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Thread: Ötzi-mania

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    Post Ötzi-mania



    The mummified body of Similaun Man, more commonly known as Ötzi the Iceman, was discovered exactly 20 years ago (the anniversary is on 19th September). Yet never has there been more interest in this potential ancestor of ours than in the last few months, in anticipation of the results of his genome.

    I heard only yesterday (from my wife, as I don't follow the celebrity gossips) that Brad Pitt had a tattoo of Ötzi on his left forearm. Rumour has it that it is Angelina Jolie who wanted him to have it and that she draw it herself. It means that the famous couple is also following news about Ötzi. Was it her role as Lara croft that got Jolie interested in archaeology or was it a prior interest that made her take the role ? That much I don't know. But it certainly makes archaeology and ancient DNA look a bit more glamorous and trendy.

    Another well-known public figure that caught an interest in our Copper Age mummy is Bill Bryson, one of my favourite authors. In his newly released book At Home, he dedicated six full pages (first part of chapter 17, pp. 527-532 in my edition) to Ötzi the Iceman. His description of his possessions is the most interesting and detailed I have read so far. Here is an excerpt :

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Bryson, At Home
    Ötzi had a lot of stuff - shoes, clothing; two birchbark canisters, sheath, axe, bowstave, quiver and arrows, miscellaneous small tools, some berries, a piece of ibex meat and two spherical lumps of birch fungus, each about the size of a large walnut and carefully threaded with sinew. One of the canisters had contained glowing embers wrapped in maple leaves, for starting fires. Such an assemblage of personal effects was unique. Some of the items were, as it were, really unique in that they had never been imagined, much less seen. The birch fungus was a particular mystery because it was obviously treasured, and yet birch fungus is not known to be good for anything.
    His equipment employed eighteen different types of wood - a remarkable variety. The most surprising of all his tools was the axe. It was copper-bladed and of a type known as a Remedello axe, after a site in Italy where they were first found. But Ötzi's axe was hundreds of years older than the oldest Remedello axe. 'It was', in the words of one observer, 'as if the tomb of a medieval warrior had yielded a modern rifle'. The axe changed the timeframe for the copper age in Europe by no less than a thousand years.
    But the real revelation and excitement were the clothes. Before Ötzi we had no idea - or, to be more precise, nothing but ideas - of how stone age people dressed. Such materials as survived existed only as fragments. Here was a complete outfit and it was full of surprises. His clothes were made from the skins and furs of an impressive range of animals - red deer, bear, chamois, goat and cattle. He also had with him a woven grass rectangle that was three feet long. This might have been a kind of rain cape, but nothing like it had ever been seen or imagined.
    The description continues. The part about the shoes is especially interesting, but you will have to buy the book, as I can't just copy the whole six pages. It's well worth it anyway - the best book I have read this year.

    The important elements in the description is that Ötzi was indubitably both a hunter and a herder (of goat and cattle). He didn't really come from the Remedello culture in North Italy as he was a member of the Danubian metallurgists who migrated to North Italy, bringing a new Copper Age culture with them.

    Ötzi had an arrowhead buried in his shoulder and had the blood of four other people on his clothes. There is a good chance that he was killed in a skirmish. Bill Bryson wonders what he was doing at such high altitude (over 3000 metres) in the first place, and how comes that none of his valued possessions (including his copper axe) were not stolen by his aggressors ?

    My hypothesis is that Ötzi grew up on the other side of the Alps, and when he crossed them (probably not alone, but with a whole clan on the move), locals attacked the newcomers to protect their territory. Ötzi probably didn't die directly from the arrow, but more likely of exhaustion or from an infected wound, as he was retreating into the mountains. He probably died alone, which explains why nobody (friend or foe) took any of his possessions and why he wasn't properly buried.

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    Incredible, you have got a very rich imagination!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    The mummified body of Similaun Man, more commonly known as Ötzi the Iceman, was discovered exactly 20 years ago (the anniversary is on 19th September). Yet never has there been more interest in this potential ancestor of ours than in the last few months, in anticipation of the results of his genome.

