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    I pay a subscription to The New York Times because it's America's premier middle-brow journal. Its science pages are decent, so my interest was piqued when I saw the the bold headline, Discoveries Challenge Beliefs on Humans’ Arrival in the Americas. But the article is a total mishmash, alternating between spotlighting paradigm challenging scholars, and...
  • @Steve

    Really? I’m far from an expert, but my impression is that the community has pretty much settled that: 1) there are some American settlements that significantly pre-date the Clovis settlements 2) that there people were related to the later Clovis people 3) the Clovis people are related to all modern Native American populations and 4) all of the above are related to Asian populations, ruling out the possibility of early African or Europeans making sizable New World settlements as the “crazy” person in the post posits. I think the consensus has moved a lot over the last few decades.

    I’m not aware that the legal situation regarding Native Americans has been an impediment here. There’s only one set of Clovis remains, and that has had its DNA studied.

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  • This idea of pre-Clovis populating of America has been discussed for about 15-20 years now, with surprisingly little progress toward resolution. I imagine the various laws against doing science with American Indian DNA and remains have been an impediment.

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  • @Paul,
    Thanks! I did not know this before and looked it up. You are correct about the Guanche of the Canaries, who date back possibly to 1000BCE. Their origin was studied in a 2003 genetics research article by Nicole Maca-Meyer et al, and they were found to have a Berber-like lineage.

    The point I made still stands, the other islands off the west Africa coast were all uninhabited when discovered by Europeans, with the exception of Bioko Island, which is very close to the coast and inhabited by the Bantu about 500 BCE.

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  • @Pete,
    “Canary Islands just 100 km off the coast, discovered by the ancient Greeks, rediscovered possibly by the Vikings, rediscovered uninhabited by Europeans in the 11th century.”

    That’s not correct. The Guanche people who inhabited the Canaries put up a fierce resistance to the Spanish colonizers, and it took years of bloody warfare to subdue and mostly annihilate them. The Gaunche according to contemporary accounts were extremely tall and powerfully built, blonde and with sallow skin. In phenotype they appear to be like European Cro-Magnons, and possibly akin to the La Brana individual from Spain, who had blue eyes, but darker skin than today’s Spaniards, but nevertheless is closer to Baltic/Scandinavian peoples of today.

    @Razib,
    I remain skeptical that Madagascar was totally uninhabited when Austronesians arrived. There is some scant evidence that aboriginal hunter-gatherer (fishermen) types may have lived there previously. Maybe they were like the Tasmanians or the San and easily conquered or mostly wiped out by disease. The fact that the Austronesians live mostly in the highlands of the island, should not IMO be taken as proof that they were there earlier than later Bantu and Arab arrivals, but like the British in India, that the highlands suited them better than the lowlands.

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  • Events don’t happen when they’re supposed to, events happen when they do. Keep in mind that many discoveries happened by accident, and a rare few were planned for.

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  • I don’t think you need to invoke Madigascar.

    It has always puzzled me that modern man living sub-Sahara Africa didn’t venture out on boats or rafts and inhabit nearby islands so much sooner in history.

    Wasn’t Zanzibar, just 50 km off the east coast of Africa first settled just 2800 BC? (based on proven artifacts, however there is disputed evidence of 20,000 yrs BC) And this dates to the times when the Sumerians visited the island?

    Off the west side of Africa, some dates:
    Cape Verde islands 570 km off the coast, discovered by the Romans, rediscovered uninhabited, by Europeans 1456.
    Canary Islands just 100 km off the coast, discovered by the ancient Greeks, rediscovered possibly by the Vikings, rediscovered uninhabited by Europeans in the 11th century.
    Bioko Island, just 35 km west of Guinea, was first inhabited by the Bantu about 500 BC.
    Sao Tome and Principe, 250 km west of Gabon, were first discovered uninhabited by the Portugese in 1469.

    I think the lack of archeological evidence that these islands were ever visited or inhabited speaks strongly against a hypothesis that African sailed west from Africa to discover S. America.

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  • How do we know plains apes were the only smart animals with grasping paws to ever use fire? I’m thinking of North America’s giant Miocene beavers- those corkscrew tunnel dens they dug would be a nice place to keep a home fire burning, by Hestia. But South America had giant marsupials with grasping paws. Without written language they’d be likely to lose the skill every generation or so, and take ten or a hundred generations before some busy beaver recovered it, and lose it again, and sputter along like that, not quite sapient, till the overhunters came down from Berengia.

    Habilis brains weren’t much bigger than theirs.

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  • , does not necessary equal to stating an absolute impossibility of human populations during the Pleistocene that we still know very little of.

    yes. crazy!=impossible.

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  • Razib,

    Regarding your last two sentences, I would say extreme improbability and current lack of evidence, thus requiring great skepticism, does not necessary equal to stating an absolute impossibility of human populations during the Pleistocene that we still know very little of.

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  • There was a hoax story up about the discovery of the rave of Attila the Hun. It wasn’t blatantly impossible and I was conditionally very happy. I still would be happy with the discovery of any unplundered royal Hun grave.

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  • john, there’s no good replacement yet. i think the article would be OK if they pushed it back to 20,000, though that seems too early it’s not crazy.

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  • Hasn’t the Clovis theory been under attack for decades? I didn’t see anything terrinly new, though I’m not at all in touch.

    The belief in journalism is that if someone goes to journalism school and puts in a year or two on the job, they can write about ANYTHING. That’s not a function of a theory of knowledge or anything, it’s a function of the way newspapers hire. They want jacks of all trades, and only a few of the best have any science journalists at all.

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  • There was a long discussion of these 2 Polynesian-like mtDNAs in Botocudo sceletal remains at Dienekes’s

    http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2013/04/polynesian-mtdna-in-extinct-amerindians.html

    all sorts of hypotheses were tried, escaped Malagay slaves, escaped Easter Islander slaves, Pac Islander consorts of Portuguese sailors, etc.

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  • ohwilleke, middle-brow is what it is. doesn’t matter if it’s the highest in the land.

    toto, re: polynesia. probably slaves or something that escaped. if you follow the journal reference. also, yes, 22,000 is revolutionary. seems a little on the high side. but journalists get to decide what they put into the piece.

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  • “The New York Times because it’s America’s premier middle-brow journal.”

