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Sunday, November 13, 2022

A reappraisal of Ashkenazic maternal ancestry


Kevin Brook, who occasionally comments on this blog, has published a peer-reviewed book titled The Maternal Genetic Lineages of Ashkenazic Jews.

The book focuses on 129 mitochondrial (mtDNA) haplogroups that are found in present-day Ashkenazic Jews, and reveals that these lineages can be traced back to a wide range of places, such as Israel, Italy, Poland, Germany, North Africa, and China.

Ergo, it argues that both Israelites and converts to Judaism from a variety of gentile groups made lasting contributions to the Ashkenazic maternal gene pool. In Kevin's own words, the book also:

- shows that all Ashkenazim remain genetically linked to a significant degree to other types of Jewish populations, not only paternally but maternally as well

- disproves the myth that Cossack rapists were responsible for any of the non-Israelite DNA in Ashkenazim

- presents new DNA evidence in favor of a small contribution of Khazarian and Alan converts to Judaism to the Ashkenazic gene pool.

That makes good sense based on what I've learned over the years from studying modern and ancient genome-wide Ashkenazic DNA. More information about Kevin's book is available at the Khazaria.com website HERE.

See also...

My take on the Erfurt Jews

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

The story of R-V1636


Who wants to bet against this map? Keep in mind that ART038 (~3000 calBCE) remains the oldest sample with the V1636 and R1b Y-chromosome mutations in the West Asian ancient DNA record. Ergo, there's nothing to suggest that V1636 or R1b entered Eastern Europe from West Asia.

See also...

A tantalizing link

How relevant is Arslantepe to the PIE homeland debate?

Thursday, October 27, 2022

The Yassitepe challenge


This is about the only successful qpAdm model that I can find for the pair of Early Bronze Age (EBA) females from Yassitepe, Turkey, using a decent set of outgroups and markers. I wouldn't take it too literally, but it does suggest a potentially significant level of European ancestry, including some steppe ancestry, in these Yassitepe individuals.

TUR_Aegean_Yassitepe_EBA
AZE_Caucasus_lowlands_LN 0.565±0.054
ROU_N 0.387±0.041
RUS_Progress_En 0.048±0.022

P-value 0.103248
Full output

If anyone reading this can find a better, more convincing solution then I'd love to see it. Feel free to share it in the comments below.

Obviously, both of the Yassitepe samples are from the recent Lazaridis, Alpaslan-Roodenberg et al. paper. Their EBA dating suggests that they might be relevant to the debate over the origins of Anatolian speakers, such as the Hittites and Luwians.

See also...

Dear Iosif, about that ~2%

The precursor of the Trojans

Thursday, October 13, 2022

The Kura-Araxes people deserve better


When discussing the Kura-Araxes culture and its people it's important to understand these key points:

- there is Eastern European steppe ancestry in Kura-Araxes samples, and if you're not seeing it then you're not looking hard enough

- Armenian Kura-Araxes samples are mainly a mixture between three different groups currently best represented in the ancient DNA record by ARM_Areni_C, IRN_Hajji_Firuz_C and RUS_Darkveti-Meshoko_En

- ergo, most of the steppe ancestry in the Kura-Araxes population of what is now Armenia must have been mediated via local Chalcolithic groups like ARM_Areni_C

- Kura-Araxes samples show Mesopotamian-related ancestry, and this mustn't be ignored.

Oh, you don't believe it because you just read a big paper in Science claiming otherwise?

Well, the authors of that paper, Lazaridis, Alpaslan-Roodenberg et al., used distal mixture models to study the ancestry of their Kura-Araxes samples, and such models can miss important details.

Consider these three proximate mixture models for a relatively high quality and very homogenous Kura-Araxes sample set from the aforementioned paper. They were done with the qpAdm software

ARM_Kura-Araxes_Berkaber
ARM_Areni_C 0.239±0.068
IRN_Hajji_Firuz_C 0.379±0.068
RUS_Darkveti-Meshoko_En 0.382±0.054
P-value 0.285122 (Pass)
Full output

ARM_Kura-Araxes_Berkaber
IRN_Hajji_Firuz_C 0.569±0.051
RUS_Darkveti-Meshoko_En 0.363±0.058
RUS_Progress_En 0.068±0.020
P-value 0.20306 (Pass)
Full output

ARM_Kura-Araxes_Berkaber
IRN_Hajji_Firuz_C 0.531±0.060
RUS_Darkveti-Meshoko_En 0.469±0.060
P-value 0.0132579 (Fail)
Full output

Some caveats apply. For instance, the pass threshold (P-value ≥0.05) is arbitrary. But the point is that the models look much better with steppe-related and steppe reference populations (ARM_Areni_C and RUS_Progress_En, respectively).

