Monday, July 13, 2009

167. The Pygmy/Bushmen Nexus -- Part 7

(. . . continued from previous post.)
The so-called "Bushmen" peoples live in a completely different part of Africa than the Pygmies, centered in the Kalahari desert region of southwestern Africa, between Botswana and Namibia, though they are thought to have, at one time, been the dominant population of southern Africa as a whole. I've already commented on the striking similarity between their musical style and that of the various Pygmy groups in various posts on this blog. To refresh your memory (or if you're new), I'll refer you to Post 7, which contains links to specific audio clips from both groups along with a fairly extensive description of what I've come to call "Pygmy/Bushmen" style (P/B).

Already in 1956, Gilbert Rouget, then director of the Ethnomusicology program at the Musee de l'Homme, in Paris, prophetically wrote:
If, as it is traditional to do, one should consider the Pygmies and the Bushmen as belonging to two races entirely distinct, how can one explain the troubling relationship between their music and their dances? It cannot be a phenomenon of convergence, the resemblances constituting a system too complex and too coherent to allow for an explanation of this order. A reciprocal influence is also to be rejected, being given the distance as much geographic as climatic which separates the ones from the others. Is it necessary to believe, then, that the Pygmies and Bushmen are of common stock, and that their dance and music represent the remainder of a common cultural heritage?
Rouget's comments were published along with an LP record (currently out of print) directly comparing examples of the music of a Pygmy group, the BaBinga, and a much studied Bushmen group, the !Kung (now usually referred to as Ju'/hoansi), known for their adherence to what appeared to be a very traditional, possibly even "stone-age," lifestyle, and their unusual language, featuring many different types of click consonants (the ! in the name !Kung stands for one such click-type). I won't get into the details of the "great Kalahari debate" concerning the history of these peoples, as this has already been extensively covered both in this blog (see Table of Contents, above) and my paper on this topic. However, I do want to share with you some of the very compelling genetic evidence, which has led many to conclude that both the Ju'/hoansi Bushmen and most of the Pygmy groups do in fact have "pedigrees" linking them quite strongly to some of our earliest ancestors.

In a recent paper dealing with the genetic relationships among various African click-speakers, Sarah Tishkoff et al. present the following chart, based on those "haplogroups" (related sets of genetic markers) closest to the root of the mtDNA phylogenetic tree:

(As with most of the other images presented on this blog, you'll get a larger and much clearer picture by right-clicking and selecting "Open link in new window.")

The uppermost row lists each of the most important haplogroups, with those representing the deepest (thus oldest) branches to the left. The leftmost column lists the various African populations studied, grouped according to language family.

The first four haplogroups, labeled LOd, LOk, LOf and LOa, are, as you can see, offshoots from the leftmost branch of the tree. Under the first column, LOd, among the most ancient of surviving human mtDNA haplogroups, the !Kung Bushmen are represented by fully 96% of their sample. The groups listed under the names !Xun/Khwe and !Xun are also represented by large percentages, 61 and 51 respectively. Since !Xun is actually a variant spelling of !Kung, I'm assuming the two groups probably represent two nearby villages with essentially the same language and culture, with !Xun/Khwe representing a mixed sample of !Xun and Khwe speakers. Together, the !Kung, !Xun and !Xun/Khwe are the only Bushmen groups in the sample, though the other two "Khoisan" speakers, Hadza and Sandawe, are also hunter-gatherers. Note that no other population on the list is represented by more than 5% of its sample for this haplogroup. Moving to the next, LOk, we see that this haplogroup, also among the oldest on the tree, is found only among the three closely related Bushmen groups.

Moving down to the next language family, Niger-Kordofanian (of which the very widespread Bantu language family is a subgroup), we find three of the Western Pygmy groups, Mbenzele, Biaka and Bakola. With only one very minor exception (2% of the !Xun sample), none of these groups share any of their haplogroups with any of the Bushmen groups. In fact the great majority of the Western Pygmy sample (97%, 77% and 100%, respectively) can be found under haplogroup L1c, stemming from a completely different branch of the mtDNA tree than LOd or LOk. And in this case also, no other group is represented in this haplogroup by more than 5% of its sample.

Moving down the first column, we see, under the Nilo-Saharan family, the sole instance of Eastern Pygmies in the sample, the Mbuti. The majority of Mbuti (55%) are represented by yet another haplogroup, L2, not found at all among the Eastern Pygmies and in only relatively small percentages among the !Xun/Khwe and !Xun (17% and 16% respectively), possibly reflecting an archaic link to a remote common ancestor. In other words, when we compare the three groups, the Bushmen, the Western Pygmies and the Eastern Pygmies, we find that each has its own distinctive haplogroup or groups that set it apart from the other two, while the great majority of the Pygmy groups cluster along completely different branches of the phylogenetic tree (L1 and L2, as opposed to LO) from all the Bushmen groups.

The only important exception to this pattern appears to be haplogroup LOa, which cuts across several groups of both hunter-gatherers and farmers. While this haplogroup could conceivably stem from a truly archaic ancestor, it is among the haplogroups whose distribution seems, in the view of the authors, largely due to relatively recent gene flow (p. 2191). Given what we know about African history, most of the gene flow in such cases can be attributed to the relatively recent (over the last few thousand years) movements of large and aggressive farming populations across vast regions of the continent (e.g., the "Bantu expansion"), and is not likely to reflect direct, face-to-face associations among the much smaller and more reclusive hunter-gatherer bands, though such a possibility cannot be completely ruled out.

Very recently, Tishkoff and her collaborators completed a truly monumental study of 121 African and African American populations, by far the most extensive and ambitious project of its kind. This time, Tishkoff concentrated on nuclear microsattelite and insertion/deletion sites, a much richer, but also more complex, set of genetic markers than the mitochondrial and Y chromosome haplotypes that have dominated earlier studies. Their findings have just been published, under the title The Genetic Structure and History of Africans and African Americans, in the journal, Science. (Unfortunately you'll need to either subscribe or pay a fee to download this article.)

Figure 1 from this paper is a remarkable "neighbor-joining" phylogenetic tree, including all populations studied, based on "D2" statistics, the technicalities of which I am completely unable to describe since, very frankly, I have no idea how they work. I've reproduced the lowest, deepest, segment of this tree below. And as before I will urge you to right-click and select "Open Link in New Window," so you can view this image properly:

Once again, the Bushmen groups, labeled in this case San and !XunKxoe, occupy the lowest, thus deepest, branch of the tree, with the Pygmy groups just above them -- though, as before, stemming from a different branch. Here again, the Eastern Pygmies, represented by the Mbuti, occupy a branch of their own, with the Western Pygmies stemming from one sub-branch, and literally the rest of the world stemming from the other.

As far as the Pygmy groups in themselves are concerned, these new results are consistent with the findings by Destro-Bisol et al. that I've already described:
Shared ancestry of western and eastern Pygmies . . . was also supported by the phylogenetic trees . . . , consistent with mtDNA and autosomal studies
indicating that the western and eastern Pygmies diverged >18,000 years ago (p. 1041).
And as far as the relation between the Pygmies and Bushmen is concerned, one of their major findings, as stated in the abstract, is as follows: "Our data also provide evidence for shared ancestry among geographically diverse hunter-gatherer populations (Khoesan speakers [i.e., Bushmen] and Pygmies)." And, even more to the point, from the body of their text:
The shared ancestry, identified here, of Khoesan-speaking populations with the Pygmies of central Africa suggests the possibility that Pygmies, who lost
their indigenous language, may have originally spoken a Khoesan-related language, consistent with shared music styles between the SAK [i.e., southern African Khoesan] and Pygmies (p. 1041).
It might interest my readers to know that the reference given for "shared music styles" is to the book Folk Song Style and Culture, by Alan Lomax et al., a reference I provided at Tishkoff's request. To my knowledge this is the first instance of a reference to the musical evidence appearing in any of the genetic literature. Hopefully it will not be the last.

62 comments:

Maju said...

Hi, Victor. Following with great interest this series on the Pygmy-Bushmen nexus.

I presume that you will conclude that this connection probably means that their musical style is somehow ancestral to others, the music of our common ancestors.

So I am already anticipating the next epysode: which I presume will deal with how this ancestral style or components of it were lost or transformed into other musical styles as the human journey progressed through the world.

Can't wait to read the last chapter. :)

DocG said...

I'm very pleased to see you still following this blog, Maju, and always eager to read your responses.

The question of how such an "Ur" style could have transformed over time, into literally all the many different types of music we know today, is one that has fascinated me for years. In my most recent paper, a preprint version of which I am planning to post on this blog very soon, I describe P/B as what can be called a "comprehensive" style, i.e., a style already containing within it a great many elements that we find in a great many different types of music found today in just about every corner of the world. The more I've researched this question, and thought about its implications, the more I've come to realize how remarkable P/B style is, not only aesthetically, as so many now recognize, but also in terms of the most basic aspects of what music is all about. I believe this could be extended into the field of communication in general, so in some sense what we have in P/B is also a semiotic phenomenon.

In coming posts I'll be covering the African history of this style, sharing some ideas of how certain aspects of it came to pervade so much that we now find so characteristic of SubSaharan African music.

German said...

Victor,

Tishkoff et al., Friedlaender et al. and other teams working on microsatellites have identified not only the high levels of allele diversity in Africa, but also the high levels of among-group divergence in the Americas and in Papua New Guinea. Visually, this metric is depicted in the form of very long branches in their phylogenetic trees. The principal difference between Africa and the New World/PNG is the fact that Africa has too many private polymorphisms (or autapomorphic characteristics in cladistics), whereas the New World/PNG has a lot of genetically distinct populations (many more than in Africa or anywhere else) which overall lack about 2/3 of human genetic diversity.

Although microsatellities data is very clear about this pattern, researchers themselves tend to misinterpret it as the sign of African antiquity. In fact this pattern proves that the New World/PNG are ancient relics and long-term isolates who weren't affected by the powerful population processes that generated 2/3 of human genetic diversity.

So when you see Khoisan and Pygmy lineages depicted as the earliest branches of the human phylogenetic trees, bear in mind that these trees are not cladistic. They simply compare sequences in terms of their pairwise similarity to each other. These genetic distances are then mapped onto world geography and Africa turns out to harbor more of those distinct sequences.

These sequences, however, evolved only after humans colonized Africa, as they are autapomorphic and aren't found outside of Africa. There's been a great deal of long-distance genetic exchange all over Africa (think of foragers and farmers), which is partially responsible for the high levels of African allele diversity. In contrast, in the New World/Melanesia gene flow was very limited in scope and marital networks were largely "close-circuit."

Moving from genetics to linguistics and kinship, Pygmy groups don't have any traces of a common language (whatever Bahuchet found are restricted to Aka and Baka, hence it's likely of contact nature), nor do they have any traces of an ancient kinship system. Although their kinship is slightly different from their respective farmer-neighbors' kinship, still they don't show any archaic cues. Most likely, they constitute specialized groups of hunters that branched off from their Nilo-Saharan and Niger-Congo parental populations and underwent some pretty radical phenotypic and genetic changes.

Finally, how can you exclude the possibility that the P/B style of music was appropriated by Khoisan ancestors from Pygmy ancestors, or vice versa, somewhere in East Africa, say, 10-20,000 years ago? Will you disagree that one ethnic group can copy the entire musical repertoire from another group without leaving any awkward traces of borrowing?

Maju said...

^^ This guy will just drive you crazy, Victor. His only goal in life seems to be to demonstrate his particular "out of America" hypothesis based on something as reliable as, whoa!, kinship theories. :(

DocG said...

I'm not a geneticist, German, so can't properly respond to your very unusual interpretation of the genetic evidence. If you wish to challenge the prevailing view, I suggest you try to get something published in one of the genetics journals. All I can say is that OOA is supported by the great majority of population geneticists, genetic anthropologists, archaeologists, historical linguists, and other professionals who have investigated this issue. And as far as I can tell, the musical evidence also supports this view.

German: "Finally, how can you exclude the possibility that the P/B style of music was appropriated by Khoisan ancestors from Pygmy ancestors, or vice versa, somewhere in East Africa, say, 10-20,000 years ago? Will you disagree that one ethnic group can copy the entire musical repertoire from another group without leaving any awkward traces of borrowing?"

I've already responded to a similar objection by Glen, in my comments to post no. 161:
http://music000001.blogspot.com/2009/07/pygmybushmen-nexus-1.html

It's important to understand, German, that this is not a question of who is right and who is wrong in any absolute sense, because there are certain things we may never know for sure. Science is not based on certainties, but on explanations that both make sense and seem most likely, given the current state of the evidence. What's most important to me is that the potential power of the musical evidence be recognized and utilized. While I am very interested in pursuing a certain line of research, based on the mainstream genetic evidence, the geneticists could be wrong and that line of research could prove to be a dead end. As I see it, this approach is the most meaningful one I've been able to find so far, and therefore, I'm happy to continue along this path -- for now, at least.

German said...

Personally, I totally understand your agenda, Victor. If it takes succumbing to the "power" of genetic evidence to bring comparative musicology back into the arena, I'm for this. I just like the original work Lomax published (with your help) more because it was independent and unbiased. I can easily see two "roots" in the musical tree. A student of mythology, Yuri Berezkin, has recently postulated two world mythological traditions: the "Northern" (Eurasia and North America) and the "Southern" (South America, Melanesia and Sub-Saharan Africa). Mythology and music are both "secondary semiotic systems" (in the Russian semiotic tradition, language being "the first order"), and hence are likely to be aligned in global distributions.
When you say that the "Circumpolar" music style is derived from P/B, I'd like to see exactly how you've arrived from thinking, along with Lomax, about world music diversity as being two-rooted to thinking about it as being only rooted in Africa. (I saw your tree last year but now it gives me an error message when I try to follow your instructions to download it.) But apparently you're more interested in publishing a paper about Khoisans and Pygmies being related musically because they're ultimately related genetically, than explicating why P/B is original, while Circumpolar is derived.

I look forward to reading your upcoming paper in Ethnomusicology, but I'm afraid Glen's critique will remain valid. There're just too many instances of rapid and complete music appropriation close at hand to accept the argument of common inheritance from 100,000 years ago.Occam's Razor is a good principle but only if both parties agree on what "simple" is. For you common inheritance constitutes the simplest explanation, for me it's mind-boggling to think that Khoisans and Pygmies retained a certain musical structure for 100,000 years, while many other ethnic groups left it behind and replaced it with its direct opposite (Circumpolar) once they left Africa.

I would imagine musical styles spreading across whole populations with just as much ease as linguistic borrowings. They always start from a small group of early adopters but then trickle down into mainstream speech.

I wouldn't dismiss dental evidence. Sinodonty forms a system of traits, exactly like your P/B style, not a single trait. I referenced Irish's article as a methodological counterpart to the "markedness" argument presented by Tishkoff et al.

