Moroccan genetics

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Imurakuciyen - ⵉⵎⵓⵔⴰⴽⵓⵛⵉⵢⴻⵏ

Leo africanus.jpgMoorishAmbassador to Elizabeth I.jpgBAE09705.jpgTarik ibn Ziyad - .jpgAhmed al Mansur.jpgShiri MaimonIbrahim Afellay Oranje.jpgGad ElMalehHicham El Guerrouj cropped.jpg
Total population
> 39 million
Regions with significant populations
 Morocco 35,403,000 (2012)[1]
 France ~1,314,000 (as of 2008 including 2nd generation )[2][3][4]
 Spain 754,080[5]
 Israel 486,600[6]
 Italy 452,000[7]
 Netherlands 355,883 (2011)[8]
 Belgium 333,244[9]
 Germany 102,000[10]
 Canada 120,000[11]
 United States 77,468[12]
Moroccan Arabic
predominantly Islam (Sunni, Sufi) with a minority praticising Judaism

Moroccan genetics encompasses the genetic history of the peoples of Morocco, and the genetic influence of this ancestry on world populations.

Genetic evidence[edit]

The genetic proximity observed between Moroccans and Southern Europeans is due to the fact that both these groups shared a common ancestor either in the Upper Paleolithic, and in the Neolithic or alternatively during history with the invasion and the occupation during nearly seven centuries of the Iberian Peninsula by Moorish troops.[13] A genetic study published in January 2012 stated that the indigenous North-west African ancestry appears most closely related to populations outside of Africa but "divergence between Moroccan people and Near Eastern/Europeans likely precedes the Holocene (>12,000 ya) and The Paleolithic (>40.000BC)."[14]

Distribution of Y haplotype E-M81 E1b1b1b in North Africa, West Asia and Europe.

Moroccan Y-DNA chromosome[edit]

Recent studies make clear no significant genetic differences exist between Arabic and non-Arabic speaking populations, The human leukocyte antigen HLA DNA data suggest that most Moroccans are of a Berber origin and that Arabs who invaded North Africa and Spain in the 7th century did not substantially contribute to the gene pool.[15][16] The Moorish refugees from Spain settled in the coast-towns.[17] According to a 2000 article in European Journal of Human Genetics, Moroccans from North-Western Africa were genetically closer to Iberians than to Sub-Saharan Africans of Bantu Ethnicity and Middle Easterners.[18]

The different loci studied revealed close similarity between the Berbers and other north African groups, mainly with Moroccan Arabic-speakers, which is in accord with the hypothesis that the current Moroccan population has a strong Berber background.[19]

Various population genetics studies along with historians such as Gabriel Camps and Charles-André Julien lend support to the idea that the bulk of the gene pool of modern Northwest Africans, irrespective of linguistic group, is derived from the Berber populations of the pre-Islamic period.[20]

According to the X-Chromosome SNP analyses, the authors reported a high genetic homogeneity between berbers and Arabs in NW Africa, so they suggested that the Arabisation of this area was a cultural phenomenon, which did not imply a replacement of the ancestry population. Our results give support the hypothesis of an early settlement of NW Africa . The original berber population seem to have received a low genetic influx from the surrounding areas. Different hypothesis have been suggested to explain the genetic differentiation of the Moroccan population. An initial genetic drift could have caused differences in allele frequency distribution that have not been re-established due to a certain level of geographic isolation. The Strait of Gibraltar has been described by several authors as an important genetic barrier. Even a certain level of genetic exchange probably occurred between NW Africa and the South of the Iberian Peninsula, sharp frequency changes have been described in this area. Also the Sahara desert has been suggested as responsible of the genetic isolation of NW African populations from Sub-Saharan populations. There is no consensus about the impact of the Neolithic demic diffusion in the Mediterranean area. According to our results, a low impact of the Neolithic expansions and/or later migration events on NW African populations would have occurred. X-Chromosome SNP analyses

The E1b1b1 clade is presently found in various forms in Morocco. Total E1b1b1 (E-M35) frequencies reached at 93.8% in Moroccans [21]

E1b1b1b1(E-M81), formerly E1b1b1b, E3b1b, and E3b2, is the most common Y chromosome haplogroup in Morocco, dominated by its sub-clade E-M183. This haplogroup reaches a mean frequency of 100% to 50% In North Africa, decreasing in frequency from approximately 85% or more in Moroccan Berber populations, including Saharawis, to approximately 25% to the east of this range in Egypt. Because of its prevalence among these groups and also others such as Mozabite, Riffians, Chleuhs, Middle Atlas, Kabyle and other Berber groups, it is sometimes referred to as a genetic Berber marker.

