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Haplogroup R1b, with focus on R1b1a2 (the most common form in Europe) and R1b1a1

R1b is a sub-clade within the much larger Eurasian MNOPS “macro-haplogroup”, which is one of the predominant groupings of all the rest of human male lines outside of Africa, and this whole group, along indeed with all of macro-haplogroup F, is believed to have originated in Asia.

The Paleolithic origins of R1b are not entirely clear to this day. The point of origin of R1b is thought to lie in Eurasia, most likely in Western Asia. T. Karafet et al. estimated the age of R1, the parent of R1b, as 18,500 years before present.

Early research focused upon Europe. In 2000 Ornella Semino and colleagues argued that R1b had been in Europe before the end of Ice Age, and had spread north from an Iberian refuge after the Last Glacial Maximum.

Age estimates of R1b in Europe have steadily decreased in more recent studies, at least concerning the majority of R1b, with more recent studies suggesting a Neolithic age or younger. Only Morelli et al. have recently attempted to defend a Palaeolithic origin for R1b1b2.

Irrespective of STR coalescence calculations, Chikhi et al. pointed out that the timing of molecular divergences does not coincide with population splits; the TMRCA of haplogroup R1b (whether in the Palaeolithic or Neolithic) dates to its point of origin somewhere in Eurasia, and not its arrival in western Europe.

Barbara Arredi and colleagues were the first to point out that the distribution of R1b STR variance in Europe forms a cline from east to west, which is more consistent with an entry into Europe from Western Asia with the spread of farming.

A 2009 paper by Chiaroni et al. added to this perspective by using R1b as an example of a wave haplogroup distribution, in this case from east to west. The proposal of a southeastern origin of R1b were supported by three detailed studies based on large datasets published in 2010. These detected that the earliest subclades of R1b are found in western Asia and the most recent in western Europe.

While age estimates in these articles are all more recent than the Last Glacial Maximum, all mention the Neolithic, when farming was introduced to Europe from the Middle East as a possible candidate period.

Myres et al. (August 2010), and Cruciani et al. (August 2010) both remained undecided on the exact dating of the migration or migrations responsible for this distribution, not ruling out migrations as early as the Mesolithic or as late as Hallstatt but more probably Late Neolithic. They noted that direct evidence from ancient DNA may be needed to resolve these gene flows.

Lee et al. (May 2012) analysed the ancient DNA of human remains from the Late Neolithic Bell Beaker site of Kromsdorf, Germany identifying two males as belonging to the Y haplogroup R1b.

Analysis of ancient Y DNA from the remains of populations derived from early Neolithic settlements such as the Mediterranean Cardium and Central and North European LBK settlements have found an absence of males belonging to haplogroup R1b.

Some of the oldest forms of R1b are found around the Caucasus, in Iran and in southern Central Asia, a vast region where could have roamed the nomadic R1b hunter-gatherers during the Ice Age. Haplogroup R1* and R2* might have originated in southern Central Asia (between the Caspian depression and the Hindu Kush).

A branch of R1 would have developed into R1b then R1b1 and R1b1a in the northern part of the Middle East around the time of the Last Glacial Maximum (circa 20,000 years ago), while R1a migrated north to Siberia. R1b1a presumptively moved to northern Anatolia and across the Caucasus during the Neolithic, where it split into R1b1a1 (M73) and R1b1a2 (M269).

The Near Eastern leftovers evolved into R1b1c (V88), now found at low frequencies among the Lebanese, the Druze, and the Jews. The Phoenicians (who came from modern day Lebanon) spread this R1b1c to their colonies, notably Sardinia and the Maghreb.

R1b1a2 (the most common form in Europe) and R1b1a1 is closely associated with the diffusion of Indo-European languages, as attested by its presence in all regions of the world where Indo-European languages were spoken in ancient times, from the Atlantic coast of Europe to the Indian subcontinent, including almost all Europe (except Finland and Bosnia-Herzegovina), Anatolia, Armenia, European Russia, southern Siberia, many pockets around Central Asia (notably Xinjiang, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan), without forgetting Iran, Pakistan, India and Nepal. The history of R1b and R1a are intricately connected to each others.

R1b* (that is R1b with no subsequent distinguishing SNP mutations) is extremely rare. The only population yet recorded with a definite significant proportion of R1b* are the Kurds of southeastern Kazakhstan with 13%.