You write that historical linguists unanimously support OOAf. You mean Chris Ehret, I presume. He's a minority opinion when it comes to the antiquity of clicks. Read "A Historical Appraisal of Clicks: A Linguistic and Genetic Population Perspective" by Guldemann and Stoneking, among others. I'm going to see Chris at the International Conference of Historical Linguistics in Nijmegen in a few days (we're presenting as part of the same panel on kinship). He follows your path of simply interpreting linguistic data through the lens of genetics, instead of mining for unique insights coming from language.
It's methodologically unsound but his reasons to do so are probably similar to yours.

Luis, kinship studies is a venerable tradition which has been at the core of anthropology since its inception. The students of kinship had started building the first global evolutionary trait taxonomies a hundren years before mtDNA was even sequenced. In Africa, Khoisans, Laal and a few Nilo-Saharan groups such as Uduk show archaic features found outside of Africa. The rest, including the Pygmies, are African-specific and derived.

German said...

Victor, if you send me your mailing address at gdziebel at yahoo, I'll gladly mail you a copy of my book. The kinship data is too dense for me to spell it out in blogs and articles. You can visit www.kinshipstudies.org but it's more of a reference source about my work than a description of kinship evidence. Hence, I prefer a book format: I published the first book in Russia in 2001 and the second one in the U.S. in 2007. I'm thinking about putting together a volume strictly on human origins and dispersals and the vindication of America as a possible homeland and present my theory through the lenses of all disciplines from language to genetics. However interdisciplinary data is growing so rapidly that I'm afraid by the time I finish writing, I'll have to begin re-writing it. Plus I'm always on a lookout for a solid proof of out-of-Africa and/or into-the-Americas. This would save me the trouble of fixing a medieval mistake (the "New World"), which a certain version of "science" has been using as a stepping stone to assert its authority in the matters of human origins and futures.

DocG said...

Thanks for the offer, German. I'll be contacting you soon with my address and am looking forward to reading your book. I know very little about kinship but am willing to learn. Also, I have a feeling that the evolution of kinship could be of real significance and that comparative studies of the type you are doing could be of real importance. But I'll warn you in advance that I think it's very easy to jump to the wrong conclusions when considering what aspects of culture are more likely to represent an earlier -- or the earliest -- phase of human history. Certain musicologists jumped to conclusions regarding the earliest types of music that can now be seen as completely erroneous. But such ideas made a great deal of sense at the time. I now believe myself to be on the right track because 1. I have far more evidence available to me than was available in the past; 2. I have a tool (Cantometrics) for exploring that evidence; 3. I have access to an extensive body of genetic findings that have enabled me to zero in on the populations most likely to represent the oldest lineages, i.e., the Pygmies and Bushmen.

There are many reasons, by the way, for discounting the possibility you've raised regarding "musical styles being transmitted across whole populations." While it is certainly not unheard of for certain tribal groups to borrow particular instruments or rituals from neighbors, the wholesale transmission of an entire style from one to the other is relatively rare. And I see no trace in the musical map of such influences cascading across large areas.

Ultimately, however, regardless of what any of us might think of the logical possibilities and probabilities, there is no substitute for following the evidence, which manifests itself most strongly in the distribution of the various styles both locally and worldwide. It is the effort to assess such distributions that is one of the principal topics of my "Echoes" paper, which I invite you to download and read.

DocG said...

One thing I must add to the above. I'm not saying that there are not large-scale areas in the world dominated by one particular style family -- there certainly are. As I see it, however, such patterns, when found among indigenous populations, appear to be due far more to migration than "influence". This is of course a hypothesis, but one that can be tested through collaboration with geneticists, which is exactly the sort of research I'm now pursuing.

German said...

I did read your Echoes paper. And finally I located your 2007 tree that I downloaded last year. Nothing indicates to me that breathless solo is a bottleneck-induced evolution from interlocked hocket. Could you conceive of both styles co-existing at the early stages of human evolution and being utilized on two different social occasions? Are there any extant human groups that implement both interlock/yodel/hocket and breathless solo or social unison in different ways? I could imagine a scenario under which populations went through fissions and fusions, as a result of which some opted for interlock, others for breathless solo and generalized them across all social occasions and influenced neighboring groups to do so.

But even with your pre-bottleneck and post-bottleneck split, I can locate American Indian groups on both sides of the divide. Alternatively apparently there're no African groups in the B1, B2, B3 clusters. Your paper on the Great Kalahari debate shows the worldwide frequencies of yodel and interlock and American Indians have these musical features everywhere from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. Yes, they aren't as frequent as in Africa, but since they have breathless solo, social unison and canonic echoic in addition to interlock/yodel, I'd say they are closer to the original human condition with all styles coexisting rather evenly.

Another question: could interlock evolve as a result of mixing solo and social unison styles? Correct me if this is a meaningless question...

A more specific question: your G (glottal) component that appears on the post-bottleneck side of the divide and is underlined to stand for "clearest continuities": is it found in Africa among P/B? Is it part of P/B style? What is it continuous with?

German said...

As I was re-reading your Echoes piece, I started wondering: what prevents you from considering (from a purely musicological standpoint, forget about genetics for a sec) rhythmic unison and canonic-echoic styles as ancestral to P/B hocket/interlock/polyphony. You write that they're very similar (the P/B style is a little more complex due to the texture being contrapunctal but I'm not sure I agree that this trait is necessarily part of an ancestral complex. Could contrapuntal texture evolve from heterophony, if this makes sense?

One of the key "kinshipometric" findings presented in my book is the wide-spread presence throughout the Americas, but most prominently in South America, of a type of kinship systems in which all logically possible categories within a semantic set are lexicalized. In the Old World, especially in Oceania and Sub-Saharan Africa the immediate derivative of this type is widely attested. The Oceanic-SubSaharan type is characterized by, literally, interlocking, of two very distinct categories (traits, components), namely relative age and relative sex, so that the original perfectly symmetrical 8-item structure gets looped in to produce a 4-item structure without actually losing either relative sex or relative age from the set but splicing them together.

The Oceanic-Subsaharan type is very unusual. It's not found in Australia, India, East Asia or Siberia/Northern Europe. It's sporadically present in America but in the case of Inuits clearly as a derivative of the principal American one. The Oceanic clade is more diverse than the Sub-Saharan one, although is we add Sandawe, the diversity of the African sample at this tree node approximates the Oceanic diversity. The Sandawe type, however, is not exactly the same. It's very rare (notable examples outside of Africa include Basques and Kartvelians) but also simpler than the main Oceanic-SubSaharan type. BTW, in SubSaharan Africa, the main Oceanic-SubSaharan type is concentrated among Niger-Congo and Nilo-Saharans, with corresponding Pygmy groups reducing it to the phylogenetically most derived type.

Notably, !Kung and some other San groups don't have this type at all.

Without pushing the similarity too far, the reading of your musciological studies made me hope we could arrive at some common ground. I can see your data is very comprehensive, so is mine. Let's try and resolve the controversy without using genetics as a yardstick.

DocG said...

German, the issues raised in your last two posts are very much to the point and more likely to lead to fruitful results than continued bickering over OOA and the genetic evidence. Unfortunately we can't completely ignore either, because as you can see from my essays, they've had a crucial influence on my thinking.

German: "Nothing indicates to me that breathless solo is a bottleneck-induced evolution from interlocked hocket."

I think that Lomax and I were more influenced in our thinking by the distribution of certain styles than by their purely musical content. There is nothing in PaleoSiberian (P/S) style per se that would cause anyone to regard it as either original or derived. That goes for P/B as well, by the way. Both styles CAN be seen as prototypes, however, which is another matter we can take up later.

What caused us to focus, initially, on P/B and P/S had more to do with 1. their distribution; and 2. their distinctiveness, which made it relatively easy to track that distribution. As far as we could see, there were no other musical styles to be found among indigenous peoples that had such a wide ranging distribution, separated by such large areas where its presence was either absent or rare. Such a distribution strongly suggests the survival of something very old.

From a multiregional perspective, therefore, it would make sense to assume that P/B originated in, and was prototypical for, Africa and P/S originated in, and was prototypical for, Asia --and possibly Eurasia as well. But there are problems with this theory, because we also find traces of P/B among the Paleosiberians and Inuit, namely in their so-called "throat-singing" traditions. It's difficult to believe that this sort of tightly hocketed interplay could have been independently invented twice, among two such totally different societies. And since it's a day to day part of Pygmy and Bushmen life, but relatively rare among circumpolar peoples, it does make some sense to assume this style originated in Africa and not Asia.

What finally made up my mind, however, was not the musical evidence per se, but the genetic evidence for OOA. In the context of OOA, we can conclude that P/S is the derivative style and that throat singing is an archaic trace survival from P/B. If you or the multiregionalists can come up with some convincing new evidence, however, then it would be necessary to take another look at both P/B and P/S and reconsider what they might mean.

"Could you conceive of both styles co-existing at the early stages of human evolution and being utilized on two different social occasions?"

Pygmy and Bushmen solo singing has much in common with P/S breathless, though without the "breathless" component. So, yes, I can certainly conceive of an interlocking choral style and a solo style co-existing, because in many places they do.

"Are there any extant human groups that implement both interlock/yodel/hocket and breathless solo or social unison in different ways?"

Breathless solo is relatively rare, but we do find it among people who also sing in unison, and on some occasions (i.e., throat singing) with hocket. This mix isn't unusual among circumpolar people.

German: "I could imagine a scenario under which populations went through fissions and fusions, as a result of which some opted for interlock, others for breathless solo and generalized them across all social occasions and influenced neighboring groups to do so."

Easy to imagine. But you would need to find evidence of such dispersals in the distribution patterns of the various styles. I see no such evidence, but I could be missing something.

DocG said...

German: "But even with your pre-bottleneck and post-bottleneck split, I can locate American Indian groups on both sides of the divide. Alternatively apparently there're no African groups in the B1, B2, B3 clusters."

Yes, this difference is imo potentially of great significance. The almost total absence of any of the post-bottleneck musical "haplogroups" in sub-Saharan Africa strongly suggests that all these styles (labeled B) developed after the OOA exodus, among descendants of the original migrants. This is one of the most dramatic correlations between the musical and genetic evidence: my B super-haplogroup for music corresponds, very roughly, with mtDNA superhaplogroups M and N. The musical division is asymmetrical, however, because we find survivals of P/B (superhaplogroup A) among many non-African indigenous groups, especially among the earliest groups to arrive in SE Asia, Indonesia and Melanesia, who may have been unaffected by the (hypothetical) bottleneck.

"Your paper on the Great Kalahari debate shows the worldwide frequencies of yodel and interlock and American Indians have these musical features everywhere from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego."

Yes, there are pockets of P/B or styles with elements of P/B among certain Amerindian groups, but this is very rare in North America. The statistics I presented refer to throat singing hocket among the Inuit, the importance of which is unfortunately distorted in our sample, and a very unusual form of shouted hocket among the Hupa of California. There might be some very minor instances among some other groups but overall P/B is extremely rare in N. America as is any type of polyphony.

South of the Rio Grande, we do find a certain very interesting style that I've called "canonic/echoic" which has elements of P/B and imo is probably a survival of P/B. It was coded as interlocked, which is why it showed up on my statistical table. But it's different from P/B in certain important respects, notably it's loosely coordinated rhythmically. And it's mostly canonic with few if any traces of other forms of interlock. The Pygmies and Bushmen have a style that is much more complex and rich musically. I see it as a distant survival, but you might prefer to see it as a more "primitive" original form of this style.
There are also panpipe ensembles in Middle and S. America that you might want to argue are prototypical for all other panpipe and pipe ensembles found in so many other parts of the world. But there are a great many other pieces of the puzzle that you'd need to account for to bolster your theory and I'm sorry but I don't see an overall pattern that could help you.

All I have time for now.

German said...

Thanks, Victor, for all your answers.
I'm happy to continue our exchange whenever you find time.


1) What's the exact distribution of canonic-echoic in the Americas? How frequent is it? Is it found in an exact form in the Old World? (Does Are-Are that you describe in Echoes have canonic-echoic?)

2) Can you envisage Paleosiberian throat-singing and the shouted hocket among the Hupa as evolution of canonic-echoic? Or is it closer stylistically to P/B?

3) In world mythology, Berezkin essentially described the same pattern as you've uncovered for music (Africa only has A, while outside of Africa you have A and B). It's remarkable that Africa is altogether missing the whole "Northern" complex of motifs, which is otherwise found in North America, Eurasia, India and Australia. I can see how this corresponds to mtDNA N-R macrohaplogroups (Australia is predominantly N, Europe is only N, North America has high frequencies of A and also X, which is missing in South America).

However what cultural evidence (music, mythology, kinship) shows very clearly, while population genetics seems to overlook is the fact that dominant African traits (interlock in music, death myth in folklore, Oceanic-SubSaharan type of kinship nomenclature) are sporadically found EVERYWHERE outside of Africa, including such a "recently" populated area as South America. In all these cultural cases, the diversity/flexibility of the corresponding forms is higher outside of Africa.
In mtDNA terms, this corresponds to the distribution of macrohaplogroup M (PNG, South America, Siberia, Saami in Europe, Caucasus).

What I find intriguing is the fact that the diversity within the slow-changing cultural traits (music, mythological motifs, kinship systems, language families) is much higher outside of Africa, while genetically Africa is described as the most diverse continent. Culture and genetics, therefore, yield diametrically opposite pictures, when it comes to diversity metrics.

4) Now, there's a growing amount of evidence that Y-DNA DE clade characterized by a unique YAP+ mutation originated in Asia and then spawned all the E lineages in Africa, and these lineages are the majority of all African lineages. DE is a sister clade of C, which is not found in Africa, but otherwise is found in such distant places as Australia and North America.

DE, of course, is not Y-DNA A or B, which are found in the Khoisans and Pygmies. But if DE originated in Asia, would you be able to explain African music styles found outside of Pygmies and Khoisans (your types A5-A6 called "call and response" and "unison") as possibly derived from Asia? Or they are inseparable from P/B in some unique structural features?

German said...

Victor,

I've been reading "La musique des Indiens de la Californie du Nord" by Jaime de Angulo // Journal de la Societe des Americanistes, Annee 1931, Volume 23, Numéro 1
p. 189 - 228.

The author mentions that polyphony is rare in North America but also reports witnessing a Pomo Indian performance in which women suddenly started their own melody parallel but distinct from men's. She raises the question of potential European influence on American Indian music that resulted in the adoption of polyphony.

Do you have any thoughts on this possibility?

Also does cantometrics measure the composition of singing/performing groups (unisex, men vs, women, older vs. younger?) and, if yes, are these variables intrinsic part of the classification system or they fall under "social context"?

In Nattiez's paper that you referenced on a number of occasions, Inuit throat singing takes place among women (men are hunting).

