Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

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  • The Fertile Crescent

    The Fertile Crescent is a term for an old fertile area north, east and west of the Arabian Desert in Southwest Asia. The Mesopotamian valley and the Nile valley fall under this term even though the mountain zone around Mesopotamia is the natural zone for the transition in a historical sense.

    As a result of a number of unique geographical factors the Fertile Crescent have an impressive history of early human agricultural activity and culture. Besides the numerous archaeological sites with remains of skeletons and cultural relics the area is known primarily for its excavation sites linked to agricultural origins and development of the Neolithic era.

    It was here, in the forested mountain slopes of the periphery of this area, that agriculture originated in an ecologically restricted environment. The western zone and areas around the upper Euphrates gave growth to the first known Neolithic farming communities with small, round houses , also referred to as Pre Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) cultures, which dates to just after 10,000 BC and include areas such as Jericho, the world’s oldest city.

    During the subsequent PPNB from 9000 BC these communities developed into larger villages with farming and animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood, with settlement in the two-story, rectangular house. Man now entered in symbiosis with grain and livestock species, with no opportunity to return to hunter – gatherer societies.

    The area west and north of the plains of the Euphrates and Tigris also saw the emergence of early complex societies in the much later Bronze Age (about 4000 BC). There is evidence of written culture and early state formation in this northern steppe area, although the written formation of the states relatively quickly shifted its center of gravity into the Mesopotamian valley and developed there. The area is therefore in very many writers been named “The Cradle of Civilization.”

    The area has experienced a series of upheavals and new formation of states. When Turkey was formed in the aftermath of the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians perpetrated by the Young Turks during the First World War it is estimated that two-thirds to three-quarters of all Armenians and Assyrians in the region died, and the Pontic Greeks was pushed to Greece.

    Israel was created out of the Ottoman Empire and the conquering of the Palestinian terretories. The existence of large Arab nation states from the Maghreb to the Levant has since represented a potential threat to Israel which should be neutralised when opportunities arise.

    This line of thinking was at the heart of David Ben Gurion’s policies in the 1950s which sought to exacerbate tensions between Christians and Muslims in the Lebanon for the fruits of acquiring regional influence by the dismembering the country and the possible acquisition of additional territory.

    The Christians are now being systematically targeted for genocide in Syria according to Vatican and other sources with contacts on the ground among the besieged Christian community.

    According to reports by the Vatican’s Fides News Agency collected by the Centre for the Study of Interventionism, the US-backed Free Syrian Army rebels and ever more radical spin-off factions are sacking Christian churches, shooting Christians dead in the street, broadcasting ultimatums that all Christians must be cleansed from the rebel-held villages, and even shooting priests.

    It is now time that the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians is being recognized, that the Israeli occupation, settlements and violence against the Palestinians stop, and that the various minorities in the area start to live their lifes in peace – without violence and threats from majority populations, or from the West, and then specificially from the US.

    War in the Fertile Crescent
    https://aratta.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/war-in-the-fertile-crescent

    Everyone is free to use the text on this blog as they want. There is no copyright etc. This because knowledge is more important than rules and regulations.

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Back to Africa

The Levantine & African branch of R1b (V88)

Savanna Pastoral Neolithic

Haplogroup R1b

mtDNA and haplogroup R1b

The lactase persistence

Light skin, blond hair and red hair

Afro-Asiatic

The Levantine & African branch of R1b (V88)

Haplogroup P1 (P-M45), the immediate ancestor of Haplogroup R, likely emerged in Southeast Asia. There were few areas in which Haplogroups P-M45, Q-M242 and R-M207 were all common amongst prehistoric populations.

R-M207 and its subclades were most common along an axis from Western Europe to South Asia, whereas Q-M242 was the most common Y-DNA lineage among Native Americans. However, both P-M45 and its immediate descendants also appear to have been relatively common in Central Asia and Siberia.

Haplogroup R* originated in North Asia just before the Last Glacial Maximum (26,500-19,000 years ago). The SNP M207, which defines Haplogroup R, is believed to have arisen during the Upper Paleolithic era, about 27,000 years ago.

Haplogroup R arised in Central Asia, and R2 is still restricted to Central and South Asia, while R1a and the older subclades of R1b are also found in Central Asia. The age of R1b subclades in Europe coincide with the Bronze-Age. R1b must consequently have replaced most of the native Y-DNA lineages in Europe from the Bronze-Age onwards.

Haplogroup R1 and its sibling clade R2 (R-M79) are the only immediate descendants of Haplogroup R (R-M207). R is a direct descendant of Haplogroup P1 (P-M45), and a sibling clade, therefore, of Haplogroup Q (Q-M242). Only one confirmed example of basal R* has been found, in 24,000 year old remains, known as MA1, found at Mal’ta–Buret’ culture near Lake Baikal in Siberia.

Based on its ancestral lineages, an inferred origin for haplogroup R1 is South Asia or its western neighboring areas. For example, Kivisild 2003 believes the evidence suggests that southern and western Asia might be the source of this haplogroup, and that given the geographic spread and STR diversities of sister clades R1 and R2, the latter of which is restricted to India, Pakistan, Iran, and southern central Asia, it is possible that southern and western Asia were the source for R1 and R1a differentiation.

Haplogroup R1 is very common throughout all of Eurasia except East Asia and Southeast Asia. Its distribution is believed to be associated with the re-settlement of Eurasia following the last glacial maximum. Its main subgroups are R1a and R1b.

One subclade of haplogroup R1b (especially R1b1a2), is the most common haplogroup in Western Europe and Bashkortostan, while a subclade of haplogroup R1a (especially haplogroup R1a1) is the most common haplogroup in large parts of South Asia, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Western China, and South Siberia.

It has been hypothetised that R1b people (perhaps alongside neighbouring J2 tribes) were the first to domesticate cattle in northern Mesopotamia some 10,500 years ago. The oldest forms of R1b (M343, P25, L389) are found dispersed at very low frequencies from Western Europe to India, a vast region where could have roamed the nomadic R1b hunter-gatherers during the Ice Age.

The three main branches of R1b1 (R1b1a, R1b1b, R1b1c) all seem to be associated with the domestication of cattle in northern Mesopotamia. The southern branch, R1b1c (V88), is found mostly in the Levant and Africa. The northern branch, R1b1a (P297), seems to have originated around the Caucasus, eastern Anatolia or northern Mesopotamia, then to have crossed over the Caucasus, from where they would have invaded Europe and Central Asia. R1b1b (M335) has only been found in Anatolia.

Both R1b-M269 and R1b-V88 probably split soon after cattle were domesticated, approximately 10,500 years ago (8,500 BCE). R1b-V88 migrated south towards the Levant and Egypt. The R-V88 coalescence time was estimated at 9200–5600kya, in the early mid Holocene. The migration of R1b people can be followed archeologically through the presence of domesticated cattle, which appear in central Syria around 8,000-7,500 BCE (late Mureybet period), then in the Southern Levant and Egypt around 7,000-6,500 BCE (e.g. at Nabta Playa and Bir Kiseiba).

Cattle herders subsequently spread across most of northern and eastern Africa. The Sahara desert would have been more humid during the Neolithic Subpluvial period (c. 7250-3250 BCE), and would have been a vast savannah full of grass, an ideal environment for cattle herding.

Evidence of cow herding during the Neolithic has shown up at Uan Muhuggiag in central Libya around 5500 BCE, at the Capeletti Cave in northern Algeria around 4500 BCE. But the most compelling evidence that R1b people related to modern Europeans once roamed the Sahara is to be found at Tassili n’Ajjer in southern Algeria, a site famous pyroglyphs (rock art) dating from the Neolithic era. Some painting dating from around 3000 BCE depict fair-skinned and blond or auburn haired women riding on cows.

The oldest known R1b-V88 sample in Europe is a 6,200 year-old farmer/herder from Catalonia. Autosomally this individual was a typical Near Eastern farmer, possessing just a little bit of Mesolithic West European admixture. After reaching the Maghreb, R1b-V88 cattle herders could have crossed the Strait of Gibraltar to Iberia, probably accompanied by G2 farmers, J1 and T1a goat herders. These North African Neolithic farmers/herders could have been the ones who established the Almagra Pottery culture in Andalusia in the 6th millennium BCE.

Nowadays small percentages (1 to 4%) of R1b-V88 are found in the Levant, among the Lebanese, the Druze, and the Jews, and almost in every country in Africa north of the equator. While Western Europe is dominated by the R1b1b2 (R-M269) branch of R1b, the Chadic-speaking area in Africa is dominated by the branch known as R1b1a (R-V88). These represent two very successful “twigs” on a much bigger “family tree”.

Although human Y chromosomes belonging to haplogroup R1b are quite rare in Africa, being found mainly in Asia and Europe, a group of chromosomes within the paragroup R-P25* are found concentrated in the central-western part of the African continent, where they can be detected at frequencies as high as 95%. 

Haplogroup R1b1* is found in Africa at various frequencies. Berniell-Lee et al (2009) found in their study that 5.2% carried Rb1* (RL278). The frequency of R1b1* among the Bantu ranged from 2-20%. The bearers of R1b1* among the Pygmy populations ranged from 1-25% (Berniell-Lee et al, 2009). The frequency of RL278 among Guinea-Bissau populations was 12%. The Toubou, Laal, and Sara have frequencies between 20%-34% of RL754 (R1b1a).

Higher frequency in Egypt (5%), among Berbers from the Egypt-Libya border (23%), among the Sudanese Copts (15%), the Hausa people of Sudan (40%), the Fulani people of the Sahel (54% in Niger and Cameroon), and Chadic tribes of northern Nigeria and northern Cameroon (especially among the Kirdi), where it is observed at a frequency ranging from 30% to 95% of men.

R-V88 is a paternal genetic record of the proposed mid-Holocene migration of proto-Chadic Afroasiatic speakers through the Central Sahara into the Lake Chad Basin, and geomorphological evidence is consistent with this view. It is suggested that R-V88 is a paternal genetic record of the proposed mid-Holocene migration of proto-Chadic Afroasiatic speakers through the Central Sahara into the Lake Chad Basin.

A date 6000 BC was estimated for the L3f3 sub-haplogroup, which is in good agreement with the supposed migration of Chadic speaking pastoralists and their linguistic differentiation from other Afro-Asiatic groups of East Africa. This is consistent with the date for V88 proposed at 7,200-3,600 BC, and is also a very close match for the arrival of the Neolithic in Africa.

R1b-V88 would have crossed the Sahara between 7,200 and 3,600 BC, and is most probably associated with the diffusion of Chadic languages, a branch of the Afroasiatic languages that is spoken in parts of the Sahel. They include 150 languages spoken across northern Nigeria, southern Niger, southern Chad, Central African Republic and northern Cameroon.

Hausa is the Chadic language with the largest number of speakers, spoken as a first language by some 27 million people, and as a second language by another 20 million. The ancestral language of the Hausa people, one of the largest ethnic groups in Central Africa, Hausa is commonly spoken throughout southern Niger and northern Nigeria. It has developed into a lingua franca across much of inland Eastern Western Africa for purposes of trade.

The Hausa aristocracy had historically developed an equestrian based culture. Still a status symbol of the traditional nobility in Hausa society, the horse still features in the Eid day celebrations, known as Ranar Sallah (in English: the Day of the Prayer).

The Nok culture appeared in Northern Nigeria around 1000 BC and vanished under unknown circumstances around 300 AD in the region of West Africa. It is believed to be the product of an ancestral nation that branched to create the Hausa, Gwari, Birom, Kanuri, Nupe and Jukun peoples. The Kwatarkwashi Culture or Sokoto Culture located to the North west of Nok is thought to be the same as or an earlier ancestor of the Nok.

The Fula people or Fulani or Fulany or Fulbe, numbering between 20 and 25 million people in total, are one of the largest ethnic groups in the Sahel and West Africa, widely dispersed across the region. Inhabiting many countries, they live mainly in West Africa and northern parts of Central Africa, but also in Chad, Sudan and regions near the Red Sea.

The Fula people are traditionally believed to have roots stemming from North Africa and the Middle East, who later intermingled with local West African ethnic groups. As an ethnic group, they are bound together by the Fula language and their Islamic religious affiliation, their history and their culture.

The Fulani are traditionally a nomadic, pastoralist trading people. They herd cattle, goats and sheep across the vast dry hinterlands of their domain, keeping somewhat separate from the local agricultural populations. They are the largest nomadic ethnic group in the world, and inhabit several territories over an area larger in size than the continental United States.

A significant proportion of the Fula – a third, or an estimated 7 to 8 million – are pastoralists, making them the ethnic group with the largest nomadic pastoral community in the world. The majority of the Fula ethnic group consisted of semi-sedentary people as well as sedentary settled farmers, artisans, merchants and nobility.

The origins of the Fulani people are unclear and various theories have been postulated. As a nomadic herding people, they have moved through and among many other cultures. Skutsch notes that their oral histories point toward a start in Egypt or farther east, but also that their language comes from the Senegambian region.

The earliest evidence that shed some light on the pre-historic Fulani culture can be found in the Tassili n’Ajjer rock art, which seem to depict the early life of the people dating back to 6000 BCE). Examination of these rock paintings suggests the presence of proto-Fulani cultural traits in the region by at least the 4th millennium BCE. Tassili-N’Ajjer in Algeria is one of the most famous North African sites of rock painting.

The Fulani and Hausa people have taken some influences from each other’s cultures. Upon the success recorded in the 1804 Fulani War of Usman dan Fodio, many of Fulɓe subsequently joined the ruling classes of the Northern Nigerian Emirate. They dress and speak like their Hausa neighbours and live in the same form. The Fulbe who didn’t settle during this period and their descendants, however, still keep an obvious distinct identity from that of the Hausa and other surrounding groups of the region.

Fula, also known as Fulani or Fulah (Fula: Fulfulde, Pulaar, Pular; French: Peul), is a language spoken as a set of various dialects in a continuum that stretches across some 20 countries in West and Central Africa. Along with other related languages such as Serer and Wolof, it belongs to the Senegambian branch within the Niger–Congo languages, which does not have tones, unlike most other Niger–Congo languages. More broadly, it belongs to the Atlantic geographic grouping within Niger–Congo.

The Niger–Congo languages constitute one of the world’s major language families and Africa’s largest in terms of geographical area, number of speakers and number of distinct languages. An estimated total of 400 million people were native speakers of Niger-Congo languages as of 2007 (with rapid population growth of more than 2% p.a.).

The phylum is dominated both in terms of number of speakers and number of individual languages by the Bantu languages, which were spread throughout Sub-Saharan Africa by the Bantu expansion during the 1st millennium BC. The most widely spoken individual Niger–Congo languages by number of native speakers are Yoruba, Igbo, Fula and Shona. The most widely spoken by number of speakers is Swahili.

The language family most likely originates in West Africa, its original expansion being associated with the expansion of Sahel agriculture in the African Neolithic period, following the desiccation of the Sahara in c. 3900 BC. The Bantu expansion, beginning around 1000 BC, swept across much of Central and Southern Africa, leading to the extermination of most of the indigenous Pygmy and Bushmen (Khoisan) populations there.

Although Fulani mtDNA is consistent with a West African origin, the linguistic and nonrecombinant portion of the Y chromosome (NRY) supports a Middle Eastern origin for this population.

The Fulani speak a Niger-Congo language. They probably came to West Africa from Nubia. This language family most likely originated in or near the area where these languages were spoken prior to Bantu expansion (i. e., West Africa or Central Africa). Its expansion may have been associated with the expansion of Sahel agriculture in the African Neolithic period, following the desiccation of the Sahara in ca. 3900 BC.

There is a widespread,though unproven, consensus among linguistic scholars that Bantu languages of the Niger–Congo family have a homeland near the coastal boundary of Nigeria and Cameroon, prior to a rapid expansion from that homeland starting about 3000 BC.

Most Niger-Congo speakers like the Mande and Balanta carry the E3a-M2 gene, whereas a number of Felupe-Djola, Papel, Fulbe, and Mande carry the M3b*-M35 gene, the same as many people in the Sudan.

In conclusion, the linguistic and genetic evidence makes it clear that the Nilo-Saharan and Niger-Congo languages are related and that Nilo-Saharan and Niger-Congo speakers carry the Y chromosomes M3b*-M35 and R1*-M173, an indicator for the earlier presence of speakers of this language in an original Nile Valley homeland.

It is also clear that the Fulani language is genetically related to languages in the Niger-Congo Superfamily and has no relationship to any languages spoken in Eurasia.

Descended from ancient central Saharan people, the Mandé are an identifiable language family, with associated peoples spread throughout West Africa. Mande does not share the morphology characteristic of most of the Niger–Congo family, such as the noun-class system. Blench regards it as an early branch that, like Ijoid and perhaps Dogon, diverged before it developed.

