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Thread: Two major new papers on Early Neolithic to Early Bronze Age mtDNA in Central Europe

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    Post Two major new papers on Early Neolithic to Early Bronze Age mtDNA in Central Europe

    Brandt et al. analysed 364 ancient mtDNA samples from the Early Neolithic (Linear Pottery culture) to the Early Bronze Age (Unetice culture), mostly around Germany, Bohemia and Poland. I believe that this is the largest study on ancient mtDNA to date. Although the article is behind a paywall, there is a 87-page PDF file and 17 Excel tables in the supplementary materials, which can be accessed for free. For once the data is clearly organised in a visual manner, which is lucky considering the number of pages.

    Table S9 contains a summary of the mt-haplogroup frequencies from all the cultures tested to date, while table S10 provide an invaluable list of modern mtDNA frequencies for 73 populations in Eurasia and North Africa, most of which have several hundreds samples and some over 2000. The total number of samples is 50,688 !

    The study confirms that Neolithic farmers (N1a, HV, H, V, J, T2, K, W, X) replaced the lineages of Mesolithic hunter-gatherers (U, U4, U5, U8) during the Early Neolithic (LBK, Rössen and related cultures), but that the Mesolithic lineages made a come back in Germany with the Late Neolithic, apparently through a southward expansion of the Funnelbeaker culture from Scandinavia. New lineages (I, R, T1, U2) arrived from Eastern Europe with Corded Ware culture in the Chalcolithic and the Unetice culture in the Early Bronze Age.

    timeline.jpg pots.jpg

    The second paper, by Bollongino et al. tested more ancient mtDNA from Central Europe and found a suprising number of Mesolithic U5b lineages in other sites than those that turned up Near Eastern lineages. The authors proposes the hypothesis that Mesolithic hunter-gatherers did not disappear after the arrival of Near Eastern farmers, but lived in other areas specialising freshwater fishing throughout the Neolithic.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 12-10-13 at 08:22.
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    Great job Maciamo!

    I can see phenomenon percentile drop of H-Gs population versus farmers. It means some replacement but mainly insertion (fast growth) of farmers population into Europe. Obviously H-Gs were moved to non-attractive for farming places, and population had to shrunk obviously. From first table it is so obvious how more productive farming is over hunting and gathering, from 5 to 10 fold bigger advantage in population size, even when compared to early farmers. This is a commending divide and H-Gs didn't stand a chance with so numerous population of farmers. I'm stressing this because now and then some guys dream otherwise, and I hope Zanipolo takes a note.


    Interesting is how steadily (the others) rose from 0 to 50 percent of female population. What advantage they had? Especially success of H.

    Also interesting are the peaks and troughs on the lines, but I think that the drastic changes are caused by still low resolution of samples over temporal scale.
    Be wary of people who tend to glorify the past, underestimate the present, and demonize the future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    Great job Maciamo!

    I can see phenomenon percentile drop of H-Gs population versus farmers. It means some replacement but mainly insertion (fast growth) of farmers population into Europe. Obviously H-Gs were moved to non-attractive for farming places, and population had to shrunk obviously. From first table it is so obvious how more productive farming is over hunting and gathering, from 5 to 10 fold bigger advantage in population size, even when compared to early farmers. This is a commending divide and H-Gs didn't stand a chance with so numerous population of farmers. I'm stressing this because now and then some guys dream otherwise, and I hope Zanipolo takes a note.


    Interesting is how steadily (the others) rose from 0 to 50 percent of female population. What advantage they had? Especially success of H.

    Also interesting are the peaks and troughs on the lines, but I think that the drastic changes are caused by still low resolution of samples over temporal scale.

    not really, I always thought G was hunter gather. is this what you are referring to?

