Saturday, November 9, 2013

The ancestors with no descendants


Venus of Mal’ta, a figurine from a site in eastern Siberia (source). She comes from a population that was related to modern Europeans and Amerindians but not to modern native Siberians. The Mal’ta Siberians died out at the height of the last ice age and were replaced by people spreading north from East Asia and west from Beringia.


On the eve of the last ice age, Siberia was home to a people who were related to modern Europeans and Amerindians but not to modern native Siberians. So concludes an analysis of DNA from the remains of a boy who lived 24,000 years ago at Mal’ta near Lake Baikal, Siberia.

They found that a portion of the boy's genome is shared only by today's Native Americans and no other groups, showing a close relationship. Yet the child's Y chromosome belongs to a genetic group called Y haplogroup R, and its mitochondrial DNA to a haplogroup U. Today, those haplogroups are found almost exclusively in people living in Europe and regions of Asia west of the Altai Mountains, which are near the borders of Russia, China, and Mongolia.

One expected relationship was missing from the picture: The boy's genome showed no connection to modern East Asians. DNA studies of living people strongly suggest that East Asians—perhaps Siberians, Chinese, or Japanese—make up the major part of Native American ancestors (Balter, 2013).

These findings are consistent with earlier ones. Strong dental and cranial affinities exist between remains from the same site and those of Upper Paleolithic Europeans (Alexeyev and Gokhman, 1994). Also, when we compare the Clovis sites of early Amerindians (13,000 BP) with early European and Siberian sites (20,000-15,000 BP), we find many features in common: characteristic lithic technology, grave goods with red ocher, and sites with small shallow basins (Goebel, 1999; Haynes, 1980; Haynes, 1982).

What do these findings tell us? I would propose the following:

1. When the last ice age began some 25,000 years ago, a single population of nomadic hunters occupied the steppe-tundra that stretched from southwestern France to Beringia.

2. Ancestral East Asians had already split away from this proto-Eurasian population. They had probably adapted to life farther south in the more temperate environments of what is now north China. The Ainu may be an evolutionarily conservative branch of these East Asians.

3. At the height of the last ice age some 20,000 to 17,000 years ago, Siberia became virtually devoid of human life (Graf, 2009a; Graf, 2009b). Proto-Eurasians survived in refugia in parts of Europe to the west and in coastal regions of northeast Asia, Beringia and northwest North America to the east. Kennewick Man (c. 9,000-10,000 BP) may have been an example of this refuge population.

4. Siberia was then repeopled by two streams of settlement. One was composed of ‘Kennewickians’ spreading westward and inland from coastal refugia. The other stream was composed of early East Asians spreading northward.

5. This new mixed population of eastern Siberia and Beringia would later spread eastward into the interior of post-glacial North America around 13,000 years ago. These people were the early Amerindians of the Clovis culture.

It would be interesting to know what the reconstructed Mal’ta genome tells us about the skin, hair, and eye color of the proto-Eurasians. Were they pale-skinned with a diverse palette of hair and eye colors, like modern Europeans? Or were they brown-skinned with black hair and brown eyes, like modern Amerindians?  Probably the second possibility, given that the European color scheme seems to be a later evolutionary development—11,000 to 19,000 years ago for white skin and probably the same time frame for diversification of hair and eye color (Beleza et al., 2013). The Mal’ta people might have gone on to develop the same characteristics during this time frame, but they all died out at the height of the last ice age. 

In short, the Mal’ta people probably looked very much like native Indians with a more European skull shape, perhaps like the Ainu of northern Japan or the Kennewick humans of North America. 


References

Alexeyev, V.P., and I.I. Gokhman. (1994). Skeletal remains of infants from a burial on the Mal'ta Upper Paleolithic site, Homo, 45, 119‑126. 

Balter, M. (2013). Ancient DNA links Native Americans with Europe, Science, 342, 409-410.
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/342/6157/409.full

Beleza, S., A. Múrias dos Santos, B. McEvoy, I. Alves, C. Martinho, E. Cameron, M.D. Shriver, E.J. Parra, and J. Rocha. (2013). The timing of pigmentation lightening in Europeans, Molecular Biology and Evolution, 30, 24-35.
http://www.utm.utoronto.ca/~parraest/profile/PDF%20files/Beleza-2012(Mol.Biol.Evol.).pdf 

Goebel, T. (1999). Pleistocene human colonization of Siberia and peopling of the Americas: An ecological approach, Evolutionary Anthropology, 8, 208‑227.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/(SICI)1520-6505(1999)8:6%3C208::AID-EVAN2%3E3.0.CO;2-M/abstract

Graf, K.E. (2009a). “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”: evaluating the radiocarbon chronology of the middle and late Upper Paleolithic in the Enisei River valley, south-central Siberia. Journal of Archaeological Science, 36, 694–707.
http://www.centerfirstamericans.com/cfsa-publications/Graf-JAS2009-36-694.pdf

Graf, K.E. (2009b). Modern human colonization of the Siberian Mammoth Steppe: A view from South-Central Siberia. In M. Camps, P. Chauhan (eds.), Sourcebook of Paleolithic transitions (pp. 484-496), Springer Science & Business Media.

Haynes, C.V. (1982). Were Clovis progenitors in Beringia? In D.M. Hopkins (ed). Paleoecology of Beringia, (pp. 383‑398), New York: Academic Press. 

Haynes, C.V. (1980). The Clovis culture, Canadian Journal of Anthropology, 1, 115‑121.

38 comments:

Ben10 said...

Interesting.
So the Mal'tas entered North America and became Native Amerindians in the East, and Europeans in the West. 2 questions:
1)Any idea why Native amerindians never developed the same set of mutations for hair and skin color than their European cousins?

2)The Mal'tas entered North America around 17000 years ago or before, be waited until 14000 years ago, to spread south, as the Clovis culture. What were they waiting for?

