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200px-Lascaux2A new article in Horizon, Ice-age Europeans roamed in small bands of fewer than 30, on brink of extinction (via Eurogenes), basically gives away the game in the headline. But please keep in mind my earlier post, as low effective population numbers may not accurately convey the actual census size over long periods of time. These results are not particularly surprising, as the ancient genomes we have from hunter-gatherers tend to indicate a very high level of inbreeding in comparison to modern populations. The main difference here is that it seems that they have more and more ancient genomes sampled from diverse locations to add confidence to the original conjecture:

Prof. Pinhasi’s team has found that the genomes sequenced from hunter-gatherers from Hungary and Switzerland between 14 000 to 7 500 years ago are very close to specimens from Denmark or Sweden from the same period.

These findings suggest that genetic diversity between inhabitants of most of western and central Europe after the ice age was very limited, indicating a major demographic bottleneck triggered by human isolation and extinction during the ice age.

The term “very close” is vague. I’m sure he has some quantitative measure in mind (e.g., identity by descent blocks). It is probably not coincidence that you see the same dynamic among Neandertals. Those from Europe are surprisingly similar to those from the Altai. Why the homogeneity? Probably on the huge broad northern expanse of hominin habitation metapopulation dynamics characterized by extinction and resettlement from survivor lineages was very common. There is circumstantial evidence from wolves that the same happened to them. Why? This might simply be a biogeographic tendency among Palearctic species during the Pleistocene. The Ice Age was tough, and the glaciers were capricious, and the warming could be ephemeral (see the Younger Dryas).

Of course I’m going to put European in quotes in the title. Europeans, like modern day Puerto Ricans, are trihybrid. They only emerged in their current form in the past ~5,000 years or so. The north-south gradient of increased heterozygosity in Southern Europe may then be a function not of serial founder effects from the expansion of the Pleistocene refugia, but the higher fraction of hunter-gatherer ancestry in Northern Europeans, who exhibited decrease genetic diversity due to the bottlenecks.

 
• Category: Science • Tags: Europe, Genetics 
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  1. Many remote settlements in Australia (numbering in the 100s) have been logged as having as few as 5 semi-permanent inhabitants. And that is by choice, by ‘connection’ to the land. Those groups are obviously not sustainable, but they object strongly if they are moved, high suicide rates, etc.

    So, nomadic bands of effective population size < 30 doesn't sound startlingly small to me. It sounds about right for HGs, or even on the high side. It depends how 'separated' they were, i.e. what their range was, and how frequently they came into contact with other bands, as to how close they were to extinction.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Helga Vierich
    I would not assume lack of contact or lack of fairly fluid exchange of members between bands. A hunter-gatherer “band” is ephemeral - it is essentially an assemblage of people who chose to go camping together for a while. Several weeks or months later, they abandon camp, and in fact various families may have already moved off to go join other relatives or friends at a pre-arranged rendezvous.

    The typical size of bands would be just about right (25-30) in this report, and that would be three to five families. Each band would be part of a much larger community. In most cases there would be a pattern of annual aggregation followed by dispersal, based on seasonal resource availability.

    In the Kalahari, I found that each such community was a dialect or language grouping. These communities consist of between 800 and 3000 people. Each of these communities was distributed over between 5,000 and 18,000 square miles. The ability to move between locations within this home range, so that band size could wax and wane with resource availability, is a typical forager risk averse strategy.

    In addition, there was a second strategy. Most adults were multi-lingual, and most had relatives or had formed friendships in the neighbouring communities. This reflects a history of diplomacy, some intermarriage, and exchanges of gifts and information among the different language communities. Individuals networks did not just consist of the people he might be camping with at any particular time, but encompassed over a hundred other people, some of which he might only see once or twice over the course of many years.

    I would also not be assuming that bands “exchanged women”. Most hunter-gatherers have a pattern of matri-local post marital residence, although I have seen cases where the newly wed couple were living with the bride’s parents, and then the whole lot of them walked a hundred miles over several days to go join the camp of the young husband’s grandparents, so that they might meet his bride. This would be one of these pre-arranged rendezvous I mentioned earlier. It so happened that in that particular case, the marriage was between families from different communities: the groom was G/wikwe and the bride was Kuakwe. (After several years of marriage, a couple would basically go camp with anyone they liked).

