Guanches-Canary Islands-DNA Project- Background
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The Guanches are the mysterious natives of the Canary Islands. They were conquered by the Spaniards during the turn of the 15th century. Tall, blond and blue-eyed, the Guanches have long intrigued the anthropologists, for blond natives are rarity. According to the reliable Encyclopedia Britannica, the Guanches "are thought to have been of Cro-Magnon origin... and had a brown complexion, blue or gray eyes, and blondish hair."
Indeed, the Guanches are deemed to be related to the Berbers of neighboring Morocco, who are, likewise, tall, blond and blue-eyed when unmixed with the Arab majority. Other specialists, however, believe that the Guanches are related to the Celts of Western Europe, the early realm of these races. No matter what, the Guanches represent a unique opportunity of studying the early peoples of this region.
Isolated in their islands, the Guanches were prevented, until the advent of the Spanish, from sexually mingling with other races. So, they preserved their pristine Cro-Magnon genetic traits in a more or less pure fashion until that date. But, as we said, the Guanches were conquered by the Spaniards, and many if not all mingled heavily with the Spanish invaders. The blond, blue-eyed, tall stock has been preserved in part, and can still be seen in many individuals. As is known, blond traits are dominated by dark ones, and tend to disappear from the population. But they survive unseen, and may return in certain individuals called "recessives", who combine the proper genes.
Furthermore, the Guanches mummified their dead, and this material can be studied by the researchers, particularly concerning traits such as blood type and racial characteristics. This strange mode of disposing of the dead — which the Guanches shared with the Polynesians, the Egyptians and the Mayas — has been mooted out by several authorities as indicating a close affinity among these distant nations. The Guanches also left some sort of alphabetic inscriptions which have yet to be studied, along with their pottery and peculiar ruins. All in all, the archaeology of this most remarkable people is far from satisfactorily researched.
Many researchers have pointed out the resemblance of the Guanche natives with the Cro-Magnons and, particularly, with Cro-Magnoid types of regions such as those of Muges (Portugal) dating from the Mesolithic (c. 8,000 BC). Similar groups have been noted and studied Portugal, Spain, France, England, Sweden and Northwest Africa, precisely the realm of the Celto-Germanic and the Berber races.
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