However, more recently, a large study of Y-chromosome variation in Iran, revealed R1b* as high as 4.3% among Persian sub-populations. In a study of Jordan it was found that no less than 20 out of all 146 men tested (13.7%), including most notably 20 out of 45 men tested from the Dead Sea area, were positive for M173 (R1) but negative for P25 and M269, as well as the R1a markers SRY10831.2 and M17, a study indicates that they are all R1b2-v88.

Hassan et al. (2008) found an equally surprising 14 out of 26 (54%) of Sudanese Fulani who were M173+ and P25-. Wood et al. report 2 Egyptian cases of R1-M173 which were negative for SRY10831 (R1a1) and P25 (R1b1), out of a sample of 1,122 males from various African countries, including 92 from Egypt. Such cases could possibly be either R1b* (R-M343*) or R1a* (R-M420*)

R1b1*, like R1b* is rare. As mentioned above, examples are described in older articles, for example two in a sample from Turkey, but most cases, especially in Africa, are now thought to be almost mostly in the more recently discovered sub-clade R-V88.

Most or all examples of R1b therefore fall into subclades R1b1a (R-V88) or R1b1b (R-P297). Cruciani et al. in the large 2010 study found 3 cases amongst 1173 Italians, 1 out of 328 West Asians and 1 out of 156 East Asians. Varzari found 3 cases in the Ukraine, in a study of 322 people from the Dniester-Carpathian region, who were P25 positive, but M269 negative. Cases from older studies are mainly from Africa, the Middle East or Mediterranean, and are probable cases of R1b1a (R-V88).

R1b1a is defined by the presence of SNP marker P297. In 2008 this polymorphism was recognised to combine M73 and M269 into one R1b1a cluster. The majority of Eurasian R1b is within this clade, representing a very large modern population. Although P297 itself has not yet been much tested for, the same population has been relatively well studied in terms of other markers.

R1b1a1 (2011 name) is defined by the presence of SNP marker M73. It has been found at generally low frequencies throughout central Eurasia, as in Anatolia, Caucasus, Urals, Hazara, but has been found with relatively high frequency among particular populations there including Hazaras in Pakistan (8/25 = 32%); and Bashkirs in Bashkortostan (62/471 = 13.2%), 44 of these being found among the 80 tested Bashkirs of the Abzelilovsky District in the Republic of Bashkortostan (55.0%). Four R-M73 men were also found in a 523-person study of Turkey, and one person in a 168-person study of Crete.

The origins of the Hazara have not been fully reconstructed. Significant Inner Asian descent – in historical context Mongolian and Turkic – is impossible to rule out because the Hazara’ physical attributes, facial bone structures and parts of their culture and language resemble those of Mongolians and Central Asian Turks. Thus, it is widely and popularly believed that Hazara have Mongolian ancestry. This is partially supported by genetic tests.

Some Hazara tribes are named after famous Mongol generals, for example the Tulai Khan Hazara who are named after Tolui, the youngest son of Genghis Khan. Some believe Hazara are descendants of Mongol soldiers and their Persian Shia wives who settled in Bamiyan following the 1221 siege of Bamiyan. Theories of Mongol or partially Mongol descent are plausible, given that the Il-Khanate Mongol rulers, beginning with Oljeitu, embraced Shia Islam. Today, the majority of the Hazara adhere to Shia Islam, whereas Afghanistan’s other major ethnic groups are mostly Sunni. However, the Sunni and Ismaili Hazara population, while existent, have not been extensively researched by scholars.

Another popular theory proposes that Hazara are descendants of the Kushans, the ancient dwellers of Afghanistan who are believed to have built the Buddhas of Bamiyan. Its proponents find the location of the Hazara homeland, and the similarity in facial features of Hazara with those on frescoes and Buddha’s statues in Bamiyan, suggestive. However, this belief is contrary not only to the fact that the Kushans were Tocharians, but also to historical records which mention that in a particularly bloody battle around Bamiyan, Genghis Khan’s grandson, Mutugen, was killed, and he allegedly ordered Bamiyan to be destroyed in retribution.