    I heard only yesterday (from my wife, as I don't follow the celebrity gossips) that Brad Pitt had a tattoo of Ötzi on his left forearm. Rumour has it that it is Angelina Jolie who wanted him to have it and that she draw it herself. It means that the famous couple is also following news about Ötzi. Was it her role as Lara croft that got Jolie interested in archaeology or was it a prior interest that made her take the role ? That much I don't know. But it certainly makes archaeology and ancient DNA look a bit more glamorous and trendy.

    Another well-known public figure that caught an interest in our Copper Age mummy is Bill Bryson, one of my favourite authors. In his newly released book At Home, he dedicated six full pages (first part of chapter 17, pp. 527-532 in my edition) to Ötzi the Iceman. His description of his possessions is the most interesting and detailed I have read so far. Here is an excerpt :



    The description continues. The part about the shoes is especially interesting, but you will have to buy the book, as I can't just copy the whole six pages. It's well worth it anyway - the best book I have read this year.

    The important elements in the description is that Ötzi was indubitably both a hunter and a herder (of goat and cattle). He didn't really come from the Remedello culture in North Italy as he was a member of the Danubian metallurgists who migrated to North Italy, bringing a new Copper Age culture with them.

    Ötzi had an arrowhead buried in his shoulder and had the blood of four other people on his clothes. There is a good chance that he was killed in a skirmish. Bill Bryson wonders what he was doing at such high altitude (over 3000 metres) in the first place, and how comes that none of his valued possessions (including his copper axe) were not stolen by his aggressors ?

    My hypothesis is that Ötzi grew up on the other side of the Alps, and when he crossed them (probably not alone, but with a whole clan on the move), locals attacked the newcomers to protect their territory. Ötzi probably didn't die directly from the arrow, but more likely of exhaustion or from an infected wound, as he was retreating into the mountains. He probably died alone, which explains why nobody (friend or foe) took any of his possessions and why he wasn't properly buried.
    Would it be posible to geneticaly test , traces of blood on Otzies clotes ( 4other persons)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bodin View Post
    Would it be posible to geneticaly test , traces of blood on Otzies clotes ( 4other persons)?
    I also wondered about that. I suppose that if they were able to determine that the blood belonged to four other individuals, it means that enough organic matter has survived to analyse, and therefore that there is still DNA. However red blood cells do not have any nucleus and therefore do not contain DNA (not even mtDNA which lies outside the nucleus). We could just hope that there are white blood cells or other cells that survived. This would be a great opportunity to get the genome of four more Copper Age or Neolithic individuals, probably from another ethnicity and culture than Ötzi.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    We could just hope that there are white blood cells or other cells that survived. This would be a great opportunity to get the genome of four more Copper Age or Neolithic individuals, probably from another ethnicity and culture than Ötzi.
    Wow, would be very interesting. Fortunately the EURAC-Institute in Bozen (South Tyrol capital) is active both in Ötzi-research and local people DNA-Research.
    @Maciamo: Did you have Y-DNA-Raw-Data from some EURAC-involved publications for your Y-DNA-Maps?
    For example: Pichler et al. 2006 (DNA South Tyrol, 277 samples, comparison to others), Pichler et al. 2010 (DNA Hutterites, about 75 male samples and comparison to others).
    These modern samples are certainly helpful in tracking ancient Alps-DNA, escpecially for old Rhaetic/Ladin isolates and maybe some link to Ötzi. I was not able to find a raw-data-source.


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    Quote Originally Posted by MarTyro View Post
    @Maciamo: Did you have Y-DNA-Raw-Data from some EURAC-involved publications for your Y-DNA-Maps?
    For example: Pichler et al. 2006 (DNA South Tyrol, 277 samples, comparison to others), Pichler et al. 2010 (DNA Hutterites, about 75 male samples and comparison to others).
    These modern samples are certainly helpful in tracking ancient Alps-DNA, escpecially for old Rhaetic/Ladin isolates and maybe some link to Ötzi. I was not able to find a raw-data-source.
    No I didn't have the data from these studies. I checked your links, but couldn't find any clear haplogroup frequencies sorted by haplogroup.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    No I didn't have the data from these studies. I checked your links, but couldn't find any clear haplogroup frequencies sorted by haplogroup.
    Yeah I know, the 2006 link misses all tables/images and the other has also no full haplogroup tables. I was hoping only, that there exist other sources/publications for this data.
    Beside that, here is a link to the Egarter interview on Youtube with english subtitles confirming Ötzis Y-Haplogroup subclade as G2a4


