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Thread: Was P297 the Mesolithic lineage that adapted its to serious aridity

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    Was P297 the Mesolithic lineage that adapted its to serious aridity

    R1a hunters found north of the steppe do seem to support the notion than before farmers entered Europe there was R1a and R1b among the ANE carrying hunters in Mesolithic Europe east of a line from Denmark to Moldova and IMO probably represented archaeologically by the appearance of pressure flaking -and perhaps another wave by pre-farming pottery-in that zone in the Mesolithic. It seems to have swept in on a broad front from the most northerly inhabitable areas to the Black Sea in the early Mesolithic.

    Actually when you look at the pressure microblade carrying cultures in Mesolithic Europe it is pretty clear that the European dates are earlier in the NW of Russia -earliest of all in Butovo culture-than in the western steppe zone which is suggestive of two or more waves. I personally believe the ANE/pressure microblade thing was across such a wide zone of eastern Europe that R1a, R1b and N could have been linked to this in different places. It looks clear enough now that R1a must have been in the northern wing of this and to date no evidence of R1b. Tiny sample but suggestive.

    The southern wave of pressure microblades in the European steppes seems to be significantly later albeit still within the early Mesolithic. Both the R1s could have been involved in the southern wave. I wouldnt oversimplify this by saying R1a was northern and R1b southern in eastern European terms even though that impression could exist.

    So, why were the more southerly mesolithic microblade cultures on the dry steppe later. I have a suspicion that P297 lineages may have adapted to the drier zones like the east end of the European steppe and the southernmost fringes of the steppe further west - all areas that were drier as rainfall reduced both to the east and to the south within this region.

    The origin of the initial patterning of R1b and R1a could be that P297 lines adapted to and developed hunting strategies that could work in arid areas which were not attractive to people already occupying less arid areas who would have a different hunting-gathering strategy. So on that basis you would expect R1b in eastern Europe to be located in the far east and far south end of the European steppes on the dry environments with R1a perhaps dominant in less arid areas just to the north -perhaps on the same river valleys. I am not an expert on this but the dry steppe hunting does seem to have included chasing Equids. At present the ancient DNA seems to fit and certainly does no contradict this model.

    Aridity oscillated with the dry steppe and the forest steppe zone moving up and downstream depending on climate with the people adapted to each environment moving to follow their prefered environment but in a few cases ending up mixing to form hybrid cultures. Another clue that P297 was a line that adapted to horrible levels of aridity is M73.

    So just to summarise, it is possible that the first Mesolithic wave into eastern Europe was much more R1a than b associated and settled in most places but not the driest steppes. It may be then that P297 settled in the latter less occupied areas as for some reason to do with origin or simply adaptation through lack of choice meant they specialised in a dry steppe/arid zone sort of hunting - chasing Equids etc. Those kind of variation in subsistence strategy would have led to nuance in the distribution of lineages.

    As a consequence I suspect pre-Yamnaya P297, primarily M269 derived, may have had a distinctive pattern where it may have gone fairly far north at the east end of the European steppe ie. Samara etc but to the west it would have been confined to progressively more southerly areas until by areas like the Dniester it was likely only at the lower stretches of the river and the Black Sea shore. From what I understand the southern area between Azov and the Don are very arid so that is another area where a dry adapted lineage may have been able to settle. Climate of course oscillated a lot so it was a dynamic situation where ecological zones moved and the people moved to follow them. PIE could have arisen at an interface area between R1b people in the more arid areas and R1a groups elsewhere - to explain how both lineages were so important to IE its is pretty necessary to see PIE as developing at an interface between them or of course in a group who were mixed.

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    No takers - oh well. I do think subtle distinctions in adaption to hunting strategy by lineages could explain the differences in distributions. Most Mesolithic hunters in eastern Europe probably settled in the less arid areas of the forest steppes and even further north as it wasnt quite as marginal. However, some groups do seem to have adapted to hunting in the drier treeless areas of the European steppes chasing Equids etc. Those areas seem to have been the southernmost fringe of Ukraine and somewhat further north in the east end of the Euro steppes. It does strike me that this could be the origin of the distinction in distribution of R1b and a. We have now a number of bits of evidence for R1a from the forest steppe northwards but not R1b. We also have M73 in the south Urals and east Caspian areas/north-west central Asia and of course ancient DNA for L23 in the Samara sort of area. We also have a suggestion that R1a in the middle Dnieper may have blocked R1b heading north into cultures like Fatyanovo, Abashevo and perhaps even corded ware in general although the last is less clear IMO. In contrast it would appear R1b could reach the west shores of the Black Sea, the Balkans and Danube without impediment. I know this is tentative but I think there is a suggestion that nuance in location of R1a and b has its origins in environmental preferences that may have very deep roots going back to the hunter-gatherer period.

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    some groups do seem to have adapted to hunting in the drier treeless areas of the European steppes chasing Equids etc.
    They must have been either very, very good at hiding, or very very very good indeed at running, then.
    Or do the microliths hint at supreme archery skills, of a kind familiar from the area in later periods?

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    Honestly, I had never paid that much attention to P297 before the recent Haak et al paper and the Els Trocs R1b1-M415xM269,M73 result. Trying to make sense of ancient R1b results from opposite ends of Europe caused me to consider the overall early history of R1b. There, it seems to me, P297 is key. Otherwise, how does one explain a roughly 7,000-year-old R1b1-M415xM269,M73 in Iberia and a 7,600-year-old R1b1-L278 and seven roughly 5,000-year-old R1b's, one of them R1b-P297 and the other six all R1b-L23 (and five of those R1b-Z2103/Z2105), on the Volga-Ural steppe?

    Initially, that Els Trocs find was a little confusing. What did it mean? Then someone, I think Rich Rocca, mentioned the possibility that Els Trocs was V88+, and I thought, aha!, that makes a lot of sense. The first important split in R1b that we know or are reasonably sure about occurred when the pre-P297 group headed off to the Near East, where it gave rise to V88, which subsequently went on to Africa and points west in southern Europe. Els Trocs is evidently a product of the migration of that pre-P297 group.

    Back in the R1b Urheimat, among those the pre-P297 group left behind, P297 arose, and P297 subsequently spawned its two known branches, M269 and M73. From M269, L23 was born, and from L23, Z2103 and L51 arose.

    This chain of events, the departure of the pre-P297 group for the Near East and the subsequent rise of P297 and its descendants back in far eastern Europe or nearby in Asia, seems to explain the Haak et al results pretty sensibly. We see a southwestern P297- branch which accounts for the Els Trocs R1b1-M415xM269,M73 in Iberia and an eastern P297+ branch that accounts for the seven Volga-Ural P297+ results.

    Unfortunately, Haak et al did not get reads on P297 and V88 for the Els Trocs R1b1-M415xM269,M73, and that leaves room for the argument that Els Trocs did not belong to that pre-P297 branch but was something else altogether.

    I cannot think of a plausible explanation for the Haak et al ancient R1b results that makes as much sense as the one I have described, however. It seems to me to be the most parsimonious explanation.

    Too bad Haak et al did not at least get a P297 result on Els Trocs, and, of course, a V88 result would have settled the matter.
    Last edited by rms2; 03-27-2015 at 12:14 PM.

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