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    And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren. - Genesis 16:12 By now you may have seen or read two important papers which just came out in Science, 2000 Years of Parallel...
  • @Generalista
    Razib,

    I agree with some of what you say, but not with all. Most importantly, European autosomal DNA is extremely close to each other - which to me means that the Gravettian had a unifying consequence, and everything after (agriculture, Bronze age, iron age) had firstly only a mild impact and secondly, as such, a broad one.

    Uniparental markers don't tell you much, at all. Where are those that distinguish the Finns and Hungarians, in Europe? Autosomally, Hungarians are extremely close to Germans, today, and the latter also to anyone else in that vicinity. How can this be?

    It just is. You can take DNA samples in a small village in Central Germany, today, and get three people that share as much autosomal DNA as you would expect from almost-relatives - but one has y-DNA haplogroup R1b, one has I, the third has R1a. And from ancient DNA we know it has been so for probably over 4,000 years, and likely even longer.

    Uniparental DNA differences clearly exaggerate autosomal differences.

    As to the "HGs," yes, we know that many of them were actually settled, or at least seasonally settled.

    Most importantly, European autosomal DNA is extremely close to each other – which to me means that the Gravettian had a unifying consequence,

    probably not, though perhaps. the gravettian is old, the drift parameter probably would have diversified over 20-30 K years. more likely the homogenization is due to recent admixture. this seems evident in the few autosomal ancient sequences we have today from HGs. some of it is published. some of it will be by pontus skoglund et al. in the near future. if you want to make a bet, i’m game :-)

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  • Razib,

    I agree with some of what you say, but not with all. Most importantly, European autosomal DNA is extremely close to each other – which to me means that the Gravettian had a unifying consequence, and everything after (agriculture, Bronze age, iron age) had firstly only a mild impact and secondly, as such, a broad one.

    Uniparental markers don’t tell you much, at all. Where are those that distinguish the Finns and Hungarians, in Europe? Autosomally, Hungarians are extremely close to Germans, today, and the latter also to anyone else in that vicinity. How can this be?

    It just is. You can take DNA samples in a small village in Central Germany, today, and get three people that share as much autosomal DNA as you would expect from almost-relatives – but one has y-DNA haplogroup R1b, one has I, the third has R1a. And from ancient DNA we know it has been so for probably over 4,000 years, and likely even longer.

    Uniparental DNA differences clearly exaggerate autosomal differences.

    As to the “HGs,” yes, we know that many of them were actually settled, or at least seasonally settled.

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    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    Most importantly, European autosomal DNA is extremely close to each other - which to me means that the Gravettian had a unifying consequence,


    probably not, though perhaps. the gravettian is old, the drift parameter probably would have diversified over 20-30 K years. more likely the homogenization is due to recent admixture. this seems evident in the few autosomal ancient sequences we have today from HGs. some of it is published. some of it will be by pontus skoglund et al. in the near future. if you want to make a bet, i'm game :-)

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anonymous
    Mr. Khan, your thesis is safe. Many of your fellow geneticists even, for example, think of the Irish and Scottish as 'Celts' when they are no more so than the Basques (granting I have a better grasp on the archaeology and history and I'm sure you knew this). Language is no way to go in terms of plotting genetic change per se, and one would think everyone would appreciate this with regard to cultural artifacts. Hence "The Celts" may not have been particularly closely related, but shared a culture and eventually, mostly, a language, and when they conquered more settled pastoral people, it was like drops into full buckets and may have been more than a slow admixture than a violent invasion or invasions.
    You might find ancient Irish myth pretty interesting as it might relate to Western Europe.
    Apropos of little, I have some interest on the Khazarian hypothesis and appreciated your article. I do think that some of your criticisms, while technically valid, don't actually disprove the broader point - genetic contributions, significant ones, that are not Levantine. It would be interesting to see cultural/linguistic analysis. My own sense is that the Khazarian contribution was not large, but not insignificant - that was a major power, and the evidence for conversions is indubitable, the question is to what extent it trickled down to the plebs.
    Lastly, the recent paper on the largely European maternal ancestry of Ashkenazi Jews seems very difficult to argue with {less shaky than the Khazarian paper}. I have not seen very much news coverage at all - which tells me that *politics* may be holding up or frustrating science on this.
    I'm not sure why any of this matters other than notions that rights to land or title or the kingdom to heaven depend on genetics... but a walk through Williamsburg, Brooklyn will vouchsafe that the Ultra Orthodox, who largely came from Poland and the Baltics, are not Middle Eastern in appearance.
    This, of course, isn't a scientific conclusion, but the notion of direct lineage stems, in part, from the idea that conversion didn't happen. It did - all the time, and both ways, but much less since, I'd argue, the Reformation...
    Anyway, lastly I'll note that Tay Sachs occurs in not only Jews, but Gaels (Irish and Scots and in a practical sense, Welsh). Curious, isn't it. Might this be some pre-Indo-European marker picked up in central Europe 10k or more years ago? Not marker but.. trait...
    Thanks.

    BTW, my father and I, and my oldest daughter are Tay-Sachs carriers

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  • @Anonymous
    Mr. Khan, your thesis is safe. Many of your fellow geneticists even, for example, think of the Irish and Scottish as 'Celts' when they are no more so than the Basques (granting I have a better grasp on the archaeology and history and I'm sure you knew this). Language is no way to go in terms of plotting genetic change per se, and one would think everyone would appreciate this with regard to cultural artifacts. Hence "The Celts" may not have been particularly closely related, but shared a culture and eventually, mostly, a language, and when they conquered more settled pastoral people, it was like drops into full buckets and may have been more than a slow admixture than a violent invasion or invasions.
    You might find ancient Irish myth pretty interesting as it might relate to Western Europe.
    Apropos of little, I have some interest on the Khazarian hypothesis and appreciated your article. I do think that some of your criticisms, while technically valid, don't actually disprove the broader point - genetic contributions, significant ones, that are not Levantine. It would be interesting to see cultural/linguistic analysis. My own sense is that the Khazarian contribution was not large, but not insignificant - that was a major power, and the evidence for conversions is indubitable, the question is to what extent it trickled down to the plebs.
    Lastly, the recent paper on the largely European maternal ancestry of Ashkenazi Jews seems very difficult to argue with {less shaky than the Khazarian paper}. I have not seen very much news coverage at all - which tells me that *politics* may be holding up or frustrating science on this.
    I'm not sure why any of this matters other than notions that rights to land or title or the kingdom to heaven depend on genetics... but a walk through Williamsburg, Brooklyn will vouchsafe that the Ultra Orthodox, who largely came from Poland and the Baltics, are not Middle Eastern in appearance.
    This, of course, isn't a scientific conclusion, but the notion of direct lineage stems, in part, from the idea that conversion didn't happen. It did - all the time, and both ways, but much less since, I'd argue, the Reformation...
    Anyway, lastly I'll note that Tay Sachs occurs in not only Jews, but Gaels (Irish and Scots and in a practical sense, Welsh). Curious, isn't it. Might this be some pre-Indo-European marker picked up in central Europe 10k or more years ago? Not marker but.. trait...
    Thanks.

    The problem is that a lot of people claim to be “Irish” and few are really “Native Irish” – as in all known ancestry from before the Normans. My father is one such person – and the only one that I know of, He consistently shows more Scandinavian-like and more Basque-like ancestry than every other “Irish” person, whose results are a vailable.

    Here are his recent Admixture results from Eurogenes K16

    Admix Results (sorted):

    # Population Percent
    1 Atlantic 37.20
    2 North_Sea 32.89
    3 Baltic 10.74
    4 West_Med 8.50
    5 Eastern_Euro 8.13
    6 West_Asian 2.54

    # Primary Population (source)Secondary Population (source)Distance
    1 80.9%Irish+19.1%[email protected]
    2 78.9%West_Scottish+21.1%[email protected]
    3 77.6%Danish+22.4%[email protected]
    4 83.6%Southeast_English+16.4%[email protected]
    5 83.4%Irish+16.6%[email protected]
    6 84.7%Irish+15.3%[email protected]
    7 80.5%West_Scottish+19.5%[email protected]
    8 82.1%West_Scottish+17.9%[email protected]
    9 86%Irish+14%[email protected]
    10 86.2%Irish+13.8%[email protected]

    Using 4 populations approximation:
    1 French_Basque + West_Scottish + West_Scottish + West_Scottish @ 4.924
    2 French_Basque + Irish + West_Scottish + West_Scottish @ 4.944
    3 French_Basque + Irish + Irish + West_Scottish @ 4.995
    4 French_Basque + Irish + Irish + Irish @ 5.074
    5 Danish + French_Basque + West_Scottish + West_Scottish @ 5.179
    6 Danish + French_Basque + Irish + West_Scottish @ 5.193
    7 Danish + French_Basque + Irish + Irish @ 5.237
    8 Danish + Danish + French_Basque + West_Scottish @ 5.473
    9 Danish + Danish + French_Basque + Irish @ 5.483
    10 French_Basque + Irish + Irish + Orcadian @ 5.494

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    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Anonymous
    Mr. Khan, your thesis is safe. Many of your fellow geneticists even, for example, think of the Irish and Scottish as 'Celts' when they are no more so than the Basques (granting I have a better grasp on the archaeology and history and I'm sure you knew this). Language is no way to go in terms of plotting genetic change per se, and one would think everyone would appreciate this with regard to cultural artifacts. Hence "The Celts" may not have been particularly closely related, but shared a culture and eventually, mostly, a language, and when they conquered more settled pastoral people, it was like drops into full buckets and may have been more than a slow admixture than a violent invasion or invasions.
    You might find ancient Irish myth pretty interesting as it might relate to Western Europe.
    Apropos of little, I have some interest on the Khazarian hypothesis and appreciated your article. I do think that some of your criticisms, while technically valid, don't actually disprove the broader point - genetic contributions, significant ones, that are not Levantine. It would be interesting to see cultural/linguistic analysis. My own sense is that the Khazarian contribution was not large, but not insignificant - that was a major power, and the evidence for conversions is indubitable, the question is to what extent it trickled down to the plebs.
    Lastly, the recent paper on the largely European maternal ancestry of Ashkenazi Jews seems very difficult to argue with {less shaky than the Khazarian paper}. I have not seen very much news coverage at all - which tells me that *politics* may be holding up or frustrating science on this.
    I'm not sure why any of this matters other than notions that rights to land or title or the kingdom to heaven depend on genetics... but a walk through Williamsburg, Brooklyn will vouchsafe that the Ultra Orthodox, who largely came from Poland and the Baltics, are not Middle Eastern in appearance.
    This, of course, isn't a scientific conclusion, but the notion of direct lineage stems, in part, from the idea that conversion didn't happen. It did - all the time, and both ways, but much less since, I'd argue, the Reformation...
    Anyway, lastly I'll note that Tay Sachs occurs in not only Jews, but Gaels (Irish and Scots and in a practical sense, Welsh). Curious, isn't it. Might this be some pre-Indo-European marker picked up in central Europe 10k or more years ago? Not marker but.. trait...
    Thanks.

    1) you’re too loquacious for the thin data density of what you’re saying. t he basque/irish connection was based on Y chromosomes was pretty much superseded by autosomal work years ago. keep up on the literature.

    2) have not seen very much news coverage at all -

    you don’t count the new york times?

    https://news.google.com/news?ncl=dYFBVMUooGjNl-MXNnHPxsyW9jbjM&q=ashkenazi+dna&lr=English&hl=en

    i agree there’s politics at work. but hasn’t stopped major media coverage.

