Rise and fall of empires: genetic version?

Based on:

  • https://gnxp.nofe.me/2017/05/30/ancient-egyptians-black-or-white/
  • https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms15694


Egypt, located on the isthmus of Africa, is an ideal region to study historical population dynamics due to its geographic location and documented interactions with ancient civilizations in Africa, Asia and Europe. Particularly, in the first millennium BCE Egypt endured foreign domination leading to growing numbers of foreigners living within its borders possibly contributing genetically to the local population. Here we present 90 mitochondrial genomes as well as genome-wide data sets from three individuals obtained from Egyptian mummies. The samples recovered from Middle Egypt span around 1,300 years of ancient Egyptian history from the New Kingdom to the Roman Period. Our analyses reveal that ancient Egyptians shared more ancestry with Near Easterners than present-day Egyptians, who received additional sub-Saharan admixture in more recent times. This analysis establishes ancient Egyptian mummies as a genetic source to study ancient human history and offers the perspective of deciphering Egypt’s past at a genome-wide level.

Here’s the White Nationalist reading of the paper with historical speculation:

  • Sometimes groups of people manage to evolve higher intelligence and other desirable traits (DTs), usually thru climate-related selection (cold winters hypothesis).
  • At some point, they reach sufficient numbers and genetic levels of the DTs to establish themselves as an ethno-nation-like political entity.
  • Due to their genetic advantages for the DTs, they are able to outcompete other groups in between group competition such as wars and other less violent conflicts.
  • However, over time, the political units made by the peoples tend to decline due to DT dysgenics and outbreeding with/immigration from other groups with lower genetic DT levels.
  • Eventually, the political units collapse due to the lowered DT and the problems this entails.
  • (start over)

For a more sophisticated model, read Hart’s Understanding Human History. The model has some plausibility, but it’s obviously very speculative. So, usually discussion of (instances of) it involved endless plausibility arguments. However, I’m very pleased with the progress in the hybrid fields of history and genomics, and look forward to adding differential psychology to the mix, á like Woodley et al’s study on ancient genomes. Unless we have insurmountable problems with problems like LD decay, then we should be able to dig up enough bones etc. to get a decent sample of the population-wide genome of peoples thruout history. Combined with polygenic scores based on causal variants, this will enable us to track the genotypical trait levels over time. Do they fall when empires decrease in power? Increase up to the establishment of an empire and during its expansion? Note that the first studies will be done using just admixture, and assumptions based on the traits of the admixed groups. Questionable, but useful starting point. The above is a case in point re. SSA admixture, presumably lower in genetic DT levels.

Note that while WNs like this model for themselves (White nations get weaker due to non-White immigration and internal dysgenics), it’s actually a more general model and would apply equally well to e.g. the Persian empire.

Some limitations of the study:

  • n=3 for autosome data (i.e. non-sex chromosomes) analysis. This matters because the MT and Y chromosomes are susceptible to sex-related bias. Case in point, it’s well known that many admixture events have wrong female underling, male overling patterns, as clearly seen in the Americas, but also e.g. Iceland.
  • Most data is for MT because it’s easier to genotype. Given the underling status of SSAs relative to Egyptians, using MT DNA will overestimate the SSA ancestry fraction.