They are known as having been early producers of woven textiles, by a process known as strip-weaving. The Mandé have been credited with the independent development of agriculture about 3000–4000 BC; and upon this agricultural base rested some of the earliest and most complex civilizations of western Africa. They founded the Ghana and Mali empires and led the expansion of the Songhai Empire across West Africa.

Various opinions exist as to the age of the Mande languages. Greenberg has suggested that the Niger-Congo group, which in his view includes the Mande languages, began to break up around 7000 years BP. Its speakers practised a Neolithic culture, as indicated by the Proto-Niger-Congo words for “cow”, “goat” and “cultivate”.

Archaeological evidence supports that they were early producers of stone settlement civilizations. These were initially built on the rocky promontories of Tichit-Walata and the Tagant cliffs of Southern Mauritania between 2500 BC and 2000 BC by the sub-group known as the Soninke. Hundreds of stone masonry settlements with clear street layouts have been found in this area. Some settlements had massive defensive walls, while others were less fortified.

In a now arid environment where arable land and pasturage were once at a premium, the population grew. They are believed to be the first to domesticate African rice. An archaeologist described their ancient, abandoned sites as representing “a great wealth of rather spectacular prehistoric ruins”.

Relatively large-scale political organizations emerged, leading to the development of military hierarchical aristocracies. The agro-pastoral society had a mixed farming economy—millet production combined with the rearing of livestock. They had learned how to work with copper. They traded in jewelry and semi-precious stones from distant parts of the Sahara and Sahel.

 

Laal remains unclassified, although extensive Adamawa (specifically Bua) and to a lesser extent Chadic influence is found. The Adamawa languages are a putative family of 80–90 languages scattered across the Adamawa Plateau in central Africa, in Nigeria, Cameroon, Central African Republic, and Chad, spoken altogether by only one and a half million people (as of 1996). Joseph Greenberg classified them as one branch of the Adamawa–Ubangi family of Niger–Congo languages.

Geographically, the Adamawa languages lie near the location of the postulated Niger–Congo – Central Sudanic contact that may have given rise to the Atlantic–Congo family, and so may represent the central radiation of that family. Central Sudanic is a family of about sixty languages that have been included in the proposed Nilo-Saharan language family. Central Sudanic languages are spoken in the Central African Republic, Chad, South Sudan, Uganda, Congo (DRC) and Cameroon.

It is sometimes grouped with one of those two language families, and sometimes seen as a language isolate. Boyeldieu (1982) summarizes his view as “Its classification remains problematic; while it shows certain lexical, and no doubt morphological, traits with the Bua languages (Adamawa-13, Niger–Congo family of Joseph H. Greenberg), it differs from them radically in many ways of which some, a priori, make one think of geographically nearby Chadic languages.”

Roger Blench (2003), similarly, considers that “its vocabulary and morphology seem to be partly drawn from Chadic (i.e. Afro-Asiatic), partly from Adamawa (i.e. Niger–Congo) and partly from an unknown source, perhaps its original phylum, a now-vanished grouping from Central Africa.”

It is the latter possibility which attracts particular interest; if this proves true, Laal may be the only remaining window on the linguistic state of Central Africa before the expansion of the main African language families—Afro-Asiatic, Nilo-Saharan, and Niger–Congo—into it.

Their immediate neighbors speak Bua, Niellim, and Ndam. Laal contains a number of loanwords from Baguirmi, which for several centuries was the lingua franca of the region under the Baguirmi Empire, and perhaps a dozen Chadic roots, which are not similar to the Chadic languages that currently neighbor Laal.

In addition, almost all Laal speak Niellim as a second language, and 20%–30% of their vocabulary is cognate with Niellim, especially agricultural vocabulary (Boyeldieu 1977, Lionnet 2010). Like the Baguirmi, the Laal are Muslims; partly because of this, some Arabic loanwords are also found. However some 60% of the vocabulary, including most core vocabulary, cannot be identified with any known language family (Lionnet 2010).

Indeed, some of the words cognate with Niellim, including some basic vocabulary, is not cognate with closely related Bua, suggesting that these are not Adamawa roots but loans in Niellim from the Laal substrate (Lionnet 2010). Pozdniakov (2010) believes Laal is a distinct branch of Niger–Congo with part of its pronominal system borrowed from a Chadic language like Kera.

Alternatively, it may be a language descending from a language of a group of Neolithic Near Eastern farmers who immigrated to Chad, since recent genetic studies have found that the Laal people have significant Eurasian admixture similar to Natufians and Neolithic Levantines.[3][4]

Diverse hypotheses have been proposed to explain the process by which proto-Chadic speakers arrived to the Lake Chad region. Ehret has put forward a model for Afroasiatic languages with a primary division between the Omotic languages of Ethiopia and an Erythraean subgroup.

This, in turn, has been subdivided into Cushitic and North Erythraean, the latter including Berber, Semitic, Ancient Egyptian, and Chadic. In his opinion, around 7000 kya proto-Chadic Afroasiatic speakers may have moved west through the Central Sahara and then farther south into the Lake Chad Basin.

Blench, in turn, suggested that speakers of proto-Cushitic–Chadic language migrated east-to-west from the Middle Nile to the Lake Chad, and recent mtDNA data support this view. However, in contrast to the mtDNA, a strong connection between Chadic and other Afroasiatic populations from Northern Africa is revealed by the Y chromosome data.

This finding would indicate the trans-Saharan a more likely scenario than the inter-Saharan hypothesis, at least as far as the male component of gene pool is concerned. In this view, it is tempting to speculate that the Y chromosome haplogroup R-V88 represents a preserved genetic record of gene flow along the same axis as the proposed spread of proto-Chadic languages.

Indeed, geomorphological evidence4 from the paleolakes that existed in the Sahara during the mid-Holocene indicates that these lakes could have covered an area as large as about 10% of the Sahara, providing an important corridor for human migrations across the region.

There is a significant male contribution from northern Africa (and ultimately Asia) to the gene pool of the central Sahel. The trans-Saharan population movements resulting in this genetic pattern would seem to mirror the spread of the proto-Chadic languages, and most likely took place during the early mid Holocene, a period when giant paleolakes may have provided a corridor for human migrations across what is now the Sahara desert.

Several modern genetic studies of Chadic speaking groups in the northern Cameroon region have observed high frequencies of the Y-Chromosome Haplogroup R1b in these populations (specifically, of R1b’s R-V88 variant).

This paternal marker is common in parts of West Eurasia, but otherwise rare in Africa. Cruciani et al. (2010) thus propose that the Proto-Chadic speakers during the mid-Holocene (5000 BC) migrated from the Levant to the Central Sahara, and from there settled in the Lake Chad Basin.

V88 would have migrated from Egypt to Sudan, then expanded along the Sahel until northern Cameroon and Nigeria. However, R1b-V88 is not only present among Chadic speakers, but also among Senegambian speakers (Fula-Hausa) and Semitic speakers (Berbers, Arabs).

The only Afro-Asiatic speaking group that the Chadic speakers plot closely to is Cushitic, which will probably make Blench happy, as he claims Chadic speakers are a split-off from Cushitic speaking pastoralists. It’s fairly obvious that the male line of Chadic speakers followed a path into Africa via the Sinai, then down the West bank of the Nile and then struck out West to Lake Chad, acquiring wives as they went.

The only issue is the exact date. Holocene or Neolithic? Whatever the exact date, this brings the argument for an Asian origin for Afro-Asiatic out again, as (from the DNA here) the odds are 50% that it followed the male line in from Asia.

Chadic has cognates for sheep and goats that look like they share a root with Cushitic and Egyptian, which would at least date proto Chadic to the Neolithic, making the mt DNA date of 8,000 more likely to be close to the actual date for V88 to enter Africa.

R1b-V88 is found among the native populations of Rwanda, South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau. The wide distribution of V88 in all parts of Africa, its incidence among herding tribes, and the coalescence age of the haplogroup all support a Neolithic dispersal. In any case, a later migration out of Egypt would be improbable since it would have brought haplogroups that came to Egypt during the Bronze Age, such as J1, J2, R1a or R1b-L23.

The maternal lineages associated with the spread of R1b-V88 in Africa are mtDNA haplogroups J1b, U5 and V, and perhaps also U3 and some H subclades.

In contrast to the evidence from paternally inherited Y DNA, a recent study has shown that a branch of mitochondrial haplogroup L3 links the maternal ancestry of Chadic speakers from the Sahel with Cushitic speakers from Horn of Africa.

Other mitochondrial lineages that are associated with Afroasiatic include mitochondrial haplogroups M1 and haplogroup U6. Gonzalez et al. 2007 suggest that Afroasiatic speakers may have dispersed from Horn of Africa carrying the subclades M1a and U6a1.

According to an autosomal DNA study by Hodgson et al. (2014), the Afroasiatic languages were likely spread across Africa and the Near East by an ancestral population(s) carrying a newly identified non-African genetic component, which the researchers dub the “Ethio-Somali”.

This Ethio-Somali component is today most common among Afroasiatic-speaking populations in the Horn of Africa. It is most closely related to the Maghrebi non-African genetic component, and is believed to have diverged from all other non-African ancestries at least 23,000 years ago.

On this basis, the researchers suggest that the original Ethio-Somali carrying population(s) probably arrived in the pre-agricultural period from the Near East, having crossed over into northeastern Africa via the Sinai peninsula. The population then likely split into two branches, with one group heading westward toward the Maghreb and the other moving south into the Horn.

A related hypothesis that associates the origin of the ancestors of Afroasiatic speakers as the result of a reflux population from Southwest Asia during the Late Palaeolithic was previously put forward by Daniel McCall.

 

The earliest blade industries in North Africa belong to the Iberomaurusian or Oranian (after a site near Oran). This lithic industry appears to have spread throughout the coastal regions of North Africa between 15,000 and 10,000 BC.

In 2013, Iberomaurusian skeletons from the prehistoric sites of Taforalt and Afalou in the Maghreb were analyzed for ancient DNA. All of the specimens belonged to maternal clades associated with either North Africa or the northern and southern Mediterranean littoral, indicating gene flow between these areas since the Epipaleolithic. The ancient Taforalt individuals carried the mtDNA haplogroups U6, H, JT and V, which points to population continuity in the region dating from the Iberomaurusian period.

Between about 9000 and 5000 BC, the Capsian culture made its appearance showing signs to belong to the Neolithic and began influencing the Iberomaurusian, and after about 3000 BC the remains of just one human culture can be found throughout the former region.

The Capsian culture was a Mesolithic culture centered in the Maghreb that lasted from about 10,000 to 6,000 BC. It was named after the town of Gafsa in Tunisia, which was Capsa in Roman times.

The Capsian industry was concentrated mainly in modern Tunisia and Algeria, with some lithic sites attested in southern Spain to Sicily. It is traditionally divided into two horizons, the Capsien typique (Typical Capsian) and the Capsien supérieur (Upper Capsian), which are sometimes found in chronostratigraphic sequence. They represent variants of one tradition, the differences between them being both typological and technological.

During this period, the environment of the Maghreb was open savanna, much like modern East Africa, with Mediterranean forests at higher altitudes. The Capsian diet included a wide variety of animals, ranging from aurochs and hartebeest to hares and snails; there is little evidence concerning plants eaten. During the succeeding Neolithic of Capsian Tradition, there is evidence from one site, for domesticated, probably imported, ovicaprids.

Anatomically, Capsian populations were modern Homo sapiens, traditionally classed into two variegate types: Proto-Mediterranean and Mechta-Afalou on the basis of cranial morphology. Some have argued that they were immigrants from the east (Natufians), whereas others argue for population continuity based on physical skeletal characteristics and other criteria, et cetera.

Given the Capsian culture’s timescale, widespread occurrence in the Sahara, and association with modern speakers of the Afroasiatic languages, historical linguists have tentatively associated the industry with the Afroasiatic family’s earliest speakers on the continent.

Nothing is known about Capsian religion, but their burial methods suggest a belief in an afterlife. Decorative art is widely found at their sites, including figurative and abstract rock art, and ochre is found coloring both tools and corpses. Ostrich eggshells were used to make beads and containers; seashells were used for necklaces. The Ibero-Maurusian practice of extracting the central incisors continued sporadically, but became rarer.

Neolithic society (marked by animal domestication and subsistence agriculture) spread in the Saharan and Mediterranean North Africa after the Levante between 6000 and 2000 BC. This type of economy, so richly depicted in the Tassili n’Ajjer cave paintings, predominated in North Africa until the classical period.

The cave paintings found at Tassili n’Ajjer, to the north of Tamanrasset, Algeria, and at other locations depict vibrant and vivid scenes of everyday life in central North Africa during the Neolithic Subpluvial period (about 8000 to 4000 BC).

They were executed by a hunting people in the Capsian period of the Neolithic age who lived in a savanna region teeming with giant buffalo, elephant, rhinoceros, and hippopotamus, animals that no longer exist in the now-desert area.

The pictures provide the most complete record of a prehistoric African culture. Various populations of pastoralists have left paintings of abundant wildlife, domesticated animals, chariots, and a complex culture that dates back to at least 10,000 BC in Northern Niger and neighboring parts of Algeria and Libya.

Some parts of North Africa began to participate in the Neolithic revolution in the 6th millennium BC, just before the rapid desertification of the Sahara around 3500 B.C. resulting from changes in the tilt of the Earth’s orbit.

Clement and fertile conditions during the Neolithic Subpluvial, or the Holocene Wet Phase, was an extended period (from about 7500–7000 BCE to about 3500–3000 BCE) that  supported increased human settlement of the Nile Valley in Egypt, as well as neolithic societies in Sudan and throughout the present-day Sahara. Cultures producing rock art (notably that at Tassili n’Ajjer in southeastern Algeria) flourished during this period.

The Neolithic Subpluvial of wet and rainy conditions in the climate history of northern Africa. It was both preceded and followed by much drier periods. It was the most recent of a number of periods of “Wet Sahara” or “Green Sahara”, during which the Sahara region was much moister and supported a richer biota and human population than the present-day desert.

In Prehistoric Egypt, Neolithic settlements appear from about 6000 BC. Oher regions in Africa independently developed agriculture at about the same time: the Ethiopian highlands, the Sahel, and West Africa. The beginning of the Bronze Age in Egypt is conventionally identified as the Protodynastic Period, following the Neolithic Naqada culture about 3200 BC.

The origin and development of the African haplogroup R1b

Genetic substrates in Afro-Asiatic language speaking populations

The relation between Egypt and Southwest Asia

Savanna Pastoral Neolithic

The Pre-Pottery Neolithic (PPN, around 8500-5500 BCE) represents the early Neolithic in the Levantine and upper Mesopotamian region of the Fertile Crescent. It succeeds the Natufian culture of the Epipaleolithic (Mesolithic), as the domestication of plants and animals was in its formative stages, having possibly been induced by the Younger Dryas. The Pre-Pottery Neolithic culture came to an end around the time of the 8.2 kiloyear event, a cool spell centred on 6200 BCE that lasted several hundred years.

The Pre-Pottery Neolithic is divided into Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA 8500 BCE – 7600 BCE) and the following Pre-Pottery Neolithic B (PPNB 7600 BCE – 6000 BCE). These were originally defined by Kathleen Kenyon in the type site of Jericho (Palestine). The Pre-Pottery Neolithic precedes the ceramic Neolithic (Yarmukian). At ‘Ain Ghazal in Jordan the culture continued a few more centuries as the so-called Pre-Pottery Neolithic C culture.

Around 8000 BCE during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) the world’s first town Jericho appeared in the Levant. PPNB differed from PPNA in showing greater use of domesticated animals, a different set of tools, and new architectural styles. The period is dated to between ca. 10,700 and ca. 8,000 BP or 7000 – 6000 BCE. Like the earlier PPNA people, the PPNB culture developed from the Mesolithic Natufian culture. However, it shows evidence of a northerly origin, possibly indicating an influx from the region of north eastern Anatolia.

The culture disappeared during the 8.2 kiloyear event, a term that climatologists have adopted for a sudden decrease in global temperatures that occurred approximately 8,200 years before the present, or c. 6200 BCE, and which lasted for the next two to four centuries. In the following Munhatta and Yarmukian post-pottery Neolithic cultures that succeeded it, rapid cultural development continues, although PPNB culture continued in the Amuq valley, where it influenced the later development of the Ghassulian culture.

