View Full Version : Widely varying genetics in SW Asia in pre-farming and early farming times?

09-02-2014, 12:44 PM
I am just starting this thread as I think there is a tendency to not look at this in detail and treat it as a single block to be considered ENE territory. I will move over a couple of relevant posts I made in another thread which really belong more here.

09-02-2014, 12:46 PM
One thing that is interesting is the detail of how autosomal patterns formed in SW Asia. Pretty well are European and Siberian groups are traced back to SW Asia c. 45000BC or so. The origin of many of these tends to be placed in the Levant part of SW Asia. So I suppose you could say that all the autosomal signals have formed through isolation and breeding networks after they departed from the Levant and we must look to the effect of this dispersal, isolation and of course the LGM on creating distinctive signals. The formation of distinctive less extensive culture among the dispersed hunters should be the archaelogical proxy for relative within-group breeding.

What is often not talked about is that all groups, even the early farmers come from hunter stock before the Younger Dryas so its in some ways a Eurocentric false distinction. The same people who had hunted and gathered developed farming. Now the groups who developed farming are today placed more in the Taurus-Zagros rather than the Levant although they spread there. The old idea of the Levants Natufian groups developing farming is pretty well shot down today. So, I would tend to think that the signal we call ENE or Neolithic Asian farmer must have originally developed in the hunters transforming into farmers in the Taurus-Zagros area. http://anthropology.si.edu/archaeobio/images/r4_468.png

They must have moved to the Levant before passing into Europe but I dont think ENE was native to the Levant and probably they had a Natufian signal that was distinct- whatever that might have been


I would like to dig a bit further into the subtleties of SW Asia in terms of where and what happened there in terms of autosomal signal. This was an interesting map on the pre-Neolithic of SW Asia


Its from this page although I havent time to assess it


I think the ancient DNA is clear that yG is the predominant signal of the farming spread, certainly the farmers that spread into Europe - although they probably came initially more from the north Levant than Anatolia (the north-west of which actually got farmingg no earlier than Europe)

One thing I am wondering about is which group of hunter-gatherers led to ENE. I am thinking the Zarzians of Zagros might be a good candidate as the northern end of their region did include part of the very early farming area where goats were domesticated. However, I would like to know a little more about the pre-farming hunters in the Taurus area too as they were an important part of the rise of farming also.

09-02-2014, 12:47 PM
It is also worth noting that north, north-west Anatolia and perhaps even west coastal Anatolia featured epi-gravettian type technology in form of the Agach type Mesolithic groups suggesting that this group was almost circumpontic and that genetically the parts of Anatolia closest to Europe were actually already probably similar to the Balkans and Ukraine areas in pre-farming times. Not surprising really when you think that there was nothing to stop people simply walking around the shores of the Black Sea to north-west Anatolia. So, what were these groups. I personally would have thought they would have been yDNA I people. As for their autosomal signal, I suspect it was close to the other Epigravettians in the Balkans and Ukraine but as we dont have any epigravettian ancient DNA its pretty hard to assess this. All European hunters shared the Gravettian strand that spread in the millenia before the LGM.

We do know however that in the Neolithic groups from eary farming areas of central Anatolia belatedly entered the territory of these epigravettian Agach Mesolithic hunters in the European adjacent parts of Anatolia. Now I suspect that these brought a major change in the autosomal DNA of north and west Anatolia and made it less like SE Europe and more like the Taurus-Zagros area. Its hard not to believe that the ENE signal originated with the latter.

The core point of this thread is that I believe that in pre-farming times SW Asia was a patchwork of genetic signals just as it was a patchwork of cultures rather than a single entity. This variety may have been to some extent reduced by the expansion of farmers from the Taurus-Zagros area but it is likely IMO that this would have been incomplete and older pre-farming patterns may have surived the yG/ENE expansion. To some degree farming would have been taken up by local people too and this may have varied.

For example we have the Natufian hunter substrate in Levant - were these E people with a different autosomal signature? Then there were the pre-farming populations of north and plateau Iran to the east of the Zagros. They were distinct and they took up farming late - later than parts of Europe. Who were they? Interestingly some basal forms of R1b and R1a are noted in this area. What was their autosmal genetic signal?

09-02-2014, 03:52 PM
A good start would be if I can find a good straight forward map of the late Palaeolithic and Mesolithic cultures of SW Asia. I posted one above but its pretty incomplete and its just a single snapshot rather than the sequence of changing cultures.

My feelings are this

1. Levantine coast Natufian- E people???
2. Early farming waves from farming core in Taurus-north Zagros brought G to the Levant and central Anatolia.
3. North and west Anatolia may have had an I element prior to a G? farming of the Fiketeppe type arriving relatively late there.
4. I have no idea what J1 and 2 was doing. Any ideas - south Mesopotamia??
5. I have a strong suspicion some basal R1a and b were in north Iran and north central Asia to the east of Zagross although that doesnt necessarily mean that north Eurasian R1a and b came from there. That zone got farming late - in fact later than parts of Europe so it was not involved in the initial spreading of farming. Any thoughts on who the non-R elements in that zone.

I am delving into a subject that I am pretty ignorant of i.e non-R yDNA, SW Asian genetics in general so I am looking for thoughts on this rather than having a strong opinion myself.

09-02-2014, 04:08 PM
These G and J haplogroups are present in South Asia from probably an early Neolithic or pre-Neolithic time period too, possibly associated with the spread of farming from that area?

09-04-2014, 12:10 AM
When I look at this map of early farming I wonder if there was patterning within this large zone where farming developed.


Its a wide area rather than a single core. So, what I wonder is if there was a pattern in the beginning. I will take a guess at one or two. Did G rise at the west end of this in the area where sheep domestication arose in Anatolia and did J arise to the east in the area further east and south around the goat domestication are of the Zagros on the Iran-Iraq border. Was E Levantine in Asia? It would explain why G seems to have been more able to move into Europe (and some E) while J has not yet been detected in the European Neolithic.