Haplogroup E1b1b (E-M215), previously known as E3b, is a major Y-chromosome haplogroup. It is a division of the macro haplogroup E, and is defined by the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) mutation (E-M215). In other words it is one of the major paternal lines of humanity, linking from father-to-son back to a common male-line ancestor.
The modern population of E1b1b and E1b1b1 (E-M35) lineages are almost identical, and therefore by definition age estimates based on these two populations are also identical. E1b1b and its dominant sub-clade E1b1b1 are believed to have first appeared in East Africa about 22.400 years ago.
All major sub-branches of E1b1b1, which is dominated by its longer-known subclade E1b1b1a, are thought to have originated in the same general area as the parent clade: in North Africa, East Africa, or nearby areas of the Near East.
Based on genetic STR variance data, it is suggested that E1b1b1a originated in Northeastern Africa, which in the study refers specifically to Egypt and Libya.
Some branches of E1b1b1 left Africa many thousands of years ago. E1b1b1a1 (E-M78) has been in Europe longer than 10.000 years, and more recently, human remains excavated in a Spanish funeral cave dating from approximately 7.000 years ago were shown to be in this haplogroup.
Nevertheless, E1b1b1 represents a more recent movement of people out of Africa than haplogroup CT, which otherwise dominates human populations outside Africa. The structure and regional pattern of E1b1b1 sub-clades potentially give reagents with which to infer specific episodes of population histories associated with the Neolithic agricultural expansion.
Concerning European E1b1b1 within this scheme E1b1b seems to represent a late-Pleistocene migration from North Africa to Europe over the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt.
There is also evidence for additional migration of E1b1b carrying men directly from Africa to southwestern Europe, via a maritime route. The earlier E1b1b1 population may have migrated by sea directly from Africa to southwestern Europe, because they observed cases of E1b1b1a* (E-V68*) (without the M78 mutation) only in Sardinia, and not in the Middle Eastern samples.
The E1b1b1a1 mutation has been estimated to have occurred in Northeastern Africa, in a refugium which existed on the border of present-day Sudan and Egypt, near Lake Nubia, until the onset of a humid phase around 8.500 BC, up to 18.600 years ago (17.300–20,000 years ago), with some possibility that it may have been more recent.
E1b1b1a1 is a commonly occurring subclade, widely distributed in North Africa, the Horn of Africa, West Asia, (the Middle East and Near East) up to Southern Asia, and all of Europe. It looks like Egypt was a hub for the distribution of the various geographically localized E1b1b1a1-related sub-clades.
Concerning E1b1b1a1, like other forms of E1b1b1 there is evidence of multiple routes of expansion out of an African homeland. While there were apparently direct migrations from North Africa to Iberia and Southern Italy (of people carrying the subclades E1b1b1a1a, E1b1b1a1c, and E-V65), the majority of E1b1b1a1 lineages found in Europe belong to the E1b1b1a1b (E-V13) sub-clade which appears to have entered Europe at some time undeterminded from the Near East, where it apparently originated, via the Balkans.
The European distribution has a frequency peak centered in parts of the Balkans (up to almost 50% in some areas) and Sicily, and declining frequencies evident toward western, central, and northeastern Europe.
The northward-moving rainfall belts during this period could have also spurred a rapid migration of Mesolithic foragers northwards in Africa, the Levant and ultimately onwards to Asia Minor and Europe, where they each eventually differentiated into their regionally distinctive branches.
Towards the south some subclades of E1b1b1a1, specifically E1b1b1a1a and E1b1b1a1c, might have been brought to Sudan from North Africa after the progressive desertification of the Sahara around 6.000-8.000 years ago.