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[P]
Genghis Khan: most prolific man in history?

By Thorgeir Blund in Science
Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 01:09:15 AM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)
Science

A recent study suggests Genghis Khan's direct patrilineal descendants today constitute ~8% of men in a large area of Asia (~0.5% of the world population).

With 16 million living men carrying his Y-chromosome, Genghis Khan had about 800,000 times the reproductive success of the average man of his age. What was his secret?


The key seems to have been Genghis Khan's unique value system:

"The greatest joy a man can know is to conquer his enemies and drive them before him. To ride their horses and take away their possessions. To see the faces of those who were dear to them bedewed with tears, and to clasp their wives and daughters in his arms"

Preferring rape and conquest to hunting and falconry, coupled with building an empire and "a social legacy that benefited his sons' sons unto the seventh generation and even beyond", meant that Genghis' progeny multiplied explosively, and his apparent Y-chromosome lineage today features prominently in the population genetics of Asia.

In "The Genetic Legacy of the Mongols" (Abstract|PDF), to be featured in the March 2003 issue of The American Journal of Human Genetics but which has already been published electronically, the authors report their discovery of the aforementioned Y-chromosome lineage, which due to it's age (~1,000 years), place of origin (Mongolia), and rapid spread, must in all probablity be associated with Genghis Khan or one of his immediate forebears.

Though absolute proof that the lineage in question is Genghis Khan's awaits the recovery of his remains and successful sequencing of his DNA, the only other possible explanation is that Genghis Khan did not spread his genes while some unknown man living in the same place and time did. This is unlikely, to say the least, since the enormous reproductive success of Genghis Khan's descendants is well attested in the historical record.

In fact, as we learn in Steve Sailer's UPI write-up of the study ("Genes of history's greatest lover found?"):

Incredibly, as late as the early 20th century, three-quarters of a millennium after Genghis Khan's birth, the aristocracy of Mongolia, which was 6 percent of the population, consisted of his patrilineal descendants.

Sailer does note that "population genetics is still a growing field", leaving open the possibility that a challenger will emerge to Genghis Khan's status as "the most successful patriarch of all time". Gregory M. Cochran, interviewed by Sailer, implies that Mohamed is among the very few historical figures who could potentially equal or exceed Genghis Khan in number of patrilineal descendants.

Another interesting aspect of the study is its apparent confirmation of the origin story of the Hazara, a tribe from Afghanistan believed to be descended from a Mongol army. While some have claimed there is insufficient evidence to support the Mongol origin of the Hazaras, the recent study all but proves the theory correct, with more than a quarter of Hazara males carrying the probable Genghis Khan Y-chromosome.

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Favorite would-be world conqueror?
o Genghis Khan 25%
o Alexander the Great 56%
o Napoleon 18%

Votes: 150
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o value system
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o Abstract
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o Genes of history's greatest lover found?
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o Mohamed
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o Also by Thorgeir Blund


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Genghis Khan: most prolific man in history? | 139 comments (136 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
Inbreeding? (1.83 / 6) (#3)
by twistedfirestarter on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 10:43:26 PM EST

Wouldn't this be a problem?

Only if it's Alabama (n/t) (2.16 / 6) (#4)
by dj28 on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 10:50:49 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Maybe... (4.00 / 2) (#5)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 10:54:23 PM EST

But assuming that an incest taboo was in place during the time of the Mongol hordes, everyone was probably able to remember that Genghis Khan was Granddaddy or Great-grandpa for a few generations, until it didn't matter anymore.

Wow. I was just thinking about this and there are EXTREMELY offensive jokes that can be made off this parent post. Let's see who is the first to get one...

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

Re: Inbreeding (4.66 / 6) (#6)
by Thorgeir Blund on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 11:00:11 PM EST

The paper does point out:
A founder effect of this magnitude will have influenced allele frequencies elsewhere in the genome: mitochondrial DNA lineages will not be affected, since males do not transmit their mitochondrial DNA, but, in the simplest models, the founder male will have been the ancestor of each autosomal sequence in ~4% of the population and X-chromosomal sequence in ~2.7%, with implications for the medical genetics of the region. Large-scale changes to patterns of human genetic variation can occur very quickly. Although local influences of this kind may have been common in human populations, it is, perhaps, fortunate that events of this magnitude have been rare.
Gregory Cochran speculates:
"The really interesting find, however, would be Genghis Khan's DNA," Cochran continued. He suggested that among Inner Mongolians and the Hazaras, on whom Genghis Khan left such a genetic imprint that his Y-chromosome is found in at least a quarter of the men, there must have been a lot of inbreeding among his descendants. Yet, judging from their Darwinian success at surviving and reproducing in large numbers, that might imply that Genghis Khan had very few bad recessive genes of the kind that often damage the health of the offspring of close relations."


[ Parent ]
It's in fact simple mathematics. . . (4.75 / 4) (#7)
by IHCOYC on Sat Feb 08, 2003 at 11:39:16 PM EST

There were billions of people who lived in the past who had no Darwinian reproductive success: they left no descendants who are living today. Rejoice, because none of these dead branches on the tree of life are among your ancestors, more or less by definition.

On the other hand, every time you go back a generation, the number of your ancestors doubles. You need two parents, four grandparents, eight great-grandparents, and so on into myriads.

Therefore, each generation you go back casts a wider net of people who must surely be your ancestors. But failure to breed successfully removes many candidates each generation. Moving back on the family tree means that you compass a larger and larger percentage of a smaller and smaller group of candidates.

So it isn't a surprise that Genghis Khan, who surely had greater reproductive success than most, appears in dozens of family trees; but it really isn't that significant. The same logic shows that "Mitochondrial Eve," the woman who lived some 800,000 years ago, and who is in everybody's family tree, is both certainly true and certainly trivial.
--
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spelæis stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit Grignr.
--- Livy
[ Parent ]

40 generations (3.50 / 2) (#9)
by slothman on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 12:06:20 AM EST

Since each generations earlier has twice the number of people 40 generations would be 1 trillion people. But if each generation is 50 years (much larger I know) that's only 2000 years ago. That means in 0 AD everyone alive must be my ancestor. Of course we know that Adam is everyone's ancestor so I must be right. :)

[ Parent ]
more complex (4.00 / 1) (#17)
by adiffer on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 02:29:45 AM EST

The tree branching doesn't work past a few generations (20 to 30 years at most).  The problem is that there is a good chance the branches will come back together somewhere back there when distant ancestors find each other and have more kids.  It's a form of inbreeding that goes on in populations that aren't real tiny.
--BE The Alien!
[ Parent ]
Baldy (2.57 / 7) (#8)
by medham on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 12:00:11 AM EST

Give up the multiple accounts. It's making us weep.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.

Nope. Try again. (5.00 / 1) (#12)
by Thorgeir Blund on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 01:10:46 AM EST

You're that effete Marxist street person, correct?

[ Parent ]
Sometimes (none / 0) (#24)
by qpt on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 06:40:16 AM EST

One simply is not enough.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

bc is the author of this article (3.00 / 2) (#63)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 03:52:13 PM EST

That might be who you were refering to, though. I don't know.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]
rape is not success (3.55 / 9) (#10)
by turmeric on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 12:33:52 AM EST

physical offspring? maybe. spiritually, though, most people hate him.

Define success (3.00 / 5) (#11)
by godix on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 12:57:12 AM EST

From the point of view of survival of a particular gene set then yes, rape is success. It only becomes failure when you add in other viewpoints, like morality; which is something this study did not do. This is the biggest reason why anyone who views life from a pure gene point of view comes up with some really weird ideas. Definately something to think about next time you think about the subject of evolution isn't it?


You son of a bitch!
- RyoCokey Parent ]
Genetic superiority is simply a matter (5.00 / 4) (#16)
by ZanThrax on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 02:09:24 AM EST

of successful propagation of the individual genetic code. Mass rape of conquered females and mass murder of conquered males does wonders for increasing the propagation of one's own genetic code, especially as compared to the propagation rate of the other males.

Destructive, evil, vile behaviour, focused on an enemy, is a a pretty good evolutionary strategy, right up until you run out of enemies.