DocG said...

German, you've been asking some very reasonable questions, but I haven't had the time to respond to all of them. I'll try to catch up a bit this evening.

"Another question: could interlock evolve as a result of mixing solo and social unison styles? Correct me if this is a meaningless question..."

AND similarly:
"what prevents you from considering (from a purely musicological standpoint, forget about genetics for a sec) rhythmic unison and canonic-echoic styles as ancestral to P/B hocket/interlock/polyphony. . . . Could contrapuntal texture evolve from heterophony, if this makes sense?"

In principle, any style could evolve from any other, I suppose. The old comparative musicology school attempted to recreate in their minds where music might have started and how it evolved along purely logical -- and psychological -- lines. As I see it, this attempt was a failure. Imo, the only way to proceed is on the basis of what we know about the worldwide, and local, stylistic distribution patterns, combined with archaeology, ethnography, etc. -- and what we are now learning from the genetic evidence. This would seem to be the only way to formulate testable hypotheses in a meaningful manner. Then, of course, one must do the testing.

"A more specific question: your G (glottal) component that appears on the post-bottleneck side of the divide and is underlined to stand for "clearest continuities": is it found in Africa among P/B? Is it part of P/B style? What is it continuous with?"

Excellent question. It is continuous with yodeling, which is also focused in the epiglottis. For more on the relation between yodeling and glottalization, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A38768511

"1) What's the exact distribution of canonic-echoic in the Americas? How frequent is it? Is it found in an exact form in the Old World? (Does Are-Are that you describe in Echoes have canonic-echoic?)"

Canonic-echoic singing is found in both Central and South America, as well as Mexico, but not, to my knowledge, in America north of the Rio Grande. I'm not sure about the distribution within the areas where it is found, but it doesn't seem to be highly localized. And yes, it is found among the 'Are 'Are, as well as some other groups in Melanesia and also among certain "negrito" peoples of Malayasia. There are other, somewhat similar "canonic" traditions to be found in other parts of the world, such as, for example, among the "Old Believers" of Russia, Lithuania, elsewhere in Europe, etc. Imo it is most probably a derivation from P/B.

DocG said...

German: "2) Can you envisage Paleosiberian throat-singing and the shouted hocket among the Hupa as evolution of canonic-echoic? Or is it closer stylistically to P/B?"

The Paleosiberian tradition involves a form of hocketed vocalization so intricately synchronized that it could represent, as it seems to me, one of the oldest forms of P/B. It could in fact be prototypical of P/B, along with other types of what I've called "shouted hocket," including somewhat similar forms found among both Pygmy and Bushmen groups. What makes it especially interesting is its association with hyperventilation, which might well connect it with some of the earliest forms of shamanism and trance.

This brings up an interesting point, by the way, because as you can see the survival of an archaic type of music-making need not be found among the most "archaic" people. So, assuming we all got our start in Africa, this does not mean that a very old style of African -- or even primate -- origin can't be found very far from that continent. As for the Hupa, their style of shouted hocket seems closest to that of the Ainu (who also sing canonically, by the way).

"3) In world mythology, Berezkin essentially described the same pattern as you've uncovered for music (Africa only has A, while outside of Africa you have A and B). . .
What I find intriguing is the fact that the diversity within the slow-changing cultural traits (music, mythological motifs, kinship systems, language families) is much higher outside of Africa, while genetically Africa is described as the most diverse continent. Culture and genetics, therefore, yield diametrically opposite pictures, when it comes to diversity metrics."

This makes sense to me because cultural diversity has a completely different meaning from genetic diversity. First and foremost it is necessary to remember the difference, in genetics, between intergroup and intragroup diversity, a distinction that has no cultural correlate. It is intragroup diversity, i.e., diversity within a single haplogroup and/or population, that's used to measure the time depth of any lineage.

Thus, just because we find a lot of intergroup diversity in the form of different types of musical styles, or myths or languages among various peoples in certain regions, we are not thereby justified in regarding that type of diversity as a sign of age, as with intragroup diversity in genetics.

Remember, mutations accumulate over time, changes in cultural features do not. It is the accumulation of many mutations over time in one lineage or population that provides us with clues as to its age. If cultural features also changed and accumulated in the same way, then cultural diversity within a particular society would also be a measure of age. But cultural change operates in a very different manner.

When we find more or less the same musical style distributed in pockets of indigenous peoples all over the world, THAT to me is the sign of the great age of that style (not necessarily the culture or the lineage itself). So it's significant that we see offshoots of P/B in so many different places worldwide. By the same token, if we do NOT find certain styles in one part of the world that are found everywhere else, that tells us that such styles could only have developed AFTER humans migrated out of that first region.

Whatever intergroup cultural diversity we might find would therefore have no bearing on the age of a tradition, but would more likely be associated with a topography that isolated a great many groups from one another over a very long time. We find such a topography in the New Guinea highlands and many jungle regions of S. America. This type of diversity holds true much more for language, by the way, than music, because isolation tends to promote linguistic change, while musical styles, at least among non-specialized indigenous peoples, tend to remain constant. Whether kinship rules tend to change like language or remain constant like music is a question I can now ask you.

German said...

Victor, thank you for all your answers. Now, I'd like to check the worldwide distribution of glottal stops and glottalized consonants.

Linguistics has a close correlate of intergroup/intragroup diversity measures. Niger-Congo is the second largest language family in the world after Austronesian. However all these languages coalesce in proto-Niger-Congo and proto-Austronesian, hence their time depth is limited. Alternatively, America and Papua New Guinea have the largest number of linguistic families in the world (140 in America only), with relatively few languages in each one of them. But their coalescence, assuming the constant rate of lexical substitution, is much deeper than all the languages within Niger-Congo or Austronesian.
Now, America and PNG have the lowest intragroup allele diversity in the world (however, we know that PNG was peopled at least 40,000 years ago) and the highest intragroup diversity (measured by the so-called F-statistics). Tishkoff et al. are clear on that.

That's exactly where I see problems with phylogenies and the molecular clock. In genetics, all lineages are given equal weight when it comes to building trees. According to the comparativist methodology in linguistics, which is closer to cladistics in evolutionary biology, languages ("haplotypes/haplogroups") are first sorted into families/stocks/clades. The majority of African genetic lineages is found among the speakers of the largest African language family, namely Niger-Congo. The issue is with dating: in linguistics it's assumed that a family can't be more than 8,000 years old. In genetics, a haplogroup can be much older. But these are assumptions that are subject to debate both within linguistics and within genetics (can we calibrate our molecular clock using the human-chimp divergence estimate?). In fact, the earliest "clock" used by Cavalli-Sforza in genetics and Christie Turner in odontology was calibrated on the basis of the "known" entry of humans into the Americas (10-15,000 YBP).

German said...

I finished reading Nettl's paper on American Indian polyphony as well as yours from 1965. You were contemplating out of Africa on the basis of musical evidence already then.

Nettl seems to believe that polyphony is a derived feature, and he takes the rare cases of polyphony in North America to be examples of incipient polyphony. Yes, you can think that, if a trait isn't found in Africa but found elsewhere, it emerged after a population had left Africa. But you could also think that if a trait isn't found in America, it's because it's only now evolving there, while those populations that left America were stimulated by the new environment and demographic processes to evolve this trait faster. In the same way, PaleoIndians invented bifacial projectile points 10,000 years after very similar ones had appeared in Europe (Solutre).

Taking into account that monophony is widely distributed across the globe, including Australia (a reality check for antiquity, IMO), I have troubles accepting the simple polyphony to monophony argument. I can see how polyphony has survived in pockets in Europe. In kinship terminologies, Basques and Kartvelians represent similar pockets and their kinship systems may well be called "Old European." At the same time, Saami preserved another very ancient kinship system, which is different from Basque, Kartvelian and Indo-European and may also represent an "Old European" heritage. In the end, there should be a special "history of refugia": in the past 10,000 years polyphony was marginalized by monophony, but 40,000 years it was monophony that got pushed away into the pockets such as Australia.

This said, I like yours and Jordania's approach to the problem. There's definitely much truth in the "loss of markedness" method. In the 1970s Austronesian linguists and anthropologists debated the evolutionary pathways of a single segment of Austronesian kinship terminologies. Linguists won the argument because they showed elegantly how a marked structure dissipated into a myriad of simple structures through independent reduction. Robert Blust used phonological examples for comparison. Anthropologists, instead, were building very hefty evolutionary models from simple to complex. (I later found even more marked structures in America and Papua New Guinea, though.)

At the same time, however, kinship systems show clear "simple to complex" transformations as well. That's why my evolutionary model of human kinship terminologies encompasses both simplification clines (with the geographic distribution of corresponding structures) and complexification clines.

What monophonic style is the most marked? Can we identify the most and the least marked monophonic styles? Or monophonic music is "simple" by definition?

German said...

Corrigenda:

In my first comment today instead of "Now, America and PNG have the lowest intragroup allele diversity in the world (however, we know that PNG was peopled at least 40,000 years ago) and the highest intragroup diversity (measured by the so-called F-statistics)" read "Now, America and PNG have the lowest INTRAgroup allele diversity in the world (however, we know that PNG was peopled at least 40,000 years ago) and the highest INTERgroup diversity (measured by the so-called F-statistics)."

DocG said...

Hi German. I'm still playing catchup with your questions. Here are some more responses:

"The author mentions that polyphony is rare in North America but also reports witnessing a Pomo Indian performance in which women suddenly started their own melody parallel but distinct from men's. She raises the question of potential European influence on American Indian music that resulted in the adoption of polyphony."

Accidental polyphony can occur occasionally in a unison tradition. Usually the "error" is quickly corrected and everyone gets back on track. European influence is usually pretty easy to spot, because it's always associated with some typical European style. I'd need to hear the particular performance to tell. However, my experience is that while European influence may lead to Amerindian people singing polyphonic hymns and such, they tend to revert to unison when singing their traditional songs. In other words, unison is recognized as a meaningful stylistic feature, and any deviation from it is seen as an error. In my experience, it's only when a conscious effort is made by "professionals" to "enhance" such traditions that we find the deliberate use of polyphony in an otherwise unison context.

"Also does cantometrics measure the composition of singing/performing groups (unisex, men vs, women, older vs. younger?) and, if yes, are these variables intrinsic part of the classification system or they fall under "social context"?"

Good question. The basic Cantometric system does not permit the encoding of gender or age differences, though such information was often noted (where available) and can in many cases be retrieved. A supplementary coding sheet was created by Theodore Graeme and myself, at Lomax's request, and that enabled the encoding of group size, gender, and much more detailed information on instruments. Almost every song in the original database was encoded on the supplementary as well as the basic coding sheet. However, the updated and modernized version of the database as it presently exists does not include data from the supplementary sheet. As I understand it that dataset is yet to be made available.

"In Nattiez's paper that you referenced on a number of occasions, Inuit throat singing takes place among women (men are hunting)."

Yes, it appears always to have been a women's tradition, orginally associated with shamanistic rituals designed to insure a successful outcome while the men were out hunting. The use of some variant of P/B among non-P/B groups is often associated with especially important sacred rituals such as this.

DocG said...

German: "Niger-Congo is the second largest language family in the world after Austronesian. However all these languages coalesce in proto-Niger-Congo and proto-Austronesian, hence their time depth is limited. Alternatively, America and Papua New Guinea have the largest number of linguistic families in the world (140 in America only), with relatively few languages in each one of them. But their coalescence, assuming the constant rate of lexical substitution, is much deeper than all the languages within Niger-Congo or Austronesian."

Niger-Congo and Austronesian, interestingly enough, have very similar histories. The distribution patterns of both are thought to be the result of relatively recent population expansions associated with the spread of agriculture. Indo-European, oddly enough, has a very similar history in Europe and west Asia, over a roughly similar time period. In all three cases it's generally assumed that the language family of the "invaders" displaced older families that have, for the most part, been lost. For this reason, the coalescence time of all three families doesn't really tell us much about the deepest layers of history in these three regions.

"America and Papua New Guinea have the largest number of linguistic families in the world (140 in America only), with relatively few languages in each one of them. But their coalescence, assuming the constant rate of lexical substitution, is much deeper than all the languages within Niger-Congo or Austronesian."

See above. With the coming of the Austronesians, many of the Papuans fled to the highlands, where their older languages have been preserved to this day. Something similar may have happened to preserve very old language families in S. America as well, thanks to the heavily forested jungles, which could serve as refuge areas. North America, by the way, does not have anything like the linguistic diversity that S. America has, possibly because there are far fewer effective refuge areas, but possibly also due to its very different history (see my Echoes paper for details -- Oppenheimer sees S. America as "older" than N. America, which could have been depopulated by the glacial maximum and then repopulated thousands of years later after it melted).

German: "Now, America and PNG have the lowest intragroup allele diversity in the world (however, we know that PNG was peopled at least 40,000 years ago) and the highest intragroup diversity (measured by the so-called F-statistics). Tishkoff et al. are clear on that."

[Thatlast "intragroup" should read as "intergroup" according to German's correction in his most recent post.]

I get impatient when people generalize about Papua New Guinea, because first of all there are important differences between the highland and coastal groups, and also important differences, cultural, physical and musical, among the various highland groups. The musical differences are especially important because they enable us to formulate hypotheses regarding the history of the various groups that can then be tested genetically. Not only has such testing not yet been done, but my impression is that relatively few PNG groups have been sampled genetically in sufficient numbers. Most of the in-depth studies appear to have been done by Friedlaender, who concentrated on island Melanesia. What you say about PNG intragroup diversity is interesting, but I'd appreciate it if you would provide a source, because as far as I can see, this is a part of the world that is still relatively little known.

As far as the Americas, as with the languages I have a feeling you'll see very different intergroup diversities between American north and south of the Rio Grande, differences that Oppenheimer was able to explain (on a background of ooA) and that fit the musical evidence remarkably well.

DocG said...

German: "Nettl seems to believe that polyphony is a derived feature, and he takes the rare cases of polyphony in North America to be examples of incipient polyphony."

This interpretation reflects the older view among musicologists that polyphony, being a more "advanced" and presumably more desirable type of music must "naturally" have evolved from solo and unison traditions. The assumption being that once tribal people hear the wonderful effects of harmonizing, if only by accident, they will consciously strive to add harmonic parts from then on. If that were the case, then after all these many thousand years, every tribal group would now be singing polyphonically. (Ironically, that IS in fact what's happening now, but not for the reasons offered by Nettl.)

It's essential as I see it to grasp the very fundamental principle that has traditionally driven just about every single indigenous society, which is to at all costs maintain a historical continuity with the ancestors. "If the ancestors sang it that way, then we will sing it that way." The sort of aesthetic considerations so valued in the West have no role to play in such societies. Such considerations can certainly play a role, but only in societies where music has become a specialization and professional or semi-professional musicians emerge who must compete with one another for attention and survival.