    What such inter-community ties do, is create a much larger range of potential areas of refuge, should drought or other environmental disaster befall the lands where one community lives, most of the people can disperse to neighbouring communities that are less badly affected. Thus, among mobile hunter-gatherers the effective linkages representing the best risk management strategy would comprise a network potentially spanning many hundreds of thousands of square miles.

    Now in Ice Age Europe, given the pulses of cold interspersed with warmer runs of years, I would such arrangements among communities occupying progressively more risky ranges closer to the retreating ice during warmer cycles. When the ice started advancing again after an interstadial, the communities could fall back, stepwise. southward, along with all the other fauna.
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  2. Let’s see the data, but the sizes they talk about are little suprising for me either. I was just reviewing the pop size for HG populations mentioned in some papers and for example, in Bramanti et al. 2009 they assumed an initial pop size of max 10k for all HG in Central Europe. About 300 groups of 30-40. Small groups with hundreds of km of area of foraging sound about normal, specially assuming that food resources were probably scarce back then.

    Now, the question remains. Is that being a the brinck of extinction?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    that's mtDNA though, right?

    the dominance of I and U5 is kind of extreme among european mesolithic HG remains though also.
    , @Twinkie

    Small groups with hundreds of km of area of foraging sound about normal, specially assuming that food resources were probably scarce back then.
     
    Yes, absolutely. Most "nomads" that modern people from advanced civilizations discuss are actually *semi* nomads. They have contact with civilized areas and lead mixed lifestyles with some agricultural product input. These semi-nomads also have defined territories through which they migrate seasonally. So these often pastoral semi-nomads can support considerably greater population density.

    Subsisting completely from nature without any agricultural/civilizational input (grains or tools) requires an enormous expanse of land without competitors, and can only support the tiniest of human bands (and I can speak from personal experience through survival training that, contrary to what you see in movies, it is extremely difficult to find food or hunt without tools in the wild especially in colder climates - survival training usually degenerates quickly into hunger training).

    Now, the question remains. Is that being a the brinck of extinction?
     
    My answer would be no. It's the law of nature to be hungry and near starvation, almost always. Otherwise most animals would be categorized as "on the brink of extinction."
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  3. @David Diez
    Let's see the data, but the sizes they talk about are little suprising for me either. I was just reviewing the pop size for HG populations mentioned in some papers and for example, in Bramanti et al. 2009 they assumed an initial pop size of max 10k for all HG in Central Europe. About 300 groups of 30-40. Small groups with hundreds of km of area of foraging sound about normal, specially assuming that food resources were probably scarce back then.

    Now, the question remains. Is that being a the brinck of extinction?

    that’s mtDNA though, right?

    the dominance of I and U5 is kind of extreme among european mesolithic HG remains though also.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  4. Yes, mtDNA. They used a sensible range of 10-5000 of effective female size.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  5. AG says:

    If these bands with less than 30 only reproduced among themselve without outside exchange, genetic meltdown would happen very often. You would have a lot of `extinct unique european’ which were no longer around.

    Traditional mongolian culture was often discribed as very promiscuous, which encourage their women sleeping with outsiders. There might be genetic interest in such behavior.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sandgroper
    Inuit similarly. In recent nomadic HGs, female exchange by various means between groups is the norm, not the exception. Bands of 20-30 with no regular contact or female exchange would fit the metapopulation model, with individual bands going extinct maybe quite frequently.

    No doubt extinction was a close event during the last glacial maximum, the total population in refugia low and diversity very small, but by 14,000 years ago, I doubt extinction was that close unless the number of bands was very small, with virtually no contact between bands. And I simply don't believe there were nomadic bands that size whose foraging range was the whole of Europe - that is frankly ridiculous.