Which is why I expect first contact to be similar to Independence Day; all the new agers standing around, eager to make nice with the species that has the ambition and drive to make it all the way here getting vaporized when they do unto us before we do unto them.

We're a generation of adrenaline junkie twitch freaks with the attention span of gnats; to be considered fast paced, entertainment needs to approach sensory
[ Parent ]

Actually... (4.66 / 3) (#26)
by skyknight on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 08:40:29 AM EST

If and when there is first contact, it won't be anything like you think. In fact, it's entirely possible that there has already been first contact, and that nobody knew anything about it, nor ever will. Considering that we ourselves are on the brink of nanotechnology, just think how advanced an alien civilization would be technologically once they got to the point where they could do effective intergalactic travel.

The simple matter of fact is that the whole premise behind Star Trek, namely huge biological entities going across galaxies in mammoth spaceships, is a little ridiculous. What is a more realistic expectation is super-miniaturized, unmanned craft coming to earth, and being so small as not to be noticed. They would have sensor technology of which we have not yet dreamed, and dense, ultra-powerful computers on board. Far more likely than people being abducted by aliens, is that people have accidentally inhaled entire spaceships.

Another thing to note is that since they will already have such advanced technology, they will probably already have such a land of milk and honey that a distant earth would be of little use. They would probably find us an interesting oddity in the universe, and just watch us, like fish in a bowl.

If you think this is nonsense, just read some Ray Kurzweil.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Berserkers then (5.00 / 1) (#42)
by ZanThrax on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 11:56:54 AM EST

Assuming extra-solar life exists (and I'm of the opinion that that's a pretty minimal assumption), then there's likely more than one sentient species out there. At least one of them's going to be more paranoid and violent than us. Even if they somehow don't need to constantly expand to stop from collapsing, they'll be worried about someone else expanding right through them. Berserker weapons that destroy the neighbors might be an effective way to prevent anyone from getting anywhere near them. (Incidentally, I don't think we're anywhere near effective nano)

We're a generation of adrenaline junkie twitch freaks with the attention span of gnats; to be considered fast paced, entertainment needs to approach sensory
[ Parent ]

I'm not sure about that... (4.00 / 1) (#53)
by skyknight on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 01:17:50 PM EST

Assuming extra-solar life exists (and I'm of the opinion that that's a pretty minimal assumption), then there's likely more than one sentient species out there.

Actually, the number of variables that have to line up to make life possible are obscenely numerous and have narrow tolerances. Distance from a star, orbit path, mass, rotation, axial tilt, and chemical composition are just a few. Earth was incredibly lucky, and while it may not be the only planet to harbor life, it's not inconceivable that it is. Also, just because life manages to eek its way out in an environment, is by no means indicative that you'll get intelligent life. You might have a look at Rare Earth.

Also, this particular universe may be spectacularly lucky as compared to others, if you're into the multiverse theory. For another fun book, check out Just Six Numbers.



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Wait a minute (none / 0) (#74)
by kurtmweber on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 09:25:44 PM EST

You're assuming that all life forms will have both environmental tolerances similar to ours and a fundamental chemical makeup similar to ours.

Kurt Weber
Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
[ Parent ]
Yes, I am... (none / 0) (#75)
by skyknight on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 10:03:18 PM EST

It's not unreasonable to expect that all lifeforms appreciate things like having chemicals to build themselves, or environments that don't vaporize or solidify them. It's not so much a matter of our having narrow tolerances and arrogantly assuming that all life will have similar ones, but rather that very small changes in certain variables can have cataclysmic effects on environments. For example, the difference between, say, 1C and -1C, is quite dramatic in ways that a 2 degree difference doesn't convey by itself, yes? As another example, a planet might have just ever too little mass, and then be incapable of subduing gaseous molecules into staying as part of the atmosphere. In such an all or nothing proposition, small modulations of variables can make all the difference.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
In a way (none / 0) (#99)
by Happy Monkey on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 05:09:58 PM EST

For example, the difference between, say, 1C and -1C, is quite dramatic in ways that a 2 degree difference doesn't convey by itself, yes?

In a water-rich environment at one atmosphere of pressure, yes. But similar interesting dramatic differences occur at different pressures and temperatures for different molecules.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Reread what I said (none / 0) (#119)
by kurtmweber on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 04:20:51 PM EST

I don't disagree that most if not all life forms will have limited tolerances...I'm just objecting to your assumption that those tolerances must necessarily be similar to ours.

Kurt Weber
Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
[ Parent ]
We're pretty paranoid & violent... (none / 0) (#130)
by sean23007 on Fri Feb 14, 2003 at 11:22:20 AM EST

At least one of them's going to be more paranoid and violent than us.

Heh. Good luck.

Lack of eloquence does not denote lack of intelligence, though they often coincide.
[ Parent ]
You can't ignore the genetic level (none / 0) (#133)
by upper on Sat Feb 15, 2003 at 05:20:38 AM EST

I'd guess that very few people define success solely, or even primarily, in terms of the propagation of their genes. But it's still a valuable perspective to reason from. It explains alot, even if some of the conclusions are wierd.

I'm not sure, though, that choosing to rape is good for a man's genetic legacy. Children conceived by rape are less likely to thrive than others -- not so much today, but more in centuries past. They were likely to be outcasts, as were their mothers. They were likely to have only one parent, family and likely to have mothers with post traumatic stress disorder. And being a rapist tends to inspire sufficiently harsh treatment from other men to affect their survival (though this usually isn't a problem for either royalty or invading soldiers).

Incidently, there's a phenomenon to think about -- men tend to respond violently toward rapists, but tend to ostracise the victim. It doesn't make much sense if you try to understand it in moral terms. It makes perfect sense if you look at it in terms of gene propagation.

[ Parent ]

Success in purely evolutionary terms (4.75 / 4) (#13)
by Thorgeir Blund on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 01:11:27 AM EST

Divorced from moral considerations. Incidentally, Genghis Khan is not hated by quite everybody. He is a national hero in Mongolia, and presumably to the Hazara who claim descent from him.

[ Parent ]
disagree (1.50 / 2) (#28)
by turmeric on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 08:46:15 AM EST

see my other comment, the reproduction of the pattern of DNA vs the reproduction of the pattern of an idea, or a thought. the biology of the mind, the biology of the thought, thoughts and ideas and spirit are patterns in human minds, then clearly thoughts are biological and they spread, similarly to DNA , altho thru different means.

[ Parent ]
How does this contradict the parent? (5.00 / 1) (#77)
by BerntB on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 11:35:35 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Is rape (4.00 / 4) (#14)
by twistedfirestarter on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 01:33:57 AM EST

the reason for Khan's succces, or is it just having many, many wives?

[ Parent ]
Some of both (5.00 / 7) (#15)
by Thorgeir Blund on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 01:49:40 AM EST

From the Steve Sailer article:

While the number of Genghis Khan's children is unknown, the reproductive success of his male-line descendants, known to history as "the Golden Family," is not in doubt, especially those descended from the four sons of Bortei, Genghis Khan's impressive first wife. The conqueror established a social legacy that benefited his sons' sons unto the seventh generation and even beyond.

For example, his famous grandson Kublai Khan, the emperor of China, had 22 legitimate sons by his four wives, but also had numerous concubines. Kublai Khan's underling, the famed Italian traveler Marco Polo, wrote that each year the emperor took 30 additional virgins to be his concubines from a province renown for the beauty of its women.

It seems likely that securing the opportunity for his descendants to have large numbers of wives/concubines may have been more important than actual rape in spreading his Y-chromosome. Of course, many of the wives/concubines were probably acquired through force or threat of force, so this might still be considered rape, depending on your definition.

[ Parent ]
But it's Genghis Khan! (none / 0) (#131)
by sean23007 on Fri Feb 14, 2003 at 11:25:26 AM EST

The most famous and powerful man in the world at that time would not have had much difficulty in convincing women that they want to be his concubines.

Lack of eloquence does not denote lack of intelligence, though they often coincide.
[ Parent ]
Remember (4.77 / 9) (#18)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 02:30:46 AM EST

We're talking about biology, not morality. A biologist defines a reproductive strategy to be "successful" if it produces viable offspring - and the more offspring, the more successful the strategy. If we were discussing the genetic variation of tuna would you find it so offensive?


