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Leherensuge was replaced in October 2010 by two new blogs: For what they were... we are and For what we are... they will be. Check them out.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fascist genocide of Basques among most brutal in Europe

Lau Haizetara Gogoan (meaning
recalling to the four winds, i.e. speaking out loud) has arrived to the conclusion that the Fascist genocide in the Basque Country was one of the most brutal in the Western World in the 20th century. In the case of Navarre, it murdered 1.13% of all people, a situation only superated by Bosnia of all studied cases. Even the raw numbers approach those of fascist Argentina (which has a population many times larger).

They protest that, while in other cases of brutal fascist repression and genocide, truth comitees have been created to clarify what happened and compensate as much as possible the victims, in Spain nothing of the like has ever happened. Instead the matter is once and again hidden under the rug, allowing the modern fascists of the Tory party (now they call themselves "christian-democrats") to attempt once and again to deny it and even to make threats against (the so-called) democracy each time the issue is raised.

Overall it is estimated that some 1 million people (c. 4-5%) were killed during the Civil War and in its aftermath, throught the Spanish state. Most of them did not die in the battlefields. And while the leftists also killed some people, the vast majority of deaths were summary executions in the fascist zone, where anyone who was thought as vaguely "red" was simply murdered without further questions.

This of course did not end with the war. I always remember an anecdote of my aunt (my uncle's wife), who came from Salamanca to work as teacher in Ondarroa (a massively Basque-speaking town, language that she did not know) in the 60s. One of her pupils, a teenager, dared one day to call the Spanish policemen txakurrak ("dogs", our equivalent of English "pigs" in a similar context) . They immediately arrested him and he came out of the police station dead. Just an anecdote, albeit very illustrative of the kind of criminal regime we had to face and we still have to face to a great extent.

Source for the main news: Gara.

Millet farmed in North China earlier than thought

New isotopic studies on the bones of dogs and pigs in
Dadiwan tell us that dogs, and hence people too, had a millet-based diet as early as 7900-7200 years ago (Dadiwan 1). They were therefore surely farmers at that early stage.

Pigs instead only show the millet isotopic signature in the second phase (6500-4900 BP), what suggests to researchers that they were still wild (though maybe they were just being fed in woodlands, as pigs have been traditionally fed everywhere, I guess).

In any case this research confirms the oldest possible dates for the beginning of agriculture in Northern China.

Source: Science Daily - Early Agriculture Left Traces In Animal Bones.
Paper: L. Barton et al., Agricultural origins and the isotopic identity of domestication in northern China. PNAS, 2009.

Fascist manipulation of time

Today again
our time is being commanded to be altered by the bureaucrats. The reason is not just plainly stupid but also a war measure from the very beginnings of the disciplinary phase of Capitalism. I really do not have to sleep one hour less and mostly ignore the watch altogether but anyhow: what the fuck?!

In fact we should be using here a strict GMT and instead we are using the time of Germany and Poland, plus one extra hour of delay because of this idiotic DST. So in the end we have a totaly distorted time when 12:00 pm is not noon at all but rather early in the morning (would be 10:00 am), so people have their meals at 2 or 3:00 pm.

I just hate all that. Noon is noon and I don't really have to be estimating that noon is at 2:00pm.

Bureaucrats: surrender, your time is long overdue! You can't defeat Nature.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Of mice, men... and astrocytes

This is an interesting breaktrhough in neuroscience: US researchers have found that what really separates human brains from those of mice and rats, and probably from those of other rather intelligent (and certainly big-brained) animals as elephants, is not our neurones (identical) but the other brain and spinal cells: the astrocytes.

Astrocytes have been long thought to be mere support units in brains. One of the reason is that they do not communicate via electrical signals and therefore are hard to listen to. But what is been now discovered is that they actually communicate with neurons via calcium exchanges and that, importantly, human brains have unique types of astrocytes (laminar ones) and also that other common types are larger and maybe more sophisticated.

Full story in Science Daily.
Original paper: N. Oberheim et al., Uniquely Hominid Features of Adult Human Astrocytes.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Y-DNA Timeline (3). Rapidly branching sequences.