"Yes, you can think that, if a trait isn't found in Africa but found elsewhere, it emerged after a population had left Africa. But you could also think that if a trait isn't found in America, it's because it's only now evolving there,"

Anything is possible -- but as I write in my paper, we must respect two of the most important principles of modern science, the principle of sufficient reason and Occam's Razor. Survival of traditional practices plus changes wrought to those practices due to subsequent events provides sufficient reason for the patterns of diversity we currently find -- and is also by far the simplest explanation.

The notion that certain traditions evolved in such and such a way for no particular reason and did not evolve elsewhere for no particular reason and that certain traditions could have independently and accidentally converged to produce patterns that look meaningful but are in fact due to entirely random coincidences, is neither a sufficient nor a sufficiently simple explanation to pass either test.

"In the same way, PaleoIndians invented bifacial projectile points 10,000 years after very similar ones had appeared in Europe (Solutre)."

This is probably a legitimate instance of convergent evolution, which is certainly possible. However, if a simpler explanation were to appear that took all the evidence into account and provided a sufficient reason for all the similarities, then that explanation would, from a strictly scientific viewpoint, have to be, at least provisionally, accepted.

"Taking into account that monophony is widely distributed across the globe, including Australia (a reality check for antiquity, IMO), I have troubles accepting the simple polyphony to monophony argument."

Actually the distribution of both monophony and polyphony is highly structured, with large areas of traditional culture in Asia and Europe that are almost exclusively solo or unison and other areas where polyphonic singing is commonly found, also among very traditional people.

But ultimately it all boils down to whether or not you can accept my argument that the music of our earliest common ancestors must have been some form of P/B, which is certainly polyphonic. If that is the case, then the direction of musical evolution would have to have been, at least at first, from polyphony to monophony. The next question would be: once monophony is "achieved," how likely is it that polyphony could once again emerge? And while no one knows the answer to this question for sure, all the evidence strongly suggests an evolution in one direction only.

DocG said...

German: "I can see how polyphony has survived in pockets in Europe. In kinship terminologies, Basques and Kartvelians represent similar pockets and their kinship systems may well be called "Old European." At the same time, Saami preserved another very ancient kinship system, which is different from Basque, Kartvelian and Indo-European and may also represent an "Old European" heritage. In the end, there should be a special "history of refugia": in the past 10,000 years polyphony was marginalized by monophony, but 40,000 years it was monophony that got pushed away into the pockets such as Australia."

Interesting point. But as I see it, Australia is monophonic for totally different reasons than the reasons why certain refuge areas in Europe remained polyphonic. The historical dynamics were totally different. Admittedly the explanations I've offered can seem pretty far fetched. But they are also for the most part testable, which is more than one can say for many another "crackpot" theory. :-)

German: "This said, I like yours and Jordania's approach to the problem. There's definitely much truth in the "loss of markedness" method."

I find it interesting that "loss of markedness" in phonological terms might parallel something similar in musical terms. But I must add that I am very skeptical of anything that smacks of a universal principle. Evolution from polyphony to monophony is meaningful to me because it appears to fit the evidence and because the dynamics of such an "evolution" (or if you prefer "devolution") make sense. However, it is not so much my intention to uncover universal principles as to recreate the contingencies that produced real events at specific points in the human past.

German: "In the 1970s Austronesian linguists and anthropologists debated the evolutionary pathways of a single segment of Austronesian kinship terminologies. Linguists won the argument because they showed elegantly how a marked structure dissipated into a myriad of simple structures through independent reduction. Robert Blust used phonological examples for comparison. Anthropologists, instead, were building very hefty evolutionary models from simple to complex. (I later found even more marked structures in America and Papua New Guinea, though.)"

Interesting. Thanks for that info.

"At the same time, however, kinship systems show clear "simple to complex" transformations as well."

That's why I am wary of universals.

"That's why my evolutionary model of human kinship terminologies encompasses both simplification clines (with the geographic distribution of corresponding structures) and complexification clines."

Why not? It's important to follow the evidence, above all else.

"What monophonic style is the most marked? Can we identify the most and the least marked monophonic styles? Or monophonic music is "simple" by definition?"

If we compare polyphony with monophony then it seems clear that polyphony is the marked "term." However, monophony can be extremely complex and nuanced, especially when it takes the form of solo singing, but also in certain types of highly developed heterophony. And in P/B we find a really elegant conflation of polyphony, heterophony, unison, antiphony, interlock, hocket, and even solo singing. Which is why I always take universal categories with a grain of salt. They can be useful, but they can also be extremely misleading.

German said...

Victor,

I'm writing from the International Conference on Historical Linguistics, where I'm presenting as part of a panel on kinship. Last night I talked with Chris Ehret about Khoisan clicks. He does believe that clicks must have been part of the original human sound system and then they were lost from all languages other than Khoisan.

I didn't find his argument convincing (plus he doesn't seem too committed to it: "I haven't been there, so I don't know"), since 1) I can't believe something truly archaic can survive in a single language family; 2) if a linguistic feature is declared unstable, it should've been washed out of ALL languages including Khoisan; 3) the argument for the antiquity of clicks is a circular one: if they're found in one family, they must be survivals) but at least you have a linguist's opinion that fits the OOAf model as presented in genetic publications.

Although I'm fascinated by your P/B style, I can't accept it as stated unless you create an alternative evolutionary scenario based on musical evidence, so I can compare apples to apples and see why OOAf best fits the evidence. There must have been some kind of evolution within the polyphonic style, not just survival in Africa and loss elsewhere.

So far I sense that one could derive P/B from South American canonic-echoic by allowing a certain build-up of features on top of a form of primitive heterophony. This would explain both throat singing and P/B. Plus I would keep monophony as a proto-human style as well but show how certain monophonic forms derive from others. Then I would give examples of both monophony to polyphony and polyphony to monophony transitions due to contact, etc.

When it comes to linguistic diversity, yes, it's assumed by some scholars that Niger-Congo, Austronesian and Indo-European absorbed some pre-agricultural populations and made their languages so extinct. This is a hypothesis, which, however, despite years of research hasn't been proven. There's no doubt some languages go away, whether under pressures from neighbors or from the environment. In the Americas, hundreds of languages went extinct because of European contact, with no records or names surviving. We know from tribal lore that some hunter-gatherer languages had gone extinct even before Europeans arrived.

However in order to argue that, in the Pleistocene, Africa and Europe had similar diversity levels to America in 1492, this argument is a bit too generic. One would need to demonstrate that the spread of Niger-Congo did indeed result in the extinction of dozens of unique language isolates and small families.

Just recently Julliette Blevins showed proof that some Andaman languages such as Onge are related to Austronesian. This makes it possible that "negrito" groups in SE Asia have always been Austronesian in language, too. This means that the hypothesis of a sizable "pre-Austronesian" or "pre-Niger-Congo" linguistic population, which has been completely lost, may very well be a myth.

More later.

Maju said...

One would need to demonstrate that the spread of Niger-Congo did indeed result in the extinction of dozens of unique language isolates and small families.

You can't demonstrate that German. The languages are dead and were never written nor recorded.

But it's quite clear to me that the fact that Pygmies lack of their own language (while being a totally distinct group or groups from Bantus) and that Hadza speak a click non-Khoisan language, plus other issues like the doubts on wether Omotic is Afroasiatic, do suggest that before the "recent" spread of Niger-Kongo and Afroasiatic, linguistic diversity was much larger in Africa than it is now.

Anyhow it'd be impossible that there was not such high diversity even in your hypothesis of an American origin because I don't know when you want to place the migrations but surely, considering the very old archaeological evidence, it must have been long long long ago. Nobody would be able to to discern linguistic relationships dated to maybe 100,000 years ago, right?

German said...

You could demonstrate it by showing that, say, half of Niger-Congo languages have substrate vocabularies and grammatical features and these vocabularies and features are different from each other every time. In the same way as American Indian languages are different from each other lexically and grammatically. But these substrate words are unlikely to be found en masse in the large African families. Yes, you could say that those languages were lost without a trace, but the parsimony method (Victor's Occam's Razor) would require considering that these very languages survived in the Americas and were progressively lost as a result of migration into Europe and Africa. Reduced linguistic diversity in Europe and Africa is the expected result of large populations. Population increase is a natural correlate of geographic expansion: the greater the distance from America, the larger were the Pleistocene populations, the greater their genetic diversity. But these European and African populations are neither particularly archaic, nor (more importantly) indigenous to their continents.

Chris Ehret has just present his reconstruction of Nilo-Saharan kinship terms, and the pattern that he uncovered for the deepest nodes of Nilo-Saharan show the vestiges of systems attested in a more complete form among Dravidian and Munda languages (and then elsewhere including America).
Whether the mtDNA lineages present in Nilo-Saharan populations are more diverse than those found outside of Africa doesn't really matter, as they are products of the greater population size of Nilo-Saharan populations, which is again natural for a family that expanded in a new continent.

I wouldn't use archaeology as a yardstick for determining the age of African language diversity. These are apples and oranges. It's a mistake to assume that archaeological evidence has any bearing on linguistic history. Sure thing, you can use as a way to explain linguistic realities away, but archaeology is a rather antiquated way to generate hypotheses about prehistory. It's a science of accidental findings and garbage pits. Complete datasets from modern human populations (kinship systems, genetics, languages, myths, teeth etc.) are better sources of knowledge about prehistory, as past should be inferred from what was passed down to the next generation, and not from what was thrown away or left behind. Archaeologists and paleobiologists should inform colleagues about their fascinating findings but they shouldn't be locking other disciplines into particular theories when these disciplines have better, more complete data derived from modern populations, whose origins we're trying to understand. A modern human behavioral package in Africa is less than 40,000 years old. All the earlier isolated instances of modern behavior recorded in Blombos Cave may reflect an independent modernization by African Homo erectus populations and not the evidence of the presence of our ancestors in Africa.

German said...

Victor: "Most of the in-depth studies appear to have been done by Friedlaender, who concentrated on island Melanesia. What you say about PNG intragroup diversity is interesting, but I'd appreciate it if you would provide a source, because as far as I can see, this is a part of the world that is still relatively little known."

German: I'm relying on Tishkoff et al. and Friendlaender et al 2008, "The Genetic Structure of Pacific Islanders" here.

Maju said...

So you're telling us, German, that Pygmies have always spoken Bantu, right?

You could demonstrate it by showing that, say, half of Niger-Congo languages have substrate vocabularies and grammatical features and these vocabularies and features are different from each other every time.

That's almost impossible. Look at the much better worked European scenario: we know that Indoeuropean languages are as recent as a few milennia overall and not much more than historical time in West Europe and Italy. But you can't demonstrated that at all. Every odd word can have a zillion possible etymologies and, if you don't know the substrate languages you can't make comaprisons.

Even when you know them, as may be the case with Basque and Iberian, you always find yourself in a criss cross fire of different interpretations.

So imagine for a less well understood region as Africa.

Anyhow it's clear to any observer that the Bantu and Afroasiatic expansions erased the diversity in Africa. There's never been anything of the like in America, much less in the areas that hold most of the alleged diversity. It is the lack of invasions what allowed variability to exist and, regardless of what you think about where humankind formed, it's obvious that some 10,000 years ago there must have been a much larger lingusitic diversity in Eurasia and of course Africa. We just can't trace its structure but fragmentarily, mostly through a handful of of written remains (that's why most extinct lingusitic families are located around the Mediterranean, where writing was used a lot earlier).

Without writing we could well imagine that Iberians were Celts, Eteocretans Greeeks, Egyptians Arabic and Sumerians maybe Iranians. But those peoples and others left a written legacy and the error of the casual observer like you is corrected. Sadly we don't have such stuff for Northern Europe or Africa south of the Sahara.

Also please consider the blatant contradiction of using Greensberg's system in Africa and rejecting it in America. It's comparing pears and oranges.

Maju said...

It's a mistake to assume that archaeological evidence has any bearing on linguistic history

I'm not saying that. I'm just saying that if people was in Africa some 100 or 170,000 years ago, then they had loads of time to develop whatever cultural features, including highly divergent languages like the various click families.

,,,but archaeology is a rather antiquated way to generate hypotheses about prehistory.

NO WAY! Archaeology is the only solid material we have about the past: we have bones, stones, pottery, several quite reliable forms of datation...

You cannot ignore archaeology. It's clear that there are blanks in many regions (much more archaeological research is needed everywhere) but you cannot discard the hard evidence just because it fits your idealism. Forsenics is often the only way to solve crimes (so they say in TV at least) and similarly archaeology and now also genetics to some extent give us unvaluable hardcore clues on the past.

Who write on prehistory ignoring archaeology are mere fools.

Complete datasets from modern human populations (kinship systems, genetics, languages, myths, teeth etc.) are better sources of knowledge about prehistory...

Obviously computers and nuclear energy must be a better source to understand how Cromagnons made fire and dressed. Sure, whatever... :?

German said...

Maju: "So you're telling us, German, that Pygmies have always spoken Bantu, right?"

German: Roger Blench, a linguist, has an article in which he criticizes the idea that Pygmies "must" have had their own languages and that they "must" represent an archaic hunter-gathering population. His point is that it's an assumption for which there're very few linguistic reasons. Scientists had begun thinking of Pygmies as "archaic" well before any "long-branches" were detected in their mtDNA. It's a stereotype, for which there's no support in archaeology, linguistics or kinship studies. It receives support from Victor's musicology, which is interesting, but we should keep our eyes open for other interpretations. (They may not have been Bantu but spoke another Niger-Congo language). If you look at South and South-East Asia, all those "short aborigines" in Andaman Islands, Borneo and the Philippines are nothing else but various temporal offshoots of a single expanding Austronesian population. (For Andaman languages being related to Austronesian see the influential work by Julliette Blevins from Max-Planck). We should be prepared to accept the same scenario for African Pygmies. As Niger-Congo and Nilo-Saharan were expanding across the African continent (including the most recent Bantu expansion), they spawned several splinter groups who entered the tropical forest and developed physical and molecular distinctiveness. They may have preserved some of the earliest Niger-Congo musical traditions and even further elaborated on them.

On the other hand, there're a bunch of African groups (including Hadza, Laal, Jalaa and some others) that probably do represent remnants of a Late Stone Age population. They just don't receive the same kind of attention as the Pygmies.

Blench, Roger M. 1999. Are the African pygmies an ethnographic fiction? In: Central African hunter-
gatherers in a multi-disciplinary perspective: challenging elusiveness. K. Biesbrouck, S. Elders & G. Rossel eds. 41-60. Leiden: Centre for Non-Western Studies.

Maju said...

I feel someone hanging from a burning nail.

If you can't see why Pygmies are obviously distinct from Bantus (and other African and non-African peoples) you are just blind. Of course genetics and musicology and archaeology strongly support this antiquity and distinctiveness of the Pygmies as a separate branch but it's obvious even from the "primitive science" of anthropometry and also the more meaningful cultural anthropology: they look clearly different in everything.

