IN THE CHILDHOOD of the genetic investigations in the 1990s, researchers only had access to mitochondrial DNA. The Mitochondria are bacteria that live in our cells in symbiosis with them and help to break down the nutrients to a level the cell can use. Each of them has their own genome. According to the early mtDNA surveys, there had been no hybridizing between Neanderthals and modern humans.
At the same time, however, there appeared one skeleton after another that had an unmistakable sense of being a mixture of Neanderthal and modern human. I claimed there had to be something wrong with the mtDNA surveys - skeletal findings were, as empirical evidence, more important than the investigations of mtDNA, which only told about half of humanity, the women. In this view, I got criticism. One did not question the genetic conclusions!
But then, the genetic analysis technique developed and our true genome, our core DNA, was analysed. The studies revealed that all living people outside Africa had between 1-4% neanderthal DNA in their genes. The result of the mtDNA surveys was incorrect or incorrectly read, probably the latter. But those who criticized me for my opinion did not apologize. Why the mtDNA results had been misled seems to have not been discussed at all. One strode over and went on.
However, mtDNA has the ability to make it. In his book from 2011, The Origin of our Species, the paleoanthropologist at the Natural History Museum in London, Chris Stringer, claimed that there had been only a single emigration from Africa and it had occurred 60,000 years ago. To this end, he had come through the in-depth investigations of just the mtDNA.
This genome has been divided into a series of subgroups, called haplogroups. One of them has been marked with the letter L. The latest mutation in this haplogroup, bearing the name L3, occurred on African soil 83,000 years ago. But outside of Africa, no mitochondria carries this haplogroup, but all belong to either the haplogroups M or N. They came through a mutation outside of Africa 63,000 years ago (Stringer 2012).
A series of geneticists and a group of palaeoantropologists made the strange conclusion that there was only one emigration from Africa about 60,000 years ago. But even this time there was empirical evidence, partly in the form of the finds of much older stone tools from the southern route along the southern shore of the Arab peninsula, and partly in the form of 50,000 years of older skeletal findings from the northern route through Palestine. Chris Stringer had to wear the dog head and was severely criticized. He tried to defend himself by saying that he never claimed there had been no previous emigrations.
So afterwards it seems quite clear that the conclusion that no interbreeding between Neanderthals and modern people did not happen could not be deducted at all by the available mtDNA; Any elements from Neanderthal mitochondria had long since disappeared because of genetic drift. The conclusion that a single emigration occurred 60,000 years ago has on the other hand to do with the self-image of paleoantropologists. They want to see themselves as natural scientists today, but in fact they are more historians and humanists. The emigration from Africa was a process that began with opportunistic advances in order to be organized in the last one 60,000 years ago. The possibility of a more advanced social organization in the people for 60,000 years ago can not a pure naturalist see. It is a happening that is ideologically impossible!
David Reich is a professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston and besides Svante Pääbo, one of the researchers who successfully managed to develop the technique of utilizing the aDNA in the mapping of populations dead long ago. Image from the Internet.
Professor Eske Willerslev has built another laboratory for the study of the aDNA at the Danish Natural History Museum. Photo from the Internet.
Very quickly, genetic research technology has developed further, not least, thanks to Svante Pääbo, who gained access to a state-of-the-art laboratory at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. There, the geneticists learned to extract nucleus DNA from the teeth and skeletons of people who died a long time ago, 1000 years ago or even older. This DNA is in English called ancient DNA, shorted aDNA.
The first aDNA survey came in 2010. It was really sensational: A survey of a genome of a Neanderthal (Green et al 2010). It was done at Svante Pääbo's laboratory in Leipzig. There, geneticists also worked from different directions to learn the new technology. Two researchers, who have been Pääbo's disciples for seven years, have taken a prominent role among the new generation of investigators of the aDNA: American Geneticist David Reich of Harvard Medical School in Boston and Danish Eske Willerslev, Head of Genetics Department at the Danish Natural History Museum in Copenhagen.