    I like to bring up the bell-beaker map from the site.............why is BB void in basques lands, north adriatic area and finland and estonia?

    http://img196.imageshack.us/img196/9937/g9sn.png

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    Last edited by Sile; 12-10-13 at 10:48.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fire Haired View Post
    Sile I think people need to get over their love for the Basque. There just another group of Europeans not that special they shouldn't show any special connection with Bell Beaker culture.
    I read that there is a void in basque, north adriatic , Finland and estonia because they did not need BB, they already had their own

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    Speaking of the bell beaker culture of Atlantic west europe along with parts of France and Germany, MTDNA H has been linked to it

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    So it's clear; there was a culture that occupied Ireland, England, parts of Spain, Portugal, France and Germany called the bell beaker culture; it's seems that at one point or another BB even extended to Tuscany in Italy...they were either R1b or I men I honestly believe, no matter which subclades they may have been.

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    Either R1b or I ; could be I1 or I2 but I doubt the latter and suspect the former, these Celtic or pre-Nordic men were accompanied by a predominance of mtdna H females with possible U presence/minority and maybe even a hg V minority but I really doubt that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    ...The authors proposes the hypothesis that Mesolithic hunter-gatherers did not disappear after the arrival of Near Eastern farmers, but lived in other areas specialising freshwater fishing throughout the Neolithic.
    Anyone remember hearing me talk about this? This is what I postulated not too long ago (and no I didn't hear about this paper when I developed this theory). Not too shabby I must say...

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    Quote Originally Posted by nordicquarreler View Post
    Anyone remember hearing me talk about this? This is what I postulated not too long ago (and no I didn't hear about this paper when I developed this theory). Not too shabby I must say...
    I remember ;)

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    it was evident all the Mesolithic people did not disappear at Neolithic - what is interesting is the river-fishing-economy of some Hunters-Gatherers because it was what was found in Scandinavia when first agricultors arrived, just before Calcholithic (Copper beginnings): the artic culture rennants kept on occupying rivers banks when "peasants" took other lands, close to them, when megalithers kept on colonising shores,without elimination nor mixing between the three, at first...

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    the statute of mt H (I need some learning for mt) is interesting I think: it seems absent at Mesolithic and if "agricultor", an independant HG among other mt HG (but we lack big samples maybe, all that could change dramatically later!) - and it took off about the 3400/3100 BC and at BB times 2800 BC (but BB "fertilization of egg" began about the 3000 BC maybe before, where!!!) - and the same arrived more recently... (natural selection? I red somewhere mt DNA was not out of selection pressure) - this "independant" aspect IF CONFIRMED is intriguing; a late mesolithical wave is suspected just before neolithical innovations, as fleeing before it, from eastern Mediterranea to West - a Preneolithic one, flourishing in Iberia? - and I believe some early mt H were discovered in S-Finnland and N-Russia long time before neolithization reached these lands? confusing for the moment-
    genuine first BB males were maybe not Y-R1b - what is almost sure is that it was at first a constellation of moderately sized groups of prospectors and that progressively they acculturated autochtones and moved or attracted these ones to move with their wives, by the launching due to technical-commercial improvement, taking themselves some foreign wives among these autochtones: it is my prefered interpretation, for now - it could explain the discrepancy between anthropological analysis of different BB places...

    all bets as used! I 'll try to know more about subclades of mt DNA I kept aside too long time

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    Quote Originally Posted by nordicquarreler View Post
    Anyone remember hearing me talk about this? This is what I postulated not too long ago (and no I didn't hear about this paper when I developed this theory). Not too shabby I must say...
    no
    but will be happy if you repost it

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post

    The study confirms that Neolithic farmers (N1a, HV, H, V, J, T2, K, W, X) replaced the lineages of Mesolithic hunter-gatherers (U, U4, U5, U8) during the Early Neolithic (LBK, Rössen and related cultures), but that the Mesolithic lineages made a come back in Germany with the Late Neolithic, apparently through a southward expansion of the Funnelbeaker culture from Scandinavia. New lineages (I, R, T1, U2) arrived from Eastern Europe with Corded Ware culture in the Chalcolithic and the Unetice culture in the Early Bronze Age.