Work at the site of ‘Ain Ghazal in Jordan has indicated a later Pre-Pottery Neolithic C period, which existed between 8,200 and 7,900 BP. Juris Zarins has proposed that a Circum Arabian Nomadic Pastoral Complex developed in the period from the climatic crisis of 6200 BCE, partly as a result of an increasing emphasis in PPNB cultures upon animal domesticates, and a fusion with Harifian hunter gatherers in Southern Palestine, with affiliate connections with the cultures of Fayyum and the Eastern Desert of Egypt. Cultures practicing this lifestyle spread down the Red Sea shoreline and moved east from Syria into southern Iraq.

Pre-Pottery Neolithic B fossils that were analysed for ancient DNA were found to carry the Y-DNA (paternal) haplogroups E1b1b (2/7; ~29%), CT (2/7; ~29%), E (xE2, E1a, E1b1a1a1c2c3b1, E1b1b1b1a1, E1b1b1b2b) (1/7; ~14%), T(xT1a1,T1a2a) (1/7; ~14%), and H2 (1/7; ~14%). The CT clade was also observed in a Pre-Pottery Neolithic C specimen (1/1; 100%). Maternally, the rare basal haplogroup N* has been found among skeletal remains belonging to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B, as have the mtDNA clades L3 and K.

Ancient DNA analysis has also confirmed ancestral ties between the Pre-Pottery Neolithic culture bearers and the makers of the Epipaleolithic Iberomaurusian culture of the Maghreb, the Mesolithic Natufian culture of the Levant, the Early Neolithic Ifri n’Amr or Moussa culture of the Maghreb, the Savanna Pastoral Neolithic culture of East Africa, the Late Neolithic Kelif el Boroud culture of the Maghreb, and the Ancient Egyptian culture of the Nile Valley, with fossils associated with these early cultures all sharing a common genomic component.

The A-Group culture was an ancient civilization that flourished between the First and Second Cataracts of the Nile in Nubia. It lasted from c. 3800 BC to c. 3100 BC. The A-Group makers maintained commercial ties with the Ancient Egyptians. They traded commodities like incense, ebony and ivory, which were gathered from the southern riverine area. They also bartered carnelian from the Western Desert as well as gold mined from the Eastern Desert in exchange for Egyptian products, olive oil and other items from the Mediterranean basin.

The A-Group culture came to an end around 3100 BC, when it was quashed by the First Dynasty rulers of Egypt. Reisner originally identified a B-Group culture, however this theory became obsolete when H.S. Smith demonstrated that the “B-Group” was an impoverished manifestation of the A-Group culture

Dental trait analysis of A-Group fossils found that they were closely related to Afroasiatic-speaking populations inhabiting Northeast Africa and the Maghreb. Among the ancient populations, the A-Group people were nearest to the Kerma culture bearers and Kush populations in Upper Nubia, followed by the Meroitic, X-Group and Christian period inhabitants of Lower Nubia and the Kellis population in the Dakhla Oasis, as well as C-Group and Pharaonic era skeletons excavated in Lower Nubia and ancient Egyptians (Naqada, Badari, Hierakonpolis, Abydos and Kharga in Upper Egypt; Hawara in Lower Egypt).

Among the recent groups, the A-Group makers were morphologically closest to Afroasiatic-speaking populations in the Horn of Africa, followed by the Shawia and Kabyle Berber populations of Algeria as well as Bedouin groups in Morocco, Libya and Tunisia. The A-Group skeletons and these ancient and recent fossils were also phenotypically distinct from those belonging to recent Negroid populations in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The C-Group culture was an ancient civilization centered in Nubia, which existed from ca. 2400 BCE to ca. 1550 BCE. The C-Group arose after Reisner’s A-Group and B-Group cultures, and around the time the Old Kingdom was ending in Ancient Egypt.

While today many scholars see A and B as actually being a continuation of the same group, C-Group is more distinct. The C-Group is marked by its distinctive pottery, and for its tombs. Early C-Group tombs consisted of a simple “stone circle” with the body buried in a depression in the centre. The tombs later became more elaborate with the bodies being placed in a stone lined chamber, and then the addition of an extra chamber on the east: for offerings.

The origins of the C-Group are still uncertain. Some scholars see it largely being evolved from the A/B-Group. Others think it more likely that the C-Group was brought by invaders or migrants that mingled with the local culture, with the C-Group perhaps originating in the then rapidly drying Sahara.

The C-Group were farmers and semi-nomadic herders keeping large numbers of cattle in an area that is today too arid for such herding. Most of what is known about the C-Group peoples comes from Lower Nubia, due to the extensive archaeological work conducted in that region. The northern border of the C-Group was around Kubaniek. The southern border is still uncertain, but C-Group sites have been found as far south as Eritrea.

During the Egyptian Sixth Dynasty, Lower Nubia is described of consisting of a number of small states, three of which are named: Setju, Wawat, and Irjet. At this same time in Upper Nubia the Kingdom of Kerma was emerging. The exact relation between the C-Group and Kerma are uncertain, but early Kerma shows definite similarities to the C-Group culture.

Under the Middle Kingdom much of the C-Group lands in Lower Nubia were conquered by Egypt; after the Egyptians left, Kerma expanded north controlling the region. With the conquest of Nubia by Egypt under Tuthmosis I in the late 16th century BCE, the C-Group disappears, merged, along with Kerma, into the Egyptianized Kush.

Dental trait analysis of C-Group fossils found that they were closely related to other Afroasiatic-speaking populations inhabiting Northeast Africa and the Maghreb. Among the ancient populations, the C-Group people were nearest to the ancient Egyptians (Naqada, Badari, Hierakonpolis, Abydos and Kharga in Upper Egypt; Hawara in Lower Egypt) and Pharaonic era skeletons excavated in Lower Nubia, followed by the A-Group culture bearers of Lower Nubia, the Kerma and Kush populations in Upper Nubia, the Meroitic, X-Group and Christian period inhabitants of Lower Nubia, and the Kellis population in the Dakhla Oasis.

Among the recent groups, the C-Group markers were morphologically closest to the Shawia and Kabyle Berber populations of Algeria as well as Bedouin groups in Morocco, Libya and Tunisia, followed by other Afroasiatic-speaking populations in the Horn of Africa. The C-Group skeletons and these ancient and recent fossils were also phenotypically distinct from those belonging to recent Negroid populations in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Linguistic evidence indicates that the C-Group peoples spoke Afro-Asiatic languages of the Berber branch. The Nilo-Saharan Nobiin language today contains a number of key pastoralism related loanwords that are of Berber origin, including the terms for sheep and water (e.g., Nile). This in turn suggests that the C-Group population — which, along with the Kerma Culture, inhabited the Nile Valley immediately before the arrival of the first Nubian speakers — spoke Afro-Asiatic languages.

The Cushitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. They are spoken primarily in the Horn of Africa (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia), as well as the Nile Valley (Sudan and Egypt), and parts of the African Great Lakes region (Tanzania and Kenya).

Historical linguistic analysis and archaeogenetics indicate that the languages spoken in the ancient Kerma Culture of present-day southern Egypt and northern Sudan, as well as those spoken in the Savanna Pastoral Neolithic culture (formerly known as the Stone Bowl Culture) of the Great Lakes region, a collection of ancient societies that appeared in the Rift Valley of East Africa and surrounding areas during a time period known as the “Pastoral Neolithic”, likely spoke South Cushitic languages of the Afroasiatic family.

The Kerma culture or Kerma kingdom was an early civilization centered in Kerma, Sudan. It flourished from around 2500 BCE to 1500 BCE in ancient Nubia, located in Upper Egypt and northern Sudan. The polity seems to have been one of a number of Nile Valley states during the Middle Kingdom of Egypt.

In the Kingdom of Kerma’s latest phase, lasting from about 1700–1500 BCE, it absorbed the Sudanese kingdom of Sai and became a sizable, populous empire rivaling Egypt. Around 1500 BCE, it was absorbed into the New Kingdom of Egypt, but rebellions continued for centuries. By the eleventh century BCE, the more-Egyptianized Kingdom of Kush emerged, possibly from Kerma, and regained the region’s independence from Egypt.

The Middle Kingdom of Egypt (also known as The Period of Reunification) is the period in the history of ancient Egypt between circa 2050 BC and 1710 BC, stretching from the reunification of Egypt under the impulse of Mentuhotep II of the Eleventh Dynasty to the end of the Twelfth Dynasty.

Some scholars also include the Thirteenth Dynasty of Egypt wholly into this period as well, in which case the Middle Kingdom would finish c. 1650, while others only include it until Merneferre Ay c. 1700 BC, last king of this dynasty to be attested in both Upper and Lower Egypt. During the Middle Kingdom period, Osiris became the most important deity in popular religion.

The Kingdom of Kush or Kush was an ancient kingdom in Nubia, located at the confluences of the Blue Nile, White Nile and the Atbarah River in what are now Sudan and South Sudan. Geographically, Kush referred to the region south of the first cataract in general. Mentuhotep II (21st century BC founder of the Middle Kingdom) is recorded to have undertaken campaigns against Kush in the 29th and 31st years of his reign. This is the earliest Egyptian reference to Kush; the Nubian region had gone by other names in the Old Kingdom.

The Kushite era of rule in Nubia was established after the Late Bronze Age collapse and the disintegration of the New Kingdom of Egypt. Kush was centered at Napata during its early phase. After Kashta (“the Kushite”) invaded Egypt in the 8th century BC, the monarchs of Kush were also the pharaohs of the Twenty-fifth Dynasty of Egypt, until they were expelled by the Neo-Assyrian Empire under the rule of Esarhaddon a century later.

Writing was introduced to Kush in the form of the Egyptian-influenced Meroitic alphabet circa 700–600 BC, although it appears to have been wholly confined to the royal court and major temples. During classical antiquity, the Kushite imperial capital was located at Meroë. According to partially deciphered Meroitic texts, the name of the city was Medewi or Bedewi. The Kingdom of Kush which housed the city of Meroë represents one of a series of early states located within the middle Nile. It is one of the earliest and most impressive states found south of the Sahara.

The culture of Meroë developed from the Twenty-fifth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, which originated in Kush. The importance of the town gradually increased from the beginning of the Meroitic Period, especially from the reign of Arakamani (c. 280 BCE) when the royal burial ground was transferred to Meroë from Napata (Gebel Barkal). In the fifth century BCE, Greek historian Herodotus described it as “a great city…said to be the mother city of the other Ethiopians.”

In early Greek geography, the Meroitic kingdom was known as Aethiopia. The Kingdom of Kush with its capital at Meroe persisted until the 4th century AD, when it weakened and disintegrated due to internal rebellion. The seat was eventually captured and burnt to the ground by the Kingdom of Aksum. The collapse of their external trade with other Nile Valley states may be considered as one of the prime causes of the decline of royal power and disintegration of the Meroitic state in the 3rd and 4th centuries CE.

Meroitic is an extinct language that is properly called Kushite after the attested autonym, k3š. “Meroitic” should properly be understood as a specific period (c. 300 BC – c. 350 AD) when Meroë was the royal capital of the Kingdom of Kush and a period in which the Kushite language was spoken and written. It is a similar circumstance with “Kerman” (c. 2500 BC – c. 1500 BC) and “Napatan” (664 BC – c. 300 BC).

During the Meroitic Period, the Kushite language was spoken from the area of the 1st Cataract of the Nile to the Khartoum area of Sudan. The Kushite language, by way of names, is possibly attested as early as Middle Kingdom Egypt’s 12th Dynasty (c. 2000 BC) in the Egyptian Execration texts concerning Kerma.

Both the Meroitic Period and the Kingdom of Kush itself ended with the fall of Meroë (c. 350 AD), but use of the Kushite language continued for a time after that event. The language likely became fully extinct by the 6th century when it was supplanted by Byzantine Greek, Coptic, and Old Nubian.

The Kushite language, during the Meroitic period, was written in two forms of the Meroitic alphasyllabary: Meroitic Cursive, which was written with a stylus and was used for general record-keeping; and Meroitic Hieroglyphic, which was carved in stone or used for royal or religious documents. The last known Meroitic inscription is written in Meroitic Cursive and dates to the 5th century. The Kushite language is poorly understood, owing to the scarcity of bilingual texts.

Ancient DNA analysis of a Savanna Pastoral Neolithic fossil excavated at the Luxmanda site in Tanzania likewise found that the specimen carried a large proportion of ancestry related to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic culture of the Levant, similar to that borne by modern Afroasiatic-speaking populations inhabiting the Horn of Africa.

This suggests that the Savanna Pastoral Neolithic culture bearers may have been Cushitic speakers, who were gradually absorbed by neighboring hunter-gatherer communities in the lacustrine region. Through archaeology, historical linguistics and archaeogenetics, they conventionally have been identified with the area’s first Afroasiatic-speaking settlers. Archaeological dating of livestock bones and burial cairns has also established the cultural complex as the earliest center of pastoralism (cattle, goats and sheep) and stone construction in the region.

The makers of the Savanna Pastoral Neolithic culture are believed to have arrived in the Rift Valley sometime during the Pastoral Neolithic period (c. 3,000 BCE-700 CE). Through a series of migrations from Northeast Africa, these early Cushitic-speaking pastoralists brought cattle and caprines southward from the Sudan and/or Ethiopia into northern Kenya, probably using donkeys for transportation.

According to archaeological dating of associated artifacts and skeletal material, they first settled in the lowlands of Kenya between 3,200 and 1,300 BC, a phase referred to as the Lowland Savanna Pastoral Neolithic. They subsequently spread to the highlands of Kenya and Tanzania around 1,300 BC, which is consequently known as the Highland Savanna Pastoral Neolithic phase.

The region was at the time of their arrival inhabited by Khoisan hunter-gatherers who spoke Khoisan languages and practiced an Eburran blade industry.[3] Early Nilotic settlers, who are thought to have spoken Southern Nilotic languages and been responsible for the pastoralist Elmenteitan culture, are also believed to have lived in the Rift Valley during that period.

A number of extinct populations are thought to have spoken Afroasiatic languages of the Cushitic branch. Christopher Ehret (1998) proposes that among these languages were the now extinct Tale and Bisha languages, which were identified on the basis of loanwords. These early Cushitic speakers in the region largely disappeared following the Bantu Expansion.

The Nilo-Saharan Nobiin language today contains a number of key pastoralism related loanwords that are of proto-Highland East Cushitic origin, including the terms for sheep/goatskin, hen/cock, livestock enclosure, butter and milk. This in turn suggests that the Kerma population — which, along with the C-Group culture, inhabited the Nile Valley immediately before the arrival of the first Nubian speakers — spoke Afroasiatic languages.

Haplogroup R1b

R1b1 (P25) people might have been among the first people to domesticate cattle in eastern Anatolia and northern Mesopotamia/Syria during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic period. P297 branch moved north across the Caucasus to seek grazing grounds for their cattle, while the V88 branch migrated south to the Levant, then to Africa, following the Nile Valley until the Sahel, then spreading westward.

Although human Y chromosomes belonging to haplogroup R1b are quite rare in Africa, being found mainly in Asia and Europe, a group of chromosomes within the paragroup R-P25* are found concentrated in the central-western part of the African continent, where they can be detected at frequencies as high as 95%. Phylogenetic evidence and coalescence time estimates suggest that R-P25* chromosomes (or their phylogenetic ancestor) may have been carried to Africa by an Asia-to-Africa back migration in prehistoric times.

Here, we describe six new mutations that define the relationships among the African R-P25* Y chromosomes and between these African chromosomes and earlier reported R-P25 Eurasian sub-lineages. The incorporation of these new mutations into a phylogeny of the R1b haplogroup led to the identification of a new clade (R1b1a or R-V88) encompassing all the African R-P25* and about half of the few European/west Asian R-P25* chromosomes. A worldwide phylogeographic analysis of the R1b haplogroup provided strong support to the Asia-to-Africa back-migration hypothesis.

The analysis of the distribution of the R-V88 haplogroup in >1800 males from 69 African populations revealed a striking genetic contiguity between the Chadic-speaking peoples from the central Sahel and several other Afroasiatic-speaking groups from North Africa. The R-V88 coalescence time was estimated at 9200–5600kya, in the early mid Holocene.

We suggest that R-V88 is a paternal genetic record of the proposed mid-Holocene migration of proto-Chadic Afroasiatic speakers through the Central Sahara into the Lake Chad Basin, and geomorphological evidence is consistent with this view.

A date ~8,000 YBP was estimated for the L3f3 sub-haplogroup, which is in good agreement with the supposed migration of Chadic speaking pastoralists and their linguistic differentiation from other Afro-Asiatic groups of East Africa. This is consistent with the date for V88 proposed at 9,200-5,600 years, and is also a very close match for the arrival of the Neolithic in Africa.

