Proto-Uralic homeland hypotheses
Various Proto-Uralic homeland hypotheses, concerning the origin of the Uralic languages and the location (Urheimat or homeland) and period in which the Proto-Uralic language was spoken, have been advocated over the years.
Europe versus Siberia
The Proto-Uralic homeland has always been located near the Ural Mountains, either on the European or the Siberian side. The main reason to suppose a Siberian homeland has been the traditional taxonomic model that sees the Samoyed branch splitting off first; because the present border between the Samoyed and the Ugric branch is located in Western Siberia, the original split was seen to have occurred there, too.
However, the Ugric languages are known to have earlier been spoken on the European side of the Urals, so a European homeland would be equally possible. In recent years it has also been argued that on the phonological basis the oldest split was not between the Samoyed and the Finno-Ugric, but between the Finno-Permic and the Ugro-Samoyedic language groups. The lexical level is argued to be less reliable, and lexical innovativeness (a small number of shared cognates) can be confused with a great age of the division. For a long time, no new arguments for a Siberian homeland have been presented.
Both European and Siberian homeland proposals have been supported by palaeolinguistic evidence, although only such cases are valid in which the semantic reconstructions are certain. A Siberian homeland has been claimed on the basis of two coniferous tree names in Proto-Uralic, although these trees (Abies sibirica and Pinus cembra) have for a long time been present also in easternmost Europe. A European homeland is supported by words for 'bee', 'honey', 'elm' etc. These can be reconstructed already in Proto-Uralic, when Samoyed is no more the first entity to split off.
More recently also the loanword evidence has been used to support a European homeland: Proto-Uralic has been seen borrowing words from Proto-Indo-European, and the Proto-Indo-European homeland has rarely been located east of the Urals. Proto-Uralic even seems to have developed in close contact with Proto-Aryan, which is seen to have been born in the Poltavka culture of the Caspian steppes before its spread to Asia.
Although Proto-Uralic is now located on the European side of the Urals, Pre-Proto-Uralic seems to have been spoken in Asia, as argued on the basis of early contacts with the Yukaghir languages  and typological similarity with the Altaic (in the typological meaning) language families.
Archaeological continuity has for a long time been applied as an argument for linguistic continuity, in the Uralic studies since the Estonians Paul Ariste and Harri Moora in 1956. Just as long this kind of argumentation has also been heavily criticized. The oldest version of the continuity theories can be called the moderate or shallow continuity theory, and according to it the linguistic continuity in Estonia and Finland can be traced back to the arrival of Typical Combed Ware about 6,000 years ago. This view became mainstream in the multidisciplinary Tvärminne symposium in 1980, when there seemed to be nothing in the linguistic results to seriously contradict this archaeological view.
The continuity argumentation in the Uralic studies gained greater visibility during the 1990s, when the next step was popularized (even though already earlier this line of reasoning had been occasionally sported): in the radical or deep continuity theory it was claimed that the linguistic continuity in Finland could be traced back to the Mesolithic initial colonization, beyond 10,000 years.
However, in the Indo-European studies J. P. Mallory had already thoroughly scrutinized the methodological weakness of the continuity argumentation in 1989. In the Uralic studies it was also soon noted that the one and the same argument (archaeological continuity) was used to support contradicting views, thus revealing the unreliability of the method.
At the same time new linguistic results appeared contradicting the continuity theories: both the datings of Proto-Saami  and Proto-Finnic as well as Proto-Uralic (Kallio 2006; Häkkinen 2009) were argued to be clearly younger than were thought in the framework of the continuity theories.
Nowadays linguists rarely believe in the continuity theories due to both their shown methodological flaws and incompatibility with the new linguistic results, although some archaeologists and laymen may still sport on such argumentation.
After the rejection of the continuity theories, the recent linguistic arguments have placed the Proto-Uralic homeland around the Kama River, or more generally close to the Great Volga Bend and the Ural Mountains. The expansion of Proto-Uralic has been dated to about 2000 BC (4000 years ago), whereas its earlier stages go back at least one or two millennia further. Either way, this is considerably later than the earlier views of the continuity theories, which would place Proto-Uralic deep into Europe.
So far no challenging views have been presented.
Evidence from population genetics
The characteristic genetics of Uralic speaking peoples is haplogroup N1c-Tat (Y-DNA). 63% of Finns, 47% of Saami  and 41% of Estonians  belong to this haplogroup. Samoyedic peoples mainly have more N1b-P43 than N1c. Haplogroup N originated in the northern part of China in 20,000 -25,000 years BP and spread to the north Eurasia, through Siberia to Northern Europe. A subgroup N1c1 is frequently seen in Finno-Ugric people, N1c2 in Samoyedic peoples. In addition, haplogroup Z (mtDNA), found with low frequency in saami, Finns and Siberia, is related to Uralic peoples’ migration.
In recent genetic analysis of ancient human bones excavated from the remains of Liao civilization, haplogroup N1 (Y-DNA) is found with a high frequency of 71%, including old paragroups of N1. So, a new possibility arises that the Urheimat of Uralic languages (and perhaps also Yukaghir languages) may be Liao river region. The oldest Pit–Comb Ceramic, related to Finno-Ugric peoples, is also found in Liao civilization. This is also corroborated by the works of Vladimir Napolskikh, who studied the origins of the "earth-diver" creation myths and concluded that a certain variety of these myths, which is found in the folklore of Uralic peoples and other N1(Y-DNA) populations, originated in the Northern Asia, possibly in the northeastern regions of today's China.
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