Get to know Mark's paternal ancestors. Discover your own.
Mark's Ancestral Map
Mark is part of a paternal line that scientists have labeled haplogroup I1. The map below shows where people of haplogroup I1 lived around 500 years ago, before modern transportation allowed people to easily move from continent to continent.
Haplogroup I1 can be found at levels of 10% and higher in many parts of Europe, due to its expansion with men who migrated northward after the end of the Ice Age about 12,000 years ago. It reaches its highest levels in Denmark and the southern parts of Sweden and Norway.
Age: 28,000 years
Region: Northern Europe
Populations: Finns, Norwegians, Swedes
Highlight: Haplogroup I1 reaches highest frequencies in Scandinavia.
Mark's Ancestral History
I is found almost exclusively in Europe, where about 20% of men have Y-chromosomes belonging to the haplogroup. It began spreading about 30,000 to 45,000 years ago with some of the first Homo sapiens to inhabit Europe.
The haplogroup's two main branches, I1 and I2, divided about 28,000 years ago. Archaeological evidence indicates it was a time of rapid change in Europe, as a new culture known as the Gravettian moved westward across the continent. The Grevettian people introduced new stone tool technology, as well as novel art forms typified by the distinctive fertility symbols known as "Venus" figurines.
Not long after haplogroup I arrived in Europe, the advancing Ice Age limited most of the continent's inhabitants to its southern fringes. Only Iberia, the Italian peninsula and the Balkans were mild enough to support substantial numbers of humans. As a result, the distribution of the haplogroup's branches today reflects the migrations that took place as the glaciers began retreating about 12,000 to 15,000 years ago.
I1 in Russia
The arrival of I1 into Russia may be connected to the expansion of Slavic-speaking tribes from central Europe beginning around 600 AD. Besides their distinct languages and culture, some of the expanding Slavs are believed to have brought with them haplogroup I1. Gradually, Slavic men bearing this haplogroup married into the local tribes, passing I1 on to future generations. Today, haplogroup I1 can be divided into three sub-groups: I1a, I1b, and I1c. All can be found in Russia at various levels. Haplogroup I1a is most common in northern Russia, where it reaches about 6%. I1b, by contrast, is more common in southern and central Russia, and especially along the north shore of the Black Sea, where it can be found in up to 16% of men. I1c is the rarest of the three sub-groups, with frequencies of 1-2% across much of western Russia.
Doggerland: A Real-Life Atlantis
One of the places that was repopulated as the Ice Age waned no longer exists. During the Ice Age and for some time afterward, lower sea levels exposed much of the area that is now covered by the North Sea. Known as "Doggerland," the region must have been occupied by men bearing haplogroup I, because today it is abundant in all of the countries surrounding the North Sea.
As the meltwaters of the retreating Ice Age glaciers caused sea levels to rise, the low-lying forests and wetlands of Doggerland gradually became inundated. Doggerland's inhabitants retreated to the higher ground that is now the North Sea coast. I1 is especially common today in Scandinavia - it reaches levels of 33% in Denmark and Sweden and is less common in England, Germany and the Netherlands, where it is found in about 15% of men. Like Russia, the most common sub-group of I1 in Scandinavia is I1a, which reach levels of over 50% in Sweden. I1b and I1c are also present at moderate levels of less than 10% throughout the region.View Sources
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What is a Haplogroup?
Haplogroup is the term scientists use to describe individual branches, or closely related groups of branches, on the genetic family tree of all humans. All members of a haplogroup trace their ancestry back to a single individual.