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The Harmattan season.

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Charles Darwin

Denis Noble

JP Rushton

Richard Lynn

L:inda Gottfredson

Goodreads

By Afrosapiens, 555  words.

2012-spring-magazine-uconn-asc-2010-0060-ph1661

Harmattan haze in Niger.

 

The Harmattan season is a little known feature of the climatic characteristics of the West African subcontinent. Similarly to a temperate climate winter, it occurs between November and March,  5 months during which the region experiences dry, hazy, and colder conditions due to Saharan dust particles brought by the Harmattan trade wind.

Although the Harmattan season is sometimes referred to as a West African winter with temperature commonly dropping to a low 7°C (45°F) during the night and in the morning, typical tropical temperatures ranging from 25°C to 35°C (77°F – 95°C) are experienced during the afternoon. The humidity rate is below 15% and the region experiences no rainfall during the season. More than the drought, the colder temperature and occasional dust storms and wildfires, the dusty Harmattan haze is what makes the West African winter challenging by significantly reducing visibility and causing several health problems such as asthma, meningitis, skin and eye conditions. From an evolutionary standpoint, it is possible that the Harmattan season has caused various anatomical adaptations affecting brain characteristics.

 

fig1

 

Despite the common hereditarian claim that Sub-Saharan Africans average smaller cranial capacities than Eurasians due to the warmer climates of tropical Africa, the few studies that I’ve come across regarding West Africa paint a significantly different picture. In a 2011 sample of North-Eastern Nigerian adults likely of Kanuri ethnicity, the reported average cranial capacity was 1424cc for males and 1331cc for females, which makes a total average of 1378cc. In a 2013 sample of 527 Igbos aged 14-20 from Anambra State (Southeastern Nigeria), the reported cranial capacities were 1411cc for males and 1443cc for females and a combined average of 1427cc. In another study of Southeastern Nigerians (year 2011),  the reported values were closer to those usually claimed with an average of 1310cc among Edos, 1273cc among Igbos and 1256cc among Urhobos.

 

Beals et al.’s (1984) estimated distribution of cranial capacity.

 

Although these are only a few studies on West African cranial characteristics, they at least have the merit of being recent (less than 10 years old) and drawn from actual measurements on living persons contrary to Beals et al.’s 1984 reference study in which the West African values are inferred from simplistic climatic variables in the absence of actual skulls from the region. I have often shown these high cranial capacity West African samples as a refutation of the cold winter theory of brain size differences.  And whereas hereditarian debaters have commonly dismissed them as meaningless exceptions to the rule, there is no scientific rule with unexplainable exceptions.

 

Harmattan haze in the Ghanaian countryside

 

In fact, judging from the competing and more generally accepted theory that brain size and eyeballs grow in adaptation to low light environments, the high cranial capacity, especially in Northern Nigerian samples, makes perfect sense if seen as an adaptation to the low visibility caused by the Harmattan haze from November to March. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find any data on West African eye characteristics, I can only anecdotally mention a higher frequency of epicanthic fold among West Africans relative to other non-Mongoloid populations. I acknowledge that this post is somewhat speculative and based on poor data. Nevertheless, I write it as a warning to all the bloggers and “scholars” making up theories and inferences based on a poor understanding of the complexity of the world’s current and past climatic conditions.

 

Dakar, Senegal under the Harmattan Haze.

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31 Comments

  1. meLo says:

    I thought the beals study used 20,000 modern skulls?

    Like

    • Afrosapiens 🇫🇷🇪🇺 says:

      They used the CRANDAT database on 122 ethnic groups. If by modern you mean anatomically modern humans, yeah these are modern skulls. If you mean contemporary, these samples were compiled before 1984, that’s 33 years ago…

      The issue here is not really the number of skulls though. It’s the complete absence of West African data. Another problem with their study is that values are not scaled for body size. For instance the very low cranial capacities in central Africa are from Pygmy Samples.

      Like

    • meLo says:

      Averaging your numbers and the other fellow in the comments gives an average African mean of 1342cc definitely higher than beals’ estimates. The pattern sort of mirrors the distribution of the CASC5 gene, where Africans and Europeans are closer to eachother than they are to East asians.

      Like

    • Afrosapiens 🇫🇷🇪🇺 says:

      These are Nigerian numbers, they possibly can be generalized to the whole West African subcontinent, less probably to the whole African continent which has different environmental characteristics. The same would be true for Europeans, averaging different populations living in different places is not appropriate. Averaging Italians and Finns would not make sense whether we consider solar irradiation or temperature as the selecting factor for brain size.

      My view is that sight related adaptations make more sense because sensory functions are more important than cognitive ones for survival in my opinion.

      As for CASC5, as I said in my reply to the other post, the effect should be replicated in other populations before jumping to conclusions. There are many instances of ethnicity-specific gene expression and convergent evolution acting on different loci in different populations.

      Like

    • meLo says:

      “The same would be true for Europeans, averaging different populations living in different places is not appropriate. “”

      If you wanted to know the average cranial capacity of Europeans you would average all of Europe. The average is only as arbitrary as the proxy used to define it.

