January 1, 2017

Ancient aboriginal DNA from El Hierro (Canary Islands)

The island of El Hierro (lit. The Iron) is one of the westernmost of the Canary Islands. I have never visited but it seems to be very beautiful, far enough from the Sahara to enjoy a warm yet humid climate. It wasn't far enough to remain uninhabited however and now we get to know something more about its original dwellers, generally known as Guanches (although technically this name only applied to the inhabitants of La Palma originally).

Alejandra C. Ordóñez et al., Genetic studies on the prehispanic population buried in Punta Azul cave (El Hierro, Canary Islands). Journal of Archaeological Science 2016. Pay per viewLINK [doi:10.1016/j.jas.2016.11.004]


The aim of this study was to establish the genetic studies of the population from one of the most important known aboriginal funerary spaces of the island of El Hierro (Canary Islands), the Punta Azul cave, which harbors remains of 127 individuals. Sixty-one adult tibiae were examined, 32 left and 29 right. Radiocarbon dating yields an antiquity of 1015–1210 AD. We have obtained an overall success rate of 88.5% for the molecular sexing, and of 90.16% for the uniparental markers. Short tandem repeats (STR) profiles were also possible for 45.9% of the samples. This performance is a consequence of the good conservation of the bones in their archaeological context. The mtDNA composition of the sample is characterized by the complete fixation of the H1-16260 lineage. These results can be explained by a mixture of consecutive founding events, a bottleneck episode at the beginning of the colonization and/or as a consequence of genetic drift. Paternal lineages were also affected by these processes but in a less acute way. These differences lead us to propose social behaviors as an explanation for this difference. The maternal transmission of the lineages, mentioned in ethnohistorical sources of the Archipelago, could be an explanation. These results could be in agreement with endogamous practices, but the autosomal STR results indicate a relative high diversity. These results have allowed us to characterize the Punta Azul cave population and see the way in which geographical isolation, the process of adaptation and specific social behaviors affected the aboriginal population of the Island.

And now the interesting stuff, the findings:

As should be expected, the remote and rather small western island, which is the most direct threat to the security of the USA and the Western World in general because of the danger its volcano may slide into the Ocean and cause a huge tsunami of devastating consequences, something that no nuclear arsenal can do anything against, shows clear indication of very strong genetic drift relative to its relatives of the larger islands, caused either by founder effects and/or endogamous drift. Otherwise it is within the general patterns for the pre-colonial islanders. 

We see a lot of likely mtDNA H and certain Y-DNA R1b1a2. The Canary Islands were settled c. 1000 BCE (11,000 HE) by people arrived from what is now Morocco and the Western Sahara. They seem to retain a somewhat archaic genetic pool, relatively rich in Europe-related genetic elements, not so abundant at all today in Northwest Africa anymore, and by this I mean of course very especially Y-DNA haplogroups I and R1b. While we can still find some R1b in NW Africa, haplogroup I is almost impossible to find nowadays, yet it was present in the Canary Islands prior to European conquest and nearly disappeared afterwards (so it's definitely not a colonial input, accidentally misidentified, not at all). 

See also: Leherensuge: Ancient Guanche Y-DNA.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Reminding you that you were banned long ago, DD.

  2. mHG H1 certainly has an old history in NorthWest Africa but yHG R1b1a2 doesn't. R1b1a2 in aboriginals just tells us they weren't completely isolated from Iberians before they were conquered by Iberians.

    1. They were isolated, except via mainland NW Africa. There's no archaeological link whatsoever between pre-colonial Canarias and Iberia: they settled from NW Africa rather late in time (3-3.5 thousand years ago), remaining mostly isolated until the modern colonization (they didn't even get Islam, go figure!, they were in the Neolithic all the time, Chalcolithic at most but only from a cultural sense -- no metals used).

      So we must consider them as a "fossil" of what parts of Neolithic/Chalcolithic North Africa used to be. There are founder effects involved no doubt but they came from NW Africa and nowhere else with 99.99% certainty.

      So any link we can establish with Iberia or Europe in general is via a NW Africa that may have changed more than we imagine in the Iron Age and maybe later. We know from linguistics that proto-Berber is quite recent, that modern Berber languages all stem from a single precursor that may be from the time of Rome or a bit older: that to my eyes implies internal NW African ethnic changes still going on in the region in the Iron Age, probably flattening some of the diversity we can still perceive among Guanches.

      Whether R1b and I2 arrived to NW Africa with Iberomaurusian or later in the Neolithic, I can't say, but they seem to have shrunk since then in favor of E1b and J1.

    2. I'm unsure if you realize how far south the Canary Islands are: they are right in front of the Sahara desert, south of the Draa seasonal river that marks by the coast the northern border of the Sahara desert, a total Edge of the World as known to ancients. It's possible that Phoenicians (who first circumnavigated Africa for the Pharaohs and later explored as far south as Cameroon at least) visited them but that's about it. For Greeks and Romans it was a legendary place, known only by name and legends fabricated out of the similitude of the ethnonym "Canarii" and the Latin word "canis" (dog), no contact whatsoever was ever reported and even the one attributed to Juba of Mauritania is quite doubtful. Nearby Madeira, farther to the North remained uninhabited and unknown to sailors until the 14th century.

      No dolmens, no beakers, no Atlantic Bronze artifacts... nothing that can connect them either to the sailor populations of Western Europe (no wonder, as the islands were colonized only very late). The islands were isolated all the time except for some NW Africans and maybe the rarest of Phoenician visitors -- even for them it was a far away land and there is no objective evidence of any actual contact, such as could be beads, steel items or even pottery, mostly it's speculated that Hanno might have visited them in his journey to Equatorial Africa and back, but with no specific evidence nor record either. Late Hispano-Romans seem to have known their geography a bit better, naming each of the islands and little more -- they were still the Edge of the Known World for them, although they tempted Plutarch as place for an early retirement, allegedly.

      The Arabs did not visit them much either (no penetration of Islam whatsoever) and they were only really explored in the 14th century, when some Iberians and Italians did visit them repeatedly, a key stepping stone in the later voyages of exploration. In 1350 a bishopric was established by Majorca and since 1402 Castile proceeded to conquer them, quite brutally (again a precursor of what would later happen in America).

