The Difference Between Phenotypical Race and Genetic Race

A commenter asks me some questions about my races of man post.

I believe that a bit more changes are necessary to be made to the race classifications you have here Robert. I believe that the Garos, Nicobarese, Negritos (Orang Asli, Semang, Aeta, Senoi, etc.), Melanesians, Micronesians, and possibly Ainus should be classed as Australoid.

Now, hear me out if you will: They have mixed to varying degrees with Mongoloids, but still maintain Australoid appearances, so it is nonsensical (I believe) to class them as Mongoloid simply due to some Mongoloid admixture.

I also believe that a separate “mixed-race” macro category (or “non-classifiable”) category should be made for those in your categories who are of mixed-race. Caucasoid-Mongoloid: Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Turkmen, Uighurs, Tatars, and Hazara. Caucasoid-Negroid: Djiboutians, Eritreans, Mauritanians, Bejas, Somalis, Ethiopians, and certain mixed-race Berbers (all Berbers shouldn’t be classed as belonging to one macro race).

And those certain Pacific Islanders, be they Melanesians or Micronesian, who are obviously a Australoid-Mongoloid mixture.

The Nepalese are a mixture of Indo-Aryans from India as well as Mongoloid groups from the Himalayas (so they are a Caucasoid-Mongoloid mixture).

The Ainus have mixed with the Mongoloid Japanese due to promoted miscegenation by the Japanese government, so many Ainus now have Mongoloid genes, but I still think that they are distinct enough from Mongoloids to be possibly classed as Australoid (which you yourself have called them).

I thank the poster for his input.

The problem here is that the poster is confusing phenotypical race with genetic race. The races of man post dealt only with genetic race, using Cavalli-Sforza as a template and then expanding from there. The problem is that genetic race often does not line up with phenotypical race. For instance, some types are Australoid by phenotype, but not by genes. Only the Andaman Islanders, Papuans and Aborigines seem to fall into an Australoid race by genes.

The Garos are similar to other groups in the far east of India such as the Naga. The Nicobarese are very strange, but the general idea is that they are just archaic SE Asian types, migrated down from Yunnan Province in China maybe 5000 YBP with some of the original Austroasiatic speakers.

I have no genetic data on the Orang Asli or the Senoi. The Senoi at least are certainly Australoid by phenotype. Once again, these are ancient Proto-Malay early Austroasiatic types migrated down from Yunnan 5000 YBP or so. The Orang Asli are some of the original people of the planet outside of Africa, but are they phenotypically Australoid?

The Aeta are phenotypically Australoid, yes, but genetically, they are closer to Filipinos than to anyone else.

Melanesians and Micronesians genetically fit into a nice little category within the Oceanians of the SE Asian race even though they have some Australoid mix – the Melanesians much more than the Micronesians.

A mixed race macro-race of some sort did not make sense to me in terms of a rational classification, though I did think about it. Some groups are just too recent to be classified at all, such as Hispanic mestizos and mulattos.

For groups like the Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Turkmen, Uighurs, Tatars, and Hazara, I had to look up percentages of Asian and Caucasian. If they were a bit more Caucasian, they went into Caucasian. If they were more Asian, they went into Asian. Groups for which I had no data were not listed. It was scatter-shot, but I could not think of anything else to do.

For the Djiboutians, Eritreans, Mauritanians, Bejas, Somalis, Ethiopians, and certain mixed-race Berbers, I did try to fit most of these into some race or another. However, I will agree with you here that I may need a new category. I have long contemplated a sort of Horner Major Race, splitting the Horners off from the rest of the Africans. The Horners are just too different from the rest of the Africans. They are about 1/2 way between Africans and Caucasians.

I realize that the Berbers are a mess, but there was not much I could do with them, and I don’t want to make a major race out of them. Sometimes you just have to improvise.

The Nepalese fit well into Caucasian on most charts. Granted, they are some of the most diverse Caucasians out there, but so are the Indians for that matter.

Although the Ainu are phenotypically Australoid, genetically they are quite close to the Japanese and the Koreans, so it makes sense to call them NE Asians genetically.

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10 thoughts on “The Difference Between Phenotypical Race and Genetic Race”

  1. Does this distinction between genotypal and phenotypal race correspond to the distinction between race defined as an ancestral clade and as an ecotype, respectively? Kinda sorta? I read a little bit about those things back in the 1990s when people were trying to figure out what biological race really means.

      1. Yeah. They seem to correspond. Similar genomes would typically (though not necessarily) indicate shared ancestry (clade). Similar phenotype would typically (not necessarily) indicate evolution in similar environments (ecotype). So it seems that phenotypal race would correspond to ecotype, and genetic race to ancestral clade. But I’m just guessing at all this.

  2. But Robert, here is my point: they might be close to some race – for example: Ainu with Mongoloid Japanese – , but this is due to admixture. Also, how is it possible to be phenotypically one thing, and genetically something else? It’s like a Mexican with blue-eyes, curly hair, light skin, and other Mediterranean Caucasoid features, but genetically coming out as an Amerindian. How could that Mexican be classed as Amerindian/Mongoloid? If anything, the genetics showed that he has Amerindian blood and is therefore mestizo, but he can’t be of pure Amerindian genes, otherwise, how could he look Spanish/Caucasoid? I think that is the major fallacy in your classifications. Even if the Kazakhs, for example, are more Mongoloid than Caucasoid, that still doesn’t invalidate the fact that they are mixed-race (it’s not like the Kazakhs, for example, are 80-90% Mongoloid, they are about 50-60% Mongoloid). So, for me at least, it makes sense to make a mixed-race category, it is unscientific to lump mixed-race groups with one group only, even if they are more of that group than the other group (that they are composed of).

  3. Robert forming more flights of fantastic opinions on subjects he knows nothing about. Gee will the guy ever shut up…

  4. I’ve been to a lot of places where the Americans had to bring in Filipinos to get nursing/teaching/doctoring/office-management doen because the natives couldn’t.

    Hawaii was a place wher ethey had to be brought in to do even agricultural stoop labor.

    Marshal Islands is a place where they had to be brought in because the Melanesian men couldn’t really learn to work the manual transmissions of large trucks. This I saw with my own eyes.

  5. I believe phenotype is 10X more important than genotype, people who look similar belong to the same race, even if they are not genetically related.

    1. How does that work? Phenotype just refers to physical adaptation externally to an environment. While that’s one factor, it’s far from the only thing that defines a creature biologically.

      For example, two population that resemble each other are negritos and pygmies and pygmy-like population of Africa. While not exact, many would class them closer together due to appearance alone. However, CLOSER investigation on their physical and genetic traits prove them to be closer to different populations.

      1. I just think physical similarity is more important than genetic similarity, it’s one way of looking at race.

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