He has a massive nose with flared nostrils, wide open mouth, a bushy moustache and a beard. And yet all is not quite as it seems, for this sculpture, the most northerly of this genre in Asia, underwent an historic version of plastic surgery perhaps 1,500 years ago to give him a less Caucasian and more Asian appearance, according to experts. ... So the original European look of the idol was changed to a more Asian countenance. Why would this happen? 'Judging by archeological finds found inside the grottos, this anthropomorphic idol was made during the Scythian time,' Yuri Grevtsov said. 'The first change came when the more European looking face was transformed to make it appear more Mongoloid was likely to have happened in the early Middle Ages with a shift of the population in the Angara River area,' he said. In other words, incoming ethnic groups preferred the idol to be more akin to their own looks.Source: Siberia's stone idols - 2,400 year old Ust-Taseyevsky idol 'underwent racial realignment early in Middle Ages', losing his European looks by Tamara Zubchuk
Thursday, October 20, 2016
From The Siberian Times:
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
The relevant Twitter hashtag is #ashg. As far as I know Razib will be there. Some of the presenters might be sharing their posters online after their talks. Arguably the most interesting part of the show, at least for us, is Iain Mathieson's poster presentation on Wednesday, October 19, on ancient DNA from early Balkan farmers. I made a prediction recently that we might see Y-haplogroup R1b in some of these samples, but don't be shocked if that turns out to be a dud. Also, Iosif Lazaridis is doing a poster presentation on the 20th on the genomics of early farmers from the Near East. The talk will be based on his last paper that we've already discussed to death, but I suppose there's a chance he might reveal some new info. Feel free to post your favorite tweets and links in the comments, but be as succinct as possible, so that people don't have to wade through too much drivel to find the good stuff. Thanks in advance for your cooperation. See also... ASHG 2016 abstracts
Friday, October 14, 2016
For your pleasure and my satisfaction: a nice little slide show on the ancient population history of South Asia. Click on the first image to get started. The images are based on my latest Principal Component Analysis (PCA) of the world (see here). Any other questions? Ask in the comments.
Below is my new Principal Component Analysis (PCA) or genetic map of global human population structure. I think it's a little bit special, and we can discuss why in the comments if anyone's interested. The datasheet is available here; it can be used to generate 2D and 3D PCA plots, and to model samples of your choice using the nMonte and 4mix R scripts.
Karitiana Ulchi 64.45 AfontovaGora3 34.2 Dai 1.35 distance%=0.5479/distance=0.005479 Wichi Ulchi 66.8 AfontovaGora3 33.2 Dai 0 distance%=0.5055/distance=0.005055 Kalash Iran_Neolithic:I1945 38.6 Paniya 20.2 Yamnaya_Samara:I0357 17.4 Afanasievo:RISE509 16.55 Andronovo:RISE505 3.8 Iran_Late_Neolithic:I1671 3.45 Iran_Hotu:I1293 0 distance%=0.3793/distance=0.003793 Brahmin_Uttar_Pradesh Paniya 54 Yamnaya_Samara:I0357 24.55 Iran_Neolithic:I1945 21.45 Afanasievo:RISE509 0 Andronovo:RISE505 0 Iran_Hotu:I1293 0 Iran_Late_Neolithic:I1671 0 distance%=0.997/distance=0.00997 Brahmin_Tamil_Nadu Paniya 57.2 Iran_Neolithic:I1945 27.7 Yamnaya_Samara:I0357 15.1 Afanasievo:RISE509 0 Andronovo:RISE505 0 Iran_Hotu:I1293 0 Iran_Late_Neolithic:I1671 0 distance%=1.0312/distance=0.010312 Pathan Paniya 24.9 Iran_Neolithic:I1945 23.15 Andronovo:RISE505 19.95 Iran_Late_Neolithic:I1671 17.85 Yamnaya_Samara:I0357 14.15 Afanasievo:RISE509 0 Iran_Hotu:I1293 0 distance%=0.5729/distance=0.005729It's interesting to note that the Dai from southern China help to improve the fit for Karitiana from the Amazon basin, but not the Wichi from Argentina. Also, Andronovo significantly improves the fit for the East Iranian Pathans or Pashtuns, but clearly not as much for the Indo-Aryan Kalash, and none at all for Brahmins from India, who are also Indo-Aryans. Why? Don't know, but it might well be an important question in regards to the origins and spread of Indo-Iranian languages. See also... The peopling of South Asia: an illustrated guide
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Interesting new collection of ancient genomes here. The paper is coming very soon. Emphasis is mine.