    3. And another issue: we do see Y-DNA I2 to vanish after the conquest (on the other hand R1a increases). This should ring very odd IF the lineage is to be attributed to mystery Iberian contacts.

      We're talking of a lineage that, per Fregel 2009, made up 7% of the Canarian patrilineal pool and that in Iberia overall only makes up about the same fraction (6% per Adams 2008). R1b, a necessary comparison, made up c. 10% among Guanches but 55% in Iberia. Even if we go to the region of Spain where I is most common (Aragon, 18%, largely the Sardinian-Pyrenean clade AFAIK), R1b is still more than twice that figure (38%, always per Adams), not to mention that Aragon has no coast. So one must bend all evidence and all logic a lot in order to jump to your conclusion, really: we should find much more R1b than I if those lineages came directly from some mystery Iberian "contact" (a very intense "contact" in any case, as it makes up 17% of the Guanche patrilineal pool, for which there's no other evidence). Instead I rather find infinitely more parsimonious that the Guanche patrilineal pool reflects a subset of NW African ancient diversity that was probably shrinking already at the time of the settlement of the islands.

    4. Another thing I just found: Y-DNA I seems relatively common among Nubians, etc.:

      → http://anthromadness.blogspot.com/2016/10/sudanese-arab-and-nubian-mtdna-is.html

      And it might even be associated there to mtDNA U6a1, which arrived there from NW Africa and/or Iberia for all I know (only this sublineage made it to NE Africa and later probably back to the NW with Capsian culture).

    5. R1b1a2 was probably in Iberia before 1500 BC. It's therefore possible the Canary Islands had contact with Iberians in NW Africa before they ever settled the Canary Islands. I doubt the Canary Islands were completely Isolated. they could have had contact with NW Africa which had contact with Iberia and that chain of connections could give the Canary islands R1b1a2.

      R1b1a2 has not been found in any remains from Europe older than 2600 BC. It probably wasn't an important lineage in pre-Bronze age Europe so I don't think it's probable that R1b1a2 in the Canary islands is from pre-Bronze age Europe. Bronze age-Modern Iberia is the best candidate as the source of R1b1a2 in the Canary Islands.

      "So one must bend all evidence and all logic a lot in order to jump to your conclusion, really: we should find much more R1b than I if those lineages came directly from some mystery Iberian "contact""

      Maybe NW Africa had contact with Mesolithic Iberia(mostly I2) and Bronze age Iberia(mostly R1b1a2). The Y DNA makeup of regions changes overtime because of founder effects and migration. Iberia is no exception. When I refer to Iberian admixture I'm referring to modern Iberians or Iberians from any era.

    6. What Y-DNA lineages do you associate with the arrival of European mtDNA (and clearly also autosomal DNA) to North Africa? For sure that almost half of the mtDNA pool was not caused by some random girl who got lost in the dangerous currents of the Strait, in fact you need at least a few dozen unrelated women and for that bunch of lost souls to be then extremely successful. In my book that's a fully fledged migration with lots of men as well, yet the men (their Y-DNA) is almost nowhere to be seen today... except in I and R1b, which are popping up at the less reformed margins: the Canary Islands, the non-Afroasiatic Nubians of Sudan and so on.

      "The Y DNA makeup of regions changes overtime because of founder effects and migration".

      That's like saying that the Sea is wet and the Sun shiny, meaning what? It's a pointless remark unless you are more specific. Exactly which founder effects and which migrations are you appealing to? Particularly re. Y-DNA I2, because you can imagine all you want re. R1b being "Neolithic" (maybe) or "Indoeuropean" (impossible) but what about I2? We know for a fact that it was very important in Europe in the Upper Paleolithic and that it seems to have declined (at least in Germany and its periphery) since then. Let's talk about Y-DNA I among Guanches and Nubians, OK?

      "Iberia is no exception."

      I'm not debating Iberia even, but North Africa, Iberia is merely a control population and also a plausible source (for reasons archaeological, geographic and of mtDNA at the very least). And you can appeal all you want to conjectured changes because, until we have a good sequence for the region, we can say very little. And so far the only sequences we have are of mtDNA and in many cases (Central Navarre, North Burgos), not others surely, continuity is striking since Neolithic and to some extent even since earlier dates. In other cases (Portugal) the limited data suggests: (1) a good deal of continuity between Paleo- and Neolithic populations and (2) a late "Neolithization" (mtDNA N(xH,U) roughly) of the genetic pool probably with the Indoeuropean arrival.

      Sure, it's possible that a so far non-existent Y-DNA data set may teach us many things, probably contradicting both you and me at the same time (it has happened before), but until such data is available, all we have is mtDNA and that says what it says.

    7. PS- In the last bloc, where I say "sequences", I mean "chronological sequences" (of Y-DNA), it may be confusing with "genetic sequences", which is not what I meant (although it is of course a matter of chronological sequences of genetic sequences in specific regional frames, but the emphasis is in "chronological": several time-points for the same region with something more than just isolated individuals).

    8. "What Y-DNA lineages do you associate with the arrival of European mtDNA (and clearly also autosomal DNA) to North Africa?"

      How do you know mHG H1, H3, V are European? The only evidence these are European haplogroups is modern DNA. That isn't good evidence. Why couldn't have Europe and NW Africa received those haplogroups from the same non-European ancestor?

      mHG H and V didn't exist in pre-Neolithic Europe or at least were very rare. The only studies which have reported mHG H from pre-Neolithic Europe are for clear reasons untrust worthy. Both H and V first appear in Europe when Anatolian or Aegean or Levant farmers arrived in the Neolithic. H1, H3, and V were particularly frequent in Neolithic Spain and France. See here...


      U5b is the primary mtDNA legacy of Mesolithic Iberians. Autosomal analysis gives Chalcolithic Spanish about 20-30% Mesolithic ancestry. That's not enough to account for their 14% U5b along with 27% H1+H3+V.

      NW Africans are mostly descended from people similar to Neolithic Anatolians and Levanties. So if H and V were brought to Iberia from that region that region could have also given NW Africa those haplogroups.

