Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2006-12 > 1165783063

From: ellen Levy <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Ellen's paper
Date: Sun, 10 Dec 2006 12:37:43 -0800 (PST)
In-Reply-To: <>


It appears we agree on a number of issues of potential
dispute. What I think needs to emphasized is that
very diverse Mesolithic economies in the British Isles
transition into a remarkably uniform Neolithic culture
by approx. 5000 BP. Whether this was caused by a
cultural diffusion process or by actual settlement in
the region by Neolithic farmers is presently an
answered question. The swiftness and homogeneity of
the transition suggests to me the possibility of
invasive newcomers, but that is of course my own
personal opinion.

The focus of my paper was ancient mtDNA lineages, as
there is simply no aDNA evidence on Y haplogroups,
leaving everything to speculation and circumstantial
evidence. It creates an unfortunate and tremendous
gap in the genetic prehistoric picture. I think an
important acknowledgment, one currently supported by
the aDNA mtDNA data, is that the high frequency of R1b
currently found along the Atlantic fringe could be the
result of either Neolithic or post-Neolithic movement
of peoples and is not necessarily reflective of the
survival of an indigenous Mesolithic lineage.

To address one suggestion made earlier that the aDNA
mtDNA lineages may represent isolated and odd vestiges
of Neolithic lines that simply became swamped by the
Mesolithic inhabitants of Europe, I think that is
essentially the argument that Haak makes in his paper
and that I attempt to address (and essentially reject)
in my own paper. There is, for example, no evidence
that N1a represents a Neolithic as opposed to an
earlier Paleolithic lineage. The evidence from the
Central Asia aDNA study suggests N1a was indeed
widespread in both Europe and Central ASia, but has
become much more limited in the post-Neolithic time

Haplogroup J is also a regarded as a Neolithic
lineage. It is is neither unusual nor was it swamped
by earlier genetic inhabitants of Europe. However,
its rather recent disappearance among groups like the
Basque, along with the sudden rise of groups like V
during the historic period, warrants further

The picture presented in the paper hopefully motivates
others to examine why certain haplogroups appear to
have nearly disappeared from the Europe scene in only
the last few thousand years, while others have clearly
thrived and expanded in distribution. I think the
evidence as presented supports the contention that
these were not odd, limited Neolithic lines that
simply became extinct as they became swamped by
Mesolithic peoples, but rather some of these lines may
represent Paleolithic mtDNA that has become extinct or
Neolithic lineages that have become much more recently
limited in frequency and distribution. I suggest
possible mechanisms for this change that operate on a
genetic level, but am receptive to hearing other

Ellen Coffman

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