      “The same would be true for Europeans, averaging different populations living in different places is not appropriate.

      “sensory functions are more important than cognitive ones for survival in my opinion.”

      How so?

      Like

    • Afrosapiens says:

      If you wanted to know the average cranial capacity of Europeans you would average all of Europe. The average is only as arbitrary as the proxy used to define it.

      I would only want to know the average of all of Europe if I thought all of Europe was a relevant biological category. Likewise, I would only want to know all of Europe’s GDP per capita if I thought all of Europe was a relevant economic category. But it’s not. Averaging economic indicators of countries as different as Luxembourg and Moldova teaches me nothing about how Europeans live, because there isn’t a single European living standard that makes sense. Like wise, there is not a single average European brain size that makes sense. In Africa, the issue is on an even larger magnitude, the continent is much larger, more environmentally, ethnically and genetically diverse that there is no average African biological parameter that makes sense.

      How so?

      If intelligence is making appropriate deductions, interpretations and decisions from available information, it is obviously dependent on the sensory functions that allow one to gather information. Take the example of low visibility. Before elaborating a hunting strategy, a band of hunter first needs to see the prey, or its footprints. And these are the basic requirements that their brains would have to adapt to before developing their strategic functions.

      If we pretend IQ really reflects intelligence, it’s quite obvious that an IQ of 140 is of virtually no use for someone who’s blind.

      Like

    • meLo says:

      “I would only want to know the average of all of Europe if I thought all of Europe was a relevant biological category.”

      Well Morphology would be one parameter.

      ” And these are the basic requirements that their brains would have to adapt to before developing their strategic functions.”

      Can you imagine an apple without knowing it’s color, shape, texture, etc.? Cognitive skills are derived from sensory functions, it’s a false dichotomy of sorts. You’re still correct in assuming sensory systems have higher importance but these cognitive abilities do not actually arise unless stimulated through sensory play. One reason why delayed developmental growth is present in humans. There is no real separation.

      Like

    • Afrosapiens 🇫🇷🇪🇺 says:

      Well Morphology would be one parameter.

      The morphology of who? European populations as well as African ones differ in the frequency of morphological traits. Populations of the same continent tend to be more similar on those traits than populations of different continents, but they don’t constitute well defined biological categories for which it would make sense to calculate an average. There is no relevant African or European average brain size, skull shape, height or skin color, especially on those traits that overlap and vary more within populations than between populations (which by the way is a sign of weak selection if any). Morphological variation is more complex than Rushton’s arbitrary tri-racial model.

      Can you imagine an apple without knowing it’s color, shape, texture, etc.? Cognitive skills are derived from sensory functions, it’s a false dichotomy of sorts.

      No, it’s not a false dichotomy, I’m just thinking there would be stronger selection pressure on sensory functions than cognitive ones, since the brain has to receive information before processing it.

      Like

    • meLo says:

      “Populations of the same continent tend to be more similar on those traits than populations of different continents, but they don’t constitute well defined biological categories for which it would make sense to calculate an average.”

      How so? They also differ genetically.

      “especially on those traits that overlap and vary more within populations than between populations (which by the way is a sign of weak selection if any). ”

      Actually it could just mean there is strong selection on the plasticity of that trait, like white skin. Brain size is something I need to go over with RR in relation to plasticity.

      “Morphological variation is more complex than Rushton’s arbitrary tri-racial model.”

      Right, but you should probably tell that to someone who thinks there is a “tri racial model” Race is like a penn diagram with 5 circles, but even that’s sloppy.

      “No, it’s not a false dichotomy, I’m just thinking there would be stronger selection pressure on sensory functions than cognitive ones, since the brain has to receive information before processing it.”

      I think you’re confused. Sensory functions are cognitive. Interneurons create neural circuits, enabling communication between sensory or motor neurons and the central nervous system. How can someone who is blind, deaf, mute, and unable to feel touch even Imagine anything to begin with? Close your eyes, can you imagine “nothing”.

      Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      Brain size is something I need to go over with RR in relation to plasticity.

      Shoot.

      Like

    • meLo says:

      Check my comment on your latest brain size post, I felt it was more appropriate plus it’ll beef up the comment section a little.

      Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      Got you. It’s something I’ve wanted to discuss as well. I’ve been reading into it a lot.

      Like

  2. veydunel says:

    I rarely ever pay attention to this kind of science but the cc from 527 Igbos from Anambra Stateis weird because it gives an higher number for females.
    However the last study done in the same area in 2016 seems to confirm the observation found in this article with higher numbers than given in traditional HBD circle.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5101979/
    with a combined size of 1408 cc for males (1460 cc) & females (1348cc) aged over 20.

    Like

    • Afrosapiens 🇫🇷🇪🇺 says:

      Thanks for the reference. Where did you find it? And which keywords did you use for your search?

      Like

    • Fjow says:

      So you were right after all Afrosapiens!

      Did you think of becoming fortune teller?

      Seems like that evidence going against the hereditarians case is growing rapidly.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Afrosapiens 🇫🇷🇪🇺 says:

      Maybe a voodoo priest lol. Yeah indeed there are many ways in which hereditarians are wrong. They made up their tales in the 70s 80s and had not forecasted that the internet would provide accessible fact checking tools only a couple of decades after.

