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Thread: How close are Europe and the Middle East(and North Africa) really?

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    How close are Europe and the Middle East(and North Africa) really?

    I am aware that a large amount of the ancestry of modern Europeans came from the Middle East for example Anatolian farmers. Yamnaya was also half of Near Eastern origin(some CHG-like population). Those components are also present in modern west Asians to a large degree although I'm not sure about Arabia itself.

    As far as North Africa goes, I know nothing about it other than that it was populated by a back to Africa wave from the Near East, so presumably they are also somewhat close to Europe via their Middle Eastern ancestry.

    Does anyone have a definitive & detailed answer for this question?

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    Spread of farming after 14k BC Ice
    The Neolithic period, often described as the New Stone Age, was a period of human history from approximately 15,000 BCE to 3,000 BCE. It was a time defined by the development of settlements and the refinement of tools and the arts. Prior research has shown that people living in what is now Germany, Hungary and Spain were mostly hunter-gatherers during the early Neolithic period, but were "replaced" by farmers moving in from the Near East (Anatolia). In this new effort, the researchers suggest that interbreeding between the two groups led to the decline of the hunter-gatherers. The end result is that most modern Europeans are descended from the Near East immigrant farmers, but have remnants of hunter-gatherer DNA.

    Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-11-dna-ne...anatolian.html


    https://www.cell.com/current-biology...822(16)30850-8

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    If by closeness you mean genetic distances, the FST values are small between Europeans and West Asians, at least compared to other major populations (e.g., SSAs, East Asians, Australo-Melanesians, Amerindians).

    Phylogenetically, the relationship is complex. The model evolves considerably as new studies are released. At the risk of oversimplifying things, I'll just give my understanding of the state of the art:

    All modern West Eurasians appear to be the product of hybridization between Western Crown Eurasians (principally of Villabruna, or "WHG" type), and Basal Eurasians. The estimated amount of Basal Eurasian input differs depending on the methodology used, but it's at least 9% in LBK Early European Farmers according to one method; Lazaridis' method estimates it to be much higher (closer to half). The 26,000 year old Dzudzuana remains are the earliest specimens we have which demonstrate a Western Crown+Basal Eurasian hybrid profile, which would make them the oldest proper West Eurasians on record. Later AHGs (Anatolian Hunter-Gatherers) seem to be very similar to Dzudzuana. At some point, Ancient North Eurasians, who were similar to WHGs overall (but with additional Eastern Non-African input), moved into Eastern Europe and the Near East, hybridizing with the people they found there. This resulted in the genesis of EHGs (Eastern Hunter-Gatherers) in Eastern Europe, and CHGs (Caucasus Hunter-Gatherers) and IHGs (Iranian Hunter-Gatherers) in West Asia.

    The Iberomaurusians of Mesolithic North Africa were predominantly Dzudzuana-like themselves, but with additional ancestry from another group even more basal than Basal Eurasians; Lazaridis dubs this deeper-than-basal substrate "ANA" (Ancestral North African). Interestingly enough, gene flow from Iberomaurusian-like people into the Near East is likely to have contributed to the genesis of LHGs (Levantine Hunter-Gatherers) like the Natufians, and even more interestingly, to West Africans. The amount of estimated ANA in Iberomaurusians (and therefore Natufians) also differs considerably depending on the methodology. Lazaridis' admixture graph puts it at 45%, but a mixture table in the same paper estimates 27%. Who knows which is more likely? At any rate, ANA was significantly diluted in North Africa by Neolithic migrations from the Near East and Europe, bringing North Africa closer to Dzudzuana norms than ever before. Of course, the Anatolian Neolithic Farmers accomplished the same thing in Europe. Somewhere along the line, CHG-like ancestry was also introduced to the EHGs of Eastern Europe, creating the "steppe" ancestry type. West of the Eastern European Plain, the WHGs were destined to be wholly absorbed or replaced by the farmers. The East Baltic was the last hunter-gatherer refuge in Europe, but the steppe people showed up and ended their reign there, as well. Before long, pretty much everybody in Europe, like in the Near East and North Africa, had Basal Eurasian admixture.

    TL;DR: Shared gene flow coming into North Africa and Europe from the Near East has greatly reduced the diversity that once existed in these regions during the Mesolithic. All modern West Eurasians have Basal Eurasian ancestry because of the aforementioned migration events, but North Africans and Arabians are heavily enriched for it compared to, say, Balts and Finns; all other West Eurasians fall somewhere between East Baltic and Maghrebi/Arabian norms. If you look at an FST table, you can see that the genetic distances between Europeans and Middle Easterners is small relative to the rest of the world, which means they are very closely related in a global sense. This should come as a surprise to no one familiar with physical anthropology, but laypeople are often surprised when I say Europeans and West Asians are members of the same hybrid "race"; it's just the proportions of the basal-crown ratio that differs. Of course, the margins of the West Eurasian world also have some exotic ancestry at play (SSA in North Africans, East Asian in some Uralics), but that's par for the course.
    Last edited by Michalis Moriopoulos; 10-13-2018 at 05:46 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tipirneni View Post
    The end result is that most modern Europeans are descended from the Near East immigrant farmers, but have remnants of hunter-gatherer DNA.
    The indo-europeans were also descended from European hunter gatherers. They spread across europe after the neolithic farmers.

