of the typical Polish looks.

https://antropologia-fizyczna.pl/images/typologia/michalski/11-al.jpg

Hey a fare nephew! ;)

Just tried to catch some background information, some context.

In some way we can easy access a kind of mine field of "racial stereotyping".

In the midst of WW I the anthropologist Sir Arthur Keith made the frame that the "flat occiput" was "typically German". He quoted Vesalius "the father of anatomy" who already stated that in the sixteenth century. And of course by that "the vast majority of modern German people differed from the British, Dutch, Danes and Scandinavian in headform." "The German headform is not nearly as pronounced ast that of the Northwest European just mentioned". "The flat occiput has never shown any aptitude for the sea".*

And of course the explanation is that the Anglo Saxon dolios went to the Isles and were replaced "the great area now covered by the German Empire had been invaded form the east-from regions now occupied by Russians, Poles and Czechs- by swarms of people with flat occiputs and round heads".

All pretty quatsch as the Germans would say. As you have shown by the K36 admixtures the cultural and genetic interaction between Central /Eastern Europe and NW Europe in prehistoric times was very big Corded Ware, Bell Beakers, Unetice, Urnfield, Tumulus, the Celts (Hallstatt/La Tene) etc etc.

In my case the genotype can hardly be separated from the Danes etc. When there is some kind of relationship between the genotype and phenotype I could according to Sir Artur Keith, coming form the sea shores, not have had a flat occiput! ;)

Isn't it plausible that the "flat occiput" was a part of the Bell Beaker phenotype who brought is from Central-East Europe to the North West, in the Rhine Delta the Bell Beaker mixed with the heirs of Ertebōlle/Funnelbeaker/Cordedware. In terms of Gerhardt there they mixed with the Aurignaciden, the robust dollios of the Schnurkeramik (=Corded Ware) and the Cromagniden (from Erteb°lle/Funnelbeaker) So it mixed, muted, developed etc. there and from there spread also to the Isles?

Since than the planocciputal is part of the "genetic matryoshka" of NW Europe, that can semi random pop up in, not only in Central Europe, but also the NW European populations.....

*from: Raymond F. McNair, Key to Northwest European origins (2012)

lukaszM
05-29-2017, 12:03 PM
Interesting, thanks!

Mis
05-29-2017, 02:23 PM
http://www.forumbiodiversity.com/showthread.php/40526-Nordic-head-shape-blunder

Finn
05-29-2017, 08:21 PM
Interesting, thanks!
welcome, besides to deliver some quotes that book (Raymond F. McNair, Key to Northwest European origins (2012)) is kind of weird though ;)