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Thread: The Paleolithic R1b Zombie rises again... at least according to the media

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    The Paleolithic R1b Zombie rises again... at least according to the media



    I saw two different articles which refer to the above:

    "Brit men descend from mammoth hunters, not farmers"

    Brit men descend from mammoth hunters, not farmers

    'Of course it mammoth, woman. Ate rest on way back'
    By Brid-Aine Parnell • Get more from this author

    Posted in Biology, 25th August 2011 11:58 GMT
    Free whitepaper – Watermelon metrics
    Today's British man could be descended from exciting, live-life-on-the-edge hunter-gatherers rather than migrating farmers as previously thought, according to a new gene study.

    Britons' slightly sexier past comes courtesy of scientists from the Universities of Oxford and Edinburgh, who examined the set of genes called R-M269, which is present in more than 100 million European men.

    Looking at how this set spread across Europe is key to understanding how the continent was populated and where the dispersal points were. A previous study had found the set spreading from east to west, which, coupled with other indicators, led to the conclusion that British men had likely descended from farmers migrating from around modern-day Turkey.

    The Oxford/Edinburgh study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society, did not find this pattern in its larger dataset.

    "Our work overturns the recent claims of European Y chromosomes being brought into the continent by farmers," Dr Cristian Capelli, the Oxford geneticist who led the research, said.

    If the farmers didn't bring the genes with them when they arrived, then modern Brits are likely the children of the hunting and gathering humans who survived the Ice Age by moving south on the continent and later returned to northern Europe around 40,000 years ago. Which, depending on your viewpoint, is a somewhat, um, cooler past.

    However, the debate is likely to continue as dating ancestry through genetics is a tough task, according to Dr Jim Wilson of the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Population Health Sciences, who co-authored the study.

    "Estimating a date at which an ancestral lineage originated is an interesting application of genetics, but unfortunately it is beset with difficulties and it is very difficult to provide good dates. Many people assume that the more genes the more accurate the dates, but this is not the case: some genetic markers are more suited to dating than others," he said. ®
    "DNA study deals blow to theory of European origins"

    DNA study deals blow to theory of European origins
    By Paul Rincon
    Science editor, BBC News website

    Did Palaeolithic hunters leave a genetic legacy in today's European males?
    Continue reading the main story
    Related Stories

    Farmers spawned most European men
    Migrants spread farming to Europe
    Ancient farmers were goat-herders
    A new study deals a blow to the idea that most European men are descended from farmers who migrated from the Near East 5,000-10,000 years ago.

    The findings challenge previous research showing that the genetic signature of the farmers displaced that of Europe's indigenous hunters.

    The latest research leans towards the idea that most of Europe's males trace a line of descent to stone-age hunters.

    But the authors say more work is needed to answer this question.

    The study, by an international team, is published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

    Continue reading the main story

    Start Quote

    I would say that we are putting the ball back in the middle of the field”

    Dr Cristian Capelli
    University of Oxford
    Archaeological finds show that modern humans first settled in Europe from about 40,000 years ago - during a time known as the Palaeolithic.

    These people survived an Ice Age some 20,000 years ago by retreating to relatively warm refuges in the south of the continent, before expanding into northern Europe again when the ice melted.

    But just a few thousand years after Europe had been resettled by these hunter-gatherers, the continent underwent momentous cultural change. Farmers spread westwards from the area that is now Turkey, bringing with them a new economy and way of life.

    The extent to which modern Europeans are descended from these early farmers versus the indigenous hunter-gatherers who settled the continent thousands of years previously is a matter of heated debate.

    The results vary depending on the genetic markers studied and are subject to differing interpretations.

    Family tree
    The latest study focused on the Y chromosome - a package of DNA which is passed down more or less unchanged from father to son.

    The Y chromosomes carried by people today can be classified into different types, or lineages, which - to some extent - reflect their geographical origins.

    More than 100 million European men carry a type called R-M269, so identifying when this genetic group spread out is vital to understanding the peopling of Europe.

    R-M269 is most common in western Europe, reaching frequencies of 90% or more in Spain, Ireland and Wales.


    The Neolithic was a time of momentous cultural change in Europe
    But while this type reaches its highest distribution on the Atlantic fringe, Patricia Balaresque and colleagues at the University of Leicester published a paper in 2010 showing that the genetic diversity of R-M269 increases as one moves east - reaching a peak in Anatolia (modern Turkey).

