Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Unwinding the Convoluted Character of the Emergence of Imazighen Groups

The sequence of events involved in the genesis of the diversity that we see today in Imazighen groups is something that not only generates a considerable degree of interest, but also one that continues to challenge even the experts who've spent a good deal of their time in unwinding the archaeological, cultural and biological developments that accompanied the development of the Imazighen.

Amongst the Imazighen, perhaps the tawny-hued coastal northwestern groups draw in the most curiousity, in terms of their seemingly asymmetric sourcing of their gene pool—comprising of Y DNA, predominantly made up of autochthonous African markers, and mtDNA, in most cases made up of largely "Eurasian"-tagged markers—and the question of when they attained their apparent tawny or "light-skin" epidermal phenotype, in a continent dominated largely by 'dark skin' [of varying degrees] autochthonous groups. All sorts of rounds of rationalizing and speculation have taken place over the years, in efforts to explain what appears to be an anomaly of some sort to some, from tying contemporary Imazighens to the so-called Mecthoid (or supposed "Cro-Magnoid") types of the EpiPaleolithic and Neolithic era to being outright descendents of the likes of Vandals, Arabs or "Near Easterners", as opposed to being descendents of autochthonous Africans with genetic influence from groups that spent their evolutionary history outside of mainland Africa. None of these of course, have born out to be based on facts consistent with evidence. To take the "Mechtoid" example for instance, attempts had been taken by Eurocentric scholars to suggest that these were the ancestors of contemporary coastal northwest African Imazighen populations, by arguing for their supposed "caucasoid" cranio-facial phenotype, the supposed morphological link with the European Cro-Magnon specimens, and by typifying them as "Mediterranean caucasiod" types [See: Mechta and Afalou: Do they and the so-called "Mechtoids" constitute a type with the "Cro-Magnon"? and Mechta-Afalou and the so-called Mechtoids: Continued!]

At least one study states this: 

the most ancient, i.e. those from Taforalt in Morocco, Afalou-bou-Rhummel in Algeria and Singa in the Sudan, cannot be considered as being either Negro or San, whereas the later Jebel Sahaba sample (c. 12000 B.P.), the Wadi Halfa (c. 11950 - 6400 B.P.) and the Mechta-el-Arbi individuals (c. 8500 B.P.) and the Jebel Moya sample (c. 2950 - 2350 B.P.) are not significantly removed from the Negro populations. - Santiago Genovés

Bearing in mind those ages provided in that extract above, it should be noted that from DNA analysis, it has been implied that the Imazighen ("Berbers") ancestor emerged ca. 8.2 kya or so [Arredi et al. 2004] in northeast Africa; given this, the northwest African samples here [the Taforalt, Afalou-bou-Rhummel, and the Mechta-el-Arbi] are all too old to be associated with the contemporary Imazighen. The age given to the Mechta-el-Arbi specimens is the only one that comes close to any age associated with contemporary Imazighen speakers; but even here, it is questionable, given that Imazighen expansion in northwest Africa is dated even more recently than the upper end 8 kya time frame—that expansion dates to ca. 2.3 kya or so. The point is, although some find it tempting to associate the contemporary Imazighen with these EpiPaleolithic and Neolithic era northwest African specimens, available data suggest otherwise.

Speaking of DNA, skin pigmentation analysis suggest that "west Eurasian" contribution likely explains the coastal northwest African 'outlier' skin tones; granted, it is quite highly likely that coastal northwest African Imazighen would have still undergone *some* level of skin tone lightening, even if they weren't influenced by "west Eurasians", as they moved to the sub-tropical areas, especially in the Atlas mountain areas. This skin lightening event though, would have likely produced—at most—the level of skin tones seen in the likes of the San "Bushmen" and the KhoiSans. The UV radiation levels in the supra-tropical and sub-tropical regions of Africa are simply not as acute as those found in the even more northerly latitudes of Europe, Asia and elsewhere. Recalling on Norton et al (clickable), we have... 

"The frequency of the SLC24A5 111*A allele outside of Europe is largely accounted for by high frequencies in geographically proximate populations in northern Africa, the Middle East, and Pakistan (ranging from 62% to 100%)."

"The relatively high frequencies of the derived allele in Central Asian, Middle Eastern, and North Africa seem likely to be due to gene flow with European populations."