    The demographics of New York Times readers and of the audiences of many of its competing publications can be found at: http://www.people-press.org/2012/09/27/section-4-demographics-and-political-views-of-news-audiences/ from the Pew Research Center on the People and the Press (2012).

    About 54% of NYT readers have college degrees (near the top), and about 38% have incomes in excess of $75K (also near the top), and in both cases identical to the Wall Street Journal. NPR listeners make more money (43% earn $75K or more), but are slightly less educated (52% have college degrees). The only more high brow news sources are weekly magazines like the New Yorker and the Economist.

    The income and education data are particularly notable because NYT readers are quite young, with 32% under age 30. Only the Colbert Report and the Daily Show have younger audiences in the news market.

    By comparison 24% of the audience of Fox News has college degrees and 23% of their news audience earns $75K or more). 19% of their viewers are under 30.

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  • To be fair the article does not endorse Guidon’s claims. The next sentence has her successor basically saying, “bah, humbug” (in an adequately polite manner).

    The 22000 years claim, which seems to be taken seriously, is revolutionary enough. And this is in Brazil, not near the coast, which means that if they came from Asia they had to cross the continent. If that’s true, what happened to these people?

    I was also intrigued by the claim about Polynesian-like sequences in Southern Brazil. Is it just an accident of modern migration, or is there a possibility of something deeper? I suppose that if there were a widespread Polynesian-like (or Australian-like) substrate in Southern America, somebody would have seen it before.

    The crackpot alternative is that, by coincidence, America has followed exactly the same two-wave model as Eurasia, with a first wave of out-of-Africa Aborigines followed by a second wave of highly derived (and lighter-skinned) immigrants. The difference being that in this case the second wave discovered agriculture after they arrived, not before.

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  • “Creditable” or “Credible”? The putative critic’s logic is egregiously flawed–not that the NYT’s “science” is any better or worse than the trash in the “new” SciAm.

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  • These articles about the ultra early arrival of man to the Americas just keep popping up, sometimes from reputable sources like serious scientists from Texas A &M, but I remain highly skeptical as well. Once a breeding population of humans was established in the Americas it stands to reason that they would have spread very rapidly and left behind stone tools obviously crafted by the hand of man where ever they went, not just a scant few in a rare locations.

    So the New York Times is America’s premier middle brow journal eh? That’s funny…and sad. Thank you serious science blogs that don’t dumb down the complex truth or cater to higher ratings via sensationalistic B.S. What would we do without you.

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  • Well, actually, it might be easier to go from Africa to Brazil than to Madagascar on a primitive raft. From the right point the trade winds and the sea currents will just take you to Brazil if you somehow manage to survive the time it takes to float there. The trip to Madagascar is short but you’ll have to fight a strong current and the prevailing winds to get there.

    This is presumably the reason why Madagascar has such unique species even though it’s so close to Africa. It’s a hard strait to cross.

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  • It’s surprising how often little things like this appear in evo-bio articles and docs. I keep running into the “humans may have originated in Asia” line and I wouldn’t know better had I not informed myself otherwise. Can’t imagine what everyone else thinks as they’re sometimes put in an otherwise legit piece.
    NYT: “All the news that fits our narrative.”! Nah, I kid, it’s a good paper. I sub as well – *someone* has to pay for good journalism.

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  • Keeping a close watch on media representations of the new Nature paper on the ancient Siberian genome. Here's The New York Times, 24,000-Year-Old Body Is Kin to Both Europeans and American Indians. I don't have a problem with the title, but the roll-out isn't totally accurate in what it will connote to the audience in...
  • @MrJones
    "They were not from the European refugia"


    Or maybe they were

    In South America you can get people who are 95% Iberian autosomally but with Native American mtdna i.e. Spaniard and Native American woman whose daughter married a Spaniard whose daughter married a Spaniard whose daughter married a Spaniard etc.

    It's the *interplay* of the y dna, mtdna and autosomal that gives you the whole story not just one piece.

    So
    - neolithic male and neolithic female dna advances up the Danube and settles in central europe.


    -paleolithic male and paleolithic female dna is pushed back to the periphery


    - a neolithic decline followed by *male-mediated* paleolithic advance from the periphery back into the core leading to a mostly paleolithic male and mostly neolithic female final result.

    Now the data for the paternal line.

    Read what your Prof. Steve Jones said,

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110118083909AA8M2fY

    “Prof Jones and colleagues at University College London, spent years
    creating a genetic map of the Y chromosome, which is passed by males
    from generation to generation. The results show the Welsh are related
    to the Basques of northern Spain and southern France and to native Americans. All are descended from the Kets people of western Siberia.”

    More recent results,

    http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2013/11/one-to-three-men-fathered-most-western.html

    “After all, no R1b has been found in Europe before a Bell Beaker site
    from the 3rd millennium BC and today many Europeans (most in western
    Europe) belong to this haplogroup. As more Y chromosomes are sampled
    from ancient Europe, it will become clear if the R1b frequency actually
    shot from non-existence to ubiquity over a short span of time, and the Y
    chromosomes after the transition will be practically clones of each other.”

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  • @dixie
    "There should have been "Europeans" remaining in refugia in Spain, Italy,
    and the Balkans even during the Last Glacial Maximum, so it isn't right
    to imply that Europe was scoured clean during this period."

    Whoever they were,

    http://www.adelaide.edu.au/news/news60721.html

    "The record of this maternally inherited genetic group, called Haplogroup H, shows that the first farmers in Central Europe resulted from a wholesale cultural and genetic input via migration, beginning in Turkey and the Near East where farming originated and arriving in
    Germany around 7500 years ago," says joint lead author Dr Paul Brotherton, formerly at ACAD and now at the University of Huddersfield, UK.

    What he meant by wholesale, for example,

    http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v4/n4/full/ncomms2656.html"Haplogroup H dominates present-day Western European mitochondrial DNA
    variability (>40%), yet was less common (~19%) among Early Neolithic
    farmers (~5450 BC) and virtually absent in Mesolithic hunter-gatherers"

    They were not from the European refugia.

    “They were not from the European refugia”

    Or maybe they were

    In South America you can get people who are 95% Iberian autosomally but with Native American mtdna i.e. Spaniard and Native American woman whose daughter married a Spaniard whose daughter married a Spaniard whose daughter married a Spaniard etc.

    It’s the *interplay* of the y dna, mtdna and autosomal that gives you the whole story not just one piece.

