The derived allele of the KITLG SNP rs12821256 that is associated with – and likely causal for – blond hair in Europeans [4,5] is present in one hunter-gatherer from each of Samara, Motala and Ukraine (I0124, I0014 and I1763), as well as several later individuals with Steppe ancestry. Since the allele is found in populations with EHG but not WHG ancestry, it suggests that its origin is in the Ancient North Eurasian (ANE) population. Consistent with this, we observe that earliest known individual with the derived allele is the [Siberian] ANE individual Afontova Gora 3 which is directly dated to 16130-15749 cal BCE (14710±60 BP, MAMS-27186: a previously unpublished date that we newly report here).Here's a really nice shot of one of the last remnants of the Mammoth steppe on the border of Mongolia and the Republic of Tuva (courtesy of Александр Лещёнок at Wikipedia). All it needs is a few mammoths grazing on the horizon and it's like we're back in 15,000 BCE. here. The K7 is not a perfect measure of ANE admixture, but I'd say it's accurate enough, especially in relative terms. On a related note, the Swedish web portal svt.se has an article on the latest ancient DNA research on the peopling of Scandinavia, focusing on the migrations of Western European Hunter-Gatherers (WHG) and Eastern European Hunter-Gatherers (EHG) into the region during the Mesolithic. Wikipedia), is a relatively recent, perhaps post-Mesolithic, phenomenon. here). It's unlikely that natural selection alone could have lightened up the steppe people in such a relatively short time. Or is it? See also... Late PIE ground zero now obvious; location of PIE homeland still uncertain, but...
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
European blond hair may have originated on the North Eurasian Mammoth steppe
The quote below is from the recent Mathieson et al. 2017 preprint on the population history of Southeastern Europe and surrounds. Surprisingly, this titbit hasn't received much attention yet considering the fascination that many people have with blond hair and blonds.