    My mtDNA is U5. I read somewhere that, outside of the Sami, who are 50% U5, with a much lower figure for Basques and Berbers, the frequency of U5 among modern Europeans is about 5%. So it is rare, but not that rare. By the time of influx of Middle Eastern farmers 7,000 ya, the invaded population of U5 cannot have been that small.

    BTW, IC, do you know if there is a sizeable reference population for Manchu and whether they have been distinguished clearly genetically between Manchu and Korean? Without being rude or personal, how do you know you have Manchu ancestry - from genetic data or family genealogy? I have a personal reason for asking.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  6. @AG
    If these bands with less than 30 only reproduced among themselve without outside exchange, genetic meltdown would happen very often. You would have a lot of `extinct unique european' which were no longer around.

    Traditional mongolian culture was often discribed as very promiscuous, which encourage their women sleeping with outsiders. There might be genetic interest in such behavior.

    Inuit similarly. In recent nomadic HGs, female exchange by various means between groups is the norm, not the exception. Bands of 20-30 with no regular contact or female exchange would fit the metapopulation model, with individual bands going extinct maybe quite frequently.

    No doubt extinction was a close event during the last glacial maximum, the total population in refugia low and diversity very small, but by 14,000 years ago, I doubt extinction was that close unless the number of bands was very small, with virtually no contact between bands. And I simply don’t believe there were nomadic bands that size whose foraging range was the whole of Europe – that is frankly ridiculous.

    My mtDNA is U5. I read somewhere that, outside of the Sami, who are 50% U5, with a much lower figure for Basques and Berbers, the frequency of U5 among modern Europeans is about 5%. So it is rare, but not that rare. By the time of influx of Middle Eastern farmers 7,000 ya, the invaded population of U5 cannot have been that small.

    BTW, IC, do you know if there is a sizeable reference population for Manchu and whether they have been distinguished clearly genetically between Manchu and Korean? Without being rude or personal, how do you know you have Manchu ancestry – from genetic data or family genealogy? I have a personal reason for asking.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AG
    family genealogy. One of my grand-mother is manchu who looks just like Empress Dowager Cixi.

    慈禧太后

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

    , @Razib Khan
    My mtDNA is U5. I read somewhere that, outside of the Sami, who are 50% U5, with a much lower figure for Basques and Berbers, the frequency of U5 among modern Europeans is about 5%. So it is rare, but not that rare. By the time of influx of Middle Eastern farmers 7,000 ya, the invaded population of U5 cannot have been that small.

    i think one thing to keep in mind is that the european U5 might be due to early admixture between farmer/pastoralists and HG women. IOW, the U5 in england today might be overwhelmingly from an earlier admixture event in eastern or southern europe.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  7. @Sandgroper
    Many remote settlements in Australia (numbering in the 100s) have been logged as having as few as 5 semi-permanent inhabitants. And that is by choice, by 'connection' to the land. Those groups are obviously not sustainable, but they object strongly if they are moved, high suicide rates, etc.

    So, nomadic bands of effective population size < 30 doesn't sound startlingly small to me. It sounds about right for HGs, or even on the high side. It depends how 'separated' they were, i.e. what their range was, and how frequently they came into contact with other bands, as to how close they were to extinction.

    I would not assume lack of contact or lack of fairly fluid exchange of members between bands. A hunter-gatherer “band” is ephemeral – it is essentially an assemblage of people who chose to go camping together for a while. Several weeks or months later, they abandon camp, and in fact various families may have already moved off to go join other relatives or friends at a pre-arranged rendezvous.

    The typical size of bands would be just about right (25-30) in this report, and that would be three to five families. Each band would be part of a much larger community. In most cases there would be a pattern of annual aggregation followed by dispersal, based on seasonal resource availability.

    In the Kalahari, I found that each such community was a dialect or language grouping. These communities consist of between 800 and 3000 people. Each of these communities was distributed over between 5,000 and 18,000 square miles. The ability to move between locations within this home range, so that band size could wax and wane with resource availability, is a typical forager risk averse strategy.