This phylogenetic tree of The Berber haplogroup subclades is based on the YCC 2008 tree and subsequent published research as summarized by ISOGG.[22][23][24]

Average North African Moroccan Berbers have frequencies of E3b3 in the +80%. Alvarez et al.(2009) study shows a frequency of E3b1b of 28/33 or 84.8% in Berbers from Marrakesh. With the rest of the frequencies being 1/33=3% E3a*, 1/33=3% E3b*, 1/33 or 3% E3b1a, and 1/33 or 3% E3b1c.[21]

The most basal and rare E-M78* paragroup has been found at lower frequencies in Moroccan Arabs. The sub-clade: E1b1b1a1d (E-V65), is found in high levels in the Maghreb regions of far northern Africa. Cruciani et al. (2007) report levels of about 20% amongst Libyan Arab lineages, and about 30% amongst Moroccan Arabs. It appears to be less common amongst Berbers, but still present in levels of >10%. The authors suggest a North African origin for this lineage. In Europe, only a few individuals were found in Italy and Greece. Capelli et al. 2009 studied the beta cluster in Europe. They found small amounts in Southern Italy, but also traces in Cantabria, Portugal and Galicia, with Cantabria having the highest level in Europe in their study, at 3.1% (5 out of 161 people).[25]

Other frequencies of E1b1b1a1c (E-V22) is reported by Cruciani et al. (2007) include Moroccan Arabs (7.27%, 55 people) and Moroccan Jews (8%, 50 people).

Distribution density of E1b1b1a (E-M78) in select areas of Africa and Eurasia.
Distribution of E1b1b1c in select areas of Europe, Asia, and Africa.

Concerning E-M123 without checking for the E-M34 SNP is found at small frequencies in Morocco A Low regional percentages for E-M123 was reported in Moroccan Berbers around 3%.

Population Language n E1b1a E1b1b G I  J L N R1a R1b T Reference
Arabs (Morocco) AA (Semitic) 44 85 0.0 0.0 3.8 Pericic et al. 2005[26]
Arabs (Morocco) AA (Semitic) 49 85.5 2.4 Semino et al. 2004[27]
Berbers (Marrakesh) AA (Berber) 29 92.9 Semino et al. 2000[28]
Berbers (Moyen Atlas) AA (Berber) 69 87.1 Cruciani et al. 2004[29]
Berbers (southern Morocco) AA (Berber) 40 2.5 85 0 2.5 0 0 0 Fadhlaoui-Zid et al. 2004[30]
Berbers (North Central Morocco) AA (Berber) 40 0 93.8 0 0 0 0 0 Alvarez et al. 2009[21]
Berber Riffians (North Morocco) AA (Berber) 54 0 95.9 0 0 0 0 0 Dugoujon et al. (2005)[31]
Beni Snassen (Northern Morocco) AA (Berber)&(Semitic) 67 0 95.1 0 0 0 0 0 Dugoujon et al. (2005)[31]

Other haplogroups[edit]

Eurasian haplogroups such as Haplogroup J and Haplogroup R1 have also been observed at very minimal frequencies. A thorough study by Cruciani et al. (2004) which analyzed populations from Morocco concludes that the North African pattern of Y-chromosomal variation (including both J1 and R1b haplogroups) is largely of Neolithic origin, which suggests that the Neolithic transition in this part of the world was accompanied by demic diffusion of Berber-speaking pastoralists from the Algerian Desert into Eastern Morocco, although later papers have suggested that this date could have been as long as ten thousand years ago, with the transition from the Oranian to the Capsian culture in North Africa.[32][33]

Haplogroups G and T are rarely found in Morocco, In 147 samples taken in Morocco, 1% were found to be G.[34]

In another study 1% of 312 samples in Morocco were G.[35]

Another study gathered samples only from hamlets in Morocco's Azgour Valley, where none of 33 samples were determined G.[21] These hamlets were selected because they were felt to be typically Berber in composition.

