Haplogroup V

Modern humans as well as extinct Neanderthals share a common ancestor who lived about 500 thousand years ago (~25 thousand generations).

Mitochondrial Eve

All humans living today descend in the female line from a woman nicknamed “Mitochondrial Eve.” This unknown woman probably lived in Africa, perhaps in Kenya, Tanzania or Ethiopia, probably about 150 thousand years ago (~7,500 generations). Mitochondrial Eve wasn’t the only human female in her generation — some scientists think that she belonged to a human population of about 2,000 people. The other women of her time certainly have descendants living today, but she was the only of them who has  female-line descendants living today. At different points in time, the female-line descendants of all her contemporaries left only sons, so their female lines became extinct.

Lara Clan

One of Mitochondrial Eve’s descendants in the female line was an unknown woman, nicknamed “Lara,” who lived in Africa, probably south of the Sahara Desert. Lara became the female line ancestor of everyone whose mtDNA belongs to Haplogroup L. Her descendants separated into groups now labeled L0 through L7.

The ancestor of the L3 group was an unknown woman who lived in the Middle East or Egypt about 100 thousand years ago (~5,000 generations). She has many descendants in Africa, but some of her descendants left Africa, so she became the female-line ancestor of all Asians, Europeans, aboriginal Australians and aboriginal Americans.

Humans exhibit less genetic diversity than would expected for our age as a species; far less than our closest primate cousins, the chimpanzees. Some scientists believe that humans nearly became extinct about 70 thousand years ago (~3,500 generations) when the Toba super-volcano erupted in Indonesia, triggering an environmental catastrophe. According to this theory, the human population might have been reduced to a few thousand people, perhaps as few as 1,000, thereby losing genetic diversity.

N Clan

The N clan is one of the branches of the L3 clan. It is believed to have originated with a woman who lived in Africa about 80 – 60 thousand years ago (~4,000 – 3,000 generations). She is the ancestor of nearly all Europeans and aboriginal Australians, and many Asians and aboriginal Americans.

R Clan

The R clan is one of the branches of the N Clan. The first woman with this mutation probably lived about 60 thousand years ago (~3,000 generations) in the Middle East. She became the maternal ancestor of six of the seven European haplogroups. (Haplogroup X is a sister rather than daughter clan of Haplogroup R.)

HV Clan

The HV clan originated about 30 thousand years ago (~1,500 generations) during the Upper Paleolithic Era (Old Stone Age). With the Ursula clan, they formed the Cro-Magnons, who produced the famous cave art in southern France. They shared territory with the Neanderthals, another branch of humans, who died out 27,000 years ago (~1.350 generations). During the last Ice Age the HV clan and Ursula clan retreated to what is now Spain, called the “Western Refugium.” Other European clans retreated to Italy, the Balkans and the Ukraine during the same period. The HV clan was the ancestral clan of both the Helena and Velda clans.

Velda Clan

The Velda clan is one of the branches of the HV clan. The unknown woman we call Velda (Scandinavia for “ruler”) probably lived about 17,000 years ago (~850 generations) in the limestone hills of Cantabria in northwest Spain. It would be a mistake to think of the Velda clan as ever having a separate identity as a group. There would have been nothing to set Velda apart from the other women of her tribe. Her relatives and her own immediate descendants undoubtedly married into other groups. Her female-line descendants would have fanned out into many tribes in the same region. The Basques are probably a surviving remnant of the Ursula and Velda clans.

When the glaciers melted, about 16 thousand years ago (~800 generations), humans once again spread out  through Europe. Descendants of the Velda clan migrated north along the coast of Spain into the plains of Gascony. One group of them reached the Norwegian seaboard, where they joined with people from arctic Russia to become the Sámi. Some of them, however, went south and are now found in Algeria. Because the Velda clan originated in the Spain, Haplogroup V is a marker for the spread of humans from Spain into Europe and Africa after the last Ice Age.

About 12 thousand years ago (~600 generations), members of the Velda clan (with the Ursula, Helena and Tara clans) reached the British Isles, probably coming across a land bridge that existed then. Farming came later, brought to Europe from Syria during the Neolithic Era, about 8,000 years ago (~400 generations). The so-called “races” emerged only about 5,000 years ago (~250 generations).

Until the European expansion of the 16th and 17th centuries, the Velda clan was nearly restricted to western, central and northern Europe where it accounts for about 4% of the population. It is most common among the Basques of Spain (12%) and the Skolt Sámi of Scandinavia (50%).

  1. Roxie

    Fabulous post!

    I am a MtDNA V2 descendant born in South America from Spanish and Portugues ancestors. My maternal g.grandmother was the only member of the family that was blonde, fair and blue eyed. She didn’t have a last name which makes tracing her family incredibly difficult. But I’ll still continue ….

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