This appears not to be clear to some, it seems to me from the discussion in the first post of this mini-series. So I'll try to clarify with an image, a version of the previous graph(s):

Here I have marked in green the most obvious rapidly successive branchings in the tree (there may be others in the lineages not considered here as well). What do we see?

1. The tightest of all of this rapidly branching sequences is the K-NOP bloc. Logically, as they are only separated by one, recently discovered, SNP. This means that these two nodes happened within a short period (here estimated as 1000 years: c. 66-65,000 BP).

2. This K-NOP "supernode" can be included within another: F-IJK-K-NOP. Nevertheless this one is maybe the less tight of all marked sets (this supernode is estimated to last some 8,000 years instead: c. 73-65,000 BP).

3. Within haplogroup E, we see two "supernodes":
3.1. E-E1: which means that E2, E1a and E1b split in a short period (est. 2000 years: c. 47-45,000 BP).
3.2. E1-E1b: which means that E1b1a and E1b1b1 and E1b1b2 a split in about the same epysode (est. 3000 years: c. 33-30,000 BP).

4. Within haplogroup I we can easily appreciate that I1, I2a and I2b split also in a rapid sequence (est. 3000 years: c. 40-37,000 BP).

5. Within haplogroup J can also see that J1, J2a and J2b branched from the parental node in a similarly brief window (est. 3000 years: c. 37-34,000 BP).

6. The other haplogroup where we can see such "supernodes" is R1:
6.1. First, R1a, R1b1a, R1b1c, R1b1b1 and R1b1b2 split in a brief epysode, estimated in 4000 years here (c. 25-21,000 BP maybe).
6.2. Second (within R1b1b2) R1b1b2a*, R1b1b2a1* and the widespread R1b1b2a1a branched out in a similarly brief period (est. 3000 years), that is coincident with the late Magdalenian timeline (c. 16-13,000 BP).

So as conclussion:

First of all, someone explains me how the new discovered SNP defining the NOP macro-haplogroup makes any difference at all in the sequence of diversification of K in a very short period, generally believed to have happened in South Asia.

Second, someone explains me how to make sense archaeologically of R1b1b2 arriving from somewhere in the SW regions of Asia to Europe within what seems to be more a Solutrean than a Gravettian context? Has any proto-Solutrean been found in West Asia (for instance)? Proto-Magdalenian maybe? I know of nothing of the kind, except maybe a late "Aurignacoid" industry of Iran someone mentioned to me once.

Third, haplogroup I looks more and more a pervivence of Aurignacian colonization and might even be used to fine tune the chronology, pushing it back 2,000 (Aurignacian sensu stricto) or even 6,000 years (Balcanic Bacho Kiro culture and other transitional groups). An expansion within West Asia (J and G) may be parallel to Aurignacian or rather a little later in time (curiously enough).

And that's all for today.

The Inquisition continues

Someone reminded me this morning that the dreaded Easter week with its masked anti-musical terrors and worship of death was about to come and, yeah, it seems that the old ghosts of the Judeo-Christian terror are not dead at all, that the guillotine left too many heads on their shoulders.

The Spanish Inquisition, of course, continues its work, and has yesterday indicted 44 more people accused of witchery. Now they call it "belonging to terrorist band", but the real charges are just to be active in politics: issuing a press conference, speaking in a political meeting, or attempting to run as candidate in the so-called "democratic elections". Things like that.

If you are Basque and proud, you are in their list.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Timeline of human Y-DNA (2)

Here there is a refinement and expansion of my previous post on the matter.

I have now analyzed DE, C, IJ and NO structure too. The result is as follows:

Please compare with climatic data for possible fine tuning (my first impression is that it fits reasonably well but that minor corrections may be done too).

So let's see how it did man's history (man to be taken literally: human male lineages are the only ones considered here).

1. Root:

The so called "Y-DNA Adam", i.e. the common ancestor by pure father-son line of all living humans may have lived some 107,000 years ago. Humankind is of course much older, possibly double that figure, but "Mr. Adam" seems to have lived much later, soon before the out-of-Africa epysode.

