Tuesday, March 7, 2017

North Pontic Steppe Scythians: heirs of the Srubnaya people

Open access at Scientific Reports. Emphasis is mine:

Abstract: Scythians were nomadic and semi-nomadic people that ruled the Eurasian steppe during much of the first millennium BCE. While having been extensively studied by archaeology, very little is known about their genetic identity. To fill this gap, we analyzed ancient mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from Scythians of the North Pontic Region (NPR) and successfully retrieved 19 whole mtDNA genomes. We have identified three potential mtDNA lineage ancestries of the NPR Scythians tracing back to hunter-gatherer and nomadic populations of east and west Eurasia as well as the Neolithic farming expansion into Europe. One third of all mt lineages in our dataset belonged to subdivisions of mt haplogroup U5. A comparison of NPR Scythian mtDNA linages with other contemporaneous Scythian groups, the Saka and the Pazyryks, reveals a common mtDNA package comprised of haplogroups H/H5, U5a, A, D/D4, and F1/F2. Of these, west Eurasian lineages show a downward cline in the west-east direction while east Eurasian haplogroups display the opposite trajectory. An overall similarity in mtDNA lineages of the NPR Scythians was found with the late Bronze Age Srubnaya population of the Northern Black Sea region which supports the archaeological hypothesis suggesting Srubnaya people as ancestors of the NPR Scythians.


Mitochondrial lineages in the NPR Scythians analyzed in this study appear to consist of a mixture of west and east Eurasian haplogroups. West Eurasian lineages were represented by subdivisions of haplogroup U5 (U5a2a1, U5a1a1, U5a1a2b, U5a2b, U5a1b, U5b2a1a2, six individuals total, 31.6%), H (H and H5b, three individuals total, 15.8%), J (J1c2 and J2b1a6, two individuals, 10.5%), as well as haplogroups N1b1a, W3a and T2b (one individual each, 5.3% each specimen). East Eurasian mt lineages were represented by haplogroups A, D4j2, F1b, M10a1a1a, and H8c (represented by a single individual), in total, comprising 26.3% of our sample set.

Juras, A. et al. Diverse origin of mitochondrial lineages in Iron Age Black Sea Scythians. Sci. Rep. 7, 43950; doi: 10.1038/srep43950 (2017).

See also...

Cimmerians, Scythians and Sarmatians came from...

Genetic origins and legacy of the Scythians and Sarmatians


  1. Thank you. I see mtDNA H & H5 in this article. I was hoping, as heirs of the Srubnaya, that there would be an mtDNA H6a1a. Not this time. I thought mtDNA I was Scythian.

  2. Pretty cool, so these models of mine are historically accurate:


    54.15% Srubnaya + 7.35% Srubnaya_outlier
    26.45% Okunevo
    12.05% Iran_Chalcolithic



    60.30% Srubnaya + 20.95% Srubnaya_outlier
    7.20% Okunevo + 4.50% Mongola
    7.05% Iran_Chalcolithic


  3. One of these people (U5a1b) could be an ancient relative (:=))

  4. Dear Sein,
    I remember another Pakth strongly opposed my suggestion ;) , I am answering on your Linguistic doubt about Pakth Pashtun relation . I admit that change from kt to sht looks strange , but if you look also in that article you were trying to find , here :

    There is this passage:

    (21 ) The transliteration of ṧ and žˊ by x̌ and ǧ veils the most obvious if not the most important, division of Paṧtō dialects. In the southwestern “soft” group they remain sibilants, usually retroflex ṧ and žˊ, but merging in some restricted areas with more palatal š and ž. In the “hard” northwestern dialects they merge completely with xand g. But in an intermediate area, mainly Ḡilzay, we find transitional types, or mixings, e.g., š/ṧ/ҳ/xəja “woman,” špaž/žˊ/ γ̌/g “six.”
    So, it seems there was a confusion of š and x (kh) !.
    Anyway, Paktues and Pakhtoon/Pashto are too close in name and region to indicate different tribes!.

    From Wiki we read :

    Those who speak a dialect of Pashto in the Kandahar region refer to themselves as Pashtuns, while those who speak a Peshawari dialect call themselves Pukhtuns.

    In SE Afghanistan, we have the two provinces of Paktia and Paktika, that correspond to the Vedic form of Paktha.

    I am not stubborn on this , but the connections overall look tenable .

  5. @Nirjhar

    There is no direct connection between Pashtuns and Vedic Pakhtas. The ethnonym Pashtun is not derived from this Vedic ethnonym. Pashtun R1a is mostly Z2124 and only a minority is L657. Even Tajiks and Uzbeks seem to have a higher L657/2124 ratio than Pashtuns.

    " Although the name Afghan has been recorded much earlier than Paṧtō, the latter is undoubtedly the original, native name. The earlier, common derivation from Herodotus’ tribal name Páktues is phonetically untenable. Neither Greek u nor kt could possibly render the sounds of the Iranic name of the 5th century B.C. The ū of Paҳt’ūn (masc. plur. Paxtān’ə) “a member of the Paštūn nation” would at that time have been -a(n)- and xt probably something like *rs(t). The modern “hard” pronunciation of ҳt as xt is restricted to the northeastern dialects and evidently of recent origin, as shown inter alia by the orthography. Indo-Aryan Paṭhān must have been adopted from Paṧtō *Paṧtan-.