Which also doesn't rule out the probability of North Africans receiving some of their skin tone variations from so-called "Middle Easterners" as well.

Citing Rando et al. 1998 [mtDNA analysis of Northwest African populations reveals genetic exchanges with European, Near Eastern and sub-Saharan populations] along the way,...

Here is a theory: Shortly after their emergence ca. 8 ky ago or so, nomadic pastoralist Imazighen groups dispersed from where they emerged in eastern Sahara, likely in the region straddling Egypt and Sudan, and moved northward [and also possibly westward in the Sahara]. Here, they would come into contact with arriving Neolithic groups from the so-called Near East, who would have also included E-M78* carriers [along with Hg J carriers], which made its way to the “Near East” at an earlier time frame. Being nomadic, these E-M78* and E-M81 Imazighen carriers would have likely been male-biased; however, their dispersal may have included notably Hg M1 carriers from their point of origin, amongst other common L type mtDNA lineages common in north Africa. The incoming Hg J and returning Hg E carriers would have been accommodated by “Eurasian” tagged mtDNA markers that are generally common to Europeans and “Near Easterners”, along with those more commonly found in the “Near East”. These would have presumably included some, if not somewhat limited, European mtDNA markers radiated from Last Glacial Maximum refugium centers in the so-called Near East, likely radiated from the likes of Anatolia. The following might prove to be insightful, notwithstanding outdated constructs that the authors apply in the course of their analysis... 

A great number of the 99 L3E sequences in our sample from the Berbers and other Moroccans, West-Saharans, and Mauritanians seem to be of European descent in view of the numerous matches (more than one fourth) with European but not Near Eastern sequences. The average transitional distance to the nearest neighbours in the European/Near Eastern mtDNA pool is as low as .4, which would correspond to an age of 8000 years. The same figure is also obtained for the L3 sequences from the Algerian Berbers (Corte-Real et al. 1996)...

Some further Near Eastern mtDNA lineages, more similar to extant European lineages, might have come along from the Near East with the (or some) ancestors of the Iberomaurusians, but the bulk of them probably arrived in North Africa with the posterior Mesolithic and Neolithic waves. There is thus a caveat with the European appearance of North African mtDNAs: the same lineage types that came from the Near East and dispersed along the southern Mediterranean littoral around the Last Glacial Maximum (possibly spreading the Gravettian cultures) or after the Younger Dryas (bringing the Neolithic) may also have taken the northern route along the Mediterranean sea. It is therefore difficult to establish at present a clear cut between European and Near Eastern mitochondrial lineages. Nevertheless, there is strong evidence for some European genetic input into North Africa, as for example testified by Haplogroups U5 (Richards et al. 1998) and V (Vandals, Portuguese and Spanish colonization).

The Neolithic hypothesis above seems like the more plausible scenario. And to exemplify the difficulty grappling researchers in unwinding the very complex history of the north African Imazighen,... 

In summary, the mitochondrial landscape of Northwest Africa appears to be quite complex, and cannot be studied in isolation from the European, Near Eastern or sub-Saharan mitochondrial background. Population affinity diagrams reflect essentially the north-south gradient, which is evident from cluster compositions, whereas sequence comparisons employing the mtDNA database reveal the traces in Northwest Africa of (1) Paleolithic settlement(s) before the Last Glacial Maximum, (2) Neolithic waves, and (3) migrations of northern Europeans (and possibly others, such as Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, and Iberians) in historical times.

These multiregional influences may explain the partially conflicting interpretations of North African data, which emphasize indigenous development and European/West Asian affinity (Irish, 1197, 1998) and a clear relationship to Iberians in particular (Arnaiz-Villena et al. 1995) or disclaim specific relationships to Iberians (Comas et al. 1998) and significant (Neolithic) demic diffusion from the Near East (Barbujani et al. 1994; Bosch, et al. 1997). 