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    Mr. Khan, your thesis is safe. Many of your fellow geneticists even, for example, think of the Irish and Scottish as ‘Celts’ when they are no more so than the Basques (granting I have a better grasp on the archaeology and history and I’m sure you knew this). Language is no way to go in terms of plotting genetic change per se, and one would think everyone would appreciate this with regard to cultural artifacts. Hence “The Celts” may not have been particularly closely related, but shared a culture and eventually, mostly, a language, and when they conquered more settled pastoral people, it was like drops into full buckets and may have been more than a slow admixture than a violent invasion or invasions.
    You might find ancient Irish myth pretty interesting as it might relate to Western Europe.
    Apropos of little, I have some interest on the Khazarian hypothesis and appreciated your article. I do think that some of your criticisms, while technically valid, don’t actually disprove the broader point – genetic contributions, significant ones, that are not Levantine. It would be interesting to see cultural/linguistic analysis. My own sense is that the Khazarian contribution was not large, but not insignificant – that was a major power, and the evidence for conversions is indubitable, the question is to what extent it trickled down to the plebs.
    Lastly, the recent paper on the largely European maternal ancestry of Ashkenazi Jews seems very difficult to argue with {less shaky than the Khazarian paper}. I have not seen very much news coverage at all – which tells me that *politics* may be holding up or frustrating science on this.
    I’m not sure why any of this matters other than notions that rights to land or title or the kingdom to heaven depend on genetics… but a walk through Williamsburg, Brooklyn will vouchsafe that the Ultra Orthodox, who largely came from Poland and the Baltics, are not Middle Eastern in appearance.
    This, of course, isn’t a scientific conclusion, but the notion of direct lineage stems, in part, from the idea that conversion didn’t happen. It did – all the time, and both ways, but much less since, I’d argue, the Reformation…
    Anyway, lastly I’ll note that Tay Sachs occurs in not only Jews, but Gaels (Irish and Scots and in a practical sense, Welsh). Curious, isn’t it. Might this be some pre-Indo-European marker picked up in central Europe 10k or more years ago? Not marker but.. trait…
    Thanks.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    1) you're too loquacious for the thin data density of what you're saying. t he basque/irish connection was based on Y chromosomes was pretty much superseded by autosomal work years ago. keep up on the literature.

    2) have not seen very much news coverage at all -

    you don't count the new york times?


    https://news.google.com/news?ncl=dYFBVMUooGjNl-MXNnHPxsyW9jbjM&q=ashkenazi+dna&lr=English&hl=en

    i agree there's politics at work. but hasn't stopped major media coverage.

    , @Paul Conroy
    The problem is that a lot of people claim to be "Irish" and few are really "Native Irish" - as in all known ancestry from before the Normans. My father is one such person - and the only one that I know of, He consistently shows more Scandinavian-like and more Basque-like ancestry than every other "Irish" person, whose results are a vailable.

    Here are his recent Admixture results from Eurogenes K16

    Admix Results (sorted):

    # Population Percent
    1 Atlantic 37.20
    2 North_Sea 32.89
    3 Baltic 10.74
    4 West_Med 8.50
    5 Eastern_Euro 8.13
    6 West_Asian 2.54

    # Primary Population (source)Secondary Population (source)Distance
    1 80.9%Irish+19.1%[email protected]
    2 78.9%West_Scottish+21.1%[email protected]
    3 77.6%Danish+22.4%[email protected]
    4 83.6%Southeast_English+16.4%[email protected]
    5 83.4%Irish+16.6%[email protected]
    6 84.7%Irish+15.3%[email protected]
    7 80.5%West_Scottish+19.5%[email protected]
    8 82.1%West_Scottish+17.9%[email protected]
    9 86%Irish+14%[email protected]
    10 86.2%Irish+13.8%[email protected]

    Using 4 populations approximation:
    1 French_Basque + West_Scottish + West_Scottish + West_Scottish @ 4.924
    2 French_Basque + Irish + West_Scottish + West_Scottish @ 4.944
    3 French_Basque + Irish + Irish + West_Scottish @ 4.995
    4 French_Basque + Irish + Irish + Irish @ 5.074
    5 Danish + French_Basque + West_Scottish + West_Scottish @ 5.179
    6 Danish + French_Basque + Irish + West_Scottish @ 5.193
    7 Danish + French_Basque + Irish + Irish @ 5.237
    8 Danish + Danish + French_Basque + West_Scottish @ 5.473
    9 Danish + Danish + French_Basque + Irish @ 5.483
    10 French_Basque + Irish + Irish + Orcadian @ 5.494

    , @Paul Conroy
    BTW, my father and I, and my oldest daughter are Tay-Sachs carriers
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @andrew oh-willeke
    It is also appropriate to note that the highly distinct hunter-gatherer and farmer populations would not just differ in food production methods.


    They would have been very obviously racially distinct (at least as much if not more than the an Australian Aborigine v. a modern Western European in genetic difference as measured by FST implying very obvious visual differences as well), as well as having profoundly unrelated languages (perhaps as different as Mandarin v. English). Surely, they would also have differed profoundly in religious beliefs and moral/ethical values as well.


    A movie like Avatar (the blue alien one) are probably closer to the spirit of the differences between farmers and hunters in this time period than some of the more PC quasi-historical dramas trying to capture the experience.

    They would have been very obviously racially distinct (at least as much if not more than the an Australian Aborigine v. a modern Western European in genetic difference as measured by FST implying very obvious visual differences as well)

    Physical anthropology and genetics both show that both the hunter-gatherers and agriculturists of West Eurasia were racially Caucasoid. The racial differences between the two groups were within the limits of the variation of the Caucasoid race. That is why it is much harder to differentiate between hunter-gatherers and agriculturists in West Eurasia than between those of South Asia, where the two groups seem to have been racially quite distinct (the ANI-ASI divergence).

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  • One caveat that only affects your theory on the edges – the basis for describing some of these populations in the ’2000 years of coexistence’ paper as hunter-gatherer was isotope analysis that suggested a “forager and freshwater fish diet.” Depending on how much freshwater fish, these may be settled populations with similar levels of technology to the agricultural people.

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  • It is also appropriate to note that the highly distinct hunter-gatherer and farmer populations would not just differ in food production methods.

    They would have been very obviously racially distinct (at least as much if not more than the an Australian Aborigine v. a modern Western European in genetic difference as measured by FST implying very obvious visual differences as well), as well as having profoundly unrelated languages (perhaps as different as Mandarin v. English). Surely, they would also have differed profoundly in religious beliefs and moral/ethical values as well.

    A movie like Avatar (the blue alien one) are probably closer to the spirit of the differences between farmers and hunters in this time period than some of the more PC quasi-historical dramas trying to capture the experience.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Onur
    They would have been very obviously racially distinct (at least as much if not more than the an Australian Aborigine v. a modern Western European in genetic difference as measured by FST implying very obvious visual differences as well)

    Physical anthropology and genetics both show that both the hunter-gatherers and agriculturists of West Eurasia were racially Caucasoid. The racial differences between the two groups were within the limits of the variation of the Caucasoid race. That is why it is much harder to differentiate between hunter-gatherers and agriculturists in West Eurasia than between those of South Asia, where the two groups seem to have been racially quite distinct (the ANI-ASI divergence).

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Karl Zimmerman
    I find myself wondering if the best model for the persistence of hunter-gatherers in Neolithic Europe for 2,000 years following the introduction of agriculture is Pygmies in Sub-Saharan Africa.


    The Bantu migration into the core pygmy area happened approximately 2,500 years ago. Nonetheless, the pygmies were not wiped out or dispersed to the fringes of the Bantu expansion, as was the case for the Khoisan (and whatever other extinct peoples used to live in Southern Africa). Instead they fell into a semi-symbiotic relationship with Bantu and other agriculturalists, trading hunted/foraged items for agricultural products, and ultimately losing their own languages.

    same.

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  • I find myself wondering if the best model for the persistence of hunter-gatherers in Neolithic Europe for 2,000 years following the introduction of agriculture is Pygmies in Sub-Saharan Africa.

    The Bantu migration into the core pygmy area happened approximately 2,500 years ago. Nonetheless, the pygmies were not wiped out or dispersed to the fringes of the Bantu expansion, as was the case for the Khoisan (and whatever other extinct peoples used to live in Southern Africa). Instead they fell into a semi-symbiotic relationship with Bantu and other agriculturalists, trading hunted/foraged items for agricultural products, and ultimately losing their own languages.

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    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    same.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Dienekes has a post up highlighting a preprint out of Pontus Skoglund's group. It is titled Ancient genomes mirror mode of subsistence rather than geography in prehistoric Europe. It doesn't seem to be online (fingers crossed that it shows up linked at Haldane's Sieve soon). In any case I am not surprised by the broad...
  • How does the spread of lactase persistence in Northern Europe fit in time-wise? Did the first farmers also bring the cattle?

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  • I seem to recall for a long time that the argument was between the 80% Paleolithic contribution camp and the 20% camp. It seems like the latter is closer to the mark than the former.

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  • @Apple Pie
    If we moderns are a mix of these farmer + hunter types, then I am curious about the differences in social strategies + cognitive adaptations in HG vs Neolithic contexts.

    EO Wilson said that the most advanced eusocial insect societies usually involve symbiosis of multiple specialist types. In ants/termites this includes highly flexible workers cooperating with hypertrophic defense specialists.

    For humans (a tool using primate), the specializations will be more cognitive than physical. Not just "G" or general intelligence, but differentiated / mutually exclusive (in individuals) forms of cognition.

    Ex: the "autistic spectrum" ability to coldly follow isolated concepts with crystal clarity, versus the "social intelligence" of negotiating and understanding the subtler nuance of complex mass society. Or another ex: the cognitive/behavioral adaptations of a "dauntless warrior" versus a "sensitive social adapter."

    Pop sci writers like Bellwood usually fail to notice this and glom everything together in blurry narratives about development of "the" modern cognitive/behavioral toolkit. But folklorically, cognitive "types" vary by culture/subculture (even today in America) and have difficulty communicating with each other sometimes (each type sees the other as "bad"). It would be illuminating to see a joint reading of EO Wilson "Sociobiology" (everything but the last chapter) together with Jonathan Haidt "The Righteous Mind" (for the human part).

    Agreed… To the extent that some recent studies suggesting
    actual brain tissue differences between so-called self-described conservatives and liberals (whatever that means) may hold up, it seems obvious to me that any adaptively successful human populations would have a rich psycho-social ‘tool-kit’ for encountering the usual slings-and-arrows. One can imagine the usefulness of having a partial hereditary basis for both conservative and liberal responses to very different survival scenarios in a
    population, over generations. Differentials along other behavioral axes would plausibly be important also.

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  • @Charles Nydorf
    Its funny that hunter gatherer cultural traits are still with us in civilized societies. Many people still like to hunt, fish or just forage for wild plants. Cooking without pots as in a clam bake still has a lot of attraction. I like to have a conversation with people who like me retain a paleolithic cognitive style.

    A hunter gatherer part would prefer us live in a country with a lots of free space, near a forest, walk a lot of foot, work as a freelancer and have lots of spare time … And also, you must have a passion for mushroom gathering!

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  • “It seems likely that there were major eruptions from Arabia in antiquity and the medieval period (inferred by comparing religious isolates such as Arab Christians with their Muslim neighbors).”

    Well, it certainly seems likely.

    If you check Dienekes’ blog, he linked a recent study about Kuwait (Alsmadi et al 2013)… It basically confirms Moorjani et al 2011′s find that there’s been non-trivial, recent African admixture in Arabians.
    And the interesting part, is that the Palestinian samples included within the study have non-negligible amounts of African admixture, similar to “Kuwaiti 2″ and “Bedouin” samples (basically half of the “Kuwaiti 3″ samples’ African admix, so more or less similar to Yemeni Jews… There’s a clear pattern here)

    So yeah, the odds are growing in favour of a more Mediterranean-leaning (Cypriot-leaning? Sardinian-clining?!) pre-Islamic Levant… Either that, or a more West Asian/Anatolian-like Levant, which definitely makes sense given the region’s prehistorical (and historical) links to Anatolia and the Zagros (as well as the Caucasus).

    But much of it is still speculation, we need actual genome-wide studies about West Asian aDNA to settle up this issue (or, to be more precise, get to ask relevant questions).

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  • Were there really major expansions from Arabia in the medieval period? I know that in the recent Lebanese study, Christian Arabs actually had a higher “Arab” component than Muslims. Muslims had more African, which is why they pull toward peninsular Arabs in PCA plots. But I don’t know how the intermixture that followed the Arab conquest may have differed in other parts of West Asia.

