Study of ancient teeth shows population continuity in North Africa.

The Iberomaurusian enigma: North African progenitor or dead end?

Joel D. Irish

Department of Anthropology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska, 99775-7720, U.S.A.

Received 13 January 2000; 
Data obtained during an ongoing dental investigation of African populations address two long-standing, hotly debated questions. First, was there genetic continuity between Late Pleistocene Iberomaurusians and later northwest Africans (e.g., Capsians, Berbers, Guanche)? Second, were skeletally-robust Iberomaurusians and northeast African Nubians variants of the same population? Iberomaurusians from Taforalt in Morocco and Afalou-Bou-Rhummel in Algeria, Nubians from Jebel Sahaba in Sudan, post-Pleistocene Capsians from Algeria and Tunisia, and a series of other samples were statistically compared using 29 discrete dental traits to help estimate diachronic local and regional affinities. Results revealed: (1) a relationship between the Iberomaurusians, particularly those from Taforalt, and later Maghreb and other North African samples, and (2) a divergence among contemporaneous Iberomaurusians and Nubian samples. Thus, some measure of long-term population continuity in the Maghreb and surrounding region is supported, whereas greater North African population heterogenity during the Late Pleistocene is implied.

4 responses to “Study of ancient teeth shows population continuity in North Africa.

  1. What type of YDNA would the Iberomaurusians carry? Some R1 type or E3B? if there is a population continuity, why would the E3B become dominant in North Africa?

  2. Originally? Probably R1b. The E3b1b now common in Berbers is only estimated to be about 5,600 years old (Cruciani), and is thought to have arrived with a neolithic colonisation wave from the near east, not from East Africa as was previously thought.

    It’s not uncommon to see indigenous Y chromosomes mostly replaced by newcomers if you have some kind of conquest scenario going on. You see it a in South America where there’s plenty of MtDNA from the locals, but not a lot of Y chromosomes.

    Also, R1b was in North Africa way longer simply judging by how far south it has expanded into the west African populations, it’s at 40% in Cameroon, and 95% in one central African tribe the Ouldeme. This means it was established in the Bantu populations before they started to expand. In contrast, E3b1b hasn’t spread much more South of the Tuaregs of Mali yet.

  3. If Ibero-Maurusian was R1b, then it would have had to come from Iberia, right?
    I understand that there’s some R1* found in Berbers as well. Is that from before the Ibero-Maurusians?
    Any clue on who the original Y who came with U6 and M1 into Africa might have been?

    • Nooo.. the pre IM people were R1 and possibly K2 for Y chr. The IM cultures were from the Nubia are and carried E hg’s mainly.

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