--
"Your article (and I use that term losely) is just a ad-hominem filled rant from a right-wing extremist loony." - Psycho Les


[ Parent ]
That gives me an idea! (4.00 / 5) (#20)
by skim123 on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 04:44:44 AM EST

Perhaps I can become the most "biologically successful man" by murdering everyone in the world but my own offspring.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Viable (5.00 / 3) (#23)
by xL on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 06:22:42 AM EST

There are many animals that actually follow this strategy: Kill the competition's offspring. IIRC, alpha males of some animals tend to do that when they take over a troop.


[ Parent ]
That's a strategy used by many species. (5.00 / 3) (#25)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 08:27:15 AM EST

In many species, when a new male takes control of the pack/herd, the first order of business is to either drive off or kill the offspring of the previous king of the hill.


--
"Your article (and I use that term losely) is just a ad-hominem filled rant from a right-wing extremist loony." - Psycho Les


[ Parent ]
So, how's your wife and my kids? (nt) (none / 0) (#29)
by pyramid termite on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 08:55:09 AM EST


On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Wife has been murdered, kids have been castrated (none / 0) (#62)
by skim123 on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 03:20:30 PM EST


Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
So much for your future in the gene pool (nt) (none / 0) (#67)
by pyramid termite on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 05:49:22 PM EST


On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Uh, you said they were YOUR kids [n/t] (none / 0) (#71)
by skim123 on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 06:52:01 PM EST


Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Bubba's lying to you ... (2.00 / 1) (#101)
by pyramid termite on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 08:03:53 PM EST

... what he's doing to you on the metal bunk won't make you pregnant.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Yes, but that's unamerican. :) (3.00 / 2) (#64)
by Verax on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 03:57:55 PM EST

Perhaps I can become the most "biologically successful man" by murdering everyone in the world but my own offspring.

That could be a succesfull strategy, but it is not the American way of doing things. We kill over 1 million of our own offspring through induced abortion every year. As much as people complain about the United States' military influence in the world, I think we kill considerably fewer human beings in other countries.



----------------------------------------------
"It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." -- Mother Teresa of Calcutta
[ Parent ]
only a matter of time... (4.00 / 1) (#89)
by lemming prophet on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 12:17:06 PM EST

...just wait until the tons and tons of depleted uranium the us military have spread all over yugoslavia and afghanistan will show.

cancer, birth defects and lots of other radiation diseases will kill more than 1 million in just a few years.. :(
--
Follow me.
[ Parent ]
Depleted Uranium (none / 0) (#104)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 08:47:49 PM EST

Depleted Uranium (TM): It's Not Radioactive.

Your Smoke Detector is probably about as radioactive.

That's why it's depleted, because the radiation has  been depleted. It can be bad for you, but that's from chemical poisoning similar to lead poisoning, not from radiation poisoning.

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

i have to disagree (5.00 / 1) (#116)
by drgonzo on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 01:00:57 PM EST

it is radioactive (something like 40% of natural uranium)

and it emmits all 3 types of radioactivity
while a smoke detector is sealed  (which means it will not get in your body [if a bullet hits a hard target some uranium 'splits off' and gets airborn]) and, if i remember correctly, is not a gamma emmitter ...

peace

[ Parent ]

the biology of the mind (3.00 / 2) (#27)
by turmeric on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 08:44:13 AM EST

the mind, the ideas, the spirit, they are as much pattersn transferred over generations as the DNA. in that sense, jesus was more prolific than genghis khan.

[ Parent ]
Yeah. (3.00 / 1) (#32)
by trane on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 09:37:57 AM EST

I was thinking the same thing. (You are talking about memetics.)

After all, how much would the "reproductive success" of Genghis Khan matter if Mongolia were attacked by a country with nuclear arms? In other words, there are factors other than pure number of offspring that determine survival fitness.

[ Parent ]

This is a valid point, but . . . (5.00 / 3) (#43)
by Thorgeir Blund on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 11:58:21 AM EST

After all, how much would the "reproductive success" of Genghis Khan matter if Mongolia were attacked by a country with nuclear arms?

Incidentally, he also has descendants in China, who now have nuclear arms.

But, it is true that other considerations besides sheer number of descendants may determine long term evolutionary success. E.g., for very long term human survival, space colonization is a necessity. And the type of society fostered by Genghis Khan did not prove conducive to the advancement of science.

Had the world continued on the trajectory it seemed to be on a century ago, Charlemagne, for example, might ultimately have had more reproductive success than Genghis Khan, even though Charlemagne left vastly fewer patrilineal descendants. But, that didn't happen. Today, China has bought or stolen Western military and space technology, while any Hazara or Inner Mongolian that can make it to a London airport can live off the largesse of Westerners. Reproductive success is, at the end of the day, the only thing that matters in evolution.

[ Parent ]

reproductive success (3.00 / 3) (#69)
by rmkrand on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 06:10:08 PM EST

you raise some interesting points. since as you say, reproductive success is all thats possible, and anyone can live off the largesse of westerners. is it possible that humans are now evolving to be less intelligent? i say this because people who are intelligent are more likely to go to school and then get a career, if they settle down at all they will have at most 1 or 2 kids. compare this to the hordes of less intelligent poorer people with far more offspring.

it seems that the human race is inevitably on a collision course to getting less and less intelligent. perhaps this is the reason we havnt run into any super alien empires? as a civilization gets more advanced, they provide more social welfare for their least able members who have the most children, as a result the whole society goes downhill and eventually the citizens are too stupid to support the society and civilization collapses. then the cycle needs to begin again.

just look at our world today, no matter how stupid or irresponsible you are, if you have 9+ kids, we will just tax people who work and take their money in order to subsidize your irresponsible reproduction.

[ Parent ]

We won't breed like this for long... (5.00 / 2) (#78)
by BerntB on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 11:38:57 PM EST

We will very probably have "designer children" in a small number (< 3) of generations.

[ Parent ]
Hopefully (none / 0) (#81)
by Thorgeir Blund on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 12:26:19 AM EST

But what if genetic engineering on this level doesn't work out? Do we really want to gamble on something that hasn't happened yet?

[ Parent ]
Uh, I don't think so... (none / 0) (#88)
by Kintanon on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 09:54:34 AM EST

Just because the rich, or even upper middle class, are able to buy designer children doesn't mean the poor and middle class will stop breeding. Unless you plan on enforced sterilization with a reversal only for the purpose of having those designer babies?
While I wouldn't be opposed to such a plan I don't think you would be able to get it past the majority of people around.

Kintanon

[ Parent ]

bottlenecks (none / 0) (#95)
by khallow on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 04:03:55 PM EST

Just because the rich, or even upper middle class, are able to buy designer children doesn't mean the poor and middle class will stop breeding. Unless you plan on enforced sterilization with a reversal only for the purpose of having those designer babies?

One thing to remember is that we'll probably go through numerous evolutionary bottlenecks (where the effective breeding population declines significantly) in the next few thousand years. We probably are experiencing one now due to the combination of low fertility among large portions of the developed world combined with HIV. A full-scale nuclear war would be a more significant evolutionary bottleneck. If the genetic lines of "designer babies" survive these, then it's likely that we'll see long term a flow of genes from the designer populations to the mass population.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Re: (none / 0) (#79)
by Thorgeir Blund on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 11:54:33 PM EST

since as you say, reproductive success is all thats possible

Here is another article by Steve Sailer on this subject.

is it possible that humans are now evolving to be less intelligent?

This is the conclusion Richard Lynn came to.

it seems that the human race is inevitably on a collision course to getting less and less intelligent.

Yes. Unless genetic engineering reverses the trend, this would seem to be the case.

[ Parent ]

Another possibility (none / 0) (#96)
by nomoreh1b on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 04:25:51 PM EST

Nuclear winter could weed out a lot of stupid people fast-particularly those that live in cities.

[ Parent ]
reproductive success (none / 0) (#109)
by trane on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 02:34:17 AM EST

"Reproductive success is, at the end of the day, the only thing that matters in evolution."

I guess I'm saying that the reproductive success of memes is becoming more important than that of genes. Memes (such as "rape is bad", "science is good", whatever) can generally be transmitted by a lot of different gene combinations.