2. Out of Africa:

The C,F line split c. 99,000 years ago. This lineage is clearly of Eurasian coalescence: all derived lineages in Africa (not many) represent back-migrations at much later dates. Hence the main migration out of Africa must have happened then. At similar dates we also have the oldest AMH remains in North Africa (Aterian) and West Asia. Some South Asian indirect evidence might also point to AMH presence at those dates, though this is arguable.

Significatively, the third Eurasian lineage, D, may have been at that time still in Africa. This is intriguing, as it suggests a second migration for this lineage alone at a later time, maybe 83,000 years ago.

In Africa, at similar dates to those of the C,F migrating adventure, we witness the expansion of haplogroup A, which is widely spread from Sudan to South Africa. This may signal that the C,F migration happened within the context of an Eastern African expansion. C,F would then have been the ones migrating to the North, to the Mediterranean coasts and beyond into Asia.

3. Toba and first Eurasian expansion:

We know with great certainty that some 74,000 years ago, Toba caldera (Sumatra) exploded, causing a major catstrophe in Asia and a sharp freeze around the globe. We also know that populations in India (Jawalpuram culture) survived the catastrophe. The Eurasian humankind probably experienced a bottleneck and then an expansion after this epysode. It is only logical to date this first expansion (the rapid succesive branching of F, IJK, K and NOP nodes) soon after Toba therefore.

This expansion was limited anyhow, as we witness a rather long period of latency after it (65-55,000 BP). It is likely though that the major proto-lineages were distributed as follows:
  • C, still undivided, in South or SE Asia
  • D*, D1, D2 and D3, already outlined, maybe in SE/East Asia
  • G in Central/West Asia
  • H in South Asia
  • IJ in West Asia
  • L in South Asia
  • M in SE Asia or Melanesia
  • S in SE Asia or Australia
  • T in West Asia
  • NO in SE/East Asia
  • P in South/Central Asia
Notice that none of these lineages (excepted M) would expand for at least other 10,000 years, in some cases (L, T) for even a much longer period, so there is a lot of uncertainty about their actual locations at this stage. In all that parenthesis, a lot of drift and fixation may have happened in the different populations.

But the overall distribution of these clades does indeed suggest that there was some spread to the East (4-5 clades) and West (3-4 clades) of the probable South Asian homeland (2-4 clades) already. Another possibility would be that all clades were restricted to some geographical province like South Asia.

In Africa, at similar dates, we see the first expansion of haplogroup B (split into B1 and B2), which may signal a first expansion of Humankind westward in that continent.

4. The second Eurasian expansion:

This is probably the main real expansion, and one for which we do have some clear fossil evidence. I have estimated it to have taken place between c. 55-46,000 years ago and would have certainly pushed humankind all around Asia and continental Oceania.

At this phase:
  • C split into its major subclades, which went variedly to Japan (C1), Melanesia (C2), NE Asia (C3), Australia (C4) and South Asia (C5). There's another subclade (C6) whose geography has not been reported.
  • H split into H1 and H2 (in South Asia)
  • IJ split into I and J (in West Asia)
  • NO split into N and O (in southern East Asia probably)
  • P split into Q and R (in South or Central Asia)
In Africa also, E split into E1 and E2 at this timeframe, with E1 branching out soon after.

5. Later expansions:

The later expansive trend seems to have no clear bounds. We can point some moments though:

5.1. The great North: The first branching of the two major clades of the great Eurasian North: N and Q (C3 would seem to have a later timeframe) happened before 40,000 years ago, it seems.

5.2. West Eurasia:
  • I branches out since 39,000 BP, what makes it a good candidate for the "Aurignacian clade" (would need to be 2,000 years older but close enough). Scandinavian I1, anyhow would be lurking as minor haplogroup until the Epipaleolithic, while I2 instead appears expansive through all the European UP.
  • J branches at a similar time (maybe a little later).
  • The spread of G is also parallel to that of J and I2 (since c. 37,000 BP)
5.3. East Asia:

The division of haplogroup O in its three main branches seems to have happened also c. 39,000 years ago. The spread of each of these clades, as well as C3, seems to have happened some time later: around 30,000 BP.