Anonymous said...

Willerslev: Based on genomes, "the Mal'ta is much darker if you want than the iceman (Otzi)"

Anonymous said...

Balter:The boy's genome showed no connection to modern East Asians.
Frost:Siberia was home to a people who were related to modern Europeans and Amerindians but not to modern native Siberians.

Careful. These aren't quite the same thing as I will explain.

Siberia was then repeopled by two streams of settlement. One was composed of ‘Kennewickians’ spreading westward and inland from coastal refugia. The other stream was composed of early East Asians spreading northward.

... This new mixed population of eastern Siberia and Beringia would later spread eastward into the interior of post-glacial North America around 13,000 years ago. These people were the early Amerindians of the Clovis culture.


Comment on this is that some interesting work from 2012 found that present day Siberians are explained by a mix between an East Asian-like and American Indian like population.

http://arxiv.org/pdf/1212.2555v2.pdf

The least East Asian Siberian populations tested in this paper - the Yakut - still look around 40% East Asian-like, 60% Native American-like.

So in addition to this admixture in North East Asia which led to the proto-American people, there was probably further expansion from East Asia later in history, leading to present day Siberians, in whom the echoes of Mal'ta are faint (but still there).

Sean said...

The Ice Age explains quite a lot.


What might be a loose end is that Chinese are rather light skinned and they have an epicanthic eye-fold. A lot of people would say they are adopted to northern latitudes. "SELECTION pressures that shaped the appearance of other East Asians, notably selection for Arctic adaptations like the epicanthic eye-fold."

I'll take your ideas a bridge farther. As we know light skin is sexually selected, why not the epicanthic eye-fold. In Race, (1974) P538 Baker notes that it has been suggested that the Manchu type (with a very obvious epicanthic eye fold), may have emphasised by sexually selection of women among the upper classes

Laura Betzig:"In China they had it down to a science. Yangdi, the 6th-century Sui dynasty emperor, was credited by an official historian with 100,000 women in his palace at Yangzhou alone...They even had sex handbooks describing how to work out when a woman was fertile. Then they would be taken to the emperor to be impregnated. It was all organised by the state so the emperor could impregnate as many women as possible. And they had rules, like all the women had to be under 30 and all had to be attractive and symmetrical. This was the system in China for more than 2,000 years."

barakobama said...

"Venus of Mal’ta, a figurine from a site in eastern Siberia (source). She comes from a population that was related to modern Europeans"

Not true there are two samples that have mixed Native American and west Eurasian ancestry. West Eurasian stands for Europeans, Middle easterns, and north Africans. Plus they don't repsent the entire population. There were probably west Eurasians from Middle east or Europe that migrated and inter married maybe not all were mixed like the only samples there are so far.

barakobama said...

"The Mal’ta Siberians died out at the height of the last ice age and were replaced by people spreading north from East Asia and west from Beringia"

This is all just hypothesis like I said in the other post. Two samples doesn't represent an entire population over 1,000's of years.

barakobama said...



"They found that a portion of the boy's genome is shared only by today's Native Americans and no other groups, showing a close relationship. Yet the child's Y chromosome belongs to a genetic group called Y haplogroup R, and its mitochondrial DNA to a haplogroup U. Today, those haplogroups are found almost exclusively in people living in Europe and regions of Asia west of the Altai Mountains, which are near the borders of Russia, China, and Mongolia"

Modern day distribution does not tell the true origin of a Y DNA haplogroup. Y DNA R1b in west Europe is just about all under young subclade R1b1a2a1a L11 which is estimated to be only 5,000-6,000ybp. It probably spread in west Europe mainly in the last 4,000 years and with Germanic, Italic, and Celtic languages. R1a1a1b1 Z283 in Europe and R1a1a1b2 Z93 in Asia all have young ages and most likely spread with Indo European languages out of Ukraine Russia area. So just 6,000ybp Y DNA R would have been NON EXISTINT IN MOST OF WEST EURASIA ECSPECIALLY EUROPE. Because it is so closely related to Y DNA haplogroups of east asia it probably got to west Eurasians somehow through inter marriage. Autosomal DNA of pre Y DNA R1 dominated Europe show the source of modern European ancestry was in the non y DNA R1 hunter gathers and farmers. So in no way does that y DNA haplogroup define being European or Caucasian aka west Eurasian. mtDNA U though has a extremely old age in Caucasians and ancient DNA proves this.

barakobama said...

"One expected relationship was missing from the picture: The boy's genome showed no connection to modern East Asians. DNA studies of living people strongly suggest that East Asians—perhaps Siberians, Chinese, or Japanese—make up the major part of Native American ancestors (Balter, 2013)."

This makes no sense in no way do Native Americans decend from modern ethnic groups in east Asia that formed mainly in the last 6,000 years. SInce 24,000 year odl Siberian showed relation to modern day Native Americans. This means he also had relation to modern day east Asians. The reason is because about 100% of Native American mtDNA haplogroups are under the same haplogroups as east Asians same with Y DNA. If native Americans paternal and maternal lines are from east Asia why would it make sense they are 1/3 west Eurasian like some claim. Who ever is making these claims I am sick of it. They are denying all other evidence which shows no west Eurasian ancestry in native Americans except very rare mtDNA X2. This is all just a over reaction and I am sick of hearing about it.

barakobama said...

"These findings are consistent with earlier ones. Strong dental and cranial affinities exist between remains from the same site and those of Upper Paleolithic Europeans (Alexeyev and Gokhman, 1994). Also, when we compare the Clovis sites of early Amerindians (13,000 BP) with early European and Siberian sites (20,000-15,000 BP), we find many features in common: characteristic lithic technology, grave goods with red ocher, and sites with small shallow basins (Goebel, 1999; Haynes, 1980; Haynes, 1982"

There is also some over 10,000 year old mtDNA in America's. All with typical Native American and east Asian haplogroups and also one Y DNA sample had nearly completely exclusive native American Q M3 which has close relatives in Siberia.

barakobama said...

