Ancient North Eurasian

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In archaeogenetics, the term Ancient North Eurasian (often abbreviated as ANE) is the name given to a predominantly West-Eurasian ancestral component that represents descent from the people similar to the Mal'ta–Buret' culture and populations closely related to them, such as from Afontova Gora and the Yana Rhinoceros Horn Site.[1]

ANE ancestry has spread throughout Eurasia and the Americas in various migrations since the Upper Paleolithic, and more than half of the world's population today derives between 5 to 40% of their genomes from the Ancient North Eurasians.[2] Significant ANE ancestry can be found in the indigenous peoples of the Americas, as well as in regions of Europe, South Asia, Central Asia, and Siberia. It has been suggested that their mythology may have included a narrative, found in both Indo-European and some Native American fables, in which a dog guards the path to the afterlife.[3]

Genetic studies[edit]

The ANE lineage is defined by association with the MA-1, or "Mal'ta boy", the remains of an individual who lived during the Last Glacial Maximum, 24,000 years ago in central Siberia, discovered in the 1920s.

The "Ancient North Eurasian" (ANE) network, consisted of several Paleolithic Siberian samples and contributed ancestry towards later Eastern European Hunter-Gatherers (EHG) and Native Americans, as well as indirectly towards later Steppe pastoralists (specifically the Yamnaya culture). Neolithic Iranian farmers and the northernmost Jōmon people (ancestors of the Ainu people) also received geneflow from ANE-related populations along a North to South cline.

Ancient North Eurasians are described as a lineage "which is deeply related to Paleolithic/Mesolithic hunter-gatherers in Europe", meaning that they diverged from Paleolithic Europeans a long time ago. The proposed split between ANE and Paleolithic Europeans happened either in Europe or in the Middle East.[4][5][6] Ancient North Eurasians also had varying degrees of admixture from an ancient East Asian-related population, such as the Tianyuan Man. Sikora et al. (2019) found that the oldest ANE-associated Yana RHS sample (31,600 BP) in Northeastern Siberia "can be modelled as early West Eurasian with an approximately 22% contribution from early East Asians" suggesting early contact in Northeastern Siberia.[7]

Populations genetically similar to MA-1 were an important genetic contributor to Native Americans, Europeans, Central Asians, South Asians, and some East Asian groups (such as the Ainu people), in order of significance.[8] Lazaridis et al. (2016:10) note "a cline of ANE ancestry across the east-west extent of Eurasia."[8] The ancient Bronze-age-steppe Yamnaya and Afanasevo cultures were found to have a noteworthy ANE component at ~25% (some studies estimated a higher percentage at nearly ~50%).[9] According to Moreno-Mayar et al. 2018 between 14% and 38% of Native American ancestry may originate from gene flow from the Mal'ta–Buret' people (ANE). This difference is caused by the penetration of posterior Siberian migrations into the Americas, with the lowest percentages of ANE ancestry found in Eskimos and Alaskan Natives, as these groups are the result of migrations into the Americas roughly 5,000 years ago.[10] Estimates for ANE ancestry among first wave Native Americans show higher percentages,[11] such as 42% for those belonging to the Andean region in South America.[11] The other gene flow in Native Americans (the remainder of their ancestry) was of East Asian origin.[5] Gene sequencing of another south-central Siberian people (Afontova Gora-2) dating to approximately 17,000 years ago, revealed similar autosomal genetic signatures to that of Mal'ta boy-1, suggesting that the region was continuously occupied by humans throughout the Last Glacial Maximum.[5]

Genomic studies also indicate that the ANE component was introduced to Western Europe by people related to the Yamnaya culture, long after the Paleolithic.[9][1] It is reported in modern-day Europeans (10%–20%).[9][1] Additional ANE ancestry is found in European populations through Paleolithic interactions with Eastern European Hunter-Gatherers, which resulted in populations such as Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherers.[12]

