Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Living at the bottom of the Black Sea

I previously mentioned that my Y chromosome appears to belong to a newly recognized grouping within the overall European R1b1 grouping called tentatively L21+. It appears to be a very ancient group, hence the scientific interest in it.

Speculation has been that it has its origin in the dispersal of people from the Black Sea area after the straights of the Bosphorous broke 5600BC. Some claim that the event accounts for the biblical flood myth. Others claim that it resulted in dispersal of the IndoEuropean (IE) language throughout the world including Europe, Turkey and eastward. Plotting the L21+ gene on a map is expected when data become available. There are also alternative agricultural explanations of the IE language dispersal.

At any rate, I thought it would be interesting to speculate what it would have been like to live in the Black Sea depression before the flood occurred. The living conditions could have had an influence on evolution in the area.

Because the altitude would have been lower, atmospheric pressure would have been higher. There would have been more oxygen in every breath of air. That could have lead to altered brain development. Have you ever noticed how crazy the Celts are? Also, there would have been less ultraviolet light to burn the skin. That could have lead to pigmentation changes later accentuated during dispersal northward after the flood.

Because of the low altitude, freezing of crops would have been less frequent. Volcanic eruptions that devastate agriculture elsewhere in the world would have had less effect here. Survival would have been greater, with a tendency for other groups to take refuge there, leading to conflict. Forts would have been built.

Technology might have been developed there specific to the conditions. I don't know what, but something might have been developed there, such as new crops like wheat.

There would almost certainly have been a smaller lake in the middle of the depression even before the flood. Fishing would have been a livelihood for some. The lake would likely have been salty due to evaporation in conditions of no outflow. Rivers flowing into the lake would have been routes for population travel.

Modern surveys of the underwater scene in the Black Sea have revealed many sunken boats from post-flood times and at least one settlement. The deeper parts of the Black Sea have very low oxygen levels, thereby permitting survival of wooden artifacts such as boats. Research continues.