"Mongoloidness" and pigmentation among Finno-Ugric peoples

Heapost, L. INDEX OF MONGOLOIDNESS AND PIGMENTATION IN K. MARK STUDIES. Papers on Anthropology; 2004, Vol. 13, p18-37.
The paper presents an overview of some descriptive anthropological traits of Finno-Ugrians and their neighbouring peoples (133 local ethnic groups, 13,000 individuals). To compare all the ethnic groups between themselves the index of Mongoloidness (MI) was calculated on the basis of eight traits and the index of pigmentation (PI) on the basis of two traits. The results were compared on a correlation field. Here, two tendencies expressing different directions could be discerned: 1) a grouping where the decrease in MI is accompanied by the increase in PI (most Baltic Finns and Erza Mordvinians, Terjuhans and Finnish Swedes); 2) a grouping, which includes most other Finno-Ugric peoples. Here a tendency can be noticed of both indexes increasing in the same direction. A compact grouping that deserves special attention here includes the ethnic groups with the highest values of MI and PI (most Mari, part of Udmurts, northern and Kola Sami, also one group of Chuvash and Tatars). The comparison of ethnic groups on the basis of these indexes provides a graphic overview of the morphological peculiarities of the peoples which are in one way or another connected with the historical developments of the peoples of different regions.
I'm not convinced "Mongoloid" features among western Uralic speakers actually derive from Mongoloid admixture. Certainly if there had been significant recent admixture we'd expect more "Mongoloid" morphology to be associated with darker pigmentation. More excerpts within:

Besides studies in the ethnic anthropology of Estonians, the wellknown Estonian anthropologist K. Mark (1922–1999) has assembled an extensive and valuable body of material concerning the morphological characteristics of all the Finno-Ugric peoples. [. . .]

To evaluate the share of the so-called Mongoloid addition in the composition of the Finno-Ugric peoples, K. Mark derived and introduced the indexes of Mongoloidness (MI) and pigmentation (PI) [1, 2, 3]. MI shows the position of a group or a population (people) on the scale of Mongoloidness (according to descriptive traits) in comparison with other Finno-Ugric peoples and their neighbours (Table 1, Fig. 1). [. . .]

K. Mark’s data on 133 local groups which belong to 22 ethnic groups were used (among them 112 Finno-Ugric, 9 Indo-European and 12 Turkic groups, a total of more than 13,000 individuals).

MI is based on the eight descriptive facial traits, which she used to determine the degree of Mongoloidness (Mongoloid addition) and Europoid influence in each group studied (beard growth, horizontal profile of the face, prominence of the cheekbones, eye slit inclination, epicanthus, nose bridge height, nose bridge horizontal profile and upper lip profile). [. . .]

Index of Mongoloidness (Table 1, Fig. 1). According to K. Mark’s scale of Mongoloidness, the groups with MI below 25 are Europoids without any Mongoloid addition, with the value above 101 – Mongoloids without Europoid addition. Between these limits, the groups are characterised by a very weak (26–39), weak (40–55), medium (56–70), strong (71–86) or very strong (81–101) Mongoloid addition according to MI. [. . .]

Among the Baltic Finns, groups with the mean value of MI below 25 or with no Mongoloid addition occur only in part of Estonians and among most Finns. The other groups of these peoples and the other Baltic Finns are characterised by a very weak Mongoloid addition. However, groups with the mean MI below 25 are also found among most of the Erza Mordvinians, in one group of Moksha Mordvinians and in Terjuhans. These groups are as Europoid as the Finnish Swedes or Volga Russians.

