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Thread: European R1b - the pre-copper age options

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    European R1b - the pre-copper age options

    Initial dispersal across Europe is what I am talking about. There are still some people who think R1b is older is western Europe than the main body of opinion. I think its worth considering the maximum age R1b dispersal across Europe could be without special pleading based on low numbers of clades that are much more common well to the east.

    I think the key to this is the L23 SNP. IMO it unites so much of European R1b that it is as high up the chain as one can go when looking for the earliest possible dispersal. I do not believe it is credible to look at all L23 as having spread from a western source and somehow ended up all across Europe and SW Asia. There is just no cultures that did that in the archaeological record. IMO L23 or true L23*(something that doesnt exist today) is the earliest realistic option for how much of Eurasian L23 derived R1b could have spread.

    If some L23* dispersed thinly across Europe then from differing position the L23xL51 and L51 derived groups could have sprung in a couple of different localities. L23xL51 lines could have sprung up in the area around SE Europe and L51 could have sprung up in west central or Alpine Europe for example.

    The question is whether this is credible or not and the date. I think SNP counting seriously trumps STRs/fudge factors etc. Recently Michal came up with dates for the L23 SNP as well as the MRCA for L51 and the L23xL51 clades. He placed the L23 SNP at around 6300BC with upstream M269 only a couple of centuries older. That for me is the absolutely earliest sort of date that even in theory L23 could have dispersed in a way that would have allowed later localised rise of L23 derived clades at different areas. So, it would theoretically allow just about for a Neolithic dispersal but IMO it is absurd to even contemplate a pre-farming origin in western Europe. That now IMO needs put to bed permanently and officially designated a crazy/biased model to stand by today.

    Interestingly Michal placed L51, L23xL51 and M269* clades all at similar dates around 5500BC. This shows a delay between the age of the L23 SNP and the arising of clades that survive today. Now, IMO this actually suggests that L23 had not widely dispersed by this period. Otherwise why would all the surviving early branchings of L23 take off/get to an 'above survival' demographic level at the same time? On the contrary it suggests all three early branches of L23 found itself suddenly in more favourable circumstances/environment/socio-economics simultaneously. That to me suggests they were not hugely dispersed and in a broadly similar zone at that moment in time of simultaneous expansion. Two of the three early L23 splits focus on the Balkans in European terms today while L51* is too small to have confidence but looks broadly Alpine. I would say the centre of gravity collectively would still point roughly towards the Balkans.

    Where was that zone? Well these early dated L23 clades are today spread mainly across SE Europe and the Alps in European terms and into SW Asia too. I can conceive of no dispersal from west to east between the exceptions to that rule in the Magdallenian (far too early) and bell beaker (far too late). So, I would say that a pan Eurasian lineage like L23 and derived must have been in the east somewhere. As for the date, there are of course problems with all methods. I would tend to look at the evidence and think this expansion took place from a source not further west than the Balkans.

    As to the date itself, why would c. 5500BC see L23 suddenly kick into life and produce surviving branches after doing nothing for 1000 years? Well dates are obviously still a problem although I think the SNP counting method is the way to go. Ancient DNA would appear to confirm a lack of L23 or any R1b in central, northern, southern and western Europe in the period before 5500BC that Michal's dating would suggest. So, I think, given that most R1b in the western half of Europe is L51 derived and that and all survving L23 clades are dated by Michael to c. 5500BC is in agreement with the ancient DNA evidence for an absence of it in the main body of Europe in the Neolithic.

    What is the significance of c. 5500BC to the sudden simultaneous take off of L23 derived surviving clades? Obviously we cannot take the date too literally given all the uncertainties. Also we need to bare in mind that western Europe is mainly L11 derived, something that SNP dating is unlikely to place much before 4500BC. I suggest we should not be looking further west than the Balkans for the early take off of L23 derived clades. I do not believe it can be linked to the Koros-LBK kind of chain of cultures which indeed ancient DNA seems to show are R1b-free. Koros is linked to the Cris and Starcevo cultures and I would tend to think they too should probably therefore also be seen as an unlikely Balkans home for the L23 early clade emergence. It would appear to me in a generic way that the take off of L23 clades around this time is likely to relate to influences of farming reaching local groups in or close to the Balkans.

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    I don't think R1b is connected to Cucuteni-Tripolye, but 5500 BC was about the time it got started.

    What is the significance of the high frequency of L23 in Armenia? I remember the stats from Herrera et al:

    Ararat Valley (ARV)= 36%; Gardman (GRD)= 30%; Lake Van (Van)= 33%; Sasun (SAS)= 16%

    There was a low level of R1a, and R-L23 was the most frequent y haplogroup.

