September 11, 2012

West Asian and North European admixture in Basques and Indo-Europeans

In a previous post I showed that Basques are lacking in the West Asian admixture present in all their West European Indo-European neighbors, consistent with my theory of a late Indo-European invasion of Europe whose ultimate source was the highlands of West Asia.

But, there are alternative theories, one of which purports that the Proto-Indo-Europeans were northern Europeoid pastoralists from the eastern European steppe. Since the North_European ancestral component is lacking in the Tyrolean Iceman and Gok4, the TRB Swede, it is conceivable that North_European bearing populations introduced this component during the Indo-European invasion.

Of course, there is absolutely no archaeological evidence for a massive migration out of the steppe into Europe, as even the main proponents of the steppe hypothesis accept, and as physical anthropology makes clear. And, we don't have to invoke an eastern European invasion to explain the North_European component, since it was present among pre-Indo-European hunter-gatherers from both Gotland and Iberia, as two ancient DNA studies have shown.

In any case, I took the HGDP and 1000Genomes European populations, together with the West_Asian and North_European Dodecad components, and calculated f3 statistics of the form:

f3(IE; Basque, Dodecad Component)

where Basque is either HGDP French_Basque or 1000 Genomes Pais_Vasco_1KG, and Dodecad Component is either West_Asian or North_European.

All the results can be found in the spreadsheet.

Again, there is evidence of West Asian+Basque admixture in all Indo-Europeans (|Z| less than -3) except the islanders from Canarias and Orkney, and the Russians; in the latter case, Basques are probably a poor stand-in for their pre-Indo-European ancestry. So, 32 of 38 comparisons are significant.

One would expect such negative f3 statistics to also apply in the North European+Basque case. After all, there are historically known migrations of Northern Europeoids into Western Europe (both Celts as well as Germanics) which did not affect Basques linguistically; moreover, Basques are southern Europeans, and many of the tested populations are northern Europeans, who are expected to turn up as mixtures of North European+Basque. However, a total of 16 of 38 comparisons are significant, involving, as expected mostly northern European populations.

It thus appears that geography and recent history is sufficient to explain the excess of North_European in some populations. Despite having a dataset with an excess of Iberian and North European populations, not many significant f3 statistics appear, and these are mostly as expected.

In conclusion, by comparing Basques vs. Indo-Europeans there appears no good evidence for the theory that Indo-European languages were brought into western Europe by a massive migration of northern Europeoids from eastern Europe. Basques do not appear distinctive in terms of the North_European component, but they do appear distinctive in terms of the West_Asian one.

This confirms previous ADMIXTURE analyses that Basques occupy an "intermediate" position along the north-south axis of variation in Europe, and an absolutely terminal one in terms of the West Asian component.

It is very interesting that ancient DNA research has provided clues about a very "uneven" landscape of prehistoric Europe, with Sardinian-like farmers in Sweden and Northern European-like hunter-gatherers in Iberia and very little in-betweens. But, these two elements eventually did mix, and, with the addition of a new group of people emanating from the highlands of West Asia, acquired their Indo-European speech, and went on to become the living nations of Europe.

Much remains to be discovered: the first ancient DNA traces of the constituent elements must be identified in space and time, and the history of their intermixture must be tracked.

33 comments:

Karl Zimmerman said...

I think it's a bit wrong-headed to say that supporters of the Kurgan hypothesis say that Proto-Indo Europeans were of Northern European ancestry. The steppes of Southern Russia are, after all, adjacent to the Caucasus. Given the huge migrations of peoples through the region, modern day Ukrainians and Southern Russians shouldn't be taken as being representative of the ancient population, which could have had far more Caucasian affinities. The Ossetians, for example, may be far more representative of the population at least in Scythian times.

Regardless, I am neutral on the matter, I find it both implausible that horse-based Bronze Age nomads could conquer all of Europe without some of the locals eventually gaining technological advantage, as well as implausible that one group of farmers could almost completely culturally (but not genetically) displace another group of farmers with roots thousands of years deep. Obviously one scenario happened however.

