April 4, 2018

North African Neolithic was influenced by Europe... and European Chalcolithic by Iberian Neolithic

Or so it seems considering the data of Fregel et al., a study I have in my to-do list for some time and that I don't see cited often or ever at all.

Rosa Fregel et al., Neolithization of North Africa involved the migration of people from both the Levant and Europe. BioRxiv 2017 (pre-pub). DOI:10.1101/191569

The critical piece is probably this selection from Admixture results but which repeats over and over through the study with many more analyzed populations from all West Eurasia and North Africa:

We see how KEB (Morocco Neolithic) is a mix of European Neolithic intermediate between Iberia (purple) and Sardinian (blue) on one side and, on the other, something like Mozabites (not shown in this detail, cream). TOR is a new Neolithic sample from Andalusia.

Another ancient Moroccan sample IAM (pre-Neolithic, not shown here either) is fully cream-colored like mostly are modern Mozabites. 

Interestingly we see for the first time the emergency of a purple-colored component that differentiates Iberian Early Neolithic from the rest (although this does not happen at lower K-values, so they are still related), a component that, in the MNChL (Middle Neolithic and Chalcolithic) period, somehow appears as dominant in Italy (no data for earlier times) and becomes quite dominant in Central Europe. 

This is intriguing to say the least. It must be said that modern Sardinians and Basques (these probably, not labeled) are low in the purple component, although less than other populations, and that somehow the Early Neolithic (blue) component made a comeback:

I do not want to over-interpret all this (autosomal genetics are not an exact science) but, judging on KEB, the purple component is not just a generic southern branch (Cardium Pottery) distinction but something specifically Iberian or Italo-Iberian. The matter needs more research but it is in any case very intriguing that the purple component seems to expand from Iberia or somewhere nearby (France?, Italy?) in the period leading to the Chalcolithic, a most critical one in the formation of the genetics of Europe.

There is a also a little hoard of DNAmt and Y-DNA, with G2a-M201 (in Europe), E1b-L19* (in pre-Neolithic North Africa) and T-M184 (in Neolithic North Africa) in the patrilineal side and quite a bit of varied K1a in the matrilineal one, as well as JT (also in both shores) and U6 and M1 in North Africa.

Worth reading and keeping in mind, no doubt.


  1. Good catch. The autosomal data suggest that the shared uniparental markers between North Africa and Iberia moved from Iberia to North Africa, rather than the other way around (otherwise there would be some of the Mozabite component in Iberian ancient DNA). And, that far back in time, I think that the geography and archaeology suggest that Iberia is a more plausible source than Italy - there is more overlap in pots and tools between Iberia and Morocco than there is between Southern Italy and any place in North Africa.

    The Y-DNA E1b-M81 is also notable because TMRCA estimates for the massive expansions E1b-M81 have error bars that put it potentially as late as Bronze Age collapse. It is a very young clade compared to many other branches of Y-DNA E. This data, however, puts E1b-M81 firmly in the Neolithic, at least.

    The three entirely purple MNChL Germany samples are also mysterious outliers compared to the other German ancient DNA which shows only modest shares of the purple component, although the wide variability in the amount of the purple component in the LNBA German samples suggests (consistently with the earlier MNChL data) that the LNBA period was one in which purple component admixture was recent and hence highly variable in proportion, rather than having reached fixation in Germany.

    Could the purple component in Germany represent pre-steppe admixture Iberian-type Bell Beakers before steppe people arrive there and adopt the Bell Beaker culture? The timing is right.

    It would be interesting to more carefully examine the detailed archaeological context of the high purple individual in Germany in the MNChL and LNBA individuals to see what interpretation that suggests.

    It is frustrating how thin and unrigorous the efforts of ancient DNA researchers to integrate their data and interpretations with the archaeology is, and also how outdated ideas of how long an ancient DNA paper should be either breaks up the analysis between supplements and the main paper, or worse, causes too much useful analysis from investigators who are closest to the work to leave useful insights on the cutting room floor unpublished entirely. (FWIW, I also dislike the fact that endnotes rather than footnotes are the norm in this field, discouraging immediate examination of the sources as your read.)

