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Sunday, October 7, 2018

The resistance crumbles


Over the years some scientists from the Estonian Biocentre have been among the staunchest opponents of the idea that Bronze Age pastoralists originating in the steppes of Eastern Europe had a significant genetic and linguistic impact on South Asia (for instance, see here).

But this week they put out a review paper titled The genetic makings of South Asia [LINK] featuring the figure below. It's a nice visualization of the current state of understanding of the peopling of South Asia, and does acknowledge the major role that the said steppe pastoralists had in this process.


However, there's not a single mention of Y-haplogroup R1a in the review. This is surprising, considering the once common, but now no longer valid, claims that this paternal marker may have originated in India. I guess the grieving process will continue for a little longer for some.

My long-held opinion about the claims that R1a was native to India, Iran, Central Asia, or, indeed, anywhere but its actual homeland, which is certainly Eastern Europe, can be summarized as such: LOL!

See also...

81 comments:

Davidski said...

By the way, WTF happened to the Rakhigarhi paper? It was supposed to be out a couple of weeks ago or something.

Francesco Brighenti said...

Vasant Shinde, director of the Rakhigarhi project, says the publication of the paper will take a few more months: https://www.google.it/amp/s/mumbaimirror.indiatimes.com/others/sunday-read/secrets-of-the-rakhigarhi-man/amp_articleshow/65738087.cms

Davidski said...

@Francesco Brighenti

Eh, I'm over it.

Bob Floy said...

"More remarkably(lol!), contrary to popular belief(in India), there is no presence of R1a1 gene, which would link them to the ‘Aryans’, or the pastoralists of the Central Asian Pontic steppe region"

That quote from the article had to be fixed.

And now that these guys have admitted that absence of R1a in Harappans to the press, the rest of the damn paper can wait, while they continue to stall. It'll be released when they've revised it to where they feel it will be politically acceptable, in other words, probably never. Soon they'll be saying it's a threat to national security.

Sofia Aurora said...

@Davidsky

What happened to the Rakhigarhi paper?

lol

Same old, same old!!!

Well a couple of weeks could be transformed into a couple of months or even years when it comes to article in genetics
Honestly i woukd have been surprised if they have made it on time.

Matt said...

Some strange elements going on in Figure 1 from this paper:

- ANE straight up coming from nowhere

- Tibeto-Burman from SW China into South Asia at 1000 CE? Tibeto-Burman languages in NE India are far too divergent and early attested for that. Plus already "genetically" Tibeto-Burman people in Myanmar at Oakaie in NW Myanmar (https://tinyurl.com/y7na6652) at 1000 BCE. So less than parsimonious migration so late assuming correlation of language to this Tibeto-Burman genetic pattern.

Of course, that's all a bit of a tangent to the main topic of this comment on that paper.

Garvan said...

In the first graphic, what is xOoA, > 2% in Papuans>

Aniasi said...

@Davidski,

I've heard the major issue with the paper being released has something to do with Caste politics. The genes show a substructure in the non steppe component that makes them more closely related to Chamars and South Indians. This will likely be troublesome to the Jatts, who own most of the area.

Nirjhar007 said...

This is a summary for what is available so far.

Samuel Andrews said...

@Bob Floy,
"It'll be released when they've revised it to where they feel it will be politically acceptable,"

David Reich also changed his ANI/ASI paper back in 2009 because he thought Indians would be offended by having a less ancient history in India than they like to think.

On the other hand geneticists trout the 'complex' ancestral origins of modern Europeans. Also, note news about Cheddar man were all about his dark skin color & bashing right wing Brits.

Davidski said...

@All

Yet another idiotic comment from commentator Bronze removed.

@Bronze

Get it through your thick head finally that there's no R1a in the Central Asian ancient DNA record until Sintashta and Andronovo arrive there from the west during the Bronze Age.

Bob Floy said...

@Sam
Yeah, we know what's going on there.
The problem in India seems to be particularly bad, though, the authors of the Rakhigarhi paper are really not doing their job.

Davidski said...

I'm thinking there should be major consequences for academics whenever they float stupid theories that fail miserably, like the Out-of-India for R1a and so on.

Their funding should be cut every time.

Bob Floy said...

@David

Definitely, only in this case it's a fox and chicken coupe type of deal, I think. Probably the very people who are funding them want the stalling to continue.

Davidski said...

@Bob Floy

Yeah, as I see it, there are two main problems currently in pop genetics.

1) the people funding the studies actually want to see results that supposedly contradict old "Eurocentric" theories, hence a PIE homeland in Iran, although in reality highly unusual, is treated like a better alternative to the more traditional theory of a PIE homeland in the Pontic-Caspian steppe

2) scientists from third world countries are coddled and treated like children by their colleagues from major western institutions, instead of being challenged properly whenever they come up with nonsense

Bob Floy said...

