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Thread: New thoughts on Indo-Europeans in the light of recent data

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    New thoughts on Indo-Europeans in the light of recent data

    From ancient DNA results it seems as though northern europeans were tan-skinned as late as the mesolithic. They didnt need light skin because their diet was rich in vitamin D. They belonged almost exclusively to Hg I. Many of them had blue eyes but not red or blond hair. They might have inherited blue eyes from neanderthals. We know that neanderthals hunted in low-light conditions and light eyes would have improved their vision in the dark.

    The R1a people were in terms of autosomal composition mostly western hunter gatherers with some Karitiana-like admixture. During the last ice age they took refuge in the Ukraine where they developed several shades of blond hair as a result of sexual selection. They also developed pale skin either to produce more vitamin D or also as a result of sexual selection.

    The R1b people coming from Mesopotamia/anatolia/gedrosia were among the first farmers and developed pale skin and red hair in response to a shift in diet to vitamin D poor foods. They entered the steppes via the Caucasus and took wives from the R1a people already living there. This explains the high incedence of blue eyes and blonde hair among R1b people today. They were excellent metal workers. Probably the best in the world at that time.


    R1a and R1b propogated pale skin into europe in the neolithic. Almost all of the blue eyes in europe today come from north of the black sea though this is probably not where it originated as 8000 year old western hunter gatherers already had blue eyes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vratyas View Post
    During the last ice age they took refuge in the Ukraine
    I don't think so, they arrived 15000 years ago, i e after the ice age.

    http://archaeology.about.com/od/mterms/g/mezhirich.htm

    Like other Dnepr River basin mammoth bone settlements, Mezhirich was first thought to have been occupied between 18,000 and 12,000 years ago, based on early radiocarbon dates. More recent ccelerator Mass Spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon dates suggest a shorter chronology for all mammoth bone settlements, between 15,000 and 14,000 years ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vratyas View Post
    They were excellent metal workers. Probably the best in the world at that time.
    what makes you think so ?

    first copper smelting was in the Balkans , 7500 years ago , that was J2b and some G2a
    the chiefs on the Pontic steppe got copper artefacts through trade with Cucuteni-Tripolye.
    after the collapse of Cucuteni-Tripolye copper mining and copper working was in the Maykop, mainly G2a.

    I think though trade between Maykop and Mesopotamia was in the hands of R1b

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    Good summary, Vratyas. I basically agree with everything you wrote.

    Bicicleur also made a very good point with the Mezhirich site as potentially marking the arrival of R1a mammoth-hunting tribes from Siberia to south-western Russia.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    what makes you think so ?

    first copper smelting was in the Balkans , 7500 years ago , that was J2b and some G2a
    the chiefs on the Pontic steppe got copper artefacts through trade with Cucuteni-Tripolye.
    after the collapse of Cucuteni-Tripolye copper mining and copper working was in the Maykop, mainly G2a.

    I think though trade between Maykop and Mesopotamia was in the hands of R1b
    It is true that early metallurgy (copper, gold, silver) developed first in the Balkans and central Anatolia, most probably with G2a, J2 and E1b1b people. But from the Bronze Age R1a and R1b people became the leaders in metal working technologies. What is particularly amazing among steppe people is not that they developed bronze working early (there is now evidence that the first bronzes might have been made in the Balkans too), but that most of the population seems to have been involved one way or another in bronze working. The so-called 'country of towns' of the Sintashta culture contrasted sharply with contemporaneous West Asian and South Asian civilizations in that every single house showed signs of bronze working. For the early Indo-Europeans metallurgy wasn't the work of a small specialised guild, but a way of life in itself.

    Another difference is that steppe people had a far more militaristic use of bronze that Near Eastern societies. The contrast is striking when we compare bronze objects from the Maykop culture, in the Northwest Caucasus, with those of the contemporaneous Kura-Araxes culture, in the South Caucasus and eastern Anatolia. While most Kura-Araxes bronzes were functional (e.g. agricultural) and luxury objects, those from Maykop are overwhelmingly weapons (including the world's earliest swords).