So the fact that GK has a lot of descendants is less evolutionarily noteworthy than the fact that those descendants can be taught that we need not blindly reproduce in order to further the survival of our species...

[ Parent ]

Hard to say (none / 0) (#98)
by Happy Monkey on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 04:52:28 PM EST

That depends on whether you think more people these days share Genghis' or Jesus' mindset. And looking at the world today, I'd say it's a toss-up.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
as far as I can tell (5.00 / 1) (#36)
by modmans2ndcoming on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 10:01:52 AM EST

Kahn could have given a crap about spirituality so that is pretty moot.

[ Parent ]
Unlikely to have been Ghengis personally. (4.50 / 8) (#19)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 02:33:35 AM EST

More likely, the Y genes in question came from a recent ancestor of Khan - someone who had a few sons, who had a few sons, who became members of the Horde.

Why? Because that would mean that there would be more than just one man spreading that gene when the Horde went into conquest.


--
"Your article (and I use that term losely) is just a ad-hominem filled rant from a right-wing extremist loony." - Psycho Les


wel kahn had like 30 sons (none / 0) (#35)
by modmans2ndcoming on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 10:00:56 AM EST

or so and after kahn died, they split the empire up. that is probably how he became so prolific...his sones had amny sons and their sons had many sons, etc.

[ Parent ]
True, but . . . (5.00 / 2) (#38)
by Thorgeir Blund on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 11:03:01 AM EST

Genghis Khan and his descendants were probably the single most important force in spreading it. From the Sailer article:
To be technical, the "most recent common ancestor" of all these modern Asian men was probably not Genghis Khan himself, but instead a recent patrilineal ancestor of his, such as a paternal grandfather. Tyler-Smith said, "We don't think that Genghis Khan was the common ancestor, because our best estimate of the time when the common ancestor lived was a few generations before he was born."

It's likely that some brothers and male cousins of Genghis Khan who shared his Y chromosome enjoyed heightened reproductive success in his enormous wake, rather like how it is said that some of the sex appeal of the rock band Led Zeppelin rubbed off on its lucky roadies.

Still, there's no question that Genghis Khan was the main man in his family. Cochran said, "I don't think Genghis Khan shared much."




[ Parent ]
"Roadie for Genghis Khan" (5.00 / 3) (#61)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 03:07:27 PM EST

Wouldn't that look cool on a resume!


--
"Your article (and I use that term losely) is just a ad-hominem filled rant from a right-wing extremist loony." - Psycho Les


[ Parent ]
Charlemagne (4.50 / 2) (#21)
by yooden on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 05:06:52 AM EST

I went to school with a guy whose father was town archivist. He told us one day that his father found out that they are descendants of Charlemagne, only to add that that's true for 10% of people in France and Germany.


Charlemagne has many descendants, but (5.00 / 2) (#44)
by Thorgeir Blund on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 12:11:41 PM EST

If, I'm not mistaken, his male line died out long ago. So, he can hardly be compared to Genghis Khan in this area. Keep in mind:
Tyler-Smith stressed that the 16 million male descendants are just those who belong to this one patriarchal lineage, not the much greater number who are descended in any fashion from Genghis Khan. "Virtually everybody today who lives near the Asian steppe must have Genghis Khan somewhere in his or her family tree," speculated Cochran.

Neither Charlemagne nor his descendants had harems, limiting their individual reproductive success. Though a huge number of people can trace their ancestry to Charlemagne, he had nowhere near the genetic impact of Genghis Khan.

[ Parent ]

I Admit Defeat (3.33 / 3) (#47)
by yooden on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 12:24:43 PM EST

Your totally irrelevant former King has the bigger balls than mine.

I just wanted to pass along a related information, not start a proliferation match. Which wouldn't make any sense anyway because Charlemagne had a few hundred years head start.

However:

Though a huge number of people can trace their ancestry to Charlemagne, he had nowhere near the genetic impact of Genghis Khan.

How can this happen? He has more descendants by relative numbers but his genetic impact is less because his descendants are female?

[ Parent ]
You seem to be missing the point (5.00 / 3) (#50)
by Thorgeir Blund on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 12:54:50 PM EST

Your totally irrelevant former King has the bigger balls than mine.

I just wanted to pass along a related information, not start a proliferation match. Which wouldn't make any sense anyway because Charlemagne had a few hundred years head start.

I'm not a fan of Genghis Khan. I'm just stating fact.

How can this happen? He has more descendants by relative numbers but his genetic impact is less because his descendants are female?

Genghis Khan: 16 million patrilineal descendants.
Charlemagne: 0 patrilineal descendants.

Again, there are a huge number of people who have Charlemagne somewhere in their family tree, but his genetic contribution is minimal. There are also a huge number of people with Genghis Khan in their family tree (much more than 16 million). And, many more people get a significant part of their genes from Genghis Khan than from Charlemagne.

[ Parent ]

Point? What Point? (2.66 / 3) (#58)
by yooden on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 02:15:59 PM EST

I'm not a fan of Genghis Khan. I'm just stating fact.

Why the comparison then?

How can this happen? He has more descendants by relative numbers but his genetic impact is less because his descendants are female?

Genghis Khan: 16 million patrilineal descendants.
Charlemagne: 0 patrilineal descendants.

I read this. Your point is that genetic impact does only manifest itself in boys?


[ Parent ]

The impact is stronger (5.00 / 3) (#60)
by BCoates on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 02:56:58 PM EST

Because men only get the Y chromosome from their father, it isn't diluted like normal genes are, if you're someone's patrilinear decendent, you have one of your chromosomes exactly the same as that person less mutation.  That isn't true for other chromosomes, which are roughly an amalgam of all your ancestors.

For reasons other than just figuring out paternity, it only matters for y-linked traits, of which google thinks there is a grand total of two. (A hairy-ear condition called "hypertrichosis of the ear" and maleness)

--
Benjamin Coates

[ Parent ]

Re: The impact is stronger (3.00 / 1) (#66)
by yooden on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 04:21:21 PM EST

True, that makes the impact stronger, but I never doubted that.

[ Parent ]
This is the last time I'll try to explain this (5.00 / 1) (#80)
by Thorgeir Blund on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 12:19:17 AM EST

I read this. Your point is that genetic impact does only manifest itself in boys?

The fact that Genghis Khan has vastly more patrilineal descendants is an indicator that he had a much larger genetic impact.

A single line of descent from Charlemagne is meaningless in genetic terms.

Read this for some background (note, the "reasoning" that leads to his conclusion that "everyone is descended from Charlemagne" is wrong, and that claim is unsupported, but that's another story)


Charlemagne was approximately 40 generations back from the present day. Each person has 2 parents, 22 = 4 grandparents, 23 = 8 great-grandparents, ... and 240, or approximately 1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion), 40th-generation ancestors, which means half a trillion male ancestors. Of course, since the entire male population of Europe at the time of Charlemagne was only about 15 million, these half trillion ancestors cannot all have been different men -- obviously there has been a lot of cross-breeding, and many of our ancestral lines cross and re-cross, eventually ending up at the same person.

So, you have "slots" for half a trillion ancestors. If a single line of descent from Charlemagne, chances are you have none of his genes. If you have 1,000 lines of descent from Charlemagne, chances are you have none of his genes.

The fact that Genghis Khan's direct, male descendants make up around ~8% of the inhabitants of a large area or Asia means that many, many more people have other lines of descent from him. In this case, I can believe that practically everyone in this large area of Asia has at least one line of descent from Genghis Khan. And many have a hell of a lot more than one line of descent. As an upward estimate, there may be millions of people walking around in Asia with practically all of his genes. This is certainly not the case with Charlemagne in Europe.

[ Parent ]

Explain, don't Repeat (2.00 / 1) (#83)
by yooden on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 02:14:05 AM EST

If you think I'm wrong then don't try to explain with statements I have already refuted (or which I'm unable to comprehend).

A single line of descent from Charlemagne is meaningless in genetic terms.

Sure, but what does this have to do with anything?

Read this for some background (note, the "reasoning" that leads to his conclusion that "everyone is descended from Charlemagne" is wrong, and that claim is unsupported, but that's another story)

Your reference states that I'm not only true, but aim far too low, but this is another story?