The geneticists who chose to study the aDNA were apparently very enthusiastic about their tasks. It was thought that now the definitive truth about man's prehistory could be established once and for all, even how the languages were spread. At least, if you believe the preface to David Reich's recently published book Who we are and how we got here (Reich 2018).
However, the results of the aDNA surveys have proved to be strangely controversial. In Western Europe, a culture called Bell-Beaker was spread from what appears to have been Spain in the 4th century BC. Archaeologically, the Beaker technology was incorporated into the predominant cultural tradition of the megalith culture without any major changes. But the analysis of the aDNA from the British at this time, what Reich's major team performed, showed something else (Olalde et al., 2018). They surveyed the genome of 19 Bell-Beaker owners from Britain and found that they had little genetic resemblance to the 35 Neolithic peasants of this island, whose DNA they also analysed (Callaway 2017). The Beaker owners, however, were closely related to 14 individuals from the Netherlands. They should have had a lighter skin and eyes than the people had they replaced. Around 2000 BC, the signals from the Neolithic descent disappear from Britain and are replaced by Bell-Beaker chromosomes (ibid). In Sweden, the hunters DNA was replaced with the DNA of immigrant farmers (Malmström et al 2009), but what happened in Britain? Can a population be completely replaced in peaceful forms in only a few hundred years? Could it have been the status of having a xantocroid child, which temporarily disturbed the breeding rules for reproduction? The studies of the aDNA cannot explain the social processes through which the extensive exchange took place!
The three different sites from which the aDNA was collected for genetic analysis. From Bolshoj Oleni Ostrov, pomor DNA was taken, from Chalmny Varre Sami DNA and from Levänluhta Finnish DNA. Map hypertexter.se after Finnish Kalamistopiiri (https://kalmistopiiri.wordpress.com/about/)
Another hard-to-understand aDNA survey was published as preprint on the server bioRxiv in March 2018. There, 17 researchers reported their findings on an aDNA study of pomors (the people around Arkhangelsk, today Russian-speaking), and Sami and Finns (Lamnidis et al 2018 ). The aDNA had been taken from 11 different individuals from three different burial fields: two on the Kola peninsula (Bolshoy Oleni Ostrov and Chalmny Varre) and one in Ostrobothnia Finland (Levänluhta in Storkyro) (ibid). The sources of the aDNA are quite young: the oldest is from Bolshoy Oleni Ostrov and has an age of approximately 3500 years (ibid).
The conclusion is amazing: A few centuries before 3500 years ago came to northern Russia and Finland partly Sami, partly Finns but also Pomors. This wave of immigration originated in Siberia. Before that, Finland was apparently inhabited by some people, but they were not attracted to the investigation. As far as the Siberian connection is concerned, Sami, Finns and Pomors would be mostly related to the Nganasan people on the Tajmyr Peninsula (ibid).
The archaeological research argues that the Sami history in the form of the first colonization of northern Norway would have begun with the Komsa culture about 11,000 years ago. It was the name given by the Norwegian archaeologist Anders Nummedal for his findings of stone tools in northern Norway. But the name has now been developed by Norwegian archaeologists, who instead speak of ”northern Norwegian older stone age culture”. Is the new name chosen to hide the fact that artefacts from the Komsa culture also had been found all over the Kola peninsula (Kozlowski 2009)? Genetically, these preproto-Sami would have come from the Ahrenburg culture (c.12 900–11 700 BP) in northern Germany (Tambets et al 2004). But there has been a small question mark.
The spread of the Eurasian ice sheet about 12,000 years ago. Just below the sheet lay an elongated lake, which north of the Ural led to west from the West Siberian Ice lake. The entire system emptied into the Atlantic at Billingen in western Sweden, where there was a waterfall larger than today's Niagara. This strange ice lake began to grow up with the retreat of the ice sheet, which began about 15,000 years ago. For people adapted to an arctic environment, it would have been relatively easy to travel west in boats in summer on this lake. Map hypertexter.se.