    Genetic diversity is used as a measure of age; lineages that have been around for a long time accumulate more diversity. So this principle can be used to estimate the age of a population.

    When the Leicester team estimated how old R-M269 was in different populations across Europe, they found the age ranges were more compatible with an expansion in Neolithic times (between 5,000 and 10,000 years ago).

    The team's conclusions received support from papers published in August 2010 and in June this year. But one study which appeared last year backed the idea of a more ancient, Palaeolithic origin for R-M269.

    Age estimates
    Now, a team including Cristian Capelli and George Busby at Oxford University have explored the question.

    Their results, based on a sample of more than 4,500 men from Europe and western Asia, showed no geographical trends in the diversity of R-M269. Such trends would be expected if the lineage had expanded from Anatolia with Neolithic farmers.

    Furthermore, they suggest that some of the markers on the Y chromosome are less reliable than others for estimating the ages of genetic lineages. On these grounds, they argue that current analytical tools are unsuitable for dating the expansion of R-M269.


    Studies of DNA from ancient remains could shed more light on European origins
    Indeed, Dr Capelli and his team say the problem extends to other studies of Y-chromosome lineages: dates based on the analysis of conventional DNA markers may have been "systematically underestimated", they write in Proceedings B.

    But Dr Capelli stressed that his study could not answer the question of when the ubiquitous R-M269 expanded in Europe, although his lab is carrying out more work on the subject.

    "At the moment it's not possible to claim anything about the age of this lineage," he told BBC News, "I would say that we are putting the ball back in the middle of the field."

    Co-author Dr Jim Wilson from the University of Edinburgh explained: "Estimating a date at which an ancestral lineage originated is an interesting application of genetics, but unfortunately it is beset with difficulties."

    The increasing frequency of R-M269 towards western Europe had long been seen by some researchers as an indication that Palaeolithic European genes survived in this region - alongside other clues.

    A more recent origin for R-M269 than the Neolithic is also possible. But researchers point out that after the advent of agriculture, populations in Europe exploded, meaning that it would have been more difficult for incoming migrants to displace local people.
    Granted, the case that R1b (at least in Western Europe) is not Neolithic is quite compelling, but where do people take the evidence from that it is purportedly Paleolithic?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    Granted, the case that R1b (at least in Western Europe) is not Neolithic is quite compelling, but where do people take the evidence from that it is purportedly Paleolithic?
    I think these articles are based on this new study: http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.o....1044.full.pdf

    I also think that study itself didn't give much of new answers, so I'm not sure how media articles could be so confident about this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shetop View Post
    I think these articles are based on this new study: http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.o....1044.full.pdf

    I also think that study itself didn't give much of new answers, so I'm not sure how media articles could be so confident about this.
    I agree. What I honestly don't understand is why everybody dismisses the possibility that R1b in Western Europe could be younger than Neolithic, despite (from current evidence that we have - ie overt absence from Neolithic sites, but present in Bronze Age sites) is the most plausible thing to suggest?

    (thanks for the link by the way)

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    Unsurprisingly, the media is misinterpreting the study. The study basically has two major points: (1) STR variances are poorer clocks than previously suspected, as the likelihood of future mutations changes based on previous mutations, so existing haplogroup age predictions based on STRs should have larger error margins and (2) R1b does not have a significant STR gradient across Europe suggesting dispersal during the Neolithic. The implication is we need to revisit ideas that R1b arrived and dispersed in Europe during the Neolithic. The media takes that as saying that it must have been during the Paleolithic, then! Of course, that's quite unlikely... even with the larger error margins, it's pretty much impossible to date European R1b to the Paleolithic. And what the lesser gradient of R1b suggests to me is a more sudden expansion from the East than we might otherwise have thought, and a smaller (less diverse) founder population. So a quick Bronze Age expansion is still very much in the question, as some here have thought. An early Paleolithic expansion from Iberia? Pretty much impossible still.

    Dienekes considers it thoughtfully.