These same Neolithic groups would have found their way to southeast Europe and onto islands therein, like Crete. However, because the nomadic Imazighen groups now situated in the coastal areas of northeast Africa were male-biased and with small effective population size, their mixing with the females that came along the Neolithic groups would have given the appearance of substantial intermixing. However, these nomadic pastoralist Imazighen groups would have not been the type that would have allowed arriving Neolithic groups to dominate them. So, it would appear that instead, the Neolithic elements who intermixed with them, adopted the languages and other aspects of the nomadic Imazighen groups, while their Neolithic traditions continued to stay with them. Consequently, the nomadic Imazighen groups too would be influenced by those traditions, resulting in settlement moves amongst them, like those near the oasis on the western desert of the Nile Valley. This is where they’d have likely made initial efforts to settle before moving to the far western areas. By the bronze age Holocene period, it would appear that some coastal North Africans had spilled over to southeast European areas, with Crete being an example of that. Other Imazighen nomads spread through the length of the Sahara, likely mixing with other groups therein; and again, being male-biased, they would have picked up mtDNA gene pools of those other groups. This would explain the gradient that authors like Rando et al. observed: 

The mitochondrial data of the Northwest African populations (Berber from Morocco and Algeria, Moroccans, West-Saharans, Mauritanians, Tuareg) show a mosaic composition of mtDNA types, with a pronounced gradient of sub-Saharan lineages from north to south: at the one extreme, the Berbers from Morocco have a predominantly European (Iberian) affinity, while at the other extreme, the Tuareg are closely related to sub-Saharan West Africans as represented by several Senegalese groups in this study, whereas the West-Saharans and Mauritanians are somewhat intermediate. It is remarkable that the Tuareg bear little mitochondrial resemblance to the Berber populations, although they speak a Berber language

Hg U6 would have invariably been spread across the Sahara, with relative frequency peaks in the western end of it. At any rate, subsequent intrusions into north Africa, e.g. the likes of Phoenicians, the Greco-Romans or the Vandals, would have likely left a rather limited genetic imprint only in centers of foreign administration. It is quite plausible that much of the European-specific maternal lineages came around the historic periods after those epochs, as perhaps best indicated in one of the extracts above, when the author said: "(3) migrations of northern Europeans (and possibly others, such as Phoenicians, Romans, Arabs, and Iberians) in historical times." On the other hand, when the authors said, "sequence comparisons employing the mtDNA database reveal the traces in Northwest Africa of (1) Paleolithic settlement(s) before the Last Glacial Maximum", they were likely alluding to the likes of the autochthonous north African marker of U6, which at any rate, generally comprise a relatively smaller portion of the Imazighen mtDNA gene pool. It is not clear if much earlier contacts with the likes of Cretans would have contributed to Imazighen gene pool in a substantial way, but it’s certainly possible that some degree of genetic exchange with elements therein had resulted in a portion of mtDNA gene pool spilling into north Africa, perhaps by groups returning with African ancestry. Anyway, this could very well also have contributed to the frequency of seemingly European-specific mtDNA. Contact between Cretan inhabitants and north Africans have been spoken about on many occasions, and even implicated in images of antiquity, like the example below:

The characters with frizzy-looking hair—although with the resolution of the image above, it is rather difficult to ascertain—are said to be north Africans. Other images from the Minoans seem to invoke a considerably heterogenous or "mixed" people; the following are photographs of images on Minoan sarcophagi...

Sarcophagus portion #1:


Sarcophagus portion #1 blown up below:


Sarcophagus portion #2 blown up below:

In ancient Egyptian artwork:

In ancient Egyptian art, the first group to their western desert—in an area now dominated by Imazighen speaking populations—that *tentatively appears on their records from the predynastic era onwards, are the "Tjehenu/Tehenu"; these people were generally painted in dark hue as the Egyptians themselves were. In the old Dynastic era, one comes across another group of people in the western desert area of the Nile Valley; they were presumably referred to as the "Tjamahu/Tamahu". These latter group of people were generally depicted in the light-skin tone, in a manner not different from the Aamu, generally known by many as "Asiatics". The "Tehenu" were presumably located in the coastal areas on the western desert region, while the "Tamahou" were presumably located in the more southward areas of the western desert. The latter were generally depicted sporting interesting body tattoos, and feather head gear. There are also other groups attested to in the western desert areas; namely the "Meshwesh/Mashawash" and the "Libu/Lebu (Ribu/Rebu)", notably mentioned in the New Kingdom era [see Merneptah stele for example], in the Rameside period. Any group here or any combination of these groups may have been ancestors of the contemporary north African Imazighen. Below, is a repro of a wall relief depicting what appears to be a "Meshwesh" figure under captive, and other figures from the western desert areas, possibly the "Tjamahu" (Tamahu/Tamahou)...


