April 24, 2013

Synthesis of the Spanish-language series on the expansion of H. sapiens (2)

One of the reasons I have been a bit too saturated and maybe not writing as much as usual is that I am collaborating in a series in Spanish language for the blog Noticias de Prehistoria - Prehistoria al Día.

I already mentioned last month the initial article[es] of the series by David Sánchez, which dealt with the African Middle Paleolithic (MSA, Lupembian, Aterian, etc.) We have not been idle in the meantime but actually wrote a number of other articles that may well be of your interest:

There is still a lot to do for the series to be complete but the time for a synthetic review in this blog is quite overdue. I will skip the brief intro to population genetics on the belief that most readers here have a decent idea, but the other three articles ask for due mention.

Expansion of H. sapiens in Africa (genetic viewpoint)

This is something that complements David's analysis of the African MP and that to a great extent I dealt with already at my former blog Leherensuge. I like graphs and maps because they often tell more than just words:

Basic mtDNA tree of Humankind
Branch length is proportional to coding region mutations from root per PhyloTree v.15 (L0k excepted)

We can see in this graph two main "moments" of diversification or expansion:
  1. The L0 and L2-6 nodes, followed soon by the L1 and L0a'b'f'k nodes
  2. The L0a'b'f, L0d and L2'3'4'6 nodes
The latter may well be calibrated with the archaeological evidence for the arrival of H. sapiens (MSA) to Southern Africa (L0d), which may be as old as 165 Ka but shows a clear increase in density since c. 130 Ka. I'd rather lean for the later date, that is roughly coincidental with the beginning of the Abbassia Pluvial, which must have provided good opportunities for expansion also in more northernly latitudes (the other nodes).

The first expansion is harder to estimate but c. 160 Ka. is a time in which we can see some of the first signs of expansion of our species within Africa (Jebel Irhoud and the already mentioned first Southern African MSA) so it is a tentative date. 

The geography of both expansions should be as follows (based on the raw data of Behar 2008):

Approx. geography of the first expansion of H. sapiens
(Purple dotted area indicates the max. likelihood for 'mtDNA Eve' location)
Approx. geography of the second expansion of H. sapiens

I also mentioned the expansion of L3, which preludes the migration Out of Africa, but this was already discussed in this entry.

Arrival to Arabia and Palestine

While most of the entries I am doing for this series deal with the genetic aspects, in this case I worked mostly with the archaeology, recycling many materials that are readily available in this blog and achieving the following synthetic map (recycling one by Armitage 2011) as central element of the article:

In addition to reviewing the archaeological discoveries of the last few years (and few older ones) I also discussed the issue of Neanderthal admixture, which most likely happened in this phase, and the possibility of some L(xM,N) lineages found in Arabia being from this period (see here).

Synthesis of Asian Prehistory

The last article so far in the series, authored by David Sánchez, has been published just today and is a very good visual review of the complex archaeological record of most of Asia in the period that interests us (most Middle Paleolithic with marginal mention of the earliest UP of West Asia, Siberia and neighboring areas, which will be reviewed more in depth in later articles). Probably the maps say it all, although we must understand that they only consider the best known sites:

Prior to Toba event (120-74 Ka BP)
(open circles: human remains, dots: other archaeological sites)
(notice that the date of Narmada hominin is most unclear, what is not reflected in the map)
Blue: 74-45 Ka BP
(stars: Neanderthal sites, open circles: other human remains, dots: archaeological sites, black: previous map)
Red: 45-35 Ka BP
(stars: neanderthal sites, open circles: other human remains, dots: archaeological sites, black & blue: previous maps)
Green: later expansion of H. sapiens in Northern Asia
(stars: Neanderthals, open circles: other human remains, dots: other archaeological sites, black, blue & red: previous maps)

I must say that the design of the maps is not quite the way I would have done myself but is still interesting. Very especially I miss lots of info on post-Toba South Asia. Also the Altai transition is not really well explained in my understanding. On the other hand East Asia is full of details and the overall picture of the archaeology of the Eurasian expansion is well described nonetheless.