In ascending order of the mean MI value, the compared ethnic groups can be listed as follows: the lowest mean MI value among the peoples studied was recorded among Finnish Swedes (13.5), followed by Terjuhans (16.9), Volga-Russians (20.6), Erza Mordvinians (23.9) and Finns, except Northeastern Finns (24.2). These peoples belong to the category without any Mongoloid addition on the given scale of Mongoloidness; they are followed by peoples with a very weak Mongoloid addition according to the mean MI, as Estonians (27.3), Izhorians (28.7), Karelians (30.3), Transcarpathian Hungarians (31.4), Karatais (31.5), Vepsians (32.4), Northeastern Finns (36.5) and Komi-Zyrians (39.4). They are followed by peoples with a weak Mongoloid addition: Komi-Permyaks (41.2), Udmurts (44.5), Sami (48.9) and Mari (49.5). All these peoples are characterised by the mean MI value below the medium on the given scale of Mongoloidness.

As for the Turkic peoples, a very weak Mongoloid addition characterises the Tatars (38.3), a weak one – the Chuvash (51.9), who are close to such Finno-Ugric peoples as, for example, most groups of Sami (MI=48.9, var 39.3–53.5) and Mari (MI=49.5, var 41.9–54.1). Bashkirs are characterised by a weak or medium Mongoloid addition on the given scale of Mongoloidness.

Among the Finno-Ugric peoples, the Ob-Ugrians – Khants and Mansi – differ from all the others by a strong Mongoloid addition in the more southerly Konda Mansi (72.5), and a very strong Mongoloid addition in the Mansi and Khants of the northern Sosva River district (93.1 and 85.3). [. . .]

K. Mark has examined the MI and PI values on a correlation field and has pointed out that there were no expected correlations between these two indexes in the case of the Estonian groups: most of the groups with larger MI values belong to the lightest ones in their PI. The same phenomenon appears in Finland as well as in some other Finno-Ugric peoples. Among the Finno-Ugric peoples, an increase in the Mongoloid addition does not cause as dark pigmentation as in Turkic peoples [1, 3]. [. . .]

It should be added that on the correlation field of MI and PI, the studied groups are assembled mainly into two groupings (Fig 3). The first of them is situated in the lower left-hand corner of Figure 3. This grouping includes the Finnish Swedes, the majority of Baltic Finns – all the Estonian and Finnish groups except the Northeastern Salla group (which is situated near the Letka group of southern Komi- Zyrians), Izhorians, most of the Karelian groups; also, from the Volga- Finnic peoples, most of the Erza Mordvinian groups (from Eastern Mordovia) and Terjuhans.

This grouping is characterised by a gradual change of a complex of traits – from the groups with very light pigmentation and very weak Mongoloid addition to light-pigmented purely Europoid groups without any Mongoloid addition. This means that the gradual increase in PI is accompanied by a gradual decrease in MI.

Most of the studied groups of eastern Finno-Ugric peoples with quite a wide variation range of PI and MI are scattered into the other grouping in Fig. 3. This grouping also includes the Transcarpathian Hungarians characterised by a very weak Mongoloid addition like many other Finno-Ugric peoples and some Tatar groups; on the pigmentation scale, they have medium pigmentation like Bessermen, some groups of Mari and Permian-Finns.


Anonymous said...

Not really. The mongoloid phenotype can be very fair skinned.

n/a said...

The pigmentation referred to here is eye and hair color, not skin color.

Occidental said...

Yes, and Finns are among the blondest nations of white people around. Not to mention that Finns do not display any other Mongoloid phenotypic traits. It dates back to the erroneous assumption that Finns are somehow related to Altaic, i.e. Turko-Mongolian tribes which has never been rigorously substantiated.

Apropos to this discussion, what do you make of this n/a:

Indo-Uralic is a hypothetical language family consisting of Indo-European and Uralic.

A genetic relationship between Indo-European and Uralic was first proposed by the Danish linguist Vilhelm Thomsen in 1869 (Pedersen 1931:336) but was received with little enthusiasm. Since then, the predominant opinion in the linguistic community has remained that the evidence for such a relationship is insufficient. However, a minority of eminent linguists has always taken the contrary view (e.g. Henry Sweet, Holger Pedersen, Björn Collinder, Warren Cowgill and Jochem Schindler), making it hard to dismiss the relationship out of hand.