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    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • If we moderns are a mix of these farmer + hunter types, then I am curious about the differences in social strategies + cognitive adaptations in HG vs Neolithic contexts.

    EO Wilson said that the most advanced eusocial insect societies usually involve symbiosis of multiple specialist types. In ants/termites this includes highly flexible workers cooperating with hypertrophic defense specialists.

    For humans (a tool using primate), the specializations will be more cognitive than physical. Not just “G” or general intelligence, but differentiated / mutually exclusive (in individuals) forms of cognition.

    Ex: the “autistic spectrum” ability to coldly follow isolated concepts with crystal clarity, versus the “social intelligence” of negotiating and understanding the subtler nuance of complex mass society. Or another ex: the cognitive/behavioral adaptations of a “dauntless warrior” versus a “sensitive social adapter.”

    Pop sci writers like Bellwood usually fail to notice this and glom everything together in blurry narratives about development of “the” modern cognitive/behavioral toolkit. But folklorically, cognitive “types” vary by culture/subculture (even today in America) and have difficulty communicating with each other sometimes (each type sees the other as “bad”). It would be illuminating to see a joint reading of EO Wilson “Sociobiology” (everything but the last chapter) together with Jonathan Haidt “The Righteous Mind” (for the human part).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Gene Partlow
    Agreed… To the extent that some recent studies suggesting
    actual brain tissue differences between so-called self-described conservatives and liberals (whatever that means) may hold up, it seems obvious to me that any adaptively successful human populations would have a rich psycho-social 'tool-kit' for encountering the usual slings-and-arrows. One can imagine the usefulness of having a partial hereditary basis for both conservative and liberal responses to very different survival scenarios in a
    population, over generations. Differentials along other behavioral axes would plausibly be important also.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Its funny that hunter gatherer cultural traits are still with us in civilized societies. Many people still like to hunt, fish or just forage for wild plants. Cooking without pots as in a clam bake still has a lot of attraction. I like to have a conversation with people who like me retain a paleolithic cognitive style.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    A hunter gatherer part would prefer us live in a country with a lots of free space, near a forest, walk a lot of foot, work as a freelancer and have lots of spare time ... And also, you must have a passion for mushroom gathering!
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • The inimitable Joe Pickrell has dropped his Khoisan-are-part-Italian preprint onto arXiv, Ancient west Eurasian ancestry in southern and eastern Africa. I’m being glib in my characterization of the paper’s core conclusion, but there’s a reason for such a flip response: the inferences that he seems to draw from the genetic data strike me as verging...
  • @Joe Pickrell
    Cypriots show up as pretty good proxies for the west Eurasian ancestry in east Africa (see Supplementary Table 4).


    But I think I'm missing something: what's special about Cypriots, Armenians and Georgians that makes them particularly interesting candidates for the source of this ancestry?

    Razib pretty much explained what is so special about them in his last comment. I would like to add that they are geographically closer by land to Africa than Southern Europeans are, so they are expected to be better proxies for the West Asian migrants in Africa than Southern Europeans are, which is in contrast with your inferences of the proxy population.

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  • @Joe Pickrell
    Cypriots show up as pretty good proxies for the west Eurasian ancestry in east Africa (see Supplementary Table 4).


    But I think I'm missing something: what's special about Cypriots, Armenians and Georgians that makes them particularly interesting candidates for the source of this ancestry?

    one thing that jumps out about these three groups is that like assyrians they were not part of the cosmopolitanism of the islamic period due to ethno-religious reasons. so presumably a better snapshop of mid-east genetics before 650 AD.

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  • @Onur
    But Cypriots, Armenians and Georgians were also tested in this study and they all generally showed up as worse proxies for the West Asian migrants than the tested Southern European populations did. Do they have (more recent) African admixture too? Cypriots may have such admixture, but it should be so slight that it probably has no effect on Cypriots' proxy status. But Armenians and Georgians do not seem to show any such admixture at all.

    Cypriots show up as pretty good proxies for the west Eurasian ancestry in east Africa (see Supplementary Table 4).

    But I think I’m missing something: what’s special about Cypriots, Armenians and Georgians that makes them particularly interesting candidates for the source of this ancestry?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    one thing that jumps out about these three groups is that like assyrians they were not part of the cosmopolitanism of the islamic period due to ethno-religious reasons. so presumably a better snapshop of mid-east genetics before 650 AD.
    , @Onur
    Razib pretty much explained what is so special about them in his last comment. I would like to add that they are geographically closer by land to Africa than Southern Europeans are, so they are expected to be better proxies for the West Asian migrants in Africa than Southern Europeans are, which is in contrast with your inferences of the proxy population.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • If a parent population in the Yemen with limited scope for profitable expansion in Arabia spawns a child population in Ethiopia which over time grows to be much bigger and stronger than the parent e.g. Axum, such that at some later date the child population eventually conquers and maybe even displaces the original parent population would that square any circles?

    (I’m just guessing here, i don’t know if it would or not.)

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  • @Joe Pickrell
    Yes, I think I understand the point here. I was mostly focused on the east->south Africa part of the chain, but the initial source of west Eurasian ancestry in eastern Africa merits more thought.


    I think the (more recent) African admixture in the Middle East strongly influences analyses using modern populations. A quick analysis with TreeMix suggests that, after correcting for African admixture in the Middle East, the best proxy for the west Eurasian ancestry in east Africa is Bedouins. That might reconcile this a bit.

    But Cypriots, Armenians and Georgians were also tested in this study and they all generally showed up as worse proxies for the West Asian migrants than the tested Southern European populations did. Do they have (more recent) African admixture too? Cypriots may have such admixture, but it should be so slight that it probably has no effect on Cypriots’ proxy status. But Armenians and Georgians do not seem to show any such admixture at all.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Joe Pickrell
    Cypriots show up as pretty good proxies for the west Eurasian ancestry in east Africa (see Supplementary Table 4).


    But I think I'm missing something: what's special about Cypriots, Armenians and Georgians that makes them particularly interesting candidates for the source of this ancestry?

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Razib Khan
    the contradiction here is rather plain and moderately persuasive to me. perhaps the model needs more complexity...

    Yes, I think I understand the point here. I was mostly focused on the east->south Africa part of the chain, but the initial source of west Eurasian ancestry in eastern Africa merits more thought.

    I think the (more recent) African admixture in the Middle East strongly influences analyses using modern populations. A quick analysis with TreeMix suggests that, after correcting for African admixture in the Middle East, the best proxy for the west Eurasian ancestry in east Africa is Bedouins. That might reconcile this a bit.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Onur
    But Cypriots, Armenians and Georgians were also tested in this study and they all generally showed up as worse proxies for the West Asian migrants than the tested Southern European populations did. Do they have (more recent) African admixture too? Cypriots may have such admixture, but it should be so slight that it probably has no effect on Cypriots' proxy status. But Armenians and Georgians do not seem to show any such admixture at all.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • the contradiction here is rather plain and moderately persuasive to me. perhaps the model needs more complexity…

    Read More
    • Replies: @Joe Pickrell
    Yes, I think I understand the point here. I was mostly focused on the east->south Africa part of the chain, but the initial source of west Eurasian ancestry in eastern Africa merits more thought.


    I think the (more recent) African admixture in the Middle East strongly influences analyses using modern populations. A quick analysis with TreeMix suggests that, after correcting for African admixture in the Middle East, the best proxy for the west Eurasian ancestry in east Africa is Bedouins. That might reconcile this a bit.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Is it really so crazy to think that East Africans would receive West Eurasian admixture via the historical evidence associated with the emergence of the Ethio-semitic language family from a single source language that was part of the Semitic language family of the Levant/Arabia around 3000 years ago which is roughly when the linguistic and historical evidence points to that happening?

    An earlier Upper Paleolithic back migration from West Eurasia is associated with M1/U6 mtDNA haplogroups in Africa (although the distribution suggests geographically distinct migration patterns for each of these even though they are roughly contemporaneous).

    I would think that there would also be some Neolithic era contribution and possibly one between a Neolithic wave and an Ethio-semitic wave (e.g. Y-DNA T in Somolia almost surely is another back migration from West Eurasia separate from the dispersal of MtDNA M1/U6, but it isn’t at all obvious when it arrived or if it back migrated by sea from Yemen and vicinity or by land via the Blue Nile). But, the two admixture wave estimate is a floor and not a ceiling.

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  • “To be a bit facetious, the results imply that a male NE African/ S Arabian population sourced N and NE Mediterranean (or early Anatolian/ N Levantine) wives”

    I’m not sure if this fits the paper but just addressing your points – what if?

    The first farmers spread wherever their agricultural package was viable. Initially they’d leave relatively marginal regions alone in favor of the most viable. The foragers in the adjacent marginal regions pick up the herding part of the farming package leading their population to expand. The pastoralists then over-run the farmers.

    If this was a recurring pattern you’d see the female half of the first farmers merged with the male half of the local foragers turned pastoralists and the female half might be similar across the whole extent of the farmers original expansion.

    So in this case first farmers spreading round the coast of Arabia find a nice spot somewhere around Yemen, create an advanced polity for the region and as a side-effect of that process turn the relatively weak local foragers into relatively strong pastoralists and get conquered by them. That creates your first hybrid population.

    ~~~

    “and then sent off their male offspring, only, in large masses, back to the Horn of Africa.”

    If the Yemen-based polity is initially more advanced and expands across the water into Ethiopia then the male line would likely be dominant. There wouldn’t necessarily need to be large masses of them. For example isn’t the 20-25% white admixture in African-Americans mostly from sugar plantations – or the plantation system in general? I’d expect the percentage would be higher if the system had lasted longer?

    Or alternatively the conquistador example – especially if the source region is polygamous and the Yemeni conquistadors don’t have any women.

    ~~~

    “And later, further south, their male lineage signature vanished, as (apparently?) at this stage, their female offspring were the more successful.”

    Why would they later head south? Gold maybe? And if they were eventually over-run by the neighboring tribes then their surviving mark might be only carried on the surviving female side unless some segment survived the over-run.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemba_people

    “According to Lemba oral tradition, their male ancestry originally comprised several male “white people from over the sea” who came to southeast Africa from a country which boasted large cities in order to obtain gold.[16][21][22] After becoming established in Africa, at some point, the tribe split into two groups, one
    staying in Ethiopia and the other travelling farther south, along the east coast.”

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  • Isolation-by-distance and major population displacement aren’t really mutually exclusive, in fact they could have some synergy. If the neighbors of the Khoi-San who inhabited more pastoralist-friendly habitats got largely displaced by a wave of East African migration, then the remaining native migrants the less welcoming habitats could have received respective genetic inflows though a diffusion-like process? The timing of the diffusion process would correspond to the window of time when the pre-pastoralist populations were gradually moving away from the in-migrants and into their present desert habitats.

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  • @pgbk87
    Will you at some point, decompose the elements of both 'yemenite' components? Are you supposing some Mediterranean and/or West Asian/East African hybrid creating a 'southwest Asian' cluster?


    This is why I believe Meheris, Socotris and other south Arabian tribes are so necessary. 'ANA'/West Eurasian-like and 'ASA'/East African-shifted, native Arabian will likely arise, similar to ASI and ANI. mtDNA L6, M1 and unique N subclades come to mind. This is ALL speculation on my part...

    I’m very interested to she how the South Arabians genetically as well. There are very few pictures of either group online, but the ones I have seen (especially the latter) seem as if they could have been subject to roughly the same amount of SSA admixture as Arabs (at least on average).

    One other possibility is that South Arabia was heavily genetically modified by admixture with South Asia. It’s often been remarked that South Arabians have “Australioid” or “Veddoid” features. Maybe this is not a remnant of the South Arabian indigenous population. The Indus Valley civilization had extensive trading links (arguably going all the way to Africa, based upon relations between Sahel and Indian crops). It’s plausible there were Harappan trading posts on Arabian coast, which could have influenced the region genetically and culturally.