Dienekes said...

Farmers have replaced farmers (linguistically) numerous times in European history. No pastoralist incursion from the Eurasian steppe ever played an important role in the European linguistic landscape. (Important as in effective persistent language shift in more than a few % of the area of non-steppe Europe).

Social organization is the #1 reason why languages spread in a post-Neolithic timeframe. And, the beginnings of complex organization lie in the metallurgical proto-"companies" that co-ordinated prospecting, mining, metalworking, transportation, trade, and "security" over large distances.

Jim said...

"No pastoralist incursion from the Eurasian steppe ever played an important role in the European linguistic landscape."

Hungarian. How genetically distinct are modern Hungarians form their neighbors, i.e how significant a percentage of the resulting population were the intrusive Magyars? So the presence of Hungarian where it is is a case of language shift.

That still doesn't argue for an earlier IE-from-the-east scenario. It's presentism to suggest a conquering hordes scenario for the entry of IE four and certainly five thousand years ago. It's just that there has been at least one such entry on on record. For that matter that is exactly how Turkish came came to be present in Anatolia.

Matt said...

Do you think its worth running these comparisons (or at least the West Asian comparison) with Finns in place of Basques, particularly wrt comparing Finns, Estonians, Lithuanians and Poles? Particularly in view of the relative levels of West Asian in Finns, Lithuanians and Poles in your K7.

Although obviously that wouldn't be helpful if we posit a situation where the Finns received their language after the time of the Indo-European phenomenon.

Matt said...

Also, another question: why did you choose to use K7 West Asian, rather than K12 Caucasus and/or Gedrosia (the former seems like the particularly West Asian highland associated component), to make your comparisons?

Dienekes said...

Also, another question: why did you choose to use K7 West Asian, rather than K12 Caucasus and/or Gedrosia (the former seems like the particularly West Asian highland associated component), to make your comparisons?

Because the pattern exists for the West Asian. The K12 Caucasus component is a mix of West Asian and Southern;

f3(Caucasus_K12b; West_Asian_K7b, Southern_K7b) = -0.00317634 (Z-score = -77.0573)

Dienekes said...

Hungarian. How genetically distinct are modern Hungarians form their neighbors, i.e how significant a percentage of the resulting population were the intrusive Magyars? So the presence of Hungarian where it is is a case of language shift.

Or, as I said:

"Farmers have replaced farmers (linguistically) numerous times in European history. No pastoralist incursion from the Eurasian steppe ever played an important role in the European linguistic landscape. (Important as in effective persistent language shift in more than a few % of the area of non-steppe Europe)."

andrew said...

There haven't been all that many waves of Steppe incursions into Europe period and no reason to adopt a stance of European exceptionalism. Historical examples in one place prove the possibility of it happening somewhere else in European prehistory.

Kassite pastoralists displaced the Akkadian empire and imposed their language upon northern Mesopotamia for a sustained period.

The Mongols didn't have a very sustained linguistic influence in Europe, but their language did have an impact for quite a while in parts of Asia.

The Ugyurs were probably pastoralists when they permanent displaced the Tocharians on their Altaic pastoralist march towards Europe.

As noted above, both the Magyars and the Turks had that impact in Hungary and Anatolia respectively.

Another example would be Islamic intrusions of what were initially pastoralist populations, even if they were converted to farming by the people they ruled later on, into North Africa, Spain (is seven centuries persistent?), the Balkans (including Bosnia, parts of Macedonia, Kosovo and Albania) and Malta.

It is only by the outcome of wars that could easily have gone otherwise with different generals at the helm that the Vandals and Visigoths didn't have a similarly lasting effect.

Tradition says that the Hebrews were pastoralists at the time that they established their Iron Age regime over resident farmers in the Southern Levant and there is no particularly good reason to doubt that particular part of the tradition.

