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PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY OF KAZAKH PEOPLE AND THEIR GENESIS

The beginning of study of physical anthropology of Kazakh people is related to the names of the Russian scientists of late 19th century, who were the first to introduce short anthropological information about Kazakh people to scientific circulation such as several anthropometrical measurements with descriptive features - the color and structure of hair, some peculiarities of the form of eyes, nose and other facial parts. This fragmentary information provided only general description of the type of the Kazakhs which have mixed features, i.e. containing Europoid and Mongoloid peculiarities. However, until the mid-20th-century nobody could say definitely about genesis of formation of physical type of Kazakh people.

Only in the mid-to-late 20th century for the first time the Russian anthropologists stated soundly regarding racial genesis of Kazakh people, coordinating it with the physical peculiarities of ancient inhabitants of Kazakhstan in the Bronze Age (XX c. B.C.), who had ancient Europoid features without any admixture of Mongoloid elements.

Therefore the Kazakh anthropologists started collection and study of paleoanthropological materials relevant to the main historical-cultural periods of Kazakhstan. Archeological and historical periodization of Kazakhstan mostly recognized by specialists starts from the Paleolithic (60-40 thousand years), Mesolithic (35-10 thousand years), then there was Neolithic (7-5 thousand years), after that there were the Bronze Age (XX-IX cc. B.C.), Iron Age (VIII-IV cc. B.C.), Antique Time (III c. B.C. - IV c. A.D.), the second half of the I-st millennium A.D., the first half of the II-nd millenium A.D., and the second half of the II millenium A.D. [1].

Unfortunately unlike numerous archeological artifacts, paleoanthropological materials of Paleolithic and Mesolithic had not been found at the territory of Kazakhstan. Neolithic founds of ancient inhabitants, i.e. their bone remains, are not numerous, and no doubt are characterized by strongly pronounced Proto-Europoid features.

Paleoanthropological materials found at the territory of Kazakhstan dated the Bronze Age and other following historical and cultural periods, including nowadays, are considered to be the most important not only due to quantity but also due to chronological consequence, territorial, historical and cultural representation. Therefore there is a possibility to trace the ways of formation of anthropological type of Kazakh people and direct morphological connection with their physical ancestries within 4 thousand years at the territory of ancient and modern Kazakhstan.

According to the paleoanthropological data of ancient Kazakhstan, i.e. in the Bronze Age (XX-IX cc. B.C.) this territory was inhabited with substrate populations which had only ancient-Europoid features such as medium wide and quite high skull, mesocranial index, medium inclined forehead, low and rectangular orbits, wide but low face, horizontally profiled face, slightly projected cheek bones, deep canine fossas and sharply pronounced nasal bones. These and other craniological peculiarities of skulls related to the ancient local inhabitants of Kazakhstan can be referred to their ancient-Europoid race which was wide-spread in the Bronze Age as at the territory of Kazakhstan as beyond its borders in the steppes of Eurasia. Owing to comparative analysis of paleoanthropological data of inhabitants of Kazakhstan from the following historical epochs, it was stated that ancient-Europoid anthropological base was prominent in the further ethno-anthropological processes of formation and continuous development of anthropological appearance of local population up to contemporaneity [2].

First of all one can be convinced in it by the anthropological peculiarities of inhabitants of Kazakhstan in the Iron Age (VIII-IV cc. B.C.), which were direct genetic successors of the Bronze Age tribes as anthropologically as ethno-culturally including the whole complex of their handmade and spiritual cultural values. Generally the carriers of ethno-cultural traditions of the Iron Age anthropologically had the same physical features as inhabitants of Kazakhstan in the Bronze Age, i.e. their morphological basis remained within variations of ancient-Europoid race. At the same time in comparison with inhabitants of the previous epochs there was some influence of Mongoloid elements of Central Asian origin among them. At that the conditional portion, i.e. degree of Mongoloid admixture brought from the outside by newly arrived Central Asian (i.e. superstrate) groups into racial structure of local (i.e. substrate) population, made 15% according to our calculations [3]. Therefore, preliminary range of introduced so-called Eastern component in the Western racial complex of morphological peculiarities of local populations was quite high. Nevertheless, that fact concerned with inflow of new genes into the environment of local inhabitants of Kazakhstan certifies about the start of their involvement into wide-ranging and continuous processes of mixing. The craniological data, as well as paleogenetic study of odontological material of the inhabitants of Kazakhstan of Iron Age, argues with that [4]. At the same time these facts certify that the Iron Age is a temporary starting point of the commenced processes of mixing between Europoid and Mongoloid races at the territory of Kazakhstan.

Further increase of relative portion of Mongoloid elements among local population of Kazakhstan can be traced during the Antique Time (III c. B.C. - IV c. A.D.). Within that period racial composition of local inhabitants was getting more mixed due to Great immigration from the East to the West. As a result conditional portion of Mongoloid elements in the anthropological type of local population reached approximately 25% within the territory of Kazakhstan.

Subsequent increase of relative portion of Mongoloid elements was related with the following phase of the historical development of Kazakhstan, i.e. Turkic period (VI-XII cc.). Within that period the process of racial mixing became quite intensive in Kazakhstan. As a result proportion of Europoid and Mongoloid elements among local inhabitants became equivalent as 50% to 50%. At that it is necessary to note that racial type of local population kept its Europoid basis related with morphological peculiarities of tribes of the previous epoch. At the same time the process of mixing was quite uneven at the vast territory of Kazakhstan. Thus some Turkic tribes of VIII-X cc. of Pritobolye (Kostanay region) achieved the level of racial mixing typical for anthropological type of modern Kazakh people. Analogical phenomenon could be traced in the racial composition of the local groups of Zhetysu. On the basis of that, it may be assumed that compound but unidirectional processes of mixing went by unevenly at the territory of Kazakhstan.