The theory, and the one accepted by most scholars, however, is that Hazara are a mixed group. This is not entirely inconsistent with descent from Mongol military forces. For example, Nikudari Mongols settled in eastern Persia and mixed with native populations who spoke Persian. A second wave of mostly Chagatai Mongols came from Central Asia and were followed by other Mongolic groups, associated with the Ilkhanate and the Timurids, all of whom settled in Hazarajat and mixed with the local, mostly Persian-speaking population, forming a distinct group.

Genetically, the Hazara are primarily eastern Eurasian with western Eurasian genetic mixtures. While it has been found that “at least third to half of their chromosomes are of East Asian origin, PCA places them between East Asia and Caucasus/Middle East/Europe clusters”.

Genetic research suggests that the Hazaras of Afghanistan cluster closely with the Uzbek population of the country, while both groups are at a notable distance from Afghanistan’s Tajik and Pashtun populations. There is evidence of both a patrimonial and maternal relation to Mongol peoples of Mongolia.

Mongol male and female ancestry is supported by studies in genetic genealogy as well, which have identified a particular lineage of the Y chromosome characteristic of people of Mongolian descent (“the Y-chromosome of Genghis Khan”).

This chromosome is virtually absent outside the limits of the Mongol Empire except among the Hazara, where it reaches its highest frequency anywhere. These results indicate that the Hazara are also characterized by very high frequencies of eastern Eurasian mtDNAs at 35%, which are virtually absent from bordering populations, suggesting that the male descendants of Genghis Khan, or other Mongols, were accompanied by women of East Asian ancestry. Women of Non-eastern Eurasian mtDNA in Hazaras are at 65% most which are West Eurasians and some South Asian.

R1b1a1 (2011 name) is defined by the presence of SNP marker M73. It has been found at generally low frequencies throughout central Eurasia, but has been found with relatively high frequency among particular populations there including Pakistani Hazaras (8/25 = 32%).

However, the most frequent paternal Haplogroup type found amongst the Hazara’s in the same study was haplogroup C-M217 at 40%(10/25) with Haplogroup O3 (Y-DNA) at 8% (2/25) both which are Eastern Eurasian males ancestry associated with the Mongols and Kazakhs.

The Bashkirs as a Kipchak group formed in the early medieval period in the context of the Turkic migrations. Besides their Turkic ancestry, Ugrian and Iranian contributions have also been discussed in Russian ethnographic literature. Genetically, R1b1a1 (2011 name) has been found to occur with comparatively high frequency among the Bashkirs in Bashkortostan (62/471 = 13.2%). Accordance with all paleontological and anthropological findings presume the roots of the Bashkir people likely to the Andronovo culture. Recent studies regard Turkic and Ugrian theories as the most possible ethnogenesis of the Bashkirs.

In 2010, Myres et al. report that out of 193 R-M73 men found amongst 10,355 widespread men, “all except two Russians occurred outside Europe, either in the Caucasus, Turkey, the Circum-Uralic and North Pakistan regions.”

R1b1a2 (2011 name) is defined by the presence of SNP marker M269. R1b1a2* or M269 (xL23) is found at highest frequency in the central Balkans notably Kosovo with 7.9%, Macedonia 5.1% and Serbia 4.4%.

The most commong R1b subgroup in Europe is R-M269 and the most common subgroup is R-L23 which encompasses the vast majority of European R-M269 chromosomes. It is interesting to see where R-M269(xL23) is concentrated. In Europe I see cases in Germany, Switzerland, Slovenia, Poland, Hungary, Russia, the Ukraine.

It is most prominent, however, in the Balkans, where every population except Croatia mainland (N=108) possesses it. In the Caucasus it does not exist except in the northeast. In Turkey and Iran there is some, albeit it is not clear in which regions.

Kosovo is notable in also having a high percentage of descendant L23* or L23 (xM412) at 11.4% unlike most other areas with significant percentages of M269* and L23* except for Poland with 2.4% and 9.5% and the Bashkirs of southeast Bashkortostan with 2.4% and 32.2% respectively.

Notably this Bashkir population also has a high percentage of M269 sister branch M73 at 23.4%. Five individuals out of 110 tested in the Ararat Valley, Armenia belonged to R1b1a2* and 36 to L23*, with none belonging to subclades of L23.

European R1b is dominated by R-M269. It has been found at generally low frequencies throughout central Eurasia, but with relatively high frequency among Bashkirs of the Perm Region (84.0%). This marker is also present in China and India at frequencies of less than one percent. The table below lists in more detail the frequencies of M269 in various regions in Asia, Europe, and Africa.

