South Slavs, Early Studies

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The South Slavs are a subgroup of Slavic peoples who speak the South Slavic languages. They inhabit a contiguous region in the Balkan Peninsula, southern Pannonian Plain and eastern Alps, and are geographically separated from the body of West Slavic and East Slavic people by the Romanians, Hungarians, and Austrians. They include the Bosniaks, Bulgarians, Croats, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Serbs, and Slovenes. They are the main population of the Central and Southern European countries of Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia


The earliest studies looked at 'classical markers', i.e. protein and blood group polymorphisms. Such work, e.g. that of Luca Cavali-Sforza and his team, showed that Europeans might cluster into several groups: (1) "Germanic" (Germans, Austrians) (2) "Scandinavian" (Swedes, Norwegians) (3) "Celtic" (Irish, Scottish) (4) south-western European (Spanish, French, Italian) (4) eastern European (Russian, Hungarian, Ukrainian). The analyses found that Yugoslavs did not group into any of the above clusters, but formed a group of their own; a result he attributed to their internal heterogeneity. Bulgarians were not tested in his study.

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