PS- from the commentaries by David at his blog, it seems clear that he gives for granted the occupation of South Asia after Toba and therefore he did not consider it important to mark any more recent sites in the subcontinent. 


    1. Whatever their flaws, I find the Maps 1-3 of Asia particularly good. They incorporate many data points that would not have come easily to mind otherwise. The five post-Toba, pre-Australian/Papuan data points in Asia on Map 2 are particularly convincing in arguing for a fairly prompt post-Toba modern human settlement of Asia, while the question marks on the two pre-Toba Chinese data points are likewise appropriate IMHO. Map 3 likewise does a good job of showing the point at which there is a clear, widespread modern human presence throughout Asia in the archaeological record which provides some sense of how comprehensive the archaeological work to date has been in the region.

      1. Indeed. The maps are generally very interesting and I had not noticed any flaws before I began posting here (and I had seen them several times before, so surely my own fault to begin with). The East Asian level of detail particularly is impressive and highly informative.

      2. Updated with "PS" note on how the lack of info in post-Toba South-Asia is intentional (assumed to be inhabited since the beginning).

    2. Hello for all; Maju just now i update the map 3 with Salawasu site, Mongolia, wich is dated in 35 ka bp.

      1. OK, I will change the map. Thanks a lot.

    3. It is also striking how thin the archaelogical record is in Iran (presumbably due to lack of research and not lack of evidence out there to be discovered), given its key central location - a gap that seems to be on the path to being closed in Arabia. I have to think that there are a lot of petroleum geologists who have worked in Iran who are aware of potential sites but for whatever reasons good, bad or indifferent have kept silent about their existence.

      Another possibility, given the small number of finds marked in Central Asia where I know there has been a lot of archaeology done, is that there is a wealth of information, including Iranian data (a Russian ally for much of the post-1979 period), that is in Russian (or Soviet) scholarly journals that are not widely available in the West.

      1. There's some more stuff in Iran AFAIK but Western Eurasia was not dealt in depth here but, because of my suggestion, will be discussed mostly in another article to come.

        But it's largely an arid plateau, what does not just make inhabitation difficult in glacial conditions (too arid and too cold) but also tends to destroy the evidence via erosion. Iranian Paleolithic archaeology is concentrated at the Zagros, near Iraq and Turkey.

        FYI: Iran was not a Soviet ally. It was a US ally until the revolution that ended with the ayatollahs in power in the 1979. The URSS collapsed few years later and they never got along too well (islamists don't tolerate communism). You must be thinking of Afghanistan or something.

      2. Ally is probably too strong a word, but Russian has done more to stick up for Iranian perogatives in contexts like the U.N. Security Council than the U.S. for most of the relevant time period, has had more of an arms trade with Iran than the West, has been less critical of its human rights violations, and in general, has had somewhat more normalized relations with Iran than the U.S. or the countries of the E.U. in the post-1979 era. I suspect that if there were any archaeologists doing work in Iran in that time period that there have been more from historically communist countries than there have been from Western countries.

        I also wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the possibilties of preservation of key archaeological materials in Iran. Most importantly, Iran has plenty of caves and caves are often excellent for preserving archaeological materials over the relevant time frames - a very large share of all Neanderthal ancient DNA comes from remains discovered in caves and caves in far less favorable environments from Greece to Denisova to Zomia to Flores to China to Peru have produced important finds in the past. Also, Iran avoided some important episodes of intentional looting or destruction of antiquities in South Asia, the Roman Empire, Afghanistan, Egypt and the Sahel, to name just a few. Parts of Iran have also had a fairly "light touch" from the various historical empires that have purported to rule them over the millenia. And, glacial eras at high alitudes may have likewise kept humans who might otherwise have destroyed antiquities away from them for many thousands of years when they would have been accessible had they been at lower altitude. My sense is that the concentration of archaeology at the Zagros has been more a function of convenience sampling than a genuine assessment that the likelihood of finding something elsewhere in Iran is low.

