Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2010-03 > 1267964799

From: "Anatole Klyosov" <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Lost Jewish tribe 'found in Zimbabwe'
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 2010 07:26:39 -0500
References: <>

>BBC: Lost Jewish tribe 'found in Zimbabwe'
>Carbon dating shows the ngoma to be nearly 700 years old - pretty ancient, if not as old as Bible stories would suggest.

>But Prof Parfitt says this is because the ngoma was used in battles, and would explode and be rebuilt.

My comment:

The excerpt from a published study (see below) shows that the "Lemba CMH signature" is 625±200 years old, around the 14th century. It fits pretty well with the "nearly 700 years old"

> From: "Mike Mallett" <>

> From: Vincent Vizachero <>
> But as best I can tell, the BBC is recycling a decade-old DNA study. Does anyone detect anything new being reported (DNA-wise)?

A.A.Klyosov, J. of Genetic Genealogy, 5(2):217-245 (2009)

A section: "The South African Lemba haplotypes"

... A list of 136 Lemba haplotypes was published (Thomas et al., 2000), and the authors alluded that some Lemba belong to the CMH Jewish lineage. We will demonstrate that it is very unlikely.

(...) Forty one of the tested Lemba individuals had typical "Bantu" haplotypes belonging to the E3a haplogroup (by the author's definition) with a base haplotype:


(...) 8,300±1,200 years from a common ancestor.

Another 23 Lemba who were tested had the following base haplotype (a haplogroup was not identified, as well as of any haplogroups for the published haplotypes in Thomas et al., 2000):


(...) 2,150±580 years to a common ancestor for these individuals. However, their "modal" haplotype was quite different from the Cohen Modal Haplotype, with 10 mutations on the 6-marker haplotype. It corresponds to a mutational difference with the CMH equivalent to about 50 thousand years from a common ancestor.

There were a few scattered Lemba haplotypes, apparently from different unidentified haplogroups, and finally there were 57 haplotypes of apparently haplogroup J, which in turn split into three different branches (Fig. 24). Three base haplotypes, one for each branch, are shown below:




The first one represents 16 identical haplotypes (the upper right area in Fig. 24), which obviously came from a very recent common ancestor. As one can see from the haplotype tree, none of these haplotypes is mutated. Its common ancestor should have lived no more than a few centuries ago.

[Figure 24. The Lemba 6-marker haplotype tree, apparently of haplogroup J. The 57 haplotype tree was composed of data published in (Thomas et al., 2000).]

The second one, being a base haplotype for a 26-haplotype branch on the left-hand side in Fig. 24, is a rather common haplotype in the Arabic world, and belongs likely to haplogroups J and/or J2. (...) 2,550±610 years to a common ancestor, who most likely lived in the first millennia BC. It is clearly not the "Cohen Modal Haplotype" and differs from the last by two mutations, which in the 6-marker format corresponds to about 7300 years..

The third base haplotype, which is the CMH in its 6-marker format, supports a branch of 15 haplotypes on the lower right-hand side. Twelve of those CMH haplotypes are identical to each other and form a flat branch. There are no mutations in them, and they must have come from a very recent ancestor of only a few centuries ago. From a fraction of the base haplotype, their common ancestor lived only ln (15/12)/0.0088 = 25 generations ago, or about 625±200 years bp, around the 14th century.

Obviously, to call the Lemba haplotypes the "Cohen haplotype" is a huge stretch. They could have been Jewish and originated just a few centuries ago, or they could have been Arabic. Hence, the so-called "Cohen Modal Haplotype" in the "Black Jews of Southern Africa" has nothing to do with an ancient history of either the Lemba or the Jewish people. It is a rather recent acquirement.

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