    Last edited by MarTyro; 15-09-11 at 01:43. Reason: image

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarTyro View Post
    Beside that, here is a link to the Egarter interview on Youtube with english subtitles confirming Ötzis Y-Haplogroup subclade as G2a4
    Awesome find! I assume that he really means G-L91 and isn't using some other nomenclature, especially since he says that it is rare nowadays, which is true of G-L91.

    Here are some modern G2a4-L91 locations and surnames from the FTDNA Project:

    Aboulhamid of Morocco
    Alaoui of Morocco
    Allen (England?)
    Bakhtiari of Iran
    Camlica (?)
    Creamer of England
    Giddens of England
    Heubach (Germany?)
    Klein of German Alsace
    Kraus of Thüngen, Germany
    Maranas of Greece
    Perez of Tunisia
    Rea of Ireland
    Ricchiazzi of Italy
    Roukens of the Netherlands
    Savioli of Italy
    Whitehouse (England?)

    Obviously a sample bias that greatly over-exaggerates England and maybe also Germany, and under-samples non-Europeans, but otherwise we see a roughly expected pattern.

    (Again, I am waiting on the official release to declare winners on my earlier poll, but I'm only going to count as winners those who voted before this came out.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkey View Post
    Here are some modern G2a4-L91 locations and surnames from the FTDNA Project:
    Heubach (Germany?)
    Klein of German Alsace
    Kraus of Thüngen, Germany
    Ricchiazzi of Italy
    Roukens of the Netherlands
    Savioli of Italy

    Obviously a sample bias that greatly over-exaggerates England and maybe also Germany, and under-samples non-Europeans, but otherwise we see a roughly expected pattern.
    I think/hope after the official publication we can add some tyrolese people to this list as Y-HG G in (South) Tyrol reaches 8% of distribution. There was some people migration of the Vinschgau valley (where Ötzi lived for some time) to Southwestern German areas (Aleman regions, Schwaben, Bayern/Baden Würtemberg). This is near Alsace and it would be very interesting how much the closest Y-DNA-Matches to Ötzi are spread today.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarTyro View Post
    I think/hope after the official publication we can add some tyrolese people to this list as Y-HG G in (South) Tyrol reaches 8% of distribution. There was some people migration of the Vinschgau valley (where Ötzi lived for some time) to Southwestern German areas (Aleman regions, Schwaben, Bayern/Baden Würtemberg). This is near Alsace and it would be very interesting how much the closest Y-DNA-Matches to Ötzi are spread today.
    Yeah, I bet Tyrol is undersampled and we'll find a local who is apparently a G2a4 cousin of Ötzi, although we should wait on STRs to be more sure of who is most closely related. It may turn out that everyone is distant.

    FWIW Thüngen is in Bayern just north of Baden-Württemberg and Heubach is a town in Baden-Württemberg, so they match your expectations of a G2a4 spread in Germany. Ricchiazzi seems to be Sicilian if rootsweb.com family trees are correct.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I also wondered about that. I suppose that if they were able to determine that the blood belonged to four other individuals, it means that enough organic matter has survived to analyse, and therefore that there is still DNA. However red blood cells do not have any nucleus and therefore do not contain DNA (not even mtDNA which lies outside the nucleus). We could just hope that there are white blood cells or other cells that survived. This would be a great opportunity to get the genome of four more Copper Age or Neolithic individuals, probably from another ethnicity and culture than Ötzi.
    I would cross my fingers:) . Thanks for answering

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    Ötzi was G2a4.

