Beware, Fire-Haired, it's about those pesky EEF type people again. :)


"The transition to a farming lifestyle was one of the major episodes of innovation in the history of our species and it has been the subject of intense archaeological research for decades1. In the past few years, archaeogenetic studies have been crucial in resolving some of the longstanding questions about the Neolithisation of Europe2-6. Here, we analyse new genome sequence data from 13 early farmers from Spain and compare them to previously published modern day and ancient genomes from Europe, North Africa and the Near East. We show that the first farmers to arrive to the Iberian Peninsula during the Neolithic, followed a coastal Mediterranean route bringing farming practices with them. These Neolithic individuals show a similar genetic structure across the North, North East and South of Iberia with no evidence of north African influence. Furthermore, we observe a certain degree of genetic differentiation between Early Neolithic Iberian and Central European farmers. An indication of at least two founding populations of early Neolithic Europeans (one that arrived via the Mediterranean coast and the other via the Danube basin into Central Europe). Among all early European farmers the Iberian Neolithic groups show the highest genetic affinities to present-day Sardinians suggesting that the modern population of the island are relatively direct descendants of these early Mediterranean farmers. Later, Iberian Chalcolithic populations derive from the interbreeding between incoming farmers and native hunter-gatherers3. In turn, these Chaloclithic groups are closely related to modern day Basques whom appeared to be isolated since the Late Neolithic3. Finally, genetic similarities between Middle to Late Neolithic farmers from Ireland and Iberia potentially suggest the latter to be the origin of the Megalithic culture which spread along the Atlantic coast and later reached the British Isles and Scandinavia7."

I have to go back and check the Hofmanova paper, but I think this is their basic conclusion as well, i.e. that there were two initial streams of the EEF into Europe. Given the population crashes in central Europe, perhaps more than half of the EEF ancestry in modern Europeans stems from the coastal Cardial route and the succeeding Megalithic one? It would vary by area in Europe, of course.

I'll try to find the citation for that paper that claimed that the Neolithic in the Paris basin was a mix of the coastal and Danubian Neolithic groups. If someone has it to hand, could you provide it?

As to the comment about Sardinians, they do indeed seem to be the most similar to the original EEF people, but I don't think it's because there's been continuity on the island since the Early Neolithic. As Hofmanova et al pointed out, I think, it may well be that they are actually descended from the Copper Age people of the Balkans, "Old Europe" if you weill. After the Sardinians, almost everything I've seen shows that the succeeding populations in order of similarity are the Tuscans, then the Northern Italians, then the mainland Greeks and the Iberians in various orders. I'll try to find the time to find that reference in Hofmanova as well.

Interesting that they don't find any North African in these Neolithic groups. I wonder if they mean in terms of uniparental results, autosomal or both? So, perhaps the North African signature did all come in much later? Then I'll turn out to have been wrong about that.