      "Exactly which founder effects and which migrations are you appealing to? "

      First the Neolithic migration of Near Eastern farmers East which brought mHGs H1, H3, and V to Europe. Second the Late Neolithic migration of Pontic Caspien folk which brought yHG R1b1a2. R1b-P312 is a founder effect. Some 90% of Iberian R1b is P312 therefore it's safe to assume few Iberians had R1b before around 2600 BC. None of the afromentioned haplogroups existed in pre-Neolithic Europe at high frequencies.

      "but what about I2?"

      A single European population need not have given NW AFrica all of its European Y DNA. Mesolithic Iberians could have given NW Africa I2 and Bronze age Iberians could have given it R1b1a2.

    9. "And so far the only sequences we have are of mtDNA and in many cases (Central Navarre, North Burgos), not others surely, continuity is striking since Neolithic and to some extent even since earlier dates."

      In terms of haplogroup frequencies there isn't mtDNA continum between Neolithic/Chalcolithic and modern Iberia.


      I believe a mixture of migration and natural selection changed mHG frequencies. See here...


      Neolithic Europeans belonged to the same European-specific haplogroups as modern Europeans but at different frequencies. Plus there's also a bit of Steppe mtDNA in modern Europeans.

      "And you can appeal all you want to conjectured changes because, until we have a good sequence for the region, we can say very little."

      We have a good sequence from the Neolithic for large swathes of Europe. Look at supplmentary Data 1 in this paper.


      Here's a picture of an analysis done in Haak et al. 2015 in which all Europeans score mostly Neolithic Anatolian and Bronze age Yamnaya. So there isn't much Mesolithic continuum and for many parts of Europe not a lot of Neolithic continuum.


      To say H1, H3, and V in NW Africa are from Mesolithic Iberia or Europe IMO is wrong. To say they're from Neolithic Iberia or Europe IMO is very reasonable. To say R1b1a2 in NW Africa though is from Neolithic Iberia or Europe IMO is wrong.

    10. "How do you know mHG H1, H3, V are European? The only evidence these are European haplogroups is modern DNA".

      Not exactly: H in various forms (plus stuff that is most likely H but we cannot be 100% sure) has been popping up all around Europe (except in Germany-plus) for various pre-Neolithic periods: from the plausible H17'27 of the Sunghir siblings to the certain H1 of Karelian Epipaleolithic hunter-gatherers, from the likely H1 and other H of Epipaleolithic Portugal in Chandler 2005 to the certain H of Magdalenian Cantabria.

      Sure, while you don't look into the box, the cat is both alive and dead, of so say those of the Copenhagen school, however most other schools state that the cat is either alive or dead: there is no doubt, there is only one truth and all you have to do to find out is to open the lid, in our discussion: to sequence Western and Southern ancient Europeans (or Eastern Europeans as well, to get out of East Germany a bit, for a change). That's all, once you do: H pops up everywhere, the truth is that it was there all the time.

      And when you go to Syria, H is nowehere to be seen instead, let alone V or HV0, which is known to have existed in Europe (Italy at least) since Gravettian or so.

      I'm not ONLY appealing to modern DNA (the default fallback line when ancient DNA is not available in sufficient amounts or quality) but ALSO to ancient DNA. I do not KNOW 100% sure re. some of those lineages directly (H3 specifically) but all suggests that it was part of the pre-Neolithic genetic pool of Europe along with H1, HV0, U5, etc. The very fact that the lineages are found both in SW Europe and NW Africa is evidence in itself, as there are no Neolithic or post-Neolithic mechanisms to have carried them from either region to the other at such volumes: it MUST be a pre-Neolithic founder effect, one caused by the Iberomaurusian genesis from the South Iberian Solutrean, one that we now strongly suspect (almost certain) also carried U6 to Africa.

      "mHG H and V didn't exist in pre-Neolithic Europe or at least were very rare"

      That's a false claim: you are using selective samples from some areas of Europe. Europe is not and has never been until the late Middle Ages at least, Central and North Europe. Please study France, Britain, Iberia, Italy and the Balcans, then reassess that claim, thank you.


    11. ...

      "The only studies which have reported mHG H from pre-Neolithic Europe are for clear reasons untrust worthy."

      "Clear reasons" is because Jean Manco, a person who has strong vested interests (money, money, money) on certain interpretation of reality says so? Well, I don't make any money (other than the very rare and small donation) with this shit nor will ever, and I say exactly the opposite, and I feel as qualified as she may ever be (she's an ART historian!!!)

      The question is: why don't Southern European labs have the budget or even often the interest to make this kind of research? I can tell you why: austericide and ethnocidal guilt. Why North-Eastern European labs don't almost study Southern and Western Europe? I can tell you why as well: they don't get paid for that and also they may find inconvenient data that may change their theories. And scientists hate-hate-hate to be challenged in their theories, on which they make a living, bringing some of them to even cheat science.

      But never mind resource allocation and anti-scientific selfishness, the case is that we have extremely uneven samples with HUGE blanks, including those areas with greatest population densities in the Upper Paleolithic such as Aquitaine. What happens when someone does take a look at those areas (not Aquitaine but nearby Cantabria and Gipuzkoa, or Portugal, or Morocco)? Well, that H pops up everywhere.

      We are talking of a very large area with a major demographic and/or cultural importance in both the Paleolithic and the Neolithic/Chalcolithic that is either blank or full of H!!!

      So what the fuck are you talking about? Denying the evidence to fit your prejudices? That's cheating against science, that's the kind of tricks that creationists and flat-earthists make to "defend" their preconceptions. Spare me, thanks.

    12. "Both H and V first appear in Europe when Anatolian or Aegean or Levant farmers arrived in the Neolithic."

      That is just all kinds of FALSE for H (Cantabria, Gipuzkoa, Portugal, Karelia, Sunghir and North Morocco - even if not technically "Europe", clearly Europe-influenced). It may be "correct" for V (but not HV0, which is what can be detected with HVS-I methods) but in any case we have yet to see any V/HV0 in the Near Eastern Neolithic, right? Hence, even if we go for the "Neolithic model", then those farmers would have picked, almost necessarily those HV0/V lineages on the march, possibly in Italy or the Balcans (or wherever).