@David

Yeah, and it's the worst when those coddled third world scientists are transparently nursing some kind of lame nationalist agenda, and it's holding back the entire discipline. Really disgraceful.

Synome said...

I know it's frustrating when these papers are seemingly endlessly delayed and other issues when we are used to a standard of excellence from the handful of expert aDNA labs, but the researchers from Harvard, Copenhagen etc. know that developing good relationships with researchers from these countries is crucial to advancing the field as a whole.

This is just the beginning of this discipline, and if we want to have access to future samples from places like India, China, Africa, etc. then we need to recognize that they have to be involved and treated as equal partners or else the institutions in those countries will see little reward in granting access to foreign researchers.

The aDNA effort will have to be global. Things will inevitably slow a little as new researchers and new labs are brought into this field of study, but the long term rewards will be worth it. It's far better to convince these researchers to collaborate with the current top labs than for them to decide it's better to go their own way and follow their own theories in isolation.

Davidski said...

@Synome

I know it's frustrating when these papers are seemingly endlessly delayed and other issues when we are used to a standard of excellence from the handful of expert aDNA labs, but the researchers from Harvard, Copenhagen etc. know that developing good relationships with researchers from these countries is crucial to advancing the field as a whole.

I understand what you're saying, and in theory it's an awesome idea. But here's what we're getting in practice (and check out the comments as well).

Armenian confirmation bias

rozenfag said...

It seems that willingness to cooperate with geneticists is also varies within countries. In Russia there tons of aDNA studies on Volga-Ural region, Siberia, Caucasus, but almost nothing from Central Russia. I wonder why.

Synome said...

I've also been amazed by some of the...interesting hypotheses being pushed by some local researchers, and even by major institutions in Europe.

I guess I have faith that as more quality studies come out, the better theories will eventually triumph and the scientific process will work things out. After all, we have already seen significant shifts in the positions of the Indian collaborators on the Indus Periphery and Rakhigarhi papers, for example.

So that gives me hope. It may take time, but I'll bet even 3-5 years from now many of these unsupported theories will have fallen by the wayside.

Bob Floy said...

@Synome

"I know it's frustrating when these papers are seemingly endlessly delayed and other issues when we are used to a standard of excellence from the handful of expert aDNA labs, but the researchers from Harvard, Copenhagen etc. know that developing good relationships with researchers from these countries is crucial to advancing the field as a whole."

It's not that they aren't living up to our standard of excellence, they're deliberately delaying the release of the paper for political reasons, using one flimsy pretext or another, and have been for what, two years now? Something like that? That shouldn't be tolerated just to help create a relationship with third world scientists.

Davidski said...

FYI, I read in the Indian media that the PCR-based ancient data sequenced in the Korean lab was believed to be contaminated with East Asian DNA. And I was told that Harvard couldn't extract any usable data with the more reliable capture method until very recently, despite trying repeatedly. All of that sounds plausible and I believe it.

I was also told that there were some major disagreements about how to interpret the data once it was finally extracted, with, you guessed it, someone or rather floating OIT as a possibility.

So the endless delays are justified to a degree, because if they put out a paper with the contaminated PCR data, we'd probably see all sorts of nonsense, and basing a paper on a sample or two with only a few hundred usable SNPs also wouldn't work.

However, considering the promises of imminent publication for about two years now, I think everyone involved should have been a lot more transparent to the public at large about what was going on exactly. Instead, at one stage, we got supposed leaks in an Indian newspaper about the Rakhigarhi samples being basically like Brahmins and India the likely PIE homeland, which was obviously false. That's not acceptable.

rozenfag said...

So, what about samples from Pakistan? Are they being analyzed? Pakistan has its own set of things that they want to believe, but I don't think that they care much about OIT.

Bob Floy said...

@Davidski

If all of that did happen then it could have been handled better, at the very least. As you say,they should have been more forthcoming about what was going on. I have to say, it seems awfully convenient to me.

I don't think there's any escaping that at least some of these researchers and their backers have a definite agenda.

epoch said...

@Garvan

http://eurogenes.blogspot.com/2016/09/two-pronged-amh-colonization-of-eurasia.html

Davidski said...

@Bob Floy

I'd say that many of the scientists involved in this sort of research in recent years, especially those from India, but not exclusively so, had high hopes that ancient DNA would contradict the so called Aryan invasion/migration hypothesis, and they've found it very difficult to adjust to the reality that this isn't going to happen, but by and large they seem to be getting there.

So I wouldn't accuse any of these people of nefarious deeds without good reasons. It just seems to me that they were fooling and misleading themselves as much as anyone else, and basically just getting things wrong.

This happens a lot, and it's OK to be wrong, but in this instance there could have been much less drama if most of the people involved who should have known better, like the senior researchers, were more clear headed about it all.

Bob Floy said...