    So
    - neolithic male and neolithic female dna advances up the Danube and settles in central europe.

    -paleolithic male and paleolithic female dna is pushed back to the periphery

    - a neolithic decline followed by *male-mediated* paleolithic advance from the periphery back into the core leading to a mostly paleolithic male and mostly neolithic female final result.

    Read More
    • Replies: @dixie
    Now the data for the paternal line.

    Read what your Prof. Steve Jones said,

    http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110118083909AA8M2fY

    "Prof Jones and colleagues at University College London, spent years
    creating a genetic map of the Y chromosome, which is passed by males
    from generation to generation. The results show the Welsh are related
    to the Basques of northern Spain and southern France and to native Americans. All are descended from the Kets people of western Siberia."

    More recent results,

    http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2013/11/one-to-three-men-fathered-most-western.html

    "After all, no R1b has been found in Europe before a Bell Beaker site
    from the 3rd millennium BC and today many Europeans (most in western
    Europe) belong to this haplogroup. As more Y chromosomes are sampled
    from ancient Europe, it will become clear if the R1b frequency actually
    shot from non-existence to ubiquity over a short span of time, and the Y
    chromosomes after the transition will be practically clones of each other."

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @dixie
    "Talking about

    “Nobody was even there in the first place…It is apparent which one come first”

    Is it?

    1. Hyperborean population spreading from Iberia (NW Africa?) to Siberia in a crescent shape.

    2. Then population split in two by the ice.

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  • “What it begins to suggest is that we’re looking at a ‘Lord of the Rings’-type world - that there were many hominid populations,” says Mark Thomas, an evolutionary geneticist at University College London who was at the meeting but was not involved in the work. - Mark Thomas, as reported by Nature This is in...
  • @Razib Khan
    and that modern Europeans are just Near Easterners + Ancient North Siberians.

    good first approximation model IMO. probably more complex, but that's a good sum.

    This seems to suggest that the Ancient North Indians themselves had a significant Ancient North Eurasian component.

    i wondered this too. look at the kalash in particular, as they don't have east asian/siberian admixture (like the burusho). seems likely that PIE had fair amount of admixture of this + stuff coming up the caucasus from anatolia?

    It seems that all my predictions are lining up.

    Mehrgarh for the likely origin of the R1b West European ancestry

    Southern Pakistan and West India as the likely home of Y-DNA P, which is the ancestor to R and Q

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  • Keeping a close watch on media representations of the new Nature paper on the ancient Siberian genome. Here's The New York Times, 24,000-Year-Old Body Is Kin to Both Europeans and American Indians. I don't have a problem with the title, but the roll-out isn't totally accurate in what it will connote to the audience in...
  • I’ll bet that had this been an adult skeleton, it would have looked like a Cro-Magnon, as I predicted a few years ago that Cro-Magnons came from the Siberia-NE Asia area

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  • @Karl Zimmerman
    There should have been "Europeans" remaining in refugia in Spain, Italy, and the Balkans even during the Last Glacial Maximum, so it isn't right to imply that Europe was scoured clean during this period.

    That said, looking at ice-age maps, it seems clear why there was a "West Eurasian" so far east There was at times an unbroken ice wall across Siberia. This would have kept separated groups which migrated north from Central Asia and those which migrated north from South China. Interestingly though, there is a corridor which spreads far, far to the East. One can easily see.how this would allow for some "West Eurasians" to migrate quite far east indeed. Even during times the ice wall was not in place, the territory between was likely usually polar desert and unlikely to be habitable.

    Once the climate warmed enough, it's easy to see how the Ancient North Eurasians could expand to the East, and the Ancient East Eurasians to the North, and the twain would beat somewhere in the northern part of the Russian Far East or Beringia proper.

    “There should have been “Europeans” remaining in refugia in Spain, Italy,
    and the Balkans even during the Last Glacial Maximum, so it isn’t right
    to imply that Europe was scoured clean during this period.”

    Whoever they were,

    http://www.adelaide.edu.au/news/news60721.html

    “The record of this maternally inherited genetic group, called Haplogroup H, shows that the first farmers in Central Europe resulted from a wholesale cultural and genetic input via migration, beginning in Turkey and the Near East where farming originated and arriving in
    Germany around 7500 years ago,” says joint lead author Dr Paul Brotherton, formerly at ACAD and now at the University of Huddersfield, UK.

    What he meant by wholesale, for example,

    http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v4/n4/full/ncomms2656.html”Haplogroup H dominates present-day Western European mitochondrial DNA
    variability (>40%), yet was less common (~19%) among Early Neolithic
    farmers (~5450 BC) and virtually absent in Mesolithic hunter-gatherers”

    They were not from the European refugia.

    Read More
    • Replies: @MrJones
    "They were not from the European refugia"


    Or maybe they were

    In South America you can get people who are 95% Iberian autosomally but with Native American mtdna i.e. Spaniard and Native American woman whose daughter married a Spaniard whose daughter married a Spaniard whose daughter married a Spaniard etc.

    It's the *interplay* of the y dna, mtdna and autosomal that gives you the whole story not just one piece.

    So
    - neolithic male and neolithic female dna advances up the Danube and settles in central europe.


    -paleolithic male and paleolithic female dna is pushed back to the periphery


    - a neolithic decline followed by *male-mediated* paleolithic advance from the periphery back into the core leading to a mostly paleolithic male and mostly neolithic female final result.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • The NYT quote describes a gene flow from Old Europeans -> Old Siberians -> Native Americans.

    But the graph at the top of your previous post suggests a gene flow from from Old Siberia to both Old Europe and Native Americans.

    I’m not sure the Nature article actually allows to pick a side between these two.

    I’m wondering how much of this could be caused by a common Old Asian, different from the modern, highly derived East Asians (basically the “ancestral South Indian”). Andamaners who moved north and sent genes here and there – or even maybe provided a large component of the Native American genome. Modern South Americans look a lot like North Indians, whereas children of mixed European and East Asian ancestry don’t.

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  • @dixie
    "Talking about

    There should have been “Europeans” remaining in refugia in Spain, Italy, and the Balkans even during the Last Glacial Maximum, so it isn’t right to imply that Europe was scoured clean during this period.