A study of 20 Moroccan Jews found 30% were G.[21] The tested men were then apparently living in Israel. Another study of Jewish men found 19.3% of 83 Jewish men from Morocco belonged to haplogroup G.[36] over G Moroccan samples are Likely Positive on the SNP G2a2b Haplogroup, it has been identified in neolithic human remains in Europe dating between 5000-3000BC. Furthermore, the majority of all the male skeletons from the European Neolithic period have so far yielded Y-DNA belonging to this haplogroup like the mummified remains of Ötzi the Iceman, The National Geographic Society places haplogroup G origins in the Middle East 30,000 years ago and presumes that people carrying the haplogroup took part in the spread of the Neolithic into Africa and then Europe [37] Two percent of Arab Moroccans and 0% to 8% of Berber Moroccans of Asni Oasis were likewise found to be G.[38]

Haplogroup T is found amongst central berbers of Asni Oasis near the Algerian frontiers at 1,9% and observed in moroccan jews at 4%.

E1b1a is found at low frequencies in Morocco these lineages are found in some specific areas specially around the Great Desert Linked to the Slavery trade across the sahara like the presence of Haratins or Gnawa amongst Berbers of Asni Oasis located in North central Morocco near the Algerian frontiers, Sahrawis, Moroccan Arabs and in Southern Morocco.[39]

Haplogroup A1a is observed in southern and central Moroccan berbers at 3%. related to the Homo-sapien Presence in North-west African Aterian and Mousterian Industries, one of The oldest Human branching event, is thought to have occurred about 140,000 years ago.[40]

The most basal and rare E1a* paragroup has been found at lower frequencies in samples obtained from Moroccan Berbers, and Sahrawis. dated around 45.000BC Linked to Back-Eurasian Migration from the near east into North Africa along together with E1b1b during the Paleolithic times.[38]

Haplogroup distributions in Moroccan people[edit]

Y chromosome Haplogroup distribution of Moroccan people

The major components of Y-DNA haplogroups present in Morocco (E3b ; 94%) are shared with European and neighboring North African and Near Eastern populations. Minor share of haplogroups also include those related to North West Africans (E1a, A1a; 1%),Near Easterners (J, G, T; 2,4%), Sub Saharans Africans (E3a; 1,7%) and Europeans (R1b, I1; 2%) affinity.

Some of the Major percentages identified were:

Berber Genetic Identity of Moroccans[edit]

the prehistoric populations (The Berbers) of Morocco are related to the wider group of Paleo-Mediterranean peoples. The Afroasiatic family probably originated in the mesolithic period, perhaps in the context of the Capsian culture.[42][43] DNA analysis has found commonalities between Berber Moroccan populations and those of the Sami people of Scandinavia showing a link dating from around 9,000 years ago.[44]

By 5000 BC, the populations of Morocco are an amalgamation of Ibero-Maurisian and a minority of Capsian stock blended with a more recent intrusion associated with the Neolithic revolution.[45] Out of these populations, the proto-Berber tribes form during the Late Paleolithic Era.[46]

Berber children in Morocco.

First settlers[edit]

According to the leading evolutionary theory of human origins, known as the Out of Africa theory, anatomically modern humans first emerged in Africa 150,000-200,000 years ago. All non-Africans are descended from at least one group of humans who migrated out of Africa into western Asia 50,000-70,000 years ago. The first modern humans in Europe, the Cro-Magnon, arrived from North-west Africa and are believed to have completely replaced the previous inhabitants, the Neanderthals.

Cro-Magnons are known as Ibero-Maurisians or Mechta-Afalou People, they were in Morocco by 45,000 years ago or Probably they were Evolved from The Aterians, the Cro-Magnon people had populated much of North Africa. There was a massive major human migration from Morocco and this paleolithic population was weakly Mixed by later Capsian migrations during the Neolithic Era, this Prehistoric Population still survived and isolated in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco known until our days as Berbers.

