GENEALOGY-DNA-L ArchivesArchiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2010-12 > 1291542557
From: "Lancaster-Boon" <>
Subject: [DNA] R1b and R1a fate
Date: Sun, 5 Dec 2010 10:49:17 +0100
In my previous mail on this subject, I limited myself to trying to clean up
two misunderstandings one of which I take "credit" for. It is therefore a
good thing that you've taken the time to start again:
> To call European R1a1 "Iranians" is awfully confusing and historically
wrong. Let's leave this sloppy and awkward term to the linguists.
I have not called European R1a1 Iranian, but I can see how I implied it, and
it is an interesting idea. Indeed I left consideration of this matter vague,
and something to build up to.
R1a1 as we see it today clearly is dominated by a relatively young branch or
group of branches and that was what I was focussing on. However:-
1. There are of course signs, of R1a having had an older history in Europe,
Central Asia, and the Middle East. I would basically say about these signs,
that we are working with very little.
2. But, and here your point is correct, even the younger branches which have
dispersed so successfully are NOT limited to Iranian language areas, and
they are not limited even to Indo-Iranian language areas. The most obvious
other link we can make is to the Slavic language speaking areas. That raises
two obvious possibilities in my opinion.
i. One obvious possibility is that we need something like the "satem/centum"
hypothesis, which invokes a link between Balto-Slavic and Indo-Iranian,
lumping them into one sub group within IE. This hypothesis is however not
uncontroversial, and it also does not really account nearly for what we see
in the gneetic evidence. For example other members of the proposed satem
grouping, such as Greek or Armenian, show no such strong association with
these young and dominant branches of R1a.
i.a. In order to make a version of this idea more fitting to the genetic
information, perhaps then we need to consider something like what I think
Dienekes is proposing, which would be that, the opposite of the usual
proposals about the satem group. Normally in such proposals, Greek and
Armenian enter the Balkans from the Steppes, but Dienekes is perhaps
proposing is the opposite: that Iranian and Indic languages derive from
somewhere closer to Europe, and headed east. This would help because
obviously an expanding wave is exactly where we would expect one Y
haplogroup to dominate, while in the ancestral region or regions or complex
of regions of origin, especially if it were more sedentary, a quite
different pattern of development might easily occur, leading to no R1a
i.b. I suppose a more orthdox way to try to recover the satem approach I
mention here would be to propose that when the satem people arrived from the
steppes they hit areas of higher population, and although they passed on
language their genetic contribution is diluted.
ii. I would suggest that the hypthesis which is simplest would be simply to
suggest that Iranian speakers and Slavic speakers lived for many centuries
in close contact with each other. This is known from classical records, and
archaelogy and loan words. Herodotus appears to call Slavic groups he was
aware of "Farmer Scythians". We know that many peoples in Eastern Europe
ended up speaking the language of a sedentary farming people, but clearly
had a big component of ancestry from peoples of other language groups. The
Bulgarians take their name a Turkish speaking group, and the Hungarians (at
least in English) also. The Polish aristocracy believed itself descended
from the Sarmatians, and so on.
You asked for speculations, so there are some.
> Yes. Tocharian IS an Indo-European language, according to contemporary
linguistics. Yes, it is bound to a certain geographic position, namely
Xinjiang, China. It is Western (North-Western) China. It is a place where
the most ancient R1a1 common ancestor was found, in fact, a number of them,
from 7,000 to 21,000 ybp. It is where the Tarim mummies were found, dating
3800 ybp and onward to out time (to about 200 AD). All of them (males) are
R1a1, thus far. Finally, according to Gray and Atkinson (Nature) Tocharian
languages split from IE language tree 7900 ybp. It is certainly not the
> Now, my turn to ask a question: What is your point in that regard? Please,
express it directly.
> My point is that the Tocharian R1a1 did not come from Europe. They are at
the root of the IE languages. Therefore, R1b are not related to that root.
R1b have nothing to do with Tocharian languages. R1b have nothing to do with
the root of IE languages. Am I clear? Any claims otherwise are not
substantiated, unless they are supported with DATA.
No derived language can be a root, of course. My point about Tocharian is
that BEFORE Indo-Iranian, there must have been IE languages BETWEEN
Tocharian and its relatives in Europe, and I suggest that some of these at
least were in the steppes. Some were presumably ancestral to Indo Iranian
indeed. This particular point is probably not controversial to you, which is
why you do not perhaps see why I wrote it. However, I think Dienekes
disputes it for example. I agree with him that just saying that his argument
is not mainstream is not an argument, so I am trying to keep his criticisms
in mind. I'd be interested to know what you think on this.
>> Do you know of many controversies about the idea that Western European IE
languages like Celtic and Italic probably arrived from the direction of the
Balkans? Again, I am trying to start with what is most general and least
> I am confused with the above. Yes, there are many controversies about
Celtic. However, it does not fit to your last sentence. There are many
controversies who Celtics actually were in BC times. There are many
controversies with Celtic language BEFORE the 1st millennium BC. It was
likely NOT Indo-European those times. There are many controversies about
Celts and Gauls, who were who, and in many deep studies they are often mixed
together. Read THE CELTS by Nora Chadwick, for example. It is one of the
best studies of the Celts, and they often undistinguishable from the Gauls
in descriptions. Even the names are often used interchangeably.
> Now, my turn. Which language(s) the Celts (or their predecessors) spoke
4500 years bp, where, and which haplogroup did they belong? DATA, please.