@Davidski

"It just seems to me that they were fooling and misleading themselves as much as anyone else, and basically just getting things wrong."

Your point is well taken, but the writing has been on the wall for a good few years now with respect to the AIT VS. OIT situation, and it seems wrong that a bunch of bloggers should have been so far ahead of these respected and seasoned professional scientists. It's hard to see how those "high hopes" could have been justified if these guys were being objective.

Palacista said...

The new facts coming from genetics research from ancient and modern DNA are treading on deeply held national myths so it is not surprising that there would be resistance.

Davidski said...

@Palacista

The new facts coming from genetics research from ancient and modern DNA are treading on deeply held national myths so it is not surprising that there would be resistance.

But keep in mind that population genetics was for a long time used by many scientists, not just Indians, but people like Mait Metspalu and Peter Underhill, to argue against the idea of population movements from Europe to India during the Bronze Age.

This is what actually turned the tide for a while against AIT, or anything of the sort, and opened the door again to OIT, because, for one, R1a was claimed to have originated in India.

The problem, of course, was that data were being wrongly interpreted. These scientists were basically arguing that up was down and down was up, and they really believed it.

So no wonder that after such a start, when ancient DNA began to turn the tide back in favor of AIT, a lot of people didn't believe what was happening.

Bob Floy said...

@Palacista

Sure, but a scientist's first job to be objective.

Philippe said...

So ANE arrived from outer space? Ancient Nordic Extraterrestrials.

Palacista said...

@Bob Floy
Certainly, but you have to accept that for some facts that contradict deep beliefs can be hard to accept. It will just take longer for reality to sink in for those people but if they don't accept these facts they will be marginalised and bypassed at their own loss.

@Davidski
I have some sympathy for those who see their myths go up in smoke but deliberately misusing facts to give a false interpretation to support personal dogmas is another story. Witness the pots not people nonsense.

EastPole said...

@Palacista

„The new facts coming from genetics research from ancient and modern DNA are treading on deeply held national myths so it is not surprising that there would be resistance.”


Indians should not worry about it. Vedic civilization was created in India by Indians. Rigveda, Upanishads, Indian philosophy, religion, Buddhism, Yoga, etc., so admired in the world, were created by Indians in India.
It is only in Rigveda, that we see some Eastern European influences.

The same applies to Greeks. Their philosophy, science etc. was Greek creation. Only in Orphico-Pythagorean mystery cults, which influenced early Greek philosophy, there were most likely some Eastern European influences.

When people understand that there are some common things in ancient Indian and Greek cultures which have Eastern European roots it will help them to understand the origin of some elements of Greek philosophy and some elements of Indian thought. Nothing will be lost, a lot of will be gained for everybody. Everybody will be a winner.

Bob Floy said...

@Palacista

Everything you're saying is true, but scientists(like the authors of this Rakhigarhi paper, for instance) don't have that luxury. They've taken a special job, with special responsibilities, no? They shouldn't let things like grief over the death of their national legend(which they should have seen coming) interfere with their work. If they do, are they really deserving of the respect, prestige, money, etc. that comes with their job? Not in my opinion.

Philippe said...

@EastPole

"Only in Orphico-Pythagorean mystery cults, which influenced early Greek philosophy, there were most likely some Eastern European influences."

Such as?

Davidski said...

By the way, years ago I e-mailed Mait Metspalu about his paper on South Asia from 2011. This one here...

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22152676

I told him that there was no point in using Sardinians as European references (I said the Erzya would have been better proxies for steppe admixture in South Asia) and that practically all of the R1a in South Asia looked like it was Z93+, so it couldn't have been ancestral to European R1a.

I didn't get a reply to that e-mail. I don't think he knew what the hell I was on about.

Kairali said...

@eastpole

"„The new facts coming from genetics research from ancient and modern DNA are treading on deeply held national myths so it is not surprising that there would be resistance.”


Indians should not worry about it. Vedic civilization was created in India by Indians. Rigveda, Upanishads, Indian philosophy, religion, Buddhism, Yoga, etc., so admired in the world, were created by Indians in India.
It is only in Rigveda, that we see some Eastern European influences."

There is another dimension those in the west often miss. It's not about Just "Indians", a good section of the Indian population has been waiting for confirmation and welcomes these results. It's the "creationist" type Hindu Indians whose religious (they claim "scientific") of how old the "Vedic" Hindu civilization is which was supposed to include the Harrapan (which it didn't even by archaeological standards). If it had been the west, this type of religious tom foolery would have been bashed and humiliated at every turn, but due to as some says the west coddling the Indian scientists and views and the religious supremacist’s castes that hold the power, they can get away with this. Also, the thing that seems to get under their skin, is the Dravidian identity. The rightwing Hindus can't stand that the lower castes and south Indians don't know their place, that is at the bottom of the Hindu caste systems looking adoringly at the superior Indo-Aryan castes who so graciously took their women and their land and wiped out their history. Even non brahmin south Indians Hindus have drunk the Kool aid (Suspecting one of the authors who held up the paper originally,Thangaraj, is nonbrahmin south Indian, I could be wrong). Over at razib's gnxp blog and brown pundits, the upper caste Hindu commentators are still trying to twist the results and claiming to be some victims of western science as if all western scientists are some "missionary" conspiracy.