The fact that Genghis Khan's direct, male descendants make up around ~8% of the inhabitants of a large area or Asia means that many, many more people have other lines of descent from him.

You said that before. I still don't see why female descendants would would be less able to carry his genes. (Nor do I see what indirect descendants could be.)


[ Parent ]
Male vs. Female Lines of Descent (5.00 / 1) (#91)
by hatshepsut on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 12:56:28 PM EST

A direct male line of descent is descent ONLY through the male line (ie. son of son of son of etc. Ghengis Khan). Females are equally capable of carrying on the bloodline, but they don't transmit the Y-chromosome, which is what was being studied.

Saying you are descended from someone could mean that your mother (or grandmother, etc.) was descended from them. Saying you are direct male descendant is saying that your Y-chromosome is essentially (barring any mutation) IDENTICAL to theirs.

There are no indirect descendants, but there are direct male descendants (or direct female, for that matter, but again, not part of this discussion and studied differently, since women have two possible X-chromosomes to pass to their offspring, while a man only has one Y-chromosome that he passes to all his sons), and descendants (those to whom you are related, possible through the male or female lines).

Hope this helps.

[ Parent ]

Did Charlemange's male line die out? (4.50 / 2) (#70)
by dasunt on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 06:36:23 PM EST

I'm not that familiar with the lineage, but I'd be surprized if there wasn't at least one male bastard to carry on the line.

Power is an aphrodisiac. Although western Europe did not have institutional concubines, there are always mistresses, one-night stands, and whores.



[ Parent ]
Damn (none / 0) (#68)
by rmkrand on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 06:02:48 PM EST

im descended from Charlemagne too!
i suppose ill have alot of competition when I try to claim my crown.

[ Parent ]
What about... (4.00 / 2) (#30)
by pmc on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 09:03:29 AM EST

..his father?

But seriously, this sounds ever so slightly like sensationalism. As someone else said it wasn't his Y chromosome anyway - he was just carrying it. It is highly probably that most of the original Mongal horde carried the same Y chromosome. It is a tribe after all, and a) limited gene stock to begin with and b) these things happen with small (and large, eventually) communities.

But it isn't really as interesting to say that a large chunk of the human population is descended from a goatherder from central asia about 2000 years ago, and one of his descendants happened to be Ghengis Khan. It certainly won't attract the grants.

it ignores the fact that he had lots of sons (4.00 / 1) (#34)
by modmans2ndcoming on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 09:58:22 AM EST

that were in chrage of large areas of his realm for a very long time after he died.

[ Parent ]
Exactly. Help your sons to rap... er, procreate (none / 0) (#139)
by arivero on Sun Jun 29, 2003 at 08:55:09 PM EST

That is probably the explanation of the sucess. Still, it is a sucess.

[ Parent ]
Again, (5.00 / 3) (#39)
by Thorgeir Blund on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 11:24:27 AM EST

As someone else said it wasn't his Y chromosome anyway - he was just carrying it.

This is true. The mutation itself probably happened a few generations before him, and his brothers and some of his cousins would have carried it. Still, Genghis Khan and his descendants would have been the main force that spread it.

It is highly probably that most of the original Mongal horde carried the same Y chromosome. It is a tribe after all, and a) limited gene stock to begin with and b) these things happen with small (and large, eventually) communities.

This is incorrect. Even today, Inner Mongolians don't all have this lineage (though more than 1 in 4 men do).

You are right that a single Y-chromosome lineage will come to dominate over time, but the key is "eventually". As in, many thousands of years, not hundreds. Even though the Genghis Khan lineage was strongly selected for, Mongolians do not all "carry the same Y chromosome". It certainly wouldn't have come to dominate the Y-chromosome pool in the space of the few generations between the mutation and the birth of Genghis Khan, when there was no selection.

[ Parent ]

The most interesting thing in this paper... (4.50 / 4) (#31)
by lucius on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 09:37:37 AM EST

to me is the statement about the Hazara's ancestry. But if you read the paper it says that they used the Hazara more or less as a control to show that the common haplotype is indeed from Ghengis Khan. In other words, unless you already knew the Hazara were descended from Ghengis Khan then all this study could do is show that they (the Hazara) have a preponderance of a haplotype that is common all over the area once ruled by the Mongols.

That said, I do think that there was Mongol ancestry of some sort, and it is fairly obvious if you meet any Hazara that they look Mongolian. I just feel the need to point out that there's a little bootstrapping going on here.

Also, the fact that the Hazara speak an Indo-Iranian language (Hazaragi: see http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=HAZ since scoop keeps bitching about the link) is problematic. Why would a once proud army of Ghengis Khan switch from an Altaic to an Indo-European language for no good reason? It's not like it's a gradual dialect shift, they're completely different language families.

And if it were a result of Mongol men taking local wives it raises more questions: Were Mongol warriors, so fearsome in battle, that subservient to their wives that they learned a new language in order to talk to them?

Soldiers learning a language? (4.66 / 3) (#40)
by ecarter on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 11:45:14 AM EST

And if it were a result of Mongol men taking local wives it raises more questions: Were Mongol warriors, so fearsome in battle, that subservient to their wives that they learned a new language in order to talk to them?

That wouldn't have to happen.  It would be sufficient for children fathered by those warriors to speak the same language as their mothers, which wouldn't be all that surprising.

[ Parent ]

Yeah, except that... (4.00 / 1) (#46)
by lucius on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 12:20:09 PM EST

the warriors apparently settled there. It's as if all of the war brides that emigrated from postwar Europe to America continued to speak their native languages, but didn't teach it to their children and remained social outcasts.

If there had been some kind of men-only language (Mongolian), and another women only language (the existing Indo-Iranian tongue). I could see this working, except that I would expect that the male children would then speak the men only language, like happens with the (young) male only street language in Khartoum.

[ Parent ]

Re: Hazara (5.00 / 3) (#49)
by Thorgeir Blund on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 12:44:20 PM EST

to me is the statement about the Hazara's ancestry. But if you read the paper it says that they used the Hazara more or less as a control to show that the common haplotype is indeed from Ghengis Khan.

The authors do cite a previous genetic study which had already demonstrated the Hazara had links with Mongolia.

 In other words, unless you already knew the Hazara were descended from Ghengis Khan then all this study could do is show that they (the Hazara) have a preponderance of a haplotype that is common all over the area once ruled by the Mongols.

Many Hazara claim descent from Genghis Khan, and the genetic evidence supports this.

I just feel the need to point out that there's a little bootstrapping going on here.

I would agree if only the Hazara were being used. But, Inner Mongolians also have high levels of the lineage.

The fact that the lineage originated in Mongolia at the right time to have been spread by Genghis Khan supports the Mongol origin of the Hazara.
 The fact that the lineage only appears in Pakistan among a group who claim descent from Mongols and in many cases specifically from Genghis Khan, lends support to the fact that the lineage was carried by Genghis Khan.

Also, the fact that the Hazara speak an Indo-Iranian language (Hazaragi: see http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=HAZ since scoop keeps bitching about the link) is problematic. Why would a once proud army of Ghengis Khan switch from an Altaic to an Indo-European language for no good reason?

Happens all the time, invaders adopting the language of the conquered. See: the Normans, the Visigoths, the Lombards, etc.


[ Parent ]

Fair enough. (none / 0) (#51)
by lucius on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 01:04:47 PM EST

What was the situation with the visigoths, Normans and Lombards?

As I understand it, the Hazara view themselves as the direct descendents of the Mongol army, rather than an interbred combination of Mongol and Indo-European.

[ Parent ]

They claim to be descendants of the Mongol army (5.00 / 2) (#52)
by Thorgeir Blund on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 01:09:41 PM EST

and local women.

