"The genomic enigma of two Medieval North Africans"
"Both individuals – which represent the first ancient genome sequence data from North Africa – do not exhibit particular genetic affinities to modern North Africans or any other present-day population in published genotype data sets despite relatively extensive data has been produced from many areas of Africa. In fact, the most parsimonious way to model them genetically is as two-source admixture between Mediterranean Europeans and Southern Africans."Let me break this down. Two medieval genomes of North Africa are not immediately akin to Berbers. They appear to be a mixture of something Khoisan-like and something Southern Europe, Mediterranean-like.*
The authors interpret this in the most parsimonious way (at least from the abstract), that the Barbary-Moorish slave trade could have brought together these individuals' ancestries.
"Both individuals could represent a Medieval African population without population continuity to modern-day populations"This has the potential to get very interesting, very quick.
|Tassili Round Head Period (Libya)|
Modern San-Khoisan also have Southern Europe (Mediterranean)* admixture somewhere between 14% or more and I'll link to some recent articles below. The San-Khoisan element could be a substrate across much of the continent in addition to introgression from the Neolithic expansion, maybe in multiple places.
To put it directly, these Medieval individuals could be the remnants of native, North African ethnicities that were progressively destroyed in the Berber, and later Arab, expansions. I'm not saying that will be the case, but I'm satisfied knowing something I had predicted, that when the first genomes of North Africa start coming in, they'll be diverse and look neither Berber or Arab.
|Khoisan People [PBS]|
There is also a new paper by Zvelibil et al 2016 that I have lost for the moment. It proposes that ceramic pottery was independently invented in North Africa based on some very early sherds from Mali. While I'm always very deeply skeptical of 'independently' this or that, I think the North African Neolithic will soon become a very interesting place.
See also from
Newscientist [Khoisan have Eurasian DNA]
[Khoesian have West Eurasian admixture]
*I had mis-spoke and said South Mediterranean, which obviously doesn't make any sense in genetic terms. The question will be if it is possible to sufficiently distinguish admixture between a modern and Neolithic sources