Moreover, the unique and vital Darkveti-Meshoko population is represented by just one individual. I also have the genotypes of his brother and sister, but relatives aren't allowed in these sorts of tests.

Including a singleton in the analysis means that I can't use the inbreed: YES option, which apparently can be a bad thing. Nevertheless, these models do look very solid.

Indeed, I can also model ARM_Kura-Araxes_Berkaber as practically 100% RUS_Maykop_Novosvobodnaya, perhaps with some excess ARM_Areni_C-related input.

ARM_Kura-Araxes_Berkaber
ARM_Areni_C 0.094±0.087
RUS_Maykop_Novosvobodnaya 0.906±0.087
P-value 0.284259 (Pass)
Full ouput

This makes good sense, because RUS_Maykop_Novosvobodnaya can also be modeled solidly as a mixture between IRN_Hajji_Firuz_C, RUS_Darkveti-Meshoko_En and RUS_Progress_En.

RUS_Maykop_Novosvobodnaya
IRN_Hajji_Firuz_C 0.614±0.056
RUS_Darkveti-Meshoko_En 0.307±0.064
RUS_Progress_En 0.080±0.022
P-value 0.141468 (Pass)
Full output

I don't know whether the genetic relationship between ARM_Kura-Araxes_Berkaber and RUS_Maykop_Novosvobodnaya shown in my model is due to Maykop ancestry in the former. It might just be a coincidence in the sense that the same or similar processes led to the formation of both groups. Feel free to let me know your thoughts about that in the comments.

The fact that the Kura-Araxes people harbored steppe ancestry might be very important in the debate over the location of the so called Indo-Anatolian homeland. For instance, it's possible that the proto-Anatolian language spread from the North Caucasus into Anatolia via the Kura-Araxes culture.

But, admittedly, such a solution doesn't have strong support from historical linguistics data, which suggest that the Indo-Anatolian homeland was located in what is now Ukraine and that Anatolian speakers entered West Asia via the Balkans:

Indo-European cereal terminology suggests a Northwest Pontic homeland for the core Indo-European languages

See also...

R-V1636: Eneolithic steppe > Kura-Araxes?

Dear Iosif...Yamnaya

But Iosif, what about the Phrygians?

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Balto-Slavs and Sarmatians in the Battle of Himera


G25 coordinates for most of the samples from the recent Reitsema et al. paper are available in a text file here. They're also in the G25 datasheets at the usual link here.

A basic distance analysis with the G25 data at Vahaduo shows that the two samples labeled Himera_480BCE_3 are either early Balts or Slavs. I suspect that they're Slavs, because I believe that early Slavs had this type of Baltic-like genetic structure before mixing with their non-Slavic-speaking neighbors. Well, that's my pet theory for now, so take it or leave it.

Distance to: ITA_Sicily_Himera_480BCE_3:I10943
0.03393838 HUN_IA_La_Tene_o:I18226
0.03572886 DEU_MA_Krakauer_Berg:KRA001
0.03618075 RUS_Pskov_VA:VK159
0.03899963 SWE_Gotland_VA:VK463
0.03915018 Baltic_EST_IA:s19_V12_1

Distance to: ITA_Sicily_Himera_480BCE_3:I10949
0.03573636 HUN_IA_La_Tene_o3:I25524
0.03698768 HUN_IA_La_Tene_o:I18226
0.03732752 SWE_Skara_VA:VK397
0.03767022 Baltic_EST_IA:s19_V12_1
0.03772687 DEU_MA_Krakauer_Berg:KRA001

On the other hand, I'm almost certain that the two Himera_480BCE_4 samples are Sarmatians. The good old G25 does it again!

Distance to: ITA_Sicily_Himera_480BCE_4:I10944
0.03100861 KAZ_Segizsay_Sarmatian:SGZ002
0.03548059 MDA_Sarmatian:I11925
0.03619219 RUS_Urals_Sarmatian:MJ56
0.03626538 RUS_Urals_Sarmatian:chy001
0.03904260 RUS_Urals_Sarmatian:MJ41

Distance to: ITA_Sicily_Himera_480BCE_4:I10947
0.02989458 RUS_Urals_Sarmatian:MJ43
0.03052790 RUS_Urals_Sarmatian:chy002
0.03170622 KAZ_Kangju:DA226
0.03288789 TUR_BlackSea_Samsun_Anc_C:I4529
0.03310149 KAZ_Aigyrly_Sarmatian:AIG003
See also...

