Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2007-09 > 1188677982

From: Alan R <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Abstract: Ancient DNA as a Means toInvestigatetheEuropean Neolithic
Date: Sat, 1 Sep 2007 21:19:42 +0100 (BST)
In-Reply-To: <BAY111-DAV9BDF55DD05C12F491CBA2B1CF0@phx.gbl>

If my interpretation is wrong then tell me this: How
come the pre-farming Mesolithic hunter-gatherers in
Sweden had 10% of the lactose gene already if it was
only spread by a common ancestor in the Neolithic
period? That is a total contradiction. The Swedish
evidence has basically thrown out the Neolithic common
ancestor theory. I am not arguing against a common
ancestor or against the fact that it became a very
useful gene to have on the arrival of farming and
proliferated as a result of this. All I am saying is
the common ancestor dating is clearly wrong and it
must be pre-Neolithic, probably by a very considerable
period. The Swedish evidence shows it was in Sweden
in 10% of the population prior to the arrival of
farming or farmer. Indeed, the dating of the gene
suggested does go up to 10,000 years old. That takes
us to 8000BC which is around the time of the main
recolonisation of northern Europe by hunters and
gatherers. Despite this, I feel it must be at least a
few thousand years even older than that to explain its
very wide present spread by a common ancestor.

Compared to archaeology, genetics for all its amazing
contributions is very tentative in the field of dating
and there is no consensus. I really wouldn't take any
genetically derived dates seriously at present. I
believe the relative datings (i.e basic sequence of
development) but not the attempt at calender dating
and at best one should be prepared for the ages given
to be up to say 30% out. Oppenheimer's first
post-glacial settlement of British Isles dates are
clearly too early by that sort of factor (I realise
that that just one genetic dating technique). There
are a number of cases where archaeology and climatic
considerations show that genetic dating methods have
simply got it wrong. Even the better mt DNA dating
seems to need re-calibrated because it is clearly at
least a bit out of sync with the very good
archaeological dating we have for the main phases of
likely population change in various parts of Europe.

As far as I can see even the better genetic dating is
pretty hopeless unless you just need a date to the
nearest 4000 years. Its fine with very deep time like
tracing human movement out of Africa and around the
world etc but poor when dealing with spans of a few
thousand years, which makes it of limited use in terms
of post-glacial Europe.

It is clear the genetic dating is very inaccurate in
many cases and it is a pity geneticists don't look
into calibrating using the archaeological dates. I
believe the Oppenheimer dating method uses
archaeological dates for the first colonising of
America as a fixed point for calibration. There are
so many other good archaeologically derived fixed
dating points for important populating events of empty
lands in Europe and for the subsequent spread of
farming. In most parts of Europe, the core major
events can be dated to within a century or two

Basically, when it comes to dating, archaeology is
king and genetics is in its infancy. What the
archaeologists don't have is the demic input details
because it is often hard to distinguish influences and
ideas moving from actual population movement. That's
genetics' strong point.


--- Lawrence Mayka <> wrote:

> Your assertion is utterly contradicted by the
> genetic evidence that has been
> presented on this list multiple times, as well as by
> every expert in the
> field who has unhesitatingly asserted that the
> lactase persistence allele
> spread due to its utility and not in advance of it.
> Some people do not wish the facts to cloud their
> hypotheses.
> > [mailto:] On
> Behalf Of Alan R
> > IMHO, the lactose thing must surely have appeared
> in
> > an individual in much earlier, probably glacial
> times
> > and his/her descendants who carried the
> then-useless
> > gene may have been scattered all round Europe in
> low
> > (but not necessarily evenly spread) numbers long
> > before farming arrived.
> -------------------------------
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