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    Otzi the iceman

    In 2009, a CAT scan revealed that the stomach had shifted upward to where his lower lung area would normally be. Analysis of the contents revealed the partly digested remains of ibex meat, confirmed by DNA analysis, suggesting he had a meal less than two hours before his death. Wheat grains were also found.[13]
    Maybe he was a hunter. Ibex is a high altitude goat. So his primary food was goat meat. Wheat grains also found. Not sure about his farming ability while climbing so much on mountains at the same time and hunting for goats.

    High levels of both copper particles and arsenic were found in Ötzi's hair. This, along with Ötzi's copper axe which is 99.7% pure copper, has led scientists to speculate that Ötzi was involved in copper smelting.
    Or he stole the hair of some unsuspecting metalworker, along with an axe.

    By examining the proportions of Ötzi's tibia, femur and pelvis, Christopher Ruff has determined that Ötzi's lifestyle included long walks over hilly terrain. This degree of mobility is not characteristic of other Copper Age Europeans. Ruff proposes that this may indicate that Ötzi was a high-altitude shepherd.
    He should be lactose intolerant, this conflicts the shepherd idea, or maybe this was some other form of shepherding for meat only. But it looks like a hunter/shepherd to me. His clothes is best suited for high altitude and cold climate.
    Last edited by Ivan; 27-10-11 at 21:20.

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    maybe it's irrelevant in this thread, but I'll speak about the Ötzi's skull I saw (normal skull and radiography):
    I found without I could measure it (! I'm not an anthropologist) that is shapes recalled me of some basque land Azilean descendant as described by means in some works: mesocephalic crania, low, low enough and small enough eyes sockets, broad upper face and very narrow and high enough mandibule: genetic crossing of diverse phenotypes? certainly -
    Ötzi was ascribed to a Cardial cultural environment in the survey, and looked at as a 'cardial' member phenotypically - I find these conclusions amazing - Ötzi had very broad cheekbones and a broad enough nose hole - he shows some traits that could also put him near the 'iberian' meso-neolithic type of Eastern Iberia (Charles), the ones that don't fit in the azilean "basque" model - as a whole, it has to low skull and to small orbits to be assimilated to true 'dinaric', to low and broad crane to be assimilated to a pure 'mediterranean' type as, finally, he shows few traits of the so called 'baumes-chaudes' type that seams having been linked to first cardial people, even if he doesn't completely exclude them : he is surely the mix of cardial people whose features was overwent by mesolithical features of western Mediterranea not excluding 'cromagnid' heritage, for I think - so: "cardial", but in the meaning of late result of cardial acculturation (physically, because I'm not able to discuss his true cultural affiliation) -
    my "warrantless" amateur's analysis could be perhaps put in front of autosomals analysis???

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    Is it true that Ötzi like people, are still found in Sardinia? So would that mean that sardinians are among the oldest europeans ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert22 View Post
    Is it true that Ötzi like people, are still found in Sardinia? So would that mean that sardinians are among the oldest europeans ?
    the links of Ötzi to modern Sardinians is rather based upon some of the autosomals: they calculate some "distances" between people, it is not a perfect identity - the Neolithic Sardinians was phenotypically different enough from Ötzi concerning crania - without being identical they was I think closer to the 'baumes-chaudes' new element found among previous mesolithic people of S and SW Europe - the today Sardinians show some mixture excluding almost completely northern european types, but stay very far from phenotypical 'cromagnoid' features I believe I find partially among more western Mediterranean and Atlantic people - the more ancestral features among modern Sardinians are closer to some 'eurafrican' or '(combe-)capellid' type...