Furthermore, formation of modern anthropological type of Kazakh people was influenced by penetration of Mongoloid groups into Kazakhstan within the period of Chingizids’ government. At that time the relative portion of Mongoloid elements among local inhabitants increased for 20-25% what eventually brought to domination of these elements over substrate complex of Europoid features. In XIV-XV cc. within the whole territory of Kazakhstan the mixed Mongoloid-Europoid racial type peculiar to modern Kazakh people and so-called Kazakhstan variant of Turanoid race finally formed and was characterized with permanency and integrity up to nowadays [5]. In total according to our complex somatological, serological, odontological, ermatoglyphics and craniological study the relative portion of Mongoloid elements in the anthropological type of modern Kazakh people became about 70%, but other 30 % were given to ancient Europoid component which was specific for inhabitants of Kazakhstan in the Bronze Age. Thus the process of racial mixing was slow, gradual and took more than 20 centuries having completed by formation of one and indivisible, homogeneous anthropological type of Kazakh people by XIV-XV cc. at the whole territory of Kazakhstan.

So anthropologically and ethno-culturally modern Kazakh people is the only one in Kazakhstan who has deep ethno-historical background of four thousand years remoteness. Population-genetic continuity between ancient tribes, medieval population of Kazakhstan and modern Kazakh people is clearly traced with a range of anthropological data, starting with paleoanthropological and paleogenetic and completing with anthropological figures of living population.

 

As multilateral study of anthropological peculiarities of Kazakh population was not performed in Kazakhstan by the second half of last century, in order to achieve an adequate level of modern scientific investigations, for the first time we performed wide-ranging complex anthropological survey of modern Kazakh people among rural population. Achieved somatological, serological, odontological, dermatoglyphics and craniological data have allowed to characterize the morphophysiological peculiarities and general anthropological status of Kazakh population.

In accordance with all examined data of physical anthropology the modern Kazakh people represents quite monolithic and homogeneous ethno-anthropological community at the whole territory of inhabitance in the scale of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The whole complex of somatological, serological, odontological, dermatoglyphics and craniological data unexceptionally points out the intermediate position of Kazakh people between Mongoloids and Europoids of Eurasia, demonstrating deeply mixed morphophysiological features between mentioned racial groups. Kazakh population contains quite independent and pronounced anthropological status among the racial types of Eurasia. It is certified by calculated generalized group-central intervals of Kazakh people between other populations due to somatological, serological, odontological, dermatoglyphics and craniological features displayed on the figure. Therefore we consider it to be well-founded that according to anthropological classification of world peoples, Kazakh people is referred to Turaniod race which is mixed due to origin and in which they represent so-called Kazakhstan variant.

As to the compound components in the racial type of modern Kazakh people the relative potion of Europoid peculiarities (above mentioned 30 %), being the most steady and archaic, is traced back to physical appearance of inhabitants of Kazakhstan in the Bronze Age (XX-IX cc. B.C.), characterized exclusively by ancient-Europoid features. There were they who formed the anthropological basis for the populations of the following historical epochs. Another portion of features (70%) composing Mongoloid component and being peculiar to modern Kazakh people was formed as a result of gradual and continuous processes of race-formation by mixing and brought by representatives of Central-Asian racial type at the territory of ancient Kazakhstan starting from the Iron Age (VIII-IV cc. B.C.).

Dynamics of increase of relative portion of Mongoloid elements among inhabitants of Kazakhstan from ancient time till nowadays is shown at the graphic scheme, where there is a clear picture of mixing process between local Europoid population and newly arrived Mongoloid tribes. This process proceeded at the territory of Kazakhstan and had wide-ranging, defining and gradual characters, extended for several thousand years having started from V c. B.C. and completed by XV c. A.D. by final formation of racial type and ethnic consolidation of Kazakh people.

Therefore, among numerous ethnical groups inhabiting Republic of Kazakhstan at the present moment, according to anthropological data the Kazakh people is exclusively local population with the most ancient ethno-anthropological background of four thousand years long-terms at the territory of Kazakhstan.

 

References

1. Ismagulov O., Population of Kazakhstan from the Bronze Age up to the modern time (paleoanthropological study). Almaty. 1970. 232 p.

2. Ibid, P. 143.

3. Ibid. P. 154.

4. Lalueza-fox C., Sampietro M.L., Gilbert M.T.P., Castri L., Facchini F., Pettener D., Bertranpetit J., Proc. Royal Society. London, 2004. P. 2698.

5. Ismagulov O., Ethnic gene-geography of Kazakhstan (serological study). Almaty. 1977; Ismagulov O., Ethnic anthropology of Kazakhstan (somatological study). Almaty. 1982; Ismagulov O., Sikhymbaeva K. Ethnic odontology of Kazakhstan. Almaty. 1989; Ismagulov O., Sikhymbaeva K., Ismagulova A. Ethnic dermatoglyphics of Kazakh people. Almaty. 2007; Ismagulov O., Ismagulova O. Ethnic anthropology of Kazakhstan. Almaty. 2008.