    timeline.jpg pots.jpg

    The second paper, by Bollongino et al. tested more ancient mtDNA from Central Europe and found a suprising number of Mesolithic U5b lineages in other sites than those that turned up Near Eastern lineages. The authors proposes the hypothesis that Mesolithic hunter-gatherers did not disappear after the arrival of Near Eastern farmers, but lived in other areas specialising freshwater fishing throughout the Neolithic.
    Part of this I don't understand...Gok 4 was from the Funnelbeaker culture. The mt dna of the samples from that grave sitewere found to belong to haplogroups H, J, and T, at 33% each. (See (Helena Malmstrom et al, http://www.ucl.ac.uk/mace-lab/public...C_Mod_Scan.pdf)

    So, wouldn't Funnelbeaker have brought more Neolithic lineages south?

    Btw, the 19 PVC samples "from three different sites on the Baltic island of Gotland dated to 4,800–4,000 years BP" were found to belong to haplogroups J, T, V (one each), "Other" (two), U5a and U5b (three each), and U4/H1b (eight samples).

    If the J, T and V are Neolithic, there was some inter-marriage between these two groups, at least in Sweden.

    The Bollongino study is very interesting as well. I remember some discussion in The Early Mediterranean Village: Agency, Material Culture, and Social Change in Neolithic Italy (Cambridge Studies in Archaeology) by John Robb where the author discusses the fact that the remains from the southern Italian Neolithic sites never contained evidence of the consumption of fish. If I remember correctly, he speculated it may have been ritually taboo for some reason. Maybe that wasn't the reason at all.

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    I know a little bit more now about mt H; looking at a map of mt-H1 distribution, I constated this sub-HG (SNP?) had a completely Atlantic distibution, from NW Africa to N-Scandinavia and N-Russia, with some presence among berberic tribes of Sahel (Sahara) - I suppose if I red well the twi surveys we discuss here that there was found NO ANCIENT mt H before Neolithic - but this distribution of H1 at least seems checking an old presence in W-Europe; I tried to link it to known pre-/proto-/ or -historical events, as the first Megalithic cultures or subsequent ones ('Long-Barrows'), B.B.s, Atlantic Bronze but I failed to find something explaining these very broad distribution -
    a post LGM propagation seems far more evident to me - the latest events (plus Atlantic Celts maybe already launchers of Atlantic Bronze) could just have helped to strengthen the density in some places -

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    1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by MOESAN View Post
    I know a little bit more now about mt H; looking at a map of mt-H1 distribution, I constated this sub-HG (SNP?) had a completely Atlantic distibution, from NW Africa to N-Scandinavia and N-Russia, with some presence among berberic tribes of Sahel (Sahara) - I suppose if I red well the twi surveys we discuss here that there was found NO ANCIENT mt H before Neolithic - but this distribution of H1 at least seems checking an old presence in W-Europe; I tried to link it to known pre-/proto-/ or -historical events, as the first Megalithic cultures or subsequent ones ('Long-Barrows'), B.B.s, Atlantic Bronze but I failed to find something explaining these very broad distribution -
    a post LGM propagation seems far more evident to me - the latest events (plus Atlantic Celts maybe already launchers of Atlantic Bronze) could just have helped to strengthen the density in some places -
    Part of the issue is with the eternal problem of dating. Are you relying on any particular study for the dating of, if not the origin, the expansion of mt dna H? For instance, what do you think of the Behar et al study on it?
    http://www.cell.com/AJHG/abstract/S0...2812%2900146-2
    In table S5 of the supplement he gives the following dates for these H subclades, if I'm reading it correctly:
    H1 9,888
    H2 11,905
    H3 8919

    Those look like Neolithic dates to me.

    For a long time, the conventional wisdom seemed to be that H had a starburst pattern and the diversity showed a source in the Middle East. That could have been followed by a movement along both coasts of the Mediterranean, with H1 and H3 moving from North Africa into Iberia? Or does the phylogeny indicate that it moved in the other direction?