      "U5b is the primary mtDNA legacy of Mesolithic Iberians."

      Not per all studies I know of: Chandler 2005 (little U, lots of H in Epipaleolithic Portugal, a fundamental region to understand Megalithism and Bell Beaker), Hervella 2012 and Lacan 2011. I gather from their data that H was like 75-80% in Portugal and c. 35% in the Franco-Cantabrian region prior to Neolithic. Your use of "Europe" means basically: "Germany, Sweden and a handful of other samples" and nope: that is not "Europe", just a small and rather peripheral region.

      "NW Africans are mostly descended from people similar to Neolithic Anatolians and Levanties."

      Wrong again. NW Africans can be best described as a triple: Iberia+Levant+Sudan mix. IF they were only West Asian originated they would never display any significant affinity with Europeans and they do, it doesn't matter if it's me who makes the exercise of Brenna Henn: it's virtually the same result. And while the Levant+Sudan mix can be attributed to Capsian culture (both Mesolithic and Neolithic), the European component cannot; and, judging on the gender-bias of mtDNA (lots of European-like HGs and European-derived per Cherni) vs. Y-DNA (very little remaining of European-like HGs), the European component must be older and have suffered with the Capsian/Afroasiatic expansion. And does this model fit archaeology? Yes, it does.

    13. Well, this is your model:

      "First the Neolithic migration of Near Eastern farmers East which brought mHGs H1, H3, and V to Europe. Second the Late Neolithic migration of Pontic Caspien folk which brought yHG R1b1a2. R1b-P312 is a founder effect."

      First part: I already discussed and proven you wrong by several "fault lines". You're prejudicedly cherry-picking the data. Which were the mtDNA haplogroups of West Asian farmers?

      Certainly not H and check the data of your beloved manipulator Jean Manco herself, because barring the extremely unlikely claims on Tell Kurdu (wow, she's so "strict" with what doesn't fit her "theories" but so lax when the most dubious data fits them!) there is only 2/3 samples that fall within H and in no case within the mainline Western or North African H subclades such as H1, H3, H4 and H7 (or the oh-so-controversial, not really, H6 finding of Cantabria), only H2 and H5 -- and even those are rare in the West Asian Neolithic pool!!! There's also not a single case of V/HV0 at all!

      So what the fuck are you talking about?! Those lineages MUST have been picked on the march and not brought West from Asia, just as they picked I2 and probably some other stuff (R1b quite probably too).

      Second part: you know perfectly well that no Western nor proto-Western R1b has ever been found among Yamnaya peoples, nor either among "core" Corded Ware. Only one peripheral instance of R1b-U106 in Scandinavian Corded Ware (Single Burials culture), that's all. And that with extensive high-quality sampling of all the early Indoeuropean area: neither Yamna, nor Corded Ware nor Unetice fit that scheme.

      So where did Western R1b originated, particularly the most common R1b-S116 sublineage? IMNSHO, in France: that's what the reconstruction on modern distribution and diversity produces and that's also the area (at least between Navarre and Burgundy) where we do find very early modern mtDNA pools, suggesting that somehow they spread out successfully to conform the basis of modern "West-Europeanness" in terms genetic. How exactly this paved out I don't know yet: we need more data but the data we do have very strongly points there (and also suggests that the Bell Beaker phenomenon was strongly implicated, although we cannot exclude yet previous flows within Megalithism such as the Michelsberg expansion in Germany-plus, still unstudied in terms archaeogenetic, which may well be strongly related: they wiped out LBK after all).


    14. ...

      "In terms of haplogroup frequencies there isn't mtDNA continum between Neolithic/Chalcolithic and modern Iberia."

      Iberia is a very large and complex region and it clearly depends on what you look at specifically. You should never forget that in terms of area, the largest states in Europe are Russia, France and Spain, in this order, all the others are small in comparison (except Sweden, which is fourth). In terms demographic France has almost always been clearly dominant, even until the beginning of the Modern Age (when it had several times the population of Germany or Italy), only with the Industrial Revolution is when some areas of Central-North Europe (Britain, Germany) become more densely populated, really. Get this fact clear because otherwise you'll be judging ancient Europe with modern-colored glasses, what is a dramatic mistake.

      Anyway, looking in detail and not pooling the data, I do find striking instances of continuity:

      1. In the Basque Country (only mtDNA J is a clear "extra"): http://forwhattheywereweare.blogspot.com/2013/09/basque-and-other-european-origins.html -- this reference is also of interest for Portugal, discussed below.

      2. In North Burgos (distinct mtDNA pool, half of which is clearly Neo-Chalco): http://forwhattheywereweare.blogspot.com/2016/01/ancient-mtdna-from-megalithic-tomb-near.html

      3. In Burgundy (not Iberia at all but a key part of the semi-blank Western or SW European area that is crucial here): http://forwhattheywereweare.blogspot.com/2015/05/neolithic-mtdna-from-seine-basin.html

      In Portugal on the other hand, what we see is that there is an unusually very strong presence of mtDNA H (certain or likely), both in the Epipaleolithic, the Neolithic and the Chalcolithic but that such pool does not exist anymore today (actually Portugal has one of the lowest H frequencies in all Western Europe). And again the striking feature is lots of extra mtDNA JT, so IMO the Indoeuropean or Celtic invaders (which ravaged the Western Iberian once so productive regions c. 700 BCE) brought to Portugal lots of mtDNA J (or JT), as well as N(xR), i.e. the main Neolithic lineages. They also brought some extra U probably if that helps you weep.

      Portugal is also not particularly strong in R1b, by the way, cf. Adams 2008: http://www.cell.com/AJHG/fulltext/S0002-9297(08)00592-2

      So Portugal is a clear case of demographic change at some point between the Chalcolithic and present day. Considering that there was archaeological-cultural continuity until the Celtic invasion of the Hallstat period (Urnfields-derived), my opinion is that it was this dramatic and locally very destructive Celtic invasion which changed the genetic pool, but in wait of further data. In any case it's clear that your Unetice-like Indoeuropeans should lower the frequencies of mtDNA H and Y-DNA R1b and not increase them at all. And that's exactly what we see in Portugal (at least on the mtDNA side).