The only Afro-Asiatic speaking group that the Chadic speakers plot closely to is Cushitic, which will probably make Blench happy, as he claims Chadic speakers are a split-off from Cushitic speaking pastoralists. It’s fairly obvious that the male line of Chadic speakers followed a path into Africa via the Sinai, then down the West bank of the Nile and then struck out West to Lake Chad, acquiring wives as they went. The only issue is the exact date. Holocene or Neolithic? Whatever the exact date, this brings the argument for an Asian origin for Afro-Asiatic out again, as (from the DNA here) the odds are 50% that it followed the male line in from Asia.

Chadic has cognates for sheep and goats that look like they share a root with Cushitic and Egyptian, which would at least date proto Chadic to the Neolithic, making the mt DNA date of 8,000 more likely to be close to the actual date for V88 to enter Africa.

R1b is the most common haplogroup in Western Europe, reaching over 80% of the population in Ireland, the Scottish Highlands, western Wales, the Atlantic fringe of France, the Basque country and Catalonia. It is also common in Anatolia and around the Caucasus, in parts of Russia and in Central and South Asia.

Besides the Atlantic and North Sea coast of Europe, hotspots include the Po valley in north-central Italy (over 70%), Armenia (35%), the Bashkirs of the Urals region of Russia (50%), Turkmenistan (over 35%), the Hazara people of Afghanistan (35%), the Uyghurs of North-West China (20%) and the Newars of Nepal (11%). R1b-V88, a subclade specific to sub-Saharan Africa, is found in 60 to 95% of men in northern Cameroon.

Haplogroup R* originated in North Asia just before the Last Glacial Maximum (26,500-19,000 years ago). This haplogroup has been identified in the remains of a 24,000 year-old boy from the Altai region, in south-central Siberia. This individual belonged to a tribe of mammoth hunters that may have roamed across Siberia and parts of Europe during the Paleolithic.

Autosomally this Paleolithic population appears to have contributed mostly to the ancestry of modern Europeans and South Asians, the two regions where haplogroup R also happens to be the most common nowadays (R1b in Western Europe, R1a in Eastern Europe, Central and South Asia, and R2 in South Asia).

The oldest forms of R1b (M343, P25, L389) are found dispersed at very low frequencies from Western Europe to India, a vast region where could have roamed the nomadic R1b hunter-gatherers during the Ice Age. The three main branches of R1b1 (R1b1a, R1b1b, R1b1c) all seem to have stemmed from the Middle East.

The southern branch, R1b1c (V88), is found mostly in the Levant and Africa. The northern branch, R1b1a (P297), seems to have originated around the Caucasus, eastern Anatolia or northern Mesopotamia, then to have crossed over the Caucasus, from where they would have invaded Europe and Central Asia. R1b1b (M335) has only been found in Anatolia.

It has been hypothetised that R1b people (perhaps alongside neighbouring J2 tribes) were the first to domesticate cattle in northern Mesopotamia some 10,500 years ago. R1b tribes descended from mammoth hunters, and when mammoths went extinct, they started hunting other large game such as bisons and aurochs.

With the increase of the human population in the Fertile Crescent from the beginning of the Neolithic (starting 12,000 years ago), selective hunting and culling of herds started replacing indiscriminate killing of wild animals.

The increased involvement of humans in the life of aurochs, wild boars and goats led to their progressive taming. Cattle herders probably maintained a nomadic or semi-nomadic existence, while other people in the Fertile Crescent (presumably represented by haplogroups E1b1b, G and T) settled down to cultivate the land or keep smaller domesticates.

The analysis of bovine DNA has revealed that all the taurine cattle (Bos taurus) alive today descend from a population of only 80 aurochs. The earliest evidence of cattle domestication dates from circa 8,500 BCE in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic cultures in the Taurus Mountains.

The two oldest archaeological sites showing signs of cattle domestication are the villages of Çayönü Tepesi in southeastern Turkey and Dja’de el-Mughara in northern Iraq, two sites only 250 km away from each others. This is presumably the area from which R1b lineages started expanding – or in other words the “original homeland” of R1b.

The early R1b cattle herders would have split in at least three groups. One branch (M335) remained in Anatolia, but judging from its extreme rarity today wasn’t very successful, perhaps due to the heavy competition with other Neolithic populations in Anatolia, or to the scarcity of pastures in this mountainous environment.

A second branch migrated south to the Levant, where it became the V88 branch. Some of them searched for new lands south in Africa, first in Egypt, then colonising most of northern Africa, from the Mediterranean coast to the Sahel.

The third branch (P297), crossed the Caucasus into the vast Pontic-Caspian Steppe, which provided ideal grazing grounds for cattle. They split into two factions: R1b1a1 (M73), which went east along the Caspian Sea to Central Asia, and R1b1a2 (M269), which at first remained in the North Caucasus and the Pontic Steppe between the Dnieper and the Volga.

It is not yet clear whether M73 actually migrated across the Caucasus and reached Central Asia via Kazakhstan, or if it went south through Iran and Turkmenistan. In the latter case, M73 might not be an Indo-European branch of R1b, just like V88 and M335.

R1b-M269 (the most common form in Europe) is closely associated with the diffusion of Indo-European languages, as attested by its presence in all regions of the world where Indo-European languages were spoken in ancient times, from the Atlantic coast of Europe to the Indian subcontinent, which comprised almost all Europe (except Finland, Sardinia and Bosnia-Herzegovina), Anatolia, Armenia, European Russia, southern Siberia, many pockets around Central Asia (notably in Xinjiang, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan), without forgetting Iran, Pakistan, northern India and Nepal. The history of R1b and R1a are intricately connected to each others.

Like its northern counterpart (R1b-M269), R1b-V88 is associated with the domestication of cattle in northern Mesopotamia. Both branches of R1b probably split soon after cattle were domesticated, approximately 10,500 years ago (8,500 BCE). R1b-V88 migrated south towards the Levant and Egypt.

The migration of R1b people can be followed archeologically through the presence of domesticated cattle, which appear in central Syria around 8,000-7,500 BCE (late Mureybet period), then in the Southern Levant and Egypt around 7,000-6,500 BCE (e.g. at Nabta Playa and Bir Kiseiba).

Cattle herders subsequently spread across most of northern and eastern Africa. The Sahara desert would have been more humid during the Neolithic Subpluvial period (c. 7250-3250 BCE), and would have been a vast savannah full of grass, an ideal environment for cattle herding.

Evidence of cow herding during the Neolithic has shown up at Uan Muhuggiag in central Libya around 5500 BCE, at the Capeletti Cave in northern Algeria around 4500 BCE. But the most compelling evidence that R1b people related to modern Europeans once roamed the Sahara is to be found at Tassili n’Ajjer in southern Algeria, a site famous pyroglyphs (rock art) dating from the Neolithic era. Some painting dating from around 3000 BCE depict fair-skinned and blond or auburn haired women riding on cows.

After reaching the Maghreb, R1b-V88 cattle herders could have crossed the Strait of Gibraltar to Iberia, probably accompanied by G2 farmers, J1 and T1a goat herders and native Maghreban E-M81 lineages. These Maghreban Neolithic farmers/herders could have been the ones who established the Almagra Pottery culture in Andalusia in the 6th millennium BCE.

Nowadays small percentages (1 to 4%) of R1b-V88 are found in the Levant, among the Lebanese, the Druze, and the Jews, and almost in every country in Africa north of the equator. Higher frequency in Egypt (5%), among Berbers from the Egypt-Libya border (23%), among the Sudanese Copts (15%), the Hausa people of Sudan (40%), the the Fulani people of the Sahel (54% in Niger and Cameroon), and Chadic tribes of northern Nigeria and northern Cameroon (especially among the Kirdi), where it is observed at a frequency ranging from 30% to 95% of men.

R1b-V88 would have crossed the Sahara between 9,200 and 5,600 years ago, and is most probably associated with the diffusion of Chadic languages, a branch of the Afroasiatic languages.

V88 would have migrated from Egypt to Sudan, then expanded along the Sahel until northern Cameroon and Nigeria. However, R1b-V88 is not only present among Chadic speakers, but also among Senegambian speakers (Fula-Hausa) and Semitic speakers (Berbers, Arabs).

R1b-V88 is found among the native populations of Rwanda, South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau. The wide distribution of V88 in all parts of Africa, its incidence among herding tribes, and the coalescence age of the haplogroup all support a Neolithic dispersal. In any case, a later migration out of Egypt would be improbable since it would have brought haplogroups that came to Egypt during the Bronze Age, such as J1, J2, R1a or R1b-L23.

R1b is a sub-clade within the much larger Eurasian MNOPS “macro-haplogroup”, which is one of the predominant groupings of all the rest of human male lines outside of Africa, and this whole group, along indeed with all of macro-haplogroup F, is believed to have originated in Asia.

Early research focused upon Europe. In 2000 Ornella Semino and colleagues argued that R1b had been in Europe before the end of the Ice Age, and had spread north from an Iberian refuge after the Last Glacial Maximum.

Age estimates of R1b in Europe have steadily decreased in more recent studies, at least concerning the majority of R1b, with more recent studies suggesting a Neolithic age or younger. Only Morelli et al. have recently attempted to defend a Palaeolithic origin for R1b1b2.

Irrespective of STR coalescence calculations, Chikhi et al. pointed out that the timing of molecular divergences does not coincide with population splits; the TMRCA of haplogroup R1b (whether in the Palaeolithic or Neolithic) dates to its point of origin somewhere in Eurasia, and not its arrival in western Europe.

However, Michael R. Maglio argues that the closest branch of R1b is from Iberia and its small subclades found in West Asia, the Near East and Africa are examples of back migration, and not of its origin.

Barbara Arredi and colleagues were the first to point out that the distribution of R1b STR variance in Europe forms a cline from east to west, which is more consistent with an entry into Europe from Western Asia with the spread of farming.

A 2009 paper by Chiaroni et al. added to this perspective by using R1b as an example of a wave haplogroup distribution, in this case from east to west. The proposal of a southeastern origin of R1b were supported by three detailed studies based on large datasets published in 2010. These detected that the earliest subclades of R1b are found in western Asia and the most recent in western Europe.

While age estimates in these articles are all more recent than the Last Glacial Maximum, all mention the Neolithic, when farming was introduced to Europe from the Middle East as a possible candidate period.

Myres et al. (August 2010), and Cruciani et al. (August 2010) both remained undecided on the exact dating of the migration or migrations responsible for this distribution, not ruling out migrations as early as the Mesolithic or as late as Hallstatt but more probably Late Neolithic. They noted that direct evidence from ancient DNA may be needed to resolve these gene flows.

Lee et al. (May 2012) analysed the ancient DNA of human remains from the Late Neolithic Bell Beaker site of Kromsdorf, Germany identifying two males as belonging to the Y haplogroup R1b.

Analysis of ancient Y DNA from the remains of populations derived from early Neolithic settlements such as the Mediterranean Cardium and Central and North European LBK settlements have found an absence of males belonging to haplogroup R1b.

Although human Y chromosomes belonging to haplogroup R1b are quite rare in Africa, being found mainly in Asia and Europe, a group of chromosomes within the paragroup R-P25* are found concentrated in the central-western part of the African continent, where they can be detected at frequencies as high as 95%.

Phylogenetic evidence and coalescence time estimates suggest that R-P25* chromosomes (or their phylogenetic ancestor) may have been carried to Africa by an Asia-to-Africa back migration in prehistoric times.

Here, we describe six new mutations that define the relationships among the African R-P25* Y chromosomes and between these African chromosomes and earlier reported R-P25 Eurasian sub-lineages.

The incorporation of these new mutations into a phylogeny of the R1b haplogroup led to the identification of a new clade (R1b1a or R-V88) encompassing all the African R-P25* and about half of the few European/west Asian R-P25* chromosomes.

A worldwide phylogeographic analysis of the R1b haplogroup provided strong support to the Asia-to-Africa back-migration hypothesis. The analysis of the distribution of the R-V88 haplogroup in >1800 males from 69 African populations revealed a striking genetic contiguity between the Chadic-speaking peoples from the central Sahel and several other Afroasiatic-speaking groups from North Africa. The R-V88 coalescence time was estimated at 9200–5600 kya, in the early mid Holocene.

We suggest that R-V88 is a paternal genetic record of the proposed mid-Holocene migration of proto-Chadic Afroasiatic speakers through the Central Sahara into the Lake Chad Basin, and geomorphological evidence is consistent with this view.

The age of R-V88 can be younger than 4.2–8.2 ky, and could be as young as ~3-4ky in a rapidly expanding population. To determine how fast R-V88 actually grew, we must take into account its present-day demographic size (how many people in the world now possess it). The final estimate must be consistent with both the demographic size and the current Y-STR variance.

I don’t have data on R-V88 prevalence today, but it really doesn’t take a very large haplogroup in order to infer a very fast growth rate, and a Y-STR variance accumulation rate (effective rate) close to the germline one. Therefore, I am guessing that R-V88 is also one of a growing palette of haplogroups that expanded during the Bronze Age.

mtDNA and haplogroup R1b

Haplogroup R1b is very widespread in most of Europe and across vast swathes of North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia today. As R1b Indo-Europeans advanced from the Pontic-Caspian Steppe by marrying local women as well as Indo-European women, it is difficult to estimate what were the original mtDNA haplogroups of R1b people back in the steppes, or prior to that in the Neolithic Near East or Paleolithic Eurasia.

The most likely potential original maternal lineages of R1b tribes before they started mixing with other Near Eastern populations is the mt-haplogroups H8c, H15, J1b1a, U5 and V. Looking at deeper subclades, J1b1a and T1a1a display extremely strong correlations with the distribution of Y-haplogroup R1b.

The maternal lineages associated with the spread of R1b-V88 in Africa are mtDNA haplogroups J1b, U5 and V, and perhaps also U3 and some H subclades.

One way of determining what mt-haplogroups R1b tribes carried at the very beginning of the Neolithic, 10,000 years ago, is to compare the above haplogroups with those of African ethnic groups known to possess elevated percentages of R1b-V88.

The best studied group are the Fulani, whose mtDNA include three European-looking haplogroupss J1b1a, U5 and V making up about 15% of their total maternal lineages. These haplogroups have been identified in all four Central African countries sampled, confirming a strong correlation with haplogroup R1b.

Since African R1b-V88 and Eurasian haplogroup R1b-P297 split roughly 10,000 years ago, there is little doubt that J1b, U5 and V were three of the original maternal lineages of R1b people. Only the J1b1b subclade seems to be related to the propagation of Y-haplogroup R1b. Other J1b subclades are geographically restricted to the Near East, particularly from the Caucasus to the Arabian Peninsula.

J1b might have been the first indigenous Near Eastern lineage assimilated by R1b tribes when they moved into the region (presumably from Russia or Iran, or the Caspian Sea, which was only formed by the melting of Russian glaciers just before the Neolithic began).

If that is the case, the Paleolithic R1b people would have belonged exclusively to mtDNA U5 and V, just like the modern Sami, and like a lot of Mesolithic Europeans.

Lactase persistence

Lactose (milk sugar) is an essential component of breast milk consumed by infants. Its digrestion is made possible by an enzyme, called lactase, which breaks down lactose in simple sugars that can be absorbed through the intestinal walls and into the bloodstream.

In most mammals (humans included), the production of the lactase enzyme is dramatically reduced soon after weaning. As a result, older children and adults become lactose intolerant. That is true of a big part of the world population. Some people possess a genetic mutation that allows the production of lactase through adulthood. This is called lactase persistence (LP).

Lactase persistence is particularly common among Northwest Europeans, descended from the ancient Celtic and Germanic people, and in parts of Africa where cattle herding has been practiced for thousands of years.

The highest incidence for the lactase persistence alleles, known to geneticists as -13,910*T (rs4988235) and -22018*A (rs182549), are found among Scandinavian, Dutch, British, Irish and Basque people. Sub-Saharan populations with lactase persistence have different mutations, such as -14010*C, -13915*G and -13907*G.

R1b men are thought to be the first people on earth to successfully domesticate cattle and to develop a lifestyle based on cattle husbandry and herding during the Pre-Pottery Neolithic (see Neolithic section).

Looking for pasture for their cows, R1b tribes migrated from the Near East to the savannah of North Africa (which has since underwent desertification and become the Sahara) and to the Pontic Steppe in southern Russia and Ukraine. For several millennia no other human population was so depended on cattle for their survival as these R1b tribes.

It is known that most Neolithic herding societies consumed at least some animal milk and even made cheese from it (since cheese contains less lactose and is easier to digest for people who are lactose intolerant).

In most of Europe, the Middle East and South Asia, people essentially herded goats and sheep, better suited to mountainous environment of the Mediterranean basin, Anatolia and Iran. Goats and sheep could also be kept easily inside villages by sedentary cereal cultivators, while cows needed vast pastures for grazing, which were particularly scare in the Middle East.

