Monday, March 27, 2017

DNA Moroccan Beakers, Neolithic (Grotte d’Ifri n’ Amr O'moussa)

Just learned a few interesting things from a Moroccan newspaper Yabiladi

DNA samples are now at Stanford and Stockholm Universities. 

Bokpot Yusef (blue scarf) examines burial of Beaker girl (MAP)

They have a large sequence of remains going back to the Middle Paleolithic, many are yet to be excavated.  D’Ifri n’Amr ou Moussa will be huge.  Throughout the entire history of this region, I don't think anyone has the slightest guess at what will be found.

If some of these samples are Cardial farmers, that could get interesting.  In any case, we'll have our first peek at Moroccans from the Neolithic and Beaker periods.


  1. Matilda's Anthropology blog ( ) was doing a great job of covering developments in this region and commenting upon them from at least 2008 until 2010, but was suffering from some serious and probably terminal medical conditions and stopped posting. She had a number of physical anthropology and ancient DNA posts about North Africa.

  2. I would call particular attention to this ancient DNA study from 2008 ( ): "Diversité mitochondriale de la population de Taforalt (12.000 ans bp – maroc): une approche génétique a l’étude du peuplement de l’afrique du nord. (Mitochondrial diversity in the Taforalt population (circa 12,000 BP, Morocco): a genetic approach to the study of the peopling of North Africa.) ABSTRACT: The population exhumed from the archaeological site of Taforalt in Morocco (12,000 years BP) is a valuable source of information toward a better knowledge of the settlement of Northern Africa region and provides a revolutionary way to specify the origin of Ibero-Maurusian populations. Ancient DNA was extracted from 31 bone remains from Taforalt.The HVS1 fragment of the mitochondrial DNA control region was PCR-amplified and directly sequenced. Mitochondrial diversity in Taforalt shows the absence of sub-Saharan haplogroups suggesting that Ibero-Maurusian individuals had not originated in sub-Saharan region.Our results reveal a probable local evolution of Taforalt population and a genetic continuity in North Africa. The genetic inheritance of Taforalt population (12,000 years) is composed of: Eurasiatic component (J/T, H, U et V) and North African component (U6).

    Genetic structure of Taforalt: Eurasiatic Component : H, U, JT, V: 90.5% North African component: U6: 9.5 %
    42, 8% (9/21) H or U
    14, 2% (3/21) JT
    2 individuals (9,5%) U6
    In modern Human population, JT is presents only in:
    1,6% Berbers from the North of Morocco
    1,8% of Sicilians,
    1,6% of Italians.
    "Here we have direct indisputable evidence of a Caucasoid presence in North Africa in ancient times. This isn’t exactly as surprise, as all the other studies have said the same thing. Interesting there’s no M clades though. Although, a closer look at the paper shows one sample could have been M, L3 or N. The paper also says that (my translation)…"

    The analysis of the diversity of mitochondrial DNA taken from the Taforalt population reveals the existance of 13 haplotypes. This haplotype diversity is similar to that of Europeans, and Mediterranean of the Mahgreb, with the exception of Algerian people ( the Berber Mozabites and non-Berbers) compared to whom they who have less haplotype diversity. The haplotype diversity of the Taforalt population is less than that of near Eastern populations. "Also.." …the hypothesis of a sub Saharan origin of the Ibero-Maurussians in the Sahara is not supprted by our results, which show a popultion more typical of the Mediterranean in North Africa for the past 12,000 years. Our results support the work based on cranio-facial and dental studies showing difference between Ibero-Maurussians and their contemporaries in the Sudan. the presence of a sub Saharan component in North Africa is due to migrations after 12,000 BP." It observes that North coast Moroccan Berbers seem to be the most similar to the Taforalt population. All in all it’s conclusion is that modern Berbers are descended mainly from the Holocene population of North Africa, with populations like the North coast Berbers showing the most similarity."

    Also this: "High-resolution analysis of human Y-chromosome variation shows a sharp discontinuity and limited gene flow between northwestern Africa and the Iberian Peninsula" Bosch E, Calafell F, Comas D, Oefner PJ, Underhill PA, Bertranpetit J.

    1. Yeah, hopefully she's ok.

      The good thing is that the Cardial folk can be better distinguished from their European counterparts. Right now they're treated like 'farmers, except in canoes' which I don't think will bear out.

      Another thing is if the farmer wave was preceded in the Mesolithic by pre-farmers that were genetically identical to Neolithic farmers. Not quite sure about that, but it's possible

  3. @bbb

    Excellent news!

    There are the Cardial samples from Olalde et al 2015, which were pretty much farmers in canoes. But samples from Morocco (or Italy) may be different of course.

  4. This is excellent news, like capra said. It great to see there's ancient DNA from North Africa in the pipeline. It'll be interesting to see what it tells us when it eventually gets published.