The Ancient North Eurasians (ANE) split from the ancestors of European peoples somewhere in the Middle East or South-central Asia, and used a northern dispersal route through Central Asia into Northern Asia and Siberia.[13][nb 1] Genetic analyses show that all ANE-associated samples (Afontova Gora 3, Mal'ta 1 and Yana-RHS) show evidence for geneflow from an East Asian-related group (samplified by the Amis, Han, or Tianyuan), suggesting long-term contact with East Asian migrant groups. In contrast, no evidence for ANE-related geneflow into East Asians (Amis, Han, Tianyuan), except the Ainu, was found.[14][nb 2] Genetic data suggests that the ANE formed during the Terminal Upper-Paleolithic (36+-1,5ka) period from a deeply European-related population, which was once widespread in Northern Eurasia, and from an early East Asian-related group, which migrated northwards into Central Asia and Siberia, merging with this deeply European-related population. These population dynamics and constant northwards geneflow of East Asian-related ancestry would later gave rise to the "Ancestral Native Americans" and Paleosiberians, which replaced the ANE as dominant population of Siberia.[15]

The amount of East Asian-related ancestry among analyzed ANE samples varies between 14% to up to 32% suggesting an slow increase of East Asian-related ancestry since the late Paleolithic. The East Asian-like ancestry is best represented by a population ancestral to modern East Asians and Southeast Asians.[16][17]

Groups partially derived from the Ancient North Eurasians[edit]

Eastern Hunter-Gatherer (EHG) is a lineage which derived significant ancestry from ANE, ranging between 9% to up to 75%, with the remaining ancestry from a group more closely related to, but distinct from, Western Hunter-Gatherers (WHGs).[8][18] It is represented by two individuals from Karelia, one of Y-haplogroup R1a-M417, dated c. 8.4 kya, the other of Y-haplogroup J, dated c. 7.2 kya; and one individual from Samara, of Y-haplogroup R1b-P297, dated c. 7.6 kya. After the end of the Last Glacial Maximum, the Western Hunter-Gatherers (WHG) and EHG lineages merged in Eastern Europe, accounting for early presence of ANE-derived ancestry in Mesolithic Europe. Evidence suggests that as Ancient North Eurasians migrated West from Eastern Siberia, they absorbed Western Hunter-Gatherers and other West Eurasian populations as well.[19]

Scandinavian Hunter-Gatherer (SHG) is represented by several individuals buried at Motala, Sweden ca. 6000 BC. They were descended from Western Hunter-Gatherers who initially settled Scandinavia from the south, and later populations of EHG who entered Scandinavia from the north through the coast of Norway.[20][9][21][12][22]

Ancient Beringian/Ancestral Native American are specific archaeogenetic lineages, based on the genome of an infant found at the Upward Sun River site (dubbed USR1), dated to 11,500 years ago.[15] The AB lineage diverged from the Ancestral Native American (ANA) lineage about 20,000 years ago.

West Siberian Hunter-Gatherer (WSHG) are a specific archaeogenetic lineage, first reported in a genetic study published in Science in September 2019. WSGs were found to be of about 30% EHG ancestry, 50% ANE ancestry, and 20% to 38% East Asian ancestry.[11][23]

Western Steppe Herders (WSH) is the name given to a distinct ancestral component that represents descent closely related to the Yamnaya culture of the Pontic–Caspian steppe.[nb 3] This ancestry is often referred to as Yamnaya ancestry or Steppe ancestry.[4]

Late Upper Paeolithic Lake Baikal - Ust'Kyakhta-3 (UKY) 14,050-13,770 BP were mixture of 30% ANE ancestry and 70% East Asian ancestry.[25]

Lake Baikal Holocene - Baikal Eneolithic (Baikal_EN) and Baikal Early Bronze Age (Baikal_EBA) derived 6.4% to 20.1% ancestry from ANE, while rest of their ancestry was derived from East Asians. Fofonovo_EN near by Lake Baikal were mixture of 12-17% ANE ancestry and 83-87% East Asian ancestry.[26]