  Iberomaurusian culture

Genetic Prehistoric Expansions[edit]

DNA evidence suggests that during the Last Glacial Maximum, a period between 25,000 and 19,000 years ago, large ice sheets over a kilometer thick covered much of Northern Europe, making the region uninhabitable to humans. It is believed that human populations retreated south to warmer regions near the Mediterranean. Refuges during this period are believed to have been in Iberia, the Balkans and Italy. there was some gene flow from Morocco into Iberia.[47]

After the Last Glacial Maximum, when the European climate warmed up, the refuges are thought to have been the source from which Europe was repopulated. Berber lineages that had been introduced into the Iberian refuge would have then dispersed all over Europe with the Northward expansion of humans. This could explain the presence of genetic lineages in Eastern Europe and as far North as Russia, that appear to have prehistoric links to Northwest Africa Mainly Morocco (see mtDNA).[47] The expansion of human populations from Iberian refuges is also believed to have moved back to Morocco and Northwest Africa.[48]

Neolithic to the end of the prehistoric[edit]

The change from hunting and gathering to agriculture during the Neolithic Revolution was a watershed in world history. The societies that first made the change to agriculture are believed to have lived in North Africa and Middle East around 10,000 BCE. Agriculture was introduced into Europe by migrating farmers from the Middle East.[49] According to the demic diffusion model, these Middle Eastern farmers either replaced or interbred with the local hunter-gather populations that had been living in Europe since the "out of Africa" migration.[50]

It has been suggested that the first Middle Eastern farmers had North African influences mainly from The Capsian culture .[51] There have been suggestions that some genetic lineages found in the Middle East arrived there during this period.[52] The first Agricultural societies in the Middle East are generally thought to have emerged from the Natufian Culture, which existed in Palestine from 12,000 BCE-10,000 BCE. An important migration from North-West Africa occurred by the Ibero-Maurisians from Morocco across the Sinai appears to have occurred before the formation of the Natufian.

Genetic continuity in Morocco[edit]

The population exhumed from the archaeological site of Tafughalt in Morocco (12,000 years BP) is a valuable source of information toward a better knowledge of the settlement of Northern Africa region and provides a revolutionary way to specify the origin of Ibero-Maurusian populations. Ancient DNA was extracted from 31 bone remains from Tafughalt.The HVS1 fragment of the mitochondrial DNA control region was PCR-amplified and directly sequenced. Mitochondrial diversity in Tafughalt shows the absence of sub-Saharan haplogroups suggesting that Ibero-Maurisian individuals had not originated in sub-Saharan region.Our results reveal a probable local evolution of Tafughalt population and a genetic continuity in North Africa and Morocco. [53]

Genetic Berber Heritage continuity of Moroccan Arabs[edit]

The cultural differentiation present in North Africa between Berber and Arab samples seems not to reflect genetic differences between both groups, as shown in the AMOVA analyses, and the MDS and PC analyses. If Arabs in Northern Africa were mostly descendants of Middle Eastern Arabs, the frequencies of haplogroups such as N, U1, U3, U7, and HV that are much more prevalent in the Middle East than elsewhere should be larger in North African Arabs than in Berbers. However, the opposite is observed : these haplogroups add up to 5% in North African Arabs but to 10% in Berbers.[30]

The lack of differentiation between North African Arabs and Berbers has also been observed using other genetic markers such as classical markers (Bosch et al. 1997); autosomal STRs (Bosch et al. 2000), Alu insertion polymorphisms (Comas et al. 2000); and Y-chromosome lineages This pattern suggests that the Arabization of the area was mainly a cultural process, rather than a demographic replacement of the Berber populations that inhabited the region where the Arabic expansion took place.[30]

Moroccan Mitochondrial mtDNA[edit]

The Moroccan mitochondrial pool is essentially Berber in its structure, characterized by an "overall high frequency of Western Eurasian haplogroups" Represented by the Post-last glacial maximum expansion from Iberia to North Africa revealed by fine characterization of mtDNA HV haplogroup in Morocco is Estimated around 36% to 60%, a somehow lower frequency of sub-Saharan L lineages, and a significant (but differential) presence of North African haplogroups U6 and M1".[54] And according to Cherni et al. 2008 "the post-Last glacial maximum expansion originating in Iberia not only led to the resettlement of Europe but also of North Africa".[55]