5.4. Haplogroup R:

The somewhat controversial haplogroup R, extended by Europe, Central and South Asia mostly, may have split c. 35,000 years ago. This can be considered as the origin of South Asian R2, which seems to be an old clade in the subcontinent.

R1 appears to have divided c. 27,000 years ago, which probably meant that proto-R1b migrated out of South Asia (or maybe Central Asia) about that time, while proto-R1a remained behind. Destination? Almost without doubt West Asia. There is a serious possibility that it could have taken part in the Gravettian expansion in Europe, which began c. 28,000 BP. Its parallels with confirmed Gravettian mtDNA H do suggest it (but this is somewhat controversial).

R1b1 may have split c. 25,000 years ago, though the position of the other clades (African R1b1c and Mediterranean R1b1a) is still unclear. R1b1b would have split c. 23,000 years ago (origin of R1b1b1 and R1b1b2).

Some 19,000 years ago R1a started evolving into R1a1, which may mean a migration between Central and South Asia, though the exact direction is at this moment unclear. Roughly, R1a1 was formed by c. 17,000 BP, R1a1a by 13-12,000 BP and the various subclades (R1a1a3 as prototype) could be as recent as c. 6000 BP, what fits almost perfectly with the Kurgan model of Indo-European expansion.

R1b1b2a apparently c. 16,000 years ago, while Western European typical R1b1b2a1 would have been formed c. 14,000 BP and derived R1b1b2a1a by c. 13,000 BP. These latter dates fit too well with the time of Magdalenian expansion to Central Europe (and later to southern Iberia) to be ignored.

The relatively rare R1b1b2a1a subclades would have begun appearing c. 9,000 BP, what would mean limited Epipaleolithic and maybe even Neolithic local founder effects. Notice please that these subhaplogroups include only a small apportion of all R1b1b2a1, even if some of them have some localized relevance.

If European R1b is not of Gravettian origin, it would require a migration from West Asia at the foundation of Magdalenian culture, some 17,000 years ago. This is not what archaeology tells us: it says that Magdalenian was a local Aquitanian developement, maybe influenced by Aurignacian remnants of Central Europe (Magdalenian and Aurignacian are very similar). So I remain inclined to think that R1b arrived to Europe with Gravettian, drifting massively with the Late Glacial Maximum, what virtually erased all other Y-DNA lineages, be them R1b or I2 or whatever else. Then, as generally accepted, R1b1b2a expanded into Central Europe and Iberia with the Magdalenian expansion and later, in the Epipaleolithic, into Scandinavia and the Atlantic Islands.

I am anyhow intrigued more and more about the exact nature of SW European I, which has not been properly tested for the most part. Some of it is clearly I2a that arrived with Neolithic expansions from the Western Balcans but the rest is just I* as of today.

Comparison with mtDNA:

For the parallel mtDNA possible timelines, see these posts: 1, 2, 3.

It's noticeable that with a similar SNP-based method I also detected two apparent expansive pulses in the mtDNA timeline, separated by a "valley" of limited growth. The overall pattern would be the same:

1. First Expansion
2. Pause
3. Second Expansion
4. Aftermath of regionalized and rather continued expansion, which included the first colonizations of Europe and the Eurasian North

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Intelligence, quality wiring and inheritance

Science Daily. Original paper: Ming-Chang Chiang et al., Genetics of Brain Fiber Architecture and Intellectual Performance, Journal of Neuroscience, 2009.

UCLA researchers have discovered that intellectual performance is strongly correlated with the quality of the mieline covering of neuronal axons in the brain. Which in turn is strongly dependent on genetics.

For starters, mieline is the isolation layer around the "cables" (axons) in our brain and nerves. While neurons have many sinapsis (connections with other nearby neurones), they have one or two longer extensions called axons, which are the "cables" of our nervous system, brain included.