    That said, the timing doesn’t quite mesh with the paper here. Presumably this study suggests that South Arabia was still “pure” (presuming that, and not the Nile, was the locus of admixture) in 1,000 BC, which is well after the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization.

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    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Lank
    I would guess the bulk of West Eurasian ancestry in East Africa is a result of migrations during Afroasiatic and/or Neolithic expansions. The spread of Cushitic speakers since ~8000 years ago is tied to a Neolithic economy, although some would argue that Afroasiatic as a whole is pre-Neolithic and originated among the early wild grain collectors in Northeast Africa.

    It is in many ways analogous to the situation in India, where you have a recent (Indo-Aryans, corresponding to the Semites of EA) incursion, an older widespread group of Dravidians; also with West Eurasian ancestry, and possibly linked to Neolithic dispersals. I should add that it seems to me like Indo-Aryans had a somewhat wider impact, whereas the influence of Ethiosemites was limited south of Abyssinia.

    The method details in papers from the Reich lab are generally very elaborate, and they seem to lack any apparent flaws. But the case for southern African admixture is much stronger with the additional pieces of genetic (Y-DNA, lactase persistence, ADMIXTURE etc.) and archaeological evidence. In their case, we can be fairly sure about the origin of the admixing populations <2 kya. But the LD decay alone does not strike me as revealing anything concrete about East African population history, although this could change with some ancient DNA and improved dating of uniparental lineages.

    high quality comment. but i will add one thing: individuals in this lab often run simulations to test their methods (as in this paper). this is not a panacea, but they are not flying totally seat of their pants.

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  • @Razib Khan
    the ppl in the reich lab are very smart. but...who knows if some of the parameter values they took for others in their model are exactly correct. i'm confident they are detecting a pulse event admixture. i am less confident about the timing, though i doubt it is off by an order of magnitude. how far back do you think the admixture event would be ignoring the 3,000 year old dating that from the LD decay methods?

    I would guess the bulk of West Eurasian ancestry in East Africa is a result of migrations during Afroasiatic and/or Neolithic expansions. The spread of Cushitic speakers since ~8000 years ago is tied to a Neolithic economy, although some would argue that Afroasiatic as a whole is pre-Neolithic and originated among the early wild grain collectors in Northeast Africa.

    It is in many ways analogous to the situation in India, where you have a recent (Indo-Aryans, corresponding to the Semites of EA) incursion, an older widespread group of Dravidians; also with West Eurasian ancestry, and possibly linked to Neolithic dispersals. I should add that it seems to me like Indo-Aryans had a somewhat wider impact, whereas the influence of Ethiosemites was limited south of Abyssinia.

    The method details in papers from the Reich lab are generally very elaborate, and they seem to lack any apparent flaws. But the case for southern African admixture is much stronger with the additional pieces of genetic (Y-DNA, lactase persistence, ADMIXTURE etc.) and archaeological evidence. In their case, we can be fairly sure about the origin of the admixing populations <2 kya. But the LD decay alone does not strike me as revealing anything concrete about East African population history, although this could change with some ancient DNA and improved dating of uniparental lineages.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    high quality comment. but i will add one thing: individuals in this lab often run simulations to test their methods (as in this paper). this is not a panacea, but they are not flying totally seat of their pants.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Razib Khan
    You know this only raises more questions than answers right? lol

    this is not a bad thing for scientists. though perhaps not optimal that science remain in such a state in perpetuity.

    So there is possibility that a native Arabian population existed and has been long absorbed by a west-eurasian one? Could have been something intermediate to East Africans and ASI perhaps?

    if you assume that isolation-by-distance is the null model, why not? you can imagine a scenario where genetic variation was relatively uniform, and over the last 10,000 years punctuated demographic expansions from a few agriculture/technological loci across the world were overlain upon this monotonous substrate.

    Yes, this makes perfect sense.

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    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @pgbk87
    You know this only raises more questions than answers right? lol


    So there is possibility that a native Arabian population existed and has been long absorbed by a west-eurasian one? Could have been something intermediate to East Africans and ASI perhaps?

    You know this only raises more questions than answers right? lol

    this is not a bad thing for scientists. though perhaps not optimal that science remain in such a state in perpetuity.

    So there is possibility that a native Arabian population existed and has been long absorbed by a west-eurasian one? Could have been something intermediate to East Africans and ASI perhaps?

    if you assume that isolation-by-distance is the null model, why not? you can imagine a scenario where genetic variation was relatively uniform, and over the last 10,000 years punctuated demographic expansions from a few agriculture/technological loci across the world were overlain upon this monotonous substrate.

    Read More
    • Replies: @pgbk87
    Yes, this makes perfect sense.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Razib Khan
    decompose the elements of both 'yemenite' components?

    i don't have the time. i assume that in the next year or so something like this will happen. the behar et al. data set has a thinner, and somewhat different, marker set than the others from what i recall.

    Are you supposing some Mediterranean and/or West Asian/East African hybrid creating a 'southwest Asian' cluster?

    this is not a crazy proposition. it may not even be a sub-saharan african population. the model more explicit would be:


    ('southern european-like' + 'east african like population A) = yemenite


    ('southern european-like' + 'east african like population B') = yemenite-like in ethiopian


    note that in the model above the east african populations are distinct. but the hybrids may resemble each other enough in a model with say K = 12 than they'll be thrown together. IOW, i'm saying that the 'south arabian' cluster may be a reasonable artifact of the sampling and explicit model selection method,

    You know this only raises more questions than answers right? lol

    So there is possibility that a native Arabian population existed and has been long absorbed by a west-eurasian one? Could have been something intermediate to East Africans and ASI perhaps?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    You know this only raises more questions than answers right? lol

    this is not a bad thing for scientists. though perhaps not optimal that science remain in such a state in perpetuity.

    So there is possibility that a native Arabian population existed and has been long absorbed by a west-eurasian one? Could have been something intermediate to East Africans and ASI perhaps?

    if you assume that isolation-by-distance is the null model, why not? you can imagine a scenario where genetic variation was relatively uniform, and over the last 10,000 years punctuated demographic expansions from a few agriculture/technological loci across the world were overlain upon this monotonous substrate.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Lank
    Reading the full paper, I think it makes a lot of sense and confirms previous findings for southern African populations. The West Eurasian source population most closely resembles the West Eurasian component in East Africans, followed by an inferred ancestral Middle Eastern population (see Figure 5). The West Eurasian component in the admixing East African population is estimated at ~25%, roughly similar to many Cushitic pastoralists that live south of the Ethiopian highlands.

    Southern Europeans are only the top match out of modern populations, which I think says more about migrations within West Eurasia than within Africa. Interestingly Sardinians and Basques often pop up as the source populations in the lowest f3 statistics, and both of these populations often lack a recent "West Asian" element in ADMIXTURE that North/East Africans also usually lack, but which has become widespread in modern Europeans and Middle Easterners. African admixture in modern Middle Eastern populations may also play a role.

    It was not the focus of the paper, but the problem as I see it is for those who would interpret the 3 kya admixture signal in modern East Africans as reflecting a migration directly from West Eurasia 3000 years ago, which contributed all of the West Eurasian ancestry in modern East Africans. This is pure speculation as we don't have any probable ancestral populations (neither African nor West Eurasian) for this inferred admixture event, which we do for southern Africans, otherwise we might also have concluded that Mediterraneans sailed to the coasts of southern Africa 900-1800 years ago.

    But there's a lot of evidence to suggest that West Eurasian migrations into Africa occurred much earlier, considering the existence of lineages that don't look like recent inputs into Africa (e.g. mtDNA M1, U6), and the presence of Cushites (and agriculture) in East Africa earlier than 3000 years ago. The 3 kya signal could perhaps be related to the spread of some agricultural innovations, or some unknown population intermixture in the Horn of Africa, but lacking further evidence it is impossible to tell.

    the ppl in the reich lab are very smart. but…who knows if some of the parameter values they took for others in their model are exactly correct. i’m confident they are detecting a pulse event admixture. i am less confident about the timing, though i doubt it is off by an order of magnitude. how far back do you think the admixture event would be ignoring the 3,000 year old dating that from the LD decay methods?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Lank
    I would guess the bulk of West Eurasian ancestry in East Africa is a result of migrations during Afroasiatic and/or Neolithic expansions. The spread of Cushitic speakers since ~8000 years ago is tied to a Neolithic economy, although some would argue that Afroasiatic as a whole is pre-Neolithic and originated among the early wild grain collectors in Northeast Africa.

    It is in many ways analogous to the situation in India, where you have a recent (Indo-Aryans, corresponding to the Semites of EA) incursion, an older widespread group of Dravidians; also with West Eurasian ancestry, and possibly linked to Neolithic dispersals. I should add that it seems to me like Indo-Aryans had a somewhat wider impact, whereas the influence of Ethiosemites was limited south of Abyssinia.

    The method details in papers from the Reich lab are generally very elaborate, and they seem to lack any apparent flaws. But the case for southern African admixture is much stronger with the additional pieces of genetic (Y-DNA, lactase persistence, ADMIXTURE etc.) and archaeological evidence. In their case, we can be fairly sure about the origin of the admixing populations <2 kya. But the LD decay alone does not strike me as revealing anything concrete about East African population history, although this could change with some ancient DNA and improved dating of uniparental lineages.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @pgbk87
    Will you at some point, decompose the elements of both 'yemenite' components? Are you supposing some Mediterranean and/or West Asian/East African hybrid creating a 'southwest Asian' cluster?


    This is why I believe Meheris, Socotris and other south Arabian tribes are so necessary. 'ANA'/West Eurasian-like and 'ASA'/East African-shifted, native Arabian will likely arise, similar to ASI and ANI. mtDNA L6, M1 and unique N subclades come to mind. This is ALL speculation on my part...

    decompose the elements of both ‘yemenite’ components?

    i don’t have the time. i assume that in the next year or so something like this will happen. the behar et al. data set has a thinner, and somewhat different, marker set than the others from what i recall.

    Are you supposing some Mediterranean and/or West Asian/East African hybrid creating a ‘southwest Asian’ cluster?

    this is not a crazy proposition. it may not even be a sub-saharan african population. the model more explicit would be:

    (‘southern european-like’ + ‘east african like population A) = yemenite

    (‘southern european-like’ + ‘east african like population B’) = yemenite-like in ethiopian

    note that in the model above the east african populations are distinct. but the hybrids may resemble each other enough in a model with say K = 12 than they’ll be thrown together. IOW, i’m saying that the ‘south arabian’ cluster may be a reasonable artifact of the sampling and explicit model selection method,

    Read More
    • Replies: @pgbk87
    You know this only raises more questions than answers right? lol


    So there is possibility that a native Arabian population existed and has been long absorbed by a west-eurasian one? Could have been something intermediate to East Africans and ASI perhaps?

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Reading the full paper, I think it makes a lot of sense and confirms previous findings for southern African populations. The West Eurasian source population most closely resembles the West Eurasian component in East Africans, followed by an inferred ancestral Middle Eastern population (see Figure 5). The West Eurasian component in the admixing East African population is estimated at ~25%, roughly similar to many Cushitic pastoralists that live south of the Ethiopian highlands.

    Southern Europeans are only the top match out of modern populations, which I think says more about migrations within West Eurasia than within Africa. Interestingly Sardinians and Basques often pop up as the source populations in the lowest f3 statistics, and both of these populations often lack a recent “West Asian” element in ADMIXTURE that North/East Africans also usually lack, but which has become widespread in modern Europeans and Middle Easterners. African admixture in modern Middle Eastern populations may also play a role.

    It was not the focus of the paper, but the problem as I see it is for those who would interpret the 3 kya admixture signal in modern East Africans as reflecting a migration directly from West Eurasia 3000 years ago, which contributed all of the West Eurasian ancestry in modern East Africans. This is pure speculation as we don’t have any probable ancestral populations (neither African nor West Eurasian) for this inferred admixture event, which we do for southern Africans, otherwise we might also have concluded that Mediterraneans sailed to the coasts of southern Africa 900-1800 years ago.