      3. Many European states, notably Germany, have also been collaborating with Iran as much as they could. Years ago at least Germany was the main foreign trade partner of Iran, even some of its nuclear technology is Siemens (although Siemens recently abandoned the nuclear business altogether, following the Fukushima catastrophe, where it was also involved, along with GE). The infamous STUXNET virus was designed to damage Siemens computers specifically.

        Anyhow, Iran has been conducting archaeological research in recent times at Jiroft for example. Unlike Saudi Arabia, which is a most extremist Islamist regime, the one of Iran can be considered "moderate" by comparison and even scientific and progressive (always by comparison to Saudia). You are here speculating and not speaking on facts as far as I can tell.

        Said that, there is quite a lack of interest in most Islamic states towards archaeology. And in this category we should include countries like Morocco (where the religious disdain for prehistory combines with the anti-Berber Arabist ideology), Pakistan and many others. Not all but much of the archaeology of those areas was conducted in colonial times. However the recent research in Arabia shows that, when there is real academic interest, these prejudices are sidelined and research can proceed.

        "I also wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the possibilties of preservation of key archaeological materials in Iran".

        I did not mean that. I mean that semi-arid plateaus like the Anatolian one are not favorable for preservation because erosion (and not sedimentation) predominates. This is also probably the case in the Iranian plain. So you have to search in specific areas and environments like the Zagros mountains, etc.

        "My sense is that the concentration of archaeology at the Zagros has been more a function of convenience sampling than a genuine assessment that the likelihood of finding something elsewhere in Iran is low".

        I can't say for sure but I doubt that a war-plagued region like Kurdistan is a "convenient" place to dig. Hopefully you are right and the future will provide us with more and more archaeological data elsewhere in that area - but in general my sense says that you're speculations are a bit gratuitous.

    4. I have to be completely honest, I believe that if we study ancient dna, that is palaeolithic from all areas of the world and not just Europe and the Americas, (have any of you ever seen a non-European/native American Paleolithic sample with mtdna or y-dna cause I haven't excluding Neanderthals denisovans and other NON-AMH, if you give it to be I will be more then please and mungo-man was either contaminated or its not -AMH -excludinf talforalt and the body in china) the out of Africa theory will be disproved. I predicted that the bell beakers would have a high frequency of both haplogroups R1b and H on dna-forums a couple of years ago. I was mocked on the now defunct dna-forums, in fact bringing up that was what got me banned. THe out of africa theroy will be disproven if people study palaeolithic dna from Arabia, India and Africa, particcular if we get samples that are at least 20,000 years old. The first reason the out of africa theory is weak is because it relies almost entirely on modern human dna. No ancient dna evidence was ever indictaive of the out of African hypothesis. THe U in Europe doesn't prove it the neanderthals dosen't prove it? No human has ever been sample in africa that is older than the 10,000 years old other than teforalt which dosen't prove the OAA theory. If the OOA hypothesis is to be a theory people need to study ancient remains of DNA in Africa that are more than 10KYA. How do we know that L and A and b and E are not recent additions to the near east. IN addition to this, I believe the phylogenic tree may be etirely fake, just like haplogroup A tree was totally wrong a couple of years ago, the sample may be true for macro-haplogropu L, perhaps M and N are not descendent of L3? Are they sister clades? Perhaps M and N and L3 come from Arabia while the others come from East Africa? if mungo man is authenic it was like the nenaerthals as it was highly distinct from amh. Perhaps A00 comes from the Neanderthals? or maybe even A1A. i am just saying that the out of africa hypothesis should not be a theory because of ancient dna, no ancient dna has even been extracted from South asia, non from ssa or east africa more than 10kya, and non from the near east or north Africa that's more than 12kya.

      1. It'd be nice if you cut paragraphs (line break = enter key) now and then. It's very difficult to read such an unstructured long text. You should read your own comments before publishing to be sure you can actually read them comfortably (there's a preview feature I believe).