History doesn't definitively tell us which method of food production the Semitic Akkadians employed at the time that they displaced the farmer Sumerians in the ruling class and produced language shift, but the possibility that they were pastoralists is plausible for multiple reasons. The Hyskos in Egypt and Ethiosemitic conquest in Ethiopia are other cases of Semitic conquest that might very well have involved pastoralists but can't be definitively established.

The Tutsi-Hutu situation is one like the Roman-Greek one, where the ruled managed to get the rulers to adopt their language rather than visa versa.

Is it really clear that the Normans were farmers rather than herders in the first century when the conquered England? Scandinavia was vasilating between the two modes at the time.

I would not bet good money on the question of whether the speakers of the language ancestral to modern Greek when they displaced the speakers of pre-Greek languages in the Aegean were pastoralists or farmers at the time. There is good reason to think that they had at least a substantial herding component in their food producing complex.

Matt said...

Because the pattern exists for the West Asian. The K12 Caucasus component is a mix of West Asian and Southern

Thanks. Am I correct in saying that the interpretive ideas here are

1. That the West Asian component is a real ancient population (or close to it), and its absence from Basques and Sardinians signals that they have not been affected by Indo-European population movements (from the Caucasus / West Asian region).

2. While the presence of the Caucasus and Gedrosia components, modal in the Caucasus and West Asia, in Sardinians and Basques respectively isn't a signal of real population movement from West Asia, but is an illusion(?) created by the affinities of Southern and Atlantic Baltic (which are more representative of real populations than the subsequent Atlantic Med and Northern European components?) and the way they have mixed in the Sardinians and Basques.

Jaska said...

Dienekes:
"In conclusion, by comparing Basques vs. Indo-Europeans there appears no good evidence for the theory that Indo-European languages were brought into western Europe by a massive migration of northern Europeoids from eastern Europe."

Dienekes, when will you understand that language spread does not require any massive migration? So demanding a massive migration is just a strawman.

Besides, there are clear archaeological evidence of steppe influence spreading to the west; read Gimbutas, Mallory or any archaeological work.

Dienekes said...

Dienekes, when will you understand that language spread does not require any massive migration? So demanding a massive migration is just a strawman.

I don't demand it, but some people do think it, so it needs to be addressed. There is evidence for a small migration on the order of ~10% which brought the West Asian component into Western Europe. Assuming that the Proto-Indo-Europeans were already somewhat admixed by the time they got there, this is very consistent with other known cases of elite dominance.

Besides, there are clear archaeological evidence of steppe influence spreading to the west; read Gimbutas, Mallory or any archaeological work.

Mallory can't see steppe influences west of the Tisza, so your idea that he sees steppe influence all the way to West Europe is nonsense.

"The presence of steppe tribes in the Carpathian Basin is well established
but other than an occasional exception such as the Jamnaja-like burial at Bleckendorf
in eastern Germany, clear evidence of steppe expansions any further
west of the Tisza remains elusive."

"The challenges and problems outlined are quite formidable and some may
find it difficult to imagine that the steppe hypothesis is the best solution to the
Indo-European homeland problem. On the other hand, it does include serious
proposals that, if verified, can explain the distribution of all the Indo-European
languages. And when compared with the competing theories, it is still probably
to be reckoned the ‘least bad’ of the various theories and is still well worth investigating
further."

It seems to me that Mallory is well-aware of the weaknesses of the steppe theory and doesn't try to oversell it like many of the steppe theory supporters who seem to think that it's a "closed case".

Ponto said...

With language shifts you have to take each nation or country individually. There is no hard and fast rule. One thing is certain to effect a language shift a sizable immigrant elite population is needed. The Magyars were a sizable elite group in the Pannonian plain. The Bolgars were not. The Turkic speakers in Anatolia were a sizable elite immigrant population and effected language change.

Malta is a totally different situation. The people of Malta were effectively deported by the Muslim occupiers from Sicily, and it was the Arab elite of Sicily who repopulated the island with Mozarabs from Sicily who themselves had been acculturated to the Semitic language spoken by the newly islamised Berber tribes from Tunisia in North Africa. There was no language change in Malta only Sicilian Muslim immigrants who came with their newly acquired Semitic language with contained Greek and Latin loan words. Whatever language the previous and deported inhabitants of pre Muslim Malta spoke is unknown.