    That said, looking at ice-age maps, it seems clear why there was a “West Eurasian” so far east There was at times an unbroken ice wall across Siberia. This would have kept separated groups which migrated north from Central Asia and those which migrated north from South China. Interestingly though, there is a corridor which spreads far, far to the East. One can easily see.how this would allow for some “West Eurasians” to migrate quite far east indeed. Even during times the ice wall was not in place, the territory between was likely usually polar desert and unlikely to be habitable.

    Once the climate warmed enough, it’s easy to see how the Ancient North Eurasians could expand to the East, and the Ancient East Eurasians to the North, and the twain would beat somewhere in the northern part of the Russian Far East or Beringia proper.

    Read More
    • Replies: @dixie
    "There should have been "Europeans" remaining in refugia in Spain, Italy,
    and the Balkans even during the Last Glacial Maximum, so it isn't right
    to imply that Europe was scoured clean during this period."

    Whoever they were,

    http://www.adelaide.edu.au/news/news60721.html

    "The record of this maternally inherited genetic group, called Haplogroup H, shows that the first farmers in Central Europe resulted from a wholesale cultural and genetic input via migration, beginning in Turkey and the Near East where farming originated and arriving in
    Germany around 7500 years ago," says joint lead author Dr Paul Brotherton, formerly at ACAD and now at the University of Huddersfield, UK.

    What he meant by wholesale, for example,

    http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v4/n4/full/ncomms2656.html"Haplogroup H dominates present-day Western European mitochondrial DNA
    variability (>40%), yet was less common (~19%) among Early Neolithic
    farmers (~5450 BC) and virtually absent in Mesolithic hunter-gatherers"

    They were not from the European refugia.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • You forgot to mention that the Mal’ta results are 37% South Asian. Apparently he had brown hair, brown eyes, and freckles.

    In case nobody noticed, we ain’t in Kansas anymore, Toto.

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  • “Talking about

    Read More
    • Replies: @Karl Zimmerman
    There should have been "Europeans" remaining in refugia in Spain, Italy, and the Balkans even during the Last Glacial Maximum, so it isn't right to imply that Europe was scoured clean during this period.

    That said, looking at ice-age maps, it seems clear why there was a "West Eurasian" so far east There was at times an unbroken ice wall across Siberia. This would have kept separated groups which migrated north from Central Asia and those which migrated north from South China. Interestingly though, there is a corridor which spreads far, far to the East. One can easily see.how this would allow for some "West Eurasians" to migrate quite far east indeed. Even during times the ice wall was not in place, the territory between was likely usually polar desert and unlikely to be habitable.

    Once the climate warmed enough, it's easy to see how the Ancient North Eurasians could expand to the East, and the Ancient East Eurasians to the North, and the twain would beat somewhere in the northern part of the Russian Far East or Beringia proper.

    , @MrJones
    "Nobody was even there in the first place...It is apparent which one come first"


    Is it?


    1. Hyperborean population spreading from Iberia (NW Africa?) to Siberia in a crescent shape.


    2. Then population split in two by the ice.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • “What it begins to suggest is that we’re looking at a ‘Lord of the Rings’-type world - that there were many hominid populations,” says Mark Thomas, an evolutionary geneticist at University College London who was at the meeting but was not involved in the work. - Mark Thomas, as reported by Nature This is in...
  • @Razib Khan
    and that modern Europeans are just Near Easterners + Ancient North Siberians.

    good first approximation model IMO. probably more complex, but that's a good sum.

    This seems to suggest that the Ancient North Indians themselves had a significant Ancient North Eurasian component.

    i wondered this too. look at the kalash in particular, as they don't have east asian/siberian admixture (like the burusho). seems likely that PIE had fair amount of admixture of this + stuff coming up the caucasus from anatolia?

    I note that the level of shared drift for the Brahui and the Baloch is identical. To me this suggests that the vast majority of the MA-1 component came into the South Asian population prior to the Indo-European expansion. Yes other Dravidians tend to have much lower levels, but this is because they happen to have much more ASI.

    Also related to PEI, note that while Sardinians by far have the least shared drift, Basque are pretty typical of Southern Europeans, falling between Bulgarians and French. In addition, the Indo-European Armenians score lower than the non-IE North Caucasians, some of which (the Lezgians) have very high shared drift indeed. So there’s not much of a case to be made of a tight association with PIE and this component, although I’m sure some groups picked up substantive admixture along the way (Central Asia looks interesting – I wonder what it was like on this measure before the Turkic expansion.

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  • @Karl Zimmerman
    I continue to find it interesting how well the MA-1 component maps to Northern European populations which have also been formerly identified as having higher levels of Mesolithic hunter-gatherer ancestry, and depressed levels of Neolithic ancestry. I wish they compared MA-1 with the known Mesolithic hunter-gatherer genomes from Spain and Sweden. It's possible that "Ancient North Eurasians" were all European hunter-gatherers, and that modern Europeans are just Near Easterners + Ancient North Siberians.


    On the other hand, 20,000 years of racial continuity in an area which was not isolated geographically would be highly unusual. It's highly plausible that Mesolithic Europeans were already somewhat modified not only by drift, but by earlier populations coming from the Near East and elsewhere.

    One thing I find interesting is the ADMIXTURE slide. MA-1 has the largest proportion of its ancestry (37%) as a South-Asian-like component. South Asians don't rank particularly high compared to Northern Europeans when it comes to shared drift, but minus the highly ASI Paniya they're well above Near Eastern populations (even Iranians). This seems to suggest that the Ancient North Indians themselves had a significant Ancient North Eurasian component. It was probably reinforced by later Indo-Aryan migrations however, given Indo-Aryans seem to have taken on Uralic loanwords after parting ways with Indo-Iranians.


    Regardless, one of the most fascinating papers this year.

    and that modern Europeans are just Near Easterners + Ancient North Siberians.

    good first approximation model IMO. probably more complex, but that’s a good sum.

    This seems to suggest that the Ancient North Indians themselves had a significant Ancient North Eurasian component.

    i wondered this too. look at the kalash in particular, as they don’t have east asian/siberian admixture (like the burusho). seems likely that PIE had fair amount of admixture of this + stuff coming up the caucasus from anatolia?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Karl Zimmerman
    I note that the level of shared drift for the Brahui and the Baloch is identical. To me this suggests that the vast majority of the MA-1 component came into the South Asian population prior to the Indo-European expansion. Yes other Dravidians tend to have much lower levels, but this is because they happen to have much more ASI.


