Ukrainian physical features – anthropological and genetic studies

Ukrainians – who they are and where they are from? What do Ukrainians look like? What is typical physical appearance of Ukrainians?  Let’s try to answer these questions.

Anthropological study of Ukrainians

An anthropological study of Ukrainians made it possible to make the statement that the Ukrainian nation is distinct and separate from other nations. It concerns not only language, history, culture, etc., but also in the biological sense – the level of the population, consanguinity (blood relationship).

According to researchers, the ethnic territory of Ukraine is divided into five anthropological areas:

  • Central Ukrainian;
  • Carpathian;
  • Lower Dnipro-Prut;
  • Valday (or Desnyansk);
  • Ilmen-Dnipro.

Four of them (except the Carpathian) have parallels with Belarus and Russia. But, what is very important, no significant differences or sharp transitions were found between all anthropological areas. The average anthropological indicators of all the areas are quite close to indicators of the most widespread and large Central Ukrainian area (the majority of Ukrainians).

So, relative physical resemblance, typical for most Ukrainians, is called «Ukrainian anthropological type». In the early 20th century, it was found that Ukrainian anthropological type consists of two main types: Dinaric, which covers 44,5% of the Ukrainian population, and Alpine – 22% of Ukrainians. So:

  • Dinaric type can be characterized by following physical traits: tall stature, brachycephaly (short shape of head), brown or dark blond hair, matt-white skin, oblong face and straight, thin or aquiline nose;
  • Alpine type, which has following traits: below-average height, hypersthenic constitution (big-boned), low and broad face, retreating forehead, sharp brachycephaly, dark (from chestnut to black) pigmentation of hair and dark eyes.

Comparative characteristics of Ukrainians

We often hear that both Russian and Ukrainian physical features can be described as common Slavic people features. But is it true?

Let’s start with facial features. When we talk about Russian phenotype we have in mind such features as light skin, light-colored (gray or blue) eyes, light brown or fair hair color. The closer to the Urals, the more common is the inward slant of the eyes. As for Ukrainian facial features, we can mention that dark hair and dark eyes are more common for the original Ukrainian. In fact, in the east of Ukraine, people with light-colored eyes and fair hair occur more often. And there are more Ukrainians with relatively dark-colored eyes and hair in the Western part.

An average Ukrainian face has round shape in contrast with Russian and Belorussian long shape. Ukrainian skin tone varies from light to comparatively dark as well. A lot of sun makes Ukrainian skin a little darker in the south of the country.

What about Ukrainian physical characteristics? Is there a difference? It appears that upper extremities in Ukrainians are shorter than in Russians and, in contrast, lower extremities are longer. Ukrainian ladies can be proud of their legs.

A fresh approach to Ukrainian genetic traits

Just 10 years ago, it would seem fantastic that scientists can establish the origin of a nation with a high degree of accuracy due to genetic analysis. A large-scale genetic study was carried out among Ukrainians using the latest technologies and attracting the best world experts.

So, genes of what ancient civilizations do Ukrainian representatives carry? Let’s figure it out. The following main lines of Ukrainian nation’s origin were identified during the newest massive genetic study:

  • Celtic origin. Every fifteenth Ukrainian carries a chromosome, which ties him with Scottish, Irish and English peoples. Celts were a very powerful civilization, which was able to colonize a half of the continent. The secret of their progress was simple – they were first who learned how to work iron. Celtic culture had a direct impact on Ukrainians, for example the famous haircut “mushroom cut” was one of the varieties of Celtic national hairstyles. By the way, long Cossack mustaches came from the Celts as well. Such traits as: fair or ginger hair, light color of eyes, long thin face, light skin tone (sometimes with freckles) are particular for Ukrainians with Celtic gene.
  • Scandinavian origin. Every sixth Ukrainian carries the Y-chromosome of Scandinavian or Finnish nations. Vikings came to Ukrainian lands as military elite for the personal guard of the princes and kings. And of course, they made a contribution not only into customs and culture, but also into the genetic stock of the whole Ukrainian nation. Scandinavian gene brought cold features, such as blond hair, straight nose, very light skin in Ukrainian appearance.
  • Trypillian origin. As the results of the study show, one in five Ukrainians carries the Trypillian gene. Trypillians are the earliest settled population on the territory of Ukraine. They settled there because they found the ideal ground for agriculture. They were farmers and were the first who planted wheat and buckwheat in Ukraine. Trypillians were representatives of the Mediterranean type of appearance. They were of a low stature, but well-shaped, thin-boned, with dark hair and dark eyes.
  • Aryan origin. More than half of Ukrainian study group carry the chromosome of Aryans. They were tall, broad-shouldered, with light skin and fair hair. At the time when Aryans lived on the present-day Ukrainian territory, the average annual temperature fell sharply by many degrees, which led to a severe climate (cold snap) and seriously affected the human population. There were only two places in Europe where Arian people could escape from the cold: Ukraine and the Iberian Peninsula.

So, some scientists believe that Ukraine is the cradle of the white race of the present civilization.

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