Onur said...

Andrew,

In all of the cases you cite as examples to language shifts effected supposedly by pastoralist elites, pastoralist elites effected language shift in the regions they conquered and ruled only after adopting a sedentary and non-pastoralist lifestyle either before or after their conquests of those regions. So your examples do not actually constitute examples to language shifts effected by pastoralist elites.

The Mongols didn't have a very sustained linguistic influence in Europe, but their language did have an impact for quite a while in parts of Asia.

Where in Asia did Mongols have a linguistic impact for quite a while other than places still inhabited by speakers of Mongolic languages today?

formerjerseyboy said...

Why call it an invasion, and not just a massive population movement? There would be occasional limited conflicts accompanying the poulation diffusion from Anatolia into Europe, but no need for (and evidence of) the execution of a large-scale invasion by an organized warrior class (otherwise we would be left with another romanticized version of the old aryan invasion hypothesis).

In addition, an IE homland in West Asia would give more credibility to alternate theories that posit:
1. that slavic is originally from the Danubian basin (and included the old Thracian language);
2. that slavic is closer to PIE speech (than other current IE languages);
3. And that Germanic languages arose from the interaction of PIE speakers moving northward and interacting with speakers of Uralic languages.

andrew said...

"In all of the cases you cite as examples to language shifts effected supposedly by pastoralist elites, pastoralist elites effected language shift in the regions they conquered and ruled only after adopting a sedentary and non-pastoralist lifestyle either before or after their conquests of those regions. So your examples do not actually constitute examples to language shifts effected by pastoralist elites."

If they adopted a farming lifestyle before conquest, I agree that this isn't a fit, although if the conversion if very recent, there is an argument that the pastoralist ethos and values which are distinct from farmer values is part of was drove their capacity to conquer.

If they pastoralists conquer when they are pastoralists and then once becoming rulers adopt a more sedentary lifestyle then that is clearly a language shift effected by pastoralist elites. This is precisely the model that people are alluding to when they talk about IE being imposed by steppe pastoralists and having a demic impact.

Re Mongol impact: Korea and China during the era when they imposes a ruling elite on those countries.

@formerjerseyboy said...

"Why call it an invasion"? Lots of historically known examples took the form of military conquest or acquiesence in the face of credible threats of military conquest. It may not have been universally warrior driven, but there is historical, and contemporary legendary history, and archaeological evidence of warfare in many cases, and very scant evidence for IE language shifts and demic impact via commerce not backed by armies or via religious missionaries or peaceful colonists who weren't resisted by prior inhabitants, for example.

"In addition, an IE homland in West Asia would give more credibility to alternate theories that posit:
1. that slavic is originally from the Danubian basin (and included the old Thracian language);
2. that slavic is closer to PIE speech (than other current IE languages);"

Slavic expansion happens in the late Iron Age or early Middle Ages sometime in the first millenium CE. It expands a couple thousand years, at least, after the earliest historically attested evidence of expansions of Greek, Indo-Aryan, Indo-Iranian, Tocharian, and is at least a thousand years after the archaelogical evidence for Celtic and Italic language expansions. It also post-dates Germanic expansion by more than a millenium and quite possibly two or three thousand years.

Slavic expansion is roughly contemporaneous with emergence of the Romance languages out of Latin and seems to have had a meaningful demic component probably mostly overlaying previous IE languages of unknown language family affiliation (some of the areas of Slavic expansion were Uralic or Paleosiberian linguistically). Slavic language family expansion tells us virtually nothing about PIE since it is so far removed from it. And, languages like Old Church Serbian probably provide better insight into Thracian than the Balkan language that happened to become proto-Slavic and expand so greatly.

"3. And that Germanic languages arose from the interaction of PIE speakers moving northward and interacting with speakers of Uralic languages."