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    Ötzi (data extract from a 13 poles autosomals poling)
    1- 59,5% mediterranean
    2- 15,9% south-west-asian: semitic lands or palestinian?
    3- 13,6% north-european: paleo-atlantic? + ?
    4- 6,0% west-asian
    5- 2,4% east-african
    6- 1,3% australasian
    1,3% east-asian


    keep in mind that this 'poles' are only rough tools to approximate the categorization of populations that overlaped slighty on mergins BUT for a long time -

    1- 'mediterranean': sardinian? or pre-sardinian: iberian 'capelloid' or 'chancelade's descendants?) - the 'capelloids' seam being come from Eastern Europe and farther yet by central european lands, not by sea: but when we see the 'mediterranean' (countaining some 'sardinian') or best the 'sardinian' distribution in N-E Europe opposed to the 'basque' one, we can consider the 'old mediterraean-sardinian' element is old in Europe and can be arrived there by ALL the eastern ways possible, by sea and by land, even as soon as in the 9000-7000 BC... some Y-I>>I2 early enough?
    2- 'south-west-asian': from today Arabic countries or Near-Eastern (after) – the 2,4% of 'east-african' confirm this southern origin, previously pre-neolithic and after that allied to neolithic moves from Fertile Crescent – the partially 'negroid' or 'caucasian' or undifferecientated statute of the FIRST bearers of these genes is not easy to define – all the way, they would have been early enough bearers of Y-HGs J and E1b...
    4- 'west-asian': we was expecting more of this supposed component, considering the Y-G2 assignation of Ötzi and the Cardial cultural assignation did for him – surely originated around the Caucasus and Anatolia, and surely HEAVIER among the FIRST Cardial bearers of gracile types – it is possible that at ancient times these part of ancestors had relations with more eastern people, as the 'australasian' and 'east-asian' seam showing (India mediated?) – Ötzi is «old» for us, and today descendants of his temporary group should have lost the most of this minoritary elements, by the play of the «big-numbers-hazard-law» drift...
    3- 'north-european' : here I bet a very old element of 'cromagnoid' origin, well conserved at the Eneolithic all around the Mediterranea, but at UNLEVEN distributions according to places and decreasing with time: today apparently more atlantic' for geographic distribution, whatever the culture and language, and yet more north-atlantic, and present in Scandinavia at low level too, in remote places at individual level and as a modifying element among diverse modern 'northern phenotypes means (lower skull, larger bigonials, lower eyes-sockets. I'm not sure it doesn't play a slight role everywhere in Eurasia as bearer of «atavic traits»...


    as an INDIVIDUAL in a surely crossed population Ötzi could have external features different from the majority of his brothers and sisters and cousins and... phenotypical traits can be «pure» (homozygotic) or mixed, but one by one, these physical aspects cannot in ONE individual reflect all the variance of his total genome – but in his more complete poling of autosomals (it is NOT A COMPLETE genome, but it helps a bit) Ötzi «shows» me a final post-cardial population result, where autochtonous people (very old western paleolithic ones /few/, old all-Europe-mediterranean mesolithic ones /more/ took the strong side upon true neolithical agriculture bearers: for I think that among the supposed (by me) Y-E1b bearers illustrated by 'south-west-asian', someones could have arrived in central Mediterranea before their late brothers associated with Y-G2 (and some early Y-J1/J2) and agriculture – all that is confirmed by the apparent Y-G2 strongly males mediated transmission of cardial culture – and it put me to consider Y-I2 as mesolithical and not only the result of a favorable drift in Sardinia – the «I2» females changed the «G2» males colour for autosomals ?!?
    &: don't believe I think all 'south-west-asians' was Y-E1b by fathers – exchange between Y-E1b bearers and Y-J1 ones could have taken place* yet but I bet the most of ancient bearers of this autosomals component was earlier more on the E1b – the Y-J1 descendants acquired these autosomals later, I supposed, as they were going southwards in Arabia – the mt DNA of Arabic lands are more on the East-African side, by instance, except error of mine ...
    * by wives mediation, because, as a lot of you know, two men copulating one together CANNOT have (naturally) children...

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    Please call him Otzu (otzu sound very sardinean), maybe he came original from the sardinian town of Otzieri.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozieri
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozieri_culture

    Otzu sono, ssardu sono.. Ahio!

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    Quote Originally Posted by julia90 View Post
    Please call him Otzu (otzu sound very sardinean), maybe he came original from the sardinian town of Otzieri.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozieri
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozieri_culture

    Otzu sono, ssardu sono.. Ahio!
    Ötzi is nicknamed after the Ötztal mountains (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%96tztal) where his body was found.

