Haplogroup W bearers occurs in Europe ranging through to West and South Asia. It is always found as a minority of the population, with the highest concentration being in Northern Pakistan Bearers of mtDNA Haplogroup W who originate from the Near East display a greater diversity than European Haplogroup W bearers. This indicates that the haplogroup has had a greater period of time for these Near East populations to accumulate mutations.
Europeans with Haplogroup W trace their lineage to people who moved north from the Near East and across the Caucasus and into Europe during the middle Upper Paleolithic. This migration into Western Europe marked the appearance of what is known as the Aurignacian culture. This culture is distinguished by significant innovations in methods of manufacturing tools, standardization of tools, and a broader set of tool types, such as end-scrapers for preparing animal skins and tools for woodworking.
Only about 10% of mitochondrial lineages preserve evidence of this early Upper Paleolithic migration. The balance of European mtDNA record later migrations.