When the ice sheet started to retreat, meltwater formed an elongated lake which stretched from western Sweden through southern Finland and northern Russia, further north of the Ural Mountains to western Siberia (see map above). There were one or two small land bridges in the lake. However, in principle it was possible to move from Siberia to Sweden during the summertime for many years. This lane was also utilized by people whose archaeological traces were mostly found in northern Russia. These people are called in the following for Chuds. They probably arrived west in at least two waves.
The eminent geneticist Siiri Rootsi at Tarttu University in Estonia, in a study of the man's Y-chromosome, showed that the genetic line of the Chuds came originally from Southeast Asia before the Gravettian culture spread from Europe to China. This expansion pushed the proto-Chuds to the north and arctic conditions (Rootsi et al 2004), perhaps to the Tajmyr Peninsula. When the ice sheet started to melt, the Chuds, now adapted to arctic conditions, followed the sea lane to get to the west in birch canoes (Dolukhanov 2008). The Russian archaeologist Pavel Dolukhanov further said that the Chuds were reindeer hunters, but also targeted moose, beaver and wading birds (primarily swan), as well as fish (most pike). They brought with them domesticated dogs. Split skulls and burials suggest that the animals were also used in shamanistic rites – shamanism could have reached Europe with the Chuds. They settled on suitable terraces on lakes and streams, but also in marshes as was the case in Vis in North-West Russia not far from Arkhangelsk (ibid).
The name-historical remains point to a wider dissemination of the Proto-Chudic immigrants. The Russian lingvist B A Serebrennikov already noted the traces of this tongue in 1955 in the form of hydronyms with suffixes of unknown origin (ie not Finnish-Icelandic or Indo-European). Such river names found him in the area between the Oka and Volga rivers, around Nisjni-Novgorod, Chuvashiva, Kirov, Arkhangelsk, Russian Karelia and the west of Smolensk (Shtrunov 2010). It is the issue of suffixes of the following type (ibid):
If we can believe the survey of the Sami mtDNA and Y chromosomes, which the genetic institution of the University of Tarttu in Estonia conducted in 2004, proto-Chudic expansion would have stopped in a line from Arkhangelsk to Smolensk (Tambets et al 2004). It might have been due to the cold period of Younger Dryas (12 800 - 11 700 years ago), which meant that the large ice lake was frozen even in summer and the ice sheet began to grow again. When the heat came back, it took a while before the proto-Chuds would have expanded westward.
So far, there have been no archaeological remains of the spread of the Proto-Chuds into Finland, northern Sweden and northern Norway. On the other hand, there are linguistic indications to an extent that makes them impossible to ignore in a serious archaeological description. To begin with the Sami language, it does not use any variant of the Finnish word for water, vesi, but a word of inexplicable origin: cáhci. Also, some toponymes in northern Sweden such as Luleju in Sami (in Swedish Luleå) and the Sami Ubmeje (in Swedish Umeå) would be of non-Sami origin. In Finland, the Great Lakes of Päijänne and Saimaa in the southern part of the country and Inare in the north would not be Fenno-Uralian name constructions (Kallio 2004).
The interesting fact is that the ethnonym Chuds was also known among the Sami people during the Viking Age (Fjellström 1986). It was the name of the people who robbed their stores. During the same time the Nordic people named the robbers Barmians. The Samic ethnonyme Chuds was a much older name.
Hydronyms are telling. In his doctoral dissertation from 2013, language historian Pauli Rahkonen at the University of Helsinki was studying the hydronyms from northern Russia with a particular emphasis on the surroundings of Lake Ilmen (Rahkonen 2013). His study points out that the area around Ilmen was not inhabited by the Fenno-Ugrian Votes but by a people whom the expanding slaves named Chuds (Rahkonen 2011). After the slaves assimilated the Chuds the ethnonym become their name for people who spoke Baltic-Finnish languages around the Gulf of Finland. In the end, it became a Russian pejorative for Finns and Estonians. Now it's time to take this probably oldest Nordic ethnic name to honour again!