OK, so this may be another problem of defining terms. When I use the term
Celtic I am referring to a language family. Please note that the use of the
term Celtic to refer to anything else is in itself controversial. The Romans
talked about Gauls, not Celts. The modern use of the term to apply to Irish,
Scottish, Welsh and Breton is actually quite a recent and trendy thing. It
has become acceptable when referring to these modern peoples of course, but
I do not think it helps in our type of discussion here.
So to repeat, my paragraph which you quote was concerning the language
family. Languages can move without whole populations moving. So do you know
of many controversies about the idea that Western European IE LANGUAGES like
Celtic and Italic probably arrived from the direction of the Balkans?
Coming back to what you are saying though, who are the Celts you talk about
who did not speak Celtic? I am assuming this will have something to do with
Basques and the Beaker culture in your mind?
> My question to you" where R1b were 6000 years ago? In Europe??
Actually, not trying to be uncontroversial now, yes I think this is very
likely. But at this point in time R1b was quite likely mainly in SE Europe.
>> I am avoiding making any proposal about what Y haplogroup was in the
original wave of dispersal of IE languages as a whole. It is too difficult.
> I understand. I take it that R1b was not among that dispersal. At any
rate, you do not have DATA about it.
None of us really have data for it. R1b and R1a may well have been in those
earliest dispersals, along with who knows what. R1a and R1b in the most
common forms we know today may have been quite rare at the time.
> O.K., I will say it. DNA genealogy and linguistic can be compatible in the
following: R1a spread Indo-European language(s)
> /dialects in Europe and from Europe before and after 6000 ybp, R1a1
brought IE languages to "Russia" from the West, R1a1 brought IE language to
"India" (3500 ybp), to "Iran" (3500 ybp), to the Caucasus (4500 ybp), to
Anatolia (around 4200-3600 ybp).
> Unlike R1a1, R1b1b2 spoke non-IE language(s) 6000 ybp and earlier, they
spoke non-IE languages in Anatolia and in Asia Minor in general, they
brought non-IE language to Iberia, and the Basque language is the present
continuation of that R1b1b2 language, and R1b1b2 brought those non-IE
languages to Europe and spread them across Europe and to the Isles between
4800 and 3200-3000 ybp, and in some regions much later. Around 3000 ybp R1b1
began use IE language, and it spread across Europe in the 1st millennium BC
and the 1st millennium AD, thank to Roman Empire influence and vastness.
Thanks! I think the biggest disagreements with the above, at least for me,
are concerning the liklihood of your R1b scenario.
* I'd say R1b's oldest splits show that it probably originates somewhere
near Anatolia (including Balkans, Fertile Crescent, Caucasus, Levant). R-L11
for example sits in a family tree where most of its "cousins", and other
close relatives are nowhere near, for example, Iberia.
* I see absolutely no reason to suggest Roman influence, even if we insist
on an Iberian origin. Surely the dispersal of Celtic languages in Europe
(note: I define by language here) are easily big enough and dramatic enough
to explain it better. Mind you this is not a major modification of your
theory. It just moves things a few hundred years earlier.
* In your scenario, a small part of R1b splits off from its Middle Eastern
family very early, and disperses suddenly from Iberia much later. The Y
haplogroup presumably makes the jump from a Basque-type language culture to
an IE language culture (Latin, or I would say Celtic languages fit your
scenario better) just before making this dispersal. Correct?
The way I see it, you see to agree with the following starting point...
Step 1. Ancestral R1b in Middle East
Step 2. It enters Europe, maybe in the Neolithic, probably via the Balkans
and southern Europe.
Where it seems we then differ is that in step 3, you have R1b in Europe only
surviving in Iberia for a very long time. I suggest instead that during step
3, R1b hangs around in the entry point of eastern Balkans.
Then you have R1b jumping onto the IE train during Roman times, very late,
and I say that it probably jumped on the IE train when the IE first hits
Europe, probably in the eastern Balkans. (Actually Dienekes' proposal that
IE was maybe already there does not change this much.)
I would suggest that the remarkable phylogenetic pattern we see in European
R1b shows that several related men from an amazingly similar time period and
region all have very dominant modern male lines in Europe. This is very
important. We rarely see such a strong message in the Y DNA data.
This has to be a case where major population, and not just an elite for
example, moved together and did well from that point on for many
generations. This massive dispersal matches the linguistic situation well,
because IE also became dominant at a similar time.
I think R1b had to be on the IE train before (maybe just before) it started
rolling over Europe. I can not see how Basques or some older non IE culture,
no matter how widespread they once were, could have provided the massively
expanding IE language population of the whole of Europe with its main male
lines. Maybe they contributed a lot to maternal and autosomal lines, but the
genetics show us that the male lines were changing dramatically and quickly.
It is not just that it is hard to imagine that a people spreading a language
family so successfully and quickly would come to be quickly dominated by the
male lines associated with the older languages being replaced. I do accept
that immigrating populations can pick up a lot of local DNA. But it is much
more than that, because of the explosion of R1b the DNA evidence shows us.
Your scenario actually requires that the male lines of whoever those peoples
whose languages are being replaced were had their great day just at this
moment and spread. Your scenario does not just require the survival of
Basque or other pre-IE Y lines. It requires them to expand rapidly over all
of Europe just at the time when this older culture was being over-run.
Out of this wave of IE speakers moving into Europe from the SE some male
lines within R-L11 became very dominant obviously.