    In addition, there was a second strategy. Most adults were multi-lingual, and most had relatives or had formed friendships in the neighbouring communities. This reflects a history of diplomacy, some intermarriage, and exchanges of gifts and information among the different language communities. Individuals networks did not just consist of the people he might be camping with at any particular time, but encompassed over a hundred other people, some of which he might only see once or twice over the course of many years.

    I would also not be assuming that bands “exchanged women”. Most hunter-gatherers have a pattern of matri-local post marital residence, although I have seen cases where the newly wed couple were living with the bride’s parents, and then the whole lot of them walked a hundred miles over several days to go join the camp of the young husband’s grandparents, so that they might meet his bride. This would be one of these pre-arranged rendezvous I mentioned earlier. It so happened that in that particular case, the marriage was between families from different communities: the groom was G/wikwe and the bride was Kuakwe. (After several years of marriage, a couple would basically go camp with anyone they liked).

    What such inter-community ties do, is create a much larger range of potential areas of refuge, should drought or other environmental disaster befall the lands where one community lives, most of the people can disperse to neighbouring communities that are less badly affected. Thus, among mobile hunter-gatherers the effective linkages representing the best risk management strategy would comprise a network potentially spanning many hundreds of thousands of square miles.

    Now in Ice Age Europe, given the pulses of cold interspersed with warmer runs of years, I would such arrangements among communities occupying progressively more risky ranges closer to the retreating ice during warmer cycles. When the ice started advancing again after an interstadial, the communities could fall back, stepwise. southward, along with all the other fauna.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sandgroper
    "I would not assume lack of contact" - Neither would I.
    "I would also not be assuming that bands “exchanged women” - I would. Not all HGs behave the same; in fact, HG practices appear to vary widely.

    But what the article is saying is: "This demographic model is based on new evidence that suggests populations were much smaller than is generally thought to be a stable size for healthy reproduction, usually around 500 people. Such small groupings may have led to reduced fitness and even extinctions."

    We have yet to see any data, but in other words, they are talking about bands of maybe 20-30 individuals making up a total population in Europe over that time span of something much smaller than 500. Even if they are talking about effective population size, that makes for how many bands? Daviski's guess was 30, so total population 600 to 900 people. In an area the size they are talking about, that makes frequent contact pretty dicey.

    I'm not convinced - it sounds verging on hyperbole to me. I want to see some data before I am willing to believe what Pinhasi is saying. His statement that one band might range over the whole of Europe is obviously a grossly unrealistic complete guess, so I am regarding him with extreme caution until demonstrated otherwise.
    , @Razib Khan
    "Most hunter-gatherers"

    the key question i always have about "most hunter-gatherers" is how biased is our view of what is modal for HG people when the ones we have awareness of have long lived in coexistence with groups of ag around them, or, are remnants in relatively marginal habitat. e.g., might it not be plausible that sedentary HG groups exploiting marine niches might have had relatively dense and complex societies, such as the pacific NW natives?
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  8. @David Diez
    Let's see the data, but the sizes they talk about are little suprising for me either. I was just reviewing the pop size for HG populations mentioned in some papers and for example, in Bramanti et al. 2009 they assumed an initial pop size of max 10k for all HG in Central Europe. About 300 groups of 30-40. Small groups with hundreds of km of area of foraging sound about normal, specially assuming that food resources were probably scarce back then.

    Now, the question remains. Is that being a the brinck of extinction?

    Small groups with hundreds of km of area of foraging sound about normal, specially assuming that food resources were probably scarce back then.

    Yes, absolutely. Most “nomads” that modern people from advanced civilizations discuss are actually *semi* nomads. They have contact with civilized areas and lead mixed lifestyles with some agricultural product input. These semi-nomads also have defined territories through which they migrate seasonally. So these often pastoral semi-nomads can support considerably greater population density.

    Subsisting completely from nature without any agricultural/civilizational input (grains or tools) requires an enormous expanse of land without competitors, and can only support the tiniest of human bands (and I can speak from personal experience through survival training that, contrary to what you see in movies, it is extremely difficult to find food or hunt without tools in the wild especially in colder climates – survival training usually degenerates quickly into hunger training).