"When the last ice age began some 25,000 years ago, a single population of nomadic hunters occupied the steppe-tundra that stretched from southwestern France to Beringia."

There is no evidence of high amount or any Mongoloid ancestry in any Europeans except Finnish and northeast which is explained by other migrations from north Asia. You cant say people from Spain to Siberia were the same population. I am freaking sick of the idiotic theory's which are coming out if this!!!!

barakobama said...

". Ancestral East Asians had already split away from this proto-Eurasian population. They had probably adapted to life farther south in the more temperate environments of what is now north China."

Life is a lot more complicated than this. People 10,000's of years ago had long complicated histories and lives just like today now ay could it e this simple. Is there any evidence of a proto Eurasian population? Are you forgetting Oceania people who's Y DNA and mtDNA haplogroups show close relation with east Asians. What do you mean adapted? Do you mean their way of live or their biology?

barakobama said...

"3. At the height of the last ice age some 20,000 to 17,000 years ago, Siberia became virtually devoid of human life (Graf, 2009a; Graf, 2009b). Proto-Eurasians survived in refugia in parts of Europe to the west and in coastal regions of northeast Asia, Beringia and northwest North America to the east. Kennewick Man (c. 9,000-10,000 BP) may have been an example of this refuge population. The Ainu may have been another."

There is very little good evidence for what your saying. This proto Eurasian population your talking about you must mean common ancestor of all non Africans which would have lived well before 24,000ybp more like 70,000-100,000ybp.

There is a obvious split in mtDNA between Caucasians(aka west Eurasian and also north Africans) and east Eurasians aka Mongoloids including Native Americans. This split with the mtDNA haplogroups is estimated to have occurred over 60,000 years ago and over 30,000 year old mtDNA in Europe shows typical Caucasian U and 42,000ybp mtDNA sample in China shows typical Mongoloid B. So no way were their any proto Eurasians 24,000ybp or 50,000ybp. Once again I don't understand why you take Oceania out of the picture.

You need to look at ancient mtDNA in America some older than Kennewick man and you will see they fall into the same haplogroups as Native Americans and east Asians. Also you need to look at real genetic studies of Ainu don't just go off physical features and myth's. I guarantee they fall into haplogroups that only exist in east Asia or Oceania. I am sure their autosomal DNA will show the same thing east Asian ancestry.

barakobama said...

". Siberia was then repeopled by two streams of settlement. One was composed of ‘Kennewickians’ spreading westward and inland from coastal refugia. The other stream was composed of early East Asians spreading northward."

Your making big claims with almost nothing to back you up. You are now naming a entire people after a 9,000 year old skull in North America are you kidding me? What do you mean by early east Asians and what about Siberians and Arctic's who are genetically pretty different from east asians. What do you mean by early east Asians? 42,000 year old mtDNA sample in China shows evidence of early ancestors of east Asians 20,000ybp seems to young to call them early their closer in time to modern ones.

barakobama said...

"This new mixed population of eastern Siberia and Beringia would later spread eastward into the interior of post-glacial North America around 13,000 years ago. These people were the early Amerindians of the Clovis culture."

There are two 14,000 year old mtDNA sample sin Oregon with specifically Native Americans subclades of major Mongoloid haplogroups. So your date is to young Clovis were not the first Americans and are not the signal of the migrations of Native Americans ancestor. This is a old theory which keeps being proved wrong like with the 29,000 year old cave paintings in Brazil.

barakobama said...

"It would be interesting to know what the reconstructed Mal’ta genome tells us about the skin, hair, and eye color of the proto-Eurasians."

He was not a freaking proto Eurasian if a such thing every existed. Come on are freaking kidding me. The major mtDNA haplogrgroups exclusive to Caucasians are all estimated to be over 50,000 years old same with east Asians and Oceania. 24,000ybp is was to recent. The 24,000 year old Siberian showed mixed native American like and west Eurasian ancestry he wasn't from the common ancestor of all non Africans. Also they reported as he was darker than Otzie. Who was a 5,300 year old early copper age farmer from Alps. Since Otzie Dodecade results are nearly identical to modern Sardinia who have pale skin Otzie definitely had pale skin. Before you start getting any big ideas about the famous Otzie the iceman. He did not have pale skin because he lived in the cold and dark alps.

He was apart of what it may seem a farmer race that dominated much of Europe until bronze age. It seems they brought many new mtDNA haplogroups from the middle east which now dominate Europe and new Y DNA haplogroups from the Near east E1b1b(mainly M78 and its subclades), G2a, J1, J2, and T. In Dodecade autosomal DNA they brought which I guess you can call the Meditreaen group and also west Asian and southwest Asian. They were not native to most of Europe but most of their ancestry may have come from a certain area in southeast Europe. The native hunter gathers where probably much paler because of who their closest modern relatives who are very fair haired and eyed people in Europe like Baltics and Finnish.

I am also making big claims like you. I am probably wrong on a lot of what I said. But I want to make the point Otzie was not pale because of where he lived and his name should not be confused with ice age.

The 24,000 year old Siberian I would guess was basically brownish skinned. Maybe similar to modern Native Americans and also Middle easterns which could be where is west Eurasian ancestry is from. There is no doubt first humans and common ancestor of all non Africans had dark skin. Pale skin though in Europeans and east Asians has been proven to be unrelated. And also the different genes or that have been shown to help cause European pale skin. Are also just as popular in many Middle easterns and personally I have seen some very pale middle eastern's especially from around the Caucasus. It is hard to say how long ancestors of Europeans and Caucasus people have been pale skinned definitely since Palaeolithic age possibly in Ma'lta time but who knows.

barakobama said...