Domesticated cattle were sometimes found in small number among other Neolithic populations, but the ones that relied almost entirely on them were the R1b tribes of the Pontic Steppe and North Africa.

To this very day, semi-nomadic pastoralists in the Sahel, such as the Fulani and the Hausa, who are descended from Neolithic R1b-V88 migrants from the Near East, still maintain primarily herds of cattle. It is among these cattle herders that selective pressure for lactase persistence would have been the strongest.

There has been speculations among geneticists and evolutionary biologists regarding the origin of the lactase persistence allele in Europeans. Over 100 ancient DNA samples have been tested from Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age Europe and Syria, and the -13910*T allele has been found only in Late Neolithic/Chalcolithic and Bronze Age individuals.

The origin of the mutation does not really matter, since it could have been present at low frequencies in the human gene pool for tens of thousands of years before it underwent postive selective pressure among cattle-herding societies.

What is certain is that individuals from Bronze Age cultures associated with the arrival of Indo-European speakers from the Pontic Steppe already possessed relatively high percentages of the LP allele.

For example the LP allele was found at a frequency of 27% among the 13 individuals from the Lichtenstein Cave in Germany, who belonged to the Urnfield culture, and was a mix of Y-haplogroups R1b, R1a and I2a2b.

Nowadays, the LP allele is roughly proportional to the percentage of R1b, and to a lower extent R1a, found in a population. In the British Isles, the Low Countries and south-west Scandinavia, where LP is the highest in the world, the combined percentage of R1a and R1b exceeds 70% of the population.

In Iberia, the highest percentage of LP is observed among the Basques, who have the highest percentage of R1b. In Italy, LP is most common in the north, like R1b. The lowest incidence of LP in Europe are found in South Italy, Greece and the Balkans, the regions that have the least R1b lineages.

Light skin, blond hair and red hair

There is now strong evidence that both R1a and R1b people contributed to the diffusion of the A111T mutation of the SLC24A5, which explains apporximately 35% of skin tone difference between Europeans and Africans, and most variations within South Asia.

The distribution pattern of the A111T allele (rs1426654) of matches almost perfectly the spread of Indo-European R1a and R1b lineages around Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia.

The mutation was probably passed on in the Early neolithic to other Near Eastern populations, which explains why Neolithic farmers in Europe already carried the A111T allele (e.g. Keller 2012 p.4, Lazaridis 2014 suppl. 7), although at lower frequency than modern Europeans and southern Central Asians.

The light skin allele is also found at a range of 15 to 30% in in various ethnic groups in northern sub-Saharan Africa, mostly in the Sahel and savannah zones inhabited by tribes of R1b-V88 cattle herders like the Fulani and the Hausa. This would presuppose that the A111T allele was already present among all R1b people before the Pre-Pottery Neolithic split between V88 and P297.

R1a populations have an equally high incidence of this allele as R1b populations. On the other hand, the A111T mutation was absent from the 24,000-year-old R* sample from Siberia, and is absent from most modern R2 populations in Southeast India and Southeast Asia.

Consequently, it can be safely assumed that the mutation arose among the R1* lineage during the late Upper Paleolithic, probably some time between 20,000 and 13,000 years ago.

Fair hair was another physical trait associated with the Indo-Europeans. In contrast, the genes for blue eyes were already present among Mesolithic Europeans belonging to Y-haplogroup I. The genes for blond hair are more strongly correlated with the distribution of haplogroup R1a, but those for red hair have not been found in Europe before the Bronze Age, and appear to have been spread primarily by R1b people.

Afro-Asiatic

The expansion of the Bantu-speaking people (EBSP) during the past 3000–5000 years is an event of great importance in the history of humanity. Anthropology, archaeology, linguistics and, in recent decades, genetics have been used to elucidate some of the events and processes involved. Although it is generally accepted that the EBSP has its origin in the so-called Bantu Homeland situated in the area of the border between Nigeria and the Grassfields of Cameroon, and that it followed both western and eastern routes, much less is known about the number and dates of those expansions, if more than one.

All the evidence thus far points that R1b in West Africa appears 6,000-9,000 years ago, so there’s no reason to believe R1b is original from Africa. It is far more likely that R-V88 originated in SW Asia before it was transferred to Central-West Africa. R-V88 is found in the Near East with more diversity (i.e. STR variance) than in Africa.

It seems that there was an original dispersion of E across North and West Africa that coincided with the dispersion of the Afro-Asiatic languages or probably earlier, and then another dispersion of E across Central, South and East Africa with the dispersion of the Bantu languages. Before the Bantu expansions, sub-Saharan Africa was a very different place.

Several branches of humanity’s Y DNA family tree have been proposed as having an association with the spread of Afroasiatic languages. In general, Afroasiatic speaking populations have relatively high frequencies of haplogroup E1b1b, thought to have originated in Horn of Africa, with the notable exception of Chadic speaking populations.

Christopher Ehret and Shomarka Keita have suggested that the geography of the E1b1b lineage coincides with the distribution of Afroasiatic languages.

Haplogroup R1b1a (R-V88), and specifically its sub-clade R-V69, has a very strong relationship with Chadic speaking populations, who unlike other Afroasiatic speakers have low frequencies of Haplogroup E1b1b.

The majority of R-V88 was found in northern and central Africa, in Chadic speaking populations. It is less common in neighbouring populations. The authors also found evidence of high concentration in Western Egypt and evidence that the closest related types of R1b are found in the Middle East, and to a lesser extent southern Europe.

They proposed that an Eastern Saharan origin for Chadic R1b would agree with linguistic theories such as those of Christopher Ehret, that Chadic and Berber form a related group within Afroasiatic, which originated in the area of the Sahara.

In contrast to the evidence from paternally inherited Y DNA, a recent study has shown that a branch of mitochondrial haplogroup L3 links the maternal ancestry of Chadic speakers from the Sahel with Cushitic speakers from Horn of Africa.

Other mitochondrial lineages that are associated with Afroasiatic include mitochondrial haplogroups M1 and haplogroup U6. Gonzalez et al. 2007 suggest that Afroasiatic speakers may have dispersed from Horn of Africa carrying the subclades M1a and U6a1.

According to an autosomal DNA study by Hodgson et al. (2014), the Afroasiatic languages were likely spread across Africa and the Near East by an ancestral population(s) carrying a newly identified non-African genetic component, which the researchers dub the “Ethio-Somali”.

This Ethio-Somali component is today most common among Afroasiatic-speaking populations in the Horn of Africa. It is most closely related to the Maghrebi non-African genetic component, and is believed to have diverged from all other non-African ancestries at least 23,000 years ago.

On this basis, the researchers suggest that the original Ethio-Somali carrying population(s) probably arrived in the pre-agricultural period from the Near East, having crossed over into northeastern Africa via the Sinai peninsula. The population then likely split into two branches, with one group heading westward toward the Maghreb and the other moving south into the Horn.

A related hypothesis that associates the origin of the ancestors of Afroasiatic speakers as the result of a reflux population from Southwest Asia during the Late Palaeolithic was previously put forward by Daniel McCall.

Afro-Asiatic

There is a genetic contiguity between the Chadic-speaking peoples from the Central Sahel and several other Afro-Asiatic-speaking groups from North Africa, including Ouarzazate Berbers from Morocco, Mozabite Berbers from Algeria, Siwa Berbers and several Semitic groups from Egypt, and, possibly, different groups from Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt, with R1b1a frequencies ranging from 1 to 3% in Algeria to about 4% in Tunisia, to 26.9% in the Siwa.

These data are more compatible with Ehret’s hypothesis, which proposes that Chadic peoples arrived from the North through the Sahara (the ‘trans-Saharan’ hypothesis), rather than with Blench’s theory, which states that Chadic-speaking pastoralists reached the Chad Basin through the Sahel from an eastern Sudanic Cushitic-Chadic motherland (the ‘inter-Saharan’ hypothesis).

The main assumption is that Haplogroup E1b1b is associated with the Proto-Afroasiatic peoples, and that the language family has it’s origin in Africa (specifically, the Horn of Africa), around the time of the Last Glacial Maximum.

The first bit of evidence comes from R1b-V88 (taken from this paper, which is found in the Levante, in the Maghreb, and most importantly, amongst the Chadic-speaking populations of central-western Africa. R1b-V88 is obviously a ‘brother’ clade to R1b-M297, which is found in Europe (mainly R1b-M269) and Central Asia (mainly R1b-M73). In a nutshell, we have here the first piece of evidence for a back-migration from Eurasia to Africa.

The second bit of evidence comes from lactase persistence amongst the Chadic populations. As pointed out by Lokki et al. from 2001, the same type of lactase persistence is found in the Chadic populations as it is in Europe, different from the types of lactase persistence as found in other parts of Africa, where lactase persistence probably evolved independently. So, in a nutshell, we have two separate pieces of evidence for a back migration from Eurasia to Africa, and we have a strong correlation with the Chadic-speaking peoples.

If we disregard the dominance of Arabic as a result from the Islamic conquests of the 7th and 8th centuries (as well as the earlier Phoenician colonization in the Mediterranean), the Semitic languages were originally confined to the Middle East.

This means four of the five main branches (Berber, Chadic, Egyptian and Kushitic – I’m excluding Omotic here due to it’s disputed classification) are found in Africa and only one (Semitic) is found in the Middle East.

It would seem more likely to assume due to the greater diversity of Afroasiatic in Africa that the original homeland of the Proto-Afroasiatic peoples was located in Africa. Does that however prove that Proto-Afroasiatic was spoken in Africa? Not necessarily in my opinion.

One critical aspect that connects to this is the question what kind of society the speakers of Proto-Afroasiatic were, and when Proto-Afroasiatic was spoken. If we assume that Proto-Afroasiatic was a hunter-gather language, then the language family could be undoubtably of African origin, as well as considerably older.

However, if Proto-Afroasiatic was language of a farmer or pastoralist society, this narrows the setting in which the proto-language could have emerge quite a bit and suggests that instead that Proto-Afroasiatic was a Neolithic language that spread with the advance of agriculture/pastoralism.

This scenario makes an African origin much more unlikely and favours an origin in the Middle East. Militarev (2009) makes a strong case for Proto-Afroasiatic as a language of a pastoralist society.

Evidence also comes from individual branches of Afroasiatic, for instance Proto-Berber and Proto-Semitic were both Neolithic languages. The former is a particularly instructive example because the Mesolithic Capsian Culture of North Africa has often been suggested as speakers of Proto-Berber.

The problem with this idea however is that the Capsian Culture was a Mesolithic hunter-gatherer culture, and not a pastoralist society. It is thus impossible for the Capsian people to have been speakers of Proto-Berber.

They may have been speakers of an earlier form of Proto-Afroasiatic if Proto-Afroasiatic was indeed a Mesolithic language, even if there are doubts about this due to the fact that terms for domesticated animals that are found in Proto-Berber can also be reconstructed for Proto-Afroasiatic.

If we go with the Eurasian origin hypothesis for Proto-Afroasiatic, then this raises the question what Y-Haplogroups might have been spread with the spread of the Afroasiatic languages, since both the spread pattern and the age of E1b1b does not match such a scenario.

If we take the evidence of the Chadic peoples, R1b-V88 was certainly one of the Haplogroups, but it would be highly doubtful that it was the only one. The next most obvious choice, in my opinion, that potentially fits an expansion pattern for the Afroasiatic languages is Haplogroup J1.

This Haplogroup is usually associated with the spread of the Semitic languages, and considering the distribution (in particular high concentrations in the Caucasus) it is pretty clear that J1 as a whole cannot be Semitic, and that probably only the subclade J1c3 (aka J-P58) is genuinely associated with the spread of the Semitic languages.

I’m not wholly convinced, however: there is this paper by Fregel et al. 2009 about the Y-Haplogroups of the Guanches (the aboriginals of the Canary Isles, which are thought to have spoken a relative of the Berber languages, hence Afroasiatic), and it would appear that Haplogroup J1 was present amongst the ancient Guanches.

I’m not sure if this is genuine evidence that J1 is indeed Afroasiatic (especially, I think it remains to be discussed which subclades really are involved), it certainly supports the possibility of an out-of-the-Middle East migration, and is consistent with the general scenario.

So, to summarize both J1 (perhaps J1c3?) and R1b-V88 may have been associated with the spread of the Afroasiatic languages, and that the Proto-Afroasiatic homeland lies in the Middle East, and not in Africa.

It should be pointed out that a recurring scenario (most notably Ehret’s “North Erythrean” and Militarev’s “North Afrasian”) is a ‘northern’ grouping that includes Berber, Chadic, Egyptian and Semitic. Even Ehret concedes that a common farming vocabulary can be constructed for sub-groupings of Afroasiatic, and if we combine this with the genetic evidence, it would make sense to suggest that the spread of the “northern” Afroasiatic languages was indeed the result of a Neolithic spread, which is reflected today by the distribution of Y-Haplorgoup R1b-V88 in Africa. If there is genuine Cushitic J1 (which remains to be seen), we must likewise assume that the ancestors of Cushitic arrived from the Middle East, and in my opinion a wholly Middle Eastern homeland may be warranted then.

Little agreement exists on the subgrouping of the five or six branches of Afroasiatic: Semitic, Egyptian, Berber, Chadic, Cushitic, and Omotic. However, Christopher Ehret (1979), Harold Fleming (1981), and Joseph Greenberg (1981) all agree that the Omotic branch split from the rest first. However, Igor M. Diakonoff (1996) subdivides Afroasiatic in two, grouping Berber, Cushitic, and Semitic together as East-West Afrasian (ESA), and Chadic with Egyptian as North-South Afrasian (NSA). He excludes Omotic from Afroasiatic.

The most commonly cited genetic marker in recent decades has been the Y chromosome, which is passed from father to son along paternal lines in un-mixed form, and therefore gives a relatively clear definition of one human line of descent from common ancestors.

Several branches of humanity’s Y DNA family tree have been proposed as having an association with the spread of Afroasiatic languages.

Haplogroup E1b1b is thought to have originated in Horn of Africa. In general, Afroasiatic speaking populations have relatively high frequencies of this haplogroup, with the notable exception of Chadic speaking populations. Christopher Ehret and Shomarka Keita have suggested that the geography of the E1b1b lineage coincides with the distribution of Afroasiatic languages.

Haplogroup J1c3 (Y-DNA), formally known as “J1e”, is actually a more common paternal lineage than E1b1b in most Semitic speaking populations, but this is associated with Middle Eastern origins and has apparently been spread from there after the original dispersion of Afroasiatic.

Haplogroup R1b1a (R-V88), and specifically its sub-clade R-V69, has a very strong relationship with Chadic speaking populations, who unlike other Afroasiatic speakers have low frequencies of Haplogroup E1b1b.

The majority of R-V88 was found in northern and central Africa, in Chadic speaking populations. It is less common in neighbouring populations. The authors also found evidence of high concentration in Western Egypt and evidence that the closest related types of R1b are found in the Middle East, and to a lesser extent southern Europe.

They proposed that an Eastern Saharan origin for Chadic R1b would agree with linguistic theories such as those of Christopher Ehret, that Chadic and Berber form a related group within Afroasiatic, which originated in the area of the Sahara.

In contrast to the evidence from paternally inherited Y DNA, a recent study has shown that a branch of mitochondrial haplogroup L3 links the maternal ancestry of Chadic speakers from the Sahel with Cushitic speakers from Horn of Africa.

Other mitochondrial lineages that are associated with Afroasiatic include mitochondrial haplogroups M1 and haplogroup U6. Gonzalez et al. 2007 suggest that Afroasiatic speakers may have dispersed from Horn of Africa carrying the subclades M1a and U6a1.

According to an autosomal DNA study by Hodgson et al. (2014), the Afroasiatic languages were likely spread across Africa and the Near East by an ancestral population(s) carrying a newly identified non-African genetic component, which the researchers dub the “Ethio-Somali”.

This Ethio-Somali component is today most common among Afroasiatic-speaking populations in the Horn of Africa. It is most closely related to the Maghrebi non-African genetic component, and is believed to have diverged from all other non-African ancestries at least 23,000 years ago.

On this basis, the researchers suggest that the original Ethio-Somali carrying population(s) probably arrived in the pre-agricultural period from the Near East, having crossed over into northeastern Africa via the Sinai peninsula. The population then likely split into two branches, with one group heading westward toward the Maghreb and the other moving south into the Horn.

A related hypothesis that associates the origin of the ancestors of Afroasiatic speakers as the result of a reflux population from Southwest Asia during the Late Palaeolithic was previously put forward by Daniel McCall.

Supporters of a non-North or Northeast African origin for Afroasiatic are particularly common among those with a background in Semitic or Egyptological studies, or amongst archaeological proponents of the “farming/language dispersal hypothesis” according to which major language groups dispersed with early farming technology in the Neolithic.

The leading linguistic proponent of this idea in recent times is Alexander Militarev. Arguments for and against this position depend upon the contested proposal that farming-related words can be reconstructed in Proto-Afroasiatic, with farming technology being widely thought to have spread from the Levant into Africa.

Buut an Asiatic origin need not be associated exclusively with the migration of agricultural populations: according to linguists, words for dog (an Asian domesticate) reconstruct to Proto-Afroasiatic as well as words for bow and arrow, which according to archaeologists spread rapidly across North Africa once they were introduced from the Near East i.e. Ounan points.

The appearance of linguistic terms such as dog, bow, and arrow in Proto-Afroasiatic makes a date earlier than 9,500 BC (coinciding with the end of the Younger Dryas) highly unlikely since dogs only appear at the earliest in the archaeological record after 12,000 BC in the Near East, and arrowheads only appear after 9,500 BC in Africa as a result of introduction from the Near East.

A scenario that also fits the linguistic evidence is one in which Afroasiatic languages were introduced into Africa together with advanced hunting techniques before the subsequent introduction of agriculture.

The Mushabian culture (alternately, Mushabi or Mushabaean) is an Archaeological culture suggested to have originated east of the Levantine Rift Valley c. 14,000 BC in the Middle Epipaleolithic period. Although the Mushabian industry was once thought to have originated in the Nile Valley it is now known to have originated in the previous lithic industries of the Levant, and may even indicate diffusion of this technique in the other direction.

The migration of farmers from the Middle East into Europe is believed to have significantly influenced the genetic profile of contemporary Europeans. The Natufian culture which existed about 12,000 years ago in the Levant, has been the subject of various archeological investigations as the Natufian culture is generally believed to be the source of the European and North African Neolithic.

The Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert were formidable barriers to gene flow between Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe. But Europe was periodically accessible to Africans due to fluctuations in the size and climate of the Sahara. At the Strait of Gibraltar, Africa and Europe are separated by only 15 km of water. At the Suez, Eurasia is connected to Africa forming a single land mass.

The Nile river valley, which runs from East Africa to the Mediterranean Sea, served as a bidirectional corridor in the Sahara desert that frequently connected people from Sub-Saharan Africa with the peoples of Eurasia.

According to Bar-Yosef the Natufian culture emerged from the mixing of the Geometric Kebaran (indigenous to the Levant) and the Mushabian (also indigenous to the Levant). Modern analyses comparing 24 craniofacial measurements reveal a predominantly cosmopolitan population within the pre-Neolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age Fertile Crescent, supporting the view that a diverse population of peoples occupied this region during these time periods. In particular, evidence demonstrates the presence of North European, Central European, Saharan and strong Sub-Saharan African presence within the region, especially among the Epipalaeolithic Natufians of Israel.

These studies further argue that over time the Sub-Saharan influences would have been “diluted” out of the genetic picture due to interbreeding between Neolithic migrants from the Near East and indigenous hunter-gatherers whom they came in contact with.

Ricaut et al. (2008) associate the Sub-Saharan influences detected in the Natufian samples with the migration of E1b1b lineages from East Africa to the Levant and then into Europe. Entering the late mesolithic Natufian culture, the E1b1b1a2 (E-V13) sub-clade has been associated with the spread of farming from the Middle East into Europe either during or just before the Neolithic transition. E1b1b1 lineages are found throughout Europe but are distributed along a South-to-North cline, with a E1b1b1a mode in the Balkans.

Recently, it has been proposed that E3b originated in sub-Saharan Africa and expanded into the Near East and northern Africa at the end of the Pleistocene. E3b lineages would have then been introduced from the Near East into southern Europe by immigrant farmers, during the Neolithic expansion.

A Mesolithic population carrying Group III lineages with the M35/M215 mutation expanded northwards from sub-Saharan to North Africa and the Levant. The Levantine population of farmers that dispersed into Europe during and after the Neolithic carried these African Group III M35/M215 lineages, together with a cluster of Group VI lineages characterized by M172 and M201 mutations.

Although a migration of people from Africa bringing E-M78 lineages into the Levant took place c. 14,700 years ago it as yet cannot be linked with any of the Levantine cultures at the time (Hamran, Mushabian, Ramonian, Geometric Kebaran) or later (Natufian, Harifian, Khiamian) since all are known to have originated in the Levant.

Since a material culture cannot be connected with the E-M78 immigrants into the Levant it is likely they were assimilated into the various Levantine cultures beginning with the Ramonian culture, which was present in the Sinai 14,700 years ago.

This migration coincided with the population overflow in the Sinai and Negev that caused the Geometric Kebarans to fall back to the Mediterranean core area which in turn caused them to develop the Natufian culture as a result of the population increase in the Mediterranean park forest.

E-M78, like its parent clade E-V68, is thought to have an African origin. Based on genetic STR variance data, Cruciani et al. (2007) suggests that this subclade originated in “Northeastern Africa”, which in the study refers specifically to the region of Egypt and Libya.

Prior to Cruciani et al. (2007), Semino et al. (2004) had proposed a place of origin for E-M78 further south in East Africa. This was because of the high frequency and diversity of E-M78 lineages in the region of Ethiopia.

However, Cruciani et al. (2007) were able to study more data, and concluded that the E-M78 lineages in the Horn of Africa were dominated by relatively recent branches (see E-V32 below).

They concluded that the region of Egypt was the likely place of origin of E-M78 based on “the peripheral geographic distribution of the most derived subhaplogroups with respect to northeastern Africa, as well as the results of quantitative analysis of UEP and microsatellite diversity”.

Cruciani et al. (2007) also note this as evidence for “a corridor for bidirectional migrations” between Northeast Africa (Egypt and Libya in their data) on the one hand and East Africa on the other.

Because Cruciani et al. (2007) also proposed that E-M35, the parent clade of E-M78, originated in East Africa during the paleolithic and subsequently spread to the region of Egypt. E-M78 in East Africa, is therefore the result of a back migration. The authors believe there were “at least 2 episodes between 23.9–17.3 ky and 18.0–5.9 ky ago”.

Another probable migration to the south from Egypt was noted by Hassan et al. (2008) based upon their survey of Sudan. Specifically E-V12 and E-V22, “might have been brought to Sudan from North Africa after the progressive desertification of the Sahara around 6,000-8,000 years ago”.

Northwards from Egypt and Libya, E-M78 migrated into the Middle East, but additionally Trombetta et al. (2011) proposed that the earlier E-V68 carrying population may have migrated by sea directly from Africa to southwestern Europe, because they observed cases of E-V68* (without the M78 mutation) only in Sardinia, and not in the Middle Eastern samples. Concerning E-M78, like other forms of E-V68 there is evidence of multiple routes of expansion out of an African homeland.

On the other hand, while there were apparently direct migrations from North Africa to Iberia and Southern Italy (of people carrying E-V68*, E-V12, E-V22, and E-V65), the majority of E-M78 lineages found in Europe belong to the E-V13 sub-clade which appears to have entered Europe at some time undeterminded from the Near East, where it apparently originated, via the Balkans.

Coming to similar conclusions as the Cruciani and Trombetta team, Battaglia et al. (2008), writing prior to the discovery of E-V68, describe Egypt as “a hub for the distribution of the various geographically localized M78-related sub-clades” and, based on archaeological data, they propose that the point of origin of E-M78 (as opposed to later dispersals from Egypt) may have been in a refugium which “existed on the border of present-day Sudan and Egypt, near Lake Nubia, until the onset of a humid phase around 8500 BC.

The northward-moving rainfall belts during this period could have also spurred a rapid migration of Mesolithic foragers northwards in Africa, the Levant and ultimately onwards to Asia Minor and Europe, where they each eventually differentiated into their regionally distinctive branches”.

The division of E-V68 into sub-clades such as E-V12, E-V13, etc. has largely been the work of an Italian team including Fulvio Cruciani, Beniamino Trombetta, Rosario Scozzari and others. They started on the basis of STR studies in 2004, and then in 2006 they announced the discoveries of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) mutations which could define most of the main branches with better clarity, which was then discussed further in 2007. These articles were the basis of the updated phylogenies found in Karafet (2008), and ISOGG, which is in turn the basis of the phylogeny given below.

Rendille – Kenya

It is generally believed that black people do not possess blue eyes. The blue eyes has always been associated with the Caucasians (whites). In many scientific studies and a more recent one conducted by the Copenhagen University the genetic mystery of “blue eyes” is said to have originated from the northeast coast of the Black Sea.

Individuals with N1a have been identified in Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya, and Tanzania. In Ethiopia, 2.2% of the population was found be members of N1a, but the haplogroup was only identified in Semitic speakers. In Egypt, 0.8% of the population were found to be members of N1a. A study of Kenyans found a prevalence of N1a to be around 10% in the Rendille population, and it was around 1% in the Maasai.

The Rendille (also known as Rendille, Reendile, Rendili, Randali, Randile and Randille) are a Cushitic-speaking ethnic group inhabiting the northern Eastern Province of Kenya. The ethnonym Rendille translates as “Holders of the Stick of God”.

The Rendille are believed to have originally migrated down into the Great Lakes area from Ethiopia in the more northerly Horn region, following southward population expansions by the Oromo and later the Somali.

Traditionally, they are nomadic pastoralists, tending camels, sheep, goats and cattle. The camels are generally kept in the northern part of their territory and the cattle in the southern section.

The first ethnological study of the Rendille was published at the turn of the 20th century by William A. Chanler. It described the unmixed Rendille that his party encountered as tall, slender and reddish-brown in complexion, with soft, straight hair and narrow facial features.

Chanler additionally remarked that many of the Rendille possessed “fierce” blue eyes, a physical peculiarity that was also later noted by Augustus Henry Keane (1900), John Scott Keltie (1904) and John Henry Patterson (1909).

According to Ethnologue, there were approximately 34,700 Rendille speakers in 2006. Most are concentrated in the Kaisut Desert and Mount Marsabit in the Marsabit District of Kenya’s northern Eastern Province.

The Rendille speak the Rendille language as a mother tongue (also known as Rendile or Randile). It belongs to the Cushitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic family. Some Rendille also use English or Swahili as working languages for communication with other populations.

The Cushitic languages are a branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family spoken primarily in the Horn of Africa (Somalia, Eritrea, Djibouti, and Ethiopia), as well as the Nile Valley (Sudan and Egypt), and parts of the African Great Lakes region (Tanzania and Kenya).

The branch is named after the Biblical character Cush, who was traditionally identified as an ancestor of the speakers of these specific languages as early as 947 CE (in Masudi’s Arabic history Meadows of Gold).

The most populous Cushitic language is Oromo (including all its variations) with about 35 million speakers, followed by Somali with about 18 million speakers, and Sidamo with about 3 million speakers. Other Cushitic languages with more than one million speakers are Afar (1.5 million) and Beja (1.2 million).

Somali, one of the official languages of Somalia, is the only Cushitic language accorded official status in any country. It is also one of the recognized national languages of Djibouti, the other being Afar.

The Ariaal sub-group of the Rendille, who are of mixed Nilotic and Cushitic descent, speak the Nilo-Saharan Samburu language of the Samburu Nilotes with whom they cohabit.

Recent advances in genetic analyses have helped shed some light on the ethnogenesis of the Rendille people. Genetic genealogy, although a novel tool that uses the genes of modern populations to trace their ethnic and geographic origins, has also helped clarify the possible background of the modern Rendille.

According to an mtDNA study by Castri et al. (2008), the maternal ancestry of the contemporary Rendille consists of a mixture of Afro-Asiatic-associated lineages and Sub-Saharan haplogroups, reflecting substantial female gene flow from neighboring Sub-Saharan populations.

About 30% of the Rendille belonged to the West Eurasian haplogroups I (15%), a descendant (subclade) of haplogroup N1e’I (Behar 2012b) and sibling of haplogroup N1e (Behar 2012b) believed to have arisen somewhere in Eurasia between 17,263 and 24,451 years before present (Behar 2012b) in Iran or more generally the Near East (Terreros 2011), N1a (8%), M1a (3%) and R0/pre-HV (3%). The remaining samples carried various Sub-Saharan macro-haplogroup L sub-clades, mainly consisting of L0a (22%) and L2a (8%).

The Rendille’s autosomal DNA has been examined in a comprehensive study by Tishkoff et al. (2009) on the genetic affiliations of various populations in Africa. According to the researchers, the Rendille showed significant Afro-Asiatic affinities. They also shared some ties with neighboring Nilo-Saharan and Bantu speakers in the Great Lakes region due to considerable genetic exchanges with these communities over the past 5000 or so years.

In terms of creed, many Rendille practice a traditional religion centered on the worship of Waaq/Wakh. In the related Oromo culture, Waaq denotes the single god of the early pre-Abrahamic, montheistic faith believed to have been adhered to by Cushitic groups. Some Rendille have also adopted Islam or Christianity.

Rendille people

Human Expansion

Mammut Hunters

Haplogroup R

Haplogroup R1b

Haplogroup E

Haplogroup E-V38

Khoisan

The recent origin for most paternal lineages in west Central Africa is a result of the Bantu expansion starting ∼5,000 years ago, having erased virtually all previous Y-chromosome diversity of populations inhabiting this region.

The nonnegligible presence of the R1b1* lineage in west Central African samples (with a frequency over 5%) might point toward additional demographic expansions within the area besides the “Bantu expansion.”

The geographic origin of the R1b lineage is situated Eurasia and not in Africa. Its sporadic presence, although at low frequencies, in some African populations has been proposed to result from back migrations from Eurasia into Africa during ancient times.

The internal STR diversity of this lineage in west Central Africa points toward a putative expansion occurring 7,000 years ago, before the “Bantu expansion”, having been shown to be especially frequent in northern Cameroon, near the putative Bantu expansion origin.

While Western Europe is dominated by the R1b1a2 (R-M269) branch of R1b, the mostly Chadic-speaking area in Africa is dominated by the branch known as R1b1c (R-V88). These represent two very successful twigs on a much bigger family tree.

The R1b1 is result of a mid-Holocene migration of proto-Chadic Afroasiatic speakers through the Central Sahara into the Lake Chad Basin, and its presence in North Africa may be explained as the result of a migration from the south.

R1b1a is not directly tied to Proto-Afro-Asiatic. Proto-Aafro-Asiatic might already have been spoken in Northeast Africa and the Horn by E1b1b hunter gatherers when R1b1 farmers arrived on the scene, but the R1b1 carriers adopted some proto form of Afro-Aasiatic after settling in Africa.

R1b1 carriers made it’s way to Africa with pastoralism, or farming and cattles, since all African R1b1 populations have people that are positive for the 13910 C/T polymorphism, the SNP that allows lactase persistence in adulthood in North Indian and European populations and spread into Europe during the Neolithic, which has been estimated to have first appeared in humans 5,000 to 12,000 years ago. 

The arrival of R1b1 carriers in Cameroon might be partly responsible for the Bantu expansion. R1b1 is found at very low frequencies in Bantu populations in southwestern Africa, and Cameroon is where the Bantu expansion began, largely due to their knowledge of agriculture. 

R1b1 populations seems to have expanded throughout Africa from one population that lived along the Nile River. They arrived in the region from Western Asia bringing new technologies and the European LP SNP to the region. The predominately E1b1a Bantus adopted agriculture from the R1b1 guys that brought the technology to Africa from Western Asia.

However, the presence of lineages belonging to haplogroup R1b1* might represent footprints of demographic expansions in Central Africa not directly related to the “Bantu expansion.”

Haplogroup R or R-M207 is a Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup. It is both numerous and widespread amongst modern populations. Some descendant subclades are common throughout Europe, Central Asia and South Asia, and also common in parts of the West Asia, Africa and North America. Others are primarily from West Asia and South Asia.

The SNP defining this haplogroup is believed to have arisen during the Upper Paleolithic era: about 19,000 – 34,000 years ago. The most likely geographical location for this is Central Asia.

Haplogroup R* originated in North Asia just before the Last Glacial Maximum (26,500-19,000 years ago). The sole example of basal haplogroup R* has been found in the remains of a boy, known as MA-1, who lived at Mal’ta, an archaeological culture of the Upper Paleolithic (c. 24,000 to 15,000 BP) on the upper Angara River in the area west of Lake Baikal in the Irkutsk Oblast, Siberia, Russian Federation, 24,000 years ago.

Research published in 2014 suggests that a Mal’ta like people were important genetic contributors to the American Indians, Europeans, and central and south Asians but did not contribute to and was not related to East Eurasians.

The suggested similarity between Mal’ta and Upper Paleolithic civilizations of Western and Eastern Europe coincides with a long-held belief that the ancient people of Mal’ta were related to the Paleolithic societies of Europe.