All in all, the evidence is pointing to the Harrapans being closer genetically to an Iranian farmer/AASI mixed group most closely represented by low castes in the north and south Indian Dravidians, and that there was a non-aryan civilizational stretch from present day Iran (Elamite civilization) to northern parts of Indian (IVC, Harrapans) that were way more advanced than anything the north Indian Indo-Aryan could produce for thousands of years after. Screw their so call advanced "philosophy" (the luxury of the rich and those in power) it would have been nice to see a civilizational continuation in India of what could have been a way better country than it was now, if not for the Indo-Aryan entrance into India and their damned religion and caste system.

Bob Floy said...

@Davidski

You really should not have had to tell him that.

Nirjhar007 said...

@ Palacista
You seem to speak with authority.
Would you mind sharing your credentials with us?. I gather you won’t mind given that you are so often so resolute in critiquing other linguists. You must be a big name.... :).

EastPole said...

@Philippe

“Such as?”

Purification of the soul, soul travels to heaven, Apollo cult etc.

Bob Floy said...

@kairali

"Screw their so call advanced "philosophy" (the luxury of the rich and those in power) it would have been nice to see a civilizational continuation in India of what could have been a way better country than it was now, if not for the Indo-Aryan entrance into India and their damned religion and caste system."

Yeah, you're right, elites and class systems don't develop in nearly all human societies or anything like that. India would have been an egalitarian paradise forever had it not been for those damn Indo-Aryans.

Matt said...

If I recall correctly, Razib Khan thinks that there were probably structured populations with differing levels of AASI in the Indus Valley Civilization. So likely jati essentially. It'll be interesting to see how the "Indo-Aryans instituted the Caste System" folks interact with that if it does turn out to be correct.

That will make it harder to talk about who the IVC were closer to exactly; the current Indus Periphery samples genetically resemble Pathans and Kalash best out of present day peoples, and the Priestly Caste North Indians within India (low AASI probably "trumps" differences in Indus_Periphery:Sintashta ratio). But an AASI structured population would leave those conclusions on uncertain grounds.

Bob Floy said...

@Eastpole

"Purification of the soul, soul travels to heaven, Apollo cult etc."

Not sure why you regard these as particularly eastern European ideas?

Santosh said...

Yes, going by the general Indo-European comparative studies and religion also, it seems the origins of caste-like endogamy have a possibility to originate in India. Profession-based endogamy structures do not appear to have been present to the extent present in historical India in most of the other historical Indo-European cultures.

The key is finding about the genomic formation of south India to go for a fancy subject title. If the Dravidian languages were brought there by the people migrating after the Indus exodus (or even somewhat earlier than the north Indian Indus people who shifted native language to Indo-Aryan) AND south India was found to have its caste structure already in place 1.5-2 millennia before contact with the Gangetic Indo-Aryans, then we know who likely began the rudiments of profession-based (very likely also involving racial apartheid-based motivations to some extent) endogamy in India (answer: pastoralists and farmers of the eastern fertile crescent and then later their high-civilisation northwestern Indian progeny aka early Dravidian-language speakers). It would not have taken much time later on for such a system to stigmatise entire groups of populations based on the funny perceptions people develop about some types of professions and make unclimbable ladders and hierarchies and things. Thank God I am born and brought up in the Republic of India where untouchability, caste-based discrimination and all such ridiculous things are criminal.

The following is addressed to Matt above with respect to the comment about the Indus Periphery samples: You say that the Indus Periphery samples show affinities with Pathans, Kalasha, etc. But I read on various forums that Shahr-i-Sokhta BA3 appears to cluster with the peasant groups of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra, etc. mainly. Is this view incorrect? Could you please enlighten me regarding this above?

mzp1 said...

Most Civilizations hold on to and maintain their ancient history, therefore, if the Dravidians were the inhabitants of the IVC, they should have some memory of that in their history. Clearly they dont.

On the other hand, the Janapadas of the late Vedic Period are the best candidates for the IVC, with the later Mahajanapadas representing the post-IVC Eastern and Southern Settlements.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janapada

The janas were originally semi-nomadic pastoral communities, but gradually came to be associated with specific territories as they became less mobile. Various kulas (clans) developed within the jana, each with its own chief.

According to IA literature: Rigvedic > Janapadas > Mahajanapadas.