    Also related to PEI, note that while Sardinians by far have the least shared drift, Basque are pretty typical of Southern Europeans, falling between Bulgarians and French. In addition, the Indo-European Armenians score lower than the non-IE North Caucasians, some of which (the Lezgians) have very high shared drift indeed. So there's not much of a case to be made of a tight association with PIE and this component, although I'm sure some groups picked up substantive admixture along the way (Central Asia looks interesting - I wonder what it was like on this measure before the Turkic expansion.

    , @Paul Conroy
    It seems that all my predictions are lining up.

    Mehrgarh for the likely origin of the R1b West European ancestry


    Southern Pakistan and West India as the likely home of Y-DNA P, which is the ancestor to R and Q

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • I continue to find it interesting how well the MA-1 component maps to Northern European populations which have also been formerly identified as having higher levels of Mesolithic hunter-gatherer ancestry, and depressed levels of Neolithic ancestry. I wish they compared MA-1 with the known Mesolithic hunter-gatherer genomes from Spain and Sweden. It’s possible that “Ancient North Eurasians” were all European hunter-gatherers, and that modern Europeans are just Near Easterners + Ancient North Siberians.

    On the other hand, 20,000 years of racial continuity in an area which was not isolated geographically would be highly unusual. It’s highly plausible that Mesolithic Europeans were already somewhat modified not only by drift, but by earlier populations coming from the Near East and elsewhere.

    One thing I find interesting is the ADMIXTURE slide. MA-1 has the largest proportion of its ancestry (37%) as a South-Asian-like component. South Asians don’t rank particularly high compared to Northern Europeans when it comes to shared drift, but minus the highly ASI Paniya they’re well above Near Eastern populations (even Iranians). This seems to suggest that the Ancient North Indians themselves had a significant Ancient North Eurasian component. It was probably reinforced by later Indo-Aryan migrations however, given Indo-Aryans seem to have taken on Uralic loanwords after parting ways with Indo-Iranians.

    Regardless, one of the most fascinating papers this year.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    and that modern Europeans are just Near Easterners + Ancient North Siberians.

    good first approximation model IMO. probably more complex, but that's a good sum.

    This seems to suggest that the Ancient North Indians themselves had a significant Ancient North Eurasian component.

    i wondered this too. look at the kalash in particular, as they don't have east asian/siberian admixture (like the burusho). seems likely that PIE had fair amount of admixture of this + stuff coming up the caucasus from anatolia?

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Greg Pandatshang
    There are videos on Youtube of presentations at a conference starring Edward Vajda, whose work on Dene-Yeniseian is the sexiest thing to happen in linguistics in the last 25 years. Vajda's talk pulls together linguistic, archaeological, and genetic evidence to create a hypothesis of how Siberian populations flowed into the New World. I know my linguistics quite a bit better than archaeology or genetics, and Vajda knows all three a lot better than I do; so I'm not in a position to assess his arguments critically, but he certainly sounds intriguing. The gist of his argument is that ca. 15kya, there was a population in south central Siberia that developed a micro-blade technology, which proved to be a "killer app" that allowed for rapid expansion. This group probably spoke Proto-Dene-Yeniseian (or, at least, the PDY speakers were early adopters). Male-only groups formed the leading edge of this expansion, absorbing existing female lineages in northeastern Siberia; these groups were the first to cross Beringia into the New World, bringing with them the non-Dene-Yeniseian languages spoken by most Indians. Meanwhile, the core micro-blade population, including males and females, expanded more gradually into the whole of Siberia. After thousands of years, one of these Dene-Yeniseian-speaking groups crossed the Pacific and settled what's now the Pacific coast of Canada; this was the originally Athabaskan-Eyak-Tlingit population.

    In an interesting aside, Vajda argues against the idea (which I believe is the received opinion) that the first wave of settlers in North America consisted of a single, small group of hardy survivors who barely made it out of the Arctic before stumbling into Eden. He didn't go into much detail on this point, but he apparently believes there were several somewhat larger groups who made the trip across Beringia at about the same time (long before the Dene-Yeniseian-speakers did). He suggests that the ancestors of today's Algonquian-speaking groups were an intermediary population who were among the last of the first wave (i.e., they originated from a place in between the core micro-blade population and the northeastern Siberians who made up the bulk of the first wave).

    The key part of the presentation will come up on Youtube if you search for "Dene-Yensieian Workshop 2012, Edward Vajda".

    I realize the above not directly on-topic as a response to OP, but it seemed to dovetail naturally.

    Vajda argues against the idea (which I believe is the received opinion) that the first wave of settlers in North America consisted of a single, small group of hardy survivors who barely made it out of the Arctic before stumbling into Eden.

    the genetics leans strongly against this. e.g. in this paper all ‘first americans’ from north to south america seem to be same distance from MA-1.

    but fascinating comment. this is one area i think that non-genetic fields can clarify and illuminate greatly.

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    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • There are videos on Youtube of presentations at a conference starring Edward Vajda, whose work on Dene-Yeniseian is the sexiest thing to happen in linguistics in the last 25 years. Vajda’s talk pulls together linguistic, archaeological, and genetic evidence to create a hypothesis of how Siberian populations flowed into the New World. I know my linguistics quite a bit better than archaeology or genetics, and Vajda knows all three a lot better than I do; so I’m not in a position to assess his arguments critically, but he certainly sounds intriguing. The gist of his argument is that ca. 15kya, there was a population in south central Siberia that developed a micro-blade technology, which proved to be a “killer app” that allowed for rapid expansion. This group probably spoke Proto-Dene-Yeniseian (or, at least, the PDY speakers were early adopters). Male-only groups formed the leading edge of this expansion, absorbing existing female lineages in northeastern Siberia; these groups were the first to cross Beringia into the New World, bringing with them the non-Dene-Yeniseian languages spoken by most Indians. Meanwhile, the core micro-blade population, including males and females, expanded more gradually into the whole of Siberia. After thousands of years, one of these Dene-Yeniseian-speaking groups crossed the Pacific and settled what’s now the Pacific coast of Canada; this was the originally Athabaskan-Eyak-Tlingit population.

    In an interesting aside, Vajda argues against the idea (which I believe is the received opinion) that the first wave of settlers in North America consisted of a single, small group of hardy survivors who barely made it out of the Arctic before stumbling into Eden. He didn’t go into much detail on this point, but he apparently believes there were several somewhat larger groups who made the trip across Beringia at about the same time (long before the Dene-Yeniseian-speakers did). He suggests that the ancestors of today’s Algonquian-speaking groups were an intermediary population who were among the last of the first wave (i.e., they originated from a place in between the core micro-blade population and the northeastern Siberians who made up the bulk of the first wave).

