Found at Dienekes' Anthropology Blog, original paper at DOI: 10.1353 (paywall).
MtDNA H lineages from Tunisia are less diverse and within the variability found in Iberia. Therefore they are most probably a derivate. This fits terribly well with what I have been pondering in the last months or even years about the early origins of North Africans and specifically of Oranian culture (also known as Iberomaurusian) , so I'm quite excited about it.
Let's reconsider all elements:
- North African mtDNA H derived from Iberian H (also notice the relatively high concentration haplogroup V in Tunisia and nearby areas, that must be of European origin as well)
- North African mtDNA U6 less diverse than Iberian one. The lack of U6 elswhere in Europe and the greater diversity of its derived subclade U6a in NE Africa, has led some scholars to think it arrived from West Asia. But overall Iberia has by large the highest diversity of this clade, followed by Morocco, including haplogroups U6b and U6c, that are not found in NE Africa. See my earlier post on U6 and the Maca-Meyer paper on the matter.
- Odd rather common R1b ill-studied clades in NE Africa (Sudan, Upper Egypt) and also in Northern Cameroon, where it's dominant among some groups. While in this case the diversity argument is not so clear (most Iberian and European R1b belongs to a single subclade - but not all), we can't forget that Y-DNA is potentially much more susceptible to drift and that, in Western Europe, was affected by the LGM bottleneck and the Epipaleolithic demographic movements after it may have spread into Africa. R1b is not dominant but it's still a somewhat important haplogroup in NW Africa (I understand that the Capsian/Afroasiatic countertide replaced it largely by E1b1). Most North African R1b haplotypes connect much better with European than with West Asian clades in fact (there is one exception though).
- The curious synchretic SE Iberian Gravetto-Solutrean culture dates from c. 22,000 BP (late 20th century calibrations, today it'd be probably somewhat older, like 25,000 BP maybe). The Solutrean of Mallaetes and Parpalló is among the oldest ones (only surpassed by that of Dordogne) but, unlike what happened in the Franco-Cantabrian region, where it became dominant soon after, in SE Iberia, it suffered a Gravettizing reaction that created a unique techno-cultural complex. Some of their artifacts fit extremely well with the back-tipped style found in North Africa, that also follow the all-covering Solutrean style of retouch.
- The Oranian culture of North Africa, concentrated along the coasts, was early on called Iberomaurusian because the affinities with Iberian techno-complex appeared evident. Later, as doubts about its origin mounted up, it was renamed Oranian. In the last times it has been common to claim that Oranian arrived from Sudan or Egypt but that is not the least clear in fact. What does appear to have migrated from that area is the Epipaleolithic, maybe even Mesolithic (grain-gathering) Capsian culture, that has a more interior distributon and that was probably the one spreading Afroasiatic (Berber) language in the area. Oranian earliest dates are of c. 20,000 BP and its human remains are considered Crô-Magnon type, a type that was most common in Europe with the Gravettian culture (though in Mediterranean Iberia also within the "Solutrean").
- The Qurta rock art of Upper Egypt (right in the crossroads where later Capsian may have originated) is incredibly similar to European rock art, specially to that of Côa valley in Portugal (see previous post on this matter). This artwork is dated to c. 16,000 BP.