- EHG is best represented by samples from Karelia and Lebyazhinka, which are modern-day Russian localities in the forest zone and on the border between the steppe and the forest-steppe, respectively - Khvalynsk II is also located on the boundary between the steppe and the forest-steppe, and very far from the Near East - so the genetic structure of the people buried at Khvalynsk II does represent an admixture event - however, this admixture event simply involved an EHG population from the forest-steppe and a very distantly Near Eastern-related group native to the steppe (that is, two different Eastern European populations).I've written this blog post because I think David Reich, Nick Patterson, Iosif Lazaridis and colleagues should finally admit that they didn't quite get this right. And it'd be nice if they could put out a paper sometime soon in which they set the record straight. See also...
Friday, January 13, 2023
Dear David, Nick, Iosif...let's set the record straight
Almost a decade ago scientists at the David Reich Lab extracted DNA from the remains of three men from the Khvalynsk II cemetery at the northern end of the Pontic-Caspian (PC) steppe. These Eneolithic Eastern Europeans showed significant genetic heterogeneity, with highly variable levels of Eastern Hunter-Gatherer (EHG) and Near Eastern-related ancestry components. As a result, the people at the David Reich Lab concluded that the Eneolithic populations of the PC steppe formed from a relatively recent admixture between local hunter-gatherers and Near Eastern migrants. Unfortunately, this view has since become the consensus among scientists working with ancient DNA. I say unfortunately because there's a more straightforward and indeed obvious explanation for the genetic heterogeneity among the samples from Khvalynsk II. It's also the only correct explanation, and it doesn't involve any recent gene flow from the Near East. Here it is, in point form, as simply as I can put it: