Recent media reports on a new genetic study on the origin of European male DNA trumpeted the findings as a “blow to theory of European origins” — but in fact the study actually specifically cautioned against final conclusions on the matter.
The study, “The peopling of Europe and the cautionary tale of Y chromosome lineage R-M269” by George B. J. Busby et. al., published in published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B at Edinburgh University, was reported in many media outlets as “proving” that most European males are descended from people who settled Europe far longer than 5,000 or 10,000 years ago, as other studies have claimed.
The BBC, for example, announced the study as “DNA study deals blow to theory of European origins” and claimed that “a new study deals a blow to the idea that most European men are descended from farmers who migrated from the Near East 5,000-10,000 years ago.
“The findings challenge previous research showing that the genetic signature of the farmers displaced that of Europe’s indigenous hunters.”
In reality, the new study refused to make any specific conclusions, and warned that “more work is needed” before any final claims can be made on the exact origin of the R-M269 Y Chromosome.
The “R-M269” chromosome is also known as the R1b1a2 branch of the R1b haplogroup, and is the same gene string which was recently announced as being that of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun.
The study’s authors said that its researchers had investigated the “frequency patterns and diversity in the largest collection of R1b1b2-M269 chromosomes yet assembled” and that their analysis had revealed “no geographical trends in diversity.” This, they said, was in contradiction to what might have been expected if the male chromosome pattern had been within the last 5,000 years, as under the “Neolithic hypothesis.”
However, the study’s authors continued, “the existing data and tools are insufficient to make credible estimates for the age of this haplogroup, and conclusions about the timing of its origin and dispersal should be viewed with a large degree of caution.”
In other words, the study’s authors were careful not to dismiss any particular theory, and only pointed out a geographical anomaly in the Neolithic period theory gene pool distribution.
Where does this leave the DNA signature of the indigenous people of Europe, and Britain in particular? The simple answer is, exactly where it was.
The relative age of the R-M269/ R1b1a2 Y Chromosome has never been under dispute, and all studies have already shown that the first people of this type entered North Western Europe anywhere between 26,000 Years Before Present (YBP) and 18,000 YBP.
There is therefore no real “controversy” over the new study, as announced by the BBC and other media outlets. The Neolithic era settlement (circa 5,000 YBP) of Europe certainly also occurred. but it has also long been acknowledged that this influence was much smaller than the R1b population group, which has been settled in the British Isles region for far longer.
In any event, neither of the two population origins changes the claim of the British and European peoples to be indigenous to their lands. Most certainly they can claim to have occupied their territories for far longer than many Third World peoples such as the American Indians who are universally accepted as indigenous and given special rights and status to preserve their identities and culture.
The claim of the British and European people to claim indigenous status with special rights to preserve their identity, culture and territorial integrity, is irrefutable.
All that is needed is the political will to enforce those rights. And that is where all Europeans who are concerned about their peoples’ future, have a critical role to play.