    The key part of the presentation will come up on Youtube if you search for “Dene-Yensieian Workshop 2012, Edward Vajda”.

    I realize the above not directly on-topic as a response to OP, but it seemed to dovetail naturally.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    Vajda argues against the idea (which I believe is the received opinion) that the first wave of settlers in North America consisted of a single, small group of hardy survivors who barely made it out of the Arctic before stumbling into Eden.


    the genetics leans strongly against this. e.g. in this paper all 'first americans' from north to south america seem to be same distance from MA-1.

    but fascinating comment. this is one area i think that non-genetic fields can clarify and illuminate greatly.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." -Matthew 10:34 "There were giants in the earth in those days...when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were...
  • Interesting line: “cultural and social innovations such as the horse AND ISLAM”. What innovative features of Islam were you thinking of when writing this line?

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  • @Dmitry Pruss
    Yes, I anticipated your comment on relatively high population per sq km in the New Guinea Highlands (not island-wide but it is still unusually dense for their location and technology). "Granularity" means that the society is split between thousands of unfriendly tribes and villages, and the terrain is crisscrossed by mountain ridges, gorges, and jungle lands. What matters for a female-hoarder is not how many victims are per square mile, but how many of them are within a week's march. When normalized by the size of the area accessible within one season of a military campaign, New Guinea islands aren't female-rich at all.


    Re: Mathusian conditions and "something you might not now"... I'm not sure how familiar you're with this phenomenon of periodic conquests radiating from today's North China and Mongolia for thousands of years. I wouldn't wager that simple old-fashioned Malthusianism provides a complete explanation, but the repetitive, stereotypical nature of these outbursts is truly remarkable. Let me know if you need a primer on this phenomenon, and references - as I said, the core explanations will be open to speculation; all I wanted to show was that grain-producing hierarchies aren't the only possible explanation of Y-haplotype stardom, and that in fact different mechanisms have been well attested.

    “”grain-producing hierarchies aren’t the only possible explanation of Y-haplotype stardom”

    Doesn’t the Genghis Khan example require a grain-producing hierarchy – just not the one that did the conquering?

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  • @Razib Khan
    i know more chinese and central asian history than most people have forgotten. so what references are you talking about? i know a lot of roman history too. the differences are not as stark as people make them out to be from what i can tell (e.g., collapse of population in the balkan hinterlands and in the wake of the hunnic depredations of the 5th century vs. what happened in the north china plain after the collapse of the latter han).


    your verbal argument about PNG sounds persuasive. i wish i have time to run some simulations.

    Then your C Asia sources may be more systematic than mine :) My haphazard knowledge of migrations of warlike nomads in the region mostly comes from L. Gumilev who at the beginning of his career wrote a groundbreaking tome on VIth c. AD G

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  • @Razib Khan
    not male. but males manifest more violence (probably due to strength differences). re: bands, the issue is scale. i think male band-forming dynamics scale more easily than female coalition-forming (females relying more on inter-personal social intelligence, males on dumb-but-easy heuristics).

    Surprised you didn’t mention the big biological difference that sperm is cheap, eggs are expensive. Variance for male reproductive success is much higher (no female Genghis Khan), so it’s in their interest to take bigger risks.

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  • @Dmitry Pruss
    Yes, I anticipated your comment on relatively high population per sq km in the New Guinea Highlands (not island-wide but it is still unusually dense for their location and technology). "Granularity" means that the society is split between thousands of unfriendly tribes and villages, and the terrain is crisscrossed by mountain ridges, gorges, and jungle lands. What matters for a female-hoarder is not how many victims are per square mile, but how many of them are within a week's march. When normalized by the size of the area accessible within one season of a military campaign, New Guinea islands aren't female-rich at all.


    Re: Mathusian conditions and "something you might not now"... I'm not sure how familiar you're with this phenomenon of periodic conquests radiating from today's North China and Mongolia for thousands of years. I wouldn't wager that simple old-fashioned Malthusianism provides a complete explanation, but the repetitive, stereotypical nature of these outbursts is truly remarkable. Let me know if you need a primer on this phenomenon, and references - as I said, the core explanations will be open to speculation; all I wanted to show was that grain-producing hierarchies aren't the only possible explanation of Y-haplotype stardom, and that in fact different mechanisms have been well attested.

    i know more chinese and central asian history than most people have forgotten. so what references are you talking about? i know a lot of roman history too. the differences are not as stark as people make them out to be from what i can tell (e.g., collapse of population in the balkan hinterlands and in the wake of the hunnic depredations of the 5th century vs. what happened in the north china plain after the collapse of the latter han).

    your verbal argument about PNG sounds persuasive. i wish i have time to run some simulations.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry Pruss
    Then your C Asia sources may be more systematic than mine :) My haphazard knowledge of migrations of warlike nomads in the region mostly comes from L. Gumilev who at the beginning of his career wrote a groundbreaking tome on VIth c. AD G
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Razib Khan
    were very granular and not very dense (like in New Guinea)


    PNG highlands were/are quite dense last i checked. do you know something about ethnography that i don't?


    The heartland of Genghis suffered through periodic overpopulation episodes, and unleashed waves of conquerors on its neighbor, with an astounding regularity, every few hundred years (before Genghis and even after).

    malthusian conditions are a particularity of that part of the world and that time? what do you think accounts for r1a or r1b?

    Yes, I anticipated your comment on relatively high population per sq km in the New Guinea Highlands (not island-wide but it is still unusually dense for their location and technology). “Granularity” means that the society is split between thousands of unfriendly tribes and villages, and the terrain is crisscrossed by mountain ridges, gorges, and jungle lands. What matters for a female-hoarder is not how many victims are per square mile, but how many of them are within a week’s march. When normalized by the size of the area accessible within one season of a military campaign, New Guinea islands aren’t female-rich at all.