The Janapadas are a switch from a Rigvedic pastoral culture to a settled one, in the same region. Now, look at the list of Janapadas from the wiki page, can you see that most of those Janapadas are in the North-Western Region, and also mentioned in the Rigveda? If we look at the location of the later Mahajanapadas, we can see that they now move to the South and East, and we do not see those old Western tribes such as the Pakthas and Parsus.

The Janapadas can only refer to the IVC, due to their geography.

The three stages of Civilization according to Indian literature do not line up with any version of IAs entering South Asia post 1500BC, because by that point urbanisation/trade/wealth has already moved East. Thus making any Rigvedic Pastoral groups in the Northwest economically and socially irrelevant, and we would have no archeological candidate for the Western Janapada period, or opportunity to then move this urban culture to the South and East to become the Mahajanapadas.

By 1500BC we have to be in the Mahajanapada period for things to line up archaeologically, not just entering South Asia (ie pre-Rigvedic period).

However, you and any geneticists or linguists are free to try and make things work according to your theories, if you wish to venture into South Asian HISTORY. I look forward to reading your work.

But no, that is not all, because it is not only Indian History that disagrees with your historical position, but also Central Asian. The literary history of Central Asia, that region between the Pontic Steppe and South Asia, which is best placed to tell us about the IA invasion, infact tells us nothing of the sort. I am talking about the Avesta, Shahnama and Garshaspnama.

The most important places in early Iranian literature are those of Bactria, Margiana, Samarkand etc, and these are at their peak and regionally relevant only until 1500BC, after which the Yaz culture becomes predominant. The Yaz culture cannot be contemporary with Zoroaster or the Kayanid Dynasty, because the Shahnama is central to Iranian identity, and it doesnt make sense for the events and characters to be based around BMAC, post 1500BC, if BMAC has collapsed and the Yaz culture is now the main Iranian economic and cultural centre.

The same way it doesnt not make sense for the Pastoral Aryans to be writing the Rigvedic hymns in the Punjab when there is already a developed urban culture just to the East of them in the Gangetic plain, LOL.


Basically the AIT has it's dates completely messed up, is always a few steps behind, which has really weird consequences, for instance Zoroaster and the Kayanid dynasty spreading Zoroastrianism from a derelict Bactria around 1,200BC, after the centre of Iranian Civilization had already moved to Yaz. Or the invisible barrier between Punjab and the Gangetic Plain that allows the Vedic people to live a perfectly pure, pastoral lifestyle, unaffected and oblivious to the the urban civlization just a few miles to their East.

Kairali said...

@ Bob Floy

"Yeah, you're right, elites and class systems don't develop in nearly all human societies or anything like that. India would have been an egalitarian paradise forever had it not been for those damn Indo-Aryans. "

Oh wow, you are just so "woke" Bob I mean because everywhere else those systems crystallized and lasted for 2000 years plus and those groups' genetic signature are consistently in the upper castes/priestly classes. What other civlizaions(s) have accomplished that again? You're special Bob.

ryukendo kendow said...

The paper is being held up by data issues, not political pressures. Trust the science my friends.

Bob Floy said...

@kirali

"Oh wow, you are just so "woke" Bob I mean because everywhere else those systems crystallized and lasted for 2000 years plus and those groups' genetic signature are consistently in the upper castes/priestly classes. What other civlizaions(s) have accomplished that again? You're special Bob"

Not as special as a guy who dosen't understand that this kind of thing is going to happen in any civilization, regardless of who is in charge, and that in the end it dosen't matter if you have a single caste system that last 2,000 years or 20 that last 100 years, or which aristocratic bloodline remains intact. Six of one, half a dozen of the other, ya know?

And I love obnoxious buzzwords like "woke", thank you.

Davidski said...

@ryukendo kendow

The paper is being held up by data issues, not political pressures. Trust the science my friends.

That's my understanding too, although apparently there were some disagreements about how to interpret all of the ancient data from South and Central Asia.

In any case, I don't think I'll just trust the science after everything I've seen in this area of research. I'll check out the data for myself and get very aggressive if anything looks strange.

Kairali said...

@ Bob Floy

"Not as special as a guy who dosen't understand that this kind of thing is going to happen in any civilization, regardless of who is in charge, and that in the end it dosen't matter if you have a single caste system that last 2,000 years or 20 that last 100 years, or which aristocratic bloodline remains intact. Six of one, half a dozen of the other, ya know?"

Wow, no I don't know Bob. You're saying that over TWO THOUSAND years of history is the same as HUNDRED or even TWENTY years?! You got it all figured out, just all kinds of special aren't ya Bob ;-)

Bob Floy said...

@kairali

"You're saying that over TWO THOUSAND years of history is the same as HUNDRED or even TWENTY years?!"

*sigh*

mickeydodds1 said...

