Friday, April 6, 2012

Four "Dienekes" Posts Taken Together

Northern Africa, including the Nile and Sahel

I don't generally reference Dienekes' Blog, for reasons which I have mentioned in a previous post.

However, several papers that he has put up over the last few months are interesting to consider together.  For an objective view, it's best to read the actual papers rather than rely heavily on Dienekes' comments.

In the comments of yesterday's post, "Copernican" Reassessment of the Human Mitochondrial DNA Tree, there is a discussion of recent finds in the Southern Arabian Peninsula.  The researcher who is commenting indicates a connection between Southern Arabian archaeology and the Nubian Complex. 

In conjunction with these comments, it's interesting to read Dienekes' post on a paper on the Nubian Complex, 106 thousand years ago.  Another related post is The "Upper Paleolithic" of South Arabia.  These fascinating archaeological finds show the lithic transition, running backwards and forwards into the Southern Arabian peninsula, up and down the Nile and the Great Rift, and into and out of the Levant.

Surprisingly, Dienekes doesn't make the connection with  another of his posts.  A careful reading of the paper Y-chromosomes variation of Sub-Saharan Africa: Insights into the history of Niger-Congo groups does suggest that men carrying Y-chromosome E1b1a sweep backwards and forwards across the African Sahel, between the Horn of Africa, the Upper Nile and West Africa.  Much later, E1b1a* men then sweep southward and eastward in the Bantu expansion.

Comments in this paper include:

"Mande and Kordofanian—two of the three major branches of Niger-Congo—have been suggested as belonging to an earlier split, and some authors even doubt the affiliation of one or the other to the phylum."

"Since the migration of modern humans out of Africa, numerous population movements have played a role in shaping patterns of linguistic and genetic variation within the continent itself (Campbell and Tishkoff 2008). New forms of subsistence and technological improvements such as those derived from agriculture have driven population expansions even over long geographic distances. However, the major African linguistic phyla are assumed to have originated and spread much earlier than the advent of agriculture, which developed relatively late in sub-Saharan Africa: Cultivated plants did not appear before 4,000 ya. Indeed, it has been suggested that the expansion of Niger-Congo and Nilo-Saharan started 12,000-10,000 ya with the improving climate at the beginning of the Holocene when speakers were still hunter gatherers."

"Haplogroups E1b1a* and its derivative E1b1a8 are characteristic of the Mande[Western Sahel], which belong to the earliest split of the linguistic tree. The derived haplogroup E1b1a7* is characteristic of Gur speakers[Western Sahel], and the most derived haplogroup analyzed here, E1b1a7a, is characteristic of Bantu-speaking groups, who represent one of the most derived branches of the Niger-Congo linguistic tree."

There is not yet enough information to pin point the origin of Y-chromosome E1b1, but it does hint at an origin somewhere along the nexus of the Sahel, Lake Chad, Great Rift and Nubia.

It's interesting to think about Nubian Complex archaeology as it radiates northward and eastward. This illustrates the Out-of-Africa process. Just as fascinating is the In-Africa process, with the eventual expansion from the region of the Nubian Complex to points westward and southward. I'm certainly looking forward to more investigation of the Nubian Complex and related archaeology.

Related open access papers:

A "Copernican" Reassessment of the Human Mitochondrial DNA Tree from its Root

The Nubian Complex of Dhofar, Oman: An African Middle Stone Age Industry in Southern Arabia

Dienekes' related posts:

"Copernican" Reassessment of the Human Mitochondrial DNA Tree

The Nubian Complex in southern Arabia, 106 thousand years ago

The "Upper Paleolithic" of South Arabia

Y-chromosomes of Niger-Congo groups

Tishkoff on the genetic structure of Africans and African Americans

Related posts on this blog:

Saudi and Bedouin mt-DNA

Embarking on an exploration of the E Haplogroup Dispersal with relation to Admixture

Gazelle Hunters

African Genetic History: Three Papers

Out of Africa Tactical Hunter Migrations Driven by Glacial Cycles

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