Hokkaido Jōmon people specifically refers to the Jōmon period population of Hokkaido in northernmost Japan. Though the Jōmon people themselves descended mainly from East Asian lineages, one study found an affinity between Hokkaido Jōmon with the Northern Eurasian Yana sample (an ANE-related group, related to Mal'ta), and suggest as an explanation the possibility of minor Yana gene flow into the Hokkaido Jōmon population (as well as other possibilities).[13] A more recent study by Cooke et al. 2021, confirmed ANE-related geneflow among the Jōmon people, partially ancestral to the Ainu people. ANE ancestry among Jōmon people is estimated at 21%, however there is a North to South cline within the Japanese archipelago, with the highest amount of ANE ancestry in Hokkaido and Tohoku.[27]

Evolution of blond hair[edit]

From Hanel and Carlberg (2020). European blond hair is thought to have originated in south-central Siberia.

Single nucleotide polymorphisms of the KITLG gene are associated with blonde hair color in various human populations. One of these polymorphisms is associated with blond hair.[28][29][30][31] The earliest known individual with this allele is a female south-central Siberian ANE individual from Afontova Gora 3 site, which is dated to 16130-15749 BCE.[32] Mathieson, et al (2018) thus argued that this gene originated in the Ancient North Eurasian population.[33]

Geneticist David Reich said that the KITLG gene for blond hair probably entered continental Europe in a population migration wave from the Eurasian steppe, by a population carrying substantial Ancient North Eurasian ancestry.[34] Hanel and Carlberg (2020) likewise report that populations bearing Ancient North Eurasian ancestry were responsible for contributing this gene to Europeans.[35]

Comparative mythology[edit]

Since the term 'Ancient North Eurasian' refers to a genetic bridge of connected mating networks, scholars of comparative mythology have argued that they probably shared myths and beliefs that could be reconstructed via the comparison of stories attested within cultures that were not in contact for millennia and stretched from the Pontic–Caspian steppe to the American continent.[3]

For instance, the mytheme of the dog guarding the Otherworld possibly stems from an older Ancient North Eurasian belief, as suggested by similar motifs found in Indo-European, Native American and Siberian mythology. In Siouan, Algonquian, Iroquoian, and in Central and South American beliefs, a fierce guard dog was located in the Milky Way, perceived as the path of souls in the afterlife, and getting past it was a test. The Siberian Chukchi and Tungus believed in a guardian-of-the-afterlife dog and a spirit dog that would absorb the dead man's soul and act as a guide in the afterlife. In Indo-European myths, the figure of the dog is embodied by Cerberus, Sarvarā, and Garmr. Anthony and Brown note that it might be one of the oldest mythemes recoverable through comparative mythology.[3]