Way, way back in time, when I still was in high school, and before 'genetic genealogy' was even in a glint in Davidski's eye, I was quite friendly with an Indian descended student - a very pleasant fellow - who was proudly of the Brahmin caste.
He was very proud of his ancestry, proclaiming it to everyone. He was also exceedingly proud of the 'fact' - as he believed it - that 'Brahmins originated in 'Germany', and came over to India, which 'Aryans' had conquered.

This was all many decades ago. My friend, 'Rajiv' back in the day, certainly did not believe in an autochthnous origin of the Indian Brahmins. I don't know if general opinion in India has changed since, or if Rajiv was representative of general Brahmin thought, but, if he was, one would have thought that a certain strand of opinion in India would have embraced the findings of genetic genealogy with pride and vigor.

Karl_K said...

@mickeydodds1

I've worked with dozens of people (scientists) directly from India over the last 10 years. From all over, but mostly higher caste (obviously).

Not one of them cared about the genetic ancestry of South Asia at all. When I explained the controversy, they just said they hadn't heard about that, and that it was "interesting".

velvetgunther said...

@mickeydodds

Till about a couple of decades ago, the Aryan Invasion Theory or the Aryan Migration Theory (though not necessarily from Germany) was generally accepted as the official position even by nationalists, and OIT, although it was already there, was just a fringe theory. It was only during the ultranationalist Hindutva BJP government (1998-2004) that a concerted effort took place to make OIT acceptable, and they have now largely succeeded because of the Internet. What we are seeing today is a culmination of that, and the BJP government of 2014 onwards have taken things to a new level encouraging absurdities like airplanes and nuclear weapons existed in ancient India. The intervening Congress (who claim to be centre-left) years (2004 - 2014) did nothing to stop that. In fact, ironically, leftists with their post colonialist, post modernist approach have a role to play in this by denouncing European or Western historiography as invalid and thereby downplaying the invasion theory and replacing it with a pots-not-people migration theory. The Hindutva right and the Marxist left are actually on the same page regarding a lot of this, what the Hindutva folks don't agree with the left about is how to treat the almost 1000 year long Muslim rule in India.

Aniasi said...

I'm looking at this thread, and the reactions here are ridiculous. I have no time for the anti-science garbage being peddled by various groups in India, but stop being so dismissive of Indian scientists. I'd be troubled if I lived with what caste really meant, and understood the implications of these scientific discoveries.

Caste in India pervades a large part of people's lives. Men and women can face terrible violence because of their caste, or be favoured in jobs and universities because of it. There are historical legacies of discrimination and segregation that still haven't been worked out in India.

Now we have conclusive proof that people from what is now Eastern Europe are responsible for the introduction of the roots of much of Indian culture, and that the higher castes have more ancestry from them. There's almost a racial element here, where a Brahmin from UP or Bihar is more "European" than a Dalit who is more "indigenous". One has been honoured, the other still faces violence and discrimination. As Davidski pointed out in an old post, caste is proven to be genetic and ancient. What then of the movement to wipe it away in a few decades as an irrelevant religious superstition?

Add to that the regional element, discussed in the article I attach, and findings like this have real potential to inflame tensions.

No wonder even Indian scientists are uncomfortable with these results. I don't like their attempt to spin it, but if I had to deal with the "racial" element this introduces to existing communal tensions, I'd likely be doing the same.

https://m.timesofindia.com/city/chennai/dravidian-identitynow-a-losing-game/amp_articleshow/57436788.cms

Ryan said...

Which haplogroups (if any) would related to the West Siberian Hunter-Gatherers in this scheme? R2?

Santosh said...

Yes, the way I wrote my comment yesterday might indicate that at least all sorts of the most glaring caste-related problems like discrimination, violence, etc. have disappeared from India. As Aniasi points out above, it is of course not true and India needs slightly more time to set those issues right. But the seeds for it are sown and quite deep and I'm very optimistic that at least these sorts of desired results can be achieved in the near future (even if the caste-endogamy structure itself may take a lot more time to go (or it may never, after all)).

It is also important to divorce these findings about ancient history and such with current behaviour, directions and goals. In the case of any problems that probably inevitably arise because of the difficulty faced by certain people or people groups who cannot do the above thing, a proper enforcement of law is one of the effective ways to tackle them. Now one may argue that the level of violence that can potentially erupt in India because of any findings such as these is so high that there is a danger India collapses within a week and no law enforcement can deal with it, which view I cannot personally agree with. There are probably much more difficult issues and quite a few of them in India rather than this Indo-Aryan migration thing (zero problems nearly as the Tamil extremists probably don't tend to engage in so much celebratory violence) or potential for Jatt-Dalit violence in Rakhigarhi (more possible compared to the thing about Indo-Aryan migrations; the new "racial" element adds nothing significant to it to make it more problematic I believe; the thing average Indians really care about is caste mostly and everyone knows that our mothers are all the same and it is only necessary that people be informed that the European Pre-Indo-Aryan Indo-Iranians mixed quite well with the BMAC people and the northwestern Indians before migrating into India proper as a measure to avoid problems that may arise in this area) as a reaction to this.

