September 22, 2011

Unexpected ancient mtDNA from Neolithic Hungary

This seems like a tie-in to another recent post on Neolithic and Bronze Age Ukraine. I don't think even a science fiction writer could have predicted the kinds of ancient DNA results we are getting from Europe. We have genetic discontinuity between Paleolithic and Neolithic, and between Neolithic and present, and, apparently, discontinuity between Neolithic cultures themselves, and wholly unexpected links to East Asia all the way to Central Europe.

When faced with data such as this, one can only say: what the hell happened during European prehistory?

UPDATE (8 Jun 2012): The age of these remains has been questioned.

Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication 15 September 2011; doi: 10.1038/jhg.2011.103

HVS-I polymorphism screening of ancient human mitochondrial DNA provides evidence for N9a discontinuity and East Asian haplogroups in the Neolithic Hungary

Zsuzsanna Guba et al.

Analysis of mitochondrial mutations in the HVS-I region is an effective method for ancient human populational studies. Discontinuous haplotype data between the first farmers and contemporary Europeans has been described before. Our contribution is based on a survey initiated on the Neolithic skeletons from Hungarian archaeological sites in the Alföld. This Lowland, the Hungarian Plain, is well excavated as an important region for spread of Neolithic culture from Near East and Balkans toward Central and Western Europe, started circa 8000 years ago. HVS-I sequences from nt15977 to nt16430 of 11 such specimens with sufficient mitochondrial DNA preservation among an extended Neolithic collection were analysed for polymorphisms, identifying 23 different ones. After assigning all single-nucleotide polymorphisms, a novel, N9a, N1a, C5, D1/G1a, M/R24 haplogroups were determined. On mitochondrial control mutations at nt16257 and nt16261, polymorphic PCRs were carried out to assess their distribution in remains. Neolithic data set was compared with contemporary Vác samples and references, resulting in higher frequency of N9a in Alföld as a remarkable genetic discontinuity. Our investigation is the first to study mutations form Neolithic of Hungary, resulting in an outcome of Far Eastern haplogroups in the Carpathian Basin. It is worth further investigation as a non-descendant theory, instead of a continuous population history, supporting genetic gaps between ancient and recent human populations.

Link

18 comments:

princenuadha said...

@dienekes

" We have genetic discontinuity between Paleolithic and Neolithic, and between Neolithic and present, and, apparently, discontinuity between Neolithic cultures themselves, and wholly unexpected links to East Asia all the way to Central Europe."

Can you post links that conclusively show those statements to be true? I forgot what they are myself.

I remember one study saying that the early European farmers (representing an expansion from near east) lived side by side with the non farmers and the two were genetically distinct. The same study said that Europeans aren't defended from just one and nor would they be a simple mixture of the two. Ergo there is discontinuity of early farmers (early neolithic) and pre farmers (paleolithic) and a discontinuity between modern Europeans and early farmers. I remember another comprehensive study on skull morphology concluding that Europeans on the fringe (viewed from turkey?) had more paleolithic. That implies that non fringe areas of Europe had less continuity with paleolithic.

I also know that R1b likely represents non paleo expansion in Europe and since it hasn't even been found in neolithic European samples it may represent bronze age migration. In fact that would fit nicely with the discontinuity of neolithic Europe and modern Europe.

Then there's this... So maybe east Asian/siberian elements were in Europe during the neolithic and the bronze age but because of the large discontinuity they may have mostly been a dead end in Europe?!?

eurologist said...

Certainly interesting findings, and surprisingly different from The German LBK results. Also, for the first time (outside the southwest?) we have H confirmed, which is good.

I have previously suggested that the Younger Dryas Ahrensburg Culture may have had affinities with NE Asia. IIRC, it shows for the first time in Europe heavy use of bow-and-arrow. They also used tools like harpoons made of deer antler, and used round tents.

Seems like the neolithic farmers were able to attract women from all kinds of sources. Let's hope these were not slaves brought in via the Black Sea...

Finally, this should be the last nail into the coffin of the idea trying to associate LBK haplotypes with the Near East.

Fanty said...

@Princenuadha:

As far as I recall it, the study claimed that 80% of modern Europeans carry mtDNA that has not been found in hunter gatherers or farmers so far.

Wich would suggest, that only about 20% of modern European anchestry is from the hunter gatherers or the early farmers and 80% is from someone who migrated to Europe in a post-neolithic timeframe.

Thats the mtDNA that about 80% of the pre-farming Europeans seemed to carry:

http://img412.imageshack.us/img412/3396/richards07u5yj2.gif

Grey said...

"As far as I recall it, the study claimed that 80% of modern Europeans carry mtDNA that has not been found in hunter gatherers"

One aspect of this specific part of the process could simply be a function of higher potential population density.

