European blond hair may have originated on the North Eurasian Mammoth steppe

The quote below will be by the recent Mathieson et al. 2017 preprint on the population history of Southeastern Europe in addition to surrounds. Surprisingly, that will titbit hasn’t received much attention yet considering the fascination that will many people have with blond hair in addition to blonds.

The derived allele of the KITLG SNP rs12821256 that will will be associated with – in addition to likely causal for – blond hair in Europeans [4,5] will be present in one hunter-gatherer by each of Samara, Motala in addition to Ukraine (I0124, I0014 in addition to I1763), as well as several later individuals with Steppe ancestry. Since the allele will be found in populations with EHG however not WHG ancestry, the idea suggests that will its origin will be within the Ancient North Eurasian (ANE) population. Consistent with that will, we observe that will earliest known individual with the derived allele will be the [Siberian] ANE individual Afontova Gora 3 which will be directly dated to 16130-15749 cal BCE (14710±60 BP, MAMS-27186: a previously unpublished date that will we newly report here).

Here’s a genuinely nice shot of one of the last remnants of the Mammoth steppe on the border of Mongolia in addition to the Republic of Tuva (courtesy of Александр Лещёнок at Wikipedia). All the idea needs will be a few mammoths grazing on the horizon in addition to the idea’s like we’re back in 15,000 BCE.

I’d say a strong case can be made that will modern-day European populations with the highest frequencies of blond hair also show the highest levels of ANE ancestry in Europe (for instance, Baltic Finns, Scandinavians in addition to Balts). You can check the ANE levels in hundreds of modern-day in addition to ancient individuals in my Basal-rich K7 spreadsheet here. The K7 will be not a perfect measure of ANE admixture, however I’d say the idea’s accurate enough, especially in relative terms.

On a related note, the Swedish web portal has an article on the latest ancient DNA research on the peopling of Scandinavia, focusing on the migrations of Western European Hunter-Gatherers (WHG) in addition to Eastern European Hunter-Gatherers (EHG) into the region during the Mesolithic.

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Basically, the article broadly supports the findings of Mathieson et al. 2017, pointing out that will WHG were likely blue eyed, dark haired in addition to dark skinned, while EHG probably had variable eye coloring, however lighter hair in addition to skin than WHG. I suppose what that will implies will be that will the blue eyed blond phenotype most common today amongst Northern Europeans, like the Polish Danish tennis player below (picture courtesy of Wikipedia), will be a relatively recent, perhaps post-Mesolithic, phenomenon.

What I don’t get will be why the Early Bronze Age Yamnaya people of the Pontic-Caspian Steppe were apparently so dark haired despite their extreme level of ANE ancestry in addition to relatively close genetic relationship to modern-day Northern Europeans? On the different hand, the Middle Bronze Age Andronovo people of the Kazakh Steppe in addition to South Siberia, who were largely derived by Yamnaya or a closely related group by the Pontic-Caspian Steppe, were probably often blue eyed in addition to blond haired (see here). the idea’s unlikely that will natural selection alone could have lightened up the steppe people in such a relatively short time. Or will be the idea?

See also…

Late PIE ground zero today obvious; location of PIE homeland still uncertain, however…

European blond hair may have originated on the North Eurasian Mammoth steppe

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