"Probably the second possibility, given that the European color scheme seems to be a later evolutionary development—11,000 to 19,000 years ago for white skin and probably the same time frame for diversification of hair and eye color (Beleza et al., 2013)."

This is very debatable and we cant assume this is the date. Palness in Europe definitely is from the pre Neolithic people and Europe became darker during the Neolithic. So 11,000ybp Europe was probably much paler than today probably as pale as modern Baltic's and Scandinavians. THe pale skin, fair hair, red hair, and light eyes could have developed before LGM started 26,600ybp. Red hair and light eyes exists in Middle easterns like Samaritans who in autosoaml DNA show almost no Europeans ancestry. So those features definitely originated outside of Europe and I think over 20,000ybp.

Bones and Behaviours said...

I read that Birdsell considered indigenous people from California and Nevada including the southern Paiute and the Miwoks to represent American Amurians related to the Ainu of Asia. As such Kennewick Man would not be a racial isolate in the New World.

As far as I'm aware all Paleolithic Europeans later than the neanderthals were Europeoids, except for two outliers, namely the infamously problematic Grimaldi and the 'Australoid' Kostenki.

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ajpa.10188/full

Anon 11:48 11-09 said...

Woah, spam like commenting or what?

With regards to cranial shape

http://core.kmi.open.ac.uk/display/3832720/tab/citations -

"Cranial morphology of early Americans from Lagoa Santa, Brazil: Implications for the settlement of the New World" - "Comparative morphological studies of the earliest human skeletons of the New World have shown that, whereas late prehistoric, recent, and present Native Americans tend to exhibit a cranial morphology similar to late and modern Northern Asians (short and wide neurocrania; high, orthognatic and broad faces; and relatively high and narrow orbits and noses), the earliest South Americans tend to be more similar to present Australians, Melanesians, and Sub-Saharan Africans (narrow and long neurocrania; prognatic, low faces; and relatively low and broad orbits and noses)… Herein we compare the largest sample of early American skulls ever studied (81 skulls of the Lagoa Santa region) with worldwide data sets representing global morphological variation in humans, through three different multivariate analyses. The results obtained … confirm a close morphological affinity between SouthAmerican Paleoindians and extant Australo-Melanesians groups, supporting the hypothesis that two distinct biological populations could have colonized the New World in the Pleistocene/Holocene transition."

Surprisingly, this shape cline is not exclusive to "Mongoloids" as such -

From www.eshe.eu/files/ESHE_Vienna_2013_Abstracts.pdf - "We explore (the relict Negrito) hypothesis in a comparative approach by examining genetic and cranial shape diversity of eight Afro-Asian modern human populations. Our populations include recent Holocene samples from Sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia, Indo-European India, Japan, and purported “relic” samples from Dravidian India, Papua New Guinea, Melanesia, and Aeta/Agta “Negritos” from the Philippines ... Independently in a principal component analysis (PCA), the genetic data reveals Aeta/Agta affinity closer to Japanese and Central Asians rather than other “relic” populations. Similarly, a PCA of the cranial shape variables results in a separation between the population means of Africans, Papuans, and Melanesians on one end of the ordination morpho-space, and Central Asians, Japanese, and Aeta on the other end, while both Indian populations are roughly intermediate ... Thin-plate spline interpolation (TPS) of a rendered cranium surface along the PCA ordination morphospace reveals a broadly plesiomorphic pattern of shape at one extreme and a derived pattern at the other ... Specifically, the derived pattern is one of globular neurocrania, orgnathic faces, wide maxillae, and acute cranial base angles, while the plesiomorphic pattern is one of long, narrow neurocrania, prognathic faces, narrow maxillae, and obtuse cranial base angles."

And in terms of intra-Asian variation

unsworks.unsw.edu.au/fapi/datastream/unsworks:1471/SOURCE1 -

East Asians are distinguishable … on the basis of tall, round, vault, shorter cranial length, tall faces that are flattened in the upper and mid-facial regions, short malars (anteroposterior length), narrow interorbital breadth and orthognathism. A north-south East Asian cline … with the northern samples exhibiting tall, orthognathic faces, and a long low vault. This long, low vault shape is in contradiction to the purported shape of cold-climate adapted populations. Southern East Asians possess a tall, rounded vault and a short, projecting (prognathic) face. Island Southeast Asians …. exhibit a ‘mixed’ morphology, possessing the southern East Asian facial form, but the long, low vault seen in northern East Asian samples. The long, low vault also characterizes non-Asian samples from Australia, Africa and Melanesia.

Anon 11:48 11-09 again said...

So "Mongoloid" features of brachycephalic, tall vault and tall faces seem a composite of facial adaptation to cold in North East Asians and (brachycephalic) brain shape adaptations in (smaller brained) mainland Southeast Asians (perhaps the origin?).

Both of which features were somewhat, but imperfectly carried across to the Americas. Although I would note that as the cranial brachycephalic pattern appears to not be climate specific, it could have changed less or more in various American populatios without regard to climatic patterning.

Peter Fros_ said...

Ben,
I’ve argued that the extreme skin whitening of Europeans and their diverse palette of hair and eye colors are not climatic adaptations. Rather, they are products of intense sexual selection of women. This kind of sexual selection tends to intensify among hunter-gatherers as one moves away from the equator, and it reaches maximum intensity in continental steppe-tundra environments where (1) male mortality is very high relative to female mortality and (2) polygyny is severely constrained because the male has to bear almost all the costs of food provisioning, i.e., almost all food comes from hunting of large herbivores (mostly reindeer).

Steppe-tundra was much more extensive during the last ice age than it is today. Ice Age North America had some, but the Clovis culture did not penetrate and colonize it until the end of the Ice Age, ca. 13,000 BP.

What was in their way? The ice sheet over most of northern North America. An ice-free corridor didn’t open up until 13,000 BP. This was how the Clovis humans entered the interior of North America. Before that, the only route of colonization was down the northwest coast.