    Now, the question remains. Is that being a the brinck of extinction?

    My answer would be no. It’s the law of nature to be hungry and near starvation, almost always. Otherwise most animals would be categorized as “on the brink of extinction.”

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  9. @Helga Vierich
    I would not assume lack of contact or lack of fairly fluid exchange of members between bands. A hunter-gatherer “band” is ephemeral - it is essentially an assemblage of people who chose to go camping together for a while. Several weeks or months later, they abandon camp, and in fact various families may have already moved off to go join other relatives or friends at a pre-arranged rendezvous.

    The typical size of bands would be just about right (25-30) in this report, and that would be three to five families. Each band would be part of a much larger community. In most cases there would be a pattern of annual aggregation followed by dispersal, based on seasonal resource availability.

    In the Kalahari, I found that each such community was a dialect or language grouping. These communities consist of between 800 and 3000 people. Each of these communities was distributed over between 5,000 and 18,000 square miles. The ability to move between locations within this home range, so that band size could wax and wane with resource availability, is a typical forager risk averse strategy.

    In addition, there was a second strategy. Most adults were multi-lingual, and most had relatives or had formed friendships in the neighbouring communities. This reflects a history of diplomacy, some intermarriage, and exchanges of gifts and information among the different language communities. Individuals networks did not just consist of the people he might be camping with at any particular time, but encompassed over a hundred other people, some of which he might only see once or twice over the course of many years.

    I would also not be assuming that bands “exchanged women”. Most hunter-gatherers have a pattern of matri-local post marital residence, although I have seen cases where the newly wed couple were living with the bride’s parents, and then the whole lot of them walked a hundred miles over several days to go join the camp of the young husband’s grandparents, so that they might meet his bride. This would be one of these pre-arranged rendezvous I mentioned earlier. It so happened that in that particular case, the marriage was between families from different communities: the groom was G/wikwe and the bride was Kuakwe. (After several years of marriage, a couple would basically go camp with anyone they liked).

    What such inter-community ties do, is create a much larger range of potential areas of refuge, should drought or other environmental disaster befall the lands where one community lives, most of the people can disperse to neighbouring communities that are less badly affected. Thus, among mobile hunter-gatherers the effective linkages representing the best risk management strategy would comprise a network potentially spanning many hundreds of thousands of square miles.

    Now in Ice Age Europe, given the pulses of cold interspersed with warmer runs of years, I would such arrangements among communities occupying progressively more risky ranges closer to the retreating ice during warmer cycles. When the ice started advancing again after an interstadial, the communities could fall back, stepwise. southward, along with all the other fauna.

    “I would not assume lack of contact” – Neither would I.
    “I would also not be assuming that bands “exchanged women” – I would. Not all HGs behave the same; in fact, HG practices appear to vary widely.

    But what the article is saying is: “This demographic model is based on new evidence that suggests populations were much smaller than is generally thought to be a stable size for healthy reproduction, usually around 500 people. Such small groupings may have led to reduced fitness and even extinctions.”

    We have yet to see any data, but in other words, they are talking about bands of maybe 20-30 individuals making up a total population in Europe over that time span of something much smaller than 500. Even if they are talking about effective population size, that makes for how many bands? Daviski’s guess was 30, so total population 600 to 900 people. In an area the size they are talking about, that makes frequent contact pretty dicey.

    I’m not convinced – it sounds verging on hyperbole to me. I want to see some data before I am willing to believe what Pinhasi is saying. His statement that one band might range over the whole of Europe is obviously a grossly unrealistic complete guess, so I am regarding him with extreme caution until demonstrated otherwise.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Helga Vierich
    Even among inuit, which may be a suitable model for this particular population under discussion, there was a lot of variation - some marriages were arranged between the parents of the young couple, and where they lived after marrying would also vary, but the common pattern was for the man to move to the camp of his bride at least until their first child was born. This was common among Inuit where were still traditional hunter-gatherers on Baffin Island, for example. The main thing about hunter-gatherer marriage arrangements was their flexibility, the relatively high rate of divorce, especially in the form of a series of trial marriages during young adulthood, and the flexibility of living arrangements after a couple had become independent on either set of parents. See for example this book, which is based on over a decade of research: http://books.google.ca/books?id=8M8aihnBACwC&dq=inuit+infanticide&source=gbs_navlinks_s
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  10. @Sandgroper
    Inuit similarly. In recent nomadic HGs, female exchange by various means between groups is the norm, not the exception. Bands of 20-30 with no regular contact or female exchange would fit the metapopulation model, with individual bands going extinct maybe quite frequently.