German said...

Pleistocene archaeology is incapable of generating testable theories. The further in the past you go, the fuzzier it becomes. It's the same as with lexical comparison in linguistics: there's plenty of support for Indo-European and very little for Amerind. The signal is not strong enough. For instance, archaeology hasn't found pre-Clovis in Siberia and there's no archaeological evidence for humans colonizing the Americas from North-East Asia, East Asia or Mongolia. And by "evidence" I mean a couple of sites dated from a couple of thousand years before Clovis in America that would feature a Clovis-type toolkit and a couple of skulls with Australo-Melanesian features. And this is still a relatively recent time-frame. Pleistocene archaeology can't support its own theoretical illusions. It's a hit-or-miss science, it's great as long as it's aware of its limits. But then people like Fiedel and Haynes harass American field archaeologists making them go out of their way to prove a little thing about Monte-Verde or coprolites in Oregon. (In Africa, on the other hand, anything counts as a great discovery with far-reaching implications for human evolution. Talk about a "double-standard.") This "Clovis police" should leave their comfy offices, pack their stuff and go off to Siberia to search for pre-Clovis there. The Russians will gladly issue them a couple of shovels on the banks of the Kolyma. In Pleistocene American archaeology the scientific methodology is perverted: unless pre-Clovis is found in Siberia, nobody should claim that American Indians are only 12,000 years old. The fact that this nonsense is made look like "hard science" has confused everybody from geneticists to musicologists who simply don't look at America as capable of offering anything important for understanding human dispersals in the Old World.

Ironically, in linguistics the stringent methodological criteria are working against people who wish American Indians were a young population. Greenberg made a strategic mistake by trying to tie Amerind to 12,000 years. Had he said that Amerind is 50,000 years old, he wouldn't have faced the ostracism but a far milder critique. The reason why his method worked in Africa is precisely because the age and the size of African populations haven't obliterated the traces of the relationship between languages.

Maju said...

Pleistocene archaeology is incapable of generating testable theories.

Uh, why? Anyhow in science there's no such thing as a definitive theory: all you can do is falsify them... or not. Non-falsifiable theories are good enough, the rest is junk (or at best: respectable but obsolete).

It's the same as with lexical comparison in linguistics: there's plenty of support for Indo-European and very little for Amerind.

That's only logical because Amerind should be like 20,000 years old, 3-4 times older than IE. There's no other such old linguistic family, I think, hence it's "weakness". Also IE has been studied like no other linguistic family too for obvious eurocentric cultural reasons.

For instance, archaeology hasn't found pre-Clovis in Siberia...

AFAIK Clovis should have evolved in Beringia, not Siberia. Anyhow, Siberian archaeology is very limited and mostly to the rather rich Altai area. Lack of evidence is not evidence of lack in such a weakly researched context.

...there's no archaeological evidence for humans colonizing the Americas from North-East Asia, East Asia or Mongolia.

AFAIK there's some evidence for Beringia being the origin of the three waves: Amerind, Clovis/Na-Dene and Inuit. But it's not my pet interest so I may even be wrong.

What is clear is that there is no archaeological evidence for human presence in America before, say, 20,000 years ago. What is pretty recent.

I am in favor of pre-Clovis models (which seem to have finally gone mainstream, thanks partly to genetics). So I don't think you'll prove anything just by arguing against Clovis-first ideas, which have already been demolished.

The reason why his method worked in Africa is precisely because the age and the size of African populations haven't obliterated the traces of the relationship between languages.

No. It's because Africa has suffered major recent migrations that have widely simplified the linguistic structure of the continent, much like most of Eurasia (but not the marginal areas of Australasia and America before Modern Age). In Africa today there are two major linguistic families: Afroasiatic and Niger-Kongo (and Indoeuropean in some places now too). The rest are remnants. In Europe there's only one of such relevance - and for the same reasons.

Obviously the dominance of IE in Europe or South Asia has nothing to do with the prehistoric linguistic diversity: it's a recent phenomenon.

Amerind is valid but is necesarily older than just 12 ky. It's probably the reflection of the early colonization of America some 20-15 kya. Nothing to do with Clovis, that was surely spread by Na-Dene peoples.

DocG said...

For the benefit of any innocent bystanders poring through this thread, German is the author of a book called "The Genius of Kinship," based on an extensive research project involving the comparison of kinship systems and terminology worldwide. On the basis of his research on both kinship and comparative linguistics, he's become convinced that the most likely locus for the origin of modern humans is not Africa, but somewhere in the Americas.

Like proponents of the so-called "multiregional" model of modern human origins, he is skeptical of the mainstream genetic research supporting the Out of Africa, or OOA model. However, since the multiregional model is also quite different from his, he rejects their interpretations as well.

Since virtually all anthropologists, archaeologists, geneticists, etc. are in agreement that the Americas were the last continents to be settled by modern humans, he is really going out on a limb, with a theory that is about as marginal, and maverick, as one can get. I'm curious about his ideas, nevertheless, and eager to read his book, which he's offered to send me, and will have more to say about his theories after I've had a chance to go over it.

All I'll add for now is that my approach, as unconventional as it is, is nevertheless consistent with the mainstream of the OOA theory, as supported by almost all current genetic research, and much of the archaeology as well. German, on the other hand, is taking an approach that is totally inconsistent with just about everything else that's ever been done in his field. I respect him for his bravery and independence and am willing to consider his ideas, especially since I have a feeling he's come up with a fresh approach to kinship that could be important, regardless of whether his principal theory actually has something to it or not. If he's right, and humans do have their origin in the Americas, this would certainly be a major revolution in Anthropology, so his ideas are worth considering.

As for Maju, he's sitting in the middle of all this insanity, shaking his head, trying to keep both of us honest.

Maju said...

As for Maju, he's sitting in the middle of all this insanity, shaking his head, trying to keep both of us honest.

Thanks, that's a generous comment.

I must say that while I have some questions (not really differences, just open question marks) re. some aspects your research, I am rather upset and outraged at German's standing (not his raw research, which may be perfectly valid but his "extremist" conclusions).

I can't understand how someone who claims to have a scientific approach is going against so much scientific evidence just because of stubborn pre-conception on how kinship structures must have developed.

I believe he'd be much better off, much more credible, if he actually tried to fit all the pieces of the puzzle on their own merits and not just forcing all that disagrees with his one-sided model into it. Obviously that's not the way to successful puzzle-solving.

That's what you do, Victor, and I admire you for it. You may be unconventional but clearly scientific: serious, methodical, flexible, integrative.

But on German's hypothesis I can't but shake my head and even grab it with my hands in desperation. He reminds me more of Flatearthists or Creationists than any sort of scientific researcher, conventional or not. Sorry but someone has to say it.

German said...

Luis/Maju and I have been kicking the ball around for quite some time now. I don't think we've advanced anywhere.

The irony of the situation (the way I see it) is that science has offered NO archaeological proof of humans settling the Americas and it easily admits the fact that this proof does NOT exist (in the words of Luis, an interpreter of science, "Clovis should have evolved in Beringia, not Siberia. Anyhow, Siberian archaeology is very limited and mostly to the rather rich Altai area. Lack of evidence is not evidence of lack in such a weakly researched context.") I've heard the same recognition from several other preeminent/respectable professional archaeologists. Taken at face value, and all lame excuses aside, there's no evidence of an archaological complex antecedent to the earliest known American one, ever found in Siberia, Beringia, East Asia, or along the coast. At the same time, all scientists have become convinced that the hard data supporting an entry into the Americas is widely available. When geneticists entered the field of prehistoric play, they followed archaeologists in assuming America is the "most recently peopled continent", interpreted the reduced haplotype and allele diversity found in America as a sign of its young age. Then, they observed that Africa has the greatest haplotype and allele diversity, and concluded that it must be the earliest continent.

Luis further simplifies the situation by saying that Clovis-I has been dismantled (especially by geneticists), while in fact publications from different labs attest to the fact that geneticists are torn between assigning a recent entry to the Americas to make their data consistent with archaeology and assigning a much older data but still not too old because "we know America was peopled later than other consinents."

There's too much controversy in the actual data, and it's too early to settle on a "story" unless we are willing to believe in myths. Luis/Maju wants to believe that this story is out there. I disagree emphatically because I read the data vertically (from language through kinship through genes through teeth and skulls to archaeology) and critically (if the authors of an article conclude one thing, their own data may show something different and equally if not more possible).

Of course I'm not a creationist (the many proponents of Clovis I are creationists because they believe 140 indigenous language stocks of America were literally created, together with Clovis-type tools, in an Atlantis-like Beringian or other refuge) but I do take science literally and seriously: if you claim on archaeological grounds that humans settled America from Siberia at 12,000 years, show me the material, final, conclusive proof thereof. If this proof doesn't exist, allow all other possible scenarios to flourish before all evidence is ligned up in favor of this or a radically different theory.

Human origins research is the last island of myth-making in the knowledge industry, as far as I can see. Geneticists believe that archaeologists have a "proof", musicologists believe geneticists have a "proof". In the end, all new knowledge is made consistent with the old knowledge but the original premise remains untested. That's how myth works. Everybody is convinced.

Thanks Victor for your balanced introduction to my ideas.

German said...

One interesting thing I've noticed about Luis/Maju's perspective is that he believes that Na-Dene speakers, as they expanded, carried with them Clovis-type points and that the age of this family is 10-11,000 years. This flies in the face of what most historical linguists would argue. They would say that a language family detected with the use of the standard comparative method can't be that old. Na-Dene is usually dated at 4-5,000 years. It's assumed that Na-Dene replaced earlier languages in the Subarctic. Notably enough, no traces of these substrate languages have ever been detected. The situation is similar to the substrate argument put forth for Niger-Congo or Indo-European. Supposedly, as a result of the expansion of Niger-Congo pre-existing African language diversity was lost. Those language replacement ideas Luis/Maju supports.

I happen to agree with Luis/Maju when it comes to Na-Dene. There's no reason to disbelieve that Na-Dene is of the age of Clovis. This is especially true because of the Ket-Na-Dene connection. Na-Dene languages occupy the geographic area that was covered by ice during the Ice Age. As the ice retreated, a population movement began and the area was colonized. Today this population is described as "Na-Dene" in linguistic terms.

Archaeologically, we have a clear signal of a northward spread of Clovis points into Alaska. The dates are unambiguous. Older Clovis type points are south of the ice shield, younger dates are in the north. (I'm not talking about Nenana, which is contemporaneous with Clovis.) the only Clovis-type (or more properly fluted) projectile point ever found in Siberia belongs with the Uptar site which is 8,600 years old, which is AFTER Clovis). This may mean that Na-Dene languages spread into the Subarctic from the south and not the other way around. As a result of this northward movement, one language went all the way into Siberia and became known as the Yeniseian (sub)family (Ket, Kott, etc.) Kinship systems are in agreement with this, showing a dramatic collapse of Na-Dene kin categories in Ket. Na-Dene kinship systems are very Amerindian in their basic features, which suggests, again, that Na-Dene is not a Siberian offshoot in American Subarctic. Genetically, Kets show Q Y-DNA lineage, which is more common in America than elsewhere, but no C lineage, which is quite common in Na-Dene and ideally we would love to have it in the Kets. mtDNA show no special connection between Na-Dene and Ket.

The reason I'm jutting this scenario down here is that this is pretty much all we can say about the 12,000 year horizon between Siberia and America using several interdisciplinary data points. A similar story can be told about Chukchee and Koryaks in Beringia, but it's less interesting. We're left with all the 140 "Amerind" stocks intact in the Americas (with a different diversity landscape, of course, as some Amerind subfamilies are relatively young, while other languages were around In the Pleistocene but not now). We've only worked out a hypothetical story involving one single Amerindian language family.

Of course we need to have a "big picture" in mind, but a reality check every now and then won't hurt. Our quick reality check makes us doubt the belief that only relatively young language families can be detected using standard comparative method. It makes us doubt glottochronology and its assumption that rates of lexical substitution are the same for every language family. It makes us dismiss Greenberg's dating of Na-Dene as 5,000 years old and Amerind as 12,000 years old. And it makes us seriously doubt that archaeology has found everything it could find in the Americas. And finally the only case study for a Siberian-American connection that we can build using all the data at hand shows that the data favors an out-of-America migration.

Maju said...

... if you claim on archaeological grounds that humans settled America from Siberia at 12,000 years...

I don't. I think that people settled America from Beringia between 20,000 and 15,000 years ago. I also think that they mostly followed the coastal route along the Pacific Ocean. I understand that there is zero evidence for anything older.

Siberia is related, no doubt, but not the main issue.

...

The African origin is blatantly clear in haploid genetics: lineages are organized in a tree (or if you prefer sets and subsets). And Eurasia is always a subset of Africa and America a subset of Eurasia (if you see it as tree, Eurasia has some branches from the African trunk and America some smaller branches from Eurasian ones).

If genetics would suggest otherwise, I have no doubt that geneticists would contend with archaeologists (in fact too often their interpretations are detached of any archaeological correlation, though this is improving somewhat). The early geneticists' claim of some "Iberian refuge" that has nothing to do with archaeology (would be Franco-Cantabrian refuge in fact) can still be found in too many places, causing confusion. And this is only one example. But both specialities do try to improve their perception learning from each other more and more.

This flies in the face of what most historical linguists would argue. They would say that a language family detected with the use of the standard comparative method can't be that old.

Well, that's something that this famous Russian linguist (what's his name) claimed somewhat arbitrarily, maybe trying to put limits to the disparaging and too often fruitless efforts to reconstruct "superfamilies" like Nostratic and the like. Anyhow, when asked why, he replied: "because I think so". It's just a qualified opinion.

Whatever the case, Afroasiatic is also near that limit of c. 10,000 years old and is in spite of it a widely accepted linguistic family. Na-Dené would be also that old more or less, I guess, but still a quite certain relative has been found in Siberia: Ket. Amerindian, if real, would also be older than the 10,000 BP "barrier" but for some it is a quite likely family (or superfamily if you wish).

Notably enough, no traces of these substrate languages have ever been detected.

Push the brakes. Substrate languages would have an influence is there is a creolization: a native people changes language (for example the Pygmies or, in a more recent case, the English). But what if most of the process is mere population replacement as probably happened in paleolithic conditions? Also it is extremely difficult to locate old substrates. I often find myself disagreeing with people about what is substrate and what is IE in Europe, for instance (things like is "ur" Celtic for water or is it in fact Basque?). Linguistics is a most slippery science and most conclusions will necesarily be subjective.

Maju said...

(continues from above)

...

What you say about Na-Dené and Clovis is very interesting anyhow. A Beringian (or otherwise North American) back-migration into Siberia is not unthinkable in any case (but changes nothing fundamental).