A second canid-related series of beliefs, myths and rituals connected dogs with healing rather than death. For instance, Ancient Near Eastern and Turkic-Kipchaq myths are prone to associate dogs with healing and generally categorised dogs as impure. A similar myth-pattern is assumed for the Eneolithic site of Botai in Kazakhstan, dated to 3500 BC, which might represent the dog as absorber of illness and guardian of the household against disease and evil. In Mesopotamia, the goddess Nintinugga, associated with healing, was accompanied or symbolized by dogs. Similar absorbent-puppy healing and sacrifice rituals were practiced in Greece and Italy, among the Hittites, again possibly influenced by Near Eastern traditions.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Flegontov et al. 2016.
  2. ^ Reich 2018, p. 81
  3. ^ a b c d Anthony & Brown 2019, pp. 104–106.
  4. ^ a b Jeong et al. 2019.
  5. ^ a b c Raghavan et al. 2013.
  6. ^ Balter 2013.
  7. ^ Sikora, Martin; Pitulko, Vladimir V.; Sousa, Vitor C.; Allentoft, Morten E.; Vinner, Lasse; Rasmussen, Simon; Margaryan, Ashot; de Barros Damgaard, Peter; de la Fuente, Constanza; Renaud, Gabriel; Yang, Melinda A. (June 2019). "The population history of northeastern Siberia since the Pleistocene". Nature. 570 (7760): 182–188. Bibcode:2019Natur.570..182S. doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1279-z. ISSN 1476-4687. PMID 31168093. S2CID 174809069.
  8. ^ a b c Lazaridis et al. 2016.
  9. ^ a b c d Haak et al. 2015.
  10. ^ Moreno-Mayar et al. 2018.
  11. ^ a b c Wong et al. 2017.
  12. ^ a b Günther et al. 2018.
  13. ^ a b c Osada & Kawai 2021.
  14. ^ a b Yang, Melinda A.; Gao, Xing; Theunert, Christoph; Tong, Haowen; Aximu-Petri, Ayinuer; Nickel, Birgit; Slatkin, Montgomery; Meyer, Matthias; Pääbo, Svante; Kelso, Janet; Fu, Qiaomei (2017-10-23). "40,000-Year-Old Individual from Asia Provides Insight into Early Population Structure in Eurasia". Current Biology. 27 (20): 3202–3208.e9. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2017.09.030. ISSN 0960-9822. PMC 6592271. PMID 29033327. For Scenario 1, we observe that for every outgroup set, a model of gene flow into the Ami from a population related to Mal’ta1 is not supported. For Scenario 2, we find that a model where Mal’ta1 is a mixture of populations represented by Vestonice16 and the Ami is possible for all outgroup sets.
  15. ^ a b Moreno-Mayar et al. 2018.
  16. ^ Yang, Melinda A.; Gao, Xing; Theunert, Christoph; Tong, Haowen; Aximu-Petri, Ayinuer; Nickel, Birgit; Slatkin, Montgomery; Meyer, Matthias; Pääbo, Svante; Kelso, Janet; Fu, Qiaomei (2017-10-23). "40,000-Year-Old Individual from Asia Provides Insight into Early Population Structure in Eurasia". Current Biology. 27 (20): 3202–3208.e9 Figure 3. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2017.09.030. ISSN 0960-9822. PMC 6592271. PMID 29033327.
  17. ^ Yang, Melinda A.; Fan, Xuechun; Sun, Bo; Chen, Chungyu; Lang, Jianfeng; Ko, Ying-Chin; Tsang, Cheng-hwa; Chiu, Hunglin; Wang, Tianyi; Bao, Qingchuan; Wu, Xiaohong (2020-07-17). "Ancient DNA indicates human population shifts and admixture in northern and southern China". Science. 369 (6501): 282–288. Bibcode:2020Sci...369..282Y. doi:10.1126/science.aba0909. PMID 32409524. S2CID 218649510.
  18. ^ Wang 2019.
  19. ^ Mathieson et al. 2018.
  20. ^ Lazaridis et al. 2014.
  21. ^ Mathieson 2015.
  22. ^ Mittnik 2018.
  23. ^ Narasimhan 2019.
  24. ^ Jeong et al. 2018.
  25. ^ Yu et al. 2020.
  26. ^ Jeong et al. 2020.
  27. ^ Cooke, Niall P.; Mattiangeli, Valeria; Cassidy, Lara M.; Okazaki, Kenji; Stokes, Caroline A.; Onbe, Shin; Hatakeyama, Satoshi; Machida, Kenichi; Kasai, Kenji; Tomioka, Naoto; Matsumoto, Akihiko (2021). "Ancient genomics reveals tripartite origins of Japanese populations". Science Advances. 7 (38): eabh2419. Bibcode:2021SciA....7H2419C. doi:10.1126/sciadv.abh2419. PMC 8448447. PMID 34533991.
  28. ^ Hartz, Patricia. "KIT LIGAND; KITLG". Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man.
  29. ^ Khan, Razib. "KITLG makes you white skinned?". Discover Magazine.
  30. ^ "P21583". Uniprot.
  31. ^ Guenther et al. 2014.
  32. ^ Evans, Gavin (2019). Skin Deep: Dispelling the Science of Race (1 ed.). Simon and Schuster. p. 139. ISBN 9781786076236.| "Japanese research in 2006 found that the genetic mutation that prompted the evolution of blond hair dates to the ice age that happened around 11,000 years ago. Since then, the 17,000-year-old remains of a blond- haired North Eurasian hunter-gatherer have been found in eastern Siberia, suggesting an earlier origin."
  33. ^ Mathieson et al. 2018 "Supplementary Information page 52: "The derived allele of the KITLG SNP rs12821256 that is associated with – and likely causal  for blond hair in Europeans7,8 is present in one hunter-gatherer from each of Samara, Motala  and Ukraine (I0124, I0014 and I1763), as well as several later individuals with Steppe ancestry. Since the allele is found in populations with EHG but not WHG ancestry, it suggests  that its origin is in the Ancient North Eurasian (ANE) population. Consistent with this, we observe that the earliest known individual with the derived allele (supported by two reads) is the ANE individual Afontova Gora 3,6 which is directly dated to 16130-15749 cal BCE (14710±60 BP, MAMS-27186: a previously unpublished date that we newly report here). We  cannot determine the status of rs12821256 in Afontova Gora 2 and MA-1 due to lack of  sequence coverage at this SNP.9"
  34. ^ Reich, David (2018). Who We are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0198821250. "The earliest known example of the classic European blond hair mutation is in an Ancient North Eurasian from the Lake Baikal region of eastern Siberia from seventeen thousand years ago. The hundreds of millions of copies of this mutation in central and western Europe today likely derive from a massive migration of people bearing Ancient North Eurasian ancestry, an event that is related in the next chapter."
  35. ^ Carlberg & Hanel 2020.