    The extreme militarism of steppe Indo-Europeans certainly explains how they managed to conquer such vast territories so quickly, and defeated civilizations that were seemingly more advanced in many other respects.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    It is true that early metallurgy (copper, gold, silver) developed first in the Balkans and central Anatolia, most probably with G2a, J2 and E1b1b people. But from the Bronze Age R1a and R1b people became the leaders in metal working technologies. What is particularly amazing among steppe people is not that they developed bronze working early (there is now evidence that the first bronzes might have been made in the Balkans too), but that most of the population seems to have been involved one way or another in bronze working. The so-called 'country of towns' of the Sintashta culture contrasted sharply with contemporaneous West Asian and South Asian civilizations in that every single house showed signs of bronze working. For the early Indo-Europeans metallurgy wasn't the work of a small specialised guild, but a way of life in itself.

    Another difference is that steppe people had a far more militaristic use of bronze that Near Eastern societies. The contrast is striking when we compare bronze objects from the Maykop culture, in the Northwest Caucasus, with those of the contemporaneous Kura-Araxes culture, in the South Caucasus and eastern Anatolia. While most Kura-Araxes bronzes were functional (e.g. agricultural) and luxury objects, those from Maykop are overwhelmingly weapons (including the world's earliest swords).

    The extreme militarism of steppe Indo-Europeans certainly explains how they managed to conquer such vast territories so quickly, and defeated civilizations that were seemingly more advanced in many other respects.
    Thank you for the reply. So it seems then that R1a men arrived in the ukraine right after the LGM. What happened to the western hunter gatherer males? Did the R1a's kill them?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    It is true that early metallurgy (copper, gold, silver) developed first in the Balkans and central Anatolia, most probably with G2a, J2 and E1b1b people. But from the Bronze Age R1a and R1b people became the leaders in metal working technologies. What is particularly amazing among steppe people is not that they developed bronze working early (there is now evidence that the first bronzes might have been made in the Balkans too), but that most of the population seems to have been involved one way or another in bronze working. The so-called 'country of towns' of the Sintashta culture contrasted sharply with contemporaneous West Asian and South Asian civilizations in that every single house showed signs of bronze working. For the early Indo-Europeans metallurgy wasn't the work of a small specialised guild, but a way of life in itself.

    Another difference is that steppe people had a far more militaristic use of bronze that Near Eastern societies. The contrast is striking when we compare bronze objects from the Maykop culture, in the Northwest Caucasus, with those of the contemporaneous Kura-Araxes culture, in the South Caucasus and eastern Anatolia. While most Kura-Araxes bronzes were functional (e.g. agricultural) and luxury objects, those from Maykop are overwhelmingly weapons (including the world's earliest swords).

    The extreme militarism of steppe Indo-Europeans certainly explains how they managed to conquer such vast territories so quickly, and defeated civilizations that were seemingly more advanced in many other respects.
    It seems to me Sintashta took militarism to another level.
    I think R1a exploited the copper mines in the Sintashta area but the Sintashta area was territory of other people.
    R1a had to defend themselves and the mines and working places from raids by the natives.
    The natives (I think N1c1) also learned copper and bronze working.
    When the native N1c1 invented a better casting technique, they made holow socketed spearheads which allowed better hafting on the shaft.
    Their superior armory caused the Seima-Turbino expansion which is now dated to aprox 2000 BC
    From then on militarism and warior culture spread all over Siberia

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vratyas View Post
    Thank you for the reply. So it seems then that R1a men arrived in the ukraine right after the LGM. What happened to the western hunter gatherer males? Did the R1a's kill them?
    when R1a arrived 15000 years ago, they were mammoth hunters
    I think Southern Russia and the Ukraine where largely uninhabited when they arrived

    when the mammoths got extinct, R1a had to leave the forest zone to I2a1b (I think) hunter/gatherers and they stayed in the rivervalleys on the Pontic steppe
    they survived on a diet of 50 % fish from the rivers and 50 % meat, mainly horse meat

