Human evolution: Ancient DNA steps into the language debate

  title={Human evolution: Ancient DNA steps into the language debate},
  author={John Novembre},
Two studies of ancient human DNA reveal expansions of Bronze Age populations that shed light on the long-running debate about the origins and spread of Indo-European languages. See Article p.167 & Letter p.207 Was the Bronze Age of a period of major cultural changes because of circulation of ideas or because of large-scale migrations? The authors sequence and analyse low-coverage genomes from 101 ancient humans from across Eurasia to reveal large-scale population migrations and replacements… 

Genetic structure of the early Hungarian conquerors inferred from mtDNA haplotypes and Y-chromosome haplogroups in a small cemetery

It is revealed that a significant portion of the Hungarians probably originated from a long ago consolidated gene pool in Central Asia-South Siberia, which still persists in modern Hungarians.

Calibrating the Clock

  • M. Cox
  • Environmental Science
    A Companion to Anthropological Genetics
  • 2019
Dating past events using genetic evidence remains one of the holy grails of molecular anthropology, but uncertainty in dating is preventing us from answering fundamental questions about the authors' history.

A Comparative Grammar of the Early Germanic Languages

  • R. Fulk
  • Linguistics
    Studies in Germanic Linguistics
  • 2018
Fulk’s Comparative Grammar offers an overview of and bibliographical guide to the study of the phonology and the inflectional morphology of the earliest Germanic languages, with particular attention

Mathematical Models of the Distribution and Change of Linguistic Information in Language Communities: a Case of Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Chinese Language Communities

The paper presents a theoretical analysis and computer simulations of the distribution and changes of the linguistic information in two model language communities: Proto-Indo-European and

The possibility of coexistence and co-development in language competition: ecology–society computational model and simulation

This paper improves the Lotka–Volterra model and basic reaction–diffusion model to propose an “ecology–society” computational model for describing language competition and revealed that language coexistence, and even co-development, are likely to occur during language competition.


  • A Companion to Anthropological Genetics
  • 2019

Process archaeology (P-Arch)

Abstract We advocate a Process Archaeology (P-Arch) which explores modes of becoming rather than being. We advance three theoretical postulates we feel will be useful in understanding the process of



Population genomics of Bronze Age Eurasia

It is shown that the Bronze Age was a highly dynamic period involving large-scale population migrations and replacements, responsible for shaping major parts of present-day demographic structure in both Europe and Asia.

Massive migration from the steppe was a source for Indo-European languages in Europe

We generated genome-wide data from 69 Europeans who lived between 8,000–3,000 years ago by enriching ancient DNA libraries for a target set of almost 400,000 polymorphisms. Enrichment of these

Eight thousand years of natural selection in Europe

The first genome-wide scan for selection using ancient DNA is reported, capitalizing on the largest genome- wide dataset yet assembled: 230 West Eurasians dating to between 6500 and 1000 BCE, including 163 with newly reported data.

Ancient human genomes suggest three ancestral populations for present-day Europeans

It is shown that most present-day Europeans derive from at least three highly differentiated populations: west European hunter-gatherers, who contributed ancestry to all Europeans but not to Near Easterners; ancient north Eurasians related to Upper Palaeolithic Siberians; and early European farmers, who were mainly of Near Eastern origin but also harboured west Europeanhunter-gatherer related ancestry.

Ancient Admixture in Human History

A suite of methods for learning about population mixtures are presented, implemented in a software package called ADMIXTOOLS, that support formal tests for whether mixture occurred and make it possible to infer proportions and dates of mixture.

Upper Palaeolithic Siberian genome reveals dual ancestry of Native Americans

The findings reveal that western Eurasian genetic signatures in modern-day Native Americans derive not only from post-Columbian admixture, as commonly thought, but also from a mixed ancestry of the First Americans.

Mapping the Origins and Expansion of the Indo-European Language Family

Both the inferred timing and root location of the Indo-European language trees fit with an agricultural expansion from Anatolia beginning 8000 to 9500 years ago, which supports the suggestion that the origin of the language family was indeed Anatolia 7 to 10 thousand years ago—contemporaneous with the spread of agriculture.

Genetic evidence for recent population mixture in India.

A Quantitative Comparison of the Similarity between Genes and Geography in Worldwide Human Populations

The results provide a quantitative assessment of the geographic structure of human genetic variation worldwide, supporting the view that geography plays a strong role in giving rise to human population structure.