    No doubt extinction was a close event during the last glacial maximum, the total population in refugia low and diversity very small, but by 14,000 years ago, I doubt extinction was that close unless the number of bands was very small, with virtually no contact between bands. And I simply don't believe there were nomadic bands that size whose foraging range was the whole of Europe - that is frankly ridiculous.

    My mtDNA is U5. I read somewhere that, outside of the Sami, who are 50% U5, with a much lower figure for Basques and Berbers, the frequency of U5 among modern Europeans is about 5%. So it is rare, but not that rare. By the time of influx of Middle Eastern farmers 7,000 ya, the invaded population of U5 cannot have been that small.

    BTW, IC, do you know if there is a sizeable reference population for Manchu and whether they have been distinguished clearly genetically between Manchu and Korean? Without being rude or personal, how do you know you have Manchu ancestry - from genetic data or family genealogy? I have a personal reason for asking.

    family genealogy. One of my grand-mother is manchu who looks just like Empress Dowager Cixi.

    慈禧太后

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

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sandgroper
    Thanks.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  11. @AG
    family genealogy. One of my grand-mother is manchu who looks just like Empress Dowager Cixi.

    慈禧太后

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

    Thanks.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  12. @Sandgroper
    "I would not assume lack of contact" - Neither would I.
    "I would also not be assuming that bands “exchanged women” - I would. Not all HGs behave the same; in fact, HG practices appear to vary widely.

    But what the article is saying is: "This demographic model is based on new evidence that suggests populations were much smaller than is generally thought to be a stable size for healthy reproduction, usually around 500 people. Such small groupings may have led to reduced fitness and even extinctions."

    We have yet to see any data, but in other words, they are talking about bands of maybe 20-30 individuals making up a total population in Europe over that time span of something much smaller than 500. Even if they are talking about effective population size, that makes for how many bands? Daviski's guess was 30, so total population 600 to 900 people. In an area the size they are talking about, that makes frequent contact pretty dicey.

    I'm not convinced - it sounds verging on hyperbole to me. I want to see some data before I am willing to believe what Pinhasi is saying. His statement that one band might range over the whole of Europe is obviously a grossly unrealistic complete guess, so I am regarding him with extreme caution until demonstrated otherwise.

    Even among inuit, which may be a suitable model for this particular population under discussion, there was a lot of variation – some marriages were arranged between the parents of the young couple, and where they lived after marrying would also vary, but the common pattern was for the man to move to the camp of his bride at least until their first child was born. This was common among Inuit where were still traditional hunter-gatherers on Baffin Island, for example. The main thing about hunter-gatherer marriage arrangements was their flexibility, the relatively high rate of divorce, especially in the form of a series of trial marriages during young adulthood, and the flexibility of living arrangements after a couple had become independent on either set of parents. See for example this book, which is based on over a decade of research: http://books.google.ca/books?id=8M8aihnBACwC&dq=inuit+infanticide&source=gbs_navlinks_s

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  13. @Sandgroper
    Inuit similarly. In recent nomadic HGs, female exchange by various means between groups is the norm, not the exception. Bands of 20-30 with no regular contact or female exchange would fit the metapopulation model, with individual bands going extinct maybe quite frequently.

    No doubt extinction was a close event during the last glacial maximum, the total population in refugia low and diversity very small, but by 14,000 years ago, I doubt extinction was that close unless the number of bands was very small, with virtually no contact between bands. And I simply don't believe there were nomadic bands that size whose foraging range was the whole of Europe - that is frankly ridiculous.