Is this contrary to an existing theory? If so, the difference is subtle.

Jim said...

(Important as in effective persistent language shift in more than a few % of the area of non-steppe Europe)."

Hungary and a big chunk of Transylvania is not some negligible backwater.

The steppe invasion model doesn't work for IE because the technology wasn't there to give the steppe dwellers any kind of prestige advantage, and they could hardly have had an advantage in numbers. The main IE military advantage when they did have one, chariot warfare, is also not so decisive away from flat, open terrain.

Onur,
"Where in Asia did Mongols have a linguistic impact for quite a while other than places still inhabited by speakers of Mongolic languages today?"

Nowhere. Supposedly it was forbidden for anyone to learn Mongol. He must be conflating turkic tribes with Mongols. Don't hurt him.

Onur said...

If they pastoralists conquer when they are pastoralists and then once becoming rulers adopt a more sedentary lifestyle then that is clearly a language shift effected by pastoralist elites.

But in all the cases you cited language shift happened only after the pastoralist elites adopted a sedentary lifestyle whether before or after the conquest. So those elites were only able to impose their languages on conquered peoples when they were sedentary elites. That does not seem fitting to a model of language shift effected by pastoralist elites.

Re Mongol impact: Korea and China during the era when they imposes a ruling elite on those countries.

But Mongols did not effect any language shift in the regions they conquered (their numbers were too low outside Mongolia proper).

Bolek said...

@andrew
“Slavic language family expansion tells us virtually nothing about PIE since it is so far removed from it.”
You are completely wrong. There are no languages closer to PIE than Slavic: lexicon, morphology, grammar, everything. For example Slavic preserved PIE verbal system almost intact.
According to linguists Kortland, Mańczak and others, it is so because Slavs remained in PIE homeland and didn’t mix with not-IE speakers, there is no not-IE substratum in Slavic languages.
Slavic languages family expansion is crucial to understanding PIE because Proto-Slavic dialects evolved directly from PIE and are closely related.
Based on genetic evidence it is now generally acknowledge that Slavic correlates very well with the expansion of R1a1 and Corded Ware culture which was one of the earliest IE cultures and maybe directly linked to PIE.

Jim said...

"Re Mongol impact: Korea and China during the era when they imposes a ruling elite on those countries.

But Mongols did not effect any language shift in the regions they conquered (their numbers were too low outside Mongolia proper)."

Ha! Indeed. What influence there has been on Chinese from Mongolian is pretty clearly an areal feature and not directional from Mongolian. The k>h shift is one example, the transition to VOS in Chinese may be another example, and thiat could have easily been Tangut influence. And that about exhausts the posibilities.

Onur said...

Bolek, back again? With your usual über-nationalist "theories"?

formerjerseyboy said...

Andrew: thank you both for anwering questions from a non-specialist like me. I was referring earlier to the Germanic substratum hypothesis, some variants of which posit that the voice changes associated with Grimm's law in Protogermanic speech to contact with speakers of Finnish languages.

Onur said...

Ha! Indeed. What influence there has been on Chinese from Mongolian is pretty clearly an areal feature and not directional from Mongolian. The k>h shift is one example, the transition to VOS in Chinese may be another example, and thiat could have easily been Tangut influence. And that about exhausts the posibilities.

Chinese has SVO word order, not VOS word order, and, more importantly, not the word order of Mongolian, which is SOV.

Arch Hades said...

"Of course, there is absolutely no archaeological evidence for a massive migration out of the steppe into Europe, as even the main proponents of the steppe hypothesis accept, and as physical anthropology makes clear."

What are you basing this on? Roland Menk?

Grey said...

Jim
"The steppe invasion model doesn't work for IE because the technology wasn't there to give the steppe dwellers any kind of prestige advantage, and they could hardly have had an advantage in numbers. The main IE military advantage when they did have one, chariot warfare, is also not so decisive away from flat, open terrain."