Slavic-like Medieval Germans

Monday, September 19, 2022

Dear Iosif...Yamnaya


Even though the Yamnaya culture probably originated in what is now Ukraine, the earliest Yamnaya samples currently available are from the modern-day Samara region of Russia. They mostly date to around 3,000 BCE. I can analyze their ancestry using Principal Component Analysis (PCA) data.

Target: RUS_Yamnaya_Samara
Distance: 3.2816% / 0.03281581
81.0 RUS_Progress_En
14.4 UKR_N
4.6 HUN_Vinca_MN
0.0 ARM_Aknashen_N
0.0 ARM_Masis_Blur_N
0.0 AZE_Caucasus_lowlands_LN
0.0 BGR_C
0.0 BGR_Dzhulyunitsa_N
0.0 IRN_Ganj_Dareh_N
0.0 IRN_Hajji_Firuz_C
0.0 IRN_Seh_Gabi_C
0.0 IRN_Tepe_Abdul_Hosein_N
0.0 IRN_Wezmeh_N
0.0 RUS_Darkveti-Meshoko_En
0.0 RUS_Maykop
0.0 RUS_Maykop_Late
0.0 RUS_Maykop_Novosvobodnaya

The above results show exactly zero ancestry from West Asia. Admittedly, both RUS_Progress_En and HUN_Vinca_MN are European ancients with significant West Asian-related ancestry. However, this ancestry is very distantly West Asian-related, and, for instance, it almost certainly has no relevance to the Indo-Anatolian homeland debate.

The Afanasievo culture of Central Asia is regarded to have been an early offshoot of the Yamnaya culture. A good number of Afanasievo samples are available, so let's have a look if their results match those of the Yamnaya folks. And indeed they do, since BGR_C is very similar to HUN_Vinca_MN.

Target: RUS_Afanasievo
Distance: 3.4055% / 0.03405499
84.0 RUS_Progress_En
11.4 UKR_N
4.6 BGR_C
0.0 ARM_Aknashen_N
0.0 ARM_Masis_Blur_N
0.0 AZE_Caucasus_lowlands_LN
0.0 BGR_Dzhulyunitsa_N
0.0 HUN_Vinca_MN
0.0 IRN_Ganj_Dareh_N
0.0 IRN_Hajji_Firuz_C
0.0 IRN_Seh_Gabi_C
0.0 IRN_Tepe_Abdul_Hosein_N
0.0 IRN_Wezmeh_N
0.0 RUS_Darkveti-Meshoko_En
0.0 RUS_Maykop
0.0 RUS_Maykop_Late
0.0 RUS_Maykop_Novosvobodnaya

To try this at home, stick the PCA data in the text file here into the relevant fields here and cranck up the "Cycles" to 4X. You should see exactly zero ancestry from West Asia every time.

I can, more or less, reproduce these results with tools that are routinely used in peer reviewed papers. Below is a table of mixture models produced with the qpAdm software. I set the pass threshold to P ≥0.05, which is an arbitrary value, but the pattern is clear. The full output from each qpAdm run is available here.


Importantly, qpAdm needs to be fed the relevant "right pop" outgroups to be able to discriminate accurately between reference populations.

right pops:
CMR_Shum_Laka_8000BP
MAR_Taforalt
Levant_Natufian
IRN_Ganj_Dareh_N
Levant_PPNB
TUR_Marmara_Barcin_N
HUN_Starcevo_N
HUN_Koros_N
SRB_Iron_Gates_HG
Iberia_Southeast_Meso
RUS_Karelia_HG
RUS_West_Siberia_HG
RUS_Boisman_MN
MNG_North_N
TWN_Hanben
BRA_LapaDoSanto_9600BP

So, for instance, if one were to use in this role the modern-day Mbuti people, as opposed to, say, the ancient hunter-gatherers of Shum Laka, one might find that many models look statistically better than they should. And then one might also find that the Yamnaya samples carry significant West Asian ancestry.

Actually, I'm not opposed to the idea of some West Asian ancestry in Yamnaya. Indeed, considering the extraordinary mobility of the Yamnaya people and their Eneolithic predecessors on the Pontic-Caspian steppe, it would be unusual if they didn't come into close contact and mix, to some degree, with their neighbors from West Asia.

