[Updated to include some data that showed up at the comments and I did not know initially]
On February, I wrote a ‘working note’ at Leherensuge on mitochondrial DNA stars. As I said then, star-like structures in haplogroups (stars for short) indicate rapid expansion in the time of few thousand years after a founder effect. They are in fact very hot markers in the genealogical tree.
There are the following categories of stars (slightly modified from the original February note):
- Giant: only M and H, both around the 40 basal sublineages
- Large: R, H1 and D4, with 15-18 basal sublineages
- Medium: N and M4″64, with 12-13 basal sublineages (counting only CR mutations!!!)
- Small: a host of them (5-10 basal sublineages)
All the medium-to-giant stars can be said to belong to the following two conceptual categories:
- Early Eurasian Expansion: M, M4″64, N and R (in chronological order counting from L3)
- Peripheral Eurasian Expansion: H, H1 and D4 (in Europe and NE Asia)
Many small stars also belong to these categories. However a number seem to happen relatively late, specially in West Eurasia (and occasionally Japan and America).
Some stars also belong to the African geography but all happen in the earlier period (simultaneous to the main Eurasian expansion) with the only exception of the mother of all Eurasians (and many Africans), L3, which is necessarily older than M and, therefore, is the first star-like structure one can detect in the human matrilineal genealogy.
While the mtDNA phylogeny goes a lot deeper than L3, there is no sign of strong rapid expansion before this matri-clan. This may be a time marker and may refer to the Abbassia Pluvial, c. 120-90 Ka ago.
- A very long period of African coalescence and gradual expansion (almost 30 molecular clock ticks, about half of human history). No star-like structures (no node with 5 or more basal branches)
- L3 in East Africa (Sudan-Ethiopia-Eritrea) – Abbassia Pluvial?
- Two ticks without major events
- M in South Asia and into East Asia and Melanesia – beginning of Eurasian expansion. Huge demic explosion
- M4″64 in South Asia.
- Triple expansion (good climatic moment?)
- N, probably in SE Asia (Burma?), with expansion Westwards
- M30 in South Asia
- L1b1a, maybe around Chad
- R in
South Asia SE Asia with expansions to West, North and South
- P in Melanesia and B4’5 in SE/East Asia (updated)
- Four expansions:
- D4 in East/NE Asia
- M5a in South Asia
- HV in West Asia
- L3e1 maybe at Sudan
- D1 in Beringia?
- Several expansions (7 haplogroups in 4/5 regions):
- H and V in Europe. Huge demic explosion (Aurignacian?)
- M1a and U2’3’4’7’8’9 in West Asia (two different centers possibly)
- Z and A in NE Asia
- L2a1 in East Africa probably
- Two expansions (three haplogroups but two centers):
- H1 and H3 in West Europe with eventual penetration into North Africa
- X2, probably from the Levant, into Central Asia and eastwards (reaching to America eventually)
- Six haplogroups in four regions:
- C, D4a1 and A2 in NE Asia
- R2a in West Asia
- H2a in Europe
- U6a in North Africa (Egypt?)
- A tick without anything notable happening
- Two expansions:
- M7a1a in Japan (?)
- J1c in West Asia
- I and U5b3 in Europe probably
- W in West Asia, B2 in America (updated).
- D4h3a in America
- Two ticks without major events
- T2 and K2a in West Eurasia
- Another idle tick
- K1a1b and T2b in West Eurasia (Danubian Neolithic?)
- No more stars till present
Color code: purple: L3(xM,N), red: M, blue: N(xR), green: R, black: others
Size code: largest type: giant stars, large type: medium and large stars, normal type: small stars.
Note on chronology: My understanding of the molecular clock is that you must count from up-down, i.e. from older to younger node. This is different than most geneticists would do, what explains their failure in providing archaeologically reasonable dates, because they need to average the length of downstream branches, causing massive distortions. In my understanding, large haplogroups tend to remain stable as the dominant lineages generally ‘win’ the tug-of-war of genetic drift, so mutations tend to accumulate specially in smaller haplogroups, belonging originally to small isolated populations where drift would be more purely chaotic (similar odds for all existing lineages, as they were all similarly tiny).
However I realize that this method ’causes’ a very early founder effect in America, maybe c. 45 Ka ago, much earlier than generally claimed. I don’t know yet how to explain this well but either is a founder effect limited to Beringia or it is the genetic indicator for the somewhat ghostly Paleo-Indians
(maybe with an initial limited spread along the Pacific coast of North America?)
- All secondary star-like (fast) expansions of R happen in West Eurasia except P (Melanesia). The same can be said of N, except for A (NE Asia).
- All secondary star-like (fast) expansions of M happen in NE Asia, except the first ones, which happen in South Asia.
- There are three or four moments of geographically diverse expansiveness that may be associated to good climatic conditions and may help to calibrate. These are:
- The expansion of N, M30 and L1b1a, soon after the beginning of the Eurasian expansion
- The expansion of D4, M5a, HV and L3e1, before the colonization of Europe (maybe in the early Mousterian Pluvial – c. 50 Ka ago?)
- The expansion of H, V, M1a, U2’3’4’7’8’9, Z, A and L2a1 (maybe late Mousterian Pluvial, c. 45-40 Ka ago?)
- The expansion of C, D4a1, A2, R2a, H2a and U6a (soon after, Gravettian era?) – it is more regionally-specific than the others, as there are no Tropical African lineages involved.
That’s all for now.