Friday, August 25, 2017

The focus turns to the Kazakh steppe

As we wait for more ancient data to be released, here are a couple of interesting quotes from an interview with Harvard's David Reich at Lapham's Quarterly (for the whole thing see here). Emphasis is mine:

I spent the morning corresponding with an archaeologist in Kazakhstan. We’re trying to do genetics in the Bronze Age and the pre–Bronze Age variants in Kazakhstan.


We’d like to characterize the genetic variation in Kazakhstan because it’s a key connection point between the regions south of the Hindu Kush mountains, Iran and India in the south, the steppes in Russia in the north, in China in the East; it’s all mixing up there. And we’re trying to understand the connections. It’s a place of movement and migration, and understanding the genetics is interesting. So that was my morning, and then I spent some hours talking with colleagues today in the laboratory about ancient farmers of Israel and Iran that we have some data from.

It looks like this interview was done a while ago, because he's talking about samples from Iran and Israel that have already been published, so I'd say the Kazakhstan data will be part of the upcoming ancient DNA paper on South Asia.

See also...

Ancient herders from the Pontic-Caspian steppe crashed into India: no ifs or buts

The Out-of-India Theory (OIT) challenge: can we hear a viable argument for once?

Late PIE ground zero now obvious; location of PIE homeland still uncertain, but...


  1. A new paper on the genetic legacy of Zoroastrianism in Iran and India published 24 August 2017:

  2. @Karl Dark

    Yes, see here...

    But the data from the paper are now available here, and I'll be including it in my dataset.

  3. The really interesting question for me will involve the extra ANE-EHG in Iron Age Steppe genomes: did it come from Siberia, or was it from local Central Asian foragers? Does it clade in EHG, or outside of it with ANE? If some form of ENA was found there that would be equally surprising.

    Either way, Central Asian foragers do not appear to have left a big impact in any population anywhere.

  4. I think the interview was more recent. It just came out a couple days ago. So, it might be a year or more before we see anything from there.

  5. The article was probably shelved for a while and published now because of the Minoan/Mycenaean paper.

  6. @ Davidski

    Any guises at what the Keltiminar Y-DNA could be ? I personally think some more R2 could maybe pop up.

  7. I'm thinking Q. But Kelteminar can't be all that different from Iran_Hotu, because Hotu Cave is near the Turkestan border, so maybe some J as well.

  8. Interesting. I read that there was a migration from the Hissar region during the Late Mesolithic into the area where the Kelteminar originated.

    That is what made me think of the Burusho/Hunza people and their R2a.

  9. Piranha and all,

    Those Central Asia foragers would have been absorbed into the incoming, Iran_N-rich Neolithic migrants in much the same way WHG got absorbed into EEF-rich farmer arrivals in Europe.

    By 1500BC there wouldn't really be any "pure" ANE populations anywhere, I take it.

    So, my prediction for Kelteminar is Iran_Hotu+extra ANE. Eastern counterparts to Chalco Iberians/NeolSwedes.

  10. I'm wondering whether the Q Khvalynsk guy might have been a brief visitor from Botai or Kelteminar, before he got whacked over the head by the locals?

  11. Wow, very interesting sample that I0429 is! The geographical proximity of Kelteminar to the Samara region renders the scenario plausible.

    Another possibility: Perhaps the yet more proximal Volga delta(circa Astrakhan) harbored some interesting Iran_N shifted pop we don't know about?
    What has archaeology yielded from there thus far?

  12. Maybe Botai was spreading more than horses

  13. It'd be nice if they could get a really good post Bronze Age transect all through the Iron Age, antiquity and Middle Ages (going by western periodisation).

    Many regions in West and Central Europe are probably pretty boring and stable during that time frame, but for Kazakstan I'd like to know how they moved from populations where they're like of the Samartians (presumably) to populations where the West Eurasian side is more "Caucasus-Gedrosia" like, and you get some inclusion of J2 and G1 lineages.

    (e.g using projection of Eurogenes K13, with FST and PCoA, on only the West Eurasian components, as it has more such populations -

  14. Any idea if there are more ancient egyptian studies coming up?

  15. Where the Kelteminar pottery influenced by the Pottery that spread from Lake Baikal ? The Lake Baikal Pottery spreaders could have been Haplo-Q

  16. Other exciting news from the same interview with David Reich:

    “There are scientists in my laboratory working on East Asian population history. We have data from a lot of present-day people from Tibet, from China, different ethnic groups within China, Southeast Asia. Very little is known about East Asian population history in comparison to European and Near Eastern population history, and we’re trying to rectify that. We have a little ancient DNA but not much. Mostly this is modern DNA from present-day people.”

    “Are the Chinese aware of this goldmine of information they have?”

    “Yes, some are. A scientist in my lab who is a postdoctoral scientist has gone to Beijing to start a laboratory, and she’s trying to do this type of work in China.”

    So we may get very early (pre 3000 BC) data from Tibet? And ancient DNA from southeast Asia at last, and China.

    Finally, ancient Asian samples beyond West Asia. And from nearer time frames, Tianyuan was too little and extremely early.

  17. The Chinese scientist in question is Qiaomei Fu, who was first author on the paper where Vestonice, Goyet, El Miron and other Paleolithic European genomes were first presented. Hopefully this excellent standard of work continues.


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