Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2005-01 > 1105383768

From: "ljcrain" <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Sarmatians-Alans-Ossetians
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2005 13:02:48 -0600
References: <>

There have been recent articles in the news describing the inhabitants of
Northern geographical regions as losing pigment as an adaption to obtain
more Vitamin D. Vitamin D is very important to survival, as among other
benefits, the immune system needs it. I think there were articles on this
list several months ago.

Janet Crain

----- Original Message -----
From: "ellen Levy" <>
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, January 09, 2005 8:35 PM
Subject: Re: [DNA] Sarmatians-Alans-Ossetians

> Ann & List:
> I'd really like to know the sources of this
> information - especially if it is coming directly from
> Kimball's book. Are they recent sources or ancient
> historical sources? In particular, I've never seen
> this description of the Khazars in the sources I've
> looked at. They are described as light-skinned and
> red/blond haired by some ancient sources, and dark and
> swarthy in others (these sources may have described
> nobility and high castes as lighter rather than
> accurately describing physical appearance). They were
> probably a mix of ethnic groups and varied in
> appearance, just like the Sarmatians and Alans.
> Although the Ossetians claim to be descended from the
> Alans, that's still a long way from proving, either
> directly or circumstantially, that they actually are
> direct descendants or that they can attribute most of
> their genetic ancestry to this particular ancient
> group.
> The description of certain ancient ethnic groups as
> "blond" or "Nordic" is particularly troubling, though
> I'm certainly not adverse to exploring ancient
> descriptions of various populations. However, the
> groups in question were probably highly mixed
> ethnically and contained a range of physical
> appearances. A lot of terms we are using like
> "Indo-Iranian" and "Indo-Aryan" describe huge
> linguistic/archaeological groups of people with great
> variation, not a single, homogeneous tribal group.
> I am also wary of ascribing physical attributes to
> particular haplogroups, as was mentioned in some
> previous posts. Light skin and blondness are
> dependent on physical location, not particular
> haplogroups. Although there has been debate about
> whether blondness (light-skin, blue eyes) were
> adaptations to northern climates, it appears to be the
> verse - that dark pigmentation is an adaptation to
> southern climates where harsh sunlight can cause some
> serious damage to skin & eyes. Some recent articles
> on red hair are an excellent source for information on
> pigmentation (sorry, don't have the exact references
> in front of me). Basically, as various groups moved
> north, they began to lose the need for dark
> pigmentation (this process was probably hastened to
> some extent by sex selection as well). In other
> words, light pigmentation wasn't selected for by the
> environment; rather, selection pressures for dark
> pigmentation simply disappeared as populations
> migrated north out of Africa.
> Just look at haplogroup R1a, for example. There has
> been some posts today regarding the high percentage of
> R1a in Pakistan (I'd love to know exactly what that
> percentage is, if anyone happens to know). My guess
> is that blonds are fairly rare (though probably not
> non-existent) in Pakistan. On the other hand, Poles
> and Russians are frequently blond and light-skinned.
> Their R1a percentages are well over 50%.
> Finally, since physical attributes are not dependent
> on your Y Chromosome or MtDNA direct lines (they
> originate with your autosomal DNA), then one really
> can't argue that J2's are dark-haired while R1a's are
> blond.
> Ellen Coffman
> --- News Writing <> wrote:
>> I read that the Sarmatians, an Iranic-speaking
>> "Nordic-redhaired & blond
>> tribe" were related to the Saka people who came
>> before them, and also the
>> Sauro-Matians. They intermarried with Scythians
>> around 400 BC. In early
>> medieval times the Sarmatians moved into the N.
>> Caucasus from the area where
>> the Caspian and Volga meet. The Sarmatians in
>> medieval times were known as
>> the Alans. Later, they became known as the Ossetians
>> who now lived in the N.
>> of Georgia and in their own land, Ossetia. The
>> source of this information, I
>> think was Dr. Davis-Kimball's "Warrior Women of the
>> Steppes" book.
>> Interestingly, they came from the exact place the
>> Khazars came from, who
>> have been described in books as sandy-haired,
>> broad-faced, with high-cheek
>> bones and gray eyes, but who spoke a Turkic rather
>> than an Iranic languages.
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