It makes us doubt glottochronology and its assumption that rates of lexical substitution are the same for every language family.

I can agree with that too. I have always thought that different conditions would cause more rapid or slower change. Languages can certainly be very much hybridized, at least in vocabulary but I think even in grammar up to a point. For example the Spanish spoken by Basques would not just incorporate many many Basque words (intact or modified) but also alter the SVO structure into OSV and others. In general, I think that isolated groups are the most conservative and creolization instead the most innovative. So there should be a variety of speed lanes for real glottochronolgy.

And it makes us seriously doubt that archaeology has found everything it could find in the Americas.

Of course not. But there's no evidence or indication so far for any human population anywhere before 20,000 (most would say 15,000) BP. Asia and Africa also need much deeper archaeological research but there the evidence is for much older dates.

German said...

Good to see we agree on something, Luis. However I have to reiterate that non-African genetic diversity is NOT a subset of African diversity. This is the idea that was popular after Tishkoff et al. 1996, at a time when people thought that African mtDNA M and N lineages are ancestral to non=-African M and N lineages. Since then it's been proven otherwise. Read the following: "A novel DNA sequence database for analyzing human demographic history," by Jeffrey D. Wall et al.// Genome Research 18 (2008) in which the "subset" idea is refuted for autosomes and SNPs.

The best way to visualize available genetic evidence is to imagine 4 circles of different colors. Africa is the largest circle, America is the smallest, all others are in between. All circles overlap with each other to a varying degree. My theory predicts that the smallest circle has largely preserved the Pleistocene levels and patterns of diversity and hasn't participated in the gene flow connecting all other circles. All other circles have experienced a steady and fast population growth with Africa being ahead of everybody in the rates of growth and gene flow. This is a natural assumption for a continent the colonization of which has required the greatest amount of human resources of all. America harbors a few residual lineages from all the circles (C and D from "M", B, X and A from N/R in mtDNA terms; C and P/Q in Y-DNA) but African. The Old World almost lost all the original lineages found in America (they're still present but at low frequencies everywhere), while Africa lost all of them. When lineages are lost the frequency spectrum is filled with new lineages.

There's very little evidence for a coastal migration into the Americas. It's just a story people started telling when they couldn't find support for a traditional inland route(s) of migration into the Americas and when "suddenly" they discovered that Paleoindian skulls were like Australo-Melanesian ones. This doesn't mean that people didn't move along the coast in the Old World and in the New World but all the signals that we have are not enough to connect the two coasts into one route of migration. Linguists note a special connection between grammatical features around the Pacific Rim and Johanna Nichols believes this represent a later migration into the Americas, but there's nothing that indicates that the direction is from coastal Asia to America and not the other way around. Plus she also believes that these very grammatical features are older than those found in Africa.

Finally, archaeology is an open-ended project: tomorrow an accidental find may turn the tables upside down. Once again, it doesn't matter if "evidence" of human occupation in the Americas older than 12,000 years is currently unavailable or is not up to standards. What's important is that there's no archaeological evidence for the human colonization of the Americas from Siberia, East Asia or elsewhere. This means humans were in the Americas for as long as we can imagine. When this is proven otherwise, then there will be room for talking. Sometimes antiquity is manifested in archaeological finds, sometimes in language diversity.

Under my hypothesis, America will show archaeological signatures different and more "primitive" than what we're used to by looking at European Paleolithic or African Late Stone Age. We need a different measuring stick. The lack of microblade industries in the Americas (with some exceptions in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska), which are otherwise attested in Eurasia and Africa since 20,000 years and the seemingly independent and late invention of fluted projectile points suggests precisely that the American archaeological record doesn't follow the conventional expectatations. Add low population density, high reliance on soft technologies (only 20% of tools in a historical hunter-gatherer tribe are lithics) and a bias against the antiquity of man in America and you'll have a perfectly good euristic as to why American Pleistocene record is so poor.

DocG said...

German: "This is the idea that was popular after Tishkoff et al. 1996, at a time when people thought that African mtDNA M and N lineages are ancestral to non=-African M and N lineages. Since then it's been proven otherwise. Read the following: "A novel DNA sequence database for analyzing human demographic history," by Jeffrey D. Wall et al.// Genome Research 18 (2008) in which the "subset" idea is refuted for autosomes and SNPs."

I just took a look at this paper. It's quite technical and I can't pretend to understand most of it. However, if you look at the conclusions you'll see the following: "As a consequence of intensive studies of human diversity over
the past two decades, the broad brush strokes of human demographic
history are now apparent (Garrigan and Hammer 2006).
Still there are many unanswered questions concerning past
changes in population size and structure. For example, how
many and how severe were bottlenecks associated with human
migrations out of Africa;" etc. As you can see, the authors are not claiming to refute OOA, but rather pointing to certain "unanswered questions" that require further study. I know of some other papers by well known OOA opponents, such as Wolpoff, Templeton et al., that do claim to refute OOA, but such claims have been convincingly refuted as far as I can tell. And I know of no serious work being done in genetics based on the ideas of any of the diehard OOA skeptics. It would seem that all their efforts have been essentially negative and have not inspired further research along the same lines, probably because none is possible.

Maju said...

This is the idea that was popular after Tishkoff et al. 1996, at a time when people thought that African mtDNA M and N lineages are ancestral to non=-African M and N lineages.

How many times I have to repeat this: the idea is even more popular now, that it's clear that M and N are nothing but L3 sub-linegaes, L3 in turn is a sublineage of L3'4, L3'4 of L3'4'6, L3'4'6 of L2'3'4'6, L2'3'4'6 of L2''6, L2''6 of L1''6 and finally L1''6 of L, i.e. all mithocondrial DNA extant in humankind.

Of course all L branches at all levels, except M and N (and possibly L6, which is comparatively important in Yemen), are found only (or effectively so) in Africa.

Get updated, please.

The best way to visualize available genetic evidence is to imagine 4 circles of different colors. Africa is the largest circle, America is the smallest, all others are in between. All circles overlap with each other to a varying degree.

This is a brutal misconception. There's no "overlap" but a clear SNP-defined hierarchy.

What's important is that there's no archaeological evidence for the human colonization of the Americas from Siberia, East Asia or elsewhere.

Please! There is almost no archaeological eveidence of anything that old out of Europe and maybe some other very localized areas, where archaeological research has been much more systematic. We have huge blanks for all Asia and for Africa too. But what we know is quite older than anything in America.

So archaeology and genetics converge very well, even if we are still far from knowing all details. In fact genetics has shed some light in processes that would be otherwise quite obscure if we just followed such patchy archaeological knowledge as we have for outside Europe. Genetics complements archaeology specially where archaeology is weak.

Under my hypothesis, America will show archaeological signatures different and more "primitive" than what we're used to by looking at European Paleolithic or African Late Stone Age.

C14, thermoluminiscence, stratigraphy, etc. Those are quite objective measures.

The lack of microblade industries in the Americas (with some exceptions in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska), which are otherwise attested in Eurasia and Africa since 20,000 years and the seemingly independent and late invention of fluted projectile points suggests precisely that the American archaeological record doesn't follow the conventional expectatations.

If you're minimally familiar with East Eurasian archaeology, you should know that blades are relatively rare in all that area. A flake/pebble industry in pre-Clovis America fits perfectly with East Eurasian Upper Paleolithic.

I'd even dare to adventure that the blade tech that is Clovis actually seems to point to the role of Siberia as transmitter of a technological style that is more proper of South and West Eurasia. The key knot seems to be in Altai, where there is a very old blade technology that some claim as ancestor or at least related to Aurignacian, but the branches around it are not really known. Altai is also a likely genetic knot for the spread into (ultimately) America of West Eurasian genetics like Y-DNA Q (P-derived) and mtDNA X.

The problem is that we just know too little of the UP of Siberia east and north of Altai. But what we don't know doesn't invalidate what we do know. And what we do know points to the role of Siberia (central and eastern), as well as of Mid-East Asia (mtDNA B is not found further north anymore) in the genesis of the Beringian population ancestral to Native Americans.

DocG said...

German, you should know that the gaps you see between Asia and North America are consistent with gaps in the musicological evidence as well. There is no clear continuity of musical style between Siberia and the Americas (aside from the Siberian and Inuit "throat music" traditions we've already discussed). But I'm not sure how that would help your theory (as distinct from your skepticism), since you too claim a continuous link, but one from west to east rather than east to west.

There is another important gap in the Americas, where we find hardly any musical instruments north of the Rio Grande (except in the NW Coast) and a large variety south of the Rio Grande and into S. America, with many of these very similar to what can be found in Melanesia and SE Asia and to a lesser extent Polynesia. I don't see how that could help you either but nevertheless, the gap is there.

In both cases, the arctic gap and the instrument gap, I was excited to see that Oppenheimer's interpretation of both the genetics and the archaeology, as well as the linguistic evidence, accounted quite impressively for both. Since he knew nothing about the musical evidence, I think his interpretation deserves to be taken very seriously.

Aside from this, I urge you to accept that gaps in the continuity of hypothetical migrations as well as gaps in our knowledge generally will always exist and do not necessarily mean that mainstream interpretations are fraudulent or biased.

DocG said...

Maju: "I think that people settled America from Beringia between 20,000 and 15,000 years ago. I also think that they mostly followed the coastal route along the Pacific Ocean. I understand that there is zero evidence for anything older."

I tend to agree with Oppenheimer, who suggests that there could have been a very early migration into the Americas ca 30,000 to 20,000 ya. Essentially as I see it, this would have been a continuation and completion of the original OOA coastal migration.

There could have been a split near the Isthmus of Panama, with one group heading down the west coast and another down the east coast of S. America and a third heading up the east coast of N. America. All this prior to the glacial maximum.

With the advent of the glacial maximum, there would have been an overland exodus from N. America into either Beringia or Central and South America. Oppenheimer sees Beringia as a refuge area where various groups with different languages and cultures would have mingled for a few thousand years, possibly producing the Clovis culture and also establishing what I see as the mainstream Amerindian musical style. There would have been very few instruments because of the polar conditions in Beringia, with little in the way of vegetation to make instruments from.

After the glacial maximum receded, N. America would have been repopulated, mostly from Beringia, but also from Central America. This would explain many things, including the much greater diversity of language families in S. America than N. America, and of course also the disparity between numbers of musical instruments I mentioned earlier. The presence of instruments similar to those in Melanesia and SE Asia would represent a survival from the earliest phase of the coastal migration, prior to the glacial maximum. I find this to be a really elegant and convincing interpretation, especially because, as I said, oppenheimer knew nothing of the musical evidence.

German said...

Victor,

I completely agree with the pattern of data you refer to as the "early coastal migration" that left its traces in America. The only difference is that I reverse the direction of the migration based on kinship and linguistics, with genetics and archaeology remaining ambiguous largely due to the historical legacy of interpreting the data as indicative of the late peopling of the Americas that affected these disciplines more than others. As far as I can see, it's a matter of story-telling: you prefer to talk about an early migration into the Americas, I prefer to talk about an early migration out of the Americas but the data we're referring to is the same.

Linguistically, you have the greatest typological and genealogical diversity in the Americas and along the Pacific Rim. Kinship provided the final clue: kinship type G (sibling set) was identified at high frequencies in America (that's the marked type), then along the coast of Asia all the way down to Papua New Guinea as well as in Munda-speaking India. It's missing in Africa, although traces of it are found in Nilo-Saharan and Afroasiatic. The direct descendant of this type is pervasive in Niger-Congo.

Genetically, there's no evidence for a coastal migration from Africa through India to Australo-Melanesia. There's no linguistic similarities either. People sampled those areas for the traces of L1, L2 and L3 and didn't find them. Y-DNA doesn't suggest anything of that sort either. Khoisan click languages aren't found outside of Africa, and this is the only African linguistic trait that's specific enough to be tracked worldwide. On the other hand, we have connections between America and Oceania (B mt-DNA haplogroup), between America and Australia (Y-DNA C haplogroup) and between America and South India (Y-DNA Q haplogroup). Linguistically, we have a cluster of archaic typological features on both sides of the Pacific Rim. We have deep folkloric connections between Amazonia and Melanesia.

The data nexus is pretty dense, and it favors America and not Africa as a source of the coastal migration.

I think that there was another migration out of North America into South Siberia/Mongolia/Central Asia (43,000 BP at Kara-Bom), from which a colonization of Europe began. Luis started talking about it, but of course with a reverse vector. Using Victor's music evidence, I'd associate it with monophony. Berezkin identified a Eurasian Continental mythological area which is distinct from the African-Melanesian-African nexus.

Victor, I am compelled to talk about myth-making in the midst of science by the rather outrageous lack of any archaeological evidence for the peopling of America despite a hundred years of talking about how archaeology proved a recent Asian origin of American Indians. The climate of suspicion and distrust around early American sites that an influential group of archaeologists continues to create affects strongly the amount of financial support any pre-Clovis research receives from the funding agencies. But if you read a recent review (Bevin, American Antiquity, 2006, 71 (4)) there's not a minimal reason to believe that humans colonized the America across the Bering Strait at 12, 15, 20, 30 or 40, 000 years. Maybe they did, but how come we have no archaeological proof for this?

German said...

Victor,

I completely agree with the pattern of data you refer to as the "early coastal migration" that left its traces in America. The only difference is that I reverse the direction of the migration based on kinship and linguistics, with genetics and archaeology remaining ambiguous largely due to the historical legacy of interpreting the data as indicative of the late peopling of the Americas that affected these disciplines more than others. As far as I can see, it's a matter of story-telling: you prefer to talk about an early migration into the Americas, I prefer to talk about an early migration out of the Americas but the data we're referring to is the same.

Linguistically, you have the greatest typological and genealogical diversity in the Americas and along the Pacific Rim. Kinship provided the final clue: kinship type G (sibling set) was identified at high frequencies in America (that's the marked type), then along the coast of Asia all the way down to Papua New Guinea as well as in Munda-speaking India. It's missing in Africa, although traces of it are found in Nilo-Saharan and Afroasiatic. The direct descendant of this type is pervasive in Niger-Congo.

Genetically, there's no evidence for a coastal migration from Africa through India to Australo-Melanesia. There's no linguistic similarities either. People sampled those areas for the traces of L1, L2 and L3 and didn't find them. Y-DNA doesn't suggest anything of that sort either. Khoisan click languages aren't found outside of Africa, and this is the only African linguistic trait that's specific enough to be tracked worldwide. On the other hand, we have connections between America and Oceania (B mt-DNA haplogroup), between America and Australia (Y-DNA C haplogroup) and between America and South India (Y-DNA Q haplogroup). Linguistically, we have a cluster of archaic typological features on both sides of the Pacific Rim. We have deep folkloric connections between Amazonia and Melanesia.