      So I cannot agree at all with your steppe-explains-all conjecture. It's not that way 200% sure. How exactly it actually played out? That's what we don't know yet, because we need much more data (and much less dogmatism).

    15. "We have a good sequence from the Neolithic for large swathes of Europe. Look at supplmentary Data 1 in this paper."

      Easier to look at fig. 1. All France is blank, as is Britain, the Benelux, the Basque Country, most of the rest of Iberia and Italy, etc. Germany+Sweden+Hungary is not "Europe", much less in the past!!!

      Wake me up when there is a good sampling for France, etc. Seriously.

      "To say H1, H3, and V in NW Africa are from Mesolithic Iberia or Europe IMO is wrong. To say they're from Neolithic Iberia or Europe IMO is very reasonable."

      Then how do you explain the Taforalt data? The Portugal data? The Cantabria data? The Gipuzkoa data? Each one produced by a different researcher team, totally independent from each other, in some cases even with the obvious prejudice of trying to "demonstrate" discontinuity (Chandler, Sykes & Zilhao) against their own data. H is everywhere and HV0 is at least in Morocco.

      You need a reality check, seriously.

      "To say R1b1a2 in NW Africa though is from Neolithic Iberia or Europe IMO is wrong".

      I'm not saying that. I just do not have (nor do you) enough data to judge but IMHO it's quite possible that it's pre-Neolithic, even if also amplified by Neolithic, that Neolithic waves picked up stuff on the march, and not just mtDNA. This is what the recent Sardinia paper argues for. There is one thing that is impossible in any case: that it'd be Indoeuropean. Why? We know their Y-DNA pools and it's totally devoid of Western-like R1b, excepted a single case in Sweden (too peripheral to mean anything).

      So let's keep sampling Europe (and not just some parts of it).

  3. Maju I've given up on you. You stick to old theories of Paleolithic continuum relentlessly. No matter how much *prove* there is those theories are wrong. Maybe by the end of 2018 you'll finally change your mind. Because by that time we'll get ancient DNA from Western Europe confirming R1b P312's Eastern origin and hopefully we'll get more pr-Neolithic DNA

    Ancient DNA has been pointing in one direction for years now and you continue to stubbornly insist somehow H in Europe is of largely Paleolithic origin and that R1b P312 is of local Western European origin.

    You have admitted migrations have changed European genetic since the Mesolithic because Autsomal DNA, unlike mtDNA and Y DNA, is cut and dry. It confirms Mesolithic Western Europeans for the most part were replaced by migrants from Anatolia and nearby regions. It confirms people related to Yamnaya contributed ancestry to all Europeans except maybe Sardinians. Basque are usually modeled as 20-30% Yamnaya by the way. Yamnaya didn't fly a plane to the Basque country. WHen such ancestry arrived there it already had lots of Neolithic/Mesolithic European admixture. So, as much as 40-50% of Basque's ancestors arrived after the Neolithic, probably around 2500-2000 BC. That's a lot!! Plenty of enough to explain high amounts of R1b P312 in Basque if that 20-30% or 40-50% carried R1b P312.

    Despite autosomal DNA confirming migrations have changed European genetics after the Mesolithic you stick to old theories that current popular mtDNA/Y DNA haplogroups have always been there. That they didn't come with post-Mesolithic migrants.

    Even though Spanish are probably less than 20% Mesolithic Western Europe and Basque are probably less than 30%, most of their H, V, and also their U5b is somehow from Mesolithic Western Europeans. Also, somehow their R1b is from Mesolithic Western Europeans.

    Do you see how the old theories of Paleolithic mtDNA/Y DNA continum aren't consistent with autosomal DNA?

    Do you see how your examples of H in pre-Neolithic Europe are dubious, hard to find, from old studies, come from claims authors never made in their papers(the H in supplmentary info. You also ignore the dozens of Us that paper found). Do you see how countless studies have literally only found hg U in Europe since 30,000 years ago? It's not just in Germany. A recent study got lots of samples from France and Italy, they were all hg U. We have plenty from Scandinavia as well. Don't forget Russia. There's even one from Croatia.

    You need to be more open minded about European genetics. Back in the day before we had lots of ancient DNA the only legitimate evidence of Paleolithic continum in the Basque country was their unque language. That's terrible evidence. Yet many academics and yourself thought it was good enough evidence to be confident no migrations have gone to the Basque country for 20,000 years.

    I think you think there must be Paleolithic or at least very ancient genetic continuum in the Basque country or in Europe in general. There must be. You're hesistent to believing the evidence I just deleivered because you think there just must be very old continuum. If you think deeply you have no legitimate reasons to think so. Your reasons are based on MODERN data. They're based on modern DNA, modern language. "If so and so people and DNA markers are there today they must have always been there." That's the mentality I think you have. This is flawed thinking I see in many DNA papers. They and you are not open to many possibilities.

    1. I'm an American so I know that people can very quickly people begin to think they have always lived where they currently do. Nativism, pride in our history are important to us despite how young our country is. We feel little or no association or memory to/of the countries in Eurasia and Africa where are ancestors are from. There's no traces of Native Americans. If it weren't for history books many of us wouldn't even know they ever existed. We'd think we are the Native Americans and that our ancestors have always lived here.

      I'm not saying all migrants are as forgetful of their origins as Americans are. Jews are a good example of migrants who aren't like that. But for any migrants, after 1,000s of years and no literacy, there's no way in hell any memory of the past will persist.

      Living breathing peoples' DNA, modern languages, etc. are not always good data to use to learn the genetic history of a region. Ancient DNA is the best indicator. And Ancient DNA tells us there have been few but very real changes in Europe in the last 8,000 years. You've admitted there's been autosomal changes, now you need to admit there's been changes in mtDNA/Y DNA. That new people brought new haplogroups. Haplogroups H, V, and R1b all arrived in Iberia after 8,000 years ago.

      I'm not saying migration in the world has always been as rapid as it has been in America. Ancient DNA there were far more non-migration years than migration years in Europe. For three 4,000 year periods between 6,000 BC and 2000 AD no change occurred. Since 2000 BC little has changed. But change does occur sometimes and I think you're too stubborn to admit this.