Anon,

Interesting. This would be consistent with Sandra Beleza’s work.

Anon,

My argument is that the Mal’ta people left no direct descendants. Some of their genetic heritage survived in related peoples who survived in coastal refugia to the east. But the interior of Siberia seems to have been completed depopulated around 13,000 BP. It would be inaccurate to refer to this coastal refugium population as “proto-Amerindians”, since the proto-Amerindians received genetic inflow from early East Asians as well. Perhaps “proto-Ainus” or “Kennewickians”?

Sean,

I agree. The lightening of East Asian skin (relative to Amerindians) seems to be a post Ice Age development, probably during historic times. It may be due to sexual selection of the sort that Hulse proposed for the Japanese.

Barak,

Present-day North Africans and Middle Easterners seem to be the product of a post Ice Age (or possibly late Ice Age) expansion out of Europe. The original inhabitants of those areas (Natufians) seem to look very African in appearance. We won’t know the full story until we can retrieve archaic DNA from their remains.

It’s not a hypothesis that Siberia became depopulated around 17,000 BP.

As you say, the U haplogroups are very old, and seem to be associated with the West Eurasian hunter population of Ice Age times.

Again, we’re not talking about modern Amerindians or modern East Asians. That’s why it’s best to use words like early East Asians, proto-Amerindians, and proto-Eurasians. There is some possibility for misunderstanding even among academics. We’re dealing not so much with admixture as with common ancestry. At some point in time, we all have common ancestors. Saying that modern Europeans and modern Amerindians are descended from a common ancestral population doesn’t mean that Europeans are part-Amerindian or that Amerindians are part-European. When did this ancestral population break up? I personally opt for a late date, circa the height of the last ice age. Others opt for an earlier date. The evidence we have so far doesn’t permit to settle the question one way or the other, although I would argue that the linguistic evidence points to a late break-up. North Eurasian languages share deep structural features that don’t seem to reflect borrowing.

Bones and Behavior and Anon,

The Clovis humans were not the first humans to penetrate the New World, but most current Amerindian ancestry seems to be derived from them. I support the theory that there was an earlier stream of settlement along the northwest coast of North America during glacial times. This earlier population looked much more proto-Eurasian and thus had skull features that anthropologists have identified as “Ainu”, “archaic European”, “Melanesian”, etc. These skull features are certainly more archaic and thus appear to varying degrees in many different populations.

Anon 11:48 11-09 said...

My argument is that the Mal’ta people left no direct descendants. Some of their genetic heritage survived in related peoples who survived in coastal refugia to the east. But the interior of Siberia seems to have been completed depopulated around 13,000 BP. It would be inaccurate to refer to this coastal refugium population as “proto-Amerindians”, since the proto-Amerindians received genetic inflow from early East Asians as well. Perhaps “proto-Ainus” or “Kennewickians”?

Regarding the Ainu, the evidence doesn't seem that strong for Mal'ta making an ancestral contribution to them, as we do have autosomal samples of these people and they, and presumably the Jomon who form a large portion of their ancestry, do not tilt towards West Eurasia along an East Asian:West Eurasian axis.

http://www.nature.com/jhg/journal/v57/n12/full/jhg2012114a.html

Figures reproduced at - http://www.ahnenkult.com/2012/11/08/rockpool-of-a-retreating-sea-the-ainu-in-the-genomic-context-of-east-eurasia/ (see the figure in the section labelled, by this blogger "death knell of the 'Caucasoid hypothesis' ")

Possibly this could be due to drift or admixture with Australasian-like populations perhaps, but it does not look that way.

My argument is that present day Siberians seem based on recent evidence to have been derived from a mix of an American-like population and a population more like present day East Asians, mainly Japanese, etc.

If the early American population is itself a hybrid of West Eurasian-like elements and an East Asian population, then this fusion seems likely to me to have happened in Siberia where traces of a proto-American population remain, mixed with East Asians.

Not in the Americas. The fusion likely happened in Siberia, then the mixed (mostly East Asian) people moved into the Americas. The ancestors who stayed behind in Siberia then faced further population crashes and admixture with yet more East Asians.

I don't think there was a total depopulation in Siberia, just population crashes that left the American Mal'ta+East Asian+drift mix a relatively small part of present day Siberian ancestry. But present in Siberia (not only in the Americas and coastal refugia giving rise to the Ainu people).

barakobama said...


"Present-day North Africans and Middle Easterners seem to be the product of a post Ice Age (or possibly late Ice Age) expansion out of Europe. The original inhabitants of those areas (Natufians) seem to look very African in appearance. We won’t know the full story until we can retrieve archaic DNA from their remains."

This is very untrue when looking at DNA. MtDNA U7, U3, U1, and U9 are pretty exclusively Middle weastern and have age estimates that go as high as 50,000 years old. Y DNA J is very exclusively Middle eastern and European J1 and J2 subclades are very undiverse. Y DNA J is estimated to be over 30,000 years old. mtDNA U(including K), RO, HV, H, J, T, I, X, W. Are all more diverse in the Middle east than in Europe. All believed to originated in the Middle east not Europe.

If Middle easterns and north Africans are from post ice age Europe. You should except to see a lot of U5 in them. Which takes up the majority of post ice age and pre Neolithic Europeans. Also there are two pre Ice age 31,155 year old pre U5 samples in Czech republic it had two the 5 defining mutations of modern U5. All the different studies of U5 support the idea it has been in Europe for over 30,000 years.

Autosomal DNA of 8,600 year old hunter gather in Gotland, Sweden and 7,000 year old hunter gather in northern Spain. Show that in Dodecade globe13 autosomal DNA tests the unique group of Europe North European group already existed and was possibly 100% in most pre Neolithic Europeans. If it was in Spain and Gotland in the Mesolithic I guarantee it originated in the Palaeolithic and had a ancestral form before the last ice age. But in north Africa and southwest Asia you find related but different groups that definitely are not a result of post ice age Europeans.

