Category Archives: European Prehistory

Faster than Fisher

There’s a simple model of the spread of an advantageous allele:  You take σ, the typical  distance people move in one generation, and s,  the selective advantage: the advantageous allele spreads as a nonlinear wave at speed  σ * √(2s).  … Continue reading

Posted in Denisovans, Dietary adaptations, European Prehistory, Evolutionary Medicine, Genetics, Indo-European, Linguistics, Neanderthals, Skin color | Tagged | 75 Comments

Déjà Vu all over again: America and Europe

In terms of social organization and technology, it seems to me that Mesolithic Europeans (around 10,000 years ago) were like archaic Amerindians before agriculture.  Many Amerindians on the west coast were still like that when Europeans arrived – foragers with … Continue reading

Posted in Amerindians, European Prehistory, Indo-European | 102 Comments

Remix

There is a new paper out in Science that analyzes the genome of a man (K14) that lived and died about 37,000 years ago, in Russia. They found that this individual came from a population that had shared ancestry with … Continue reading

Posted in Amerindians, European Prehistory, Indo-European | Tagged | 68 Comments

Horsepower

The Comanche used to raid into Mexico. In the fall, small groups joined up and rode south on a network of trails, called the Comanche Trace. Some came from as far away as the Arkansas River. In places, there was … Continue reading

Posted in Amerindians, European Prehistory, Indo-European | Tagged | 105 Comments

The Inexorable Progress of Science: Archaeology

In 1939, archeologists and prehistorians seem to have thought that agriculture was brought to Europe by a gracile Mediterranean people, and was in large part spread by their expansion.  They thought that the Corded Ware culture was Indo-European and probably … Continue reading

Posted in European Prehistory, Indo-European, Linguistics | Tagged | 126 Comments

Centum and Satem

I may well be wrong, but there’s no point in waiting until they dig up and sequence every last body in Eurasia. Time to stick my neck out. Here’s my current best guess concerning the Indo-European expansion: It all started … Continue reading

Posted in Dietary adaptations, European Prehistory, Genetics, Indo-European, Linguistics | Tagged , , , | 100 Comments

Yamna and Corded Ware

I hear some interesting things from the recent ASHG conference, mostly from Razib Khan. It seems that the dead have spoken again: it turns out that the genetic transition in northern Europe  coincides with the advent of the Corded Ware/Battleaxe … Continue reading

Posted in European Prehistory, Genetics, Genghis -Khan effect, Indo-European | 45 Comments

Ust’-Ishim & the Old Race

There’s a new report out in Nature, on the DNA results from a 45,000 AMH skeleton found in Western Siberia.  It’s the oldest radiocarbon-dated modern human outside Africa and the Middle East. The Neanderthal admixture is there,  about the same … Continue reading

Posted in Archaic humans, European Prehistory, Genetics, Neanderthals | Tagged | 30 Comments

Before Slavery

We keep hearing more about European genetic prehistory, and the picture is coming together.  In one new paper,  we hear aDNA results from the Carpathian Basin. It’s clear that the LBK farmers are the same people as the earlier Starcevo … Continue reading

Posted in European Prehistory, Indo-European | Tagged , , , | 87 Comments

Last Survivor

Over about 2500 years, the Middle Eastern farmers occupied almost all of Europe. That migration seem to have a single origin:  genetically they seem quite similar, even as far as north as southern Sweden. The indigenous foragers didn’t disappear instantly, … Continue reading

Posted in European Prehistory, Linguistics | 88 Comments