The data nexus is pretty dense, and it favors America and not Africa as a source of the coastal migration.

I think that there was another migration out of North America into South Siberia/Mongolia/Central Asia (43,000 BP at Kara-Bom), from which a colonization of Europe began. Luis started talking about it, but of course with a reverse vector. Using Victor's music evidence, I'd associate it with monophony. Berezkin identified a Eurasian Continental mythological area which is distinct from the African-Melanesian-African nexus.

Victor, I am compelled to talk about myth-making in the midst of science by the rather outrageous lack of any archaeological evidence for the peopling of America despite a hundred years of talking about how archaeology proved a recent Asian origin of American Indians. The climate of suspicion and distrust around early American sites that an influential group of archaeologists continues to create affects strongly the amount of financial support any pre-Clovis research receives from the funding agencies. But if you read a recent review (Bevin, American Antiquity, 2006, 71 (4)) there's not a minimal reason to believe that humans colonized the America across the Bering Strait at 12, 15, 20, 30 or 40, 000 years. Maybe they did, but how come we have no archaeological proof for this?

German said...

Victor: I just took a look at this paper. It's quite technical and I can't pretend to understand most of it. However, if you look at the conclusions you'll see the following: "As a consequence of intensive studies of human diversity over
the past two decades, the broad brush strokes of human demographic
history are now apparent (Garrigan and Hammer 2006).
Still there are many unanswered questions concerning past
changes in population size and structure. For example, how
many and how severe were bottlenecks associated with human
migrations out of Africa;" etc. As you can see, the authors are not claiming to refute OOA, but rather pointing to certain "unanswered questions" that require further study.

German: of course, they don't. Science works within paradigms. Most scientists try to connect their interpretations to what "we already know", and only few of them are trying to understand what we don't know. Paradigm shifts (aka myth-busting) occurs relatively infrequently, most studies simply coast between what everybody knows and how new data illustrates what everybody knows in a new light. Geneticists look at the data only within the available interpretative frameworks. They tested Multiregional against Africa but they haven't tested Africa vs. America as two possible single-origin alternatives because OOAm has never been furnished to them as a testable paradigm. I'm trying to do just this.

German said...

The same paper by Wall et al. reads (p. 1356): "Figure 2 shows that sub-Saharan
African populations tend to have substantially more haplotypes
than do non-African populations and that haplotype sharing
across populations is more common in non-African populations
than in sub-Saharan African populations. Also, it appears that
non-African haplotype diversity is not a simple subset of sub-
Saharan African haplotype diversity, as had been claimed (Tishkoff
et al. 1996). Similarly, we find that non-African SNPs are not
a simple subset of African SNP diversity. For example, of those
SNPs that are exclusive to one continental group (i.e., not shared
between Africans and non-Africans), about 25% are unique to
non-Africans."

This is a refutation of Luis's interpretation of the genetic data as showing non-Africans as nested within Africans.

Also I'll adduce a quote from the Bever article referenced above:

"Making sense of the Alaskan record- regardless of what it says about the peopling of the New World- remains a paramount
research topic. Whether the different complexes
(like Nenana, Denali and Mesa) represent
different systems of adaptation, perhaps correlated with broad environmental differences,or different
functional segments within one system of adaptation,
is still a subject of debate. Whether they represent separate populations or migrations is an even trickier question to answer.How the fluted points
fit in, and whether they are part of the story at all,
is one of the longest-lasting mysteries in Alaskan
archaeology. The chronological patterning explored here provides a springboard for further
research but it says little about the peopling of the
New World. None of the dated archaeologicasl sites
in Alaska is significantly older than sites elsewhere
in the New World. Denali, Nenana, Mesa, and perhaps
even Clovis to the south, most likely represent
settled populations, with lifestyles,
adaptations,and technologies that differed greatly
from those of the first colonizing populations. The
archaeological record of late Pleistocene Alaska is
best interpreted as something other than evidence
of an initial colonization.
Why the Alaskan record remains silent on this issue is unclear."

This is an attestation that archaeology has no answer as to when and how the New World was peopled. It can hardly distinguish migrations, new adaptations or diffusion at 12,000 BP, not to mention providing an answer where the 140 Amerind language stocks came from. We're at the beginning of a journey, not at the end. An Out-of-America theory of human dispersals is as legitimate as Out-of-Africa at this stage of our knowledge.

German said...

Victor: "There is another important gap in the Americas, where we find hardly any musical instruments north of the Rio Grande (except in the NW Coast) and a large variety south of the Rio Grande and into S. America, with many of these very similar to what can be found in Melanesia and SE Asia and to a lesser extent Polynesia."

German: Yes, this is a very interesting pattern. From the folkloric perspective, America is also divided into the North American area (part of the Continental Eurasian macroarea) and South America (part of the Australo-Melanesian circle). The contrast is rather sharp, with certain motifs such as Earth-Diver not occurring in Africa, Melanesia and South America but widely distributed in North America and North Eurasia. In North America, however, "Amazonian" mythological motifs are found in several patches including the Inuits, the Plateau area, and California. You detected yodel in California and from other publications I learned that polyphony is found in the Northwest Coast, so there's a fit here.

Hand drum, a "northern" shamanic instrument is found among the Mapuche. This is a unique occurrence of this instrument in South America. It's an intriguing case of diffusion or migration going the other way. Do the Mapuche have any kind of throat singing or monophonic music?

Kinship data also shows a contrast between North and South America but like myths there're patches of "South America" all the way to the Inuits.

I've never really figured out the best way to explain what this contrast means. A bottleneck induced by the Ice Age that resulted in the loss of polyphony and the emergence of certain folkloric motifs is one option. An originally sibdivided population with different folkloric and musical traditions that randomly ended up in a north-south distribution could be another explanation.

If you look at mtDNA lineages, A and X are European "N" lineages and they tend to concentrate in North America. C and D are Asian "M" lineages and they're more frequent in South America. But then haplogroup B is found along the coast, more in Southeast Asia and South America than in East Asia or North America (although notably among the Inuits), but it's related to the "N" lineages.

Maju said...

I tend to agree with Oppenheimer, who suggests that there could have been a very early migration into the Americas ca 30,000 to 20,000 ya. Essentially as I see it, this would have been a continuation and completion of the original OOA coastal migration.

Ok. But which is the evidence? If people would have been in California and Peru since c. 30 kya, why is it that we find nothing anywhere until c. 15 kya?

Also the genetics of America are mostly very derived within Eurasian ones. If all lineages (but maybe Y-DNA C) entered in that first wave you need to have Y-DNA Qa1a (and I presume that Qa1a3 coalesced and became fixated in Beringia, as it's found among all NA groups), and you also need to have mtDNA A, B, C and D (and let's not forget X2) quite derived too. And all that means that NE Asia was already colonized, a process that surely could only happen after the colonization of Europe, what to me, means that 30kya is a little too old for America (but ok for Berinigia maybe).

There could have been a split near the Isthmus of Panama, with one group heading down the west coast and another down the east coast of S. America and a third heading up the east coast of N. America. All this prior to the glacial maximum.

Ok with the process (except for the strict need of another coastal migration in East North America for which I think there's just no evidence or indication and except for the date (same reasons).

I find this to be a really elegant and convincing interpretation, especially because, as I said, oppenheimer knew nothing of the musical evidence.

But which is the problem with a later date? We know that Clovis performed that role of second wave in North America but we also know that Clovis is not older than 11 kya, what is more recent than just "after the LGM", more like "after the Ice Age".

My impression is that ok but more recent dates: 20-15 kya for the first wave, 12-10 kya for the second (Clovis). Not too different anyhow, just that I'm being more "conservative" with the factual data.

Maju said...

German wrote: Genetically, there's no evidence for a coastal migration from Africa through India to Australo-Melanesia. There's no linguistic similarities either. People sampled those areas for the traces of L1, L2 and L3 and didn't find them.

All M and N are L3. The world is full of mtDNA L3: you, me, Victor, Hu Jintao, Ahmadinajad and Vladimir Putin are all L3 (with more than a 99.99% likelihood). All L3 sublineages, in Africa or elsewhere, have two coding region and one control region mutations that are the same for all. That is L3! M and N are L3!

"...For example, of those
SNPs that are exclusive to one continental group (i.e., not shared
between Africans and non-Africans), about 25% are unique to
non-Africans."

This is a refutation of Luis's interpretation of the genetic data as showing non-Africans as nested within Africans
.

This is nothing but your brutal stubborn misunderstanding of what the data means. Logically there are SNPs that are unique to Eurasia/Oceania/America because they evolved after the OOA. It's not a mere crude reading of SNP variety but these SNPs are organized hierarchically.

All Y(xA) humans (aka BT) share 5 SNPs exclusive to that Afrasian branch but their African-only "sybling" lineage does not. All Y(xA,B) men (aka CF or CT) share yet other three SNPs but the sybling B lineage does not and is restricted to Africa.

Same with mtDNA, just that the branching out is more dense and therefore there are more African-only top-level branches.

Why the Alaskan record remains silent on this issue is unclear.

Maybe because half of Beringia is now under the sea?

A and X are European "N" lineages...

A is NOT "European" but very specifically NE Asian (and American, of course). X is rare in Europe and is best described as West Asian/North African. Some X2 has also been found in Siberia (Altai). A belongs, with B, C and D to the East Asian gene pool, X instead may be a trace of West/Central Eurasian flows, as is probably the case of Y-DNA Q. That they are both N (and B is too) says nothing about any "Europeanness". N(xR) is actually quite rare in Europe (and all West Eurasia). A likely original homeland for N could be SE Asia. In any case N and M lineages expanded jointly (or parallelly) in Eastern Eurasia, long before the colonization of the West.

German said...

Yes, I should have put "european" in quotation marks. Geographically, A is Asian in distribution. Phylogenetically, however, it's closest to X, which has no Asian presence. Altaian X is most likely recent admixture from Europe.

We've already discussed the fact that all L lineages in Africa are defined by restriction sites that are not found outside of Africa. You can always detect L3-carrying African American admixture in, say, South American indigenous populations. Plus all the phylogenetic inferences are based on tree topology. There're various ways in which you can conceptualize the branching order. Under some topologies, African lineages are ancestral to non-African ones, under other topologies, they're derived. African lineages have an excess of unique mutations not found on non-African sequences. If the current trees were right, we would have seen L1, L2 and L3 lineages distributed widely around the globe. This is not the case. What you're suggesting is a population in Africa, which, as it was exiting Africa, didn't take with it the putatively oldest and pan-African lineages (L1, L2 and L3), developed unique M and N lineages but didn't leave any of those behind (they aren't found in Africa). On its way into the Americas, it again carried with it rare Siberian, European and Southeast Asian lineages and didn't take with it any of the oldest and widely distributed M and N lineages. As this population exited Africa is developed 90% of linguistic diversity in the world, without a corresponding population size increase, while Africa lost its original language diversity but increased 1000-fold in size. This is not even a selection hypothesis, this is God's hand.

Maju said...

X has important presence in Asia, specially in West Asia. X in Europe, like W, is most likely of Neolithic arrival (this is not the case of I, the third N(xR) "European" lineage).

X is clearly West Eurasian but fundamentally West Asian (X2) and North African (X1, most common in Egypt). X2 also has presence in Europe, Central Asia, Altai and North America, though admittedly the sublineages of North America may not be specially related to those of Altai (nor to any other west of Bering Strait).

We've already discussed the fact that all L lineages in Africa are defined by restriction sites that are not found outside of Africa.

What exactly do you mean? I don't think we have ever discussed this issue of M and N being branches of L3. Every time I call your attention on that you avoid the issue or make vague references to archaic papers from the 1990s.

You just seem not to comprehend the very simple fact that M is nothing but L3-M and N in turn is L3-N, they could well be called L3m and L3n respectively (and I believe I've seen that nomenclature somewhere). ALL Eurasian (and American and Oceanian) lineages are L3 (except a very tiny amount that are other L). ALL Eurasian-plus lineages have the defining mutations of L3.

Get that straight, please!

...under other topologies, they're derived.

It is impossible: L1 does not have the defining mutations of L3, nor does L2 nor L0. You could maybe argue that L3 originated out of Africa but the highest diversity of this clade is in Africa clearly (5 sublineages out of 7).

African lineages have an excess of unique mutations not found on non-African sequences.

Yes, and, besides, they lack (excepting L3(xM,N)) the specific defining mutations of L3, including M and N.

If the current trees were right, we would have seen L1, L2 and L3 lineages distributed widely around the globe.

No, because L1 and L2 did never really migrate out of Africa. There is some small presence in Arabia and even Europe but is considered recent.

What you're suggesting is a population in Africa, which, as it was exiting Africa, didn't take with it the putatively oldest and pan-African lineages (L1, L2 and L3), developed unique M and N lineages...

No what I (and everybody) says is that an African population where L3 was dominant (or fixated) produced a subpopulation in which L3 was dominant or exclusive too, which was the one that migrated to Asia. THEN (and only then) L3 evolved in the derived sublineages, L3 evolved into M and N already in Asia.

Repeat in schematic form:

1. Proto-Eurasians in East Africa were L3
2. Early Eurasians in southern Asia were L3
3. Early Eurasians in southern Asia evolved into L3-derived M and N. Meanwhile, the remaining proto-Eurasians in Africa evolved into L3a, L3b'c'd'j, L3e'i'k'x, L3f and L3h.

The starlike branching out of L3 surely reflects a rather "rapid" expansive episode, that included the OOA migration into Asia.

I can chew it for you once and again but it's you who has to swallow.

Maju said...

As this population exited Africa is developed 90% of linguistic diversity in the world, without a corresponding population size increase, while Africa lost its original language diversity but increased 1000-fold in size.

Linguistic diversity (or lack of it) is mostly a recent phenomenon. All regions had enough time to develop a myriad of mutually unintelligible dialects, languages, language families, etc. We would not be able to discern any similitide that goes too deep into the past (maybe not only 10 ky but maybe 20 ky or so).

Logically, reduction of such quasi-infinite diversity has more to do with other processes of homogenization, processes that happened easier and faster after Neolithic. Eurasia and Africa are (were before modernity) just much more "globalized" than other peripherical areas like America or Australia.

I have no idea why you claim that the African population expanded more than the Asian one once separated. For me it's clear that the huge starlike structure of mtDNA M specially (but also of N and R) represent a brief period of very quick expansion. Nothing of such dimensions is found in Africa. The signature of brutally fast expansions are clear in Asia (and also at derived levels, i.e. in a more recent phase, in Europe and America) but in Africa expansions are less impressive and more gradual. At least in what regards to mtDNA.

German said...