These similarities can be established by their tools, dwelling structures, and art. These commonalities draw into question the origin of Upper Paleolithic Siberian people, and whether the migrating peoples originated from Southeastern Asia or quite possibly from Europe.

As a paper by Pille Hallast, Chiara Batini, Daniel Zadik and others put in 2014, the most recent common ancestor of all members of haplogroup R lived 19,000 years ago, “both R1a and R1b comprise young, star-like expansions” and present day Central Asian samples belong to “the deepest subclade of R1b-M269, while another, in a Bhutanese individual, forms an outgroup almost as old as the R1a/R1b split.”

Y-haplogroup R-M207 is common throughout Europe, South Asia and Central Asia. It also occurs in the Caucasus and Siberia. Some minorities in Africa also carry subclades of R-M207 at high frequencies.

While some indigenous peoples of the Americas and Australasia also feature high levels of R-M207, it is unclear whether these are deep-rooted, or an effect of European colonisation during the early modern era.

Autosomally, this Paleolithic population appears to have contributed mostly to the ancestry of modern Europeans and South Asians, the two regions where haplogroup R also happens to be the most common nowadays (R1b in Western Europe, R1a in Eastern Europe, Central and South Asia, and R2 in South Asia).

The oldest forms of R1b (M343, P25, L389) are found dispersed at very low frequencies from Western Europe to India, a vast region where could have roamed the nomadic R1b hunter-gatherers during the Ice Age.

The early R1b cattle herders would have split in at least three groups. The three main branches of R1b1 (R1b1a, R1b1b, R1b1c) all seem to have stemmed from the Middle East.

It has been hypothetised that R1b people (perhaps alongside neighbouring J2 tribes) were the first to domesticate cattlein northern Mesopotamia some 10,500 years ago. R1b tribes descended from mammoth hunters, and when mammoths went extinct, they started hunting other large game such as bisons and aurochs.

With the increase of the human population in the Fertile Crescent from the beginning of the Neolithic (starting 12,000 years ago), selective hunting and culling of herds started replacing indiscriminate killing of wild animals.

Haplogroup J2 is thought to have appeared somewhere in the Middle East towards the end of the last glaciation, between 15,000 and 22,000 years ago. The oldest known J2 sample at present comes from Kotias Klde in Georgia and dates from c. 9700 BCE, confirming that haplogroup J2 was already found around the Caucasus during the Mesolithic period.

Its present geographic distribution argues in favour of a Neolithic expansion from the Fertile Crescent. This expansion probably correlated with the diffusion of domesticated of cattle and goats (starting c. 8000-9000 BCE) from the Zagros mountains and northern Mesopotamia, rather than with the development of cereal agriculture in the Levant (which appears to be linked rather to haplogroups G2 and E1b1b).

A second expansion of J2 could have occured with the advent of metallurgy, notably copper working (from the Lower Danube valley, central Anatolia and northern Mesopotamia), and the rise of some of the oldest civilizations.

Quite a few ancient Mediterranean and Middle Eastern civilizations flourished in territories where J2 lineages were preponderant. This is the case of the Hattians, the Hurrians, the Etruscans, the Minoans, the Greeks, the Phoenicians (and their Carthaginian offshoot), the Israelites, and to a lower extent also the Romans, the Assyrians and the Persians. All the great seafaring civilizations from the middle Bronze Age to the Iron Age were dominated by J2 men.

There is a distinct association of ancient J2 civilizations with bull worship. The oldest evidence of a cult of the bull can be traced back to Neolithic central Anatolia, notably at the sites of Çatalhöyük and Alaca Höyük. Bull depictions are omnipresent in Minoan frescos and ceramics in Crete. Bull-masked terracotta figurines and bull-horned stone altars have been found in Cyprus (dating back as far as the Neolithic, the first presumed expansion of J2 from West Asia).

The Hattians, Sumerians, Babylonians, Canaaites, and Carthaginians all had bull deities (in contrast with Indo-European or East Asian religions). The sacred bull of Hinduism, Nandi, present in all temples dedicated to Shiva or Parvati, does not have an Indo-European origin, but can be traced back to Indus Valley civilization.

Minoan Crete, Hittite Anatolia, the Levant, Bactria and the Indus Valley also shared a tradition of bull leaping, the ritual of dodging the charge of a bull. It survives today in the traditional bullfighting of Andalusia in Spain and Provence in France, two regions with a high percentage of J2 lineages.

The increased involvement of humans in the life of aurochs, wild boars and goats led to their progressive taming. Cattle herders probably maintained a nomadic or semi-nomadic existence, while other people in the Fertile Crescent settled down to cultivate the land or keep smaller domesticates.

The analysis of bovine DNA has revealed that all the taurine cattle (Bos taurus) alive today descend from a population of only 80 aurochs. The earliest evidence of cattle domestication dates from circa 8,500 BCE in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic cultures in the Taurus Mountains.

The two oldest archaeological sites showing signs of cattle domestication are the villages of Çayönü Tepesi in southeastern Turkey and Dja’de el-Mughara in northern Iraq, two sites only 250 km away from each others. This is presumably the area from which R1b lineages started expanding – or in other words the “original homeland” of R1b.

R1b1b (M335), who by judging from its extreme rarity today wasn’t very successful, perhaps due to the heavy competition with other Neolithic populations in Anatolia, or to the scarcity of pastures in this mountainous environment, has only been found in Anatolia.

The southern branch, R1b1c (V88), is found mostly in the Levant and Africa. It migrated south to the Levant, where it became the V88 branch. Some of them searched for new lands south in Africa, first in Egypt, then colonising most of northern Africa, from the Mediterranean coast to the Sahel.

The northern branch, R1b1a (P297), seem to have originated around the Caucasus, eastern Anatolia or northern Mesopotamia, then to have crossed over the Caucasus, from where they would have invaded Europe and Central Asia. It crossed the Caucasus into the vast Pontic-Caspian Steppe, which provided ideal grazing grounds for cattle.

They split into two factions: R1b1a1 (M73), which went east along the Caspian Sea to Central Asia, and R1b1a2 (M269), which at first remained in the North Caucasus and the Pontic Steppe between the Dnieper and the Volga.

It is not yet clear whether M73 actually migrated across the Caucasus and reached Central Asia via Kazakhstan, or if it went south through Iran and Turkmenistan. In the latter case, M73 might not be an Indo-European branch of R1b, just like V88 and M335.

R1b-M269 (the most common form in Europe) is closely associated with the diffusion of Indo-European languages, as attested by its presence in all regions of the world where Indo-European languages were spoken in ancient times, from the Atlantic coast of Europe to the Indian subcontinent. The history of R1b and R1a are intricately connected to each others.

Like its northern counterpart (R1b-M269), R1b-V88 is associated with the domestication of cattle in northern Mesopotamia. Both branches of R1b probably split soon after cattle were domesticated, approximately 10,500 years ago (8,500 BCE).

R1b-V88 migrated south towards the Levant and Egypt. The migration of R1b people can be followed archeologically through the presence of domesticated cattle, which appear in central Syria around 8,000-7,500 BCE (late Mureybet period), then in the Southern Levant and Egypt around 7,000-6,500 BCE (e.g. at Nabta Playa and Bir Kiseiba).

Cattle herders subsequently spread across most of northern and eastern Africa. The Sahara desert would have been more humid during the Neolithic Subpluvial period (c. 7250-3250 BCE), and would have been a vast savannah full of grass, an ideal environment for cattle herding.

Evidence of cow herding during the Neolithic has shown up at Uan Muhuggiag in central Libya around 5500 BCE, at the Capeletti Cave in northern Algeria around 4500 BCE. But the most compelling evidence that R1b people related to modern Europeans once roamed the Sahara is to be found at Tassili n’Ajjer in southern Algeria, a site famous pyroglyphs (rock art) dating from the Neolithic era. Some painting dating from around 3000 BCE depict fair-skinned and blond or auburn haired women riding on cows.

After reaching the Maghreb, R1b-V88 cattle herders could have crossed the Strait of Gibraltar to Iberia, probably accompanied by G2 farmers, J1 and T1a goat herders and native Maghreban E-M81 lineages. These Maghreban Neolithic farmers/herders could have been the ones who established the Almagra Pottery culture in Andalusia in the 6th millennium BCE.

Nowadays small percentages (1 to 4%) of R1b-V88 are found in the Levant, among the Lebanese, the Druze, and the Jews, and almost in every country in Africa north of the equator. Higher frequency in Egypt (5%), among Berbers from the Egypt-Libya border (23%), among the Sudanese Copts (15%), the Hausa people of Sudan (40%), the the Fulani people of the Sahel (54% in Niger and Cameroon), and Chadic tribes of northern Nigeria and northern Cameroon (especially among the Kirdi), where it is observed at a frequency ranging from 30% to 95% of men.

According toCruciani et al. (2010) R1b-V88 would have crossed the Sahara between 9,200 and 5,600 years ago, and is most probably associated with the diffusion of Chadic languages, a branch of the Afroasiatic languages. V88 would have migrated from Egypt to Sudan then expanded along the Sahel until northern Cameroon and Nigeria. However, R1b-V88 is not only present among Chadic speakers, but also among Senegambian speakers (Fula-Hausa) and Semitic speakers (Berbers, Arabs).

R1b-V88 is found among the native populations of Rwanda, South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau. The wide distribution of V88 in all parts of Africa, its incidence among herding tribes, and the coalescence age of the haplogroup all support a Neolithic dispersal. In any case, a later migration out of Egypt would be improbable since it would have brought haplogroups that came to Egypt during the Bronze Age, such as J1, J2, R1a or R1b-L23.

Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian and traditionally as Hamito-Semitic (Chamito-Semitic), is a large language family of several hundred related languages and dialects. It includes languages spoken predominantly in the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and parts of the Sahel. It has six branches: Berber, Chadic, Cushitic, Egyptian, Omotic and Semitic.

The term Afroasiatic Urheimat (Urheimat meaning “original homeland” in German) refers to the ‘hypothetical’ place where Proto-Afroasiatic speakers lived in a single linguistic community, or complex of communities, before this original language dispersed geographically and divided into distinct languages.

There is no agreement when or where the original homeland of this language family existed. Proposed locations include North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Eastern Sahara, and the Levant. Their distribution seems to have been influenced by the Saharan pump operating over the last 10,000 years. Afro-Asiatic languages are today primarily spoken in the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and parts of the Sahel.

Estimates of the date at which the Proto-Afroasiatic language was spoken vary widely. They fall within a range between approximately 7,500 BC (9,500 years ago) and approximately 16,000 BC (18,000 years ago).

According to Igor M. Diakonoff (1988: 33n), Proto-Afroasiatic was spoken c. 10,000 BC. According to Christopher Ehret (2002: 35–36), Proto-Afroasiatic was spoken c. 11,000 BC at the latest, and possibly as early as c. 16,000 BC. These dates are older than dates associated with most other proto-languages.

The Chadic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family that is spoken in parts of the Sahel. They include 150 languages spoken across northern Nigeria, southern Niger, southern Chad, Central African Republic and northern Cameroon. The most widely spoken Chadic language is Hausa, a lingua franca of much of inland West Africa.

Several modern genetic studies of Chadic speaking groups in the northern Cameroon region have observed high frequencies of the Y-Chromosome Haplogroup R1b in these populations (specifically, of R1b’s R-V88 variant). This paternal marker is common in parts of West Eurasia, but otherwise rare in Africa. Cruciani et al. (2010) thus propose that the Proto-Chadic speakers during the mid-Holocene (~7,000 years ago) migrated from the Levant to the Central Sahara, and from there settled in the Lake Chad Basin.

The Nok culture appeared in Northern Nigeria around 1000 BC and vanished under unknown circumstances around 300 AD in the region of West Africa. It is believed to be the product of an ancestral nation that branched to create the Hausa, Gwari, Birom, Kanuri, Nupe and Jukun peoples. The Kwatarkwashi Culture or Sokoto Culture located to the North west of Nok is thought to be the same as or an earlier ancestor of the Nok.

Nok’s social system is thought to have been highly advanced. The Nok culture is considered to be the earliest sub-Saharan producer of life-sized Terracotta. Images show figures on horseback, indicating that the Nok culture possessed the horse. Iron use, in smelting and forging for tools, appears in Nok culture in Africa at least by 550 BC and possibly earlier.

Two major sources of information are used to determine where and when the horse was first domesticated and how the domesticated horse spread around the world. The first source is based on palaeological and archeological discoveries; the second source is a comparison of DNA obtained from modern horses to that from bones and teeth of ancient horse remains.

The earliest archaeological evidence for the domestication of the horse comes from sites in Ukraine and Kazakhstan, dating to approximately 3500–4000 BC. By 3000 BC, the horse was completely domesticated and by 2000 BC there was a sharp increase in the number of horse bones found in human settlements in northwestern Europe, indicating the spread of domesticated horses throughout the continent.

The most recent, but most irrefutable evidence of domestication comes from sites where horse remains were interred with chariots in graves of the Sintashta and Petrovska cultures c. 2100 BC.

Domestication is also studied by using the genetic material of present-day horses and comparing it with the genetic material present in the bones and teeth of horse remains found in archaeological and palaeological excavations.

The variation in the genetic material shows that very few wild stallions contributed to the domestic horse, while many mares were part of early domesticated herds. This is reflected in the difference in genetic variation between the DNA that is passed on along the paternal, or sire line (Y-DNA) versus that passed on along the maternal, or dam line (mtDNA).

There are very low levels of Y-chromosome variability, but a great deal of genetic variation in mitochondrial DNA. There is also regional variation in mitochondrial DNA due to the inclusion of wild mares in domestic herds.

Another characteristic of domestication is an increase in coat color variation. In horses, this increased dramatically between 5000 and 3000 BC.

Bantu peoples is used as a general label for the 300–600 ethnic groups in Africa who speak Bantu languages. They inhabit a geographical area stretching east and southward from Central Africa across the African Great Lakes region down to Southern Africa. Bantu is a major branch of the Niger-Congo language family spoken by most populations in Africa.

Proto-Bantu (also Common Bantu) is the reconstructed common ancestor of most Bantu languages. It is thought to have originally been spoken in West/Central Africa in the area of what is now Cameroon. Approximately 3000–4000 years ago, it split off from other Niger-Congo languages when the Bantu people began their migration to the south and east.

The word Bantu, and its variations, means “people” or “humans”. The root in Proto-Bantu is reconstructed as *-ntu. Versions of the word Bantu (that is, the root plus the class 2 noun class prefix *ba-) occur in all Bantu languages.

E-M243 (especially its subclades M78 and M81) is found at high frequencies in North East Africa and North Africa and is the only subclade that is found in Europe and Asia at significant frequencies.

E-M243 is common among Afro-Asiatic speakers in the Near East and North Africa as well as among some Nilo-Saharan and Niger–Congo speakers in North East Africa and Sudan. E-M243 is far less common in West, Central, and Southern Africa.

Haplogroup E-V38 has two basal branches, E-M329 (formerly E1b1c) and E-M2 (formerly E1b1a), the former is almost exclusively found in Ethiopia. The E-M2 branches are the predominant lineage in Western Africa, Central Africa, Southern Africa, and the southern parts of Eastern Africa.

The discovery of two SNPs (V38 and V100) by Trombetta et al. (2011) significantly redefined the E-V38 phylogenetic tree. This led the authors to suggests that E-V38 may have originated in East Africa. V38 joins the West African-affiliated E-M2 and the northern East African-affiliated E-M329 with an earlier common ancestor who, like E-P2, may have also originated in East Africa.

It is possible that soon after the evolution of E-V38, trans-Saharan migrants carried the E-V38 marker to Northern Africa and Central Africa and/or West Africa where the more common E-M2 marker later arose and became prolific within the last 20,000-30,000 years.

The downstreams SNP E-M180 possibly originated on the moist south-central Saharan savannah/grassland of northern West Africa during the early Holocene period. Much of the population that carried E-M2 retreated to southern West Africa with the drying of the Sahara. These later people migrated from Southeastern Nigeria and Cameroon ~8.0 kya to Central Africa, East Africa, and Southern Africa causing or following the Bantu expansion.

According to Wood et al. (2005) and Rosa et al. (2007), such population movements from West Africa changed the pre-existing population Y chromosomal diversity in Western, Central, Southern and southern East Africa, replacing the previous haplogroups frequencies in these areas with the now dominant E1b1a1 lineages.

Traces of earlier inhabitants, however, can be observed today in these regions via the presence of the Y DNA haplogroups A1a, A1b, A2, A3, and B-M60 that are common in certain populations, such as the Mbuti and Khoisan.