However, based on everything I've seen, from uniparental markers to different types of autosomal genetic tests, it's clear to me that there's no substantial West Asian ancestry in any Yamnaya samples, except for an outlier female from modern-day Ozera, Ukraine (see here).

Admittedly, ancient DNA does have a habit of throwing curveballs, so I'm eagerly awaiting new Eneolithic samples from the Pontic-Caspian steppe, particularly those associated with the Yamnaya-like Sredni Stog culture, to help finally settle this issue.

Believe it or not, a contact recently sent me a supposedly unpublished female sample from a ~4,200 BCE Sredni Stog burial in modern-day Igren, east central Ukraine. So what the hell, let's assume for the time being that this sample is genuine. This is how Miss Sredni Stog behaves in my PCA mixture test.

Target: UKR_Sredni_Stog
Distance: 4.0769% / 0.04076877
75.6 RUS_Progress_En
17.8 UKR_N
6.6 HUN_Vinca_MN
0.0 ARM_Aknashen_N
0.0 ARM_Masis_Blur_N
0.0 AZE_Caucasus_lowlands_LN
0.0 BGR_C
0.0 BGR_Dzhulyunitsa_N
0.0 HUN_Vinca_MN
0.0 IRN_Ganj_Dareh_N
0.0 IRN_Hajji_Firuz_C
0.0 IRN_Seh_Gabi_C
0.0 IRN_Tepe_Abdul_Hosein_N
0.0 IRN_Wezmeh_N
0.0 RUS_Darkveti-Meshoko_En
0.0 RUS_Maykop
0.0 RUS_Maykop_Late
0.0 RUS_Maykop_Novosvobodnaya

Wow, just wow. Have we actually found Miss Proto-Yamnaya? What does qpAdm have to say in the matter?

UKR_Sredni_Stog
HUN_Vinca_MN 0.034±0.028
RUS_Progress_En 0.796±0.045
UKR_N 0.170±0.034
P-value 0.41088

Again, this is an excellent match with the results from my PCA test, especially if we take into account the standard errors. However, with qpAdm it's also possible to model this individual's ancestry as part West Asian.

UKR_Sredni_Stog
AZE_Caucasus_lowlands_LN 0.056±0.039
RUS_Progress_En 0.761±0.061
UKR_N 0.183±0.036
P-value 0.465667

As I pointed out above, it's plausible for such people to harbor some West Asian ancestry, but I'm very sceptical that this is really the case here, despite the rather solid qpAdm statistical fit. That's because UKR_Sredni_Stog is not a high quality sample, and, from my experience, qpAdm often has problems analyzing fine scale ancestry in singletons or even small groups that show excess DNA damage and/or offer much less than a million markers.

See also...

Dear Iosif, about that ~2%

But Iosif, what about the Phrygians?

Friday, September 9, 2022

Dear Iosif, about that ~2%


The debate over the location of the so called Indo-Anatolian homeland won't be decided by the persistence of any type of genetic ancestry in ancient Anatolia.

It'll be decided by a multidisciplinary study on the interactions between the ancient peoples of the North Pontic steppe, the eastern Balkans, and western Anatolia.

If such a study finds a pulse of steppe-related gene flow from the Balkans into Anatolia sometime during the early metal ages, it'll corroborate the linguistic hypothesis that a language ancestral to Hittite, Luwian and related tongues moved into Anatolia from Eastern Europe.

Why do we only need a pulse of gene flow, you might ask? Obviously, because:

- language and genetic ancestry can start with a strong association but, since they're not linked, they can eventually follow very different trajectories

- the dilution of genetic ancestry is an important factor, especially in ancient West Asia, and it must be taken into account in models of language spread, rather than ignored in favor of simple, elegant models that do not reflect reality.

Here's my favorite quote from the recent Lazaridis, Alpaslan-Roodenberg et al. paper, because, probably unbeknownst to the authors, it's exceptionally revealing about the spread of a wide range of Indo-European speakers into Anatolia.

However, in individuals from Gordion, a Central Anatolian city that was under the control of Hittites before becoming the Phrygian capital and then coming under the control of Persian and Hellenistic rulers, the proportion of Eastern hunter-gatherer ancestry is only ~2%, a tiny fraction for a region controlled by at least four different Indo-European–speaking groups.

Indeed, this is exactly what the Lazaridis, Alpaslan-Roodenberg et al. paper should've been about. That is, the authors should've given us a painstaking account of the spread of different ancient Indo-European speaking groups into Anatolia and explained how, overall, their DNA was rapidly diluted to a trace amount.

However, instead they treated us to a make-believe tale about a so called Indo-Anatolian homeland in what is now Armenia.