You and others have said Europeans ancestors became pale skinned and had varies non dark hair and eye colors starting 11,000-19,000ybp so right after the last ice age. I think there is no way to know. And I think that is the most recent possible date. Since North Euro in globe13 which has pre Neolithic European origin correlates with light haired and eyed Europeans so the palest.

If middle easterns and north Africans are a results of post ice age Europeans they would by most peoples opinion be much paler. The diversty of people in middle east and north Africa can not have originated rom Europe in even the last 40,000 years. It seems more like there were migrations from the middle east into Europe and north Africa.

A complete extermination of a from what you say people related to modern sub Saharan Africans makes no sense. What are African features? it varies in Africa the San have very different features than west Africans and west Africans have very different features from east Africans. And how could they replace all the people in that area and leave no traces of them today. There is sub sahran African admixture in north Africans and middle easterns but can be explained with random inter marriage over time with sub Saharan Africans not a unknown African like people. You would have to explain it some how. Did they kill them off which would be very hard to do with the weapon technology that existed at that time. And why would they intentionally kill them off what reason would they have.

barakobama said...

"Again, we’re not talking about modern Amerindians or modern East Asians. That’s why it’s best to use words like early East Asians, proto-Amerindians, and proto-Eurasians. There is some possibility for misunderstanding even among academics. We’re dealing not so much with admixture as with common ancestry. At some point in time, we all have common ancestors. Saying that modern Europeans and modern Amerindians are descended from a common ancestral population doesn’t mean that Europeans are part-Amerindian or that Amerindians are part-European. When did this ancestral population break up? I personally opt for a late date, circa the height of the last ice age. Others opt for an earlier date. The evidence we have so far doesn’t permit to settle the question one way or the other, although I would argue that the linguistic evidence points to a late break-up. North Eurasian languages share deep structural features that don’t seem to reflect borrowing."

I still don't understand. If the common ancestor group of all modern non Africans lived well over 60,000ybp why call humans in Siberia who had mixed Caucasian and native American like ancestry proto Eurasian. Also saying that the splits between different non African genetic families happened about 20-25,000ybp doesn't make sense to me at all. The distinct mtDNA haplogroups of Caucasins and Mongoloids age estimates of splits are all over 50,000 years ago. There is a 42,000 year old B4'5 sample in China and 33,000 year old U2 in Europe. More proof of a pre last ice age split. How do you explain the huge physical differences to and all of the human remains across Eurasia from before the last ice age. And 24,000 year old Siberian showing a mix of distinct Caucasian and native American like ancestry.

Bones and Behaviours said...

Peter, do you agree the Clovis tradition is derived from the Buttermilk Complex? If so then they were most likely Otamids like the Fuegians with maybe a few of the Walcolid type among them.

The Fuegians had the normal East Asian skin and hair texture and this probably accompanied the fishtail points of Clovis derivation that reached Terra del Fuego.

Peter Fros_ said...

Anon,

My main point was that the proto-Eurasians probably looked like the Ainu. In other words, the Ainu seem to be an evolutionarily conservative population that has changed physically to a lesser degree than have other populations in East Asia. But you’re probably right in saying that the ancestors of the Ainu split from the proto-Eurasians at the same time as early East Asians did (perhaps around 30,000 BP).

I pretty much agree with everything else you say. Present-day Siberians seem to be a product of post-glacial-maximum recolonization from the south (early East Asians) and the east (coastal refugium populations of northeast Asia, Beringia and northwest North America. Amerindians are descended from this post-glacial-maximum Siberian population. There certainly was massive depopulation of Siberia around 17,000 BP. Perhaps some people remained in Siberia, but they don’t show up in the archeological data.

Barak,

I suspect that present-day Middle Easterners are largely the product of a population expansion that pushed out of Europe some time before the Upper Paleolithic/Holocene boundary. As such, they preserve genetic lineages that later disappeared in Europeans as a result of selection, genetic drift, population bottlenecks, etc. I remember reading a study of Natufian skeletal remains that found them to be very different from present-day Middle Easterners. They looked very African in terms of their proportions. Of course, I’m not saying they were “exterminated.” They were largely replaced by people who were able to achieve a higher population density through pastoralism and farming.

The whitening of European skin seems to have occurred within the 11,000 to 19,000 BP time frame. That is Sandra Beleza’s estimate, and it concurs with earlier work by Heather Norton. To get a better idea, we should retrieve DNA from European skeletal remains of that period. Until then, I will go along with Beleza’s estimate. I suspect that the ancestors of modern Middle Easterners spread out of Europe while this process was still ongoing and before European hair and eye color began to diversify. Again, retrieval of archaic DNA is needed to settle this question.

The split between Africans and non-Africans is usually dated to circa 50,000 BP. But these non-Africans were not simply early Europeans plus early East Asians. They were also the ancestors of hunter-gatherers who colonized the littoral of south Asia and southeast Asia and who survive as relic populations (Andaman Islanders, Semang, Aeta, etc.). The split between them and proto-Eurasians falls within the same time of 50,000 BP. Essentially, one stream of settlement moved east along the Indian Ocean littoral and the other pushed north and west into Europe and then east through the steppe-tundra belt into North Asia and Beringia circa 30,000 BP. Early East Asians split from this proto-Eurasian population shortly after. The proto-Eurasians then split in two around the time of the glacial maximum (20,000 – 15,000 BP). Anyway, that’s the model I’m working with.