        There is aDNA from China: Tianyuan: B4'5* and another Epipaleolithic B sample also, both from near Beijing.

        "... dosen't prove the OAA theory".

        DNA diversity/phyliogeny and archaeological evidence prove it. I'm not willing to discuss fringe hypothesis here, thanks.

        "How do we know that L and A and b and E are not recent additions to the near east".

        My own estimations (based on Behar 2008 data) suggest that some L(xM,N) lineages in Arabia are too old to be recent.

        "perhaps M and N are not descendent of L3?"

        That's pretty much unquestionable: 'Eve' → L1-6 → L2-6 → L2'3'4'6 → L3'4'6 → L3'4 → L3 → M/N.

        I don't know how you DON'T know it: this issue has been researched in depth in the last two decades. It was not known initially (hence the names: M, N, L) but it soon became obvious that they were not at all parallel and that L was ancestral and actually includes all the Human phylogeny.

    5. All i was saying in the previous post was that not enough ancient dna evidence exists to make any theories about the exact origin of human king expansion. Perhaps if people studied paleolithic mtdna they might find B y-dna in ancient India, and non-AMH in ancient Africa at about 50-100kya. IN addition to this scientists appear to want the out of Africa theory to be true which may screw the phylogeny. Scientists are darwinists, I belive in evolution but darwin may have been wrong in almost every way about how it took place.he was born before modern tech and dna and appears to have been something of a racialist and that may have scewed his views on the origins of humans. Modern scientists appear to not want to disprove darwin at all which may lead to fake science, plenty of people believe in darwinism, but more people belive in the non-nonsensical theory about creationism and the number of these people is growing due to islam. I don't care how many people belive it it does not make it true and I am looking for the truth. And to conclude the fact is modern scientists do not know where we come from mostly due to a lack of ancient dna and therefore should be careful when it comes to designing theorems and created phloygenys the out ooa is just a hypothesis until proven otherwise by dna and wikipedia should refer to it that way as well as major institutions. I am not a lone wolf major institutions such as RJGG also challenge the ooa hypo.

      1. No: in this case there's no error: the phylogeny, with whatever minor adjustments that may be needed as we learn more and more, is well established. Certainly there's no dogma in it either.

        You're probably reading too much to some crazy Russian that goes by the name of German Dziebel who has decided on his own that Humankind originated in America because of his own "kinship" cultural theories. Archeology and DNA go against his pet conjecture? No matter: he's willing to challenge everything... to no avail.

        Don't bother insisting on this please, although if you have specific doubts I'll be glad to clarify them.

    6. I am just looking for the truth and not trying to fight. If anyone has ancient DNA (not-antro hogwash the way people look can change fast due to the enviroment and natural selection) that proves that humankind comes from africa present it and I will support it. Otherwise we cant know and shouldn't make theories.

      1. It's very difficult that DNA is preserved in hot latitudes, don't sweat it. Also Eurocentric researchers are usually not too interested in working in the tropics. Said that, it's possible that in the future some aDNA will be rescued and sequenced also in Africa but we can only wait patiently till that happens.

      2. Daniel, I fully agree with you, Darwinists don't believe there's a god, but their savior is Darwin.
        They praise him like a god. I have no problem with the OOA "theory" it's the way they present it and try to shove it down your throat before you can at least chew it first and then swallow it. But my personal problem is I've been chewing on it for awhile now, but haven't been able to swallow it fully the way they try to present their "theory". I have a video of Chris Stringer explaining evolution on you tube, at the end of his presentation he is confused as all of us with no concrete evidence for an evolution hypothesis, a lot of if's maybe's could have's but no solid evidence.

      3. Evolution is not a "hypothesis" but a very well proven theory. Stringer is a bit of a jerk but that doesn't falsify evolution.

        I'd appreciate if you'd bring your superstitions elsewhere. Also feel free to read the Bible in full and get the hell out scared of what a jerk Yaveh is, if he exists at all, what is so far unproven. Luckily for us the Bible is just a weird hypothesis with zero evidence behind.

