Tag Archives: Sudan

Study of teeth from Wadi Halfa

Dentition of a mesolithic population from Wadi Halfa, Sudan

The dentition of a Mesolithic population (8,000-11,000 years old) from Wadi Halfa, Sudan, can be characterized as morphologically complex, massive and relatively free from pathology except that associated with extreme wear.
Maxillary incisors show shoveling. All of the maxillary molars show some development of the hypocone. Supernumerary cusps appear frequently. Almost one-half of the second lower molars observed show distally located third cusps. Over one-half of the maxillary third molars show an extra cusp. A high percentage of mandibular molars show six cusps.
Overall the teeth from this population compare favorably in size with those of an Australian aborigine tribe and are slightly larger than the teeth of the Neanderthaloids from Skhl.
The teeth show wear of a degree greater than that found in present day Eskimo or Australian aborigine groups.
This data may be interpreted as indicating that this Mesolithic group was subjected to rigorous selective pressures favoring large and/or morphologically complex teeth. This pressure was apparently intensive wear, presumably caused by the inclusion of large amounts of grit in the diet through the eating of vegetable food macerated on coarse grinding stones.

It seems they needed really strong teeth to cope with the grit in the grain. These people were grinding and eating wild wheat up until about 6,000 BC.

Y chromosome study of Sudanese men.

Y-chromosome variation among Sudanese: Restricted gene flow, concordance with language, geography, and history
Hisham Y. Hassan 1, Peter A. Underhill 2, Luca L. Cavalli-Sforza 2, Muntaser E. Ibrahim 1 * 

We study the major levels of Y-chromosome haplogroup variation in 15 Sudanese populations by typing major Y-haplogroups in 445 unrelated males representing the three linguistic families in Sudan. Our analysis shows Sudanese populations fall into haplogroups A, B, E, F, I, J, K, and R in frequencies of 16.9, 7.9, 34.4, 3.1, 1.3, 22.5, 0.9, and 13% respectively. Haplogroups A, B, and E occur mainly in Nilo-Saharan speaking groups including Nilotics, Fur, Borgu, and Masalit; whereas haplogroups F, I, J, K, and R are more frequent among Afro-Asiatic speaking groups including Arabs, Beja, Copts, and Hausa, and Niger-Congo speakers from the Fulani ethnic group. Mantel tests reveal a strong correlation between genetic and linguistic structures (r = 0.31, P = 0.007), and a similar correlation between genetic and geographic distances (r = 0.29, P = 0.025) that appears after removing nomadic pastoralists of no known geographic locality from the analysis. The bulk of genetic diversity appears to be a consequence of recent migrations and demographic events mainly from Asia and Europe, evident in a higher migration rate for speakers of Afro-Asiatic as compared with the Nilo-Saharan family of languages, and a generally higher effective population size for the former. The data provide insights not only into the history of the Nile Valley, but also in part to the history of Africa and the area of the Sahel. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2008. 

Finally, I’ve been looking for this information for ages. So that makes the Sudanese…

  • A      16.9%
  • B       7.9%
  • E       34.4%
  • F       3.1%
  • I        1.3%
  • J        22.5%
  • K       0.9%
  • R       13% 

I keep seeing R put down to modern immigration. However, it seems to have migrated into Africa in prehistoric times judging by some other Y chromosome studies I’ve read, probably during the Saharan wet phase or during the last glacial maximum.


Edit; finally I can access the full text. Ignoring the ludicrous agriculture date at 10,000 BC I’m interested to learn that the R1b in Africa doesn’t seem to be any recent Eurasian contribution, but seems to have followed a southern route with pastoralists from the Sudan into West Africa (Ouldeme). A theory held by Blench in the Westward wanderings of Cushitic pastoralists.

Haplogroup frequencies in 15 Sudanese populations are given in Figure 2 following YCC nomenclature (2002). Haplogroups A-M13 and B-M60 are present at high frequencies in Nilo-Saharan groups except Nubians, with low frequencies in Afro-Asiatic groups although notable frequencies of B-M60 were found in Hausa (15.6%) and Copts (15.2%). Haplogroup E (four different haplotypes) accounts for the majority (34.4%) of the chromosome and is widespread in the Sudan. E-M78 represents 74.5% of haplogroup E, the highest frequencies observed in Masalit and Fur populations. E-M33 (5.2%) is largely confined to Fulani and Hausa, whereas E-M2 is restricted to Hausa. E-M215 was found to occur more in Nilo-Saharan rather than Afro-Asiatic speaking groups. In contrast, haplogroups F-M89, I-M170, J-12f2, and JM172 were found to be more frequent in the Afro-Asiatic speaking groups.J-12f2 and J-M172 represents 94% and 6%, respectively, of haplogroup J with high frequencies among Nubians, Copts, and Arabs. Haplogroup K-M9 is restricted to Hausa and Gaalien with low frequencies and is absent in Nilo-Saharan and Niger-Congo. Haplogroup R-M173 appears to be the most frequent haplogroup in Fulani, and haplogroup R-P25 has the highest frequency in Hausa and Copts and is present at lower frequencies in north, east, and western Sudan. Haplogroups A-M51, A-M23, D-M174, H-M52, L-M11, OM175, and P-M74 were completely absent from the populations analyzed.

And from this (and other linguistic evidence I’ve dug up) I’m starting to doubt my older theory that M78 has a strong association with Afro Asiatic. I think R1b may have brought AA into Africa with the Neolithic (proto Cushitic/Chadic) and J1 Semitic languages later. R1 seems to have a much more ancient date ,and probably keep the Mt DNA types M1 and U company in the ancient back migration into Africa. I’d be interested to see the R1b in Africa have it’s path traced.