The frequency is about 71% in Scotland, 70% in Spain and 60% in France. In south-eastern England the frequency of this clade is about 70%; in parts of the rest of north and western England, Spain, Portugal, Wales and Ireland, it is as high as 90%; and in parts of north-western Ireland it reaches 98%. It is also found in North Africa, where its frequency surpasses 10% in some parts of Algeria.

From 2003 to 2005 what is now R1b1a2 was designated R1b3. From 2005 to 2008 it was R1b1c. From 2008 to 2011 it was R1b1b2.

As discussed above, in articles published around 2000 it was proposed that this clade been in Europe before the last Ice Age, but by 2010 more recent periods such as the European Neolithic have become the focus of proposals.

A range of newer estimates for R1b1b2, or at least its dominant parts in Europe, are from 4,000 to a maximum of about 10,000 years ago, and looking in more detail is seen as suggesting a migration from Western Asia via southeastern Europe. Western European R1b is dominated by R-P310.

It was also in this period between 2000 and 2010 that it became clear that especially Western European R1b is dominated by specific sub-clades of R-M269 (with some small amounts of other types found in areas such as Sardinia).

The routes of Neolithic migrations from the Near East are presently intensively debated among scholars of various disciplines. Recent studies suggest that haplogroup R1b1a2-M269, which is the most common lineage in the European populations, was spread with first farmers via Anatolia to Europe during the Neolithic transition. These studies, however, did not include indigenous populations from the Armenian plateau, though it has played a key role in the ancient human migrations since early Paleolithic.

We used a total of 358 Y-chromosomal data collected in three Armenian geographic groups from eastern and western parts of the Armenian plateau and comparative datasets of various European populations to assess the genetic contribution of the region to the spread of haplogroup R1b1a2-M269 north- and westward.

The frequency of this lineage in eastern Armenian populations is higher compared with eastern European populations (including Anatolia) and lower than in Western Europe. The rate of the variance and age of the R1b1a2-M269 is the highest in western Armenian population among all datasets considered. In addition, there is a strong correlation between the genetic and geographic distances of the populations studied thus reflecting the directions of pre-Neolithic and Neolithic migrations from the Near East.

Within Europe, R-M269 is dominated by R-M412, also known as R-L51, which according to Myres et al. (2010) is “virtually absent in the Near East, the Caucasus and West Asia.” This Western European population is further divided between R-P312/S116 and R-U106/S21, which appear to spread from the western and eastern Rhine river basin respectively.

Myres et al. note further that concerning its closest relatives, in R-L23*, that it is “instructive” that these are often more than 10% of the population in the Caucasus, Turkey, and some southeast European and circum-Uralic populations. In Western Europe it is also present but in generally much lower levels apart from “an instance of 27% in Switzerland’s Upper Rhone Valley.”

The phylogenetic relationships of numerous branches within the core Y-chromosome haplogroup R-M207 support a West Asian origin of haplogroup R1b, its initial differentiation there followed by a rapid spread of one of its sub-clades carrying the M269 mutation to Europe.

Phylogeographically resolved data for 2043 M269-derived Y-chromosomes from 118 West Asian and European populations assessed for the M412 SNP that largely separates the majority of Central and West European R1b lineages from those observed in Eastern Europe, the Circum-Uralic region, the Near East, the Caucasus and Pakistan shows that within the M412 dichotomy, the major S116 sub-clade shows a frequency peak in the upper Danube basin and Paris area with declining frequency toward Italy, Iberia, Southern France and British Isles.

Although this frequency pattern closely approximates the spread of the Linearbandkeramik (LBK), Neolithic culture, an advent leading to a number of pre-historic cultural developments during the past ≤10 thousand years, more complex pre-Neolithic scenarios remain possible for the L23(xM412) components in Southeast Europe and elsewhere.

In addition, the sub-clade distribution map, Figure 1h titled “L11(xU106,S116)”, in Myres et al. shows that R-P310/L11* (or as yet undefined subclades of R-P310/L11) occurs only in frequencies greater than 10% in Central England with surrounding areas of England and Wales having lower frequencies.

This R-P310/L11* is almost non-existent in the rest of Eurasia and North Africa with the exception of coastal lands fringing the western and southern Baltic (reaching 10% in Eastern Denmark and 6% in northern Poland) and in Eastern Switzerland and surrounds.

