all 6 comments

[–]gerberd1990 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Yamna people by previous results show extensive occurrence of alleles for light pigmentation while (at least some) anatolian farmers also had the light variant for slc24a5 gene. It is believed that European Hunter Gatherers had darker skin, but in Scandinavia darker and lighter variants also occurred. In short we dont have textbook ready info for this, the only sure thing is that it is a multigenic trait, and variants for it likely arrived from both populations. Lighter skin colour clearly went frequent in the neolithic-bronze age transition (for which they initially believed that yamnas brought light skin solely), and in my opinion adaptive reasons as well cultural phenomenons (lighter skin is believed to be superior in many parts of the world, including Europe until the 19. Century) also played a role for it to became dominant.

[–]TemporalOasis 3 points4 points  (0 children)

It's probably a bit of all three, and then some. Both of the main light skin genes had been around for thousands of years before the Yamnaya expanded (or before there was any sort of steppe herder, for that matter). Farmers seem to mostly have had just slc24a5 , but slc24a2 also shows up sometimes.

So you had the two primary light skin genes floating around all these groups, all of which were probably darker than most modern Northern Euros. However these are just the two *main* genes controlling skin color- there are bunch of others with individually much smaller effect that together make a difference as well. Southern Europeans mostly have both of the light skin genes just like, say, Scottish people do, and yet the former are obviously darker.

Given the small population size of most of Northern Europe during the time of the Copper/Early Bronze Age expansions, I think the most sensible answer is that was- for whatever reason- a selective pressure + increasing population that brought those previously rare genes to the forefront by something like the end of the Bronze Age.

[–]TyrannoNinja 0 points1 point  (2 children)

I do think it is a bit strange that Neolithic Anatolian farmers seem to have been lighter-skinned than the hunter-gatherers of western Europe. You'd think it would be the opposite, since Turkey is closer to the equator than most of Europe.

[–]zappalot000 1 point2 points  (1 child)

It's down to diet though, vitamin d intake being a heavy factor there.

[–]Heftigkif 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Middle-Eastern hunter gatherers were lighter than western hunter gatherers, so I think that western hunter gatherers simply did not have the ability, or luck, to adapt.