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    About the Beaker culture that spread metallurgy to England:

    "They used the bow and arrow as well as copper daggers and spearheads. As they searched for gold and copper, they spread metallurgy into other parts of Europe. They eventually mixed with the Battle-Ax (Corded Ware) culture and spread from central Europe to eastern England."

    http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictiona...Beaker+culture

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    But what make you people think that R1b is not native to Europe? I believe that the 'back migration' into England occurred during this period. But it can still be native to Europe!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goga View Post
    But what make you people think that R1b is not native to Europe? I believe that the back migration into England occurred during this period.
    ...back-migration? What possible evidence is there that R1b existed before in England? The obvious refutation of R1b being native to Europe is SNP variance. You can start by reading Maciamo's summary here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkey View Post
    Unsurprisingly, the media is misinterpreting the study. The study basically has two major points: (1) STR variances are poorer clocks than previously suspected, as the likelihood of future mutations changes based on previous mutations, so existing haplogroup age predictions based on STRs should have larger error margins and (2) R1b does not have a significant STR gradient across Europe suggesting dispersal during the Neolithic. The implication is we need to revisit ideas that R1b arrived and dispersed in Europe during the Neolithic. The media takes that as saying that it must have been during the Paleolithic, then! Of course, that's quite unlikely... even with the larger error margins, it's pretty much impossible to date European R1b to the Paleolithic. And what the lesser gradient of R1b suggests to me is a more sudden expansion from the East than we might otherwise have thought, and a smaller (less diverse) founder population. So a quick Bronze Age expansion is still very much in the question, as some here have thought. An early Paleolithic expansion from Iberia? Pretty much impossible still.

    Dienekes considers it thoughtfully.
    Yes I absolutely agree on that, especially that the pattern we see indeed fits with a sudden expansion, which would support a Copper Age or Bronze Age origin. Regarding the misinterpretation by the media, one reason may be that the Paleolithic adherents did make a lot of publicity for their hypothesis. I also partially suspect that there may be an ideological/political component to this: people may be much more comfortable with the idea that they are for the greater part descended from the continent's aboriginals in the Paleolithic than to say that we are, for the greater part, of "immigration background". Now, I'm not saying that everybody who adheres to the Paleolithic hypothesis of R1b has an anti-immigrant stance, that would be stretching it, but the two views are certainly not mutually exclusive, especially in the press.

    Quote Originally Posted by Goga View Post
    But what make you people think that R1b is not native to Europe?
    The fact that all outgroups of R1b-M269 are found (virtually exclusively!) outside of Europe. R1b-M73 is mainly in Central Asia, and R1b-V88 is found in Africa.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkey View Post
    ...back-migration? What possible evidence is there that R1b existed before in England? The obvious refutation of R1b being native to Europe is SNP variance. You can start by reading Maciamo's summary here.
    High diversity of R-M269 in West Asia can may be explained by a suggestion that the multiply and different migration waves of the European R1b occurred in West Asia during a large span of time!

    Most people with R1b live in Europe!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goga View Post
    High diversity of R-M269 in West Asia can may be explained by a suggestion that the multiply and different migration waves of the European R1b occurred in West Asia during a large span of time!
    Wow, that would be really unlikely. Have you looked up how many outgroups there are outside Europe? The center of diversity isn't that close to Europe, as we would expect with a migration/extinction/back-migration pattern.

    To be clear, that pattern is observed, although rarely. I've hypothesized a migration/extinction/back-migration pattern for I2a-Din in the Carpathian Basin, for example. But I really don't see it for European R1b.

    Quote Originally Posted by Goga View Post
    Most people with R1b live in Europe!
    OK, so?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkey View Post
    OK, so?
    If some Atlantic-Europeans - doesn't even matter from which part of Europe - migrated into North Africa or West Asia, it's most likely that they carried R1b with them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goga View Post
    If some Atlantic-Europeans - doesn't even matter from which part of Europe - migrated into North Africa or West Asia, it's most likely that they carried R1b with them.
    No. If that was the case, we would, for instance, also find European autosomal and mitochondrial DNA in Africa and Central Asia. By the way, African R1b is not exactly "North African": R1b-V88 is very rare in North Africa, the highest concentrations are found in the Sahel zone, e.g. Chad and northern Nigeria.

    R1b-V88 is very interesting, of course, from the aspect of a migration from Eurasia back into (sub-saharan) Africa.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    No. If that was the case, we would, for instance, also find European autosomal and mitochondrial DNA in Africa and Central Asia. By the way, African R1b is not exactly "North African": R1b-V88 is very rare in North Africa, the largest concentrations are found in the Sahel zone, e.g. Chad and northern Nigeria.
    I mean R1b in North Africa which is NOT in Africa anymore. It's possible that some R1b folks from Europe migrated into North Africa and formed some kind of royal elites there.