    But there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that West Eurasian migrations into Africa occurred much earlier, considering the existence of lineages that don’t look like recent inputs into Africa (e.g. mtDNA M1, U6), and the presence of Cushites (and agriculture) in East Africa earlier than 3000 years ago. The 3 kya signal could perhaps be related to the spread of some agricultural innovations, or some unknown population intermixture in the Horn of Africa, but lacking further evidence it is impossible to tell.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    the ppl in the reich lab are very smart. but...who knows if some of the parameter values they took for others in their model are exactly correct. i'm confident they are detecting a pulse event admixture. i am less confident about the timing, though i doubt it is off by an order of magnitude. how far back do you think the admixture event would be ignoring the 3,000 year old dating that from the LD decay methods?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Razib Khan
    Just like Pagani, this guy's conclusions are flawed, and partially, unscientific. I honestly feel like some "Meditid Race" theology is going on here.


    you undermine yourself by imputing a conspiracy. or ulterior motive. i know pickrell somewhat personally and can vouch that he doesn't adhere to/care about/even know about the sort of things you are alluding to.


    On amateur runs like Harappa, Eurogenes, etc... Sardinians are modal for "Mediterranean" and Yemeni Jews are modal for "Southwest Asian". Horners generally don't have "Mediterranean"-like admixture, they (almost exclusively) have a shared "Southwest Asian" ancestry with Arabians, Berbers and Egyptians. This, IMO is "Afro-Asiatic".


    i get the same too...ON ADMIXTURE. they do not use ADMIXTURE, but methods which more explicitly attempt to extract out the eurasian allele frequencies. the patterns you refer to make sense if that if you specify a finite set of models the program which converge upon the most plausible. but that doesn't mean it's the true model.


    one way in which you might align these results with the ADMIXTURE results is that the 'yemenite/arabian' cluster is itself a synthesis, and that that population is a hybrid. a similar admixture event in ethiopia might be producing an analogous allele frequency mix. but, if you decompose the elements of both 'yemenite' components you might find some sort of eurasian similar to what they find.

    Will you at some point, decompose the elements of both ‘yemenite’ components? Are you supposing some Mediterranean and/or West Asian/East African hybrid creating a ‘southwest Asian’ cluster?

    This is why I believe Meheris, Socotris and other south Arabian tribes are so necessary. ‘ANA’/West Eurasian-like and ‘ASA’/East African-shifted, native Arabian will likely arise, similar to ASI and ANI. mtDNA L6, M1 and unique N subclades come to mind. This is ALL speculation on my part…

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    decompose the elements of both 'yemenite' components?

    i don't have the time. i assume that in the next year or so something like this will happen. the behar et al. data set has a thinner, and somewhat different, marker set than the others from what i recall.

    Are you supposing some Mediterranean and/or West Asian/East African hybrid creating a 'southwest Asian' cluster?

    this is not a crazy proposition. it may not even be a sub-saharan african population. the model more explicit would be:


    ('southern european-like' + 'east african like population A) = yemenite


    ('southern european-like' + 'east african like population B') = yemenite-like in ethiopian


    note that in the model above the east african populations are distinct. but the hybrids may resemble each other enough in a model with say K = 12 than they'll be thrown together. IOW, i'm saying that the 'south arabian' cluster may be a reasonable artifact of the sampling and explicit model selection method,

    , @Karl Zimmerman
    I'm very interested to she how the South Arabians genetically as well. There are very few pictures of either group online, but the ones I have seen (especially the latter) seem as if they could have been subject to roughly the same amount of SSA admixture as Arabs (at least on average).


    One other possibility is that South Arabia was heavily genetically modified by admixture with South Asia. It's often been remarked that South Arabians have "Australioid" or "Veddoid" features. Maybe this is not a remnant of the South Arabian indigenous population. The Indus Valley civilization had extensive trading links (arguably going all the way to Africa, based upon relations between Sahel and Indian crops). It's plausible there were Harappan trading posts on Arabian coast, which could have influenced the region genetically and culturally.


    That said, the timing doesn't quite mesh with the paper here. Presumably this study suggests that South Arabia was still "pure" (presuming that, and not the Nile, was the locus of admixture) in 1,000 BC, which is well after the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @anon
    Maybe oetzi the iceman could be the key to the putative west eurasian population contributing to east and southern africa.

    not oetzi, but probably ancient DNA. luckily the middle east is dry. some regions are even cold because of elevation.

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    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @pgbk87
    I don't buy it... Just like Pagani, this guy's conclusions are flawed, and partially, unscientific. I honestly feel like some "Meditid Race" theology is going on here.


    On amateur runs like Harappa, Eurogenes, etc... Sardinians are modal for "Mediterranean" and Yemeni Jews are modal for "Southwest Asian". Horners generally don't have "Mediterranean"-like admixture, they (almost exclusively) have a shared "Southwest Asian" ancestry with Arabians, Berbers and Egyptians. This, IMO is "Afro-Asiatic".

    Uniparental markers (Y-DNA J*, J1, T) (mtDNA M1, N1a, R0a, etc...) are basically screaming Red Sea/Arabian

    Just like Pagani, this guy’s conclusions are flawed, and partially, unscientific. I honestly feel like some “Meditid Race” theology is going on here.

    you undermine yourself by imputing a conspiracy. or ulterior motive. i know pickrell somewhat personally and can vouch that he doesn’t adhere to/care about/even know about the sort of things you are alluding to.

    On amateur runs like Harappa, Eurogenes, etc… Sardinians are modal for “Mediterranean” and Yemeni Jews are modal for “Southwest Asian”. Horners generally don’t have “Mediterranean”-like admixture, they (almost exclusively) have a shared “Southwest Asian” ancestry with Arabians, Berbers and Egyptians. This, IMO is “Afro-Asiatic”.

    i get the same too…ON ADMIXTURE. they do not use ADMIXTURE, but methods which more explicitly attempt to extract out the eurasian allele frequencies. the patterns you refer to make sense if that if you specify a finite set of models the program which converge upon the most plausible. but that doesn’t mean it’s the true model.

    one way in which you might align these results with the ADMIXTURE results is that the ‘yemenite/arabian’ cluster is itself a synthesis, and that that population is a hybrid. a similar admixture event in ethiopia might be producing an analogous allele frequency mix. but, if you decompose the elements of both ‘yemenite’ components you might find some sort of eurasian similar to what they find.

    Read More
    • Replies: @pgbk87
    Will you at some point, decompose the elements of both 'yemenite' components? Are you supposing some Mediterranean and/or West Asian/East African hybrid creating a 'southwest Asian' cluster?


    This is why I believe Meheris, Socotris and other south Arabian tribes are so necessary. 'ANA'/West Eurasian-like and 'ASA'/East African-shifted, native Arabian will likely arise, similar to ASI and ANI. mtDNA L6, M1 and unique N subclades come to mind. This is ALL speculation on my part...

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Razib Khan
    it makes more sense (after a fashion) if you read the preprint. if you don't have time, click through to the PDF and control-f "yemenite jews." they are in there. that was my initial though, though i know this group well enough to have assumed they'd at least check that again since that's a public data set.

    Maybe oetzi the iceman could be the key to the putative west eurasian population contributing to east and southern africa.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    not oetzi, but probably ancient DNA. luckily the middle east is dry. some regions are even cold because of elevation.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Razib Khan
    it makes more sense (after a fashion) if you read the preprint. if you don't have time, click through to the PDF and control-f "yemenite jews." they are in there. that was my initial though, though i know this group well enough to have assumed they'd at least check that again since that's a public data set.

    I don’t buy it… Just like Pagani, this guy’s conclusions are flawed, and partially, unscientific. I honestly feel like some “Meditid Race” theology is going on here.

    On amateur runs like Harappa, Eurogenes, etc… Sardinians are modal for “Mediterranean” and Yemeni Jews are modal for “Southwest Asian”. Horners generally don’t have “Mediterranean”-like admixture, they (almost exclusively) have a shared “Southwest Asian” ancestry with Arabians, Berbers and Egyptians. This, IMO is “Afro-Asiatic”.

    Uniparental markers (Y-DNA J*, J1, T) (mtDNA M1, N1a, R0a, etc…) are basically screaming Red Sea/Arabian

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    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    Just like Pagani, this guy's conclusions are flawed, and partially, unscientific. I honestly feel like some "Meditid Race" theology is going on here.


    you undermine yourself by imputing a conspiracy. or ulterior motive. i know pickrell somewhat personally and can vouch that he doesn't adhere to/care about/even know about the sort of things you are alluding to.


    On amateur runs like Harappa, Eurogenes, etc... Sardinians are modal for "Mediterranean" and Yemeni Jews are modal for "Southwest Asian". Horners generally don't have "Mediterranean"-like admixture, they (almost exclusively) have a shared "Southwest Asian" ancestry with Arabians, Berbers and Egyptians. This, IMO is "Afro-Asiatic".


    i get the same too...ON ADMIXTURE. they do not use ADMIXTURE, but methods which more explicitly attempt to extract out the eurasian allele frequencies. the patterns you refer to make sense if that if you specify a finite set of models the program which converge upon the most plausible. but that doesn't mean it's the true model.


    one way in which you might align these results with the ADMIXTURE results is that the 'yemenite/arabian' cluster is itself a synthesis, and that that population is a hybrid. a similar admixture event in ethiopia might be producing an analogous allele frequency mix. but, if you decompose the elements of both 'yemenite' components you might find some sort of eurasian similar to what they find.

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  • @Razib Khan
    if you read the paper the author makes it clear to not confuse modern distributions of populations to ancient ones. so they weren't southern europeans as such, but the common ancestors of southern europeans and this 'west eurasian' element.

    I did say *ancestors* of modern southern Europeans. I’m curious if we can figure out what historical culture they most likely belonged to.

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  • it makes more sense (after a fashion) if you read the preprint. if you don’t have time, click through to the PDF and control-f “yemenite jews.” they are in there. that was my initial though, though i know this group well enough to have assumed they’d at least check that again since that’s a public data set.

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    • Replies: @pgbk87
    I don't buy it... Just like Pagani, this guy's conclusions are flawed, and partially, unscientific. I honestly feel like some "Meditid Race" theology is going on here.


    On amateur runs like Harappa, Eurogenes, etc... Sardinians are modal for "Mediterranean" and Yemeni Jews are modal for "Southwest Asian". Horners generally don't have "Mediterranean"-like admixture, they (almost exclusively) have a shared "Southwest Asian" ancestry with Arabians, Berbers and Egyptians. This, IMO is "Afro-Asiatic".

    Uniparental markers (Y-DNA J*, J1, T) (mtDNA M1, N1a, R0a, etc...) are basically screaming Red Sea/Arabian

    , @anon
    Maybe oetzi the iceman could be the key to the putative west eurasian population contributing to east and southern africa.
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  • @andrew oh-willeke
    To be clear, there is nothing terribly new about proposals of East African admixture with Khoisan, or with proposals that there were at least a couple of waves of West Eurasian admixture with East Africans (aka back migration), some of which may have been in place by the time of East African-Khoisan admixture.

    The novel parts of the proposal are the Southern European affinity of the West Eurasian component and the details of the timing.

    "I know some Christian Arabs do not want to be called Arabs."

    I hadn't been aware of that. Thanks for the tip.

    good point, as uniparental markers had suggested this….

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  • if you read the paper the author makes it clear to not confuse modern distributions of populations to ancient ones. so they weren’t southern europeans as such, but the common ancestors of southern europeans and this ‘west eurasian’ element.

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    • Replies: @facefault
    I did say *ancestors* of modern southern Europeans. I'm curious if we can figure out what historical culture they most likely belonged to.
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  • @andrew oh-willeke
    To be clear, there is nothing terribly new about proposals of East African admixture with Khoisan, or with proposals that there were at least a couple of waves of West Eurasian admixture with East Africans (aka back migration), some of which may have been in place by the time of East African-Khoisan admixture.

    The novel parts of the proposal are the Southern European affinity of the West Eurasian component and the details of the timing.