    My mtDNA is U5. I read somewhere that, outside of the Sami, who are 50% U5, with a much lower figure for Basques and Berbers, the frequency of U5 among modern Europeans is about 5%. So it is rare, but not that rare. By the time of influx of Middle Eastern farmers 7,000 ya, the invaded population of U5 cannot have been that small.

    BTW, IC, do you know if there is a sizeable reference population for Manchu and whether they have been distinguished clearly genetically between Manchu and Korean? Without being rude or personal, how do you know you have Manchu ancestry - from genetic data or family genealogy? I have a personal reason for asking.

    My mtDNA is U5. I read somewhere that, outside of the Sami, who are 50% U5, with a much lower figure for Basques and Berbers, the frequency of U5 among modern Europeans is about 5%. So it is rare, but not that rare. By the time of influx of Middle Eastern farmers 7,000 ya, the invaded population of U5 cannot have been that small.

    i think one thing to keep in mind is that the european U5 might be due to early admixture between farmer/pastoralists and HG women. IOW, the U5 in england today might be overwhelmingly from an earlier admixture event in eastern or southern europe.

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  14. @Helga Vierich
    I would not assume lack of contact or lack of fairly fluid exchange of members between bands. A hunter-gatherer “band” is ephemeral - it is essentially an assemblage of people who chose to go camping together for a while. Several weeks or months later, they abandon camp, and in fact various families may have already moved off to go join other relatives or friends at a pre-arranged rendezvous.

    The typical size of bands would be just about right (25-30) in this report, and that would be three to five families. Each band would be part of a much larger community. In most cases there would be a pattern of annual aggregation followed by dispersal, based on seasonal resource availability.

    In the Kalahari, I found that each such community was a dialect or language grouping. These communities consist of between 800 and 3000 people. Each of these communities was distributed over between 5,000 and 18,000 square miles. The ability to move between locations within this home range, so that band size could wax and wane with resource availability, is a typical forager risk averse strategy.

    In addition, there was a second strategy. Most adults were multi-lingual, and most had relatives or had formed friendships in the neighbouring communities. This reflects a history of diplomacy, some intermarriage, and exchanges of gifts and information among the different language communities. Individuals networks did not just consist of the people he might be camping with at any particular time, but encompassed over a hundred other people, some of which he might only see once or twice over the course of many years.

    I would also not be assuming that bands “exchanged women”. Most hunter-gatherers have a pattern of matri-local post marital residence, although I have seen cases where the newly wed couple were living with the bride’s parents, and then the whole lot of them walked a hundred miles over several days to go join the camp of the young husband’s grandparents, so that they might meet his bride. This would be one of these pre-arranged rendezvous I mentioned earlier. It so happened that in that particular case, the marriage was between families from different communities: the groom was G/wikwe and the bride was Kuakwe. (After several years of marriage, a couple would basically go camp with anyone they liked).

    What such inter-community ties do, is create a much larger range of potential areas of refuge, should drought or other environmental disaster befall the lands where one community lives, most of the people can disperse to neighbouring communities that are less badly affected. Thus, among mobile hunter-gatherers the effective linkages representing the best risk management strategy would comprise a network potentially spanning many hundreds of thousands of square miles.

    Now in Ice Age Europe, given the pulses of cold interspersed with warmer runs of years, I would such arrangements among communities occupying progressively more risky ranges closer to the retreating ice during warmer cycles. When the ice started advancing again after an interstadial, the communities could fall back, stepwise. southward, along with all the other fauna.

    “Most hunter-gatherers”

    the key question i always have about “most hunter-gatherers” is how biased is our view of what is modal for HG people when the ones we have awareness of have long lived in coexistence with groups of ag around them, or, are remnants in relatively marginal habitat. e.g., might it not be plausible that sedentary HG groups exploiting marine niches might have had relatively dense and complex societies, such as the pacific NW natives?

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  15. re: effective population. it may be that the huge swath of europe was resettled by a group which diminished to the size of a few hundred. the effec. pop bottleneck would be even lower. even if the pop grew back up, the long term effective pop would be closer to this low bound.

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