Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Tuscan-like farmer from late Neolithic Iberia
I found this Principal Component Analysis (PCA) in a thesis published recently by Uppsala University (see here). It features an ancient human sample from the archeological site of El Portalón, near the city of Burgos in northern Spain. The thesis refers to this individual as a late Neolithic farmer, which is probably another way of saying that his remains date back to the Chalcolithic or Copper Age. Indeed, I'm pretty sure that El Portalón is a Chalcolithic site.
Interestingly, he doesn't cluster with modern Iberians, like the Swedish Neolithic farmer Gok4, nor with modern Sardinians, like Oetzi the Iceman. He's actually closest to modern Tuscans from Italy. This might well be an artefact of the low resolution of the data (only 66,476,944 bp of DNA sequences), but if not, then it could be a signal of population movements to Iberia from somewhere in the east during the Copper Age.
Needless to say, it's a shame we don't know what this guy's Y-haplogroup was, because it's now generally believed that haplogroup R1b made its appearance in Western European during the Copper Age, and that it arrived there from somewhere in the east. By the way, his mtDNA belonged to haplogroup U5b1b, which is actually a marker typical of Western and Central European hunter-gatherers.
Daskalaki, E. 2014. Archaeological Genetics - Approaching Human History throughDNA Analysis. Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from theFaculty of Science and Technology 1101. 61 pp. Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis
The story of R1b: it's complicated