Geography, selected Afro-Asiatic families, and Y chromosome lineage variation: An exploration in linguistics and phylogeography

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While it is known and must be emphasised that language, biology, and culture do not travel as an obligatory package, this does not mean that congruence never exists and may be historically meaningful. In this paper the published Y chromosome data and branches of the Afro-Asiatic language family for which good genetic data exist were examined in an exploratory fashion to determine if there are patterns suggestive of overlap. Most of the Afro-Asiatic speakers shared the lineage defined by Yap descendant called PN2/215/M35. It was further found that that a key lineage – the M35/78 was shared between the populations in the locale of original Egyptian speakers and modern Cushitic speakers from the Horn. Amazigh (Berber) speakers had a high frequency of M35/81. Semitic speakers in the Near East had a higher frequency of non-Yap lineages defined by the M89 mutation, but some M35/M78 is found at a lower frequency in the Near East (vs supra-Saharan Africa). The data for Omotic and Chadic speakers is of poor quality due to sample size. The paper discusses some possible implications of the observed pattern and the need for better data.


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