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The Origin of the Okunev Population, Southern Siberia: The Evidence of Physical Anthropology and Genetics

https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2020.48.4.135-145

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Abstract

Okunev cemeteries in the Minusinsk Basin were compared with 23 other pre-Andronovo series from southern Siberia, and 45 Early and Middle Bronze Age groups from Eastern Europe (24 Yamnaya and 21 Catacomb), using multivariate statistical analysis. While the Afanasyevo admixture in the Okunev population is possible, the hypothesis that the Okunev culture of the Minusinsk Basin originated from the second migration from the Eastern European steppes to southern Siberia in the Early Bronze Age is not supported. It could, however, be applied to people associated with the Okunev-type (Chaa-Khol) culture in Tuva, although these may as well have descended from the Afanasyevans. As concerns the Minusinsk Basin and other regions of southern Siberia except Tuva, the fi ndings agree with the idea of a marked evolutionary conservatism peculiar to the autochthonous populations of that territory, as evidenced by the fact that each of the three Early Bronze Age population clusters—on the Yenisei, in the Altai, and in Baraba—has its own Neolithic ancestors in the same area (this does not concern the Chaa-Khol, the Yelunino, and apparently the Samus populations). The immediate ancestors of the Okunev people can be identifi ed with the Neolithic population of the Krasnoyarsk-Kansk area, and more distant ones with the Upper Paleolithic southern Siberian common ancestors of the Okunev people and the Native Americans. These ancestors are evidenced by both cranial data (indirectly) and genetic data (directly). The la tter suggest that among these common ancestors were the Malta boy and the Afontova Gora II male. The Okunev population, then, is a relic, offering us a unique opportunity to see what the Upper Paleolithic ancestors of the Native Americans may have looked like in their southern Siberian homeland.

About the Author

A. G. Kozintsev
Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), Russian Academy of Sciences
Russian Federation

 Professor

Universitetskaya nab. 3, St. Petersburg, 199034



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For citation:


Kozintsev A.G. The Origin of the Okunev Population, Southern Siberia: The Evidence of Physical Anthropology and Genetics. Archaeology, Ethnology & Anthropology of Eurasia. 2020;48(4):135-145. https://doi.org/10.17746/1563-0110.2020.48.4.135-145

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