Friday Fluff – January 14th, 2011

By Razib Khan | January 14, 2011 2:14 pm


1) First, a post from the past: More complex than simple addition.

2) Weird search query of the week: “kiera knightly naked truth”.

3) Comment of the week, in response to The genetic affinities of Ethiopians:

First of all, you should know that Behar’s Oromos were sampled in areas neighboring the Kenyan border, while Ethiopian Oromos inhabit a large part of Ethiopia, all the way to the north.
Allow me to give you a brief background on the demographic history of Ethiopia. In recent history, many Ethiopians, particularly those who now speak the Amharic language, underwent a language shift (in the case of Amharas, a switch from Cushitic to Semitic). You may ask yourself why there is such a clear distinction between Semitic speakers and Cushitic speakers in Dienekes’ ADMIXTURE runs.

There are several explanations for this. One is, obviously, the geographic difference between the Semitic speakers and Cushitic speakers . Another explanation is that the “Cushitic” source population of most Semitic-speaking groups in Ethiopia were not Oromos, who speak an East Cushitic language, but “Agaws”, who speak a Central Cushitic language. Central Cushites speak a very distinct form of Cushitic, which split from the other Cushitic branches close to the proto-Cushitic root. Actually, the Ethiopian Jews went through a very recent, well-documented language shift from Central Cushitic to Semitic, although a small minority still speak their native language.

Regarding Y-DNA and mtDNA differences between the ethnicities of Ethiopia, there is a lot of data available. Maternally, Oromos are just as close to Eurasians as Amharas are; they are basically identical. The only exception is the Tigrayan ethnic group, which carries an elevated frequency of Eurasian lineages.

Paternally, Cushitic speakers are actually quite similar to Semitic speakers once all of the samples from different studies are put together. Regardless, the overwhelming majority of J in all of Ethiopia is old, much older than the entrance of Semitic. That is also why Ethiopian J1 lineages are among the most diverse in the whole world, the only region with higher diversity is parts of the northern Middle East.

Just thought this information would be relevant.

4) What’s the wildest thing that’s happened at Science Online 2011?

5) And finally, your weekly fluff fix:

MORE ABOUT: Friday Fluff

Comments (1)

  1. Lank

    This is “Anonymous”, I’ll be using this name for future comments. And thank you for appreciating my comments! I’m honored. 🙂


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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