Moreover:

When Mongols moved into the appanage of chagatai in the thirteenth century, the area was occupied by Turkic-speaking peoples. The ancestors of the Hazara Mongols appear to have been influenced by their Turkic subjects during their stay in Transoxiana, for many Turkic as well as Mongol words are present in modern Hazara speech. In Afghanistan the ancestral Hazaras became Persian-speaking. At the beginning of the sixteenth century some Hazaras still spoke Mongol, by the twentieth century, Mongol survived only as a minor vocabulary element. Bellew characterized the Hazara language as representing a thirteenth-century form of Persian. Morgenstierne, a trained linguist, more cautiously described Hazara speech as "a peculiar dialect of Persian". No descriptive study has been made of any of the Hazaras as are literate.

http://members.tripod.com/MillateHazara/language.html




[ Parent ]
invaders. (none / 0) (#123)
by aphrael on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 07:20:59 PM EST

The Normans invaded England in the eleventh century AD; they spoke, at the time, a variant of French. While French remained the court language of England for several centuries, its use eventually died out, and while there are traces of its presence in modern English vocabulary, the population as a whole never adopted the language of the invaders.

Both the Lombards and the Visigoths were Germanic-speaking tribes which invaded regions of the Roman Empire. The Lombards settled in northern Italy ("Lombardy"), and their language completely died out. The Visigoths settled in Spain, and their language appears to have died out (although I do not know if it would have absent the invasion of the Berbers a few centuries later; i'm not *that* familiar with the details of Spanish history).

[ Parent ]

Another thing... (none / 0) (#124)
by lucius on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 07:55:16 PM EST

Didn't the name "Norman" come from "Norseman", or is that completely off? I think I remember my history teacher saying something about it.

[ Parent ]
Yep. (none / 0) (#125)
by aphrael on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 08:06:46 PM EST

The Normans were basically Vikings who settled on the north coast of France and stayed there for a couple of centuries before invading England. In that time, they abandoned (Danish?) in favor of French.

[ Parent ]
Loan words (none / 0) (#126)
by lucius on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 08:20:33 PM EST

So are there still words in, say, the Normandy dialect (assuming some Normans stayed behind) that are remnants of a scandinavian language which are not in standard French.

Pretty specific question, but it'd be pretty cool in my opinion if there were.

[ Parent ]

Language.. (none / 0) (#114)
by emh0 on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 12:05:03 PM EST

Were Mongol warriors, so fearsome in battle, that subservient to their wives that they learned a new language in order to talk to them?

Languages in those days were mostly passed on by the mothers, who would teach their children how to speak, etc., especially in a situation like this where the Mongol soldiers would have just raped as many women as possible and then left.

The same situation exists in English history too, for example: we know that the Anglo-Saxons came to settle, not simply to conquer, because they brought their language with them, which means that whole families came, whereas the Norman and the Viking languages more or less died out fairly quickly, indicating that they were mostly just men (ie soldiers), and the local women who had children with them would have tought them the local language (old english).

[ Parent ]

what was his secret? (3.50 / 4) (#33)
by modmans2ndcoming on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 09:57:00 AM EST

umm mabye being the emporer over the region including western europe, siberia, asia, arabia...you know basicly controling the entire frigen eastern world...had somehting to do with it.

His secret? (4.50 / 6) (#37)
by jabber on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 10:30:22 AM EST

In addition to raping before burning, he didn't burn those he raped.

I am thrilled to see such a fine, singular example of politics and biological imperative. This guy got the point long before Kennedy and Clinton. Very impressive.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

Damn! (4.00 / 5) (#59)
by rusty on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 02:30:25 PM EST

I knew something was wrong. "Rape the horses and ride off on the burning women?" I said, "I don't think that's right..."

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Given *any* collection of humans... (3.50 / 2) (#41)
by the on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 11:46:43 AM EST

...there is a unique most recent common patrilineal ancestor. That's a simple theorem.

--
The Definite Article
Yes (5.00 / 1) (#45)
by Thorgeir Blund on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 12:17:49 PM EST

Do you have a point?

[ Parent ]
Genghis Khan is unlikely to be the most prolific. (none / 0) (#55)
by the on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 01:32:49 PM EST



--
The Definite Article
[ Parent ]
The key here is "historical" (5.00 / 1) (#56)
by Thorgeir Blund on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 01:42:17 PM EST

Obviously, he's not being compared to Y-chromosome "Adam" 100,000 years ago. Genghis Khan had a large number of descendants in a short amount of time, and had a very large genetic impact for an individual.

On the other hand, there is probably nothing remarkable about the Y-chromosome "Adam", it is merely by chance that we are all descended from him.

[ Parent ]

I suppose "historical" is interesting (none / 0) (#57)
by the on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 02:13:24 PM EST

But a lot of fuss is made over "Adam" and "Eve" when they're really just arbitrary choices. Choice a different bunch of people and you get a different common ancestor. As you say it's just chance.

--
The Definite Article
[ Parent ]
Arbitrary? (none / 0) (#97)
by Happy Monkey on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 04:40:00 PM EST

But a lot of fuss is made over "Adam" and "Eve" when they're really just arbitrary choices. Choice a different bunch of people and you get a different common ancestor.

Um, aren't "Adam" and "Eve" chosen based on the group of ALL people? That may be impractical to verify, but it's hardly arbitrary. And there's no different bunch of people to choose.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Don't forget Khan's direct descendant! (4.46 / 15) (#48)
by Netsnipe on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 12:25:56 PM EST

Mr. L. Prosser was, as they say, only human. In other words he was a carbon-based life form descended from an ape. More specifically he was forty, fat and shabby and worked for the local council. Curiously enough, though he didn't know it, he was also a direct male-line descendant of Genghis Khan, though intervening generations and racial mixing had so juggled his genes that he had no discernible Mongoloid characteristics, and the only vestiges left in Mr. L. Prosser of his mighty ancestry were a pronounced stoutness about the tum and a predilection for little fur hats.

He was by no means a great warrior: in fact he was a nervous worried man. Today he was particularly nervous and worried because something had gone seriously wrong with his job which was to see that Arthur Dent's house got cleared out of the way before the day was out.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Douglas Adams

--
Andrew 'Netsnipe' Lau
Debian GNU/Linux Maintainer & Computer Science, UNSW
And the comment rating... (none / 0) (#111)
by Stereo on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 08:55:32 AM EST

Don't forget Khan's direct descendant! (4.42 / 14)
Brilliant.

kuro5hin - Artes technicae et humaniores, a fossis


[ Parent ]
Just goes to show... (none / 0) (#115)
by Netsnipe on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 12:40:26 PM EST

...that there's a lot of Douglas Adams fans among us Kuro5hin readers. = )

--
Andrew 'Netsnipe' Lau
Debian GNU/Linux Maintainer & Computer Science, UNSW
[ Parent ]
Kewl. (3.60 / 5) (#54)
by Icehouseman on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 01:29:19 PM EST

I wish I was more like him. He got things done.
----------------
Bush's $3 trillion state is allegedly a mark of "anti-government bias" on the right. -- Anthony Gregory
Not really. (3.66 / 3) (#76)
by Canar on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 11:03:28 PM EST

Getting stuff done is overrated. Take Hitler for example: don't we all wish he had just stayed at home and gotten stoned?

[ Parent ]
wow (none / 0) (#128)
by tripped on Wed Feb 12, 2003 at 01:00:57 PM EST

you know I've never seen that before. seriously.

[ Parent ]
Other interesting facts about Genghis Khan (2.80 / 10) (#65)
by untrusteduser on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 04:02:04 PM EST

From what I've read about him, he was apparently about 5'6, had a small penis, and was good at math.

typical asian. (2.66 / 3) (#85)
by rev ine on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 04:50:36 AM EST

N.T. bitch.

[ Parent ]
Racist troll? (3.66 / 3) (#86)
by p3d0 on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 08:38:59 AM EST

I'm highly skeptical that you actually read this about him.
--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
[ Parent ]
Yet another white troll. Millions of them. (none / 0) (#118)
by mndeg on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 04:17:19 PM EST

n.t.

[ Parent ]
wrong (3.50 / 2) (#72)
by xah on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 07:05:16 PM EST

Gregory M. Cochran, interviewed by Sailer, implies that Mohamed is among the very few historical figures who could potentially equal or exceed Genghis Khan in number of patrilineal descendants.

This is plain wrong. Let's assume Genghis Khan's father had more than one son, and that at least one other of his sons also has living patrilineal descendants. Thus, Genghis Khan's father would be the "most prolific man in history." The same would hold true up the line of ancestors. If his father isn't, than his grandfather, or great-grandfather, or earlier ancestor.