Yes, I’m aware that remains from the Tianyuan Cave in China have been dated to 40,000 BP. I believe that this estimate is wrong and that a better estimate is 25,000 BP. I have discussed this find in an earlier post: http://evoandproud.blogspot.ca/2013/01/when-was-split.html

Bones and Behavior,

No, the Buttermilk Creek Complex looks pre-Clovis. I don’t believe that the Clovis Culture humans were the first people in the New World. There appears to have been at least one earlier stream of settlement along the West Coast. There is a consensus that the earliest “Amerindians” looked physically different from present-day Amerindians. They may thus have been related to the proto-Eurasian population that initially settled the coastal regions of northwest North America at a time when most of the northern half of the continent was still under ice.

Sean said...

A strain of Denisovan ancestry in the aboriginal population of Tierra del Fuego?

Juoni said...

I’ve argued that the extreme skin whitening of Europeans and their diverse palette of hair and eye colors are not climatic adaptations. Rather, they are products of intense sexual selection of women. This kind of sexual selection tends to intensify among hunter-gatherers as one moves away from the equator, and it reaches maximum intensity in continental steppe-tundra environments


Then why we don't see blue-eyed blondies in Siberia or among Saami people for example?

Why is most of the eye and hair colour variation found among agricultural peoples of Europe?

barakobama said...

"Why is most of the eye and hair colour variation found among agricultural peoples of Europe?"

I would not say that All the different types of Euro planes originated in the Neolithic age. The reason is the closest modern relatives to autosomal samples of European hunter gathers from Mesolithic and Neolithic age are the fairest of Europeans. In globe13 test hunter gathers had overwhelmingly North Euro while farmers had mainly Meditreaen then some North Euro, west Asian, and southwest Asian. Today the Sardinia people who live on a island west of Italy have nearly identical results to the farmers and are almost completely dark haired and eyed. It makes more sense to me that lighter features in Europe are from pre Neolithic hunter gathers than the farmers who culturally and at least partly genetically for sure came from west Asia.

Most of the east Baltic and Scandinavia did not farm 6,000-5,000 years ago. Not a surprise Finnish, Sami, and east Baltic have highest North Euro in globe1 at over 75%. The reason Germanic Scandinavians do not. I think is because there have been two major migrations of Indo Europeans from central Europe into Norway and Sweden. First Corded ware culture about 4,500ybp brought Y DNA R1a1 Z283 which is around 20-30% in most of Norway and Sweden R1a over all is barely at 5% in Finland. Also migration of Germanic languages from central Europe with Y DNA R1b L11(mainly U106) and I2a2(from native non Indo European central Euro's) this migration didn't even hit Finland.

barakobama said...

What DNA evidence is there modern day middle easterns are descended from Palaeolithic Europeans. Sure it is possible but very unlikely. What Middle easterns are you talkinga bout they are not all the same at all. Looking at mtDNA age estimates it would have to be 50,000 years ago at the least. Because how do you explain mtDNA U7, U3, U1, all non U2e subclades in western Asia. All with age estimates around 50,000 years old. What about Y DNA J with a age estimate at over 30,000 years old and definitely originating in the middle east. PLease just look at all of the different major Caucasian aka west Eurasian haplogroups all are seen as originating in the middle east not Europe.

Pre Historic European autosomal DNA samples. Show that in Dododecade globe13 they were dominated by North Euro which is very exclusively European and extremely related to west Asian. How do you explain Southwest Asian which dominates Arabia. It doesn't descend from the common ancestor of North Euro and west Asian I don't see how it could descend from Palaeolithic Europeans.

Just by looking at DNA you know in the Natufian era the ancestors of modern people in that area was there. The Middle east is closer to Africa which is probably the source of humanity. It would make more sense Europe which had humans after the middle east was populated by migrations from the middle east. Than to say people already in the middle east were killed off by migrations from Europe.

It is very debatable to say when all the different types of European palness originated. I don't think you should take that date 11,000-19,000ybp and trust on it to make no theories.

The Oceania people are in the same non African maternal and paternal lineages as Eurasians, north Africans, and Americans. It is debatable to say if Mongoloids are more related to Caucasians in west Eurasia and north Africa or Oceania. 50,000 years ago is way to young of a date even with mtDNA age estimates. Is there really any genetic evidence of proto Eurasians like I said east Asians may be more related to Oceania. There are multiple human remains in Europe that are dated as over 41,000 years old to say the first humans arrive in Europe 30,000ybp doesn't make sense anymore. Your theory's seem to simple and recent without that much DNA evidence. I consider every idea about human origins and early migrations. It is probably very complicated and some things that seem definitely correct like humans originating in Africa might be wrong. I think human origins and migrations are much older than what they have been dated so far. I wouldnet be surprised if the common ancestor family of modern humans lived over 300,000 years ago and that humans have lived in Eurasia for over 100,000 years. We might not be able to find the oldest remains. So just because the oldest human remains in Europe are around 45,000 years old doesn't mean there were not humans in Europe 60,000ybp anything is possible. Almost everything scientist do I don't understand I have no idea how it is possible to accurately date things.

Sean said...

Juoni, the agricultural peoples of Sub Saharan Africa are lighter skinned than nearby hunter gatherers? No.

Juoni said...

Sean, I really don't get your point.

If non-brown eyes and non-black hair among Europeans are products of sexual selection among hunter-gatherers in harsh climate, (which seems plausable enough) then why this kind of sexual selection doesn't occur in Siberia or among any arctic nomadic peoples? Why Europe only?

Ben10 said...

Excellent point from Juani, which is also my question.