Caucasoid mtDNA (maternal) sequences, were detected at frequencies of 96% in Moroccan Berbers, 82% in Algerian Berbers and 78% in non-Berber Moroccans, compared with only 4% in a Senegalese population. Rando 1998

Until recently, some papers suggested that the distribution of the main L haplogroups in Morocco was mainly due to trans-Saharan slave trade.[56] However in September 2010, a thorough study about Berber mtDNA by Frigi et al. concluded that most of L haplogroups were much older and introduced by an ancient African gene flow around 20,000 years ago.[57]

in Otherways, Moroccan Northern and Southern Berbers have only 3% to 1% of SSA mtDNA, This north-south gradient in the sub-Saharan contribution to the gene pool is supported by Esteban et al.,[58] for the rest of mtDNA lineages mostly are Caucasian/West Eurasian, while Moroccan Arabs have more elevated SSA maternal admixture at around 21% to 36% Via L-mtDNA sequences, Highest frequencies of L-mtDNA is Reported to Moroccan Arabs of The Surrounding area of El jadida at 36%. Harich et al 2010

Frequencies (> 1%) of L-mtDNA

Country Ethnic Group Number tested Reference L-mtDNA%
Morocco Moroccan (Jews) 149 Behar et al. (2008) 1.34%
Morocco Moroccan Northern (berbers) 124 Esteban et al. (2004) 1%
Morocco Moroccan (Arabs) 81 Harich et al. (2010) 36%
Morocco Moroccan Arabs 56 Turchi et al. (2009) 25.00%
Morocco Moroccan Southern (Berbers) 64 Turchi et al. (2009) 3.20%

Genetic influence of Moroccans on Southern Europe[edit]

Trombetta et al. (2011) felt that V257 showed a parallel with its sibling clade E-V68 in the way that both clades show signs of having migrated from North West Africa Likely Morocco to southwestern Europe across the Mediterranean sea. They found 6 "E-V257*" individuals in their samples who were E-V257, from a Moroccan Marrakesh Berber, a Corsican, a Sardinian, a southern Spaniard and a Cantabrian.

Within E-M35, there are striking parallels between two haplogroups, E-V68 and E-V257. Both contain a lineage which has been frequently observed in North West Africa mainly Morocco (E-M78 and E-M81, respectively) and a group of undifferentiated chromosomes that are mostly found in southern Europe. An expansion of E-M35 carriers of E-V68* and E-V257* in the Northern Africa makes a maritime spread between Morocco and southern Europe a more plausible hypothesis.

A study from Semino (published 2004) showed that Y-chromosome haplotype E1b1b1b (E-M81), is specific to Moroccan populations and almost absent in Europe except Iberia (Spain and Portugal) and Sicily. Another 2004 study showed that E1b1b1b is found present, albeit at low levels throughout Southern Europe (ranging from 1.5% in Northern Italians, 2.2% in Central Italians, 1.6% in southern Spaniards, 3.5% in the French, 4% in the Northern Portuguese, 12.2% in the southern Portuguese and 41.2% in the genetic isolate of the Pasiegos from Cantabria).[29]

The findings of this latter study contradict a more thorough Y-chromosome analysis of the Iberian peninsula according to which haplogroup E1b1b1b surpasses frequencies of 10% in Southern Spain. The study points only to a very limited influence from northern Africa and the Middle East both in historic and prehistoric times.[59] The absence of microsatellite variation suggests a very recent arrival from Morocco consistent with historical exchanges across the Mediterranean during the period of Islamic expansion, namely of Berber populations. A study restricted to Portugal, concerning Y-chromosome lineages, revealed that "The mtDNA and Y data indicate that the Berber presence in that region dates prior to the Moorish expansion in 711 AD. ... Our data indicate that male Berbers, unlike sub-Saharan immigrants, constituted a long-lasting and continuous community in the country".[60]