Regarding culture, yes original Indo-Aryans were a part of the larger Indo-European cultures who influenced the world left and right when the time was right for them. So what? Even Indus neolithic had a foreign origin. Probably most of the things in this world have foreign origins as far as India is concerned. But does it all really matter? There are always innovations that exist alongside paradigm shifts and revolutions, everywhere in the world, and improvements and innovations to original inventions and systems happen all the time and necessary even. At least some innovations, in all domains including culture, must have arisen on the subcontinent, and that is enough for me personally. Above and beyond all this, the only thing that matters in my view is a nice quality of human life and respect for it and not things like pride and ego that too about such ridiculously idiotic things such as civilisational egos, insecurities, etc. These things are all so easily apparent to everybody so that's why I'm finding easy to write them easily as well lol.

Samuel Andrews said...

@Aniasi,

I think Indians and the world at large will be grown ups about all this. People should know the Aryan conquest, who were probably mixed with Central Asians when they arrived, is not similar or related to recent European colonialism and white racism. People should know there's no good reason to artificially racialize this part of South Asian history.

Confirmation of Aryan invasion won't inflame tensions. People already know the caste system is a screwed up thing.

Also, I want to say the origins of every culture are complex. The further back in time you go the less influential an ancestor culture is. So, I strongly dis agree that Aryan invasion somehow shows much of Indian culture is from ancient Europeans.

Unknown said...

@Samuel Andrews

I do not disagree, but we are removed from an environment where there are constant caste tensions and violence.

These results fundamentally show one thing that cannot be averted, and that is a closer relationship to West Eurasians amongst the upper castes.

I would hope that people could separate the two, but again, we are more happily removed. They are not.

Davidski said...

@Ryan

Which haplogroups (if any) would related to the West Siberian Hunter-Gatherers in this scheme? R2?

Probably mostly Q, plus various R1b(xM269) subclades, like the one associated with the Botai people.

R2 was found in two Neolithic samples from Iran, so in South Asia it's probably a signal of that type of ancestry.

Ryan said...

@David - To my knowledge there is exactly 0 R1b(xM269) in India and Pakistan. It's all R1b-Z2103. Am I mistaken?

Come to think of it, is there a definitive decent paper on Y-haplogroup frequencies in South Asia?

And I'm aware of the Iran Neolithic samples... I take it there's no ANE in them?

Ryan said...

I guess Q3 is an ok candidate?

https://bmcevolbiol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12862-016-0870-2

Davidski said...

@Ryan

There's R1b(xM269) in Bhutan, so I'm pretty sure there's some in India and Pakistan too.

And of course there's ANE in the Neolithic Iranian samples.

Ryan said...

@David - if there's ANE in Iranian Neolithic samples than how do you know R2 didn't come with the ANE?

Davidski said...

@Ryan

If there's ANE in Iranian Neolithic samples than how do you know R2 didn't come with the ANE?

I'm not seeing any R2 in the ancient DNA northeast of Iran, so I'm assuming for now that ANE and R moved in tandem into the South Caspian region during the Paleolithic or Mesolithic from the steppe or Siberia, and R2 formed in this region before moving into South Asia during the Neolithic.

Davidski said...

@Nirjhar

Alberto is banned from this blog, so you can't promote his ramblings from another blog here. I banned him for a reason you know.

Balaji said...

There has been much speculation about the reason for the delay of the Rakhigarhi paper. But there has not been similar discussion of the fact that the Narasimhan et al. preprint in bioarXiv has not been published in a journal after more than six months. I had made several comments about this paper on the bioarXiv site and am hopeful that the authors are working on addressing them. One result from their work is the refutation of the idea that BMAC served as a staging ground for the Aryan Invasion of India. This was a notion dear to Prof. Witzel and he must be bitterly disappointed that his Harvard colleagues have not backed him up on it.

Davidski said...

@Balaji

The South and Central Asian paper is coming soon, its conclusions in regards to the impact of Bronze Age steppe pastoralists on South Asia won't change fundamentally, and it'll have many more ancient samples than the original that will back up these conclusions.

That is my understanding from what I've been able to pick up from various sources.

As for the BMAC impact on South Asia, well, I've looked at the data from the preprint very carefully, and I think that there was some of that, and it's especially noticeable in the Iron Age samples from Swat. So I think that this part of the paper will be revised.

Grey said...

mickeydodds1 said...
"He was also exceedingly proud of the 'fact' - as he believed it - that 'Brahmins originated in 'Germany', and came over to India, which 'Aryans' had conquered."

i knew dudes like that many years ago - something must have changed in the interim.

SGR Ram said...

