From the current paper:
If we accept a view that transmission of language may be gender-specific –, then we are able to formulate at least two hypotheses for the specific processes of the Ainu language origin. Because Y-chromosome haplogroup D is thought to represent Jomon male ancestry, the predominance of that particular haplogroup in the Ainu (75–87.5%) implies that the majority of Ainu male ancestry is from the Jomon , , whereas a heavy mixture of mtDNA haplogroups indicates that a significant proportion of the Ainu female ancestry is from the Okhotsk (excluding 35.3% of mtDNA haplogroups that the Ainu share with other neighboring populations, 39.4% of the remaining female heritage is shared exclusively with the Okhotsk and the rest is a mixture of both Jomon and Okhotsk , , ). If we thus assume male-specific language transmission for the Ainu, the first hypothesis for the processes behind the Ainu language origin could be that proto-Ainu arose from a large number of Jomon males who intermarried with Okhotsk females in northern Hokkaido, and subsequently spread to the rest of region. Similarly, if we assume that the transmission of Ainu language corresponds with female ancestry, the second hypothesis could be that proto-Ainu was spoken by the incoming Okhotsk females who merged with the preexisting Jomon males. Based on these observations, we propose that one potential way of understanding how language change occurred for the Ainu is to estimate which gender was more influential when early Ainu people established family membership. This may be carried out indirectly by revealing the signature of historical post-marital residence pattern via estimating the degrees of genetic variation in their Y-chromosome and mtDNA  as well as reconstructing ancestral post-marital residence rules from regional cultural variation . Investigating which model of language change  is relevant to the Ainu is a direction that deserves more attention, and acquiring an accurate description of how language change occurred for the Ainu would allow us to make further inferences about the deeper history of the human lineage that once thrived in northern Japan.I would think that a fairly recent major event of Okhotsk+Jomon=Ainu would be detectable both by ancient DNA analysis and by the study of the modern Ainu. It is certainly fascinating that the Ainu rather than being a bona fide relic of the earliest inhabitants of Japan may actually have complex ancestry themselves, and in the very recent past at that.
- Craniometry of the Ainu
- Metric and non-metric variation of Ainu
- Ancient mtDNA of Hokkaido Jomon
- Ainu/Ryukyuan paper
Sean Lee, Toshikazu Hasegawa
Languages evolve over space and time. Illuminating the evolutionary history of language is important because it provides a unique opportunity to shed light on the population history of the speakers. Spatial and temporal aspects of language evolution are particularly crucial for understanding demographic history, as they allow us to identify when and where the languages originated, as well as how they spread across the globe. Here we apply Bayesian phylogeographic methods to reconstruct spatiotemporal evolution of the Ainu language: an endangered language spoken by an indigenous group that once thrived in northern Japan. The conventional dual-structure model has long argued that modern Ainu are direct descendants of a single, Pleistocene human lineage from Southeast Asia, namely the Jomon people. In contrast, recent evidence from archaeological, anthropological and genetic evidence suggest that the Ainu are an outcome of significant genetic and cultural contributions from Siberian hunter-gatherers, the Okhotsk, who migrated into northern Hokkaido around 900–1600 years ago. Estimating from 19 Ainu language varieties preserved five decades ago, our analysis shows that they are descendants of a common ancestor who spread from northern Hokkaido around 1300 years ago. In addition to several lines of emerging evidence, our phylogeographic analysis strongly supports the hypothesis that recent expansion of the Okhotsk to northern Hokkaido had a profound impact on the origins of the Ainu people and their culture, and hence calls for a refinement to the dual-structure model.