See also...

Dear Iosif...Yamnaya

But Iosif, what about the Phrygians?

Dear Iosif...

Dear Iosif #2

Dear Iosif #3

Sunday, September 4, 2022

But Iosif, what about the Phrygians?


A paper in Science authored by around 200 scientists from some of the world's top academic institutions surely must mean something, right? Not necessarily.

In this short blog post I'll try to explain, as simply as I can, why the Lazaridis, Alpaslan-Roodenberg et al. paper doesn't get us any closer to solving the riddle of the so called Indo-Anatolian homeland.

However, it must be said that the paper does include many interesting and valuable samples. I'll be using six of these samples, labeled TUR_C_Gordion_Anc, to argue my case.

The TUR_C_Gordion_Anc sample set is from Gordion, the capital of ancient Phrygia, and thus, in all likeliness, it represents Phrygian speakers.

Phrygian is an Indo-European language and the leading hypothesis is that it originated in the Balkans.

In terms of fine scale ancestry, TUR_C_Gordion_Anc can be reliably divided into two genetic clusters. In the Principal Component Analysis (PCA) below these clusters are labeled TUR_C_Gordion_Anc1 and TUR_C_Gordion_Anc2.

Note that TUR_C_Gordion_Anc1 is obviously pulling away from TUR_C_Gordion_Anc2 towards samples from the Balkans. I've used ancient samples from what is now North Macedonia, labeled MKD_Anc, to represent the Balkans. To see an interactive version of the plot, paste the PCA coordinates from here into the relevant field here.

Visually, this is not an especially dramatic outcome, but it's an incredible result nonetheless, because it shows that even a few ancient samples can help to solve an age old mystery.

Across many dimensions of genetic variation, the shift in the PCA from TUR_C_Gordion_Anc1 to TUR_C_Gordion_Anc2 represents about 20% admixture from the Balkans, and about 8% from the Eastern European steppe. That's plenty enough to corroborate the linguistic hypothesis that the Phrygians originated in the Balkans, and that some of their ancestors came from the steppe. The mixture models below were done with the tools here.

Target: TUR_C_Gordion_Anc1
Distance: 1.6634% / 0.01663373
40.6 Kura-Araxes_ARM_Kaps
22.2 Anatolia_Barcin_N
21.8 MKD_Anc
13.6 Levant_PPNB
1.4 IRN_Ganj_Dareh_N
0.4 Han

Target: TUR_C_Gordion_Anc1
Distance: 1.7109% / 0.01710904
40.2 Kura-Araxes_ARM_Kaps
37.8 Anatolia_Barcin_N
12.4 Levant_PPNB
8.0 Yamnaya_RUS_Samara
1.2 IRN_Ganj_Dareh_N
0.4 Han

Target: TUR_C_Gordion_Anc2
Distance: 2.0293% / 0.02029339
51.0 Kura-Araxes_ARM_Kaps
26.8 Anatolia_Tepecik_Ciftlik_N
17.6 Anatolia_Barcin_N
4.6 Levant_PPNB

Surprisingly, Lazaridis, Alpaslan-Roodenberg et al. didn't have much to say about this topic. This quote basically sums it up:

However, in individuals from Gordion, a Central Anatolian city that was under the control of Hittites before becoming the Phrygian capital and then coming under the control of Persian and Hellenistic rulers, the proportion of Eastern hunter-gatherer ancestry is only ~2%, a tiny fraction for a region controlled by at least four different Indo-European–speaking groups.

I have no doubt that Lazaridis, Alpaslan-Roodenberg et al. can run a very decent PCA, and then blow it up to a size big enough to show that the Gordion samples represent two genetically somewhat distinct groups. I'm also sure that, if they really try, they can locate significant levels of proximate and relevant European ancestry in some of these samples.

They don't have to use my methods; they can use any methods they like. My point is that they won't find much if they're just looking for genetic signals from the Upper Paleolithic or Mesolithic.

Now, considering the way that the Phrygian question was treated by Lazaridis, Alpaslan-Roodenberg et al., despite the fact that they managed to sequence a few likely Phrygian speakers from none other than the Phrygian capital, let's not pretend that their paper brought us any closer to understanding the genetic origins of Anatolian speakers or pinpointing their ancestral homeland.

In order to even try to solve these problems with ancient DNA, we need a wide range of samples from Hittite, Luwian and other key sites where Anatolian languages were spoken. And then we must analyze them properly.