In 2009, DNA extracted from the femur bones of 6 skeletons in an early-medieval burial place in Ergolding (Bavaria, Germany) dated to around 670 AD yielded the following results: 4 were found to be haplogroup R1b with the closest matches in modern populations of Germany, Ireland and the USA while 2 were in Haplogroup G2a.

Population studies which test for M269 have become more common in recent years, while in earlier studies men in this haplogroup are only visible in the data by extrapolation of what is likely. The following gives a summary of most of the studies which specifically tested for M269, showing its distribution in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia as far as China and Nepal.

R1b1a1 is one of two major lines stemming from P297, the other one being the line leading to M269. R1b1a1 and M269 are thought to have had a common ancestor as recently as 8000 BC according to a number of individuals calculations. So, the R1b1a1 and M269 shared a starting point in the early Neolithic somewhere. It is thaught that M269, V88 and R1b1a1 are all oldest in Southwest Asia.

R1b1a1 is dated to c. 6000 BC and dates the common P297 ancestor of it and M269 at 8000 BC. So, these are siblings who are far closer related to each other than either is with V88. So understanding the ancestors of M269 during the Neolithic is probably best achieved by looking tangentially at R1b1a1.

As M269 didnt arise until 2000 years later than R1b1a1 as a clade there is not really much choice, but to use the R1b1a1 as a proxy for all P297 between 6000 and 4000 BC. There just doesn’t seem to be much P297*. In general we should really be trying to understand R1b1a1 more than V88 if we want to understand the line leading to M269. Basically consider the brother rather than the cousin.

R1b1a1 and M269 converge as P297* far too recently c. 8000 BC (early Neolithic) to have been in separate ice age refugia. They don’t have separate histories prior to 8000 BC. So the different distribution of R1b1a1 and M269 cannot relate to them or their ancestral lineages being is separate refugia. They were at the same spot c. 8000 BC.

Its the other branch P297-negative branch (which much later led to V88) that separated off in the Upper Palaeolithic according to Klyosov c. 12500 BC. Now that branch could well have been in a seperate area given the much greater depth of time and the amount of drastic climatic fluctations in the 4000 years or so after that date.

A location in the hearland of early farming is hard to tally with what appears to be R1b doing very little pre-5000 BC. Other than seeing R1b as peripheral to early farming or located somewhere on its margins to the east or north, the only explantation that would place R1b in the heart of farming yet somehow doing very little would be if it recieved a nasty bottleneck. The aridity phase that peaked around 3900 BC seems to have been the most extreme of that era.

Looking at the sequence of skull types in the east end of the steppes it seems that there is three European types moving into the area, with Molgoloid skulls only appearing very late. It would seem almost inevitable that one of those European groups included the ancient R1b1a1 people moving east. The oldest identified presence of European mtDNA around Mongolia and Lake Baikal dates back to over 6,000 years ago.

The Tarim and adjacent area was not settled at all until the Bronze Age. This makes it appear certain that R1b1a1 had a prior life of several thousand years somewhere else. After all it cannot have been on China’s western borders in 6000 BC if the area was not even settled by anyone until several thousand years late. R1b1a1 surely must have arrived in one of the waves of Europeans.

As it stands there is really no case for R1b1a1 coming from Southwest Asia as it is lacking there. It has a presence from Ukraine through central Asia to China. So, given the lack of any evidence of European type peoples in the extreme east of the steppes until Afanasievo it is logical to look to the west along the steppes to Central Asia and the European steppes as the most likely source.

It seems clear that only steppe type groups were equiped to make move in that zone. So, its very hard not to be tempted to see R1b1a1 as an element of Afanasievo. A connection with Afansievo’s move east towards that area from the Urals c. 3300 BC would work.

In 1934 Swedish archaeologist Folke Bergman discovered some 200 mummies of fair-haired Caucasian people in the Tarim Basin in Northwest China (a region known as Xinjiang, East Turkestan or Uyghurstan). The oldest of these mummies date back to 2000 BCE and all 7 male remains tested by Li et al. (2010), were positive for the R1a1 mutations. The modern inhabitants of the Tarim Basin, the Uyghurs, belong both to this R1b-M73 subclade (about 20%) and to R1a1 (about 30%).