    Maybe that is just my bias as a lawyer. Scholarly articles in law err in the other direction by being too long, typically 70-100 pages, and while those articles do distinguish between body text and footnotes (typically several hundred per article), they don't break the work into a main article and supplements.

    1. Not all "shared uniparental markers between North Africa and Iberia moved from Iberia to North Africa", Y-DNA E-M81 and mtDNA U6 did not, they moved in the opposite direction and did so probably in the immediately subsequent timeline, i.e. Early Neolithic or maybe Middle Neolithic. It's a bidirectional admixture event, even if there is a stronger side to this admixture which is the (Neo-)European or Iberian Neolithic one.

    2. "Could the purple component in Germany represent pre-steppe admixture Iberian-type Bell Beakers before steppe people arrive there and adopt the Bell Beaker culture?"

      I'm thinking in that line but definitely more research is needed, because there is ignored or ill-understood complexity in the Western European Neolithic that is somehow critical to modern West-Europeanness in terms genetic. It's like we see some light at the end of the tunnel but we haven't yet reached the exit. But guess we'll have to keep following Ariadna's thread until we do.

      Let's just try to use the thread correctly and not this way: https://www.oglaf.com/skein/

    3. As for E-M81, it may still be "recent" but should derive from older E1b in Iberomaurusian, see: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2018/03/14/science.aar8380 and the supporting material table S16: http://science.sciencemag.org/content/sci/suppl/2018/03/14/science.aar8380.DC1/aar8380_vandeLoosdrecht_SM.pdf

    4. ... but you're right that saying "Bronze Age" is another of the many misgivings of an ill-calibrated and heavily speculative "molecular clock". It's definitely pre-Neolithic.

    5. E-M81 was not found in IAM. One of the samples belongs to an M35 branch that shares a single SNP out of 30 tested with M183 (very dominant within M81). So he may belong to a very early pre-M81 branch, alternatively simply some other M35 branch. Modern M81 is a very long branch from L19 and is quite clearly a rather recent lineage. Even if it's 100% older than current age estimates, it would only be 6000-7000 years old (3000-4500 is more plausible).

      As for the Iberomaurusian samples from Taforalt, the raw data is public and they are all pre-M78.

    6. You are correct, Lank. I will correct right away and also add mention of KEB's T. Thank you.

      "As for the Iberomaurusian samples from Taforalt, the raw data is public and they are all pre-M78".

      The paper marks at least one sample as M78.

  2. We have discussed a lot about that on the "PF2431" page of Facebook. Even though the probabilties of an origin of E-L19 in Northern Africa are higher than elsewhere in base to the to-day distribution of the subclades, as we have in Africa only old dead end and secondary lines and in Europe the mainstream ones, I'd wait that Genetiker tests the two E-L19 found in aDNA in Morocco for seeing if they are just these secondary lines or the mainstream ones. We need proofs, and also the "Out of Africa" need proofs, for instance the aDNA. So far only hgs A and B in aDNA and only more recently hg. E.

    1. The "out of Africa" needs proof? Really? Seriously? What's next: flat Earth?

      You should stop looking only at Y-DNA: there are so many other pieces of evidence. If you look from the angle of mtDNA or autosomal diversity or fossil evidence... there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever. Y-DNA also backs it BTW, it just seems that Y-DNA E went a bit quite expansive, gender-biased expansive. This blog already discussed this issue when a paper dealt with it years ago.

    2. Maju, I respect your positions and think that you are doing a good work with these last threads of yours, open to a possible Sardinian-Basque link and to the possibility that hg. R1b may be very old in Western Europe. I exchanged these posts with a Moroccan boy (very intelligent) who seems to live in Canada and of course I don't know his real name.

