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Re: Jarda racial names

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  • Herman Miller
    ... The silverfur type is an adaptation to the cold southern lands; besides the light fur color they have other adaptations to the cold climate. Some
    Message 1 of 4 , Feb 25, 2013
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      On 2/24/2013 9:35 PM, George Corley wrote:
      > On Sun, Feb 24, 2013 at 8:17 PM, Herman Miller<hmiller@...> wrote:
      >
      >> I've been thinking about Sangari racial diversity and how to go about
      >> naming the different groups in Jarda. I figure that the most apparent
      >> differences would be in facial features and fur characteristics. There's a
      >> group I've called "silverfurs" because of the pale color of their fur
      >> (actually a bit more golden than silvery in appearance, but it's considered
      >> a shade of non-ultraviolet-reflecting white, which I gloss as "silvery").
      >> The Mayushi (a group that lives on an island to the southeast) belong to a
      >> related race with more of a yellowish golden color to their fur.
      >>
      >> So one obvious option is to name the groups by their distinctive
      >> characteristics.
      >>
      >> füljêzŏ shortfurs
      >> łağjêzŏ silverfurs
      >> tṛaljêzŏ yellowfurs (Mayushi)
      >> diṛvazŏ littlenoses
      >> ğirjazŏ longears
      >>
      >
      > Are any of these traits environmentally conditioned the way human skin
      > color is? That could certainly to a similar association with race.

      The "silverfur" type is an adaptation to the cold southern lands;
      besides the light fur color they have other adaptations to the cold
      climate. Some northerners may have similar adaptations, but they belong
      to a different race. The "shortfur" race is adapted to warmer climates.
      Maybe the sizes of noses and ears are also adaptations to local
      conditions, but I haven't figured out the specifics.

      > A lot of this has to do with the fact that humans don't actually have
      > physical races, of course, and the traits we're using to categorize people
      > are usually polygenetic traits that exist on a continuum, rather than
      > simple binary traits. The genetics of your conspecies might be somewhat
      > different.

      Maybe so, but I imagine things like ear length and nose size are ranges
      on a continuum also. Eye color could be another variable. But there must
      have been quite a bit of interbreeding over the years, and probably no
      clear racial boundaries remain.

      >> Or maybe each group just has its own name (like Mayushi, Mizarga, and
      >> Kavargi), and Jarda has adopted a historical version of those names.
      >>
      >
      > Why not do both. One name might be pejorative, and another more formal or
      > proper. In fact, there are all kinds of interesting social tricks you can
      > do when you give an ethnic or racial group multiple names. Plus, calling
      > back to what I said before, if your species is like humans in terms of
      > genetic diversity, then different cultures may well divide up the "races"
      > in different ways.

      Yes, it's likely that Tirelat or Lindiga would have a different
      categorization of races than Jarda. Maybe from a Jarda-centric point of
      view, everyone living on the western continent (Tavishantse) would
      generically be labeled as "westerners", when actually the deepest racial
      divisions are found among the western races. Tirelat would keep those
      separate, while being vague on the "eastern" races of Nyakiramya.
    • Alex Fink
      ... It s not in fact clear that light human skin colour is environmentally conditioned! It seems that light skin doesn t so much have an _advantage_ in climes
      Message 2 of 4 , Feb 26, 2013
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        On Mon, 25 Feb 2013 21:35:54 -0500, Herman Miller <hmiller@...> wrote:

        >On 2/24/2013 9:35 PM, George Corley wrote:
        >> Are any of these traits environmentally conditioned the way human skin
        >> color is? That could certainly to a similar association with race.
        >
        >The "silverfur" type is an adaptation to the cold southern lands;
        >besides the light fur color they have other adaptations to the cold
        >climate. Some northerners may have similar adaptations, but they belong
        >to a different race. The "shortfur" race is adapted to warmer climates.
        >Maybe the sizes of noses and ears are also adaptations to local
        >conditions, but I haven't figured out the specifics.

        It's not in fact clear that light human skin colour is environmentally conditioned! It seems that light skin doesn't so much have an _advantage_ in climes receiving less UV light as simply a comparative lack of a disadvantage -- light skin still raises your chance of melanoma, there's just less environmental susceptibility to it. (I'm not sure what the score is for vitamin D).

        An alternative hypothesis that's been advanced is sexual selection: skin colour, being extremely visible and salient, is a natural trait for sexual selection to act on. The theory then goes that there is a preference for lighter-skinned mates in various human sub-populations, but this can only run away and produce a population-level genetic change in regions where low UV levels don't make that too deleterious. Peter Frost is one anthropologist holding this is what happened in Europe: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Frost_(anthropologist)>; another take on the idea is <http://darwinstudents.blogspot.com/2009/06/why-do-europeans-north-asians-and.html>

        The conculture applicability of sexual selection effects to fur colour, sizes and shapes of ears and noses, etc., should be clear...

        Alex
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