Haplotype V(p49/TaqI), a characteristic Moroccan haplotype, may be also found in the Iberian peninsula, and a decreasing North-South cline of frequency clearly establishes a gene flow from Morocco towards Iberia which is also consistent with Moorish presence in the peninsula.[61] This North-South cline of frequency of halpotype V is to be observed throughout the Mediterranean region, ranging from frequencies of close to 30% in southern Portugal to around 10% in southern France. Similarly, the highest frequency in Italy is to be found in the southern island of Sicily (28%).[62][63]

A wide-ranging study (published 2007) using 6,501 unrelated Y-chromosome samples from 81 populations found that: "Considering both these E-M78 sub-haplogroups (E-V12, E-V22, E-V65) and the E-M81 haplogroup, the contribution of Moroccan lineages to the entire male gene pool of Iberia (barring Pasiegos), continental Italy and Sicily can be estimated as 5.6%, 3.6% and 6.6%, respectively."[63]

A study about Sicily by Gaetano et al. 2008 found that "The Hg E3b1b-M81, widely diffused in northwestern African Moroccan populations, is estimated to contribute to the Sicilian gene pool at a rate of 6%." .[64]

According to another recent study about Iberia by Adams et al. 2008 that analysed 1,140 unrelated Y-chromosome samples in Iberia, a much more important contribution of Moroccan lineages to the entire male gene pool of Iberia was found : "mean Moroccan admixture is 10.6%, with wide geographical variation, ranging from zero in Gascony to 21.7% in Northwest Castile".[34][65]

In Europe, E-M81 is found everywhere but mostly in the Iberian Peninsula, where unlike in the rest of Europe[Note 1] it is more common than E-M78, with an average frequency around 5%.[34] Its frequencies are higher in the western half of the peninsula with frequencies reaching 8% in Extremadura and South Portugal, 9% in Galicia, 10% in Western Andalusia and Northwest Castile and 9% to 17% in Cantabria.[25][34][66][67][68] The highest frequencies of this clade found so far in Europe were observed in the Pasiegos from Cantabria, ranging from 18% (8/45)[68] to 41% (23/56).[29] An average frequency of 8.28% (54/652) has also been reported in the Spanish Canary Islands with frequencies over 10% in the three largest islands of Tenerife (10.68%), Gran Canaria (11.54%) and Fuerteventura (13.33%).[69]

Population Moroccan admixture
Spain/Canary Island 23.00%
Portugal 15.40%
Spain/Galicia 14.50%
Spain/Andalusia 12.50%
Spain 12.40%
France/Basque 8.80%
Spain/Basque 8.50%
France 4.90%
Iberian region %Moroccan
male admixture
Castile, NorthWest 21.7%
Minorca 21.5%
Galicia 20.8%
Extremadura 19%
Andalucia, West 16.7%
Portugal, South 16.1%
Valencia 12.8%
Portugal, North 11.8%
Asturias 10.5%
Castile, NorthEast 9.3%
Majorca 6.6%
Aragon 4.8%
Ibiza 3.8%
Andalucia, East 2.4%
Catalonia 2.3%
Castilla 0.9%

Genetic influences on Latin America[edit]

As a consequence of Spanish and Portuguese colonization of Latin America, E-M81 is also found throughout Latin America[70][71][72] and among Hispanic men in USA.[73]

Other regions[edit]

In other countries, Moroccan Berber haplogroups can be found in France, Sudan, Somalia, Jordan (4%),[66] Lebanon and amongst Sephardi Jews.

Physical Anthropology of Moroccans[edit]

Basic Mediterranean Phenotypes of Moroccans

The Race of Moroccans and Northwest African Populations are frequently attributed to blacks of sub-Saharan African origin or to Middle Easterners the Arabs. However, this is done more for political and Ideological reasons than to reflect historical or scientific reality, as the evidence from various fields indicates a predominantly Caucasoid Berber origin for North Africans and Moroccans, with gene flow from Negroids being small and occurring comparatively recently due to the Islamic Slave trade, and completely absent by the Arabs during their Islamic conquests.

