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  • Writer's pictureMateusz Zalewski-Grzelak

Horns on the Forehead and Race

"An army of grandmothers is standing behind me."

"I am a child of Mother Earth and the starry heavens." Eleusinian dictum

It is a rather weird affair, but I always wondered what those little protruding horns were doing on my forehead. I established that it was definitely not the case with my grandmother, whom I called endearingly "Baba Yaga" (her name was Jadwiga, pronounced "yadveega", hence "baba yaaga") that I’m not exactly a hellboy. So far, I’ve seen two or three human specimens in Poland with this kind of adornment. So out of trivial interest, I researched further. By happenstance, I encountered the physical anthropology of the pre-Nazi era.

This was a science of race that would nowadays be discredited as "racism" as everything moved into population genetics. Races are not geographically distinct, given population mobility, and the environment determines the extent to which a given trait is influenced by genetic factors. They are not homogenous within their own group due to genetic mixing. Yet they are real biological entities.

"There are hereditary differences among human beings. Some of these differences have geographical correlates. Some genetic variants that produce physical or behavioral deficits occur significantly more often in some areas, or in some ethnic groups, than in others. However, none of these facts provides any intellectual support for the race concept, for racial classifications, or for social hierarchies based on ethnic-group membership"(1)

With this knowledge, we can accept the political correctness that there will always be people or groups of people who believe their group is superior to others on this basis, demonstrating their elitism.Especially since most scientists lean toward this theory very politically, following history and their ethical instincts and fearing for their grants and ostracism from the rest of the community, they openly try to avoid it.

Yet, races are real biological entities. A nation, a sophisticated construct emerging in the 1850s during the European Spring of Nations, led to the idea of nationalism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and settled well in the societal noosphere, reinforced by public schooling, rewriting history, reinforcing created political memory, and programming. The very idea of a nation demarcated the territory that made individuals easier to control than subjects of a king, who derived their individuality from their craft. The French Revolution project failed, and the Enlightenment project died soon after, paving the way for totalitarian ideas and hickup post-war nationalisms, reemergent in modernity.

(1) Cartmill, Matt. "The Status of the Race Concept in Physical Anthropology." American Anthropologist 100, no. 3 (1998): 651–60.

"Almost every sort of human potential is limited by both environmental and genetic factors, but it makes no sense to ask whether a particular capacity is limited chiefly by heredity or by environment. The environment (including culture) determines the contribution of genetic factors to phenotypic variation. Genetic variants that affect aphenotypic trait in one setting may have no effect on it in other environments. Superior or fitter genetic variants are superior only in a specific environmental context. There is no such thing as "heritability," "fitness," or "biological superiority" in the abstract "(2)

(2) ibid.

Continuing, I gave myself permission to run an mtDNA test; the result was K1C1F, which is most commonly found in Eastern Europe, at least since the reign of Roman Emperor Tiberius, when part of this maternal lineage was pushed eastward from Germania Magna and Frisia.This mtDNA originally traveled from Syria, through Turkey, Anatolia into Europe, where it spread agriculture throughout Europe. I found that there are exact matches of mutations in some modern day individuals in Finland and Germany. The K mtDNA haplogroup descends from the much broader and older R1A.

The horns were common among Dravidian and Indo-Nordic populations, a far cry and untenable leap of conjecture, but I had nothing else.Old photos of individuals in the peripheral Nordic fraction in the modern territory of Poland also had such protruding horns on their skulls.

The discovery of R1A in the old territory of the Vedic Mohenjo-Daro civilization, modern-day Iran (Melukha, as it is known in Akkad), caused a lot of uproar in Indian political circles because it would turn the running ethnocentric discourse on its head while also alerting various fringe geneology and genetics geeks.

That is not even a claim of descent, as that would be a senseless inflation of identity craving; it is meant as an illustration that racial features may sometimes be expressed in our bodies and give us some hints as to our grandmothers and whence they come from.

Given the greater global population picture, thinking in terms of "race" in modernity is more political than factual; hence, Afro-American populations (which are a political unit and not a racial unity) in the United States of America were always suppressed because of their political consciousness. Thinking about "race" in modern times is like playing complex adaptive systems with genetic bifurcations and chaotic attractors of gene pools and geographical locations.Yet, the deeper into history we go, the less mobility there is and the greater the chance of finding something useful.

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