Demographically complex Near East hints at Anatolian and Indo-Aryan arrival

New papers Genomic History of Neolithic to Bronze Age Anatolia, Northern Levant, and Southern Caucasus, by Skourtanioti et al., and (open access) The Genomic History of the Bronze Age Southern Levant, by Agranat-Tamir et al., both in Cell (2020) 181(5).

Interesting excerpts from Skourtanioti et al. (2020) (emphasis mine):

Genetic Continuity in Anatolia

We focused on the three Late Chalcolithic groups with sufficiently large sample size and who are the earliest in time among the LC-LBA groups: ÇamlıbelTarlası_LC (n = 9), İkiztepe_LC (n = 11), and Arslantepe_LC (n = 17). Taking individual estimates from all these individuals together

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Visualizing phylogenetic trees of ancient DNA in a map


Yesterday the Eaton Lab at Columbia University announced on Twitter a nifty little tool by Carlos Alonso Maya-Lastra called TreeToM, which accepts Newick trees and CSV latitude/longitude data to explore phylogeny and geography interactively, with no coding required.

I thought it could complement nicely my All Ancient DNA Dataset, particularly for those newly described SNPs (FTDNA private variants, etc.) that have not been incorporated yet into SNP Tracker.

Here are two examples with snippets to copy&paste to the appropriate boxes in TreeToM. Feel free to add others in the comments:… Read the rest “Visualizing phylogenetic trees of ancient DNA in a map”

“Steppe ancestry” step by step (2019): Mesolithic to Early Bronze Age Eurasia


The recent update on the Indo-Anatolian homeland in the Middle Volga region and its evolution as the Indo-Tocharian homeland in the Don–Volga area as described in Anthony (2019) has, at last, a strong scientific foundation, as it relies on previous linguistic and archaeological theories, now coupled with ancient phylogeography and genomic ancestry.

There are still some inconsistencies in the interpretation of the so-called “Steppe ancestry”, though, despite the one and a half years that have passed since we first had access to the closest Pontic–Caspian steppe source populations. Even my post “Steppe ancestry” step by step from a year ago … Read the rest ““Steppe ancestry” step by step (2019): Mesolithic to Early Bronze Age Eurasia”

Bell Beakers and Mycenaeans from Yamnaya; Corded Ware from the forest steppe


I have recently written about the spread of Pre-Yamnaya or Yamnaya ancestry and Corded Ware-related ancestry throughout Eurasia, using exclusively analyses published by professional geneticists, and filling in the gaps and contradictory data with the most reasonable interpretations. I did so consciously, to avoid any suspicion that I was interspersing my own data or cherry picking results.

Now I’m finished recapitulating the known public data, and the only way forward is the assessment of these populations using the available datasets and free tools.

Understanding the complexities of qpAdm is fairly difficult without a proper genetic and statistical background, which I … Read the rest “Bell Beakers and Mycenaeans from Yamnaya; Corded Ware from the forest steppe”

Yamnaya ancestry: mapping the Proto-Indo-European expansions


The latest papers from Ning et al. Cell (2019) and Anthony JIES (2019) have offered some interesting new data, supporting once more what could be inferred since 2015, and what was evident in population genomics since 2017: that Proto-Indo-Europeans expanded under R1b bottlenecks, and that the so-called “Steppe ancestry” referred to two different components, one – Yamnaya or Steppe_EMBA ancestry – expanding with Proto-Indo-Europeans, and the other one – Corded Ware or Steppe_MLBA ancestry – expanding with Uralic speakers.

The following maps are based on formal stats published in the papers and supplementary materials from 2015 until today, mainly on … Read the rest “Yamnaya ancestry: mapping the Proto-Indo-European expansions”

Volga Basin R1b-rich Proto-Indo-Europeans of (Pre-)Yamnaya ancestry


New paper (behind paywall) by David Anthony, Archaeology, Genetics, and Language in the Steppes: A Comment on Bomhard, complementing in a favourable way Bomhard’s Caucasian substrate hypothesis in the current issue of the JIES.

NOTE. I have tried to access this issue for some days, but it’s just not indexed in my university library online service (ProQuest) yet. This particular paper is on, though, as are Bomhard’s papers on this issue in his site.

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):

Along the banks of the lower Volga many excavated hunting-fishing camp sites are dated 6200-4500 BC. They

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The genetic and cultural barrier of the Pontic-Caspian steppe – forest-steppe ecotone


We know that the Caucasus Mountains formed a persistent prehistoric barrier to cultural and population movements. Nevertheless, an even more persistent frontier to population movements in Europe, especially since the Neolithic, is the Pontic-Caspian steppe – forest-steppe ecotone.

Like the Caucasus, this barrier could certainly be crossed, and peoples and cultures could permeate in both directions, but there have been no massive migrations through it. The main connection between both regions (steppe vs. forest-steppe/forest zone) was probably through its eastern part, through the Samara region in the Middle Volga.

The chances of population expansions crossing this natural … Read the rest “The genetic and cultural barrier of the Pontic-Caspian steppe – forest-steppe ecotone”

“Steppe ancestry” step by step: Khvalynsk, Sredni Stog, Repin, Yamna, Corded Ware


Wang et al. (2018) is obviously a game changer in many aspects. I have already written about the upcoming Yamna Hungary samples, about the new Steppe_Eneolithic and Caucasus Eneolithic keystones, and about the upcoming Greece Neolithic samples with steppe ancestry.

An interesting aspect of the paper, hidden among so many relevant details, is a clearer picture of how the so-called Yamnaya or steppe ancestry evolved from Samara hunter-gatherers to Yamna nomadic pastoralists, and how this ancestry appeared among Proto-Corded Ware populations.

Please note: arrows of “ancestry movement” in the following PCAs do not necessarily represent physical Read the rest ““Steppe ancestry” step by step: Khvalynsk, Sredni Stog, Repin, Yamna, Corded Ware”

Dzudzuana, Sidelkino, and the Caucasus contribution to the Pontic-Caspian steppe


It has been known for a long time that the Caucasus must have hosted many (at least partially) isolated populations, probably helped by geographical boundaries, setting it apart from open Eurasian areas.

David Reich writes in his book the following about India:

The genetic data told a clear story. Around a third of Indian groups experienced population bottlenecks as strong or stronger than the ones that occurred among Finns or Ashkenazi Jews. We later confirmed this finding in an even larger dataset that we collected working with Thangaraj: genetic data from more than 250 jati groups spread throughout India (…)

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