Moroccans were identified Genetically and Anthropologically as Berbers a Mediterranean people whom were viewed as more European-looking with a lighter skin tone than the neighbouring Arabs.[74] The Anthropologists identify Moroccans as within the Mediterranean race but declared that successive migrations from Sub Saharan Africa had diluted their race to the point that they were no longer pure Mediterranean like that of Italians, Spaniards, or French, Especially those who're living near the Algerian frontiers and western Sahara of Morocco mostly are identified as Sahrawis or Haratins and Gnawa[74]

The skin of some Moroccans darkens readily under the influence of sunlight, and many of them become quite dark in the exposed parts of the body. which is finally a Caucasoid Mediterranean characteristic.

Light Hair/Eyes amongst Moroccans[edit]

Distribution of hair and eye colors according to Carleton S. Coon’s Races of Europe. Northern Morocco is an area of mixed (dark and light) hair and eye colours, in a higher percertage than that found in Sicily, Sardinia or even southern Spain, despite having an warmer climate. The Nordic presence in Morocco is contemporary, or even earlier, to the Middle Kingdom of Egypt.[75]

Light Hair in Morocco[edit]

Distribution of Light Hair in Europe, Africa and Middle East

Riffians and other Berbers of Atlas mountains of Morocco show a high percentage of blondism, higher than the other Berber groups in North Africa, however they are Not from Northern Europe, with about two thirds of Riffians being pinkish-white skinned with mixed or light eyes (reaching or 80% in central Rif); the rest are of Mediterranean (mainly of classic Mediterranean or Berberid type, but many Moroccan Berbers show some blending with Classic Mediterraneans).[76]

Blondism is strong in the Rif; over half of the adult men show some trace of it, and almost one tenth features rufosity (red hair).[76]

Distribution of Light eyes in Europe, Africa and Middle East by anthropologist Peter Frost

A Riffian or Moroccan Berber Nordic could be mistaken for an Irishman or an Englishman, less easily for a Scandinavian.[76] Nordics are ancient in Northern Africa as the Egyptian monuments of the Middle Kingdom (circa 2000 B.C.), and perhaps older. They survive today mostly in the mountains of the Rif, in Atlas Mountains of Morocco and the Canary Islands.[75]

Moroccans in General are the most Lighted haired People in Africa and Arab world. blondism is more common in The Rif, and less common in the Atlas Mountains and the Atlantic seacoast; >15% of Berber Moroccan population has blond or light brown hair, in the rest of Morocco is just less than 2% of the Population are blond.[76]

Light Eyes in Morocco[edit]

Moroccan Berbers of the Rif Mountains and Atlas Mountains mayhave the highest percentages of Light Eyes in Continental Africa and Arab world.

In the Rif, dark eyes are found among 43% of the men, mixed eyes 35%, and light eyes in 2%; and the mixed eyes have green or blue elements rather than gray. for Example Green eyes, are common among the Middle Atlas Berbers.[76]

Physical Differences Between Berbers and Arabs of Morocco[edit]

It is easier to tell a Berber from an Arab by dress and behavior than by external physical characteristics, but there are statistical differences, particularly between the tribal Arabs and the mountain Berbers.

The Arabs of this second group tend to be darker-skinned, less frequently light-eyed, more negroid by appearance and rarely blond. Compared to the Berbers, fewer have broad faces and more have convex nasal profiles. by Carleton S. Coon.

The Andalusians can not be regarded as Arabs in Morocco as many Arabocentrists think so, mostly looks a mixture of Berbers and Local Iberians in the Historical context.

they're supposed to be migrants from southern Spain, but they do not exhibit any substantial contribution of European or Middle Easterner lineages, suggesting a North African origin for this ethnic group. [1]

A small minority of the population is identified as Haratin and Gnawa, Half Negroid or typical Negroids of dark-skinned sedentary agriculturalists from the southern and eastern oases that speak either Berber or Moroccan Arabic. identified by Moroccans as A'Azzi or Sahrawi or Gnawa which meant Black or Half Black.


  1. ^ Adams et al. 2008 shows an average frequency of 4.3% (49/1140) in the Iberian Peninsula with frequencies reaching 9% in Galicia, 10% in Western Andalusia and Northwest Castile. However this study also includes 153 individuals from Majorca, Minorca and Ibiza islands as well as 24 individuals from Gascony which are not in the Iberian Peninsula. Without these 177 individuals, real average for Iberian Peninsula is 4.9% (47/963), see table.
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