The first theory about the origins of the Tarim mummies is that a group of early horse riders from the Repin culture (3700-3300 BCE) migrated from the Don-Volga region to the Altai mountain, founding the Afanasevo culture (c. 3600-2400 BCE), whence they moved south to the Tarim Basin. Another possibility is that the Tarim mummies descend from the Proto-Indo-Iranian people (see above) who expanded all over Central Asia around 2000 BC from the Sintashta-Petrovka culture.

An offshoot would have crossed the Tian Shan mountains, ending up in the Tarim Basin. This theory has the merit of matching the dating of the Tarim mummies. Either way, most of the mummies tested for mtDNA belonged to the Mongoloid haplogroup C4, and only a few to European or Middle Eastern haplogroups (H, K and R).

There is some controversy regarding the possible link between the Tarim mummies and the Tocharian languages, a Centum branch of the Indo-European family which were spoken in the Tarim Basin from the 3rd to 9th centuries CE. It is easy to assume that the Tarim mummies were Proto-Tocharian speakers due to the corresponding location and the Indo-European connection.

However, the Tarim mummies predate the appearance of Tocharian by over two millennia, and Tocharian is a Centum language that cannot be descended from the Satem Proto-Indo-Iranian branch. Other Centum branches being all related to haplogroup R1b, and Tocharian being the only eastern Centum language, it is possible that the Tocharian speakers is instead associated to the Central Asian R1b1b1 (M73) subclade, also found among the modern Uyghurs inhabiting the Tarim basin.

The present-day inhabitants of Central Asia, from Xinjiang to Turkey and from the Volga to the Hindu Kush, speak in overwhelming majority Turkic languages. This may be surprising as this corresponds to the region where the Indo-Iranian branch of Indo-European speakers expanded, the Bronze-Age Andronovo culture, and the Iron-Age Scythian territory. The explanation is that Turkic languages replaced the Iranian tongues of Central Asia between the 4th and 11th century CE.

Indo-European languages only survived in Slavic Russia and in the southern part of Central Asia, in places like Tajikistan, Afghanistan and some parts of Turkmenistan, while the Uyghurs, Uzbeks, Kazakhs and Kyrgyzs, and the modern Pontic-Caspian steppe people (Crimean Tatars, Nogais, Bashkirs and Chuvashs), who carry Indo-European R1a, and to a lesser extent also R1b, lineages, doesn’t speak Indo-European vernaculars.

Proto-Turkic originated in Mongolia and southern Siberia with such nomadic tribes as the Xiongnu. It belongs to the Altaic linguistic family, like Mongolian and Manchu (some also include Korean and Japanese, although they share very little vocabulary in common). It is unknown when Proto-Turkic first emerged, but its spread started with the Hunnic migrations westward through the Eurasian steppe and all the way to Europe, only stopped by the boundaries of the Roman Empire.

The Huns were the descendants of the Xiongnu. Ancient DNA tests have revealed that the Xiongnu were already a hybrid Eurasian people 2,000 years ago, with mixed European and North-East Asian Y-DNA and mtDNA. Modern inhabitants of the Xiongnu homeland have approximately 90% of Mongolian lineages against 10% of European ones.

It appears that Turkic quickly replaced the Scythian and other Iranian dialects all over Central Asia. Other migratory waves brought more Turkic speakers to Eastern and Central Europe, like the Khazars, the Avars, the Bulgars and the Turks (=> see 5000 years of migrations from the Eurasian steppes to Europe). All of them were in fact Central Asian nomads who had adopted Turkic language, but had little if any Mongolian blood. Turkic invasions therefore contributed more to the diffusion of Indo-European lineages (especially R1a1) than East Asian ones.

Turkic languages have not survived in Europe outside the Pontic-Caspian steppe. Bulgarian language, despite being named after a Turkic tribe, is actually a Slavic tongue with a mild Turkic influence. Hungarian, sometimes mistaken for the heir of Hunnic because of its name, is in reality an Uralic language (Magyar).

The dozens of Turkic languages spoken in the world today have a high degree of mutual intelligibility due to their fairly recent common origin and the nomadic nature of its speakers (until recently). Its two main branches Oghuz and Oghur could be seen as two languages about as distant as Spanish and Italian, and languages within each branch like regional dialects of Spanish and Italian.

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