There are two distinct questions here (cf. Greenberg 2005:325):

(1) Are Indo-European and Uralic genetically related?

(2) If so, do Indo-European and Uralic constitute a valid genetic node? The Eurasiatic and Nostratic hypotheses both consider Indo-European and Uralic (or Uralic-Yukaghir) to be genetically related. However, the Indo-Uralic hypothesis in the strict sense is distinct from this: it maintains that Indo-European and Uralic have an especially close genetic relationship, and does not necessarily include assertions that Indo-European and Uralic are related to any other language families.


The Dutch linguist Frederik Kortlandt supports a model of Indo-Uralic in which the original Indo-Uralic speakers lived north of the Caspian Sea, and the Proto-Indo-European speakers began as a group that branched off westward from there to come into geographic proximity with the Northwest Caucasian languages, absorbing a Northwest Caucasian lexical blending before moving farther westward to a region north of the Black Sea where their language settled into canonical Proto-Indo-European (2002:1). Allan Bomhard suggests a similar schema in Indo-European and the Nostratic Hypothesis (1996). Alternatively, the common protolanguage may have been located north of the Black Sea, with Proto-Uralic moving northwards with the climatic improvement of post-glacial times.

Occidental said...

Also important: Mongoloid ancestry is distinguished by Y dna haplogroups C and Q, neither of which the Finns have. The most common are European lineages:

With regard to the Y-chromosome, the most common haplogroups of the Finns are N3 (58%), I (29%), R1a (7.5%) and R1b (3.5%).

So they have ~0% Mongoloid patrilineal ancestry.

Also, regarding mtDNA:

In essence, the types of mtDNA markers of Finnish people do not differ from those of other European ethnicities.[38]

No notable Mongoloid female ancestry either.

It seems this "Finns are Mongoloid" stems from an unreliable old canard.

Anonymous said...

This is extremely interesting. I really wish that more European populations had been studied.

Anonymous said...

the lowest mean MI value among the peoples studied was recorded among Finnish Swedes (13.5), followed by Terjuhans (16.9), Volga-Russians (20.6), Erza Mordvinians (23.9) and Finns, except Northeastern Finns (24.2). These peoples belong to the category without any Mongoloid addition on the given scale of Mongoloidness

I’m not surprised that the Finnish Swedes don’t show any Mongoloid addition. But I definitely would have expected the Finns and all those other groups to have some. I believe that all of them were thought to possess “Ladogan” strains by Carleton Coon. From the SNPA glossary:

LAPPOID (Ladogan (Coon); Uralid)

Partially reduced, incipiently Mongoloid brachycephal of the eastern forests, seldom found in its true form, but constituting an important substrate in eastern Europe, Russia, and the Baltic nations (the East-Baltid type is a more or less stabilized blend of Baltid and Lappoid). The Lappoid type belongs to the larger Upper Paleolithic group, and is probably related to Europid Cro-Magnoids on one hand, and Mongolids on the other (i.e. as an evolutionary intermediate, rather than a cross).

But I wonder if we should conclude (in contradiction to Coon and others) that the Finns (except Northeastern Finns) actually don’t have any Mongoloid features based on K. Mark’s work.

Anonymous said...

Here’s how the SNPA defines “incipiently Mongoloid” in their glossary:


A racial type which has evolved part way in a Mongoloid direction, and which may have other, non-Mongoloid specializations of its own, is called incipiently Mongoloid. Cf. Lappoid.

Anonymous said...

According to DNA Tribes the Finno-Ugrian sub-region, including Finland and Estonia, is around 14% non-European genetically.

While significantly non-White, phenotypically most people would consider a person who is 14% Mongoloid to be White or White enough.

n/a said...

DNA Tribes relies on a handful of forensic autosomal STRs. I put no weight on anything they say.