        Idolaters of words! Idolaters of books! Idolaters of old rotten paper! If there's a God, its word is the Universe as it is, evolution included. Damn idolaters of paper!

      4. Maju, I know this is off topic, and I don't want to turn this into some type of you're right and I'm wrong or bible vs evolution, but I really don't hold too much thought on the bible, I read it once and it was enough for me, I'm not a holy roller. I don't hold my thoughts on evolution because the Bible told me so. I'm not that type of a spiritual person.
        I do not believe life started 4K yrs ago.
        The bible says there were humans with wings that came down from heaven, darwinsts say dinosaurs grew feathers. The bible says the woman came from the rib of Adam and darwinists say we diverged from apes not one of them hold more truth than the other.
        I could also say the same about you "Idolaters of words! Idolaters of books! Idolaters of old rotten paper"! (Darwin 130 yrs old) we could sit here all day going back and forth on this and in the end of it all we are still not sure of anything except words. But don't hang me because my thoughts are different than yours, I'm not bias against you because your belief's are different than mine.
        I respect you for who you are and in what you believe in.

    7. @Litos: JavaScript is not working properly so I have to reply aside:

      1. You were the one going off topic, Litos. If you think that's wrong, don't do it ever again.

      2. The Bible is not a scientific theory nor a scientific book nor is written by scientists of any sort. It's a lunatic book full of junk. You can believe in whatever you want but keep your unprovable ideas out of the scientific debate... unless you have evidence.

      It's not "Darwin says" vs "the lunatics who wrote the Bible" says: I am not believing in Darwin and in fact I have never read what Darwin wrote (although I have watched some documentaries, of course, and am generally familiar): evolution is simply put OBVIOUS: you look around and there it is and I don't care about dinosaurs here but about chimpanzees and us (for example): genetics tell it all: that is "Da Book"!

      If Darwin would not have existed, it'd be Wallace, and if nobody could have stated the obvious before us, we would have to be the ones to do it. It is simply obvious, whoever is not blinded by absurd superstitions can't but see it everywhere.

      Similarly anyone who reads the Bible without prejudices sees very evil teachings of patriarchy, sexism, xenophobia, body mutilation, etc. mixed with absurd teachings that we know are wrong and that demonstrate it's all a lie. "At the beginning was the Verb"... begins the crappy book, what means: it's all chatter, blah-blah... even that is obvious. Besides that the "god" of the Bible is so obviously arrogant, capricious and inconsistent that we can only forgive him, if at all, because of its imaginary nature. But we cannot forgive the men and women who imposed such evil oppressive ideology on our roots and keep trying to oppress us in the name of a The Biggest Lie Ever (no evidence needed, just blind faith).

      Spare us and give yourself, please a good dispassionate reading of the OT (Leviticus for example), and then question please the sanity of your imaginary "god".

      The real Divinity, if there is any, is not in that absurd narration... but in REALITY as it is, in full (sure that it includes the Bible, but only in the corner of absurd lies, demonstrating the contradictory nature of REALITY, of PACHA MAMA: Time and Space).

    8. Maju, Why are you going off on the bible? I already told you I really don't care too much about it.

      When I said,
      "The bible says there were humans with wings that came down from heaven, darwinsts say dinosaurs grew feathers. The bible says the woman came from the rib of Adam and darwinists say we diverged from apes"

      I was being sarcastic towards both not just one.
      You mean to tell me you never read anything that Darwin wrote? Well, your idols did every each one of them. 99% of the scientific community follows Darwin's lectures. I'm surprised you didn't know this.

      "The descent of man"


      It starts exactly like what you stated about Chimps and us and our evolution from ape to human.
      If this is not idol worshiping than I don't know what is on both instances. (meaning bible & evolution)

      But I'm not here to argue with you nor anyone else about anything, I was only simply replying to Daniel and his convictions on the topic of Darwinism.
      sorry I hit a soft note with you, I didn't mean anything fallacious by it.