E-V38 reaches, the most prevalent subclade of E in Africa, frequencies of over 80% in many parts of West Africa, Central Africa, East Africa as well as Southern Africa.  It is observed at high frequencies in all African regions except the northernmost and easternmost portions of the continent.

This haplogroup’s frequency and diversity are highest in the West Africa region. Within Africa, E-V38 displays a west-to-east as well as a south-to-north clinal distribution. In other words, the frequency of the haplogroup decreases as one move from western and southern Africa toward the eastern and northern parts of the continent.

About 3000 years ago, speakers of the proto-Bantu language group began a millennia-long series of migrations eastward from their homeland between West Africa and Central Africa at the border of eastern Nigeria and Cameroon.

This Bantu expansion first introduced Bantu peoples to central, southern, and southeastern Africa, regions they had previously been absent from. The proto-Bantu migrants in the process assimilated and/or displaced a number of earlier inhabitants that they came across, including Khoisan populations in the south and Afro-Asiatic groups in the southeast.

The linguistic core of the Bantu family of languages, a branch of the Niger–Congo language family, was located in the adjoining region of Cameroon and Nigeria. From this core, expansion began about 3,000 years ago, with one stream going into East Africa, and other streams going south along the African coast of Gabon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Angola, or inland along the many south to north flowing rivers of the Congo River system. The expansion eventually reached South Africa probably as early as AD 300.

The hypothesized Bantu expansion pushed out or assimilated the hunter-forager proto-Khoisan, who formerly inhabited Southern Africa. In Eastern and Southern Africa, Bantu-speakers may have adopted livestock husbandry from other unrelated Cushitic- and Nilotic-speaking peoples they encountered.

Herding practices reached the far south several centuries before Bantu-speaking migrants did. Archaeological, linguistic, genetic, and environmental evidence all support the conclusion that the Bantu expansion was a significant human migration. It is thought that Central African Pygmies and Bantus branched out from a common ancestral population c. 70,000 years ago.

Current scholarly understanding places the ancestral proto-Bantu homeland in West Africa near the present-day southwestern border of Nigeria and Cameroon c. 4,000 years ago (2000 B.C.), and regards the Bantu languages as a branch of the Niger–Congo language family.

This view represents a resolution of debates in the 1960s over competing theories advanced by Joseph Greenberg and Malcolm Guthrie, in favor of refinements of Greenberg’s theory.

It seems likely that the expansion of the Bantu-speaking people from their core region in West Africa began around 1000 BCE. Although early models posited that the early speakers were both iron-using and agricultural, archaeology has shown that they did not use iron until as late as 400 BCE, though they were agricultural.

Based on wide comparisons including non-Bantu languages, Greenberg argued that Proto-Bantu, the hypothetical ancestor of the Bantu languages, had strong ancestral affinities with a group of languages spoken in Southeastern Nigeria. He proposed that Bantu languages had spread east and south from there, to secondary centers of further dispersion, over hundreds of years.

Before the expansion of farming and herding peoples, including those speaking Bantu languages, Africa south of the equator was populated by neolithic hunting and foraging peoples. Some of them were ancestral to proto-Khoisan-speaking peoples, whose modern hunter-forager and linguistic descendants, the Khoekhoe and San, occupy the arid regions around the Kalahari desert. The Hadza and Sandawe populations in Tanzania comprise the other modern hunter-forager remnant in Africa of these proto-Khoisan-speaking peoples.

The western branch, not necessarily linguistically distinct, according to Christopher Ehret, followed the coast and the major rivers of the Congo system southward, reaching central Angola by around 500 BCE.

It is clear that there were human populations in the region at the time of the expansion, and Pygmies are their purer descendants. However, mtDNA genetic research from Cabinda suggests that only haplogroups that originated in West Africa are found there today, and the distinctive L0 of the pre-Bantu population is missing, suggesting that there was a complete population replacement. In South Africa, however, a more complex intermixing could have taken place.

Further east, Bantu-speaking communities had reached the great Central African rainforest, and by 500 BCE, pioneering groups had emerged into the savannas to the south, in what are now the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, and Zambia.

Another stream of migration, moving east by 3,000 years ago (1000 BCE), was creating a major new population center near the Great Lakes of East Africa, where a rich environment supported a dense population. Movements by small groups to the southeast from the Great Lakes region were more rapid, with initial settlements widely dispersed near the coast and near rivers, due to comparatively harsh farming conditions in areas further from water.

Pioneering groups had reached modern KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa by CE 300 along the coast, and the modern Limpopo Province (formerly Northern Transvaal) by CE 500.

Over a period of many centuries, most hunting-foraging peoples were displaced and absorbed by incoming Bantu-speaking communities, as well as by Ubangian, Nilotic, and Sudanic language-speakers in North Central and Eastern Africa.

The Bantu expansion was a long series of physical migrations, a diffusion of language and knowledge out into and in from neighboring populations, and a creation of new societal groups involving inter-marriage among communities and small groups moving to communities and small groups moving to new areas.

After their movements from their original homeland in West Africa, Bantus also encountered in East Africa peoples of Afro-Asiatic (mainly Cushitic) and Nilo-Saharan (mainly Nilotic and Sudanic) ancestral origin. As cattle terminology in use amongst the few modern Bantu pastoralist groups suggests, the Bantu migrants would acquire cattle from their new Cushitic neighbors.

Geneticist and anthropologists previously suspected that ancient Africans domesticated cattle native to the African continent nearly 10,000 years ago. Now, a team of University of Missouri researchers has completed the genetic history of 134 cattle breeds from around the world. In the process of completing this history, they found that ancient domesticated African cattle originated in the “Fertile Crescent,” a region that covered modern day Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Israel.

Lead researcher Jared Decker, an assistant professor of animal science in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, says the genetics of these African cattle breeds are similar to those of cattle first domesticated in the Middle East nearly 10,000 years ago, proving that those cattle were brought to Africa as farmers migrated south. Those cattle then interbred with wild cattle, or aurochs, which were native to the region, and changed their genetic makeup enough to confuse geneticists.

“In many ways, the history of cattle genetics mirrors human history,” Decker said. “In the case of African cattle, anthropologists and geneticists used to suspect that domesticated African cattle were native to the continent, when in fact, they were brought by migrating peoples thousands of years ago. By better understanding the history of the animals we domesticate, we can better understand ourselves.”

Linguistic evidence also indicates that Bantus likely borrowed the custom of milking cattle directly from Cushitic peoples in the area. Later interactions between Bantu and Cushitic peoples resulted in Bantu groups with significant Cushitic ethnic admixture, such as the Tutsi of the African Great Lakes region; and culturo-linguistic influences, such as the Herero herdsmen of southern Africa.

On the coastal section of East Africa, another mixed Bantu community developed through contact with Muslim Arab and Persian traders. The Swahili culture that emerged from these exchanges evinces many Arab and Islamic influences not seen in traditional Bantu culture, as do the many Afro-Arab members of the Bantu Swahili people.

“Khoisan” (also spelled Khoesaan, Khoesan or Khoe–San) is a unifying name for two groups of peoples of Southern Africa, who share physical and putative linguistic characteristics distinct from the Bantu majority of the region. Culturally, the Khoisan are divided into the foraging San, or Bushmen, and the pastoral Khoi, or more specifically Khoikhoi, previously known as Hottentots.

The San include the indigenous inhabitants of Southern Africa before the southward Bantu migrations from Central and East Africa reached their region, which led to the Bantu populations displacing the Khoi and San to become the predominant inhabitants of Southern Africa. The distinct origin of the Khoi is debated.

Over time, some Khoi abandoned pastoralism and adopted the hunter-gatherer economy of the San, probably due to a drying climate, and are now considered San. Similarly, the Bantu Damara people who migrated south later abandoned agriculture and adopted the Khoi economy. Large Khoisan populations remain in several arid areas in the region, notably in the Kalahari Desert.

From the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic periods, hunting and gathering cultures known as the Sangoan occupied southern Africa in areas where annual rainfall is less than a metre (1000 mm; 40 in), and today’s San and Khoi people resemble the ancient Sangoan skeletal remains.

These people in parts of southern Africa were the ancestors of the Khoisan people who inhabited the Kalahari Desert. A set of tools almost identical to that used by the modern San and dating to 44,000 BCE was discovered at Border Cave in KwaZulu-Natal in 2012.

Probably due to their region’s lack of suitable candidates for domestication, the Khoisan did not have farming or domesticated chickens until a few hundred years ago, when they adopted the domesticated cattle and sheep of the Bantu that had spread in advance of the people’s actual arrival.

Against the traditional interpretation that finds a common origin for the Khoi and San, other evidence has suggested that the ancestors of the Khoi peoples (one subset of the Khoisan) are relatively recent pre-Bantu agricultural immigrants to southern Africa, who abandoned agriculture as the climate dried and either joined the San as hunter-gatherers or retained pastoralism to become the Khoikhoi.

In the 1990s, genomic studies of worlds peoples found that the Y chromosome of San men share certain patterns of polymorphisms that are distinct from those of all other populations.

Because the Y chromosome is highly conserved between generations, this type of DNA test is used to determine when different subgroups separated from one another, and hence their last common ancestry.

The authors of these studies suggested that the San may have been one of the first populations to differentiate from the most recent common paternal ancestor of all extant humans, the so-called Y-chromosomal Adam by patrilineal descent, estimated to have lived 60,000 to 90,000 years ago.

The authors also note that their results should be interpreted as only finding that the Khoisan “preserve ancient lineages”, and not that they “stopped evolving” or are an “ancient group”, since subsequent changes in their population are in parallel and similar to those of all other human populations.

Various Y-chromosome studies since confirmed that the Khoisan carry some of the most divergent (oldest) Y-chromosome haplogroups. These haplogroups are specific sub-groups of haplogroups A and B, the two earliest branches on the human Y-chromosome tree.

Similar to findings from Y-Chromosome studies, mitochondrial DNA studies also showed evidence that the Khoe–San people carry high frequencies of the earliest haplogroup branches in the human mitochondrial DNA tree.

The most divergent (oldest) mitochondrial haplogroup, L0d, have been identified at its highest frequencies in the southern African Khoe and San groups. The distinctiveness of the Khoisan in both matrilineal and patrilineal groupings is a further indicator that they represent a population historically distinct from other Africans.

In modern South Africa and Namibia, a large share of the Cape Coloureds, Xhosa and Tswana is of partial Khoisan descent, by far outnumbering the unassimilated Khoisan population.

Various Y chromosome studies show that the San carry some of the most divergent (oldest) human Y-chromosome haplogroups. These haplogroups are specific sub-groups of haplogroups A and B, the two earliest branches on the human Y-chromosome tree.

Mitochondrial DNA studies also provide evidence that the San carry high frequencies of the earliest haplogroup branches in the human mitochondrial DNA tree. This DNA is inherited only from one’s mother.

In a study published in March 2011, Brenna Henn and colleagues found that the ǂKhomani San, as well as the Sandawe and Hadza peoples of Tanzania, were the most genetically diverse of any living humans studied. This high degree of genetic diversity hints at the origin of anatomically modern humans.

The Khoikhoi, originally part of a pastoral culture and language group to be found across Southern Africa, originated in the northern area of modern Botswana. The Khoikhoi tribe, described as the Hottentots, had occupied the behind belt for centuries before the Dutch arrived. Southward migration of the ethnic group was steady, eventually reaching the Cape approximately 2,000 years ago.

The genus Homo evolved and diverged from other hominins in Africa, after the human clade split from the chimpanzee lineage of the hominids (great apes) branch of the primates.

According to the Sahara pump theory evidence suggests that genus Homo have migrated out of Africa at least three and possibly four times (e.g. Homo erectus, Homo heidelbergensis and two or three times for Homo sapiens).

Modern humans (Homo sapiens, primarily ssp. Homo sapiens sapiens) are the only extant members of Hominina clade (or human clade), a branch of the taxonomical tribe Hominini belonging to the family of great apes.

They are characterized by erect posture and bipedal locomotion; manual dexterity and increased tool use, compared to other animals; and a general trend toward larger, more complex brains and societies.

Early hominins—particularly the australopithecines, whose brains and anatomy are in many ways more similar to ancestral non-human apes—are less often referred to as “human” than hominins of the genus Homo.

Like other early humans that were living at this time, they gathered and hunted food, and evolved behaviors that helped them respond to the challenges of survival in unstable environments.

Several of these hominins used fire, occupied much of Eurasia, and gave rise to anatomically modern Homo sapiens in Africa about 200,000 years ago – the earliest remains from that time were uncovered near the Omo River in Ethiopia.

They began to exhibit evidence of behavioral modernity around 50,000 years ago. In several waves of migration, anatomically modern humans ventured out of Africa and populated most of the world.

The entire human race outside Africa owes its existence to the survival of a single tribe of around 200 people who crossed the Red Sea 70,000 years ago, scientists have discovered.

This dispersal out of Africa is estimated to have begun about 70,000 years BP from Northeast Africa. Current evidence suggests that there was only one such dispersal and that it only involved a few hundred individuals. The vast majority of humans stayed in Africa and adapted to a diverse array of environments.

Modern humans subsequently spread globally, replacing earlier hominins (either through competition or hybridization). They inhabited Eurasia and Oceania by 40,000 years BP, and the Americas at least 14,500 years BP.

Modern humans, defined as the species Homo sapiens or specifically to the single extant subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens, proceeded to colonize all the continents and larger islands, arriving in Eurasia 125,000–60,000 years ago, Australia around 40,000 years ago, the Americas around 15,000 years ago, and remote islands such as Hawaii, Easter Island, Madagascar, and New Zealand between the years 300 and 1280.

Though most of human existence has been sustained by hunting and gathering in band societies, increasing numbers of human societies began to practice sedentary agriculture approximately some 10,000 years ago, domesticating plants and animals, thus allowing for the growth of civilization.

The advent of agriculture prompted the Neolithic Revolution, when access to food surplus led to the formation of permanent human settlements, the domestication of animals and the use of metal tools for the first time in history. Agriculture encouraged trade and cooperation, and led to complex society. Because of the significance of this date for human society, it is the epoch of the Holocene calendar or Human Era.

“Khoisan” is a unifying name for two groups of peoples of Southern Africa, who share physical and putative linguistic characteristics distinct from the Bantu majority of the region. Culturally, the Khoisan are divided into the foraging San, or Bushmen, and the pastoral Khoi, or more specifically Khoikhoi, previously known as Hottentots.

In the 1990s, genomic studies of worlds peoples found that the Y chromosome of San men share certain patterns of polymorphisms that are distinct from those of all other populations.

Because the Y chromosome is highly conserved between generations, this type of DNA test is used to determine when different subgroups separated from one another, and hence their last common ancestry.

The authors of these studies suggested that the San may have been one of the first populations to differentiate from the most recent common paternal ancestor of all extant humans, the so-called Y-chromosomal Adam by patrilineal descent, estimated to have lived 60,000 to 90,000 years ago.

The authors also note that their results should be interpreted as only finding that the Khoisan “preserve ancient lineages”, and not that they “stopped evolving” or are an “ancient group”, since subsequent changes in their population are in parallel and similar to those of all other human populations.

In human genetics, Mitochondrial Eve is the matrilineal most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of all currently living humans. This is the most recent woman from whom all living humans today descend, in an unbroken line, on their mother’s side, and through the mothers of those mothers, and so on, back until all lines converge on one woman, who is estimated to have lived approximately 100,000–200,000 years ago.

Because all mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) generally (but see paternal mtDNA transmission) is passed from mother to offspring without recombination, all mtDNA in every living person is directly descended from hers by definition, differing only by the mutations that over generations have occurred in the germ cell mtDNA since the conception of the original “Mitochondrial Eve”.

Mitochondrial Eve is named after mitochondria and the biblical Eve. Unlike her biblical namesake, she was not the only living human female of her time. However, her female contemporaries, excluding her mother, failed to produce a direct unbroken female line to any living person in the present day.

Mitochondrial Eve is estimated to have lived between 99,000 and 200,000 years ago, most likely in East Africa, when Homo sapiens sapiens (anatomically modern humans) were developing as a population distinct from other human sub-species.

Human Y chromosome haplogroup R-V88

Migration of Chadic speaking pastoralists within Africa based on population structure of Chad Basin and phylogeography of mitochondrial L3f haplogroup

Guardian: Men from Britain and Ireland are Descended Mostly from Ancient Farmers and the R1b Haplogroup is shared with Continental Europe & Chad

Afro-Asiatic Languages and Uniparental Genetic Markers

The origin of Afro-Asiatic

Afroasiatic Urheimat

The westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists

Retracing the mtDNA haplogroups of the original R1b people

Haplogroup R1b (Y-DNA)

Haplogroup R1b (Y-DNA)

Haplogroup R1b (Y-DNA).PNG

 
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