      Like

  3. John says:

    Interesting article but I would like to ask a question to the writers.

    First one will be adressed to AfroSapiens;

    Why? Why do you take your time to argue against most of HBder? Honest debate seems to be far from their priorities, which is propaganda (American renaissance from Jared Taylor, Stefen Molyneux…etc). These people want civil war to happen and I feel like that it may be inevitable, maybe I spent to much on /pol/ from 4chan.

    To RaceRealist:

    Do you really agree with AfroSapiens? Or you’re just trying to be a contrarian (in these other article you claimed in the comment section that you have doubt about Africans being able to be well industrialized)? It’s weird, this blog is weird.

    I discovered it because a guy linked it in a thread from /pol/ about IQ, it was ignored but I decided to click on it and I saw articles that is not expected to be present in a HBDer blog.

    But I think it’s too late for honest debate, future look bad, really bad with politics.

    Like

    • Afrosapiens 🇫🇷🇪🇺 says:

      John, I know most HBDers are not interested in honest and logical debates. But the internet is open to anyone, some with genuine interest in the matter, others that just want to push their ideology. I’m not wasting much time with the latter anymore.

      Me and RR can agree and disagree on several points but we’re both willing to share some original and interesting content while doing our best to minimize our respective biases. So, what we do here is at least beneficial to us and we hope it can enlighten our readers just as much.

      Like

    • Fjow says:

      John, you worry too much about the future, for now, if the hereditarian position is used in politics, then we will counter it with Afrosapien and RR’s finding.

      Beside, the alt right isn’t that powerful, it has influence because it’s well organised but it’s far from being unbeatable.

      To RR and Afrosapien, Kraut is back on twitter, yeah, the guy who made video against r/k and race.

      While you may have disagreement with his last video, he may now make a third one about race realism on IQ and race.

      Afrosapien, I think it’s your best chance to get a spotlight, I’m in contact with one of Kraut’s buddies (TheSandreGuy), I can ask him to talk about you to Kraut.

      Kraut allowed a guy with a degree to talk in his last videi and I think that you’re better than the guy in question.

      What do you think?

      Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      What is his main position?

      Like

    • Fjow says:

      “What is his main position?”

      About races you probably know since If I remember well, you tweeted about his videos and disagreed with him.

      About IQ, he disagree with hereditarians, debated Cedarwood (and failed because he knew jack shit about race and IQ, far from Afrosapien’s knowledge and your knowledge).

      I think that if you and Afrosapien can give actual good arguments, he will use it for sure in his next video, he already asked help from DerDoktorant for his video about race.

      So he will certainly not say no to your help. I propose this here so Afrosapien can see it too (Hope that you’ll have twitter one day Afro). It’s also his best chance I think to get spotlight.

      Like

    • Chinedu says:

      Beside, the alt right isn’t that powerful, it has influence because it’s well organised but it’s far from being unbeatable.

      I have to disagree with you there. The alt-right is not influential and they are not well organized. After Charlottesville only about 20-30 of them are willing to show their face in public. Any movement that advocates genocide and ethnic cleansing isn’t going to find many adherents. And you can bet that the feds have infiltrated them and are watching them very closely.

      Like

    • Fjow says:

      Charlotteville wasn’t good for them but they’re still growing, the media now talk about them.

      I’m just saying that they’re not that powerful but they’re growing because only a few people argue against hereditarians, which make them arrogant and make their bias stronger.

      http://archive.is/79WlB

      Here’s a long paper on their movement.

      Like

    • Fjow says:

      Which is why I propose to Afrosapien to give arguments/help to Kraut because he’ll probably make a new video on the alt right.

      It may be one of his best chance to get spotlight.

      Like

  4. Chinedu says:

    <

    blockquote>I’m just saying that they’re not that powerful but they’re growing because only a few people argue against hereditarians, which make them arrogant and make their bias stronger.<?blockquote>

    They’re not growing in real life, which all that matters. Ask yourself, how often have you heard anyone saying any of this alt-right or race realism nonsense in the real world? I certainly haven’t. The Internet tends to amplify a lot of fringe communities and confer on them a false sense of their numbers and influence. The alt-right is not nearly as big as 9/11 truthers or Bigfoot enthusiasts and no one takes any of those kooks seriously either. Go to 9/11 or Bigfoot videos on YouTube. Compare their view counts and number of comments to alt-right videos. You’ll see that the alt-right is nowhere as big as those other Internet fringe communities.

    If these alt-right morons attempt to actualize any of their fantasies in the real world they’ll be crushed like the cockroaches they are.

    Like

    • Fjow says:

      Still, please check the paper I linked, you’re right, they’re small compared to other communities but they still have influence on internet, which is becoming more and more a part of real life.

      I mostly agree with you though, I’ve met and talk to white nationalist who were honest and not hateful, but they’re outnumbered by the amount of edgy alt righter.

      Like

  5. Fjow says:

    Emil Kirkeegard responded to your study about larger eyes in low light environment:

    Thought on it?

    Like

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