    I wonder how and when R1b could infiltrate into the Pontic steppe
    From what we know about IE language it must have been before the invention of the wheel

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vratyas View Post
    Thank you for the reply. So it seems then that R1a men arrived in the ukraine right after the LGM. What happened to the western hunter gatherer males? Did the R1a's kill them?
    I suppose you mean the eastern hunter gatherer males. They were not necessarily killed. I doubt that hunter-gathering societies had the power to wage wars resulting in a lot of casualties. Most conflicts between tribes were merely territorial skirmishes that involved a lot of show and some injuries, but rarely mass killings.

    One feature of hunter-gathering societies is that they were very mobile, especially in regions where there were seasonal migrations of animals.

    The tribes living in the Pontic-Caspian steppes around the LGM would probably have moved into Central Europe after the ice sheets receded, leaving a vacuum for Siberian R1a tribes to move in. It is more likely that an actual "invasion" of R1a hunters, who lived in tribes of a few dozen people at most (extended families). Back then a "war" would have been of an order of scale of ten men against ten men, who would have fought with wood-and-silex spears or primitive arrows (like some Amazonian tribes today). This is why the first true wars only started in the metal age, especially from the Bronze Age, since copper is too soft to make large axes or any sword blades.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    It seems to me Sintashta took militarism to another level.
    I think R1a exploited the copper mines in the Sintashta area but the Sintashta area was territory of other people.
    R1a had to defend themselves and the mines and working places from raids by the natives.
    The natives (I think N1c1) also learned copper and bronze working.
    When the native N1c1 invented a better casting technique, they made holow socketed spearheads which allowed better hafting on the shaft.
    Their superior armory caused the Seima-Turbino expansion which is now dated to aprox 2000 BC
    From then on militarism and warior culture spread all over Siberia
    Interesting theory. But if they Seima-Turbino expansion was led by N1c1 people, why is it that southern Russia and Ukraine have hardly any N1c1 today ? And how did Late Bronze Age Scythian cultures in Siberia, following immediately the Seima-Turbino expansion, have yielded essentially R1a Y-DNA ?

    Besides the Seima-Turbino phenomenon was linked to the Srubna (aka Timber-grave) culture in the steppes, which was the natural successor of the Catacomb culture, and probably the culture from which the Cimmerians descended.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur View Post
    when R1a arrived 15000 years ago, they were mammoth hunters
    I think Southern Russia and the Ukraine where largely uninhabited when they arrived

    when the mammoths got extinct, R1a had to leave the forest zone to I2a1b (I think) hunter/gatherers and they stayed in the rivervalleys on the Pontic steppe
    they survived on a diet of 50 % fish from the rivers and 50 % meat, mainly horse meat

    I wonder how and when R1b could infiltrate into the Pontic steppe
    From what we know about IE language it must have been before the invention of the wheel
    My understanding is that R1a tribes remained in the forest-steppe (richer in game for hunting), while R1b cattle herders settled the open steppe (ideal for cattle grazing) in the Neolithic.

    I2a people would have moved to Central Europe, mainly around the Carpathians and Poland, after the LGM.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 20-01-14 at 13:31.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    I suppose you mean the eastern hunter gatherer males. They were not necessarily killed. I doubt that hunter-gathering societies had the power to wage wars resulting in a lot of casualties. Most conflicts between tribes were merely territorial skirmishes that involved a lot of show and some injuries, but rarely mass killings.

    One feature of hunter-gathering societies is that they were very mobile, especially in regions where there were seasonal migrations of animals.