    If this movement began in the late Mesolithic, it could explain the stray H found in Mesolithic eastern Europe, picked up from a woman brought from the Caucasus, for example. The "Mesolithic" H in Iberia is another issue. Some experts in mt dna claim that the tests used too few sequences and they could just as well be "U". I suppose the only way we'll know is to get better samples, tested more rigorously, from southern Europe.

    One things is pretty clear to me anyway, and that is that H was not "the" mt dna marker for Central and Eastern Europe during the Mesolithic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MOESAN View Post
    I know a little bit more now about mt H; looking at a map of mt-H1 distribution, I constated this sub-HG (SNP?) had a completely Atlantic distibution, from NW Africa to N-Scandinavia and N-Russia, with some presence among berberic tribes of Sahel (Sahara) - I suppose if I red well the twi surveys we discuss here that there was found NO ANCIENT mt H before Neolithic - but this distribution of H1 at least seems checking an old presence in W-Europe; I tried to link it to known pre-/proto-/ or -historical events, as the first Megalithic cultures or subsequent ones ('Long-Barrows'), B.B.s, Atlantic Bronze but I failed to find something explaining these very broad distribution -
    a post LGM propagation seems far more evident to me - the latest events (plus Atlantic Celts maybe already launchers of Atlantic Bronze) could just have helped to strengthen the density in some places -
    Actually haplogroup H has been found in Europe in Palaeolithic Spain and Mesolithic Portugal. It has only been conspicuously absent from Central Europe. I also think that H1 and H3, and probably some other subclades too, were in Europe before the Neolithic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sile View Post
    I read that there is a void in basque, north adriatic , Finland and estonia because they did not need BB, they already had their own
    Sorry, I just saw this...

    I had read some speculation on the web that the "blank" areas corresponded to the areas inhabited by non-Indo European speaking peoples, i.e. the Basque speakers (and their origin area in Aquitaine), the Iberian speakers, and the Etruscan speakers (with the trail going up into the Raeti area. That's confusing, especially if you see the Etruscans as a "new" element entering Italy in the first millennium B.C. or not much earlier, and long after Beaker.

    What you're reporting is interesting...do you have more details on the archaeological cultures involved?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Actually haplogroup H has been found in Europe in Palaeolithic Spain and Mesolithic Portugal.
    FWIW Jean Manco disputes these results. In general, none of the supposed H reported from that period have been tested at high enough resolution to say that they were H for sure. Those two studies between them had maybe 3 samples that could have been H and were reported as H (but also could have been something else), along with 3 that were probably incorrectly reported as H.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkey View Post
    FWIW Jean Manco disputes these results. In general, none of the supposed H reported from that period have been tested at high enough resolution to say that they were H for sure. Those two studies between them had maybe 3 samples that could have been H and were reported as H (but also could have been something else), along with 3 that were probably incorrectly reported as H.

    That's also Gail T's position. Sorting it out is above my paygrade, but I think it has to do with the fact that older studies, besides being more subject to contamination, assumed that the CRS sequence was always H, whereas it can sometimes be U or HV.

    In terms of the Brandt paper itself, I'm still struggling a bit with the picture they are drawing of this complete separation of the two groups of people, a separation which actually wasn't so complete if we go by the total mtDNA results for Pitted Ware. I also think there's a danger that the results are being extrapolated to all of Europe, precisely what the authors themselves argue against.