    9. The out of Africa theory has been disproven all we need is more ancient dna. Historically, the west (in Evolution mostly England) has been in a fight with the Islamic world. Even when the west acted kind towards the islamic world, the Islamic world ran it down. English scientists were never allowed any where near ancient human or archaeological remind in the Arabian Peninsula. They still are not allowed in the western Arabian peninsula. This is because Darwinists are rarely Islamic, and non-islamic folk are not allowed in the holy-land of Islam which is the Arabian Peninsula particular the western Arabian peninsula. Ironically africans that not muslim (and even ones that are muslims) are far more tolerant towards western Archeologists than Islamic- Arabians who do not even allow women to drive. So western scientist have been allowed to study in Africa and have found bones that were thought to prove that humans come from Africa, nevertheless this is not fair as few scientists have even been allowed into the Arabian peninsula. Fortunately genetics proves out of Arabia. Haplogroup L0a is at its highest frequency in the hadromaut, haplogroup L6 is only found in yeman. This is not from slaves haplogroup L6 is more common in yeman than in Africa. ANd haplogroup L0a is found at its highest frequency in the hadromaut even though half of the people their dont even have L YEMEN has all types of L and m, and N in additon to this the oldest types of E have been found in Saudi Arabia.

      1. "The out of Africa theory has been disproven"...

        Exceptional claims need exceptional evidence and you provide none.

        "Haplogroup L0a is at its highest frequency in the hadromaut"...

        Frequency means little (diversity does) and also it is false: L0a is most common in Africa. From my notes on Behar 2008:
        _____>L0a1a [Nile, Burkina, scattered, Bissau, Chad]
        _____>>L0a1b [L0a1b*: Sudan, Chad]
        _______>L0a1b1 [S. Africa, Morocco]
        _______>L0a1b2 [Arabia]
        ______>>L0a1c [Ethiopia, Iran]
        ______>L0a1d [Ethiopia, Yemen]
        _____________>L0a2a1 [SA, Kenya]
        _____________>>L0a2a2 [SA, Arabia, Sindh]
        ___________>>>>>L0a2b [Pygmy]
        ___________>>>>>>>>L0a2c [Ethiopia]
        ___________>>L0a2d [Kenya]
        _____>>>>>>>>>>>>>L0a3 [Chad]
        _____>>>>>>>>>>>L0a4 [Kenya]

        So too many basal are only found in Africa: L0a3 and L0a4, most of L0a2 (excepted only L0a2a2) and L0a1 (only L0a1b has important presence outside of Africa). This actually proves the OoA and IMO residual survival of some OoA lineages in Arabia. L0a is just a subclade of a subclade of a subclade... anyhow: even if you'd be right, which you're not, it'd prove nothing on its own.

        What you say about the Arabian archaeology or lack of it is mostly a nonsense. It's probable that Saudi Arabia does not allow archaeology in the Mecca-Medina area but Petraglia has been digging in the North and Center of the country and Yemen also is rather well explored. We know most of what we need to know: AMH presence in Arabia and Palestine began c. 125 Ka ago, not before (in Africa we have remains from at least 190 Ka BP instead).

        Anyhow too many comments without specific, valid content. Consider this your first warning because I want serious commenters, not erratic minds. Your comment is not really understandable except if you mean to spell the phrase 'ARROGANT IGNORANCE'. Your other (too many) comments also seem to produce nothing of value but pointless work for me (reading, replying, warning, etc.)

        I'm too old and grumpy so please spare me your dogma.

    10. http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2011/12/nubian-complex-in-southern-arabia-106.html

      in addition to this Saudi Arabia does not allow diggings so it probably has many more grave sites.

    11. Yeman has M.N L3 L6 L0a R, HV UK all at a high frequency

      1. You seem to have no idea of what do those letters mean. I'd suggest you begin by understanding the Phylogenetic tree: http://www.phylotree.org/

        Read and learn.


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