      Nø Nãme As far as I'm concerned there is no way that OOA is a lie, like I told you before until you can make a strong case to explain the presence of the most divergent human uniparental lines exclusively in Africa in conjunction with the Shi Huang/Dziebel theory, it remains a fallacious claim. It is ridiculous to think that all the various Y(xCT) lines would have all been formed in Eurasia and suddenly migrated together to Africa while at the same time leaving no trace in Eurasia, not a single one, even though they would have stayed in Eurasia for thousands and thousands of years according to this scenario, because the split between Y0 and A occurred like 200kya earlier than that between B and CT !!! This would mean that for 200 000 years these lines were hanging around in Eurasia without leaving a single trace but all the huge diversity of lines made its way exclusively to Africa !!! That's insane ! It is immensely retarded to use as an argument that the oldest african DNA sample tested is only 4kya thus african lines are recent, WTF is this seriously ? Unless they have been playing with SNPs all this time, there is no way in hell OOA could be debunked by Out-of-America, I want to laugh but I got to stay neutral... never mind haahahahahahahahahah I couldn't hold it

      Gioiello Tognoni I didn't say that I support the "Out of America" of German Dziebel, only that he is undoubtedly a great Anthropologist, who studied above all the human kinship systems.
      As he is also a great linguist, he knows very well what many others don't know: that Africa has only 4 groups of languages, whereas America has many tens, thus to say that African DNA is old is a stupidity: all the languages came from elesewhere, no language survived of the primitive A00 or the primitive mt L0-6 (except L3 that came from elsewhere).
      We did on "Eurogenes blog" the demonstration of that by a genetic point of view, what Shi Huang and his colleagues did through the exam of the slowest mutating SNPs.
      Africa has these E-M78 from 15000 years ago but in Northern Africa (i.e. the Caucasian race of Africa: the link with SSa is due just from the migration from Northern Africa to SSa and not the other way around). On SSA only hgs A and B so far. For that I said that we need aDNA from SSA older than the tests from Malawi.

    3. Dziebel is absolutely banned in my space and it is personal: he also hates me, just in case you're interested. The guy is worse than a charlatan: he is a true madman who imagines that he can ammend genetics based on a very particular branch of cultural anthropology: kinsihp studies.

      I committed the error of being kind to him and try to be pedagogic and teach him something in the past and I've learned my lesson: all he'll do is like creationists, take the knowledge and twist it so it "fits" (always a bad fit but who cares when one is a fanatic) his preconceptions. Those preconceived ideas are like a fortress and won't change. That kind of people are the worst, they waste their intelligence not trying to understand but trying to "prove" something that is oh-so-obviously-wrong but in which they believe blindly.

      Oh, wait, I know other people who strongly tend to that horrible pseudoscientific attitude. In fact I'm talking to one of them. But Dziebel is an extreme in this range of fanatism before common sense, of arrogance, typically ethnocentric arrogance, before sensible humilty.

      So please, spare me all that junk because we're going to end up badly, Gioello.

      Truth, not your truth.
      And come with me in search of it,
      yours keep it locked.

    4. Or in other words: YOU HAVE BEEN SCAMMED. "A great anthropologist", go figure! That's ultimately your problem, like it would be if Flat-Earth trolls managed to brainwash you with their lunacy, but I'm not going to tolerate that my blog becomes an amplifier for that kind of junk pseudoscience.

    5. You're totally saying nonsense like with a machine gun. At the end of your rant I read this "all the languages came from elesewhere, no language survived of the primitive A00 or the primitive mt L0-6 (except L3 that came from elsewhere)."

      First you're comparing Y-DNA A00, which is probably a pre-Sapiens introgression, with strictly Sapiens L0-6, senconly you are totally ignoring click languages!

      I'm absolutely outraged and totally tempted to establish a "cordon sanitaire" around your person. All you say in this rant is purely TOXIC.

  3. T-M184 KEB6 genome from Neolithic Kelif el Boroud.Belongs to P77 branch.
    M70+, L162+, L208+, Y4119+, CTS2214+, Z709+, Z710+, L906+, Y4984+, P77+
    According to the authors, the Neolithic ancient KEB6 individual, belonged to a group that crossed the strait of Gibraltar from Iberian Peninsula to North Africa.
    Mtdna is K1a4a1

    Also as stated in paper, matches a "Tuscan" NA20520

  4. The oldest known mtDNA K bearers until now are those found in Theopetra cave, right?
    There´s also a study that suggests that this haplogroup was present in Muge, but it lacks confirmation.

    1. What about those from Syria Neolithic, which is contemporary with European Epipaleolithic? I believe they are older.


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