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Other Talks in the Series: Human Population Genetics II

The case study of genetic admixture between the so-called Pygmy and non-Pygmy populations from Central Africa.
So, the origin of human Pygmies, let me remind you what they are. The word Pygmy itself is an ancient Greek word, derives from the word Pygmaios, which is a measure of small size, a cubit, which is the distance from the elbow to the wrist. This word was first chosen to designate an anthropomorphic population in ancient Greece in the 8th century BC in Homer in his Iliad. You can read the first verse of the third song of the Iliad, and Homer describes there that the Trojans invade the plain and to go and fight against the Achaens just like migrating cranes are falling onto the people, Pygmies, living somewhere overseas. And that's it. Full stop. So classically, Pygmies are people of short stature at war with migrating cranes and living somewhere overseas, as you can see in this antique vase illustration. Whenever you see an antique vase with someone, an anthropomorphic figure, whatever its shape, color or attributes, which is helmets or shield in this case, if it's at war with a bird roughly the same size he is, he is classically a Pygmy. And believe me, if you start looking for them in museums, you will see a lot of these guys.