Monday, August 24, 2015
Smarter than the average bear
Using a few ancient hunter-gatherer sequences, formal statistics, and enough present-day samples, I can predict with basically 100% accuracy whether an ethnic group is of European or extra-European origin. Actually, there's probably an infinite number of ways of doing the same thing nowadays, but I thought this was an effective way of visualizing it. The datasheet can be downloaded here.
I also tried to analyze the Indo-European expansion in a similar way. The results are a lot less obvious, and there are a number of reasons for that. One of the main factors, I'd say, is that languages can be learned or imposed very quickly, and this happened a lot during historic times, well after the Proto-Indo-European dispersals.
For instance, Sardinians spoke Paleo-Sardinian or Nuragic languages until they adopted Indo-European speech, in the form of Latin, from the Romans (see page 118 here). Indeed, it's highly unlikely that any Proto-Indo-Europeans ever stepped foot on Sardinia. The relevant datasheet is here.
In this analysis I used samples from the Allentoft et al., Haak et al. and Lazaridis et al. datasets, all of which are publicly available. The latter two are found at the Reich Lab site here.
Pre and Post-Kurgan Europe