Luis,

Please reference at least some of the studies you're using to base your conclusions. I don't remember seeing anything of the sort of L3m and L3n, and I've read pretty much every single genetics paper since Johnson et al. 1981. Plus I actually worked at a genetics lab at Stanford, ran PCR reactions and saw those sequences and know what enzymes we were using to identify them. African sequences have a lot of unique mutations. Non-African sequences have some unique mutations but for the most part

I suppose you could say that India is an extension of the African continent and Tierra del Fuego is the very tip of Africa.

For the population size increase in Africa see Cox et al. 2009 Autosomal Resequence Data Reveal Late Stone Age Signals of Population Expansion in Sub-Saharan African Foraging and Farming Populations. PLoS ONE 4(7): e6366.

They criticize inferences of past demography based on haploid systems as unrealiable for several reasons.

One thing I can yield on is the possibility that L1, L2 and L3 left Africa and then got lost in situ in all the places people settled outside of Africa. This predicts the finding of L1, L2 and L3 in ancient remains outside of Africa. Victor's musical data actually would mirror this scenario very closely, with the only difference being that P/B style, according to Victor, survived in pockets outside of Africa.

The same could be said about America: L1, L2, L3, M and N lineages were brought there but then got lost through drift affecting small populations. This would give America considerable antiquity and some respect to its linguistic and cultural diversity. This would also explain the continuities between South America, Australo-Melanesia and Sub-Saharan Africa that folklore, music, kinship and language all attest to profusely. On the other hand, this would indicate no ancient bottleneck between Africa and Eurasia and between Eurasia and America but only constant drift affecting populations outside of Africa. This scenario would put pressure on archaeologists to show stepwise the exodus of large groups of populations from Africa into Eurasia and from Eurasia into the Americas. Now they can get away by claiming that America was peopled by a small band of Siberian big-game hunters, hence no traces of it can be detected.

If this were your argument, you at least would be speaking a scientific language with me. (When people say that Beringia went under sea and that's why we don't have archaeological evidence for the peopling of the Americas, it reminds of the Atlantis idea, which I hope you didn't mean to revive.)

I would probably still argue back (because such a massive extinction of African lineages outside of Africa would look unlikely) and would wait for the results of ancient DNA studies, but at least it would indicate that you have a reasonable command of the available interdisciplinary evidence.

The reason why geneticists are silent about this possibility is because they are afraid this would open the gates for multiregionalists to come back. I remember discussing this possibility with Joanna Mountain, though.

Maju said...

van Oven M, Kayser M. 2009. Updated comprehensive phylogenetic tree of global human mitochondrial DNA variation. Hum Mutat 30(2):E386-E394. http://www.phylotree.org.

doi:10.1002/humu.20921

Furthermore, this paper is based in a zillion other previous ones, you can find all the structure and references at the PhyloTree site above.

It is not the first time I send you there but it's like talking to a wall.

For the population size increase in Africa see Cox et al. 2009.

I have read that paper but it does not say what you claim. It just says that the expansion happened largely before Neolithic. That is the same as happened in Europe and other places. I actually agree with that, as I have always been very wary of hyper-recentist interpretations of the genetic data. But it's not anything limited to Africa.

One thing I can yield on is the possibility that L1, L2 and L3 left Africa and then got lost in situ in all the places people settled outside of Africa.

It's not totally impossible but the most parsimonious explanation is that only L3 left Africa, as is the only thing we find outside it.

This predicts the finding of L1, L2 and L3 in ancient remains outside of Africa.

Only L3 and we do have plenty of it in modern remains: virtually all.

When people say that Beringia went under sea and that's why we don't have archaeological evidence for the peopling of the Americas, it reminds of the Atlantis idea, which I hope you didn't mean to revive.

Personally I think that Atlantis is above water, not far from Lisbon, just that people do not recognize it.

But this has nothing to do: we are talking of a well known fact that is the dramatic rise of sea levels after the Ice Age, that completely flooded some quite large extensions of land (Doggerland, most of Beringia, most of Sundaland...) and certainly cut the shores significatively in all the world. There is for sure a lot of underwater archaeological remains that are simply too difficult to find, the same that there are remains under the dunes of the Sahara or under the thick silt layers of mayor flood rivers that are not likely to be ever found.

That's something you just have to accept when dealing with archaeology. The same you have to accept that bones and stones are only the tip of the iceberg and that in most cases you won't find easily any evidence of the many other goods made of softer materials like wood, fibre or leather.

... because such a massive extinction of African lineages outside of Africa would look unlikely...

LOL. They just never migrated out of Africa. Only L3 did.

German said...

Okay, I know this paper. And it says (Fig. 2) something different from what you've been saying:

"The L haplogroups are the most deep-rooting lineages and are AFRICAN SPECIFIC indicating the African origin of modern
humans as well as the out-of-Africa exodus as also found based on other genetic as well as fossil data. Haplogroup L3 GAVE RISE to
macrohaplogroups M, N and R (the latter itself a subclade of N), which encompass all variation observed outside Africa." (My Caps)

It's a possible way to represent the branching order of human genetic sequences. It sort of sits well with archaeology, as there AMH sites attested in Africa at 120,000 years. But then archaeology is a very fuzzy discipline, as you seem to be aware of, even at 12,000 years. Geneticists produced a hypothetical picture. It's good to have it around, as it's testable. If seen from the point of view of languages, myths and kinship, it doesn't seem to be borne out by facts.

You postulate that only L3 was carried out of Africa, but in fact it's M and N that are only found outside of Africa. They may be derived from L3 (or L3* if you prefer) by a few point mutations or they may not. Otherwise, you could go as far as saying that "L0 is found outside of Africa, we just call it L0 but in fact it's L0L1L2Lm/n." There's noise in the higher order nodes of the mtDNA tree (see my exchange with Victor on anthropology.net plus our earlier exchnage on Dienekes) but the main problem is not with this noise.

Science requires you to prove a point, not to restate it. If you claim that only L3 left Africa, while L0, L1, L4, L6, L3* and L2 stayed, you have to prove this because it's a special argument requiring a special proof. What one would expect is that a great number of African lineages, which were diversifying for millenia before the exodus from Africa, moving geographically around as much if not more than the original movement out of Africa and are currently pan-African in distribution, left Africa. (Not the most recent and the least diversified "sublineages of L3," which are M and N, but the oldest and hence most diversified lineages.) They should be detactable at decreasing frequencies in modern populations outside of Africa and they should be detectable in ancient remains. They are perfectly detectable as admixture in modern non-African populations.

You postulate a bottleneck to explain why only M and N were carried out but again this is not a proof but another level of uncertainty.

Cromagnon DNA at 28,000 YBP is fully European, with sequences different but closely related to contemporary European sequences, with no traces of L0, L1, L2, L4, L6 or L3. Alternatively, South African Hofmeyer skull (36,000 YBP) geographically located in the midst of all those African specific lineages is metrically Cromagnon and not Pygmy or Khoisan. That's all we know. And neither of these two earliest finds support the antiquity or a wide geographic spread of African specific mtDNA lineages.

Without such proofs, you provide a circular argument: Luis connected M and N to L3 then to L4 then to L6 then to L2, then to L1, then to L0.
Bingo! Humans came from Africa. It's the old pre-scientific way of explaining things: the world was created in 7 days because the Bible says so. If you're an intelligent and a virtuous person you would believe the Bible. Subject closed.

You can lay out whatever you want as a hypothesis but then you have to prove it. By itself, a particular data alignment doesn't mean that this is how it happened in reality.

Maju said...

It's exasperating discussing with you, really.

Haplogroup L3 GAVE RISE to
macrohaplogroups M, N and R
...

Not just obviously means what it means: that M and N (and indirectly R) are derived from L3 but, in case you had any doubt, that sentence is part of the legend of graphic that shows how M and N hang from L3, along with L3* (i.e. everything else within L3).

The expanded graph, available online at the link above, clearly states that all L3, including M and N, have the defining mutations at the following sites: 769 1018 (coding region) and 16311 (control region).

You postulate that only L3 was carried out of Africa, but in fact it's M and N that are only found outside of Africa.

Obviously, because all lineages evolve with time. L3 in Asia evolved in M and N, while L3 in Africa evolved into the other branches. You won't find any underived L3 (or any other underived ancient lineage) anywhere: all evolves.

So your sentence should be rewritten as "only L3 was carried out of Africa, and effectively it is L3-derived M and N what we actually find outside of Africa".

They may be derived from L3 (or L3* if you prefer)...

L3 and L3* are different things: L3 is the whole haplogroup including all that "hangs" (is derived) from the L3 node. L3* means just "other L3". In genetic nomenclature the asterisk always means "other" (relative to context). It is what is called a para-haplogroup or paraphyletic group.

"L0 is found outside of Africa, we just call it L0 but in fact it's L0L1L2Lm/n."

The mtDNA Eve lineage (would be L0''6) is indeed found outside Africa, and any other set (haplogroup) that includes L3 (and therefore M and N) is as well. But L0 is not, at least not in any meaninful levels or with ancient chronology - because L0 was the first lineage to separate from L0''6. There were still other 6 branchings restricted to Africa (or at most Yemen, in the case of L6) before some L3 carriers departed to Asia, where their descendants would evolve into the now widespread M and N lineages.

All this is basic. A pre-puber kid would understand it very fast. You don't because you are not listening: you are essentially fighting.

Whatever the nomenclature what is clear is that all L3, including M and N, share the defining mutations of L3 mentioned above.

If you claim that only L3 left Africa, while L0, L1, L4, L6, L3* and L2 stayed, you have to prove this because it's a special argument requiring a special proof.

The proof is that only L3-derived lineages are found outside Africa (with the caveat for L6 in Yemen and for lesser modern flows).

Actually a scientific theory requires consistence and not being falsifiable. It is the opposition who needs proof in fact.

In order to falsify this widely accepted model, you'd need to find some individual/s that fit within M or N but not within L3. Good luck.

Maju said...

(cont.)

What one would expect is that a great number of African lineages, which were diversifying for millenia before the exodus from Africa, moving geographically around as much if not more than the original movement out of Africa and are currently pan-African in distribution, left Africa.

Africa is large and diverse, there are physical barriers also like the Sahara and the seas. So apparently only one group (maybe two if you consider the possibly failed attempt of c. 90,000 BP or if you believe that M and N represent different migrating groups) managed to cross the Red Sea and the West Asian deserts, maybe following the coast.

Also you fail to consider genetic drift: in small populations (specially) there is a tendency for genes in general and haplogroups in particular to become fixated in one single type (or a handful at most). This probably happened often in stable Paleolithic populations. Unless a population expands or is intrinsically large there is no tendency to diversification, as the evolution into new clades is countered very effectively by drift. The lineages do accumulate mutations in the long run but they tend to remain concentrated in one or few clades. Only when populations expand the different branches can evolve into different clades (just because randomness would cause different clades to become fixated in the various new subpopulations).

But again this is Genetics 101. And it is tiresome to explain these basic concepts to someone who is not interested in learning but just in fighting.

So it's extremely probable that L3 was fixated by drift in the OOA population either in Africa or in southern Arabia, in any case before they had a chance of expansion after arrival to South Asia.

You postulate a bottleneck to explain why only M and N were carried out but again this is not a proof but another level of uncertainty.

It's not just me: it's the general consensus. Rather than a bottleneck, strictu sensu, which would imply massive mortality, it is a founder effect.

Cromagnon DNA at 28,000 YBP is fully European, with sequences different but closely related to contemporary European sequences, with no traces of L0, L1, L2, L4, L6 or L3.

It is still L3. H and U are L3, as they are R and N.

Alternatively, South African Hofmeyer skull (36,000 YBP) geographically located in the midst of all those African specific lineages is metrically Cromagnon and not Pygmy or Khoisan.

I tend to distrust anthropometry. Test the DNA and then we discuss this. Most archaic skulls look that: archaic. In Europe, in China and everywhere. German children seem to have changed the shape of their skulls in a couple of generations... Anthropometry is not too reliable, much less if you consider a single specimen.

Without such proofs, you provide a circular argument: Luis connected M and N to L3 then to L4 then to L6 then to L2, then to L1, then to L0.

It's not me: it's everybody.

Bingo! Humans came from Africa. It's the old pre-scientific way of explaining things...

In fact it is very much scientific: it's a matter of sharing SNPs or not. When you analyze all that with due care, you get a phylogenetic tree. It is what geneticists have been doing the last decade or two. I just parrot their findings.

It is you who is questioning the whole academy and their hardly worked out paradigm. And you are doing without anything but stubbornness, blind faith in your interpretation of kinship systems and a spitting tongue.

German said...

You don't see a difference between a hypothesis, its prediction and its proof. You're simply reiterating your beliefs that in the end you picked up somewhere in literature. Yes, people tend to believe in OOAf. I question it 1) on the basis of evidence that is not usually considered when people build theories of human dispersals; 2) on the basis of vertical interdisciplinary alignment of evidence; 3) on methodological grounds.

This is a normal science process. It rarely happens on such high levels of analysis but it still does. This is normal.

You call something a founder effect, not a bottleneck. Some people call it "bottleneck." But where's the proof in any case? Especially since you have to postulate another bottleneck/founder effect between Eurasia and America. These founder effects reduce population size to 1,000 individuals and then this tight bunch comes up with 80% of world linguistic diversity; another severe bottleneck, and another tight bunch generates 70% of world language diversity. All while accomplishing an Upper Paleolithic Revolution in Europe, crossing the big waters on the way to Australia and spreading dozens of folklore motifs all over the world including back into Africa.

You believe a certain human population in Africa some 50,000 YBP got fixed on M-N. Where's the proof? You call M-N lineages L3 lineages, hence African, so you don't need to find any African lineages outside of Africa to prove that humans came from Africa. The literature you quote says that L haplogroup doesn't equal M-N haplogroups. The first may be ancestral to it, true, but it needs to be proven. It could be the other way around, under different population assumptions (e.g., different mutation rate, different rooting sequence used, etc.). For it to be proven, it needs to be tested on data that's different from the data being tested.

You distrust anthropometry, you dismiss linguistics as fuzzy and kinship systems as irrelevant and you think I have a "spitting tongue." Dude, I think it's time for you to find a new hobby.

Maju said...

You call something a founder effect, not a bottleneck. Some people call it "bottleneck." But where's the proof in any case? Especially since you have to postulate another bottleneck/founder effect between Eurasia and America.

It's self-evident: the "bottleneck" is proven by the existence of a small subset of the variability in Eurasia re. Africa. And again the same happens in America re. Eurasia.

All American sets belong (are included, to use the strict mathematical term) to larger Eurasiatic sets, which show much more diversity in Eurasia. In turn, all Eurasian sets belong to larger African sets, which show much greater diversity. That is the evidence!

You just want to put a blindfold on your eyes and rant against things that you seem to understand only very badly. Fine. I've tried to help you to get your concepts straight three times already and each time I have concluded it is a waste of time. You just do not want to understand the basics: you struggle against them, like a creationist struggles against biology, tectonics and astronomy.

This is my last reply to you EVER.