When axons' mieline is thick and therefore provides a good quality isolation, the neuronal signal is stronger and clearer. Instead, when mieline is thinner, the electrical isolation is worse and the neuronal signal weaker. The first case provides for good intelligence, while the latter does not; additionally bad mieline covering is also related to mental illnesses like autism and alzheimer. Mieline thickness also shows a U-shaped pattern in life that is optimized for middle age (the acmé of classical Greeks, located around the age of 40), what explains increase and decrease of intellectual prowess with age.

The UCLA team compared pairs identical twins (natural "clones") and normal syblings, finding more marked differences in mieline quality among the latter, all which correlated with intelligence. This seems to support a genetic background for these differences, as regular syblings share only c. 50% of the genes that are variable in humans (can be more or less but around that median figure anyhow), while identical twins share virtually 100% of their genes.

I find this interesting because the main classical anthropometrical correlation with intelligence used to be brain size (though independent for each gender) but many of us suspected that size was not the only thing that mattered. This in fact comes to prove that the quality of wiring, something that cannot be measured in cubic centimeters of cranial capacity, also influences intelligence strongly. It will be surely long before we can discover other such "design" factors (mieline quality being again a relatively easy to measure element, yet only now studied), things like the design of the neuronal network itself, probably a less genetic and more plastic one, organized largely in life by experience, but I'm sure such factors are acting right now. Of course the quality of the materials is influential, maybe fundamental, but how they come to be organized, something that only happens within life, which is surely as dependent on education, general experience and access to knowledge, also matters. The best computer of Earth, if only programmed to add 2+2 won't be able to do anymore, while the worst one can surely do much more than that with due attention.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

European and Anatolian R1b structure

I have been recently involved in two discussions on R1b origins and structure. Some of the information I or others dug for them has helped me to make up my mind a little better on the issue.

At the moment the we know that R1b has a main subclade, dominant in Western Europe, which is R1b1b2a1. Most known R1b is R1b1b2a1* and R1b1b2a1a*. Additionally there are other upstream subclades:
  • R1b1b1, common in SE Europe, West Asia and Uyghuristan
  • R1b1a (exact location within the tree unclear), found in Lebanon and Sardinia
  • R1b1c (exact location within the tree unclear), found in Northern Cameroun (Ouldeme and others)
An important matter that arose in the discussion at Dienekes' blog was the so-called haplotype 35 (defined by DYS-393=12). This subclade actually seems to represent exclusively R1b1b2* and R1b1b2a*, excluding R1b1b2a1, which is dominated by DYS-393=13.

All this certainly suggest that, once upon a time, the ultimate origins of the haplogroup were in West Asia, but also that R1b1b2a1 must be treated as a separate reality within R1b, and that this clade most likely coalesced or at least expanded ("exploded", as its starlike structure strongly suggests) within Western Europe.

In any case, I have revisited Alonso et al, 2005 and, based on my newly acquired knowledge on ht35, reviewed my old reconstruction of the R1b tree accordingly, placing Anatolian ht35 at the root instead of the Western modal haplotype. The result is as follows:

The DYS used by Alonso, and also in the above graph, are: 19-390-391-392-393. [Note: I wrongly wrote originally 90 instead of 390, bringing confusion even to myself. My apologies and thanks to Xavier for pointing out that important error at the comments section. Corrected on Oct 11].

Like in the original version, the four haplotypes in larger type are the most common ones:
  • 14-24-11-13-12 (light blue in Alonso's map) is common in Anatolia and found at lower frequencies in SE Europe and also at small ammounts in Central-Western Europe (Germany, Belgium, Friesland).
  • 14-24-11-13-13 (red in Alonso's map) is widely distributed, being most common if anywhere among Basques. It is the modal haplotype.
  • 14-23-11-13-13 (purple-blue in Alonso's map) has mostly a northernly distribution, with highest frequencies in the Low Countries and Austria.
  • 14-24-10-13-13 (black in Alonso's map) has also a northerly distribution, especially around the North Sea, but is also found in SW Europe and even Africa and Anatolia at rather high frequencies.
I have dotted some of the possible genealogical derivations of haplotypes 14-25-10-13-13 and 14-24-10-14-13 because, having the crucial marker DYS-393=13, they seem now quite clearly within the Western R1b1b2a1 branch. Even if there may be some rare exceptions, at this point it seems that DYS-393=12 means generally R1b(xR1b1b2a1), while DYS-393=13 means R1b1b2a1. This helps a lot to clarify the haplotype structure.