A curious feature though about the Minoan art, is the seeming consistent [though not necessarily exclusively] depictions of the male figures in dark hue, with some being even in plain black tone; this seems to be the case in the ancient Egyptian example below, and the Minoan painted counterpart underneath that...

Below, is an occasion showing individuals in plain black hue...

Relaxing on visual aids, and resuming our theory at hand...

With substantial gene flow from European maternal gene pool in the historic period, it’s likely that some of the older Eurasian mtDNA markers may have experienced unfavorable genetic drift, lowering their relative frequency. Likewise, genetic drift may have worked favorably for the more historic European markers from the Iberian peninsula. Though not exclusively, the following examples of historic events must have surely had their own role to play, in contributing to coastal northwest African gene pool,...
Trafficking of women from the other side of the Mediterranean sea as slaves surely must have left its own mark. Then there were also sudden waves of migration to the north African coast during the fall of direct northwest African rule in the Iberian peninsula; no doubt families who reached the north African coast had left some genetic imprint therein. And of course, again, genetic drift has its own role to play in all this.

All that aside, a look at samplings so far undertaken in coastal northwest Africa suggests that these have generally relied on sampling small, scattered populations [see Cherni et al. 2005], giving fragmented or incomplete picture of northwest African maternal gene pool structure.

— As noted in the paragraphs.

'*' corresponds to record that was/is taken into consideration with regards to the Tjehenu/Tehenu. For instance, the "Tehenu" Palette was subsequently discussed here: The So-called Tehenu Palette

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Renaming Afro-Asiatic and its Semitic offshoot

It has recently been proposed by several scholars/linguists that Semitic may have originated in East Africa and/or in the north eastern part of Egypt near Sinai, by proto-Afrasan or "pre-proto-Semitic" pre-agricultural migrants in the region...

“A careful reading of Diakonff shows his continuing adherence to his long-held position of an exclusively Africa origin for the family. He explicitly describes proto-Afroasiatic vocabulary as consistent with non-food-producing vocabulary and links it to pre--Neolithic cultures in the Levant and in Africa south of Egypt, noting the latter to be older. Diakonff does revise his location for the Common Semitic homeland, moving it from entirely within northeast Africa to areas straddling the Nile Delta and Sinai, but continues to place the origins of the five other branches of the family wholly in Africa. One interpretation of the archaeological data supports a pre-food-producing population movement from Africa into the Levant, consistent with the linguistic arguments for apre-Neolithic migration of pre-proto-Semitic speakers out of Africa via Sinai.” - Ehret et al.

More excerpts on the matter:

Brandt, Steven. University of Florida and Juris Zarins, Southwest Missouri State University.

An African Origin for Semitic-Speaking Peoples? Archeological, Genetic and Linguistic Perspectives.

The origins of Semitic - speaking peoples have traditionally been linked to Near Eastern cultures that first occupied the lower Mesopotamian alluvium prior to 4000 BC. Drawing upon recent archeological, linguistic and genetic data, this paper develops an alternative model which suggests that Neolithic Afro-Asiatic speaking nomadic pastoralists from North-eastern Africa were the first to introduce “proto-Semitic” languages and an African form of nomadic pastoralism to Arabia, perhaps from multiple dispersal points along the Red Sea and Sinai.Implications of this model for clarifying long-standing issues related to the later prehistory and history of Northeastern Africa and Arabia are discussed.

From the excerpt above,...

multiple dispersal points along the Red Sea and Sinai.

...would explain the abundance, or the bulk of Semitic languages being located in the African Horn. Perhaps a relatively more recent affair, but maybe intuitive:

Semiticized Agaw peoples are thought to have migrated from south-eastern Eritrea possibly as early as 2000BC, bringing their `proto-Ethiopic' language, ancestor of Ge`ez and the other Ethiopian Semitic languages, with them; and these and other groups had **already developed specific cultural and linguistic identities by the time any Sabaean influences arrived.** " - Stuart Munro-Hay

Personal deductions: The Agaw adopted the Semitic languages from indigenous Semitic speaking Ethiopians, [and as stated above] not from southern Arabians. To support this fact, the author makes it quite blatant in the following, what language speakers the Agaw were prior to their adoption of the said Ethio-Semitic languages:

Whatever was the cause of the end of the former Aksumite kingdom, a new centre eventually appeared in the province of Lasta to the south under a dynasty, apparently of Cushitic (Agaw) origin, later regarded as usurpers, called the Zagwé (Taddesse Tamrat 1972: 53ff; Dictionary of Ethiopian Biography 1975: 200ff). The existence of a long and a short chronology for this dynasty indicates that the Ge`ez chroniclers were in some confusion as to the precise events occurring at the end of the `Aksumite' period until the advent of the Zagwé. - courtesy of S. Munro-Hay.