      I'm not saying no one is native to their land either. There are few historians in the world, there were even less or no historians in the past. So the history of countries have rarely been recorded. This is why I think ancient DNA is so important. Anyone who lives on a piece of land in my opinion is native to that land. Me as an American am native to America.

      For people outside of America there nativness is even more extreme. For as long as recorded history most ethncities have lived on the land they're currently living on. That definitely falls under the definition of native. Their ancestors arrived on that land not through airplanes or boats or immigration papers but via organic migration. We do know from modern and ancient DNA much of the genetic diversity on earth is due to isolation since the Paleolithic. If people's ancestors didn't live on the exact plot of land they do they lived in the same region of the world(eg, West Eurasia).

      All I'm saying is that you need to be more open to migrations changing genes than you currently are. No one would remember today if it happened. Often you can't detect it with modern DNA. Nonetheless it happened and it doesn't make people any less native to their countries.

    2. I don't "stick" to any "old theories": I stick to FACTS, facts that were almost as good nine years ago as are now. In fact, we now know a lot more and not a single piece of evidence makes me think too differently.

      Back then we also had Razib "explaining" how drip by drip, like a fossil, a whole population's Y-DNA could be replaced. But that's just all kinds of false, more so when the neighboring population has less and not more of such key lineage (and there are substantial differences in the sublineages and what not).

      It's not me who's beating a dead horse: it's you. And the fact that you feel compelled to persuade me, without a single piece of evidence, suggests that I stand before, not a scientist, but a preacher. I've been there before: you don't need to convince me or anybody: you just need to stick to the facts and join the dots, you are not looking at the facts, that's all.

      Your truth not, the truth...

      "Ancient DNA has been pointing in one direction for years now"...

      Nope: that's just a mantra you have, where's the evidence. I'll tell you where it is: in this map, in this map or in this map, for instance. In Indoeuroland, East of the Elbe, there's not a single piece of evidence ancient or modern.

      Sure, if you get one or two hundred ancient German samples in the end one will be R1b, never mind we had to wait to SW-originated Bell Beaker phenomenon to find it. That's still an extremely low frequency. We haven't hit the jackpot vein yet, so either keep searching or give up.


    3. ...

      "You have admitted migrations have changed European genetic since the Mesolithic because Autsomal DNA".

      That it looks like that, sure, not that it happened like you claim. But have you even considered how those migrations/flows actually unfolded? Didn't the Celts pick up R1b at the Rhine? Did populations from the West, maybe in BB context, admix with those from the East (i.e. Central Europe by BB time) and then go back Westward? Where there migrations and admixtures along the Atlantic coasts that we have only barely detected? So many open questions...

      In any case this is an issue that affects primarily France and Britain (and Ireland, North Italy, etc.) South of the Garonne or maybe even the Loire (French genetics are so fuzzy and poorly known) the impact of IE autosomal DNA is very small. Lazaridis stated that Basques can be modeled without Ma1/ANE altogether, the case of Iberians is not substantively different, and subsequent autosomal studies confirm it: French are rather highly Indoeuropeanized in terms genetic, Spaniards only a tiny bit. Of course French have less R1b than Spaniards as result: more basally diverse (indicating origin) but less (indicating admixture by another population: Indoeuropeans). It's not as straightforward all the time but it can get as obvious as this, really.

      "It confirms people related to Yamnaya contributed ancestry to all Europeans except maybe Sardinians."

      That's a most unclear issue. There is some truth to it (EEF influence in Western Europe, unclear origin or pathway) but also great falsehood as happens with all half-truths (nearly no Caucasus-Baloch component, a key IE marker, in Basques or Iberians). So yeah, there's something to it but it's not Indoeuropean and there's not a single piece of evidence that may indicate it's related to R1b (which is your pet obsession, BTW, I'm not that interested on Y-DNA, largely because I'm still awaiting for enough ancient data to be able to judge). It's just another complication to the three populations' model that Chiang complained about recently when dealing with Sardinian genetics. Someone by the name Chiang is almost certainly most unbiased when it comes to European genetics and he's saying: the extreme simplicity of the three populations' model can't explain Sardinian R1b and I2a. He's not denying the model as such, nor do I, he's just saying: there's more stuff going on here that meets the naive and rather one-sided eye of the "Scythianists", and so do I.


    4. ...

      "Basque are usually modeled as 20-30% Yamnaya"...

      That's impossible because the Caucasus-Baloch component is nearly non-existent among Basques (many don't even show it at all), while it is like 20% among French. So it'd be nearly 0% Yamnaya but some (X%) EEF/ANE by some other pathway, which we haven't explained yet. Iberians also have very little Caucasus-Baloch component, although a bit more than Basques. So it's not just a matter of Basques and Gascons: it's also a matter of Iberians, many of whom spoke non-IE languages until at least the Roman conquest.

      This issue of "extra ANE" is a mystery but in no way leads automatically to Indoeuropeans, who at all times display strong Caucasus-Baloch component, from ancient Yamnaya to modern ethnic French.

      It may be just a matter of modeling, IDK, autosomal DNA is sometimes hard to interpret (because of the constrains of the statistical approach to such massive and mixed amount of data). Alternative approaches produce different results: where is the Basque "cyan" in this analysis from Alentoft? Nowhere. So from this analysis, which includes many ancients, Basques have 0% Indoeuropean blood (even Sardinians display some "cyan" at K=19, while Basques do not, what's going on?)

      Now you see it, now you don't. That's good for a show but not so good for science, really.

    5. "Do you see how the old theories of Paleolithic mtDNA/Y DNA continum aren't consistent with autosomal DNA?"

      Nobody is claiming a simple Paleolithic continuity at all. That's quite obviously not the case. In fact, I'm barely claiming anything but: (1) look at the facts (in this case R1b-L11 structure on the map, ancient mtDNA H, etc.) and (2) don't push for a hypothesis like yours with so many blatant holes, because it's almost certain that you will be proven wrong. Your stand is almost like flat-earthism: I don't fall up, so Earth must be flat (or whatever), well, have you wondered why ships disappear behind the horizon and why you can see farther away when you climb a hill or mountain? All the evidence must be considered and not just the convenient or "easy" one. And in our case, jumping to conclusions with so limited evidence is at best risky and at worst suicidal.