    Re: Mathusian conditions and “something you might not now”… I’m not sure how familiar you’re with this phenomenon of periodic conquests radiating from today’s North China and Mongolia for thousands of years. I wouldn’t wager that simple old-fashioned Malthusianism provides a complete explanation, but the repetitive, stereotypical nature of these outbursts is truly remarkable. Let me know if you need a primer on this phenomenon, and references – as I said, the core explanations will be open to speculation; all I wanted to show was that grain-producing hierarchies aren’t the only possible explanation of Y-haplotype stardom, and that in fact different mechanisms have been well attested.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    i know more chinese and central asian history than most people have forgotten. so what references are you talking about? i know a lot of roman history too. the differences are not as stark as people make them out to be from what i can tell (e.g., collapse of population in the balkan hinterlands and in the wake of the hunnic depredations of the 5th century vs. what happened in the north china plain after the collapse of the latter han).


    your verbal argument about PNG sounds persuasive. i wish i have time to run some simulations.

    , @MrJones
    ""grain-producing hierarchies aren't the only possible explanation of Y-haplotype stardom"

    Doesn't the Genghis Khan example require a grain-producing hierarchy - just not the one that did the conquering?

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • not male. but males manifest more violence (probably due to strength differences). re: bands, the issue is scale. i think male band-forming dynamics scale more easily than female coalition-forming (females relying more on inter-personal social intelligence, males on dumb-but-easy heuristics).

    Read More
    • Replies: @TGGP
    Surprised you didn't mention the big biological difference that sperm is cheap, eggs are expensive. Variance for male reproductive success is much higher (no female Genghis Khan), so it's in their interest to take bigger risks.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • @Dmitry Pruss
    Scythes-to-swords may not be the best metaphor when one of the examples is Genghis and his descendants who didn't plow. And the phenomena of androcyde and female-hoarding are relative common across species anyway, and it's been practiced in some habitats of our own species where the societies were very granular and not very dense (like in New Guinea). What might have changed their scale in the human species might not be an evolution of the trait per se, but rather increases in the density / accessibility of females.


    So I suspect that three star-like haplotype clusters of China AND the Genghiside cluster just attest to a habitat peculiarity in this corner of the world. The heartland of Genghis suffered through periodic overpopulation episodes, and unleashed waves of conquerors on its neighbor, with an astounding regularity, every few hundred years (before Genghis and even after). The earliest of these radiating conquests are attested in history in the middle of first millennium BC, but it's reasonable to hypothesize that the natural cycle of large-scale conquests has been going on for much longer. If some of these episodes happened to be more severe than the others, then it may not be surprising that we ended up with these start-like clusters of Y chromosomes today.

    were very granular and not very dense (like in New Guinea)

    PNG highlands were/are quite dense last i checked. do you know something about ethnography that i don’t?

    The heartland of Genghis suffered through periodic overpopulation episodes, and unleashed waves of conquerors on its neighbor, with an astounding regularity, every few hundred years (before Genghis and even after).

    malthusian conditions are a particularity of that part of the world and that time? what do you think accounts for r1a or r1b?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dmitry Pruss
    Yes, I anticipated your comment on relatively high population per sq km in the New Guinea Highlands (not island-wide but it is still unusually dense for their location and technology). "Granularity" means that the society is split between thousands of unfriendly tribes and villages, and the terrain is crisscrossed by mountain ridges, gorges, and jungle lands. What matters for a female-hoarder is not how many victims are per square mile, but how many of them are within a week's march. When normalized by the size of the area accessible within one season of a military campaign, New Guinea islands aren't female-rich at all.


    Re: Mathusian conditions and "something you might not now"... I'm not sure how familiar you're with this phenomenon of periodic conquests radiating from today's North China and Mongolia for thousands of years. I wouldn't wager that simple old-fashioned Malthusianism provides a complete explanation, but the repetitive, stereotypical nature of these outbursts is truly remarkable. Let me know if you need a primer on this phenomenon, and references - as I said, the core explanations will be open to speculation; all I wanted to show was that grain-producing hierarchies aren't the only possible explanation of Y-haplotype stardom, and that in fact different mechanisms have been well attested.

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • Scythes-to-swords may not be the best metaphor when one of the examples is Genghis and his descendants who didn’t plow. And the phenomena of androcyde and female-hoarding are relative common across species anyway, and it’s been practiced in some habitats of our own species where the societies were very granular and not very dense (like in New Guinea). What might have changed their scale in the human species might not be an evolution of the trait per se, but rather increases in the density / accessibility of females.

    So I suspect that three star-like haplotype clusters of China AND the Genghiside cluster just attest to a habitat peculiarity in this corner of the world. The heartland of Genghis suffered through periodic overpopulation episodes, and unleashed waves of conquerors on its neighbor, with an astounding regularity, every few hundred years (before Genghis and even after). The earliest of these radiating conquests are attested in history in the middle of first millennium BC, but it’s reasonable to hypothesize that the natural cycle of large-scale conquests has been going on for much longer. If some of these episodes happened to be more severe than the others, then it may not be surprising that we ended up with these start-like clusters of Y chromosomes today.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    were very granular and not very dense (like in New Guinea)


    PNG highlands were/are quite dense last i checked. do you know something about ethnography that i don't?


    The heartland of Genghis suffered through periodic overpopulation episodes, and unleashed waves of conquerors on its neighbor, with an astounding regularity, every few hundred years (before Genghis and even after).

    malthusian conditions are a particularity of that part of the world and that time? what do you think accounts for r1a or r1b?

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
  • I’ll give you this example about an ancestor of mine, Diego de Rojas, governor of Charcas. He came to the Americas en 1522 and married a local woman. His daughter (1/2 amerind) Mar

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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.

    Read More
    • 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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  • @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.

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    • 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
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  • @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.

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    • 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).

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  • @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.
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  • A month ago I posted Don't trust an archaeologist about genetics, don’t trust a geneticist about archaeology, in response to James Fallows at At 5% Neanderthal, You Are an Outlier. Fallows has now put up a follow up, The Neanderthal Defense Committee Swings Into Action, where he links to my response post. This prompted the...
  • I’m somewhat skeptical of your skepticism..
    Couldn’t archaic DNA contaminate archaic DNA?

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  • I am highly skeptical that our kindly archeologist has thought very much about the dreaded problem of contamination. It’s a problem is all he knows. Nick Patterson said it very clearly and convincingly, it’s a one way problem. We can easily contaminate archaic DNA but it doesn’t work the other way around. Mr Redacted needs to adapt and learn from those who know more than he does in areas he doesn’t know diddily squat about.

