Online GIS maps of ancient Y-DNA, mtDNA and ADMIXTURE


The last few weeks have been very exciting in terms the amount, diversity and quality of newly reported ancient samples, which included new genotypes and also Y-DNA and mtDNA haplogroups.

As some of you already know, I had been preparing a tailored GIS map of ancient DNA using QGIS-server on Ubuntu and trying some of the available plugins for the task, and was ready to use my old broken PC as a web server. For that, I needed to prepare different files corresponding to the different conventional divisions of the Prehistory Atlas. The crazy number of recently reported papers … Read the rest “Online GIS maps of ancient Y-DNA, mtDNA and ADMIXTURE”

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”

The expansion of Indo-Europeans in Y-chromosome haplogroups


I have compiled for two years now the reported Y-DNA and mtDNA haplogroups of ancient DNA samples published, including also SNPs from analysis of the BAM files by hobbyists.

Y-DNA timeline

Here is a video with a timeline of the evolution of Indo-European speakers, according to what is known today about reconstructed languages, prehistoric cultures and ancient DNA:

NOTE. The video is best viewed in HD 1080p (1920×1080) with a display that allows for this or greater video quality, and a screen big enough to see haplogroup symbols, i.e. tablet or greater. The YouTube link is here. The Read the rest “The expansion of Indo-Europeans in Y-chromosome haplogroups”

On the Ukraine Eneolithic outlier I6561 from Alexandria


Over the past week or so, since the publication of new Corded Ware samples in Narasimhan, Patterson et al. (2019) and after finding out that the R1a-M417 star-like phylogeny may have started ca. 3000 BC, I have been ruminating the relevance of contradictory data about the Ukraine_Eneolithic_o sample from Alexandria, its potential wrong radiocarbon date, and its implications for the Indo-European question.

How many other similar ‘controversial’ samples are there which we haven’t even considered? And what mechanisms are in place to control that the case of Hajji_Firuz_CA I2327 is not repeated?

Ukraine Eneolithic outlier I6561

It was not … Read the rest “On the Ukraine Eneolithic outlier I6561 from Alexandria”

Proto-Tocharians: From Afanasievo to the Tarim Basin through the Tian Shan


A reader commented recently that there is little information about Indo-Europeans from Central and East Asia in this blog. Regardless of the scarce archaeological data compared to European prehistory, I think it is premature to write anything detailed about population movements of Indo-Iranians in Asia, especially now that we are awaiting the updates of Narasimhan et al (2018).

Furthermore, there was little hope that Tocharians would be different than neighbouring Andronovo-like populations (see a recent post on my predicted varied admixture of Common Tocharians), so the history of both unrelated Late PIE languages would have had to be … Read the rest “Proto-Tocharians: From Afanasievo to the Tarim Basin through the Tian Shan”

North-West Indo-Europeans of Iberian Beaker descent and haplogroup R1b-P312


The recent data on ancient DNA from Iberia published by Olalde et al. (2019) was interesting for many different reasons, but I still have the impression that the authors – and consequently many readers – focused on not-so-relevant information about more recent population movements, or even highlighted the least interesting details related to historical events.

I have already written about the relevance of its findings for the Indo-European question in an initial assessment, then in a more detailed post about its consequences, then about the arrival of Celtic languages with hg. R1b-M167, and later in combination with Read the rest “North-West Indo-Europeans of Iberian Beaker descent and haplogroup R1b-P312”

Iron Age Tocharians of Yamnaya ancestry from Afanasevo show hg. R1b-M269 and Q1a1

New open access Ancient Genomes Reveal Yamnaya-Related Ancestry and a Potential Source of Indo-European Speakers in Iron Age Tianshan, by Ning et al. Current Biology (2019).

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine, changes for clarity):

Here, we report the first genome-wide data of 10 ancient individuals from northeastern Xinjiang. They are dated to around 2,200 years ago and were found at the Iron Age Shirenzigou site. We find them to be already genetically admixed between Eastern and Western Eurasians. We also find that the majority of the East Eurasian ancestry in the Shirenzigou individuals is related to northeastern Asian populations,

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Vikings, Vikings, Vikings! “eastern” ancestry in the whole Baltic Iron Age


Open access Population genomics of the Viking world, by Margaryan et al. bioRxiv (2019), with a huge new sampling from the Viking Age.

Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine, modified for clarity):

To understand the genetic structure and influence of the Viking expansion, we sequenced the genomes of 442 ancient humans from across Europe and Greenland ranging from the Bronze Age (c. 2400 BC) to the early Modern period (c. 1600 CE), with particular emphasis on the Viking Age. We find that the period preceding the Viking Age was accompanied by foreign gene flow into Scandinavia from the south and east:

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