Vikings, Vikings, Vikings! Hordes of high quality ancient DNA


Recent paper (behind paywall) Population genomics of the Viking world, by Margaryan et al. Nature (2020), containing almost exactly the same information as its bioRxiv preprint.

I have used Y-SNP inferences recently reported by FTDNA (see below) to update my Ancient DNA Dataset and the ArcGIS Online Map, and also to examine the chronological and geographical evolution of Y-DNA (alone and in combination with ancestry).

Sections of this post:

  1. Iron Age to Medieval Y-DNA
  2. Iron Age to Medieval Ancestry
  3. Iron Age to Medieval Y-DNA + Ancestry
  4. FTDNA’s big public debut

I. Iron Age to Medieval

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Origin of DOM2 closing in on the Pontic-Caspian steppes


Open access Ancient DNA shows domestic horses were introduced in the southern Caucasus and Anatolia during the Bronze Age by Guimaraes et al. Sci Adv. (2020) Vol. 6, no. 38, eabb0030.

Here is a good summary:

Our study of ancient equid remains from Anatolia and the southern Caucasus covering ~9000 years of the Holocene analyzed the dynamics over time of mitochondrial lineages and tested the hypothesis that Anatolia was a center of horse domestication. We were able to identify mitotypes characteristic of local Anatolian wild horses, which were regularly exploited in the early and middle Holocene. However, we identified a

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West Yamnaya settlers like Early Bell Beakers: R1b-P310 and R1b-Z2103


Informal report by Bulgarian archaeologist Svetoslav Stamov in 7/8 TV, from data collected by the Reich Lab for their future paper on South-Eastern Europe.

As can be seen from the TV captions below, this is the earliest R1b-P310 from Yamnaya or Yamnaya-related individuals in Early Bronze Age contexts from Bulgaria. In fact, its appearance together with a R1b-Z2103 lineage (and another undefined R1b-M269) shows once again that the earliest R1b-L23 bottlenecks were associated with Proto-Indo-Europeans.

Lacking a precise periodization, location, or proper cultural context in the spreadsheet, it is impossible to know whether they belong to Khvalynsk-related cultures … Read the rest “West Yamnaya settlers like Early Bell Beakers: R1b-P310 and R1b-Z2103”

Neolithic spread of “Eurasian” Lactase Persistence among Saharan pastoralists


New paper (behind paywall) Sahelian pastoralism from the perspective of variants associated with lactase persistence, by Priehodová et al. Am J Phys Anthropol (2020) e24116.

Interesting excerpts from the discussion (emphasis mine, minor modifications for clarity):

Our investigation of LP variant frequencies revealed new and interesting results related to the origins of pastoralism and subsequent gene flow between pastoralists and farmers in the Sahel/Savannah belt of Africa.

  • We observed a clear distinction between regions west and east of Lake Chad: while variant −13910*T prevails in the western Sahel, where we found it only in pastoralists such as the Fulani,
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Epigravettian migrations 3,000 years before Villabruna


Open access Early Alpine human occupation backdates westward human migration in Late Glacial Europe, by Bortolini et al. bioRxiv (2020).

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):

To understand the full extent of the role played by demic processes in this key transition in Late Glacial Europe we focused on the left hemimandible of an individual found at Riparo Tagliente (Tagliente2) associated with Late Epigravettian evidence. During the LGM and the Late Glacial, the Adriatic Sea basin played a critical role in shaping the economy and mobility of Epigravettian groups. Geomorphological and sedimentological processes linked to the extension of Alpine glaciers and

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Xiongnu Y-DNA connects Huns & Avars to Scytho-Siberians


Recent paper (behind paywall) Genetic evidence suggests a sense of family, parity and conquest in the Xiongnu Iron Age nomads of Mongolia, by Keyser, Zvénigorosky, Gonzalez, et al. Human Genetics (2020).

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):

Site and bodies

The Tamir Ulaan Khoshuu (TUK) cemetery is located near the confluence of the Tamir River and the Orkhon River in the Arkhangai Aimag (Central Mongolia), about four hundred kilometers west of the capital of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar. It encompasses an area of 22 hectares located on a prominent granitic outcrop and comprises a total of 397 graves, delimited by stone circles. (…)

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“Local” Tollense Valley warriors linked to Germanic peoples


Recently published paper Genomic Data from an Ancient European Battlefield Indicates On-Going Strong Selection on a Genomic Region Associated with Lactase Persistence Over the Last 3,000 Years, by Burger et al., submitted to Current Biology, available at CellPress SneakPeek.

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):

Tollense sample shows no structure

Multiple lines of evidence point to little or no genetic structure in the population from which the Tollense individuals were sampled. First, all individuals fall within the range of Central and northern European variation when projected onto a principle component analysis (PCA) trained on modern samples and their spread matches that

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RISE1.SG, R1b from Poland CWC, a likely mislabelled Balto-Slav


When I started ruminating in 2016 over the apparent differences between populations that kept the two-velar distinction of Indo-Tocharian, and the only two unrelated dialectal groups that showed a strong satemization trend, I believed that – much like in modern times – there would be no clear-cut division in terms of ancestry or Y-DNA haplogroups between neighbouring forest-steppe and steppe populations.

The answer to the question of interacting ethnolinguistic groups had to lie, as everything else, on the investigation of fine-scale population movements that must have put Uralic-speaking peoples as the main substratum of Balto-Slavic and Indo-Iranian.

Still, … Read the rest “RISE1.SG, R1b from Poland CWC, a likely mislabelled Balto-Slav”