    "I know some Christian Arabs do not want to be called Arabs."

    I hadn't been aware of that. Thanks for the tip.

    if i don’t put that caveat in they will complain :-)

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  • To be clear, there is nothing terribly new about proposals of East African admixture with Khoisan, or with proposals that there were at least a couple of waves of West Eurasian admixture with East Africans (aka back migration), some of which may have been in place by the time of East African-Khoisan admixture.

    The novel parts of the proposal are the Southern European affinity of the West Eurasian component and the details of the timing.

    “I know some Christian Arabs do not want to be called Arabs.”

    I hadn’t been aware of that. Thanks for the tip.

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    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    if i don't put that caveat in they will complain :-)
    , @Razib Khan
    good point, as uniparental markers had suggested this....
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  • Yesterday I pointed to a paper which was interesting enough, but didn't pass the smell test in relation to other evidence we have (at least in my opinion!). A primary concern was the fact that uniparental (male and female lineages) show a peculiar distribution of variation in comparison to autosomal genetic variation (i.e., the vast...
  • We should not forget that most of this paper’s analysis is about mtDNA H, which itself is a minority over much of the time studied. So, firstly, this distracts from the fact that LBK was mostly Balkan (not “near Eastern”) in H, and mostly Central and Northern European in other mtDNA.

    Secondly, we still don’t know enough about the origin and movements of specific H subgroups within Europe. It’s not clear-cut early East-to-West and late West-to-East, at all.

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  • Randy McDonald points me to this fascinating post, Genetic clues to the Ossetian past. In the post author outlines phylogeographic inferences one can make from uniparental lineages; maternal and paternal lines of descent. Specifically, they are in interested in the origins and relationships of the Ossete people. I assume that one reason Randy pointed me...
  • thanks, everything I’ve been able to find cites lots of examples of counterpoint but no examples of true harmony of melodies before colonialization – which is sortof the defacto for other places in the world. Where the caucasus stuff seems like it could be the origin of western harmony via early church chants in Armenia, Geogia etc.

    Whenever I hear “African” style harmonies in popular music I feel like I’m often hearing an extended 2nd in the high voice with a 5th in the middle voice..maybe? :) that’d fit well with pentatonic stuff.

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  • Justin, African music has been intensively studied over the last 50 years or so, and musicologists now agree that singing in harmony and, in certain cases, counterpoint, is an indigenous practice of considerable antiquity, completely independent of Western influence. Chapter One of my book offers some theories regarding the possible origins of these traditions along with several links to musical examples that might interest you. http://soundingthedepths.blogspot.com/2011/02/chapter-one-pygmy-bushmen-nexus.html

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  • Interesting that you make the exception “outside Africa” as whenever I’ve asked people about “African Harmony” who study music no one can tell me any rules and some even think it may have to do with Christian missionaries or one guy brought up them often using the phrygian mode which could be a link to the Shiraz Empire or Islam spreaders…and how would we know how long they used harmony?

    I do know of some groups making beats vocally and having polyrhythms with different tones.

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  • Musically, this is an extremely interesting region, with the richest array of polyphonic vocal traditions in the world, outside of Africa. For further discussion of these remarkable oral traditions and what they might mean, with links to some very beautiful and interesting audio clips, see Chapters Twelve and Thirteen of my online book, Sounding the Depths: http://soundingthedepths.blogspot.com/2011/03/chapter-twelve-passage-to-europe.html

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    An excellent point that the Caucasus is a repository of forgotten and ‘defeated’ people who were safe from both East and West conflicts. Through this, homogeneity was maintained through the centuries, with geography providing safety and security. Keeping in mind, the area was Islamized but still providing haven for Armenians and similar Christian groups.
    Fast forward to when the area came under Russian control that Western Europe began to take interest in this ‘settled’ population to hone their theories on World New Order programmes instigated by Adolf Hitler and renforced by others to this day.

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  • Just wish to add some possibly relevant bits to the discussion.

    From the GeoCurrents article discussed by Razib: “But the plot thickens if we consider the question of where these haplogroup G2a1a Ossetian males might have come from.”

    Here is an interesting bit from Ray Banks’ Haplogroup G Newsletter, from early last year, regarding data published in Haber et al., on the specific topic of G2a1a:

    “There seems quite an unusual concentration of G2a1a in this country that was not observed before. This concentration is actually almost entirely seen in Christian groups, among which are the Maronites. There are Greek Orthodox Christians in Lebanon as well. So it is not clear why there are concentrations of G2a1a in both the central Caucasus and among Lebanese Christians. The Caucasus has much higher concentrations of G2a1a.”

    Razib: “The main lacunae in the above analysis is that it does not cover results from autosomal studies.”

    Indeed. The Dodecad “Caucasus” component for Near East minority groups hover around 50%. This includes even the most extreme southwestern population, the Samaritans. Interestingly, the Caucasian populations have very little of the Dodecad “Southwest Asian” component. A component often associated with Semitic languages, and the Arabian Peninsula.

    Also, in the GeoCurrents article, they referred to the Balanovsky et al. study. Here is a bit from the Balanovsky et al. conclusion: “The data suggested a direct origin of Caucasus male lineages from the Near East, followed by high levels of isolation, differentiation and genetic drift in situ.”

    If I had to hazard a guess, I would say the most recent significant gene exchange between the Caucasus and the Semitic-speaking parts of the Near East occurred in the 3rd and 2nd millennia BCE, with the southern expansions of groups such as the Hurrians. I believe this is why groups such as Armenians, Assyrians, and peoples of Dagestan (e.g. Lezgins), may share some paternal lines, such as J1*.

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  • Although I’m not saying it best fits the data in this case, I wonder if we’ve under-estimated the number of cultures with a “men’s language” and a “woman’s language” in the past. Such a system is known to happen in various parts of the world (Sumeria, Australia, etc), but has inherent instabilities, as any time a major event happened which disrupted the male population too much (say a devastating war which killed off much of the adult male population), the system would tend to drift towards making the women’s, instead of the men’s, the predominant and eventually sole language. I am wondering if this is how many Austronesian peoples seem to be mostly descended from Austronesians only on the mitochondrial side, while the YDNA points to a Melanesian/Papuan background.

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  • As I've been harping on and on for the past few years that the patterns of contemporary genetic variation are probably only weakly tied to past patterns of genetic variation (though Henry Harpending warned me about this as far back as 2004). A major reason that scholars operated under this presupposition is the axiom that...
  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    There is another issue here. If 90+% of all mtDNA lineages that have existed once are now extinct, WHY would we think that a sample of fewer than 1000 individuals would adequately sample all the variability that existed in the past? The same problem arose comparing the mtDNA of a small number of Neandertals with a database of a few thousand individuals from different modern human populations. I think this question of adequate sampling is much more complex than has been assumed in the past, Maybe 846 mtDNA samples from Myanmar is difficult to obtain & analyze, but is it adequate?

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  • Agree with you about past patterns of genetic variation wrt frequency and spread. But there is an inherent temporal directionality to uniparental inheritance that has merit imo; in other words, the
    derivation of M31 -> M31a -> M31a1 is meaningful phylogeographically in relating groups today.

    If ASI has been as thoroughly turned over as it seems to be the in the South Asian context I really
    wonder if we can ever hope to find any trace of the original OOA outflow. Other than perhaps in
    future aDNA work. I am not holding my breath!

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  • Given the fact that the dates confirm each other, the land bridge date of 22-18kya seems pretty reliable and the mtDNA method used seem to be confirmed.

    This puts the settlement of the Andaman Islands at least 20,000 years after the settlement of Papua New Guinea and Australia.

    And, while they may not be “living fossils” from the “Out of Africa” era, there aren’t many populations that have pretty definitively been isolated that long. In addition to Papuans and Australian aborigines, you have the Jomon (ca. 30,000 years ago) of Japan although there seems to have been minor admixture in at least the related Norther Ainu with Siberian populations, and the segregation of sub-polar New World populations from Eurasian populations of similar time depth to the Andamanese (since they relied on the same land bridge effect).

    The only other populations I can think of that seem to have pretty definitively pre-LGM coherence are a substratum of Tibetans, the Bushmen, and the Pygmies. In other cases, that possibility of material post-LGM resuffling is immense or certain.

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  • Seriously, sometimes history matches fiction a lot more than we'd have expected, or wished. In the early 2000s the Oxford geneticist Bryan Sykes observed a pattern of discordance between the spatial distribution of male mediated ancestry on the nonrecombinant Y chromosome (NRY) and female mediated ancestry in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). To explains this he...
  • One doesn’t need a full on Book of Numbers scenario to get the result.

    One can simply have a scenario in which farming disrupts the viability of hunter-gathering by disrupting the local ecology enough to make most people who adhere to that approach die of starvation or dramatically decline in numbers due to factors like infant mortality increases or farm culture disease, and to have a minority of women taken as brides (at least some of the time in arrangements as voluntarily as would be the case with couples within hunter-gatherer society) who leave legacies. The new wave doesn’t have to be the direct warlike means of slaughter of the men. Indeed, it is hard to believe that warlike slaughter could have been that completely successful at that relatively rudimentary level of military prowess.

    There might have been selective slaughter’s of men, but exile to marginal hunting and foraging areas seems more plausibe as the main basis for the marginalization of the Y-DNA of members of the hunter-foraging societies.

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  • I can’t make the farmer/forager dichotomy fit very well with many of the places where I think I know a bit about the prehistory – for instance, of the much more complex farmer/forager/herdsman trichotomy in the middle east; or the corn and kitchen garden hunter-foragers of North America.

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  • This data makes everything even more interesting.
    Absence of J2 and E1b1b fits rather well with their possible expansion with Semitic only after 3000BC in the Near East (and later in Europe).
    This cave could well be a family graveyard. Some individuals appear to be closely related. So uniformity in Y-DNA haplogroups is not so surprising.
    Supposing it is representative, lack of much G in Europe nowdays, combined with some G in peripheral LBK found before, and lack of R in the sample, may mean that several waves with major demographic impact made their way to Europe, which I think lends more support to complete replacement models. Higher forager-associated mtDNA haplogroups (like U5b) than today could also be explained by such a model.

    Absence of R1b may be due to their presence elsewhere, such as in major river valley settlements colonised earlier, and in possible hybridised forager and semi-forager populations. So “late foragers” may actually turn out to have plenty R1b (if late foragers are found with some R1b as I think it’s likely, it’ll be interesting to see what people will say). New arrivals such as some secondary waves may have had enough agricultural advantages to have a bigger demographic impact in less fertile regions left fallow by earlier waves.
    R1b could then regain ground if it was based in the richer areas, which upon acquiring innovations, would due to higher density and surplus be natural elite-formation centres for less fertile regions over several millennia. These events wouldn’t necessarily imply major autossomal changes or discontinuity. Patriarchal societies would tend to transmit Y-DNA (prestige of uniterrupted male lines to elites) but not so much autossomes.
    Greater amounts of forager-associated mtDNA than found today also can be explained by Treilles being a new settlement by a new Near Eastern wave, in a previously fallow area.

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  • Jean M says: • Website

    Bryan Sykes heavily invested, both academically and commercially, in his vision of The Seven Daughters of Eve (2001) – the matriarchs of the European population, only one of whom (Jasmine i.e. mtDNA J) he pictured as arriving from the Near East with farming. The rest he saw as more ancient in Europe.

    Unfortunately for Sykes, he was just plain wrong. Now that aDNA researchers have better techniques to guard against contamination, and can test to a much higher degree of resolution on the mtDNA tree, the picture has turned completely around. Two papers last year showed that Neolithic people in Northern Europe were completely unrelated to their Mesolithic predecessors, who were overwhelmingly U4 and U5. It no longer looks as though H1 and H3 were spread from the Franco-Cantabrian refuge either. See my blog post: Franco-Cantabrian refuge for what? Not mtDNA H1, H3.

    New papers attempting to set their own material in context do not always reflect the latest discoveries. There is often a long delay between submission and publication of a paper. This is the second paper which has attempted to reconcile the old Sykes story with what is emerging from Y-DNA, not realizing that the Seven Daughters saga has gone the way of the dodo.

