There has been some renewed interest lately in the origin of Proto-Anatolians, because of the recent lecture by Petra Goedegebuure, associate professor of Hittitology at the University of Chicago: Anatolians on the Move: From Kurgans to Kanesh, given at the Oriental Institute (Feb 5 2020).
I will try to comment on her lecture with a critical view of some of her ideas, keeping in mind reasons for one or the other potential routes, which we can for the moment simplify as Gimbutas’ (1965, 1993) eastern route through the Caucasus vs. Anthony’s (2007, 2015) … Read the rest “Proto-Anatolians: from the Southern Caucasus or the Balkans?”
Open access African evolutionary history inferred from whole genome sequence data of 44 indigenous African populations, by Fan et al. Genome Biology (2019) 20:82.
Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):
To extend our knowledge of patterns of genomic diversity in Africa, we generated high coverage (30×) genome sequencing data from 43 geographically diverse Africans originating from 22 ethnic groups, representing a broad array of ethnic, linguistic, cultural, and geographic diversity (Additional file 1: Table S1). These include a number of populations of anthropological interest that have never previously been characterized for high-coverage genome sequence diversity such as Afroasiatic-speaking El
… Read the rest “Fulani from Cameroon show ancestry similar to Afroasiatic speakers from East Africa”
Sorry for the last weeks of silence, I have been rather busy lately. I am having more projects going on, and (because of that) I also wanted to finish a project I have been working on for many months already.
I have therefore decided to publish a provisional version of the text, in the hope that it will be useful in the following months, when I won’t be able to update it as often as I would like to:
… Read the rest “Happy new year 2019…and enjoy our new books!”
Open access Ancient DNA from Chalcolithic Israel reveals the role of population mixture in cultural transformation, by Harney et al. Nature Communications (2018).
Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine, reference numbers deleted for clarity):
The material culture of the Late Chalcolithic period in the southern Levant contrasts qualitatively with that of earlier and later periods in the same region. The Late Chalcolithic in the Levant is characterized by increases in the density of settlements, introduction of sanctuaries, utilization of ossuaries in secondary burials, and expansion of public ritual practices as well as an efflorescence of symbolic motifs sculpted and
… Read the rest “Migrations in the Levant region during the Chalcolithic, also marked by distinct Y-DNA”
Interesting new paper (behind paywall) Megalakes in the Sahara? A Review, by Quade et al. (2018).
Abstract (emphasis mine):
The Sahara was wetter and greener during multiple interglacial periods of the Quaternary, when some have suggested it featured very large (mega) lakes, ranging in surface area from 30,000 to 350,000 km2. In this paper, we review the physical and biological evidence for these large lakes, especially during the African Humid Period (AHP) 11–5 ka. Megalake systems from around the world provide a checklist of diagnostic features, such as multiple well-defined shoreline benches, wave-rounded beach gravels where coarse material is
… Read the rest “Sahara’s rather pale-green and discontinuous Sahelo-Sudanian steppe corridor, and the R1b – Afroasiatic connection”
BioRxiv preprint now published (behind paywall) Ancient genomes from North Africa evidence prehistoric migrations to the Maghreb from both the Levant and Europe, by Fregel et al., PNAS (2018).
NOTE. I think one of the important changes in this version compared to the preprint is the addition of the recent Iberomaurusian samples.
Abstract (emphasis mine):
The extent to which prehistoric migrations of farmers influenced the genetic pool of western North Africans remains unclear. Archaeological evidence suggests that the Neolithization process may have happened through the adoption of innovations by local Epipaleolithic communities or by demic diffusion from the
… Read the rest “Ancient genomes from North Africa evidence Neolithic migrations to the Maghreb”
Comprehensive review (behind paywall) Tales of Human Migration, Admixture, and Selection in Africa, by Carina M. Schlebusch & Mattias Jakobsson, Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics (2018), Vol. 9.
Abstract (emphasis mine):
In the last three decades, genetic studies have played an increasingly important role in exploring human history. They have helped to conclusively establish that anatomically modern humans first appeared in Africa roughly 250,000–350,000 years before present and subsequently migrated to other parts of the world. The history of humans in Africa is complex and includes demographic events that influenced patterns of genetic variation across the continent.
… Read the rest “Tales of Human Migration, Admixture, and Selection in Africa”
An interesting ongoing web project, Prehistoric loan relations, on potential loans of Proto-Indo-European words, from Uralic-Yukaghir, Caucasian, and Middle Eastern influence.
Based on a Ph.D. thesis by Bjørn (2017) Foreign elements in the Proto-Indo-European vocabulary (PDF).
From the website (emphasis mine):
This page allows historical linguists to compare and scrutinize proposed prehistoric lexical borrowings from the perspective of Proto-Indo-European. The first entries are all (135 in total) extracted from my master’s thesis “Foreign elements in the Proto-Indo-European vocabulary” (Bjørn 2017). Comments are encouraged at the bottom of each entry. New entries will be added, also on request.
… Read the rest “Prehistoric loan relations: Foreign elements in the Proto-Indo-European vocabulary”
The publication of new ancient DNA samples from Africa is near, according to people at the SMBE meeting. As reported by Anthropology.net, a group by Pontus Skoglund has analysed new samples (complementing the study made by Carina Schlebusch), so we will have ancient samples of Africans from 300 to 6,000 years ago. They have been compared to the data of modern African populations, and among their likely conclusions (to be published):
- Several thousand years ago, likely Tanzanian herders migrated far and wide, reaching Southern Africa centuries before the first farmers.
- West Africans were likely early contributors to the
… Read the rest “Potential Afroasiatic Urheimat near Lake Megachad”