      My work hypothesis (if any) is clearly unfinished, unpolished and to some extent unclear. That's because facts are sometimes a bit contradictory and it gets difficult to get a clear picture. But I am under the strong impression from the data that:

      1. There is a zone of relative genetic continuity (or "modernity" since Neolithic) spanning from Paternabidea to Gurgy, from Navarre to Burgundy, and that is also the region where South-Western R1b-S116 originated, it's also rich in mtDNA H1 and H3, and H in general and these mt lineages seem to have been there at least since Neolithic at similar frequencies as today.

      2. Most of those lineages are NOT original from the Aegean or West Asia (ancient nor modern), so they were surely picked up along the way of early farmers and then re-expanded within Neolithic or Chalcolithic frames in ways we don't yet understand well at all because of limited coverage of ancient DNA surveys.

      3. Indoeuropeans did not carry Western R1b (Volga R1b in the Volga is no mystery at all) and in fact most of their mtDNA seems to be more Neolithic than Neolithic itself (plus some extra U maybe). Even in autosomal DNA the evidence of their penetration (Caucasus component) is minimal or even zero in many areas, precisely those that best preserve Neolithic genetics (Sardinians, Basques, Iberians), which incidentally are high in R1b often and almost overlap with the apparent origin of R1b-S116 somewhere in Southern France.

      4. We know that late Neolithic peoples were "re-Paleolithicized" to a significant extent before Indoeuropeans had any impact. Maybe we should look at that phenomenon when pondering about the origin of R1b-S116 (and in general L11) in Western Europe.

      5. The question is way too open to jump to clear-cut conclusions but I'd say there's a 100% chance that the hypothesis associating Indoeuropean autosomal expansion with Y-DNA R1b (Western) is absolutely wrong. Just nothing at all points to it and all kind of data point in some other direction, so nope. For example in (non-Basque) Iberia the amount of Caucasus component can almost linearly be associated with the weak but non-zero presence of R1a (plus maybe some I variants that may come from the North -- ill-researched anyhow). Also there's a clear-cut correlation between y-R1b and mt-H (Basques are high on both, Portuguese are low on both, etc.) so mt-H implying y-R1b is not far fetched at all, at least in some areas (at least until more evidence comes around).

      You just cannot ignore the "inconvenient" facts and data. That's the certain path to failure, reality is damn stubborn, you know.

    6. "Do you see how your examples of H in pre-Neolithic Europe are dubious,"?

      Not at all. That's just Jean Manco's vested interest. Ignore that altogether. The facts are what researchers produce, not what Jean's twisted brain wants to. Wishful thinking was never good for anything but maybe for dreaming.

      "I think you think there must be Paleolithic or at least very ancient genetic continuum in the Basque country or in Europe in general. There must be."

      There is some important continuity, that's demonstrated: EEFs are not just transposed Anatolians: they are admixed and get more mixed as they march west and time passes. It's just not a simple continuity but complex admixture and it does not just involve WHG origins but seemingly also (at a late moment maybe) something EHG-like (but without the IE "Caucasus" or similar signature). This is an open issue and, as I said before, hard to gauge only on autosomal DNA (excessively vulnerable to sampling strategies and other statistical distortion effects).


      And it's not about any nativism, nor any migrationism either: it's about knowing the truth. Not your truth, nor my truth, but the true truth.

      BTW, I'd say US-Americans tend to imagine massive migrations just because they are product of one (nativism is not that strong, really, you're making things up), but such large scale migrations were nearly impossible before industrialization and state-organized resettlement, so pretty much pointless. It's true that before the Age of Aristocracy (Metals) there seem to have been some notable large scale migrations but just compare the 1000 years or so EEFs took between the Aegean and the Rhine with the less than a century that the USA took to settle from the Appalachians to California. There's no comparison at all.

    7. That's the problem with the young European Americans, they will never be Native Americans, since their are already Genetic Native Americans living in America before the Europeans arrived and still do to this day. If the European Americans don't know there are Milliions of Native Americans still living, then that is their own ignorance, isn't it?

  4. DRead the most recent ancient DNA papers. Read Eurogenes. There you'll see irrefutable prove Basque have lots of Steppe ancestry. The Bronze age Irish dude with R1b-L21 had more Steppe ancestry than any modern Europeans. How do you explain that? The Chalcolithic Basque country in 2800 BC had no R1b!! They had G2a, I2a, and H2. No R1b. Same is true for Chalcolithic France. Just a few hundred years later in German Bell Beaker we see 100% R1b-P312 and 50% Steppe ancestry. Modern Basque using the same model come out as about 28% Steppe and can be modelled as almost 50% German Bell Beaker. So where the hell do you think they got their R1b P312 from? Certainly not Chalcolithic Western Europe but instead Eastern Europe.

    I don't present evidence because I don't want to waste my time trying to convince someone who will never be convinced. You're as stubborn as a mule.

    I won't read your blog anymore. I'm tired of this. Your views aren't just different they're crazy. I know other genetics enthusiast think the same way. They've said so.

    1. I don't have time nor energies for the overinformation frenzy anymore (it was always a drain but now even more so), so feel free to link to the relevant materials, TY.

      "The Bronze age Irish dude with R1b-L21 had more Steppe ancestry than any modern Europeans. How do you explain that?"

      He was from Chalcolithic and Bell Beaker period, not "Bronze" (what's wrong with the Anglo misnaming of things? what's an ounce, a foot, why Farenheit, why do they insist on ignoring the Chalcolithic altogether?) Anyhow, relevant thread, one year ago:

      → http://forwhattheywereweare.blogspot.com/2016/01/irish-ancient-dna.html

      That was a year ago, has 138 comments and I don't remember half of half but something about Irish Bell Beaker peculiars like it being the only region where population increases, considerations re. the Western province of Bell Beaker (including Rhine basin, Britain and Ireland), etc. But re-reading (blogs are open notebooks, that's why I began blogging: to keep notes on "the cloud" and go back as needed), there's an interesting part about ancestry fractions and such, because I see, not only on him but also other relevant ancient samples like Germany's Bell Beaker, etc. a sizable "HG" fraction that cannot be attributed to Yamna or IEs and it increases as time passes except in Corded Ware (in which it decreases). There's some mystery here and it's not Corded Ware or Yamna at the origin. Read that, please, and don't rely only on one source.