    I've mentioned this before, but in the 1950s German researcher Kurt Gerhardt thought many Euro male Beaker Folk skulls resembled those of Armenia, which skull type he characterized as Steilkopf (literally, "steep head") or Plano-Occipital .

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    Quote Originally Posted by rms2 View Post
    I don't think R1b is connected to Cucuteni-Tripolye, but 5500 BC was about the time it got started.

    What is the significance of the high frequency of L23 in Armenia? I remember the stats from Herrera et al:

    Ararat Valley (ARV)= 36%; Gardman (GRD)= 30%; Lake Van (Van)= 33%; Sasun (SAS)= 16%

    There was a low level of R1a, and R-L23 was the most frequent y haplogroup.

    I've mentioned this before, but in the 1950s German researcher Kurt Gerhardt thought many Euro male Beaker Folk skulls resembled those of Armenia, which skull type he characterized as Steilkopf (literally, "steep head") or Plano-Occipital .
    The Armenians are almost entirely L23+Z203/Z2105, so they are as much a destination point in West Asia as L11+ lineages are in Western Europe.
    Paternal: R1b-U152 >> L2 >> FGC10543 >> PR5365, Pietro Rocca, b. 1559, Agira, Sicily, Italy
    Maternal: H4a1-T152C!, Maria Coto, b. ~1864, Galicia, Spain
    Mother's Paternal: J1+ FGC4745/FGC4766+ PF5019+, Gerardo Caprio, b. 1879, Caposele, Avellino, Campania, Italy
    Father's Maternal: T2b-C150T, Francisca Santa Cruz, b.1916, Garganchon, Burgos, Spain
    Paternal Great (x3) Grandfather: R1b-U106 >> L48 >> CTS2509, Filippo Ensabella, b.~1836, Agira, Sicily, Italy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard A. Rocca View Post
    The Armenians are almost entirely L23+Z203/Z2105, so they are as much a destination point in West Asia as L11+ lineages are in Western Europe.
    Plus Armenian is one of the Balkan group of IE languages. It seems to have developed alongside Proto-Greek in Thrace. There is a high level of L23 in Greece too, which has also turned out to be Z2105.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard A. Rocca View Post
    The Armenians are almost entirely L23+Z203/Z2105, so they are as much a destination point in West Asia as L11+ lineages are in Western Europe.
    Wish I had more time this morning. I wouldn't expect modern Armenians to be fixed in time at L23*. I guess it depends on where one thinks the starting point for L23 is, as well as for its ancestors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jean M View Post
    Plus Armenian is one of the Balkan group of IE languages. It seems to have developed alongside Proto-Greek in Thrace. There is a high level of L23 in Greece too, which has also turned out to be Z2105.
    I wasn't arguing for an out-of-Armenia origin for PIE or even for L23. Once again, however, it all depends on assumptions, i.e., where one fixes the starting point, but I guess that is what we are searching for.

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    Thing is we now know that there were similar skulls in pre-beaker copper age groups like Remedello and probably the Balkans too. Also that paper by the guy who claims to have found R1b in Afanasievo mentions another culture with these skulls located in Altai around the beaker period (I seriously doubt his idea that they are from France). It is also true that before say 3500BC these skulls are not known anywhere, even in areas where they are known today like Armenia. It seems to me that this type of skull seemed to spread from no certain starting point c. 3500BC and was unknown before. I have a suspicion that the Altai type skulls, rather than being derived from western Europe, could be shining a light on a human type on the steppes for which the evidence is still patchy and with many missing links. Perhaps the Altai skulls are a hint that there are still-unlocated intermediate groups between Altai and the Balkans who could perhaps be the origin point. Central Asia a vast and poorly explored area archaeologically.

    However, that all said, it may not actually be a genetic trait but more of a lifestyle one. I read that in modern times in the west it is partly associated with the baby not being lifted and some even associate the skull type today with deprivation/inattention to a baby. I have even read that the trend away from alternating babies heads lying on each side that was common a few decades back towards to trend for lying on their backs is moving the skull shape away from dolicocephalic shapes to more rounded. This also has a knock-on effect on facial features.

    Quote Originally Posted by rms2 View Post
    I don't think R1b is connected to Cucuteni-Tripolye, but 5500 BC was about the time it got started.

    What is the significance of the high frequency of L23 in Armenia? I remember the stats from Herrera et al:

    Ararat Valley (ARV)= 36%; Gardman (GRD)= 30%; Lake Van (Van)= 33%; Sasun (SAS)= 16%

    There was a low level of R1a, and R-L23 was the most frequent y haplogroup.

    I've mentioned this before, but in the 1950s German researcher Kurt Gerhardt thought many Euro male Beaker Folk skulls resembled those of Armenia, which skull type he characterized as Steilkopf (literally, "steep head") or Plano-Occipital .
    Last edited by alan; 06-15-2014 at 01:27 PM.

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