November 05, 2013

European pigs replacing Near Eastern ones in Iron Age Israel

Related:


Scientific Reports 3, Article number: 3035 doi:10.1038/srep03035

Ancient DNA and Population Turnover in Southern Levantine Pigs- Signature of the Sea Peoples Migration?

Meirav Meiri et al.

Near Eastern wild boars possess a characteristic DNA signature. Unexpectedly, wild boars from Israel have the DNA sequences of European wild boars and domestic pigs. To understand how this anomaly evolved, we sequenced DNA from ancient and modern pigs from Israel. Pigs from Late Bronze Age (until ca. 1150 BCE) in Israel shared haplotypes of modern and ancient Near Eastern pigs. European haplotypes became dominant only during the Iron Age (ca. 900 BCE). This raises the possibility that European pigs were brought to the region by the Sea Peoples who migrated to the Levant at that time. Then, a complete genetic turnover took place, most likely because of repeated admixture between local and introduced European domestic pigs that went feral. Severe population bottlenecks likely accelerated this process. Introductions by humans have strongly affected the phylogeography of wild animals, and interpretations of phylogeography based on modern DNA alone should be taken with caution.

Link

6 comments:

About Time said...

Looks like the change happened around 1150. Sea Peoples. The question is, who exactly were they and - more importantly - what culture(s) did they become part of after 1150?

Roy King said...

This is an extremely important study that has implications for the study of the ethnicity of the Israelite people (and by extension) the Philistines. Interestingly, the pig variants seem to be more closely linked to European than Anatolian variants. Could this imply a Mycenaean or Italian (Sicily/Sardinia) origin of the Sea Peoples rather than Western Anatolian?

Joshua Lipson said...

The consensus is that Philistine society in Canaan was an amalgam of Aegean/Cypriot and local elements, which within about two centuries was more or less acculturated to the surrounding Northwest Semitic milieu (Canaanite/Israelite/Judean), but remained distinctive as an identity and a polity. By the Hellenistic period, they'd either been carted off to Mesopotamia, Hellenized, or Judaized.

pconroy said...

Roy,

But we don't know if whatever group brought the "European" type pigs to the Southern Levant, ALSO brought them to Europe, where they came to dominate.

My own theory is that Indo-Europeans originated in the Mergarh region of today's Pakistan, where we have the root of R, and R1, R1a, R1b, R2 and Q close by. I think this population spread across Northern Iran, then on to the highlands on the Middle East and left traces in the Armenians, Assyrians and Alawites, then took to the sea as the Sea Peoples or Sherden and spread to the Mediterranean and on to Sardinia and Corsica, then North to the area of Liguria and fanned out from there.

It would be interesting to see pigs DNA from Northern Iran, the Zagros area, the Taurus area and Sardinia etc., to make a fuller comparison, and determine the direction the pigs were coming from.

AWood said...

The "European" pigs actually date to the middle Bronze age. See the top-middle picture. The fact that the later period has n=5 cannot be a representation of all pigs in the area at that time, but we know they did exist in the area earlier. This might coincide with Sardinian-like artifacts in the region during the late Neolithic early Bronze period. It seems like a pretty "multi-culti" region.

terryt said...

"It would be interesting to see pigs DNA from Northern Iran, the Zagros area, the Taurus area and Sardinia etc., to make a fuller comparison, and determine the direction the pigs were coming from".

Remember this post:

http://dienekes.blogspot.co.nz/2012/11/the-comings-and-goings-of-near-eastern.html

Quote:

"By 3,900 BC, however, virtually all domestic pigs in Europe possessed haplotypes from an indigenous European domestication process (Larson et al. 2007a) only found in European wild boar ... We have seen that early Neolithic domestic pigs came from Western Anatolia, but apparently these did not last, but were replaced in Europe by pigs carrying mtDNA of European wild boar".

That eliminates Iran/Anatolia as being the origin of the 'European' element.

"This raises the possibility that European pigs were brought to the region by the Sea Peoples who migrated to the Levant at that time. Then, a complete genetic turnover took place, most likely because of repeated admixture between local and introduced European domestic pigs that went feral".

I'm sure I remember a paper that suggested European pigs had larger litters and so were more productive than were Middle Eastern pigs. That was a reason why their genetics eventually mbecame dominant. But I can't find any such paper now.