    Some of the mtDNA haplogroups found in this study are indeed ancient in Europe – the U5 for sure. But not the majority.

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  • [...] nth genetic study of ancient farmers. [...]

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  • [...] Neolithic, Neolithic Revolution by Razib Khan in Anthroplogy, Genetics, Genomics | 1 comments | RSS feed | [...]

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  • I happened to be thinking of something closely related to this yesterday, with the observation that conquering armies have historically very often seeded the conquered population with their own, presumably more ‘fit’ genes, while also generally reducing or eliminating the males of the losing population. This seems to me to be an effective mechanism for ‘improving’ the gene pool of the conquered population – in the sole sense of having succeeded in that environment! (As a desk jockey I like to think I have a certain type of fitness that does not express well in that environment, but does have its merits.)

    Since similar behaviors have been seen in various primates (and, IIRC some other mammals and perhaps non-mammals) it seems to be a social extrapolation of a behavior related to evolutionary fitness.

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  • The Pith: There is a very tight correlation between language and genes in the Caucasus region. If the Soviet Union was the "The Prisonhouse of Nations," then the Caucasus region must be the refuge of the languages. Not only is this region linguistically diverse on a fine-grained scale, but there are multiple broader language families...
  • Hmm. My reply seems to have disappeared.

    Well, the key thing I wanted to mention is that a critical factor in the spread of Arabic was that it spread primarily in areas with a Semitic base, and hardly exists outside areas where Punic or Aramaic were already established. Punic survivals are attested in Libyan Arabic, Aramaic survivals in Levantine Arabic.

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  • #14, depends on where in Northern Europe? Your comment is probably true for Scandinavia, but not for Ireland, where surnames are some of the oldest/earliest in Europe, and in use for about 1,000 years.

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  • How old are patriline surnames in South Asia?

    it’s complicated. khan is less a surname than a title. like a caste name in hinduism. it was a mughal era honorific and denoted someone of a specific rank. western style surnames are very new. the naming conventions in my family, like among many non-western people, are kind of complicated and baroque.

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  • “my surname is just a title which spread to south asia due to the influence of turco-mongol norms and society.”

    How old are patriline surnames in South Asia?

    Matronmyics and patronymics were used rather than patrline surnames, if surnames were used at all, in Northern Europer prior to the 19th century. Lots of prominent Medieval Europeans had a single name with a geolocator (e.g. Francis of Assisi, Martin of Tours) or other descriptive distinguisher, rather than a surname. I’m not very familiar with the timing of surname use elsewhere.

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  • p.s. one reason the genghis khan model for that haplotype is moderately persuasive though is that one legacy of the mongols was the necessity for a male line descent from the “golden family” across much of eurasia as a precondition toward legitimacy of rule. this is a plausible cultural explanation for why that Y lineage might spread disproportionately. but the influence of that norm outran the mongol domains; my surname is just a title which spread to south asia due to the influence of turco-mongol norms and society.

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  • #11, the anglo-saxon and balkan slav examples were better, because the institutional religions actually seem to have whithered and collapsed. in contrast in east asia, and frankly much of the world, shamanism is subordinated and integrated into institutional religion. you see this in local cults in hinduism, bon-po with tibetan buddhism, the persistence of female shamans in korea, etc. shamanism formalized to the point where it could spread is institutionalized. just like state shinto was, but that was an artificiality imposed relatively recently.

    i’m not too surprised that the mongols had little cultural impact. the arabs spread islam and arabic, but the latter only fitfully in places like persia. and much of islam itself is not a purely organic derivation of arab culture, but a synthesis of arab folkways with the models of xtianity and judaism. the statecraft of the arabs empires derived from byzantium and persia, not the early rightly guided caliphs.

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  • “what kind of person thinks that shamanism is going to overwhelm institutional religions?”

    The strongest examples would be the staying power of Chinese folk religion and Shinto in the face of institutionalized religions like Buddhism. Shamanist religious scheme like these didn’t overhwhelm institutional religions in these cases, but did managed to find a cultural niche in which it could survive vibrantly. Shamanism turns out to be capable of living symbiotically with other institutional religions relatively well.

    It wouldn’t be so hard to imagine Mongolian conquerers more intent on molding their subjects in their own image formalizing their shamanistic religious practices into something akin to Shinto. It would need some kind of institutionalization in a class of shamans and less personalized forms of rituals, but certainly could have evolved in that way.

    Certainly it is remarkable how seemingly little of a cultural legacy the Mongolians left despite their vast empire. In what proportion of their former empire have they left a cultural trace that could be discovered if you didn’t have historical evidence that they were there? Their genetic trace seems to have been greater than their cultural legacy.

    Similarly, the survival of the Hindu religion in India, which is the most direct healthy descendant of the Indo-European religious system (indeed, perhaps the last continuously living descendant), has overcome temporary advances by other institutionalized religions and brought to a standstill the spread of others. Of course, Hindus are not shamanists. But, the Hindu example does argue against the theory that, in general, some kinds of religions have inherently more staying power in a culture than others. Their is not some natural hierarchy of religions on a scale of cultural fitness. An alternative theory is that religion is largely part of the baggage that comes with a larger cultural package that causes one set of cultural imperalists to prevail over another culture, which isn’t necessarily all that intinsicly related in detail to the success of the cultural imperialists.

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  • Onur says:

    You are free to believe what you want, but I am not the only one linking the spread of the haplotype in question to the Turkic expansion and the former Altaic expansions, there are lots of scientific material on this issue available on the Internet.

    you made a lot of assertions in #1

    but don’t make comments like #1 then

    You should have meant #3.

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  • hey, do you know how to read english? you made a lot of assertions in #1 like you were big shit. put up. don’t fixate on follow up comments. LAY OUT YOUR ARGUMENT IN DETAIL, or shut up. this is not a domain that i’m ignorant in, so let me evaluate your reasoning. what you’ve laid out is vague and impressive to people who might not know of the long term persistence vof shamanism in the chagaitai khannate as a comparison point to the mission of cyril and methodius or the roman mission to the saxons in the early 7th century. you’re talking to someone capable of evaluating a thick comparative argument, and who has for example read books on the christianization of the saxons, the rise of the slavs in the balkans, and the history of the different mongol khanates. if you have a thick contingent argument, let’s hear it.

    make your argument now. if you don’t have the time or energy to do so, that’s fine. but don’t make comments like #1 then. that’s not a request.

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  • Onur says:

    Khan, religion was just a small part of my argument, but you somehow fixated on it. I mentioned religion just as an auxiliary element to language. If Mongolians had spread their language and not their religion, not much would change in my evaluation of their genetic impact. But the examples I gave in #6 are valid for the issue we are discussing.

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  • #6, make a serious argument now. you didn’t say anything new. if you think i don’t know your examples you’re daft. but your argument is so weak as to make me laugh. i am not asking politely. don’t assert. i’m not impressed by your knowledge, i don’t see it surpassing mine. you know what i expect, now step up or shut up.

    lay out your specific argument in detail about the influence of turks. you rarely say anything i don’t know, so i want to evaluate your argument in detail.

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  • Onur says:

    stupid. the mongols were mostly shamanists at this time. what kind of person thinks that shamanism is going to overwhelm institutional religions? like how the turks imposed it on the muslims and christians they ended up ruling? stop saying stupid stuff if you are going to make a lot of assertions which can be disputed.

    Not at al. Anglo-Saxons spread their language and pagan religion to the Christian British natives and Slavs spread their language and pagan religion to the Christian Balkan natives. Besides, Central Asian Turkic people were shamanist before converting to Islam preserving many of their shamanist beliefs and practices even after converting to Islam, and also there were still large numbers of shamanist Turkic people in Central Asia during the Mongolian conquests.

    e.g., hazaras just fall out of your mental map

    I didn’t mention them because they are a very tiny (compared to the total territory conquered by Mongols) remnant population.

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  • , conquering Mongolians were so few in number that they couldn’t even spread their language and religion, not to mention culture

    stupid. the mongols were mostly shamanists at this time. what kind of person thinks that shamanism is going to overwhelm institutional religions? like how the turks imposed it on the muslims and christians they ended up ruling? stop saying stupid stuff if you are going to make a lot of assertions which can be disputed (e.g., hazaras just fall out of your mental map). make a proactive argument that i can examine with some detailed moving parts.

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  • * The link in the linguistic tree illustration of Indo-European as being closer to North Caucasian than to Kartvelian or other languages of the region is, so far as I know, novel. Of course, the Ossets could simply represent a genetically Northwest Caucuasian population on the boundary between Northwest Caucuasian languages and Indo-European languages than experienced language shift at a possibly recent point in time.

    * The language/genetic concordance does point to a common North Caucuasian proto-language and genetic population at some remote time, as common source that is not infrequently questioned.

    * Chechens are Y-DNA hg J2 heavy with a minor J1 component; Dagestanis, in contrast, as Y-DNA hg J1 heavy with very little hg J2. Generally, one tends to associate J2 more with Anatolia and Iran, and J1 more with Arabia. The J1 branch is very basal, the J2 branch is not particularly so. Both, however, are within the NE Caucuasian branch. Could this indicate that the Dagestanis are an older layer than Chechens?

    * The European distributions of the two G2a hgs and J1* see very similar to each other. So do the European distributiosn of J2a4b and I2a. This is suggestive of the possibility that these hgs dispersed as a parts of two distinct migrations.

    * The close link between genes and language in many of the cases makes mutation rates as a tool to date the language groups very attactive, particularly accompanied by linguistic phylogenetic dating, although Dienkes has made a quite convincing case that the conventional Y-DNA mutation rate dates tend to be about a factor of three too high.

    The urge to get dates from genes and languages is particularly great here because the languages in question almost surely have pre-historic roots and the “weeds” of archaeological, linguistic and other data in close proximity make it hard to calibrate this date as easily as we can in some other instances (e.g. Japan’s lingustic diversification that happened almost all in the historic era).

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  • Onur says:

    Over the short term in the pre-modern world there is a zero sum aspect to this, populations are relatively constant, and so for Genghis Khan to be fruitful other men must be pushed aside. This does not necessarily entail slaughter. Bonded or landless men may not reproduce their genes, or, their reproduction may be sharply diminished. A few generations of differential fertility can quickly lead to major differences in the distribution of ancestry.

    The dating of the spread of the so-called “Genghis” haplotype to the Mongolian conquests is incompatible with history. The Mongolian conquests did not affect the conquered territories to have such a relatively big genetic impact; in fact, conquering Mongolians were so few in number that they couldn’t even spread their language and religion, not to mention culture, in any of the conquered territories beyond Mongolia (including Chinese Mongolia and Russian Mongolia) and quickly disappeared in almost all of the conquered territories. The Turkic expansion, which began roughly 1000 years before the Mongolian conquests, and previous Altaic expansions explain the spread of that haplotype much better than the Mongolian conquests.

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  • Wixman’s book here: http://languageserver.uni-graz.at/ls/art?id=302 talks about lnguage differences and public policy, etc. in the Caucasus (Azerbaijan, though). One thing that he reports is that marriages were regarded as mixed marriages only if the religions were different, not according to language group. Don’t know the significance of that but it would be worth looking at.

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  • This study is essentially a study of the highland Caucasus, the most isolated areas of the Caucasus, so it is not so surprising to find a clear correlation between languages and genetics in this study, especially as the Northwest and Northeast Caucasian language families are probably very old in the Caucasus (maybe so old as to be directly linked to the first Neolithic colonizations in the Caucasus).

    But the lowland Caucasus and Transcaucasus populations, which are less isolated than the highland Caucasus populations, aren’t included in this study. Previous genetic studies suggested that the Transcaucasus and lowland Caucasus populations have genetic structures correlated with geography rather than languages and were genetically very close to each other respectively despite speaking very different language families and religious differences.

