Sunday, December 14, 2014

Quick Anthropology Hits


* Moroccan Berber men are overwhelmingly Y-DNA E1b1b1b-M81 and come from three main subhaplogroups within it, some more common than others. This Y-DNA haplogroup is rare outside Berbers and indicates a likely common and fairly recent origin for the Berber people, at least on the paternal line. This sheds light on the ongoing mystery of the exact relationship of the Berber languages to the other Afro-Asiatic languages and the ethnogenesis of the Berber people.

* Stripped of back migrating Eurasian DNA, the genetic diversity of Sub-Saharan Africa between populations is considerably less diverse than often assumed. African genetic diversity has more to do with its within population genetic diversity than it between population genetic diversity. Put another way, the "Black" component of Sub-Saharan Africans (as opposed to the Khoisan/Pygmy components) is fairly homogeneous across the continent. Of course, some of that is due to the relatively recent Bantu expansion.


* The raw Y-DNA data from the Caucasus reported here, seems to support a South of the "continental divide" in the Caucasus origin for Y-DNA R1b in Europe, probably sometime after Y-DNA G appeared there in a first farmer wave. The genetic evidence suggests that Southern Caucasian languages (like Kartevelian) might be a better place to look for links to the Vasconic and Minoan languages, than the North Caucasian languages.

* The lack of a proto-Indo-European word for tiger, a species that was present in all of these regions at the time, suggests a North of the Caucasus origin for Indo-European languages. This is also a death knell for an Out of India theory of PIE origins that would argue that Indo-European was a remnant of some dialect of the Harappan trade empire spoken at its fringes (perhaps in the BMAC area of Central Asia), since Harappan languages would have had a common word for Tiger. The strongest argument for Out of India had been the lack of any apparent substrate language in Rig Vedic Sanskrit.

* Bell Beaker blogger makes an intriguing case for a connection between the Indo-European words for witches and the possibility that old wise women may have been involved in brewing beer.

* Bell Beaker blogger has reviewed some recent research on Y-DNA R-1b (here and here) as well as mtDNA H. I still don't buy his North African Bell Beaker origins story, but the data and analysis are still useful. Eurogenes also speculates on R1b origins.

* A new Y-DNA tree shows how recent and extreme the expansions of R1b and R1a were compared to other Y-DNA haplogroups.

* New carbon dating data confounds the question of which archaeological culture was the source of the kurgan burial practice that is a litmus test for Indo-European affiliation in the leading theory of Indo-European origins. Yamnaya and Maykop kurgans now appear to have begun and evolved contemporaneously.

* Ancient DNA and DNA from his modern descedants has revealed were two instances of "false paternity" between King Richard III of England (whose bones were recently unearthed and confirmed in multiple ways) and his purported modern relatives. One was recent and distinguished one man who should have had the same Y-DNA type from the other modern relatives. The other was further back in history and suggests than none of the modern men who purport to come from the same paternal line as Richard III actually do, although it is impossible to tell just when the "false paternity" event took place.

* I discuss the outlier R1b hotspot in the Northern Ural Mountains in a comment at this blog about the Bashkirs. A neighboring, linguistically Uralic and not R1b rich people called the Udmurts are also notable outliers for their high frequency of red hair.

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