    The tribes living in the Pontic-Caspian steppes around the LGM would probably have moved into Central Europe after the ice sheets receded, leaving a vacuum for Siberian R1a tribes to move in. It is more likely that an actual "invasion" of R1a hunters, who lived in tribes of a few dozen people at most (extended families). Back then a "war" would have been of an order of scale of ten men against ten men, who would have fought with wood-and-silex spears or primitive arrows (like some Amazonian tribes today). This is why the first true wars only started in the metal age, especially from the Bronze Age, since copper is too soft to make large axes or any sword blades.
    What puzzles me is that indo-europeans are europoid ( for the most part ) but they belong to mongoloid paternal lines. How did this come about ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    My understanding is that R1b tribes remained in the forest-steppe (richer in game for hunting), while R1b cattle herders settled the open steppe (ideal for cattle grazing) in the Neolithic.

    I2a people would have moved to Central Europe, mainly around the Carpathians and Poland, after the LGM.
    yes, I wonder, R1b - M73 it doesn't make sense that they came from Anatolia
    where R1b - M73 also mammoth hunters who stayed in the forests after mammoth extinction?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Interesting theory. But if they Seima-Turbino expansion was led by N1c1 people, why is it that southern Russia and Ukraine have hardly any N1c1 today ? And how did Late Bronze Age Scythian cultures in Siberia, following immediately the Seima-Turbino expansion, have yielded essentially R1a Y-DNA ?

    Besides the Seima-Turbino phenomenon was linked to the Srubna (aka Timber-grave) culture in the steppes, which was the natural successor of the Catacomb culture, and probably the culture from which the Cimmerians descended.
    I must admit, I don't know much about Seima-Turbino.
    Can you direct me to some info on the subject?
    I read somewhere hollow socketed spearheads were forged (a socket for good hafting on the shaft)
    Soon after these hollow socketed spearheads were casted, and it gave the people with this technique a tremendous military advance.

    Indeed, N1c1 did not come to steppes, they made a more northernly expansion.
    If N1c1 had this advantage, how were they stopped on the steppes ?
    Maybe they didn't have horses or war charriots?
    The spear would have been a lance, for footsoldiers?

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    Why the indoeuropeans when we know that EEF were light skinned..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilhelm View Post
    Why the indoeuropeans when we know that EEF were light skinned..
    I cant link to an image because i dont have ten posts yet but do a google search for skin color distribution and you will see that generally the higher the EEF component the darker the skin in europeans.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    My understanding is that R1b tribes remained in the forest-steppe (richer in game for hunting), while R1b cattle herders settled the open steppe (ideal for cattle grazing) in the Neolithic.

    I2a people would have moved to Central Europe, mainly around the Carpathians and Poland, after the LGM.
    I assume you meant to say that the R1a tribes remained in the forest-steppe while R1b cattle herders settled the open steppe in the Neolithic.

    I'm not seeing a lot of evidence that R1b folk were on the steppes, in terms of modern DNA evidence. Although I know you have an explanation for that, I still wonder about it. And it seems to me that J2 must have been a fairly significant par of the IE expansion. I know you've said J2 was probably present, but as a minor player. But how did J2 get there? As part of Maykop?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vratyas View Post
    I cant link to an image because i dont have ten posts yet but do a google search for skin color distribution and you will see that generally the higher the EEF component the darker the skin in europeans.
    Absolutely;
    According to Lazaridis et al 2013 - the Neolithic-farmers (Stuttgart) were lighter-skinned than the Hunter-gatherers (Loschbour);
    But the Indo-Europeans (when they finally sequence one) must be in-turn lighter-skinned than the Neolithic-farmers;

    There is a clear North-South cline in Europe;

    Lucotte et Yuasa 2011 + Norton2007
    http://www.academicjournals.org/arti...uasa%20pdf.pdf

