Ancient DNA Illuminates Pastoralism’s Rise in Africa (

83 points by FossilHominid 124 days ago


mc32 124 days ago

These are neat findings. Apparently Pastoralism (animal herding) began in the Fertile Crescent and migrated through ancient Egypt (roughly around the time of the early kingdoms) and migrated into subsaharan Africa—a slow process where cattle (generic) were exchanged and traded but people, so far it seems, didn’t intermix as much as one would think.

It’s only scratching the surface; the ancient DNA data for the region is sparse, but it’s slowly contributing to a better picture of how people and animal husbandry spread across continents, among other things.

0815test 124 days ago

Interesting. As far as human molecular-level evidence goes, we know that there are significant traces of Middle-Eastern farmers in North Africa (including Egypt and the north-east), but we can also tell that Nilotic herders expanded out of Sudan, well into East Africa. West Africa is a bit complicated, although the fact that we do find a large unified language family there (the Niger-Congo-Kordofanian languages), even pre-Bantu expansion, must count for something. These accounts should be taken with a grain of salt, since the overall amount of genetic variation we find in the African continent already implies that gene flow or replacement of any sort must have been quite rare indeed - the picture we have for Africa is not nearly as sharp as the one that emerges wrt. Eurasia as a result of the dramatic expansion of Yamnaya/PIE horse herders in close-to-historical times.

    iguy 124 days ago

    I thought the Bantu expansion was both pretty uniform (until you get right out to the ends) and much more recent than Yamnaya. But that among non-Bantu populations you can find much older separations than among pre-Yamnaya europeans.

    But not an expert! Would be interested if there are more detailed recent articles on this.