    One of the main arguments of the Brandt paper is that there was no mixing between hunter-gatherers and farmers in Central Europe for thousands of years. The explanation seems to partly be the retreat of many hunter gatherers to the far north east. Those who remained (isn't there evidence only for a period of a couple of hundred years?) supposedly retreated to fishing areas. I don't doubt the ability of different groups to remain largely separate from one another for a long time, especially if they are using different subsistence strategies. There are ample examples even in modern history. However, the farmers would have been seeking sources of water as well as suitable land, so I don't quite see why they would have ceded lands adjacent to rivers to the hunter gatherers. This was a landscape that was heavily wooded, yes? It's not as if they had endless flat fields to farm. Unless the Hunter Gatherers were limited to very swampy territory, which would have been extremely unhealthy. I'm thinking of places like the Po Valley for example, where the poor drainage meant that in summer it was a malaria infested, uninhabitable, swamp really until the historical era. (The climate stinks to this day, in my opinion, :)) Unless the amount of loess soil near soures of water was really limited? I need to look at some maps of that. I suppose one could see the farmers inhabiting loess fields slightly upland of the rivers, especially since we're talking about early Neolithic societies that hadn't yet mastered irrigation systems and drainage, and the HG's were on the riversides. In that case, though, we're talking about extremely close quarters for such an apartheit to exist.

    Regardless, the situation, if this paper is correct, was very different in the Balkans. (If anyone has read, or does read it, I'd appreciate any insight into any flaws in it.)
    See, Strontium isotypes document greater human mobility at the start of the Balkan Neolithic.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/110/9/3298.full

    According to the authors, the hunter gatherers were absorbed within two hundred years. And, interestingly, the exchange was heavily *female*, not male mediated, with a disproportionately higher number of Neolithic females going to Hunter Gatherer groups.

    The question for me is, why the difference in central Europe? Was there less suitable land for these Near Eastern crops, and were crops less abundant even in those specific areas, and so their way of life seemed less successful? Was there more territory suitable to the retention of the HG way of life? Or were these people just less adaptable to a new way of life? After all, in a deeply profound and professional comment, Dr. Wolfgang Haak stated for a Washington Post article that “Farmers are probably loud, noisy and stinky at the same time. They come with domestic farm animals and just take over the place.” Maybe they even had mandolins? :)

    I also think his analysis isn't complete. Where are the southeastern French, Northwestern Italian, or indeed Balkan examples? The early Neolithic in central Europe may have had a strictly agrarian diet, (as did the southern Italian Neolithic) but that wasn't true in other parts of Europe. In northern Italy, for example, it was more of a mixed mode subsistence lifestyle , with hunting and fishing and gathering supplementing the farming. From memory, that was also true in France and Spain. So, would that indicate more admixture in those areas? More adaptability on both sides?

    And he has left out of his theory the "other" category, which is the "H" lineages which today constitute the majority of European mtDNA lineages, and which, according to his paper and to Brotherton et al, seem to have arrived from the West. It seems to me that is the major change in the picture, far more so than the few more obscure lineages like (I, T, R, and my own U2e) that he seems to believe arrived with the more eastern, perhaps "Indo-European" groups. After all, his own chart shows the mtDNA lineages in order of current frequency as H, then the Early and Middle Neolitic lineages, then the U "Mesolithic" lineages and then the eastern ones. The Mesolithic U4 and U5, going just by memory, so I may be wrong, reach a high of only 20% and that's in northeastern Europe. In France they barely reach 10%. Even if "H" was mesolithic in arrival in, say, Iberia, it wasn't a player in central Europe until the mid-Neolithic. Then, there are those who claim it moved east/west, not the other way around.

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    Isn't HV Mesolithic?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    The question for me is, why the difference in central Europe? Was there less suitable land for these Near Eastern crops, and were crops less abundant even in those specific areas, and so their way of life seemed less successful? Was there more territory suitable to the retention of the HG way of life? Or were these people just less adaptable to a new way of life? After all, in a deeply profound and professional comment, Dr. Wolfgang Haak stated for a Washington Post article that “Farmers are probably loud, noisy and stinky at the same time. They come with domestic farm animals and just take over the place.” Maybe they even had mandolins? :)
    The land around Central Europe is in the same climate zone as the Pacific North West in North America. When "discovered" by Europeans about 200 years ago, the Native Americans living in this zone practiced little to no agriculture, yet achieved a fairly high population density because the area was rich in available food resources, including fish.