    How do you explain that the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun was R1b?

    Also, maybe the Sumerians were R1b folks from Europe too. Because there is very much R1b in 'native' (non-Arabic) Semites in Iraq.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goga View Post
    I mean R1b in North Africa which is NOT in Africa anymore. It's possible that some R1b folks from Europe migrated into Africa and formed some kind of royal elites there.

    How do you explain that the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun was R1b?

    Also, maybe the Sumerians were R1b folks from Europe too. Because there is very much R1b in native Semites in Iraq.
    No offense, but you are making many assertations and assumptions based on lack of or outright incorrect knowledge. Why should the Sumerians have been from Europe, and why should they have been majorly R1b? Secondly, you are wrongly assuming that the Semitic languages are native to modern-day Iraq wheras it's very clear that they aren't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    No offense, but you are making many assertations and assumptions based on lack of or outright incorrect knowledge. Why should the Sumerians have been from Europe, and why should they have been majorly R1b? Secondly, you are wrongly assuming that the Semitic languages are native to modern-day Iraq wheras it's very clear that they aren't.
    I think that folks like Arameans, Assyrians etc. (who are descendants of ancient Akkadians) are somehow mixed with the Sumerians.There's very much R1b in them. But it's also possible that R1b is Hurrian and has nothing to do with the Sumerians at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taranis View Post
    No offense, but you are making many assertations and assumptions based on lack of or outright incorrect knowledge. Why should the Sumerians have been from Europe, and why should they have been majorly R1b? Secondly, you are wrongly assuming that the Semitic languages are native to modern-day Iraq wheras it's very clear that they aren't.
    Yes Semitic languagues are native to today Iraq - oldest writed Semitic is in Akkad - northern Iraq , oldo Sumerians were descendant of non-Semithic Ubaidians setled there around VII millenium BC , some scientist propose IE origins . Also Elam was most probably IE .

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    What else is interesting about R1b-V88 ( African-Chadian )-R1b1c is that hypothesis is that they have arived from Near East over Egypt , but there is not any of it there . But there is some R1b-V88 in Balkans ( 0,2% R1b-V88 and 12,9% R1b-M269 ) and Turkey ( 0,3% R1b-V88 and 5,5% R - M269 ), so could it be from there? R1b - V88 R1b had become of R1b1* - R1 - P25* in late Holocene 9200-5600 BP , and there is only 2 in Turkey( tested 328) , 3 in Italy ( tested 1173) , 1 in East Asis- strange ( tested 156).So eather R1b1 was made in Turkey or in Italy , atleast I understud data that way . R1b* = R1M343 is found only in Turkey -2 and in Jordan around Dead sea 20 of 45 tested . So R1b* most probably become in Jordan? There is olso some R1b1a1 = R1b -M 73 in Italy , oldo less than in Caucasus , Ural and Hazara nation , but Rome never conquered any of those nations. About mthDNA conected with African R1b-V88 it is mainly conected with Cushitic speacking nearby populations - so most probable is coming of group of males that maried with local womens.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goga View Post
    High diversity of R-M269 in West Asia can may be explained by a suggestion that the multiply and different migration waves of the European R1b occurred in West Asia during a large span of time!