Taken from: Nile Valley Forum

Ge'ez itself has been characterized as a now-defunct but well differentiated autochthonous Ethiopian "Semitic" language at the time of its use. This would make Ge'ez's ancestor [not Ge'ez itself] the "proto-Ethio-Semitic" language. Apparently, 'proto-Semitic' is the reconstructed hypothetical common ancestor of all so-called Semitic languages.

As part of a discussion, at least one perspective on the matter was this:

I'm curious to know why Semitic is even still considered to be a linguistic branch while Hamitic was abandoned (done at the insistence of Joseph Greenberg that the concept of Hamitic languages were invalid).

It is my understanding that the language family Hamito-Semitic was abandoned in favor of Afro-Asiatic because the concept of Hamite implied a Mesopatamian/Near Eastern origin of various branches of that language family that were dispersed into Africa, as the Bibilical theory of the Table of Nations (from which the words Hamite and Semite are derived from) suggests.

Of course archeological and linguistic evidence shows that it was the other was around, these languages in Africa once regarded as Hamitic originated in Africa and dispersed elsewhere.

So why is it that certain languages in Africa are considered to be part of the Semitic branch (and even proto-Semitic itself has been suggested to have originated in Africa) when the term itself still implies a West Asian origin?

Indeed, the issue of the rationality of sustaining the term "Semitic" in the science of language/linguistics, given its biblical origins, what that implied and its subsequent inspirational impact on the 19th & 20th century Eurocentric racialist ideological schema, is something that crops up time and again. Whatever happened to the idea of separating religion from science?

The way the present author sees it, if someone were to say that the 'Semitic' descriptive should not be an issue, then that same someone should not have any issues with "Hamito-Semitic", the earlier descriptive given to the language family in question. Of course, the 'Hamito' end of it, implicates the Hamitic hypothesis. Hamites too, like Semites, is rooted in biblical jargon, but Eurocentrist scholars from the 19th and 20th century ran off with the term and applied it in bio-anthropological discourse; in some cases, we've seen the disastrous consequences of the Hamitic myth in European imperialism. Here, whereas Hamites were supposedly hybridized "Negroes", Semites were considered to be "non-African" groups from across the Red Sea. The earlier rational of "Hamito-Semitic", is the presumed notion that while these folks were distinct, that is to say—Hamites and Semites, their language were somehow related; Why not?...after all, the rationale was that Hamites partly descended from "non-African" groups from across the Red Sea. The Semitic end of the language family was initially believed to be of "non-African" origin, amongst these "non-African" Semites. If "Hamites" can be dropped, why should "Semites" not be dropped as well? However, if the rationale is that "Afro-Asiatic", as used today, is a linguistic construct, and that Semitic too is the same, well hey, "Hamito-Semitic" too was a linguistic construct in its day; why have issue with it?

It brings a good point to the table, as to the question of why "Hamito-Semitic" hasn't been dropped "altogether". Perhaps, the answer lies in the now outdated notion that, the "Hamitic" branch of languages were supposedly realized to have been of African origin before the same was realized for the supposed "Semitic" branch—something which Steven Brandt and Juris Zarins, for example, point out about the latter [Semitic] in the excerpt above.

Ehret thought even the term "Afro-Asiatic" was still reminiscent of the idea of African origin and an Asian offshoot, which according to his conclusions about exclusive African origins [for both proto-Afrasan AND its proto-Semitic descendant], did no justice to that conclusion. Thus, Ehret thought the term "Afrasan" would do it more justice, and get that "Asiatic" bit out of the way. But yes, Semitic too, as a term, may well need revision, with preponderance for African origins, especially in light of genetics, in combination with recent archeological findings—genetics wasn't exactly given much consideration back in the old "Hamito-Semitic" days, since very little was known about the science then.

