31 January 2010

Most males in Cornwall and Leicestershire carry the same ‘Anatolian’ Y-DNA haplogroup

Another strand in the complicated weave of British genetic history has been published: A predominantly neolithic origin for European paternal lineages (dated 19 January 2010). Read it here.

There are two competing broad hypotheses in prehistory: either farming was brought to Europe by neolithic farmers migrating here or farming was acquired, through cultural transfer, by paleolithic people already here. Put simply, this study shows that most European men are descended from incoming neolithic farmers from Anatolia in the near east. Most women, however, are descended from the hunter-gatherers already here.

Put simply — read the study to get the complete picture — the evidence in this study about European males includes data from Cornwall and from Leicestershire which is in the heart of England. Table 2 of the study shows that the most recent common ancestor of the migrant males in Cornwall dates between 3764 and 7777 years ago, an average at 5460 years ago. Definitely not a paleolithic origin. The average date for Leicestershire is 5981 years ago. Table 1 shows the proportion of males carrying the ‘Anatolian’ haplotype to be 78 percent for Cornwall and 62 percent for Leicestershire. This data suggests to me that most Cornish and English males are biologically similar not distinct.

There are reports on this study here and here (this focuses on Ireland). And interesting criticism here.

Also see this post which looks at other studies Ethnicity and Cornwall..