    Also it's cute the way you call the neolithic farmers 'near east immigrants' but they weren't immigrating into anything, they were settling a wild continent, creating the first civilizations there, and they were genetically like southern europeans.
    Last edited by Philjames; 10-14-2018 at 04:06 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philjames View Post
    The indo-europeans were also descended from European hunter gatherers. They spread across europe after the neolithic farmers.

    Also it's cute the way you call the neolithic farmers 'near east immigrants' but they weren't immigrating into anything, they were settling a wild continent, creating the first civilizations there, and they were genetically like southern europeans.
    Thank you for your post my friend. I am also a bit tired of hearing that "Middle-eastern" farmers migrated to Europe. What is important to point out - like you wrote. Is that these farmers were not like modern arabs or turks. They were similar to modern Sardinia and Basque people.
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    Yeah it's pretty ridiculous to talk about 'near eastern immigrants' when you're referring to europeans that created the first settled societies in Europe. Obviously the hunter-gatherers already had cultures: they produced some magnificent art, invented things (like the earliest known ceramics) and had an understanding of astronomy (see the Warren Field calendar), but they weren't societies that the farmers immigrated into. The first farmers were settlers, not immigrants lol.
    Last edited by Philjames; 10-14-2018 at 05:07 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michalis Moriopoulos View Post
    If by closeness you mean genetic distances, the FST values are small between Europeans and West Asians, at least compared to other major populations (e.g., SSAs, East Asians, Australo-Melanesians, Amerindians)..
    Regarding Fst and genetic differentiation between populations, Ancient and Moderns, there was a excellent Fst table in Lazaridis et al 2016 study ("Genomic insights into the origin of farming in the ancient Near East").

    For example, according to this table SupplementaryDataTable3, genetic differentiation between Anatolian Neolithic Farmers (ANF) who migrated from Anatolia to Western Europe and Western Hunter Gatherers (WHG) that lived in Western Europe at that time is 0.097. This is amost the same genetic differentiation than between a modern French and a modern Chinese (0.109).

    This genetic differentiation between Western Hunter Gatherers (WHG) and Anatolian Neolithic Farmers (ANF) of 0.097 is also 6 times more important than the genetic differentiation between modern Western Europeans, like French, and modern Bedouins (0.015)…

    Those who use Global 25 can also notice the same pattern using Euclidean distances (like WHG/ANF = 0.4680, French/Bedouins = 0.1961 etc)

    This corroborates what David Reich wrote in his book "Who We Are and How We Got Here" : "About ten thousand years ago there were at least four major populations in West Eurasia — the farmers of the Fertile Crescent, the farmers of Iran, the hunter-gatherers of central and western Europe, and the hunter-gatherers of eastern Europe. All these populations differed from one another as much as Europeans differ from East Asians today. Scholars interested in trying to create ancestry-based racial classifications, had they lived ten thousand years ago, would have categorized these groups as "races" "

    But anyway, we can be sure that migrants really don't care about the genetic distances between them and the local populations, they just go where they want to go….
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    Quote Originally Posted by Philjames View Post
    The indo-europeans were also descended from European hunter gatherers. They spread across europe after the neolithic farmers.

    Also it's cute the way you call the neolithic farmers 'near east immigrants' but they weren't immigrating into anything, they were settling a wild continent, creating the first civilizations there, and they were genetically like southern europeans.
    Yeah I think the term "migrant" would be more appropriate here. Immigrant implies there was a move from one political entity to another when no such thing existed. But migrant just means they moved from one place to another.

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    One can walk from Anatolia to Spain or Scandinavia within months, yet the neolithic expansion lasted over several centuries. I don't think that migration is the right term to describe a slow progress that might have happened with a few kilometers per year. The individual farmers in Europe were probably not travelling thousands of kilometers within their lifetime, might just settled behind the next hill.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nive1526 View Post
    One can walk from Anatolia to Spain or Scandinavia within months, yet the neolithic expansion lasted over several centuries. I don't think that migration is the right term to describe a slow progress that might have happened with a few kilometers per year. The individual farmers in Europe were probably not travelling thousands of kilometers within their lifetime, might just settled behind the next hill.
    Another good point yeah, sometimes people just spread out slowly over time with no clear direction. Animals do the same and it is not what we normally think of when we hear migration.

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