|"Piece of Cake!"|
Maybe a soul or two will remember this odd paper by Beau et al, 2017. It's significance seems lost so far, so here's a simplified narrative: A predatory and expansive ethnic emerged in the MN Michelsberg, apparently a lightly-footed, pit-burying, hunter-heavy Atlantic with short heads. Either the savages 'hunted' farmers beyond their borders or they represent a localized ethnic stratum, either way they appear genetically distinct from the people they ritually victimized. Is this genetic apartheid also visible at Blatterhole in Westphalia? (Blätterhof, Blätterhohle)
This culture bleeds influences into a few other successor cultures; important ones with so-far uninteresting genetic anomalies you might recall. The Michelsberg mito-profiles are interesting in that light. A paper by Katrina Dulias et al was due to be published already this month and it will be interesting to see their analysis on the expansion of H1 and H3 from the Southwest. More on Christina Roth, 2016 with mito-turnover in the Mesetas below.
Before moving on to Baalbergers, Blatterhohleans and Barcelonans, it might be helpful or not helpful to look back on how American anthropologists viewed the origin of big-bodied brachycephals of the Late Neolithic during this last century. Earnest Hooton and his students viewed the rugged 'Alpine' racial type to likely be a Mesolithic relict from small pockets of Western Europe that slowly re-emerged through a combination of selection and miscegenation. Of course they understood that brachycephals were also lightly represented in pockets of the Near East and recognized a general brachycephalization trend, but they also understood that the Late Neolithic saw massive migration from the East into the West of Europe. Despite this, Hooton preferred the view that this massive physique was more likely a re-emergence of the savage in the horridly barbaric Middle Neolithic.
While modern osteologists working in Central and Eastern Europe are dodgy about the directional origin of the Beaker 'Alpine ethnic', from what I've read of the six or so leading experts in Central Europe, I'd bet they prefer a Western origin of the Beaker physique. To make the matter more complex is the fact that most ethnic Bell Beakers very likely have substantial Corded Ware ancestry and cultural heritage (if not a majority) even if the communities didn't exactly overlap spatially or chronologically. And for extra credit to this problem, it's also likely that later ethnic Beakers of the Eastern group intermingled with unrelated Steppe groups (to both themselves or a separate Corded Ware); personally I would point to Szigetszentmiklós (I2787) as direct evidence of a potential Beaker-Yamna hybrid.
The nearly certain Corded Ware ancestry of the North Central Beakers, and really almost all non-Iberian Beakers, is problematic when looking at the Bell Beaker racial type because not many of their distinct features could be attributable to the more slightly built CWC. OTOH, Beakers clearly have a larger amount of what looks like WHG ancestry and it would necessarily have to be this specific ancestry that accounts for some of their unique features if Corded Ware ancestry represents the entirety of their recent Steppe heritage. Clearly the Meseta underwent a large change about the time of the Beakers, and these bulbous-headed giants lack a significant Steppe component. So what the heck does that mean?
Anyhow, when you look at the Baalbergers from Salzmünde or the Blatterhohle Westphalians such as Bla16 I1593, something interesting becomes a possibility. So for fun, let's pretend for a moment that the so-called Steppe migration did in fact happen in multiple waves instead of a single wave as currently understood by the Allentoft, Haack and Olalde papers. Would the earliest waves have comparable amounts of CHG compared to the last wave, assuming the Corded Ware represents the last wave? And what was the make up of the Northwest and Western Black Sea if that was an area that the initial wave formed?
Finally, we go to the Barcelonan Bell Beakers. The current view is that Iberian Beakers contributed almost nothing to the Continental Beaker ethnic. This is put forth in "The Bell Beaker Phenomenon and the Genomic Transformation of Northwestern Europe". That must be a false dichotomy because it is inconceivable on multiple grounds. Iberian Beakers expanded powerfully into Europe. That is not the same as 'Iberians expanded powerfully into Europe'. So like Heyd has written, in broad strokes a picture is forming, but the details might be different than expected. Right now there is a simple narrative, but by this time next year, we might find ourselves again passing the same tree.
It might be a good idea to, once again, re-read "Kossinna's Smile".