The region of Kujawy in north-central Poland has a rich and thoroughly examined archaeological record of Neolithic and Early Bronze Age settlement. In that area, Neolithic transformation commenced with the arrival of farming communities of the Linear Pottery culture (LBK) in the second half of the 6th millennium BC. During the Early and Middle Neolithic, Kujawy was one of the northernmost and easternmost regions of central Europe with continuous early agricultural settlement associated with the Danubian Neolithic cultural tradition, bordering with the world of indigenous European Late Mesolithic and para-Neolithic hunter-gatherers. In the Middle Neolithic Kujawy was a major center of the eastern group of the Funnel Beaker culture. The third millennium BC brought to Kujawy, in succession, the Globular Amphora culture, Corded Ware culture, and, at the end of Neolithic period, the Bell Beaker Culture. Relics of all of those archaeological cultures, including inhumation graves, are often found at the same sites, offering a unique opportunity to track processes that shaped population development in central Europe. In this project, 17 ancient human genomes representing populations inhabiting a small area in Kujawy from the Middle Neolithic to the early Bronze Age were analyzed against other data for ancient and present-day Europeans. The main question is to what extent the frontier location of the studied region and its cultural and genetic ties along both north-south and east-west lines affected the population changes that shaped the genetic diversity of modern Europeans.Polish Neolithic Genome Project. Study: PRJNA318237.
Monday, October 10, 2016
Iron Age European-like people in what is now western China buried their dead with cannabis plants. Courtesy of Phys.org:
The skeleton has been identified as once belonging to a Caucasian man approximately 35 years old at the time of his death. Those that had buried him had placed a willow pillow under his head and had then placed a shroud of (13) cannabis plants over his chest reaching from below his pelvis at one end to the side of his face on the other. The skeleton lay in one of the 240 graves in the area known as the Jiayi cemetery. The people that lived in the area at the time were part of a Kingdom from 3,000 and 2,000 years ago known as the Subeixi. Prior research has shown the people lived there because it was an oasis in the desert, one that had become an important place for travelers to rest during their trek along the Silk Road.Full article: Ancient skeleton covered in cannabis shroud unearthed in China Based on this paper at Economic Botany:
Abstract: An extraordinary cache of ancient, well-preserved Cannabis plant remains was recently discovered in a tomb in the Jiayi cemetery of Turpan, NW China. Radiometric dating of this tomb and the archeobotanical remains it contained indicate that they are approximately 2800–2400 years old. Both morphological and anatomical features support the identification of the plant remains as Cannabis. Research discussed in this paper describes 13 nearly whole plants of Cannabis that appear to have been locally produced and purposefully arranged and used as a burial shroud which was placed upon a male corpse. This unique discovery provides new insight into the ritualistic use of Cannabis in prehistoric Central Eurasia. Furthermore, the fragmented infructescences of Cannabis discovered in other tombs of the Jiayi cemetery, together with similar Cannabis remains recovered from coeval tombs in the ancient Turpan cemetery along with those found in the Altai Mountains region, reveal that Cannabis was used by the local Central Eurasian people for ritual and/or medicinal purposes in the first millennium before the Christian era.Hongen Jiang et al., Ancient Cannabis Burial Shroud in a Central Eurasian Cemetery, Economic Botany (2016). DOI: 10.1007/s12231-016-9351-1
Saturday, October 8, 2016
Max Planck's Johannes Krause featured this curious map at a recent talk in Moscow on the Proto-Indo-European homeland debate (two hours into the clip here).
Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Here's another graph based on my new D-stats datasheet. The contrast in the population affinities of Armenia_MLBA (Middle Late Bronze Age) and Armenia_EBA (Early Bronze Age) is, at least for me, surprising. here).
Yoruba Sintashta Armenia_EBA Armenia_MLBA f4 0.000676 Z 1.395 Yoruba Potapovka Armenia_EBA Armenia_MLBA f4 0.000459 Z 1.275 Yoruba Corded_Ware_CE Armenia_EBA Armenia_MLBA f4 0.000383 Z 0.933 Yoruba Poltavka Armenia_EBA Armenia_MLBA f4 0.000373 Z 0.814 Yoruba Andronovo Armenia_EBA Armenia_MLBA f4 0.000214 Z 0.486By the way, these stats are based on transversion sites only to limit the effects of post-mortem damage on the ancient samples, some of which are not UDG treated. Update 06/10/2016: As far as I can see, the qpAdm modeling software shows that Sintashta is indeed the best available proxy for the European-like admixture in Armenia_MLBA.