The mystery that hides in the widespread water names of unknown origin from northern Sweden over Finland to an important part of northwestern European Russia is not exposed in Lamnidis and als investigation. It is so much more remarkable that the survey seems to confirm the conservative academic perception about the history of Finland stuck in a fierce academic battle in the first decade of the 21st century.
It all began with the former professor of phonetics at Turun Yliopisto in Turku, Kalevi Wiik (1932-2015), introducing a new thinking. In two books, he claimed that if making interdisciplinary use of genetics, archaeology and language history, as Cavalli-Sforza indicated, it was possible to understand the prehistory of Europe and Finland in a new and more profound way (Wiik 2001 and 2004). He said that the Fenno-Uralian language arose about 20,000 years ago in Eastern Europe. During the continued Ice Age maximum, it would have wandered eastward and become the Samoyedic. The traditional language-historical interpretation again claims that the Fenno-Uralian language family arose in Asia. May we believe Lamnidi's and als survey, the language line would have come from Asia to Europe just before 3500 BC!
The linguists at the University of Helsinki responded injured to Wiik's proposals for new research methods. They answered harshly with rather bad arguments: No mistakes had been made and the criticism was completely unfounded. It went so far that Wiik's interdisciplinary method was called "voodoo science" (Tirkonen 2011). But they still did not dare to attack Cavalli-Sforza!
Has Svante Pääbo's institution, the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, been manipulated by the conservative traditionalists in Finland? It should not be possible for a science claiming to express absolute truth. But Lamnidis et al. seems to abolish all previous genetic studies that span the Mesolithic and limit the story to the four thousend years that traditionalist historians believe it is possible to follow a language's history. What could be wrong with Lamnidis et als survey?
However, there are other aDNA investigations that raised even more attention. For example, Marija Gimbutas claimed that Indo-European warriors from the Pontic plains, passed over not only Old Europe, but also Central, Eastern, and Eastern Europe. Her English colleague Colin Renfrew, in turn, argued that there was insufficient archaeological support for her statement. However, in 2015, the results of two major studies of the aDNA, which proved that a large population migration had taken place from the Pontiac Plains to Central Europe around 3000 BC, came to light. Colin Renfrew has to admit that he has failed, which he also publicly admitted in two appearances, one in Chicago, the other in Uppsala. But the two investigations, one, Haak et al., 2015, from Reich's laboratory and the other, Allentoft et al., 2015, from Willerslev's institution, both claimed that Gimbutas also was the right in her claim that the Indo-European languages spread across Europe with the Pontic emigration.
However, the latter assertion Paul Heggarty of Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig made pulp of. It is a question of an error of both the geneticists and Gimbutas. Whatever happened in language path was that Latvian and Lithuanian languages arrived to the southern Baltic region with the warriors (Heggarty 2015).
The Swedish senior professor Kristian Kristiansen went even further into the aDNA survey he published in 2017. He claimed that a pre-German language had evolved in the Pontic plains, and this had been brought to Europe with the Corded Ware culture (Kristiansen et al. 2017). The Swedish language in an early form would therefore also had arrived in Sweden with these warriors from the Pontic Yamnaya culture (ibid).
Immediately begun the historic watches call. Archaeologist Volker Heid, with activities at the universities of Bristol and Helsinki, already thought in 2017 in the English magazine Antiquity, having seen the spirit of Germanist archaeology professor Gustaf Kossinna in Kristiansen's study (Heid 2017). The British science magazine Nature had in a editorial leader of March 28 this year stressed that the results of the studies based on the aDNA should not lead to simplified conclusions, to simplism. The article also highlights the German Gustaf Kossinna as an example of how crazy it can be with overly simplifying.
In the next part of the paper we will treat Gustaf Kossinna and his dependence on the Swedish archaeologist Oscar Montelius and Kossinna's influence on the emergence of the Kurgan hypothesis for the origin of the Indo-European languages.
Publiceringshistoria, Engelska versionen: Utlagd 2018-09-23.
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