  1. ^ The oldest samples providing the genetic evidence of the northern migration route come from a high-coverage genome sequence of individuals excavated from the Yana RHS site in northeastern Siberia, which is about 31600 years old (Sikora et al., 2019). A wide range of artifacts, including bonecrafts of wooly rhinoceros and mammoths, were excavated at the site (Pitulko et al., 2004). The analysis of genome sequences showed that the samples were deeply diverged from most present-day East Asians and more closely related to present-day Europeans, suggesting that the population reached the area through a route different to the southern route. A 24000-year-old individual excavated near Lake Baikal, also known as the Mal’ta boy, and 17000-year-old individuals from the Afontova Gora II site (Afontova Gora 2 and 3) showed similar genetic features to the Yana individuals...although we do not yet have a complete picture of this population. (Raghavan et al., 2014; Fu et al., 2016; Sikora et al., 2019). [13]
  2. ^ Lipson and Reich find that the 24,000-year-old Mal’ta1 and 16,500-year-old AfontovaGora3 from western Siberia and several 7,000- to 14,000-year-old Western Eurasian individuals show evidence of gene flow from a population related to the East and Southeast Asian Ami. We observe that the Eastern European hunter-gatherer Karelia, like the ancient Siberians and Western Eurasians, also show evidence of East Asian gene flow. We also find that the pattern occurs for more East and Southeast Asian populations than just the Ami.[14]
  3. ^ "Recent paleogenomic studies have shown that migrations of Western steppe herders (WSH) beginning in the Eneolithic (ca. 3300–2700 BCE) profoundly transformed the genes and cultures of Europe and central Asia... The migration of these Western steppe herders (WSH), with the Yamnaya horizon (ca. 3300–2700 BCE) as their earliest representative, contributed not only to the European Corded Ware culture (ca. 2500–2200 BCE) but also to steppe cultures located between the Caspian Sea and the Altai-Sayan mountain region, such as the Afanasievo (ca. 3300–2500 BCE) and later Sintashta (2100–1800 BCE) and Andronovo (1800–1300 BCE) cultures."[24]