Outgroups Andamanese_Onge Bichon Chukchi Han Israel_Natufian Karitiana Kostenki14 MA1 Mbuti Papuan Ust_Ishim Armenia_MLBA Armenia_EBA 0.799±0.069 Sintashta 0.201±0.069 chisq 7.181 tail prob 0.618257 Armenia_MLBA Armenia_EBA 0.835±0.068 Andronovo (3) 0.165±0.068 chisq 9.549 tail prob 0.388179 Armenia_MLBA Armenia_EBA 0.842±0.065 Andronovo (4) 0.158±0.065 chisq 9.742 tail prob 0.371809 Armenia_MLBA Armenia_EBA 0.838±0.069 Srubnaya 0.162±0.069 chisq 9.993 tail prob 0.351059Update 08/10/2016: By the way, the fact that Kura-Araxes shares high genetic drift with many Indo-European-speaking Southern Europeans, such as Albanians, has no bearing on its posited identity as an Hurrian-speaking population. That's because this inflated genetic affinity is mediated via ancient groups of largely Near Eastern origin not directly related to Kura-Araxes, such as Copper and Bronze Age pre-Indo-European Europeans. On the other hand, Caucasians, particularly Northeast Caucasians, in all likelihood do share direct ancestry with Kura-Araxes.
Monday, October 3, 2016
I've put together a new D-stats sheet that might be useful in the Indo-European homeland debate (see here). It features new samples from the EGDP dataset, with most of the stats based on over 750K SNPs. The stats are of the form D(Chimp,Ancient)(Mbuti,X). The idea that Indo-Iranian languages arrived in Central and South Asia from the Armenian Plateau and/or eastern Anatolia during the Bronze Age, as per Gamkrelidze and Ivanov (check out their article here and, if you don't have access, crazy map here), is still popular with a lot of people. But it's most certainly a dud. There's too much Bronze Age steppe ancestry in this part of the world, particularly among the more isolated Indo-Iranian populations like Pamir Tajiks and the Kalasha, as well as upper caste Indians, to ignore. At the same time, there is no hard data linking any of these groups to Bronze Age Armenia or Anatolia. here), which they clearly should if their Indo-European ancestors migrated en masse from Transcaucasia to the Pontic-Caspian steppe in an anti-clockwise direction around the Caspian Sea. here). And, judging by the affinities of CHG and ancient groups in large part of CHG origin, these people were more likely the speakers of Caucasian languages than of Proto-Indo-European. Hurrians and the others
Friday, September 30, 2016
Just in at bioRxiv:
Abstract: Dramatic events in human prehistory, such as the spread of agriculture to Europe from Anatolia and the Late Neolithic/Bronze Age (LNBA) migration from the Pontic-Caspian steppe, can be investigated using patterns of genetic variation among the people that lived in those times. In particular, studies of differing female and male demographic histories on the basis of ancient genomes can provide information about complexities of social structures and cultural interactions in prehistoric populations. We use a mechanistic admixture model to compare the sex-specifically-inherited X chromosome to the autosomes in 20 early Neolithic and 16 LNBA human remains. Contrary to previous hypotheses suggested by the patrilocality of many agricultural populations, we find no evidence of sex-biased admixture during the migration that spread farming across Europe during the early Neolithic. For later migrations from the Pontic steppe during the LNBA, however, we estimate a dramatic male bias, with ~5-14 migrating males for every migrating female. We find evidence of ongoing, primarily male, migration from the steppe to central Europe over a period of multiple generations, with a level of sex bias that excludes a pulse migration during a single generation. The contrasting patterns of sex-specific migration during these two migrations suggest a view of differing cultural histories in which the Neolithic transition was driven by mass migration of both males and females in roughly equal numbers, perhaps whole families, whereas the later Bronze Age migration and cultural shift were instead driven by male migration, potentially connected to new technology and conquest.Familial migration of the Neolithic contrasts massive male migration during Bronze Age in Europe inferred from ancient X chromosomes, bioRxiv, Posted September 30, 2016, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/078360 See also... Population genomics of Early Bronze Age Europe in three simple graphs The Khvalynsk men