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    "I2" females: it's to say: the previous females of the Y-I2 male bearers group! (short cut!) surely you had understood?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MOESAN View Post
    "I2" females: it's to say: the previous females of the Y-I2 male bearers group! (short cut!) surely you had understood?
    Yes I have.

    The point you are making is surely a valid one. A continuous influx of autosomals from female side can rapidly change ones autosomal results.

    The second point is whether autosomals also influence craniometry and anthropological traits in the same fashion (and rapidly). And I think you are right here. It could have changed G2 original traits very fast. But then, this could have changed anyone's original traits.
    This produces an underlying problem that undermines anthropological results in finding "original types" of haplogroups (It still holds value in differentiating ethnicities and therefore can be used as a supplemental tool to help find the answer) .The question arises: What are then the "original traits" of some group?, and can we be sure which are those.

    What is then I2 or R1b original trait. Can we say this could have happened with Group I when encountering neanderthal females. Can we also consider these I2 women to be a kind of vector for transfering original neanderthal autosomals.

    I myself come from the male line which is 99,9 % blue eyed and pale white. Concerning this I thought, I was going to be I1. And yes, I like I1 aura. I can identify with them. But then when I found out my Y dna is G, I found even more similarities, (psychological) and to some extent physical (my observations), and am very happy finding my tribe. Also I have found out that even my G1 kin from Assyria is just like his brother rather pale and blue eyed. Considering where they live it is quite unusual.

    This made me think whether you are basing your conclusions too much on a perception that G came from Levant, especially with the fact that Armenia shows 0,90 in percentage of G types while Azerbaijan is the second highest. I myself like the way ideas are debated here, and I have some affinity towards Maciamo's way of thinking, but Levant is a bit too much for me to comprehend as a G starting point.
    I have a problem with G alone coming from Levant. It is rather strange to be that uniform in terms of settlers - so called, farmers HGs. It looks like it came from some place G was in majority (my opinion). Also Yemen and Oman had much of recent settlers from tribes such as Brahui, Pathans and especially Baluch where some types of G are elevated.
    Last edited by Ivan; 09-11-12 at 15:39.

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    I agree with you concerning the weak links between autosomals and Y-DNA HGs after human groups mate one together and cross themselves at high scale: here some drifts or biased social conditions (male elites or the contrary if one) can cut the ancient statistical links off (bzetween genes of same previous group origin)
    about Y-G, I believe it's from an area not to precisable for now, between W-Anatolia and W-India-Pakistan - what remains true is that Y-G2 was among the Cardial AND Danubian Neolithic farmers at the beginning, in Europe... (I think Y-E1bV13 was stronger enough among Danubian ones than among Cardial) -
    to keep on doing bets, I should say (I put no money on it) that the 'mediterranean' ('sardinian') component could be (before) associated with Y-I2* + downstreams, and 'S-W-asian' or 'red sea' with Y-E1b ... some traits among the COON's 'danubian gracile mediterranean' type seam confirm that (a Palestinian origin or stage)
    BY THE WAY I NEVER ESTIMATE THAT Y-I COULD BE ASSOCIATED WITH NEANDERTHALIAN FEATURES (influences by crossings? maybe, but why only Y-I?)
    thanks for your suggestions

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    Quote Originally Posted by MOESAN View Post
    BY THE WAY I NEVER ESTIMATE THAT Y-I COULD BE ASSOCIATED WITH NEANDERTHALIAN FEATURES (influences by crossings? maybe, but why only Y-I?)
    thanks for your suggestions
    I know you did not. It was my assumption based on your idea concerning female side influences and Maciamo's posts about neanderthal/homo sapiens crossings. IMO it offers a better (more plausible) scenario for human forms differentiation, in such a short (in evolutionary terms) timetable concerning all sons of F.

    I just used haplogroup you mentioned in your post as an example. I think interbreeding with human forms begun in the middle east. So this hypothesis concerns all sons of F and all HGs in general, and offers a clue for human forms variations we nowadays recognize as distinct anthropological features in HGs.
    Last edited by Ivan; 16-11-12 at 14:38.

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