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  • Here's the model from Wikipedia: In my opinion there's all sorts of things crazy with this model. But genome blogger Diogenes has been harping on the possibility that a low level substratum component among Northern Europeans which has affinities to Siberians and Amerindians may be a remnant of the original European hunter-gatherers. It follows then...
  • I’ve seen some really great programs about this on PBS and Discovery, History and the like. That might not be saying much but I really think people should give it more of a chance. There is a good deal of compelling stuff out there.

    There’s an idea about how the Younger Dryas and possibly even a comet hitting the NA ice shelf really marginalized their genetic contribution. As well as made key animals go extinct which I find much more compelling than humans killed all the mammoths. Even using this to show how very early on N. Americans became dependent on the buffalo as buffalo survived these events better and came to dominate the landscape. And if the distance bothers you if you look on a globe, one that shows all the islands and continental shelf, could it not even be walkable under the right ice conditions?

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  • I don’t think one has to go as far and postulate these populations were actually the same, from Europe to Beringia. Yes, I have always said a second northern (Siberian) route makes much sense, and archaeological evidence in fact demonstrates a movement of sites from Siberia (just north of the Gobi desert) east into Beringia, over time. But I don’t believe in (multiple) replacements of populations in Europe; minute eastern admixture in the north/northeast of Europe can easily be explained by ongoing contacts since LGM and even before, via known routes both south and north of the Urals. However, their main y-DNA and most (but not all) mt-DNA lines evidently split very early or, more likely, derive from two separate streams out of the subcontinent (one NW via Afghanistan, the other perhaps via NE India) in the first place.

    Still, there a number of other cultural similarities: living in tipis, sewn leather clothing, and early emphasis on bow-and-arrow hunting and use of harpoons (Hamburg and Ahrensburg cultures). All of that can be explained by ongoing contacts and similar lifestyles in the extreme north.

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  • * The notion that proto-Amerindians may have had a minority Northern Route component that fused with a predominant Southern Route component isn’t implausible. There are minority Amerindian mtDNA haplogroups, like X2, that would seem to make sense as Northern Route contributions, and the X2 component distribution seems to correlate fairly well with the Na-Dene language family which has language family affinities to the Yenesian languages of Central Siberia.

    Moreover, it seems as if the Northern Route affinities are absent from the communities from roughly California on South down the Pacific coast of the Americas, while present in North America. Clovis was a primary North American and East to West phenomena in another fit to that break. Thus, one can imagine the Northern Route Na-Dene component of Amerindians being the contributors of Clovis technology and a possible bridge to Solutrean industry.

    All together, a scenario in which a Northern Route group of Siberians are incorporated into some but not all of the Beringian tribes, with the tribes that include that group expanding East of the Cascade Mountains to start, and tribes that do not expanding down the Pacific Coast, would seem to be a pretty good fix to the data. It might even suggest that a search for a macrolinguistic family that break’s Greenberg’s Amerindian into North American and Pacific Coast families might bear fruit, although the time depth could simply be too great.

    This certainly makes for a better fit to the data than a glacier edge trip across the Atlantic to North America. Circumpolar back migration from North America/Beringia would also be a more plausible explanation.

    * The notion that Northern Europe may have a thin substrate of European hunter-gatherers also makes sense, although calling them “the original European hunter-gatherers” may slightly overstate the situation. There is some reason to think (from archeology and the historical accounts of the last populations to transition) that they, like the Jomon and the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest and the Paleo-Eskimos may have had a somewhat less nomadic fishing society rather than a stereotypical terrestrial nomadic foraging and hunting method of food production. Fishers seemed to have more staying power viz agriculturalists rather terrestrial nomadic forager/hunters.

    The substrate in modern European populations probably derives from the first post-LGM hunter-gatherers, whom there is some reason (like the genetic affinities of the Saami and Berbers) to believe were quite genetically distinct from the pre-LGM hunter-gathers of Europe.

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  • The Pith: Over the past 10,000 years a small coterie of farming populations expanded rapidly and replaced hunter-gatherer groups which were once dominant across the landscape. So, the vast majority of the ancestry of modern Europeans can be traced back to farming cultures of the eastern Mediterranean which swept over the west of Eurasia between...
  • What we see after that is an otherwise unaccountable rise in the haplogroups more ancient in Europe (including the European steppe). . .

    Can this reflect an elite population having a decline in birth rate as it stabilizes, the upper class women choosing not to have every baby that came their way, while at the same time the population of a subsumed ancient group that survives as a lower class also stabilizes but doesn’t have the option to limit their birthrate?

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  • tx jean! that wuz informative!

    And it is not just me thinking this way! I just blogged about the genetic and isotope study of migrants from the steppe currently under way. The results won’t be available until 2012 at the earliest. But an overview in a German-language magazine in February shows the thinking: Invasion aus der steppe.

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  • [...] Press: Razib Khan at Gene Expression explains how farmers conquered Eurasia between 10,000 and 5,000 years ago. Cancel [...]

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  • #6, where was “ooga-booga” in the bible? :-) wunzt translated right from the original language?

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  • So was Neanderthal the ‘men of old, men of renown’ the Bible spoke of ? wasn’t the time frame referred to as after the younger dryas ? If so what was the cause of this migration ?

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  • “There straightforward drawback is that the history of one’s foremothers may not be a good representative of the history of one’s total lineage. Additionally the haploid nature of mtDNA means that genetic drift is far more powerful in buffeting gene frequencies and introduced stochastic fluctuations, which eventually obscure past mutational signals through myriad mutations. . . . Mesolithic ancestry makes up only a fraction of contemporary European genomes. U5a, U5b1, V, and 3H combined account for ≈15% of western Europeans mtDNA haplogroups.”

    Given that in many historical examples where we know what happened, or have very definitive population DNA evidence, the proportion of indigenous NRY-DNA is smaller because to inmigrating population is male dominated and/or integrates more local women than men into its population, but there are very few, if any, examples of female dominated migrations, the 15% figure for indigenous ancestry from the mtDNA is probably a cap rather than a floor on the percentage of the Western European genome that could be from an indigeneous source.

    The overall percentage of European hunter-gatherer ancestry could easily be in the 9% to 12% range.

    The low portion of European hunter-gatherer ancestry may also help explain why modern European, in the former range of the Neanderthals, do not have an elevated level of Neanderthal admixture.

    Neolithic immigrants from Anatolia, the Balkans or the Near East would have only the level of Neanderthal admixture found in all Eurasians, after which contact with Neanderthal populations would have ceased as the Neanderthal range retreated. The only population to have prolonged contact with Neanderthals were the European hunter-gatherers of the Paleolithic who may have co-existed with Neanderthals at the fringe of their population for many thousands of years more than other modern humans. And, indeed, the particularly robust modern human skeletons that could indicate admixture with Neanderthals are found in Europe.

    But, the excess Neanderthal admixture in the hunter-gatherer proportion would have been reduced by a factor of six or more during the Neolithic, and might have been reduced further already at that point if people from outside the group of descendants of the pre-LGM hunter-gatherers of Europe participated in Northern Europe’s resettlement from refugia as ice sheets retreated after the LGM.

    Also, since more Neanderthal admixed hunter-gather descendants may have looked more different from Neolithic migrants into Europe than those who were less Neanderthal admixed, it is possible that they may have been adverse sexual selection against them into the more rapidly growing populations of farmers.

    Since the amount of Neanderthal admixture into modern humans isn’t known very exactly (1%-4% is the current range), even a population of European hunter-gatherers with an 8-10% Neanderthal admixture percentage wouldn’t have made a distinguishable dent, given the accuracy of the methods that have been used so far, in the Neanderthal admixture percentage of current European populations.

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  • I think there is some evidence from ADMIXTURE runs for an eastern Neolithic wave coming from the Near East via the Caucasus and the rivers of the Ukraine and South Russia. This element is perhaps best preserved among the Chuvash, which also have considerable Siberian-like admixture (Aboriginal, Turkic, both?). At first just farmers concentrated in the river valleys, some advantage in pastoralist lifestyles in marginal steppe lands led to their evolution.
    These people coming from the East would have migrated into the Northern European plain perhaps aided by advanced steppe pastoralist lifestyles developed along the way, and via elites with military advantages (horse, horse, horse).
    But much more important I think were perhaps earlier related peasants with Rye, or developing it there -a crop with major advantages for the colder climates and sandier soils of much of the region. Rye is first documented as a purposefully planted crop around this time (Corded Ware) around this area, which shouldn’t be a coincidence.
    So this episode you refer toocan be very well just a latter Neolithic wave (a reexpansion from the Eastern wing of the first Anatolian wave?) ultimately also from the Near East, but from a different region (Eastern Anatolia?).
    One can see some clues indicating a later Neolithic wave expanding from the Corded Ware Atlantic wave-Danubian Wave-East Wave melting pot zone of current Poland and Germany throughout cold/sandy soil habitats, including (pardon me for jumping to conclusions) perhaps movements of proto-German speaking peoples into Scandinavia, much of the Slavic expansion, and culminating in Eastern Siberia’s colonization by the Russians.
    This also provides a very speculative but interesting explanation for Central Europe’s R1a versus R1b and I Y-haplogroup mix.

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  • tx jean! that wuz informative!

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  • There were likely several pulses and distinct streams coming out of the Middle East which populated Europe.

    I agree entirely, but

    So, the vast majority of the ancestry of modern Europeans can be traced back to farming cultures of the eastern Mediterranean which swept over the west of Eurasia between 10 and 5 thousand years before [the present]

    ignores Indo-European migration from the steppe c. 5000 BP.

    The mtDNA haplogroups selected to represent the Upper Paleolithic were U5, V, and H3. Those selected to represent the spread of agriculture were T1, T2, J1a, K2a. (They threw in H4, but that has not been solidly linked to the Neolithic, and they made the calculations with and without it, reporting no difference.)

    Haplogroup H represents nearly half the modern European population. As Barbara Bramanti et al (2009) pointed out in a rather puzzled way, the genetic make-up of modern Europe cannot be explain solely by adding the hapologroups found in actual Mesolithic DNA to the hapologroups found in Neolithic DNA. Something (another migration?) must have happened later.

    The stabilisation of the Neolithic haplogroups on their graph about 4000 BP does not reflect population growth just stopping. It didn’t stop. The current population of Europe is vastly greater than it was 4000 years ago. What we see after that is an otherwise unaccountable rise in the haplogroups more ancient in Europe (including the European steppe), plus other younger haplogroups that they didn’t include in the study, like H5a. H5* is most frequent and diverse in the western Caucasus and may have spread from there, while H5a has a stronger European distribution. H5a is thought to be only 7000-8000 years old, so its wide, though low, spread over Europe suggests that significant migration took place even after the initial spread of farming.

    I reported on this paper on my blog also (before Dienekes) : http://dna-forums.org/index.php?/blog/2/entry-143-neolithic-population-growth-estimated-from-mtdna/
    Edited.

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  • I wonder if the reticulate pattern in the British Isles reflects Anglo-Saxon and Viking colonisation (and later events in Ireland), which may have “muddied” the situation a little.

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  • Image Credit: Mark Dingemanse I recall years ago someone on the blog of Jonathan Edelstein, a soc.history.what-if alum as well, mentioning offhand that archaeologists had "debunked" the idea of the Bantu demographic expansion. Because, unfortunately, much of archaeology consists of ideologically contingent fashion it was certainly plausible to me that archaeologists had "debunked" the expansion...
  • I read recently (http://www.rogerblench.info/Archaeology%20data/Africa/Konigswinter%202007/Konigswinter%20paper.pdf) that pastoralists groups of Khoisan ancestry obtained their domesticated animals – including a particular breed of sheep – from NE African cultures, previously much more extended than now,at around 2000 BP and there seems to be linguistic and cultural evidence in support of this.
    If there was a pastoralist substrate – from Somalia, Ethiopia down to South Africa-Botswana – predating the Bantu expansion that might explain the introgression from Khoisan to expanding Bantu, which is probably more likely between pastoralist groups and agriculturalists.

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  • [...] yesterday’s post on African genetics I tried to work with a large set of populations, but narrowed SNPs down to [...]

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  • Would you be interested in African American samples for future runs?

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