Perhaps pastoralist raiding cultures select for violent traits more than settled farming cultures do?

eurologist said...

(@Andrew) In all of the cases you cite as examples to language shifts effected supposedly by pastoralist elites, pastoralist elites effected language shift in the regions they conquered and ruled only after adopting a sedentary and non-pastoralist lifestyle either before or after their conquests of those regions.

Onur,

And there is a good reason for this: the vast majority of regions that support agriculture well are, conversely, not suited to pastoralism (safe climate change).

Bolek,

You make some good points - but one should remain open to the idea that (i) this homeland at the NW Black Sea is that of the agriculturalist, there, ~5,000 ya, and (ii) may only be the homeland of European IE (derived from Anatolian, but with some possible exceptions, such as Tocharian and an impact on Proto-Indo-Iranian).

Kurti said...

I always thought that early Neolithic farmers were from a Levant-South Anatolian-Mesopotamian area and predominantly of the Mediterranean genetic stock. I even believe that this component was introduced into Europe from the Levant through See. First settling in Sardinia and from their moving more western to Iberia. This is probably the root they took. And during late Neolithic a second wave, this time somewhere in the area between West Iran and East Anatolia brought the Indo-European language and stronger "West Asian" genetic component into Europe.

Onur said...

And there is a good reason for this: the vast majority of regions that support agriculture well are, conversely, not suited to pastoralism (safe climate change).

Here is another reason: the vast majority of regions inhabited by agriculturalists are too densely populated by agriculturalists compared to the relatively small population sizes of pastoral nomad populations. Of course, there are also environmental reasons.

formerjerseyboy said...

"Bolek, back again? With your usual über-nationalist "theories"?"

Why would a theory that current Slavic languages are very close to PIE be "nationalistic."? Are we missing some context that doe snot appear in this discussion thread?

Jim said...

"Perhaps pastoralist raiding cultures select for violent traits more than settled farming cultures do?"

Violent traits don't always determine the outcome of battle. There is a lot more to fire superiority or its equivalent than simple aggression. Superior numbers tend to matter a lot more than individual valor.


Onur said...

Why would a theory that current Slavic languages are very close to PIE be "nationalistic."? Are we missing some context that doe snot appear in this discussion thread?

His "theories" are not based on facts but on nationalist wishful thinking. I know Bolek and his "theories" from Razib's blog.

Grey said...

"the vast majority of regions that support agriculture well are, conversely, not suited to pastoralism"

"the vast majority of regions inhabited by agriculturalists are too densely populated by agriculturalists compared to the relatively small population sizes of pastoral nomad populations."

I think a reasonable response to both those statements is "when?"

A region well-suited to agriculture may not have been as well-suited in the past when agriculture was in its infancy.

The population density from agriculture may have been a lot lower than it is now - especially in the areas that were relatively marginal for agriculture.

.
"Violent traits don't always determine the outcome of battle."

Sure, numbers and especially organisation and technology are probably bigger factors overall but if traits for violence are more strongly selected for among pastoralist raiding cultures then *on average* over 100s of separate conflicts with varying balance of numbers, technology etc there would be an effect.

Onur said...

I think a reasonable response to both those statements is "when?"

A region well-suited to agriculture may not have been as well-suited in the past when agriculture was in its infancy.

The population density from agriculture may have been a lot lower than it is now - especially in the areas that were relatively marginal for agriculture.


I said, "the vast majority of regions inhabited by agriculturalists are too densely populated by agriculturalists compared to the relatively small population sizes of pastoral nomad populations." So there are clearly exceptions. A clear example is the traditionally agricultural southern parts of Central Asia. In their case, not high population density but the fact that those regions are largely desert lands and devoid of grasslands suitable for herding protected them from being populated by pastoral nomad populations and ensured the continuity of agriculture and city life.

Grey said...

Onur
Fair enough. I'm just pointing out that the population density in northern Europe during a potential Kurgan event was probably a lot lower than China's during the Mongol incursions as agriculture in northern Europe was marginal until relatively late.