Dienstag, 22. Mai 2012

Genetic avatars

Figurines like the "Venus of Willendorf" ( 22 kybp ) always had a fascination for me, standing in a totally different aesthetic and cultural context. Whether they are a product of male fantasy or a ritual addition in a maternal surrounding, guarding the tent or an idol for fertility will perhaps never be complete cleared. But in a period of determining genetic components for an admixture analysis, I thought, it would be great to associate such female mother/goddess figurines with a certain population component. It would just be helpful, if at the end of an experimental process we could fix a component to a limited region and a certain timeframe, which could be represented by an icon in a senseful colour.
The oldest known figurines, including the new recent finding of the german "Venus of Hohler Fels" (35 - 40 kybp) are tied together in a belt, reaching from Southwest France to Sibiria.

After this homogenous paleo- and mesolithic area, which could have lasted for more than 30000 years, more abstract and diverging types are popping up.

Genetic data are globally not distributed equal like Descarte's "common sense" (Nobody ever has claimed to have herited less of it than others) nor are these figurines. They are clearly clustering in a neolithic period in the Neareast, the Danube bassin and the amerindian high cultures of Inca and Maya.

Even examples of the japanese Jomon culture are numerous, while early pieces for China and a lot of other parts of the world are still lacking. But perhaps we get enough of them covering what we need.

some additions:


  1. Is this something you're still developing? Are the colors representative of genetic haplogroups?

    It would be interesting to see your data used to make the associations.

    -Carl (ahotcupofjoe.net)

  2. the colours are only indirectly related to haplogroups. I would like to see a colour system, that transfers the logic of colours to the genetic markers as used in all kinds of admixture comparisons, so that the specific components for certain similar populations are represented with similar colours. And yes, it's still developing!