    The situation in Central Europe was probably the same thousands of years ago. The Central European LBK farmers were stopped because it's quite possible the natives were too strong in number in the territories North, East and West of the agricultural lands. And the natives had no incentive to adopt agriculture since they were already living in one of the best food spots the planet Earth has to offer.

    Just an idea...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Floyo View Post
    Isn't HV Mesolithic?
    All top level mt-haplogroups are Paleolithic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkey View Post
    FWIW Jean Manco disputes these results. In general, none of the supposed H reported from that period have been tested at high enough resolution to say that they were H for sure. Those two studies between them had maybe 3 samples that could have been H and were reported as H (but also could have been something else), along with 3 that were probably incorrectly reported as H.
    If they weren't H, they were HV or R0, but in any case not U4 or U5. HV and R0 are typically Middle Eastern/Southwest Asian haplogroups, so if that it the case, it could mean that haplogroup such as E1b1b, T or J were present in Iberia during the late Paleolithic or Mesolithic.

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    Originally Posted by Angela
    The question for me is, why the difference in central Europe? Was there less suitable land for these Near Eastern crops, and were crops less abundant even in those specific areas, and so their way of life seemed less successful? Was there more territory suitable to the retention of the HG way of life? Or were these people just less adaptable to a new way of life? After all, in a deeply profound and professional comment, Dr. Wolfgang Haak stated for a Washington Post article that “Farmers are probably loud, noisy and stinky at the same time. They come with domestic farm animals and just take over the place.” Maybe they even had mandolins? :

    Quote Originally Posted by Tone View Post
    The situation in Central Europe was probably the same thousands of years ago. The Central European LBK farmers were stopped because it's quite possible the natives were too strong in number in the territories North, East and West of the agricultural lands. And the natives had no incentive to adopt agriculture since they were already living in one of the best food spots the planet Earth has to offer.

    Just an idea...
    Central and North East Europe was very wooded with thick forests way back. It was hard to clear forests with copper tools, therefore first thriving big scale cultures showed up with Corded Ware bronze age people. With bronze axes it became feasible to cut thick forest for crop fields.

    Secondly, I suspect that early crops varieties were of Middle Eastern and South European kinds. It took time to modify them and bread new varieties for Central and Northern European climate.

    Thirdly, first farmers who got to Europe were of darker skin colour than today Europeans. They needed time to mix with locals and develop lighter skin colour, more suitable for low UV radiation and more efficient in vitamin D production.

    These 3 major obstacles were in the way of South European farmers moving North in big numbers. It might also explain why first big farming communities/cultures happened when R1a and I people of Central and Northern Europe learned how to farm. They've already had lighter skin and other predispositions to colder weather. But still they didn't go big till invention of a bronze axe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparkey View Post
    FWIW Jean Manco disputes these results. In general, none of the supposed H reported from that period have been tested at high enough resolution to say that they were H for sure. Those two studies between them had maybe 3 samples that could have been H and were reported as H (but also could have been something else), along with 3 that were probably incorrectly reported as H.

    My antennas are also alerted to the Spanish results. Several things just don't jive and I meant to make the case in a seperate post but I'll put here.

    1. We've learned from the last of the two papers that Hunter-Gatherer populations were alive and well during the Neolithic, un-neolithicized and continuing to follow traditional sustainment strategies. This poses an immediate problem for dating sites in Spain. If I positively extract haplogroup H from a presumably Paleolithic cultural site, then I must rely exclusively on carbon dates to put into a timeline. (Paleolithic age technolgies persist even in 2013)

    2. If H survived in the Franco-Cantabrian refuge, why did U* re-colonize Europe but H did not. Doesn't that seem a little strange given highly procreative nature of H and the likelyhood that through the Ice Age, the Franco-Cantabrian refuge sustained a relatively small, homogenous, hunter-gatherer population built on similar way of life?

    3. The dates don't jive. H can only be so old. That means H1 & H3 have only so long to trek into Spain before getting snowed-in for a few thousand years. Even moderate ages for H1 & H3 don't work.

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