For example, imagine a terriotory made up of three regions: mountainous, hilly, valley and imagine the population density that can be sustained by h-g, pastoralism, farmers in the three types of terrain as

h-g: 100, 100, 100
pastoralists: 0, 400, 400
mixed farmers: 0, 0, 1500

Initially the h-g have all three regions but get pushed out of the valleys and hills by pastoralists through weight of numbers. A later second wave of mixed farmers pushs the pastoralists out of the valleys, again simply through weight of numbers as higher density means more adult male fighters.

Once settled in their respective zones the final proportions of the three populations before they mixed would be 100:400:1500 or roughly 5%, 20% and 75%.

So basically if there were big differences in population densities then the low percentage of surviving h-g DNA doesn't neccessarily require massacre.

Grey said...

http://www.polesel.com/maps/france2.jpg

To take a specific example if you look at a relief map of France and imagine waves coming in from the near east by sea then i think you can see a clear path of least resistance from the coastal strip up the rhone valley crossing over into central France at some point and then south again in a kind of spiral motion.

Given the difference in numbers H-Gs could simply have retreated before this into the Massif Central, later Brittany, later still Gascony and finally the Pyrenees.

So if i was looking for paleolithic DNA in France i'd look
at
- Brittany (maybe obscured by Britons)
- Gascony/Pyrenees (maybe obscured by peoples coming from Iberia or via the Atlantic coast)
- which leaves the Massif Central

so i'd look in the remotest parts of the Massif Central.

Onur said...

Thats the mtDNA that about 80% of the pre-farming Europeans seemed to carry:

http://img412.imageshack.us/img412/3396/richards07u5yj2.gif


Could you give a little information about that map? Also what is the source of that map?

apostateimpressions said...

Yes, the results of the various studies seem to bear out classical anthropological assumptions that broad cultural shifts through the millennia allude to episodes of large scale genetic replacement in Europe.

I think that has been "surprising" to us only for the last few decades. Europe saw absolutely massive conflict for "living space" only a few decades back. Perhaps we have been trained by the media to assume land wars to be the exception because it is more pc. Yet human history is first and foremost a struggle for survival - eat or be eaten, kill or be killed, expand or starve.

We may see an abrupt shift back to open land conflict real soon with peak oil or with oil crunches. The UK Task Force firmly predicts an oil crunch within three years. We already see the West occupy Middle Eastern countries, possibly ready for oil crunches. And the US has maintained a nuclear state in the ME for decades.

Will anthropologists in thousands of years work out that the global population collapsed along with the supply of cheap oil? Will they realise that massive genetic shifts in some countries accompanied the discovery of oil?

Population (and genetic) implications seem to accompany cultural (and esp. economic) changes in all of this.

Fanty said...

"Could you give a little information about that map? Also what is the source of that map?"

Its the only map I could find for mtDNA U5.

Its mtDNA U5 wich like 80% of tested hunter gatherer Europeans carried.

Annie Mouse said...

err "Discontinuity"?

What am I not getting. N9a was present in the neolithic and is still there in the present. Surely Occams Razor applies?

And on the topic of paleolithic to the present, the so called 80% replacement. All that is being said is that we are not all U therefore we cannot be paleolithic Europeans. It as as dodgy as that.

NB been having trouble posting lately. Now you have to be signed in to your google account before you write.

DagoRed said...

I am convinced that the replacement model of the peoples in ancient times was always the same: a new population more organized, fertile and populous occupying the living space slowly, generation after generation.
The small number of the original occupants allows them to expel the first from the space and absorb a part in it.
Only when the groups are sufficiently numerous and compact you will have real wars of invasion and subjugation of peoples.
I am convinced that was this way also the disappearance of the Neanderthal.

eurologist said...

I don't believe for a second the HGs would have just stood by watching unless there was something "in it" for them. Sure, the agriculturalists eventually could outnumber them - but only deep inside, away from the advancing fringe that was ever-more thinly settled along the branching tributaries.

What we know of HGs is that they have "contracted" areas they can use, and if a neighboring group violates the rules, they get punished. But they also need each other to exchange women.

Had the HGs perceived the settlers as a thread, they could have rather easily gotten rid of them (burn down their houses, for example). Perhaps the animals convinced the HGs the settlers wouldn't hunt (much), likely there were agreements on other resources (fish, mushrooms, nuts, etc.) as well. But the steadiness of supply the farmers had must have been eye-opening to the HGs: you can't eat your furs in bad times, but you surely can trade them for food with these people.

Intermarriage could also have helped stabilize things. New diseases could have affected HGs, but I have seen no convincing evidence that modern Europeans are not mostly descendants from locals, autosomally, especially further away from the Balkans.

Grey said...