Back to the basics: Darwinian evolution commands that mutations appear first and selection after, and only after.
So, if a Mal'ta population produces variants for fair skin in Europe, it should also produce them wherever this population goes.
Now the point in Peter's theory is that these variants were only selected in Europe where the conditions were right, everybody understand that here.
I'm OK with that, but I also know that Amerindian men appreciate, and appreciate a lot, white women, for their fair skin and other features. And since the conditions in north America became similar to the European post glacial plains around 13000 years ago, and since the population there were relative of the Eurasian Mal'ta populations, we should have some fair skins in the 'American' cousin Mal'tas too. Or maybe traces of it, in the hypothesis that these fair skinned prehistoric Amerindian populations disappeared.
Unless for some reason, like because of a different genetic makeup, the mutations for fair skin never occurred, or stopped occurring, in these American Mal'tas. Is it possible that the introduction of a new DNA in the migrating Mal'tas, such as the DNA from of an archaic human via the mixing with southern Asians, could have stopped the apparition of these skin, hair and eyes variants?

In any cases, isn't it like Peter's theory need additional constrains to explain why these diversifications in hair and eyes color DIDN'T appear East of Europe?

Anonymous said...

Peter, this is off-topic but I thought you might find this interesting since you've blogged before about sex ratios and polygyny.

A new study in France shows that in 20 years, the proportion of French men who are 50 years old or more and are childless has almost doubled, going up from 12.8% to 20.6%:

http://www.insee.fr/fr/publications-et-services/sommaire.asp?ref_id=FPORSOC13

pat said...

I dated a girl once who came from around Lake Baikal. I took her to 'Aida'. We didn't hit it off or maybe she didn't like opera.

In any case she didn't look like an American Indian or Patrick Stewart (the Kennewick Man). She might of course have been the daughter of some Stalinist dissident and so could have been from almost anywhere.

Albertosaurus

barakobama said...

The same genes connected with Europe pale skin, fair hair and eyes, and red hair also exist in the middle east.
http://www.theapricity.com/forum/showthread.php?91397-Supposedly-Euro-light-skin-genes-are-popular-in-all-Caucasins-and-exists-in-about-all-Humans

http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2013/11/europeans-and-south-asians-share-by.html

http://kurdishdna.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-color-of-eyes-at-least-17-herc2.html

I don't know how reliable this is. But one time I was looking at Genetics' of Jews and Samaritans(former Jews its a long story its explained in the Bible). I was shocked when I saw pictures of Samaritans during Passover. Many looked like stereotypical middle eastern and Many had palish skin(mostly old men though), blue eyes, and a few with red hair. There was a close up picture of a Samaritan boy with red hair, brown eyes, and freckles and the description said red hair is common in Samaritans. The Dodecade autosomal DNA results of Samaritans(there are only about 700) show they are typical southwest Asians closest to Palestine's. with probably almost no legit European ancestry and less than for example Iraqis and Turkish.

Now that I have been watching the news lately I have noticed how pale middle eastern people can be. The vast majority though from what I have seen are brownish and almost all have dark hair and eyes. Look at Syria's President he could fit anywhere in Europe he has snow white skin and blue eyes. There are also 250,000 Muslims in my city most come from around Pakistan and India so are very south Asian and dark. But some from Afghanistan and west from there can be pretty pale. There was a Assyrian kid in my kindergarten who was nicknamed snowman because his skin was so pale. Assyrians are mainly Christian and most have been in America for a few generations so they wear American cloths and act American and oftenly can pass as tannish white people.

There was a Missionary who told me that in Morocco the Berber Kablye people are known for pale skin. At first many Moroccans thought he was Kablye because he had pale skin. He also said he saw some with red hair and that overall they looked like they were part European.

All the different types if palness that are popular in Europe also exist in the middle east and at least partly in north Africa. I have said this already many times. Autosomal DNA has shown Euro's, middle easterns, and north Africans come from the same ancestral family. It is debatable but I think all of that palness originated in the middle east anywhere from 20,000-60,000 years ago and probably at different times for different types of palness. For some reason they became very popular in Palaeolithic Europeans maybe at different times for each and anywhere from 11,000-40,000 years ago.

Peter Fros_ said...

Juoni,

Continental steppe-tundra was colder and drier in Asia than it was in Europe. This was because the Asian portion was farther north and farther from the moderating influence of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream. So the human population was correspondingly smaller. At the height of the last ice age, this northern Asian population seems to have died out, and I suspect that there were recurring extinction or near-extinction events in northern Asia during the last ice age.

So northern Asians of the steppe-tundra may have experienced the sort of intense sexual selection that occurred in Europe, but the results of that selection did not survive. Present-day Siberians seem to be a product of post-glacial-maximum recolonization from the south and from coastal refugia to the east.

Barak,

For now, I will accept Beleza's time estimate of 11,000-19,000 BP for the whitening of European skin. It's the best estimate we have and it's consistent with earlier work by Heather Norton.

I didn't say that modern humans entered Europe 30,000 years ago. That would be the time when modern humans penentrated the Eurasian steppe-tundra belt. The Mediterranean littoral was colonized earlier, certainly by 40,000 BP and probably earlier in the southeastern corner of Europe.

I didn't say that the Natufians were "exterminated." They were replaced by people who could achieve a higher population density.

Ben,

The Clovis culture penetrated the interior of North America at the tail end of the last ice age. For what it's worth, there is some evidence of "in situ" diversification of hair and eye color among the Inuit of the western Canadian Arctic. This used to be attributed to European admixture, but recent studies have ruled out that hypothesis.

See my post:
http://evoandproud.blogspot.ca/2009/01/blond-inuit.html

Juoni said...

So northern Asians of the steppe-tundra may have experienced the sort of intense sexual selection that occurred in Europe, but the results of that selection did not survive. Present-day Siberians seem to be a product of post-glacial-maximum recolonization from the south and from coastal refugia to the east.

Ok, then we have the indigenous people of Northern Europe, the
Sa(a)mi people.

As far as I'm concerned most of them lived as hunter-gatherers till the 19th century, yet we see hardly any hair and eye-colour variation among them. Why so?

Bones and Behaviours said...


Juoni, there are actually Sami up in Lapland who have depigmented hair and eyes. It would be interesting to know the hair and eye colour of Mesolithic Scandinavian people,though.