[Section revised on Oct 11, after taking note of the important DYS sequence error - see above. Significatively new areas are in this color (blue)].

Checking again on the Family Tree DNA hg35 site (only the properly tested samples), I realize that they fit as follows:

  • R1b1b2* (L23-, L51-, L11-) most typical haplotype is 14-24-10-14-12, which above appears as derived "Berber/Anatolian" subclade. Also less common is 14-25-11-13-12, not registered here (though maybe listed in the supplementary materials table).
  • R1b1b2a* (L23+, L51-, L11-) most common haplotype is 14-24-11-13-12, which is the "modal" Anatolian subclade, the apparent root in the graph above. Also 15-24-11-13-12 (Middle European distribution that could mathc Neolithic spread, for some odd reason not shown in the post's graph) and others less common.
  • R1b1b2a1* (L23+, L51+, L11-) common haplotypes are 14-24-11-13-13 ("R1b modal"), 14-23-11-13-13 ("Belgium-Austria") and 14-25-11-13-13 ("Welsh"). Importantly 14-23-11-13-13 is one of the major haplotypes in Europe and seems to suggest an early divergence in Central Europe at this para-haplogroup stage.
  • R1b1b2a1a (L23+,L51+, L11+) most common haplotype is again "modal" 14-24-11-13-13. Some of the rest have 15-24-11-13-13, a small Middle European subclade. 14-24-11-14-13 is also seen in several cases at FTDNA and it's a minor Atlantic clade of Britain and Iberia. The "Scottish" (plus North Sea/Basques) major haplotype 14-24-10-13-13 also falls mostly in this haplogroup.
I am hence thinking that most R1b1b2* is maybe a distinct haplogroup (would be "R1b1b2b") and that most R1b1b2a* also (would be "R1b1b2a2"). Furthermore, after noticing the DYS numbering error, I am beginning to suspect that the Central European HT2 (14-25-11-13-13) might be symptomatic of yet another un-described haplogroup at the R1b1b2a1 level, corresponding geographically mostly to Central Europe (Danubian Neolithic?, distinct UP lineage?). I will probably need to review all the matter anyhow (but cheer up: it's always good to spot novelties, otherwise life would be boring).

Friday, March 13, 2009

Timeline of human Y-DNA (1)

Tired of relying on unlikely TRMCA esimates by others, I decided to take a look at human Y-DNA structure on my own. Unlike with mtDNA, which is relatively asy to study in full, the Y chromosome is very large and, with very few exceptions, it has never been studied in such lenghts. Instead geneticists have been gradually adding SNPs to their collections and that way perfecting our understanding of human paternal genalogy.

But the different branches are very unequally studied. Some like Western European R1b are very well studied (partly via private genealogy companies) and we can presume that we know already most of the SNPs that exist in that line. In comparison others are barely sketched.

This uneven reality of knowledge makes very difficult to compare the different lineages as I did with mtDNA using SNPs (see here, here and here). So I did the following: using the YSOGG data, took a reference lineage (the longest one from root to tip: R1b1b2a1a4a, 104 known SNPs from "Adam") and took also sample lineages in each of the other branches (always the longest apparent line within each). With simple maths I determined the "informative value" of each SNP in those lineages (always in comparison to the reference) and then calculated the equivalent value of the lineal sequences of SNPs at the root of each branch.

The resulting chart is as follows:

Of course, there is some uncertainty, greater for branches that are very badly studied, like C or H, whcih could well be older than they appear here. But the result is at least pretty much illustrative of how things might have been. There is also great uncertainty regarding what exactly "recent past" means. I assume that it means at least two extra reference SNPs, maybe more, as these had no real time to expand and must be restricted to private lineages. Any clade that is widespread enough as to be sampled more than once (i.e. non-private) is probably a founder effect from some time ago: it did not spread this century or even this milennium certainly.