I'm guessing that Lazaridis, Alpaslan-Roodenberg et al. went out of their way to get such samples, but for one reason or another they failed. If so, that's OK, but I have a feeling that even if they got them, they wouldn't know what to do with them, because at best these samples would only show ~2% Eastern hunter-gatherer ancestry. Haha.

For what it's worth, I believe that the ancient data in the Lazaridis, Alpaslan-Roodenberg et al. paper point to the North Pontic steppe as the Indo-Anatolian homeland, and I'll lay out my arguments in an upcoming blog post.

See also...

Dear Iosif...Yamnaya

Dear Iosif, about that ~2%

Dear Iosif...

Dear Iosif #2

Dear Iosif #3

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Dear Iosif #3


Back in 2016 I made this prediction about the origins of the Yamnaya people (Steppe_EMBA):

But here's my prediction: Steppe_EMBA only has 10-15% admixture from the post-Mesolithic Near East not including the North Caucasus, and basically all of this comes via female mediated gene flow from farming communities in the Caucasus and perhaps present-day Ukraine.

The relevant blog post is still here. Looking back, my analysis is a bit sloppy and I didn't articulate my ideas too well. But that was a pretty good prediction for its time, and I believe it still has a chance of being confirmed, more or less.

On the other hand, the widely publicized hypothesis that the Yamnaya population is a ~50/50 mixture between indigenous Eastern European hunter-gatherers and Near Eastern or West Asian migrants never looked right to me. So I'm glad that it's now dead and buried.

Those of you not up to date with this topic, all you need to know is that the Yamnaya genotype existed in Eastern Europe at least a thousand years before Yamnaya, and, moreover, the Yamnaya people are largely derived from Eastern European foragers already rich in Near Eastern-related ancestry. The relevant ancient genomes are on the way (for instance, see here).

Nevertheless, the narrative that waves of Near Eastern migrants moved into prehistoric Eastern Europe, leading to the emergence of the Yamnaya culture and even the Proto-Indo-European language, is still being pushed by some notable scientists working with ancient DNA.

My hope is that, considering the latest revelations about the genetic origins of the Yamnaya people, these scientists can embrace a more nuanced view. How about something like this?

- people moved around, and they were especially mobile on the Eastern European steppe from the Eneolithic onwards

- when they made contact they sometimes mixed, so there was admixture between far flung steppe groups

- since population densities on the steppe were low until the Yamnaya period, minor admixture that entered the steppe during the Neolithic and Eneolithic wasn't dilluted easily.

See also...

Dear Iosif #2

But Iosif, what about the Phrygians?

Dear Iosif, about that ~2%

Dear Iosif...Yamnaya

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Dear Iosif #2


In my last blog post I made a mistake in my interpretation of this quote from Lazaridis, Alpaslan-Roodenberg et al., because it confused the crap out of me:

However, the complete lack of association of R-haplogroup descendants and EHG ancestry in either Armenia or Iran is consistent with either a massive dilution of EHG ancestry in these populations resulting in the dissociation of Y-chromosome lineages from autosomal ancestry over time, or with a scenario in which R-M269 was not associated with substantial EHG ancestry to begin with.

I thought they meant that they couldn't find any Eastern European hunter-gatherer (EHG) ancestry in samples from Armenia or Iran bearing Y-chromosome R1b-M269.

Of course, they did find EHG ancestry in these individuals, it's just that they couldn't establish an association specifically between this type of ancestry and Y-haplogroup R.

That is, males with Y-haplogroup R in Armenia, Iran and everywhere else generally show about the same level of EHG ancestry as their ethnic kin with other Y-haplogroups.

But so what? Why mention this when discussing the origins of R1b-M269, when it has absolutely no value in this context?

Y-haplogroups aren't linked directly to autosomal DNA, and Lazaridis, Alpaslan-Roodenberg et al. are obviously aware of this (hence their point about the potential massive dilution of EHG ancestry).

In regards to the origins of R1b-M269, and the provenance of West Asian R1b-M269, the really powerful observation is that R1b-M269 shows up rather late and suddenly in the West Asian ancient DNA record along with EHG and steppe ancestry.

That, and the fact that Eastern Europe is an ancient R1b hotbed (while West Asia a desert), means there's virtually no chance that R1b-M269 is native to West Asia. In other words, there was no R1b-M269 in West Asia until the steppe people brought it there from north of the Caucasus.

See also...

Dear Iosif...

Dear Iosif #3

But Iosif, what about the Phrygians?

Dear Iosif, about that ~2%

Dear Iosif...Yamnaya