    Most people with R1b live in Europe!
    This idea is almost impossible. If R1b really did occur in England than you would at least find some old R1* lineages. And it really doesent matter how strong a Haplogroup is in a part of the world. What matters is the diversity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan View Post
    This idea is almost impossible. If R1b really did occur in England than you would at least find some old R1* lineages. And it really doesent matter how strong a Haplogroup is in a part of the world. What matters is the diversity.
    Why R1* , you mean R1b* or even R1b1* ? Would it be posible that R1b1 lived in West Asia and southeast Europe ( Balkans and Italy ) during Neolithe ( and maybe even Paleolithe ) and than pushed west by newcoming E1b1b and J2 wave ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goga View Post
    I think that folks like Arameans, Assyrians etc. (who are descendants of ancient Akkadians) are somehow mixed with the Sumerians.There's very much R1b in them. But it's also possible that R1b is Hurrian and has nothing to do with the Sumerians at all.
    Arameans/Assyrians might have adopted lifestyle and mixed with Summerians, but this doesen´t mean that they are native to "Iraq". Semites were immigrants from southern Part of the Levant. The only natives in "Iraq" were Summerians and Elamites. Akkadians were immigrants.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bodin View Post
    Why R1* , you mean R1b* or even R1b1* ? Would it be posible that R1b1 lived in West Asia and southeast Europe ( Balkans and Italy ) during Neolithe ( and maybe even Paleolithe ) and than pushed west by newcoming E1b1b and J2 wave ?
    Goga assumes that the lineage R1b is native to West Europe. If this was true than you would at least find some old R1* lineages. Or how otherwise do you explain that R1b occured in Europe if there is no R1* lineage from which it could have developed?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan View Post
    Arameans/Assyrians might have adopted lifestyle and mixed with Summerians, but this doesen´t mean that they are native to "Iraq". Semites were immigrants from southern Part of the Levant. The only natives in "Iraq" were Summerians and Elamites. Akkadians were immigrants.
    Another aspect regarding the Semitic languages is that Akkadian is in many respects the greatest outlyer amongst the Semitic languages (akin to how the Anatolian languages such as Hittite are outlyers amongst Indo-European), and that Akkadian borrowed a decisive number of words from Sumerian, which are generally absent in the other branches of Semitic from what I know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan View Post
    Arameans/Assyrians might have adopted lifestyle and mixed with Summerians, but this doesn't mean that they are native to "Iraq". Semites were immigrants from southern Part of the Levant. The only natives in "Iraq" were Summerians and Elamites. Akkadians were immigrants.
    Assyrians ARE native to Iraq (not south Kurdistan).

    Yes Akkadians were immigrants, but ancient Arameans/Assyrians were not only descendants of the Akkadians but also of other native folks of South Mesopotamia. They were an admixture of different folks and their ethnicity was born in southern part of Mesopotamia. So their hybrid ethnicity (Assyrian) is native to Iraq (without South Kurdistan) and it does belong to Iraq, not to Arabia!

    Is there any link between the Sumerian language and Basque? Both Hurrian and Sumerian are ergative languages, like Basque. Btw, IE Kurdish language is ergative too.

    Sumerians called themselves 'black headed' folks. So they were not 'blond'. But I do really consider to think that IF they were R1b folks THEN they were from Europe. Btw, I don't think Sumerians were the same as the modern-day north Europeans. But it is also possible that Sumerians belonged to different haplogroups, maybe R1a from Yamna culture? That would mean that they were not from Atlantic Europe. And that ancient Assyrians were not Sumerian at all, because Assyrians have very little R1a!

    But the fact is that Assyrians have very much R1b in them and almost no R1a. Maybe that's bogus, but let say it's true. They can have this from 4 different sources: 1) from Armenians/Hurrians 2) from Hittites 3) from Sumerians 4) from neo-Babylonians (Kassites), but I think that Kassites were Iranic (R1a, R2a and I2a) folks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goga View Post
    Assyrians ARE native to Iraq (not south Kurdistan).

    Yes Akkadians were immigrants, but ancient Arameans/Assyrians were not only descendants of the Akkadians but also of other native folks of South Mesopotamia.
    No you dont understand. The Assyrians as Semites are not native. Their real origin is Akkadian no matter how mujch they were influenced or mixed into the real native populations. regarding to Assyrians as native is as right as regarding to Turks as a Turkic people native to Anatolia. Genetically todays Assyrians are native for sure. BUT their semitic heritage is not. To be precise the only natives of this Lands were Summerians, Elamites and their kurdified, assyrified descends.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan View Post
    No you dont understand. The Assyrians as Semites are not native. Their real origin is Akkadian no matter how mujch they were influenced or mixed into the real native populations. regarding to Assyrians as native is as right as regarding to Turks as a Turkic people native to Anatolia. Genetically todays Assyrians are native for sure. BUT their semitic heritage is not. To be precise the only natives of this Lands were Summerians, Elamites and their kurdified, assyrified descends.
    Ok. I do understand you, but I don't agree with you. We have different definitions of the term 'being native'! Most Turks are native to Turkey, Central Anatolia, although their LANGUAGE is not.

    Where do you think Assyrian R1b is from? From Armenians/Hurrians?

    I believe that Elamites were J1 and T folks...

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