Who is really the most prolific man in history? We're not sure who it is, except some people strongly believe in this guy called Adam. For the rest of us, this "most prolific" fellow would have lived thousands of years ago. That's about all we know.

defining prolific (5.00 / 1) (#73)
by ecarter on Sun Feb 09, 2003 at 07:52:26 PM EST

This is plain wrong. Let's assume Genghis Khan's father had more than one son, and that at least one other of his sons also has living patrilineal descendants. Thus, Genghis Khan's father would be the "most prolific man in history." The same would hold true up the line of ancestors. If his father isn't, than his grandfather, or great-grandfather, or earlier ancestor.

I think that depends on how you define "prolific" here.  We would probably not want the definition to be such that simple living a long time ago makes someone more prolific.

What if we look at the average annual growth rate of the population carrying the Y-chromosome in question?

Say Genghis Kahn has 15,900,000 patrilineal descendants and Genghis Kahn's father has 16,000,000, for the sake of argument.  Also suppose that Genghis Kahn's father was 30 years old at the time of Genghis Kahn's birth.  Let n be the number of years since Genghis Kahn was born.  Then the growth rate for Genghis Kahn is ln(15,900,000)/n and the rate for Genghis Kahn's father is ln(16,000,000)/(n+30).  I think the growth rate for his father would turn out to be less.

The point here is that what makes someone astoundingly prolific or not is not merely the number of descendants, but also the amount of time for those descendants to come into being.

[ Parent ]

don't change the rules (none / 0) (#93)
by xah on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 02:57:07 PM EST

The article roughly defines the "most prolific man in history" as the one with the most patrilineal descendants. Quarreling with the assumptions is a separate issue. In my post, I was attacking the author's argument on his own ground.

[ Parent ]
Don't use ellipses. (5.00 / 1) (#106)
by alison on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 11:08:27 PM EST

Cochrane said *historical* figures. Meaning genuine flesh-and-blood people whose names and reputations survive today.

[ Parent ]
"Most Prolific Man in History" (none / 0) (#121)
by xah on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 06:47:10 PM EST

Good point.

My point was directed to the author of the K5 write-up, not anyone else. While the write-up says "historical figure" in one place, the title of the K5 article is in fact "Genghis Khan: most prolific man in history?", which asks whether he was the most "prolific" man who ever lived, historical figure or not.

[ Parent ]

Mohammed and Genghis (none / 0) (#110)
by gcochran on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 03:42:41 AM EST

I never said or thought that Mohammed had a zillion paternal-line descendants, because, as everyone knows, he had no surviving sons. I was just trying to imagine the circumstances that might lead to a roughly similar genetic event. I doubt, though, that any other would ever be as big. Gregory Cochran

[ Parent ]
Hang on here (3.50 / 2) (#82)
by wji on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 01:19:08 AM EST

If Khan has 16 million "direct patrilineal descendants", what does that mean about the number of people who have inherited ANY genetic material from him?

It's been a while since I've done math. Bear with me. Rough estimates only here. 1,000 years sounds like about forty generations

First question: on average, how many male children of a patrilineal descendant of Khan survive to have children?

Answer: Whatever works out to 16 million in forty generations. So x ^ 40 = 16 million. This is about 1.5, which sounds eminently reasonable. (By the way, assuming it's 35 or 45 generations doesn't change that figure wildly.

I think multiplying that figure by two to get 'total children who make babies' might be rash. After all, in these societies, women are viewed as maybe a step above cattle. Plus they may not survive childbirth. But out of interest, if you assume two children per generation, you get a bit over one trillion Khan descendants. Which seems wrong for some reason, I dunno.

So, either my model is severely flawed, or these scientists are on crack. I suspect the first.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.

The nice thing about male decendants... (4.00 / 1) (#87)
by Adam Tarr on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 09:17:44 AM EST

Is that they can't breeed with one another.  As soon as you enter women into the equation, you get inbreeding -- on a massive scale in this case.  So yes, your model is severly flawed.

-Adam

[ Parent ]

Hardy har har, what are you talking about? (none / 0) (#90)
by wji on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 12:45:11 PM EST

Look, your objection makes no sense. My lame little model says nothing about who they are breeding WITH, just whether. A male child of a male child of ... Khan is a patrilineal descendant. It doesn't matter who the mother is.

Ditto for women. Any descendant of Khan who has children has descendants of Khan. That was what I was examining.

Maybe I'm missing something. Please explain yourself more fully.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]

Overcounting due to descendants interbreeding (none / 0) (#94)
by nowan on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 03:26:42 PM EST

A descendant of Kahn can get together with another descendant (not the first generation or two, if they're squeemish, but after that).  Their kids get double-counted by your analysis.

[ Parent ]
right, what he said (none / 0) (#113)
by Adam Tarr on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 10:21:10 AM EST

The nice thing about only counting male patrilineal decendants is that they can't breed with one another, so their decendants can never be double counted.

Surely, nearly every man and woman in Asia has Genghis Khan somewhere (probably many places) in the trillion people that they are decended from, forty generations back.  But if two of these people meet and have two kids, then (for the purposes of your model) each one had ONE kid, not TWO.  If you only count male patrilineal decendants, you never run into the double counting problem.

I hope that cleared it up.

-Adam

[ Parent ]

There aren't a trillion breeding lines. (none / 0) (#132)
by wji on Fri Feb 14, 2003 at 02:14:11 PM EST

The number of people who were ever alive but are now dead is in the billions. I don't even think it's over ten billion. Remember we're at the pointy end of an exponential curve here.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]
That's the point (none / 0) (#136)
by Adam Tarr on Mon Mar 10, 2003 at 12:43:27 AM EST

I doubt you're still reading this, but maybe you'll look back at some point...

Yes, of course, there weren't a trillion people alive in the 1300s.  But if you look at all the combinations (your father's father's ... father's father, your father's father's ...  father's mother,  all the way to, your mother's mother's ... mother) you have a trillion+ combinations.  That's all I meant by a trillion decendants.

And since all one trillion of those people were alive at roughly the same time, many of them were the same person.  The average person in your family tree 40 generations back shows up a couple thousand times among the trillion "slots" you have.  Far enough back, we're all inbreds; it's a mathematical fact.

The only thing that makes the direct male patrilineal descent line special is that we can identify it by the Y chromosome.  So anyone who shows up 8% of the time in that slot, probably shows up roughly 8% of the time in among the rest of the male slots.  After all, there's no reason to expect that a direct patrilineal decendant has some reproductive advantage over someone with the same amount of Khan DNA through another line.

So, it's likely that, for the average central asian person, around 40 billion of his/her half trillion male decendants from 40 generations back are Ghengis Khan.  This means Ghengis Khan was well over a million times more biologically successful than the average person from that time period.  That's the significant conjecture put forth by the study.

-Adam

[ Parent ]

one other thing (none / 0) (#137)
by Adam Tarr on Tue Mar 11, 2003 at 12:59:55 AM EST

The number of people who were ever alive but are now dead is in the billions. I don't even think it's over ten billion. Remember we're at the pointy end of an exponential curve here.
I've read estimates that there have been roughly 100 billion humans in history. So around 6% are alive right now. For most of recorded history there was probably only a couple hundred million people in the world, but low life expectancy made the turnover pretty fast. So it adds up to a pretty large total.

-Adam

[ Parent ]

Double-counting (none / 0) (#100)
by ZorbaTHut on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 07:23:39 PM EST

What you've actually said is something along the lines of "there are one trillion paths that can be taken from Khan to his descendents" . . . so each person with two lines of descent to Khan counts twice. And I imagine a lot of people who are related to Khan have a *lot* more lines of descent than that :P

[ Parent ]
A better way to think about it (5.00 / 1) (#105)
by Thorgeir Blund on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 10:07:43 PM EST

Here's how Steve Sailer explains it:
Early in the last millennium, the population of the world was, speaking very roughly, 1/20 as large as it is today. Therefore, the average man alive then has 20 descendants alive today in his direct male line. In contrast, with about 16 million direct descendants, this one mega-ancestor was something like 800,000 times more successful than the average.
You asked:
If Khan has 16 million "direct patrilineal descendants", what does that mean about the number of people who have inherited ANY genetic material from him?