Whatever the case, I did some afterwork on the raw diagram, trying to find out some logical timelines. I ended with the following:

This is by no means definitive: some fine tuning may generate much improved estimates, but it does give a rather consistent overall scheme of how things might have been. It was only natural to place Toba catastrophe where it is, just before the great expansion at rapidly succeeding nodes: F, IJK, K and PNO, as well (with some uncertainty) C. But also after the DE and CF nodes. There is archaeological evidence of the presence of H. sapiens in Eurasia before Toba and of continuity in South Asia, so moving the Toba timeline to before the CF node makes no sense to me. It was just very convenient (and also natural) to assign 1000 years per reference mutation along the R1b line, so I did.

Analyzing the intrepretation a little bit:

1. R1b

R1b may be than 20,000 years BP (the R1b apparent node falls exactly in the 21 kya line and the R1 node is at the 23 kya line), what is more coincident with Solutrean than Magdalenian. But the most common subclade R1b1b2a (and notice that the other subclades' position is unclear) appears diversified as recently as c. 5000 BCE. At that date Europe was like this and even if we stretch the timeline a little (map), we can only attribute this homogenity within R1b safely to the post-Magdalenian Epipaleolithic context (Tardenoisian especially). So it is possible that most modern European R1b (R1b1b2a) only consolidated in Epipaleolithic times and may have a more northernly origin than the Basque Country (France-Belgium-Rhineland). It might also be Neolthic but it's extremely difficult to find a single Neolithic source for that.

R1b is not just present in Europe and West Asia but it's also frequent in Africa and Central Asia. The latter is mostly R1b1b1, while the (ill-studied) African one falls within two categories: Euro-like R1b1b2a and exotic R1b*. Egyptian R1b is evenly divided in these two categories while Ouldeme R1b appears to be R1b* (some distinct subclade, not yet categorized) in its totality. If the current understanding of non-European R1b is correct (it may be not), then the overall expansion of R1b may have happened c. 20,000 years ago, maybe in connection with Solutrean and related cultures like Iberomaurusian (Oranian), while the "European" R1b instead would have expanded closer to the Epipaleolithic/Neolithic timeline, it seems.

2. R1a

The node shown (c. 18,000 years ago) represents the earliest bifurcation, which surely happened in South or Central Asia. It does not represent the R1a1a main subclade, which expanded much later with all likehood.

3. R2

We know nothing yet of the substructure of R2 but from the estimates it seems it diverged from R1 c. 32,000 years ago, deep in the Paleolithic.

4. Q

The divergence of R and Q appears even older, c. 42,000 years ago, before most of Europe was colonized by h. sapiens.

5. NO

It's been recently discovered that NO and P share one basal mutation. Still their split falls wholly in the main period of K branching out, that, according to my estimates is earlier than 60,000 BP. I will try to adress NO substructure and internal timeline in the future.

6. K

The K multifurcation appears to represent the main Eurasian expansion better than anything else. It may have happened some 63,000 years ago. Some of the branches (L, T) may have gone by very long coalescence periods, while others expanded soon after the K node instead.

7. IJ

Another recently discovered connecion is that of IJK. IJ separated from K not long before the main K divergence and not long after the main F multifurcation. I and J appear to have split c. 50,000 years ago, maybe in connection with the earliest European colonists in Bulgaria. I will try to adress IJ internal structure and possible timeline in the future.

8. F

F may have been the first lineage to diverge after Toba. If H and G actually hang from the F node directly, this may have happened somewhere in NW South Asia.

9. C

The estimated timeline for the coalscence of C may be too long. I am rather inclined to think its multifucation happened earlier, closer to the F-K spread. Whatever the case, this clade must have participated in the "main Eurasian expansion" right after Toba.

10. DE

I also promise some greater insight in the internal structure of this macro-clade (soon to comeTM). Like in the case of C, the main bifurcation node may be missdated a little too late anyhow.

11. B

It's very curious how this African lineage appears to have an expansion time that parallels that of F-K, right after Toba. This catastrophe surely also affected Africa and may have caused some major alterations and opportuities. Of course, as B is only poorly understood, it may be just an illusion.