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vratyas View Post
    I cant link to an image because i dont have ten posts yet but do a google search for skin color distribution and you will see that generally the higher the EEF component the darker the skin in europeans.
    But for example Finns would have low levels of indoeuropean input (low levels of R1a+R1b) , as well as low levels of EEF....yet they are as light as their Scandianvian peers...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilhelm View Post
    But for example Finns would have low levels of indoeuropean input (low levels of R1a+R1b) , as well as low levels of EEF....yet they are as light as their Scandianvian peers...
    The centre of gravity of haplogroup R1a in Finland is situated in Finnish-speaking Ostrobothnia (29 %) and to a lesser extent in Bothnia(21 %). Surprisingly, the percentage is lower (8 %) in Swedish-

    speaking Ostrobothnia. A pigmentantion map by G. Gerland shows that northern Finns ( where R1a is almost 0%) do have yellow skin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vratyas View Post
    What puzzles me is that indo-europeans are europoid ( for the most part ) but they belong to mongoloid paternal lines. How did this come about ?
    it is uneasy to assign an autosomal global type to the bearers of a Y-HG + are you not confusing geographical "asian" with phenotypical "mongoloïd"? personally I don't believe either R1a or R1b were at first on the 'mongoloïd' type, but how to be sure concerning remote times?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vratyas View Post

    The R1a people were in terms of autosomal composition mostly western hunter gatherers with some Karitiana-like admixture. During the last ice age they took refuge in the Ukraine where they developed several shades of blond hair as a result of sexual selection. They also developed pale skin either to produce more vitamin D or also as a result of sexual selection.

    The R1b people coming from Mesopotamia/anatolia/gedrosia were among the first farmers and developed pale skin and red hair in response to a shift in diet to vitamin D poor foods. They entered the steppes via the Caucasus and took wives from the R1a people already living there. This explains the high incedence of blue eyes and blonde hair among R1b people today. They were excellent metal workers. Probably the best in the world at that time.


    R1a and R1b propogated pale skin into europe in the neolithic. Almost all of the blue eyes in europe today come from north of the black sea though this is probably not where it originated as 8000 year old western hunter gatherers already had blue eyes.
    I doubt light skin was found anywhere in Europe prior to Neolithic and It shouldn't be connected to R1a or R1b exclusively while Ötzi, Stuttgart and other ancient European farmers of Haplogroup G2a* were the light skinned once

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vratyas View Post
    I cant link to an image because i dont have ten posts yet but do a google search for skin color distribution and you will see that generally the higher the EEF component the darker the skin in europeans.
    I don't think that contemporary skin color, lactase tolerance, hair color and other particular traits correlate that much with autosomals, at least within europe. I think these traits are mostly driven quickly by evolutionary selection or drift, even more than haplogroups. This can be seen at south europeans who live in northern europe. Half of them become as pale as the natives.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vratyas View Post
    I cant link to an image because i dont have ten posts yet but do a google search for skin color distribution and you will see that generally the higher the EEF component the darker the skin in europeans.
    Thats today because EEF is more common in South Europe but when EEF and H&G was evenly spread throughout Europe we observed that EEF were lighter skinned. Also modern North Europeans have considerable EEF.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ElHorsto View Post
    I don't think that contemporary skin color, lactase tolerance, hair color and other particular traits correlate that much with autosomals, at least within europe. I think these traits are mostly driven quickly by evolutionary selection or drift, even more than haplogroups. This can be seen at south europeans who live in northern europe. Half of them become as pale as the natives.
    A very good point. If traits are very beneficial for survival they tend to spread very fast, regardless of tribes, haplogroups, and cultures, and quickly settle in areas where are needed the most. Surely for first thousand years after development of beneficial mutation it lingers around tribes of its conception, and going far back in time, we will be able to connect traits for very light skin or lactose persistence, and many other things, to certain tribes and their dominant haplogroups. However after thousands of years these traits have flown through all the tribes, drifted if you will, to the populations in geographical area where they were benefiting people the most. Therefor in this age and time we are unable to correlate these mutation to specific haplogroups. Unless these mutations happen on chromosome Y, or mtdna.

    By standard of our knowledge, it is also plausible to say, that the very light skin mutation happened to first farmers going North off Black Sea, due to Northern location and farmer's diet lacking vitamin D. It could have been enhanced by any hunter-gatherer gene flow in this area into farmer's communities. The combination effect of light skinn farmers and light skin mutations of local HGs gave start to much lighter skin.
    Be wary of people who tend to glorify the past, underestimate the present, and demonize the future.

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