      "The Chalcolithic Basque country in 2800 BC had no R1b!! They had G2a, I2a, and H2."

      I missed that one, care to link? I hope you're not making up stuff (and I also hope it's not the same old peripheral military cementeries De La Rúa sample: that sample breaks the mtDNA sequence, it's anomalous and seems to indicate intrusive peoples or a different population at the Ebro).

      "Same is true for Chalcolithic France."

      Are you talking of where? Treilles? I know that (it's rather "old" by now) and it's not relevant to our discussion because their mtDNA was also quite "Neolithic" (even E1b-V13 if I recall correctly).

      "I don't present evidence because I don't want to waste my time trying to convince someone who will never be convinced".

      For someone who says that does not want to "waste" energies you're wasting many. Provide a link to the Basque ancient Y-DNA study, thanks (and to the French one if not the Treilles one - also you could have begun with that).

      "I won't read your blog anymore."

      Well, that's your problem, not mine. This is my notebook, open for all but primarily my own personal notebook.

    2. Re. Raithlin, this is also of interest:

      → http://forwhattheywereweare.blogspot.com/2016/08/all-neolithic-and-chalcolithic-of.html

      There seems to be a severe depopulation of Ireland just before Raithlin's time. Also in some other thread I mentioned that Ireland is about the only region of Europe where Bell Beaker = major population increase (maybe also in parts of Great Britain, less clear anyhow).

  5. What is the oldest H1 ( mtdna ) sample found in either NW-Africa or Iberia?

    The oldest that I have seen in Europe is 7000yo from karsdorf central Germany ..........early Neolitic period

    1. If we trust Kefi, then it's probably Moroccan, but that is of little consequence because it is difficult to be certain that you are before an mtDNA H sequence if you only consider HVS-I (a common "traditional" and cheap practice that is only slowly being relegated as new techniques become more affordable and experts slowly get acquainted with them). You have to consider the wider picture and not just a data point.

      Also we should consider what archaeology tells us, and in the case of NW Africa, it says that there was a local Middle Paleolithic culture, known as Aterian, roughly between 100 Ka ago to the arrival of Iberomaurusian c. 22 Ka ago. So basically people migrated from Tropical Africa into the region at the same time as they migrated to Asia (some techno-cultural coincidences tell us they were somehow related) and then stayed put until someone else arrived. That someone else (or something else if you wish, as we mostly have toolkits and not human remains) arrived from Asia to Egypt and as far west as Cyrenaica but no more (at least as far as we know), further West the Aterian culture persisted and it was the Iberomaurusian (aka Oranian) which arrived, coincident (just after) with flows from France into Iberia carrying a quite similar techno-culture: the Solutrean (it was the worst of the Ice Age and people seem to have pushed southwards).

      So, as H is clearly derived from the Asian or "out-of-Africa" genetic pool (L3→N→R→R0→HV→H) and we can trace the general trend of the migration from probably SE Asia westward, something that West of India is associated to the so-called Upper Paleolithic (aka "mode 4", aka Late Stone Age in NE Africa), very characteristic for its blade and bladelet working of stone for tools and weapons. And, while in Europe, Egypt, West Asia, Central Asia, etc. this wider techno-culture is known from c. 50-40 Ka BP, in NW Africa it doesn't exist before Taforalt, c. 22 or 21 Ka BP. And that culture can't but have arrived from Iberia and ultimately SW France.

      At least that's my reading, if you have a better idea...

      Notice anyhow that is a matter of lassitude: there are a lot of "plausible" H in Upper Paleolithic Europe (see here) but only one quite unmistakable one (with RFLP confirmation), an H6 from El Mirón, Cantabria, Northern Spain. Kefi is not the most advanced or well funded researcher, those are in Germany or Sweden and don't bother too much about Mediterranean affairs; they do a good job in researching Germany and Sweden (where there was no H before the Neolithic apparently) but only occasionally some other areas and never with the same depth and extension. So for the oldest *confirmed* mtDNA H, I have to trust more modest but quite reasonable methods by French and Basque researchers, which spotted them in Cantabria and Gipuzkoa respectively. It was also reported in Epipaleolithic Karelia (near Finland). It's quite possible anyhow that it was relatively common in SW and NE Europe, as well as in North Africa since the LGM, but would need confirmation, which is slow to come (budget and priorities).

    2. A couple of apologies:

      1. I thought we were in the entry of Kefi and Iberomaurusian mtDNA, and some of my comments implied that you had read that one, which may not be the case. If so:

      → https://forwhattheywereweare.blogspot.com/2017/01/iberomaurusian-ancient-mtdna.html

      2. I jumped from H1 to H a bit too happily. This is because it's in most cases equally difficult to discern either with HVS-I (half of the control region, a very short sequence). Kefi in his last work claims one "100% certain" H1 in Taforalt but it's HVS-I, so there's hardly anything "100% certain" and in the update I mention that it could also be H17, also he's in most cases not reading the loci above 16317, so it's even worse than HVS-I, because it is incomplete HVS-I, so... probable yes but not "certain" enough.

      I think it is because in my understanding of the wider picture that makes sense but otherwise the oldest well confirmed H1 can be whatever you want. I'd say that two Epipaleolithic Portuguese samples from Chandler 2005 are "unmistakable" H1b but again it's based on HVS-I.

      So my trust on the credibility of those HVS-I-defined H (and H1) lays on the fact that there are other much better confirmed Upper Paleolithic (El Mirón) and Epipaleolithic (Gipuzkoa, Karelia) H sequences and that no H has been detected in ancient West Asia so far, much less related to the plausible ancestors/relatives of Neolithic migrants.

      I'm not the only one believing that, I just wrote an entry on a thesis that gives those HVS-I-based H (and other haplogroups) full confidence, for example: lots of academics do accept the adscription, the questioning of the presence of mtDNA H in ancient Europe is basically restricted to some amateurs for all I know, being a matter of ideology, so to say, rather than science.


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