12. A

The oldest distinct human lineage would seem to have expanded in a parallel timeline to that of the out-of-Africa epysode. Probably there were favorable climatic conditions in that window, helping everybody.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Zionist Story (documentary film)

Made by Israeli film-maker Ronen Berelowich, The Zionist Story is a critical view of Zionism and a realistic history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Found at Filasteen. Originally from Pulse.

Monday, March 9, 2009

What comes now, once democracy has been abolished

When democracy is nothing but a farce anymore, at least here in the Basque Country, when political factions that barely gather 25% of popular support hold the majority of parlamentary seats and get ready to estabilish a new fascist goverment, we can already see what the future offers.

A few days ago the social center of Vitoria-Gasteiz Zaramazulo was clausurated and searched by Spanish military police with unknown pretexts. The building has been serving as social center for the last 25 years for the neighbourhood of Zaramaga, hosting all kind of activities: theater, music, dance, popular academies, the unemployed workers' assembly, a distibutor of books and records, an altenative magazine, antimilitarist groups, a pro-cannabis platform and the ecologist grpup against the High Speed Train, all were hosted there.

Overnight the Guardia Civil, that in spite of its name is purely military in nature, has take over the place and clausurated it.

I imagine this is only the prelude, the entrance of many more bitter dishes that will come in this increasingly undemocratic period in the Western Basque Country.

The ghost of Franco laughs but we feel no fear, just rage... and rage is what feeds hope, because it feeds the struggle for a better world.

Source for the central info: Eutsi - antiauthoritarian left's page.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Catalans demand self-determination in Brussels

Some 10,000 Catalans and supporters from various other nationalities demonstrated yesterday in Brussels demanding the EU authorities the recognition of the right of self-determination for the Catalan nation.

The slogan: "We want a Catalan state". Besides Catalan four-barred banners, ensigns from other opressed nations of Europe and the Mediterranean could be spotted as well: Basque, Breton, Flemish, Corsican, Venetian and even Berber flags were present.

"Spanard who doesn't jump" was one of the cries heard in Brussels.

Source: Gara.

Status inheritance cultural not genetic

At least among hyenas.

Cubs adopted by high-ranking hyenas inherit the status of their surrogate mothers, not their biological ones. The silver-spoon effect is not genetic but a product of social learning.

Source: Science Daily. Originally from M.L. East et al., 2009.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The bantustanization of Palestine

The term Apartheid sounds more and more in relation with Israel and its occupation of the formally unannexed areas of Palestine. One of the central elements of South African Apartheid was the bantustan, micro-states carved out in South African territory, often discontiguous, with no real competences in foreign or even internal policies, created basically to deprive South African Blacks from their citizenship, making the country a little more white and little less black on paper.

South African bantustans in the 1970s and later

The situation is strikingly similar in Palestine, as this Quaker video shows:

There's no two states solution largely because Israel doesn't want it. The term is only waved as support for the creation of a Palestinian bantustan and nothing else.

Desert Peace, originally from Inspired Path.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Israel shoots farmers and internatonal cooperators (video)

From Window into Palestine. The attacks happened when the famers and cooperators (voluntary human shields from around the world) tried to work some lands 300m from the apartheid wall, at the village of Khoza, Khan Younis, West Bank.

These shootings are not any isolated event. Just that in this occasion they have been captured in video.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Undemocratic "elections" in the Western Basque Country

The total banishmen of one the major political forces in the Basque Country (general described as Basque Nationalist Left, that has been between 2nd and 4th force along the years when they actually could run) has left the Western Basque Country deprived of options in the farce represented today, leaving to a mutilated, not representative, autonomous parliament, for the first time ever dominated by the Spanish Nationalists, even if they have only some 25% of the potential votes.

This farce of democracy, denounced even by the United Nations, has been met with many protests, as the images show:

"It's enough! Democracy now!!!" - "This is not democracy"

"This is not democracy"

R. Rato, former IMF Director, also had to put up with protesters

"We will keep applying life sentences" - "Zero democracy"

Source: Gara.