For some, another reasoning for clinging onto that construct [i.e. Semitic] could be that, even though the "proto-Semitic" languages have African origins, their independent further development in the various respective regions where they are now spoken, would not be so apparent, so its linguist advocates reckon, if they did not use the term "Semitic". But again, from a personal opinion, considering the history of that term, perhaps its further usage needs to be revised—how?...a question linguists will have to think about! And here, several reasonable ideas will be proposed, as to how to go about renaming the Afro-Asiatic super phylum appropriately.

Another opinion on the matter:

A part of it had to do with the bias implied in the elevation of the Semitic languages, among the most recently derived - why semitic, and not Chadic for instance?

Then the concept of Hamites as - black skinned whites - was acknowledged to be and essentially ideological ruse.

For starters, let's consider the name Afro-Northern Rift [Valley]/Afro-North Rift (with the latter being an allusion to the Great Rift Valley) Super language, an entry for candidacy in replacing the "Afro-Asiatic" moniker.

It should be noted that the "Semitic" term issue aside, the "Asiatic" in "Afro-Asiatic" has the effect of over-emphasizing Asia's role in the language complex, given that Asia is apparently a gigantic landmass, with the Afrisan derivatives being limited to just the Great Rift region. Thus originating in Africa, this language phylum spreads its wings to only as far as part of the Great Rift Valley on the other side of the Red Sea. Though generally counted as part of Asia in "Western" discourse, the Great Rift areas across the Red sea really more closely lean towards Africa geologically, culturally and even politically. The case can also be made that populations in this area are generally more genetically closer to Africans than those further away.

The "Rift Valley" or "Great Rift Valley" moniker addresses not only the geographical issue, but also the "Semitic" nick end of it.

Then, how about considering a variant of the Afro-Northern Rift super-phylum: "Saharo-North Rift [Valley]" (Saharo-Northern Rift Valley) super language phylum, as a replacement of "Afro-Asiatic".

Why any consideration for the 'Sahara' at all? Technically, Afrisan languages are spoken both on the Sahara and in areas below the Sahara, in east and west Africa. But its spread westward on the continent, would have likely come about via the former wet-Saharan belt corridor.

Here is one opinion on the idea:

I take it you're proposing Saharo-Northern Rift replace Afrisan.
This is good because Asia doesn't have a damn thing to do with
the super-phylum at all in the least and Afrisan retains the 's'
of Asia.

Seeing that the speakers of this superphylum are all indigenous
to the northern Great Rift Valley and the Sahara — including its
periphery to Lake Tschad, the Nile, the Mediterranean, and the
Atlantic — it's the perfect geographic complement to
although it conflicts somewhat with
Nilo-Saharan — but 'Saharan'
in that instance does not include the periphery. And yes the island
of Malta is overlooked in the
Saharo-Northern Rift label but that's
just a tiny forgiveable oversight.

Well yes, the present author is proposing Saharo-Northern Rift as another possible candidate; the present author realizes that Saharo in the "Saharo-Northern Rift" doesn't immediately speak to every single geographical 'periphery' where the Afrisan language may well be spoken, but it is proposed for the reasons stated above: that is to say, the major corridors for its historical or rather, pre-historic expansions. The Sahara would have proven to be a major corridor for its westward expansion on the continent; whereas East Africa is where the language phylum likely first emerged—in the Northern Rift Valley region, and spread thereof across the Red Sea.

The "Afro-Northern Rift" speaks more to the general geographical reach of the Afrisan phylum than the former above, in that "Afro" compensates for any other areas where the language phylum mainly exists outside of the Northern Great Rift areas.

Some have proposed a descriptive to the effect of: Saharo-Erythrean!

However, as for 'Saharo-Erythrean' or any variant of it thereof, this is the present author's opinion on it: Why the invocation of "Erythrean"? The Great Rift Valley already includes the areas across the Red Sea from Africa.

It may well boil down to matter of taste, if not preference of the proposed reasoning behind either variant terms respectively over the other, but the question now is: Between say, "Afro-North Rift" (Afro-Northern Rift Valley) and "Saharo-North Rift" (Saharo-Northern Rift Valley) which is a better candidate?

Whatever the choice between the two may be, there is little to suggest otherwise, that either term is an improvement over the current moniker of "Afro-Asiatic", and by extension, the "Semitic" moniker of its Semitic offshoot; it is like killing two birds with one stone!