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  • #2, 3&4 – Too much chin and no occipital bun.

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  • How can anyone deny Neandertal admixture into the modern human gene pool?

    Heh. How about this Russian fellow?http://cache.deadspin.com/assets/images/11/2011/09/beastfromtheeast.jpg

    I hope we’ll get his full genome soon.

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  • How can anyone deny Neandertal admixture into the modern human gene pool?

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  • If I was able to, I would ask him what he considers to be the earliest firm evidence for humans in Australia.

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  • By now you have read that the Clovis people may have had contemporaries. In case you didn't know, until about ~10 years the "standard model" of the peopling of the Americas was that around ~13,000 years ago one single population crossed into the New World via Beringia, and rapidly swept north to south in ~1,000...
  • The problem with extended sojourns on Beringia is that it’s pretty hard to come up with evidence for or against it. I wouldn’t see Beringia as such as a separate landmass or an explanation in itself, but an extension of Siberia pre- peopling of North America and a unifying factor between these two areas until it sank. So, whatever happened on Beringia probably wasn’t confined on Beringia in my opinion.

    Clovis is based on artifacts, it’s not an ethnic, genetic or linguistic group. We can’t say for sure that there were two different, contemporary groups of “Clovis People” and “Paisley Cave People” based on the current evidence. There’s genetic evidence now that with strong likelihood can be connected to the Paisley Cave artifacts, but none to Clovis. Clovis is all about archeological material.

    It might be an off-shoot of the Paisley Cave cultural tradition. Perhaps they represent a totally different migration wave, perhaps the rather crazy Atlantic crossing theory is correct – who knows? But differences in making of artifacts don’t have to mean that the population or cultural landscape of North America in circa 13 000 years ago would have been truly heterogenous. All we know is that in one place of the Pacific coast people were making some of their artifacts differently than was being done by the makers of the Clovis.

    Based on what we now know, and considering that the attempts at connecting Clovis to Old World traditions are speculative at best and that the new artifacts from Paisley Cave do show strong connections to Siberian artifacts, I would think that the most likely explanation at this point would be that the Clovis just represents a succesful innovation by one local group of the Paisley Cave people, an innovation which then spread rapidly.

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  • Could you tell where you took the figure with the trees of populations and language families from?

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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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  • Synthetic map In the age of 500,000 SNP studies of genetic variation across dozens of populations obviously we're a bit beyond lists of ABO blood frequencies. There's no real way that a conventional human is going to be able to discern patterns of correlated allele frequency variations which point to between population genetic differences on...
  • It was fun in the old days, when our ancestors wandered, and REFLUXED, like billy-oh.

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  • Perhaps we should be looking for Noah’s log book.

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  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Al Poe, Maggie, World Amazing Things, 0001_xml, m and others. m said: Live not by visualization alone | Gene Expression: Synthetic map In the age of 500,000 SNP studies of genetic v… http://bit.ly/gxmGu8 [...]

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  • A new paper in The New Journal of Physics shows that a relatively simple mathematical model can explain the rate of expansion of agriculture across Europe, Anisotropic dispersion, space competition and the slowdown of the Neolithic transition: The paper is open access, so if you want more of this: Just click through above. Rather, I...
  • The Shape of the Neolithic Transition: Populations Under Space Competition

    http://linearpopulationmodel.blogspot.com/2010/12/shape-of-neolithic-transition.html

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  • [...] and, the provenance and character of the Sami speak to broader questions about the emergence of the modern European gene pool. More precisely questions about the Sami are relevant to the broader nature of the Finnic presence [...]

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  • Two other possibilities. Fishing is cold, dangerous and unpleasant work, especially in the long cold months of northern Europe. If land animals provided an equivalent # of calories or greater, the transition might be swift, a few generations for the animals to breed up to large numbers. Most livestock farmers enjoy caring for the animals.

    More lightheartedly, fish stink. Just about any culture with good land would make the switch just to escape the foul stench of cooking fish and rotting fish guts.

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  • Hello Bob,
    where do You live?
    I doubt whether there is a second coast like Dutch,
    German, Danish and east English coasts to compete in “shallowness”.
    Georg

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  • Where was the actual shoreline during this time. There may have been much more shallow and estuarine environments that would support large scale fishing.

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  • One has
    to include thoughts about the “know how” of the neolithic farmers.
    The first wave in Germany/France occupied light soils only,
    which the farmers could work with their wooden “ploughs”.
    The “technology” to make use of eg. marsh lands was developed
    in Frisia and arrived in Germany as late as the medieval times
    (brought in by settlers from Frisia).
    Another factor was the plants/animals the farmers had, and
    whether they were useful in the moist northern climate.
    Georg

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  • I’m looking at the five sizeable light blue blobs in Britain. Two of them are in the only two parts of the island with noticeable chinook/fohn winds i.e. North Wales and Moray. What can it signify?

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  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ron Simon, TimeTrekker, Archaeology, Michael Stryder, Geoffrey Dyson and others. Geoffrey Dyson said: The great northern culture war | Gene Expression: A new paper in The New Journal of Physics shows that a relativ… http://bit.ly/ejKDJ8 [...]

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  • biology too.

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  • Diffusion models are used all the time in economics (which is essentially what this is… Neolithic production behavior). So it’s not surprising they find a decent fit here.

    Very interesting! Thanks!

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  • When it comes to the synthesis of genetics and history we live an age of no definitive answers. L. L. Cavalli-Sforza's Great Human Diasporas would come in for a major rewrite at this point. One of the areas which has been roiled the most within the past ten years has been the origin and propagation...
  • [...] rather simple. Yet the expansion and retreat of various demes in post-Ice Age Europe seems to be far more complex than had previously been assumed, though I suspect part of the rationale for the original [...]

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  • Are European Jewish populations factored in anywhere here, or excluded?

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  • Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I am interested in the connection betrween the Prehistoric Peoples of Tunisia and near regions of Africa as they may have become the Basques, French, Sicilians, and perhaps the peoples of the North frigid areas (Norway).

    I am entertaining the concept that the names of ancient people may be a clue to modern names, such as the Basque name of Zamarripa, comming from the ancient city of Zama in North Africa where Hannibal suffered his final defeat at the hand of the Romans. Can this be researched using genotypes to arrive at a believable conclusion?

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  • Andrew Gelman is not a big fan of parsimony in models. All and sundry are invited to give a yea or nay here.

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