Much larger, obviously. Genghis Khan's daughters and their descendants obviously didn't inherit his Y-chromosome. Only the sons of the sons of the sons of Genghis Khan carry his Y-chromsome. Not the sons of the daughters of the sons, or the sons of the sons of the daughters, etc., etc.

Most people in the former Mongol empire probably descends to Genghis Khan to some degree.

Answer: Whatever works out to 16 million in forty generations. So x ^ 40 = 16 million. This is about 1.5, which sounds eminently reasonable. (By the way, assuming it's 35 or 45 generations doesn't change that figure wildly.

I think multiplying that figure by two to get 'total children who make babies' might be rash. After all, in these societies, women are viewed as maybe a step above cattle. Plus they may not survive childbirth. But out of interest, if you assume two children per generation, you get a bit over one trillion Khan descendants. Which seems wrong for some reason, I dunno.

So, either my model is severely flawed, or these scientists are on crack. I suspect the first.

I think your number of generations is a bit too high (30 generations is probably more accurate).

But what makes you think 1.5 male offspring who survive to adulthood and successfully reproduce is "reasonable" for the average man in history? That is equivalent to 3 surviving/reproducing children per family (you mention fewer women may have survived; but an equal number of women need to be available to bear children). 3 children equals 50% population growth per generation. Sustained over 30 generations, that would cause the population to grow by (3/2)^30 = 192,000 times. In fact, the population has grown by about 20 times. (x/2)^30 = 20, x~=2.21 children per couple, or 1.105 male children per household.

This type of model is still way too simplistic. Not everyone will have an equal number of male and female children. Some families will have no male children, and in this case, the father's Y-chromosome lineage dies out. Also, population growth isn't necessarily steady. There will be periods when there is no growth, or even a decline in population. In these case, lineages will die out. There are many other factors to take into account.

The bottom line is that Genghis Khan's number of patrilineal descendants is remarkable, and nothing like it has been seen up to this point. If all men had been as successful, there would be trillions of people in the world today.

[ Parent ]

Bullshit (none / 0) (#84)
by mlapanadras on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 04:50:08 AM EST

There is no such thing as "enormous reproductive success" for one simple reason - STD.

Try Genghis Khan's value system and next week you will get gonorrhea, couple of weeks you will suffer its consequences (antibiotics weren't a part of Khan's lifestyle) and - voila! - you will be perfectly sterile.

I did not, of course, suggest that (none / 0) (#103)
by Thorgeir Blund on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 08:37:57 PM EST

you follow Genghis Khan's example.

On STDs, from the Sailer article:

Cochran pointed out, "In Genghis Khan's time, promiscuity wasn't as dangerous because syphilis wasn't known in Eurasia until 1493 (a date that suggests it was brought back from America by Columbus' sailors)."


[ Parent ]
I have to mention that gonorrhea is not syphilis (none / 0) (#107)
by mlapanadras on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 12:56:55 AM EST

Gonorrhea is much more common STD and affects reproductive functions badly. There is no connection between Columbus and gonorrhea. Do not forget about popular STDs like chlamidia that also can lead to sterility and hepatitis B that would simply kill back in Khan's age. The number of other STDs that spread primaly in the South Asia is even greater so Khan was possibly in danger to pick up also one of them.

Promiscuity always was a big danger from the medical point of view.

[ Parent ]

virgins, not gonorrhea (none / 0) (#134)
by selfish gene on Sun Feb 16, 2003 at 08:58:16 AM EST

He could have only virgins if he wanted, OK ? So he needn't to care about STD.

[ Parent ]
where he supposed to get them? (none / 0) (#135)
by mlapanadras on Mon Feb 17, 2003 at 12:34:51 AM EST

It was hard to remain virgin in Gengis Khan's Asia 1000 ago.

[ Parent ]
Been done before (4.12 / 8) (#92)
by sjbrown on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 01:25:57 PM EST

> Though absolute proof that the lineage in
> question is Genghis Khan's awaits the recovery of
> his remains and successful sequencing of his DNA,

I would caution against this.  Cobra commander tried the same thing, with disastrous results.

RE: Been done before (none / 0) (#127)
by sikosis on Wed Feb 12, 2003 at 07:45:08 AM EST

hahahhaha ... nice 1 dude ;) Snake Eyes rocks

[ Parent ]
Dr. Mindbender (none / 0) (#129)
by blackflag on Fri Feb 14, 2003 at 04:43:19 AM EST

It was actually Dr. Mindbender that did this, to Cobra Commander's chargrin, to create Serpentor. However, they failed to get Genghis Khan's DNA, so they just substituted DNA from Sgt. Slaughter. Mindbender said something roughly like this: "If we cannot have the genes of the greatest military mind of Genghis Khan's time, then we will use the genes of the greatest military mind of our time - your genes, Sgt. Slaughter! Ha, ha, ha!" Well, this proved to be an unwise move. Serpentor turned out to be a belligerent idiot whose brilliant plan was to take everything Cobra had and march on Washington.

[ Parent ]
Additional coverage (4.33 / 3) (#102)
by Thorgeir Blund on Mon Feb 10, 2003 at 08:33:37 PM EST

An article by Nicholas Wade on this study is now available at the New York Times website: A Prolific Genghis Khan, it Seems, Helped People the World

Steve Sailer has another article on the subject up, at VDARE.

Interesting. (4.00 / 1) (#108)
by /dev/trash on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 01:02:37 AM EST

I like this book:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail-/0393020185/qid=1044943089/sr=1-1/r ef=sr_1_1/002-2492265-1564011?v=glance&s=books
(The Seven Daughters of Eve)
Basically it describes how mitorcondrial DNA thru the female can link us to our ancestors and to one of 7 women.

---
Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
let's clone genghis khan! (4.33 / 3) (#112)
by ibbie on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 09:03:40 AM EST

> Though absolute proof that the lineage in
> question is Genghis Khan's awaits the recovery of
> his remains and successful sequencing of his DNA,

it's not like we don't need another bloodthirsty, global dictator around. and frankly, i think that George W. Bush needs the competition.

--
george washington not only chopped down his father's cherry tree, but he also admitted doing it. now, do you know why his father didn't punish him? because george still had the axe in his hand.
Not direct descendants! (4.33 / 3) (#117)
by IPFreely on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 02:14:04 PM EST


(From the Scientific Weekly article)

First, the referenced Y chromosome was more common to the people in Mongolia than other regions.
Also, That chromosome has been spread across parts of Asia and Europe to a wider degree than would be expected through natural drift, and directly in the regions conquered by Khan. (hence, related to conquest of region by the honerable Khan).

But the problem is that noone actually has Khans DNA. Any claim that this is his and strictly his is just ridiculous. Many people in that region could have had that chromosome, including many of his soldiers. Khan might have had it too. We can't tell without a sample, can we.

The whole issue is primarily about how DNA distribution is affected by movement, conquest, and extermination of various groups of people. It just sounds a lot more interesting when they throw in words like "Khan's decendants".

direct patrilineal descent (4.00 / 2) (#120)
by ethereal on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 04:23:16 PM EST

Couldn't it be possible that this particular genetic match just makes you more likely to have sons rather than daughters? Thus you end up with more direct patrilineal descendants, whether you're a Mongol lord or a tailor from Budapest. They should look at population statistics for the current group of people who share this marker.

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State

"What was his secret:?" (none / 0) (#122)
by dh003i on Tue Feb 11, 2003 at 07:08:17 PM EST

I don't know, raping thousands of women kind of makes you a little bit more reproductively successful than the next guy, don't ya think?  Also, he probably had hundreds of wives, who had sons that also probably had hundreds of wives, and so on and so forth.

Social Security is a pyramid scam.

Mohammed? (none / 0) (#138)
by elzubeir on Mon Mar 17, 2003 at 01:41:41 AM EST

Mohammed had no sons (or ones who lived long enough anyway). You can bet 98% of those who claim to be part of his family tree are lying. Especially leaders, mind you. Every one of them has some 'scientist' or 'expert' drawing the tree lining them up right there. So.. please.. there is no comparison. Mohammed had a bunch of daughters and that's it.

Genghis Khan: most prolific man in history? | 139 comments (136 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden)
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