Tug of war between Balto-Slavic and West Uralic (II)


It is firmly established since (at least) the 1980s that Balto-Slavic, Baltic and Slavic show a strong Uralic substrate, even though many details are still the subject of ongoing controversies. Here is how the Baltic linguistic area was described in Thomason’s Language Contact (2001):

Overall, the Baltic area has the same characteristics as the Balkan area: areal linguistic features are distributed differentially among the languages, and the features themselves vary in details of their structure. As for the sources of the Baltic features, some can be traced to Uralic and some to Indo-European, especially Germanic. The Indo-European languages most

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Afanasievo ancestry reached Lake Baikal; Nganasan ancestry origins still at large


New paper (behind paywall) Paleolithic to Bronze Age Siberians Reveal Connections with First Americans and across Eurasia, by Yu et al. Cell (2020)

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine, paragraphs subdivided for clarity):

Population Structure (PCA)

Most of the Lake Baikal individuals occupied the space on a “ANE-NEA” cline running between “Northeast Asian” (NEA) ancestry represented by Neolithic hunter-gathers from the Devil’s Gate in the Russian Far East (Sikora et al., 2019, Siska et al., 2017), and the ANE ancestry represented by Upper Paleolithic Siberian individuals MA1, AfontovaGora 2 (AG2), and AfontovaGora 3 (AG3) (Fu et al., 2016, Raghavan et al.,

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R1b-rich Proto-Indo-Europeans show genetic continuity in Asia


Another preprint came out at the same time as Wang et al. (2020), from the Jena Lab of the Max Planck Society: A dynamic 6,000-year genetic history of Eurasia’s Eastern Steppe, by Jeong, Warinner, et al. bioRxiv (2020).

NOTE. I have now updated the Ancient DNA Dataset, the Prehistory Atlas – with PDF and GIS files including Y-DNA and mtDNA of all newly reported samples (starting with the Neolithic) – as well as the PCA files with those from Wang et al. (2020).

The conclusions are similar, but with some interesting twists. Relevant excerpts (emphasis mine), … Read the rest “R1b-rich Proto-Indo-Europeans show genetic continuity in Asia”

Fully Steppe-like Proto-Corded Ware Late Trypillians


The genotypes from Human auditory ossicles as an alternative optimal source of ancient DNA, by Sirak et al. Genome Res. (2020), have been finally published by the Reich Lab, so we can get a sneak peek into what’s coming in future papers about the origins of R1a-rich Proto-Corded Ware and R1b-rich Italo-Venetic peoples.

NOTE. To avoid adding potential errors, I have merged the Reich Lab’s Curated Dataset (v. 42.4, March 1 2020) with these new samples before performing the qpAdm analyses. If you find something different with your files, you should probably check out this simple setting first. Read the rest “Fully Steppe-like Proto-Corded Ware Late Trypillians”

Proto-Anatolians: from the Southern Caucasus or the Balkans?


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?”

Earliest R1a-Z93…from Late Trypillia in the Podolian-Volhynian Upland!


Recently, the preprint by Sirak et al. biorXiv (2019), Human auditory ossicles as an alternative optimal source of ancient DNA, was published in Genome Res. (2020), and the corresponding samples were finally uploaded to ENA.

I have been trying to get my hands on sample GLAV_14, a male from the Late Eneolithic site Glăvăneştii Vechi, classified as Romania Bronze Age (ca. 3500-3000 BC), mtDNA T1a1, referenced as investigated first in the study:

Haas N, Maximilian K. 1958. Anthropological study of the human bones from graves with ochre from Glăvăneștii Vechi, Corlăteni and Stoicani Cetățuie. Soviet Anthropology 4,

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“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”