May be offtopic,
Did anyone notice that in Narasimhan et al supplementary details he modelled Onge with 12%-17% Iranian zagroasian ancestry?
How it is possible? I used to think they are one of the most isolated group

Davidski said...

@SGR Ram

Onge don't have any West Eurasian ancestry. It's a mistake and I'm sure it will be corrected.

SGR Ram said...

@David
I think he messed up whole thing,not just Onge.
He given Irulas about 50% West Eurasian ancestry.
I dont know if really his Irulas sample shown that much number.
I need to know about actual Iranian ancestry found in Dravidians like Piramalai, Yadav and Kapu.
I dont think the graphic he given in his supplementry material(page 166) is true.
www.imgur.com/a/I1Bkydc

Thank you.

Aniasi said...

Is there any plan to try and test Stone Age sites in India, or get some DNA from the South?

Balaji said...

@Davidski
You have made a convincing case that the Swat individuals were anomalous and had extra Anatolian farmer ancestry. But in page 176 of the supplementary information, you will see that the Swat people could not be modeled well with BMAC ancestry.

Narasimhan et al. did identify some individuals as having Steppe admixture in the BMAC samples. But these were only a few and were clearly outliers and not part of the main BMAC community. Prof Witzel requires for his linguistic theories that the invading “Aryans” first got acculturated by BMAC so that Indo-Aryan acquired many words from the BMAC people whom the Aryans had conquered before moving on to India. It is back to the drawing boards for Prof. Witzel.

Narasimhan et al. will have to explain why the invading Aryans left BMAC largely untouched while apparently having a much larger effect on the much bigger population in India.

Matt said...

OT: Any French speakers might be interested in listening to this - https://twitter.com/LudovicLorlando/status/1050777979138248704 - "Some of our work ancient horses now at https://youtu.be/GxdYZlHVJxM via @YouTube
How horses became a historical force, and how ancient DNA unlocks the mysteries underlying the origins of domesticated horses. For French speakers only though."

Davidski said...

@Matt

My French is crap. Did he actually say anything interesting about the origins of the modern domesticated horse clade?

Matt said...

Posted up before listening, but sadly upon listening, basically not; it's a more general lecture than I'd hoped, introducing the ideas of what adna can tell us as well as more traditionally established analysis of bones, and discussing how today's domesticates are not descended from Botai horses and the kind of dataset they're building to solve the problem (in very general terms). Nothing new for us.

Simon_W said...

At least, if I understand this correctly, the Indian public appears to be interested in these topics, they seem to care about it. That's fine. Where I live, in central Europe, the average guy in the street would have difficulty in saying anything meaningful when prompted with the keyword "Indo-Europeans". They'd be baffled: "Indo-what??" And the absolutely amazing insights of the recent research in ancient DNA from the past few years are still largely unknown to the public. It went under in the flood of other news. Newspaper articles carry on occasionally telling us about new archaeological finds, a bronze hand from the Bronze Age, newly discovered Neolithic structures in a lake or another, new studies on the life, fate and even the personality structure of Ötzi the iceman. The rather interesting fact that he was Sardinian-like by DNA however is rarely even mentioned, so no surprise it's completely unknown to the public. People go on regarding the iceman as one of us, an early Alpine dweller, little different from the modern ones. Massive Chalcolithic/Bronze Age migrations from the steppe that formed the modern European genepool have the potential of being such a spectacular story, it only needs to be told to the public. Beautiful books and documentary films are needed now. But meanwhile the leftist-liberal gospel is still, in 2018, that there are no (absolutely no!) genetic differences between populations, that no DNA test could tell you what your race is (because race doesn't exist) and that no DNA test could tell you anything about your ethnic origins, because we're all one human race. This is still seriously believed and perpetuated by journalists in otherwise respectable newspapers. These people have no idea of what goes on in the world of population genetics, nor do they care.

Simon_W said...

And indeed it was grotesque how journalists and the public alike seriously believed the Cheddarman's dark skin colour alone makes him a black, in the unambiguous sense of Sub-Saharan. As if there were no other peoples with dark skin, like the Onge or the Papuans, to name just a few. And as if the few SNPs responsible for skin colour were all that matters. That's maybe a consequence of the slogan that race is "only skin-deep".

Simon_W said...

And so, while they were beastly happy about having been given the unexpected proof that the ancestors of the white English were blacks, they completely missed the fact that WHGs like Cheddarman have contributed only a small part of the genetic makeup of modern Brits. And that, if they really wanted to celebrate our mixed and foreign roots, they should rather praise the white Englishman's Anatolian roots (hopefully avoiding the mistake of equating Anatolian ENF with modern Anatolian Turks, and stressing the resemblance to modern Sardinians instead) and his mixed EHG/CHG origins from the Pontic-Caspian steppe.

Nathan Paul said...

It's all Pizza dough.

What if we rename R to K2b12312. Will it change the thinking.