    (3) The most plausible derivation of Paҳt’o, as already suggested by Markwart (Untersuchungen zur Geschichte von Eran, Göttingen and Leipzig, 1896-1905, II, p. 177; cf. Morg[enstierne]4, par. 40b), is from *Parsuwā, and of Paҳt’ūn from *Parswāna-, with the basic stem *Parsū-; cf. Skt. (Pāṇini) Parśu- “a (northwestern) warrior tribe.” Tedesco, in a letter, compares Pārsa- (from a vṛddhi from *Pārswa-). We know how certain tribal names can spread over widely separated regions; cf., e.g., Veneti and Saxons (Morg.4,5)."

  6. Aha! , you were the one :D.

    lol .

    I have given the suggestion already, regarding that very objection you raised before . As I said I am not stubborn on this , but it will be a big f*****ng coincidence .

    I think you guys belong to an archaic tribe of ~ 4000 YBP, you should be proud of yourself . Not many exist in this world ,who can claim such ancientness .

    Now I wait for modern runs.

  7. It's too bad they didn't test haplogroup A further - which subgroup it is could tell us about its origin and whether or not these steppe groups played a major role in spreading it to places like Iran.

  8. conclusive ruling out or confirmation of a single word relationship of pakhta and pashtun is not possible.
    You would have to sample all intermediate ethnonymic references over relevant geographical areas over 4000 years both literary and spoken! which is impossible. I doubt there is literary evidence to confirm either way.

    It remains a curious coincidence with some likelihood of truth.

    "The ū of Paҳt’ūn (masc. plur. Paxtān’ə) “a member of the Paštūn nation” would at that time have been -a(n)- and xt probably something like *rs(t). The modern “hard” pronunciation of ҳt as xt is restricted to the northeastern dialects and evidently of recent origin"

    this sounds very vague....

    L657 is frequent in Yemen and among arabs as well. it could have originated near Nepal.

  9. I believe in most Indo-European cultures inheritance goes through the father's line, not the mother's David. :p

  10. @ Seinundzeit
    Your model of Sarmatian_Pokrovka has a distance of 0.0381%, which is far too small.
    This overfitting is possibly caused by an overlap between Srubnaya and Srubnaya_outlier.
    What about:

    Sarmatian_Pokrovka_avg: distance=0.7624%

    Srubnaya_avg 60.5%
    Okunevo_avg 24.1%
    Armenia_EBA_avg 15.5%

  11. Dynasties and thus 'societies' as well as 'kingdoms' and (consequent) 'etnicities' are obviously evolved through time - around an axis of y-dna to keep the entire thing together, throughout the generations. No y-axis, no dynasty, i.e. no 'culture', no 'etnicity' and no common, characteristic gene-pool.

    The epitet known as "The Three of Life" is obviously referring to A origin of mankind - from the original seed to A stem, from which all the braches have occured. Moreover the various branches or twigs could become off-shoots - and become their own stems. Along the off-shoot of one, specific y-line.

    In historic annals we find the "sword-side" of the family to represent 'time' - through traditions of agnatic heritage, all the while the "spinning-side" represents 'space' and 'matter'.

    Consquently we find the configuration of the mt-dna to form regional 'circles' while the y-dna forms inter-regional 'linearity'. Besides, it's obvious that women from one kingdom ('dynasty') could marry into another, while the men had to stick to their own.

    Using mt-dna as a basis to describe "dynasties" - such as the Scytian - is nothing but a misunderstanding -or an outright misconception of how etnic groups may originate, form and sustain.

  12. Relevant reminders:

  13. Seven out of the eight new Scythian/Sarmatian samples are now in the Basal-rich K7 spreadsheet.


  14. Thanks Dave.

    The Sarmatians and some of the Scythians(Samara and IS2) Are pretty similar to Tajik Pamiris and Yaghnobis.

    Tajik Rushan
    35.18% ANE
    33.44% Basal
    22.71% WHG related
    6.18% East Eurasian
    2.02% South east Asian

    Tajik Yaghnobi(Not pamiri, from western Tajikistan. Some say their language is west Iranic)
    36.79% Basal
    32.13% ANE
    22.8% WHG related
    7.05% East Eurasian
    1.19% South east asian

    Sarmatian Pokrovka I0574
    34.54% ANE
    32.95% WHG related
    23.34% Basal
    6.91% East Eurasian
    1.64% Oceanian
    0.55% South east asian

  15. Andrew,

    Going by Euclidean distance (using the PC dimensions), the Tajiks (and Tatars) are also among the closest living populations to the Sarmatian/western Scythian samples.

    So, there is definitely a robust genetic relationship between contemporary East Iranians (especially Pamiri Tajiks) and these Sarmatian/Scythian samples.

  16. How weird many Sindhis are U5a after the Sakas moved into the region.


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