@eurologist
"I don't believe for a second the HGs would have just stood by watching"

I don't think they would have either. My point is the farmers don't need to chase after and wipe out the H-Gs. All they need is much higher population density at the point of conflict and then successfully defend.

If you imagine a map of a portion of the southern French coast with a grid of circles over it representing the range needed for one band of H-Gs then a farming colony settling on one of those circles only displaces one band of H-Gs. If the band is say 100 with 20 adult males and the farming colony is 400 with 100 adult males then the local band of H-Gs can't compete.

As you say they're likely to be affiliated with some of the adjacent bands of H-Gs as well and if so maybe they can get those bands to co-operate in driving the farmers away but those more distant bands don't yet have a problem with the farmers so their motivation is weaker than the band being displaced.

There are hundreds of historical examples e.g Roman conquests, where an invading group only has to fight one segment of the native population at a time giving it a local superiority of numbers at the point of conflict.

The second point related to population density is, say you imagine again a map section with a circular grid overlay containing 12 circles where each circle represents a range that could and does support 100 H-Gs. Further say only 4 of those circles are suitable for early neolithic farming but each of those four spots could support 600 farmers. After a farmer displacement of those four spots the H-Gs would still hold 2/3 of the total terriotory but the total farmer to total H-G population ratio would be 2400:800 or 75% to 25%.

If they started to intermix at this point those ratios are what you might see later in history i.e an older layer of DNA being a small percentage doesn't neccessarily mean they represent the small number of survivors of a massacre it can mean there were two groups with a very big difference in population density.

"I have seen no convincing evidence that modern Europeans are not mostly descendants from locals"

I'm neutral on that topic as i don't know enough about it. I'm simply suggesting the dynamics of population displacement could be very different when two populations have very different potential population densities (at least on some terrain).

Fanty said...

"Had the HGs perceived the settlers as a thread, they could have rather easily gotten rid of them (burn down their houses, for example"

They did this. Look at what the HG of America did, when the European agriculturalists arrived.

Also, aggriculture is rated as one of those boosting elements, like industrialisation.

In a list I have once seen, aggriculure was rated as a speed up by factor 20. (100 years aggriculture bring the technological advance that 2000 years HG bring). Mainly because, a certain percentage of a aggricultural population doesnt need to produce food, but can spend its time on inventing stuff.

Well, of course natives lay their hand on the weapontechnology of the invador. Arminus Germanic tribes fough Varus Romans, equipped with Roman gear. And Sitting Bulls indians had Winchester guns. But at least the native Americans lost in the end.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

Gascony has one of the lowest rates of lactose tolerance in Europe, so the inference has something to be said for it.

DagoRed said...

We are talking about small groups of individuals within large tracts of land. It was not easy to combine confederations of peoples, the distances were enormous. The penetration of the farmers was slow, I believe with the system of "Ver Sacrum". A land take gradual but inexorable.
http://www.answers.com/topic/ver-sacrum
Days ago I read the autobiography of actor Henry Fonda and his family's arrival in America.
They settled near a village of native americans called Caughnawaga. After a few decades, the natives fled the village and moved further to west.
A classic mechanism of socio-political dynamic. Today the village is knowned as Fonda - New York.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fonda,_New_York

McG said...

Mth69 has done a recent MRCA study of R-1b, from M-73/M269 to present. For all M269 subclades he gets 11K BP as the interclade time. The intraclade time of M-269 is only 5.7K BP. There is an apparent discontinuity of 5.3K yrs. He claims that after R-L11 there is no substantial data to make intraclade estimtes. R-L11 and older is too sparse? One interpretation of this result is that there is a discontinuity between 5.7 and 11K in the R1b haplogroup? This supports Busbys recent paper conclusion that R1b had a pre-neolithic presence in Europe.

eurologist said...

Examples such as Rome or Europeans in the Americas don't count, because they either came with huge standing armies, or had a 5,000 years of technological advantage, or used (perhaps inadvertently) biological warfare.

Like most American natives, Europeans at that time were to a significant amount settled - they were not all nomadic. They built houses from the Isles and Scandinavia to Switzerland and to the Balkans, and used local resources such as fish, nuts, and berries in addition to hunting (and many Native Americans in addition were farmers - and were wiped out due to disease, not war).

The agriculturalists had absolutely no military or technological advantage. In fact, in LBK, they initially outsourced their stone production to the same people who had gathered and traded them before LBK arrival. And they had no numbers advantage at the fringe, either. Yet, they managed to settle (initially extremely thinly) from Bohemia to the Rhine in less than 200 years. That's not light-speed fast, that is ludicrous speed. Yet, I believe diseases can be excluded, since there was ample contact during the >~500 year hiatus before LBKs explosive spread.

Onur said...

Its the only map I could find for mtDNA U5.

Its mtDNA U5 wich like 80% of tested hunter gatherer Europeans carried.


What is the source of that map?