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

It’s now more than obvious that South Asia experienced an almighty pulse of admixture from an Early Bronze Age (EBA) population originally from somewhere on the Pontic-Caspian steppe in Eastern Europe. This is fairly easy to demonstrate thanks to ancient DNA from Europe and West Asia. One way of doing it is with the qpGraph algorithm.

Moreover, the widespread presence of Y-chromosome haplogroup R1a in South Asia is, at least in large part, linked to this event, because:

– Mesolithic Eastern European foragers belonging to basal clades of R1a do not show any South Asian or even Near Eastern ancestry, so it’s likely that R1a is native to Eastern Europe and surrounds – If R1a is native to Eastern Europe then it can’t also be native to South Asia, which is not only thousands of miles away, but also ecologically a different world – The most common R1a subclades in the world today, R1a-M417 and one of its main daughter branches R1a-Z93, appear in Late Neolithic and Bronze Age European pastoralist groups (Corded Ware, Srubnaya and closely related peoples) that harbor high levels of Eastern European forager ancestry and no signs of South Asian admixture – Practically 100% of the R1a in South Asia today belongs to the R1a-Z93 subclade, which, based on full Y-chromosome sequencing data, looks like it began expanding rapidly only during the EBA, eventually making its way to South Asia, and this is in line with the available ancient DNA evidence – In South Asia, R1a and ancient steppe admixture peak in groups that speak Indo-European, including Indo-Aryan, languages, suggesting that both are genetic signals of the Indo-European expansions into the Indian subcontinent

So we’re now at a stage where anyone with at least moderate thinking capacity, whose mind isn’t poisoned by extreme bias, has to agree that there was a rather large movement of people from the Eurasian steppes into South Asia during the Bronze Age. No ifs or buts. Lots of ancient DNA from South Asia is on the way. It might throw up a few surprises and force a new model of how the Indo-Europeans and R1a got to South Asia, but it won’t turn things upside down. In other words, don’t expect the Out-of-India or “indigenous Aryans” theory to suddenly come into the picture as a viable alternative to the Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT), occasionally presented as the more politically correct Aryan Migration Theory (AMT). Many Indians still don’t get this, or rather they refuse to get it, which is very frustrating, especially if you’re a regular in the comments section here. But admittedly it can also be very entertaining. Last week The Hindu published an interesting piece on the latest developments in South Asian population genetics that were making the AIT, or at least AMT, look like a sure thing:

How genetics is settling the Aryan migration debate

Soon after came this peculiarly titled retort in the Swarajya online magazine, in which unfortunately it’s impossible to find a single coherent argument:

Genetics Might Be Settling The Aryan Migration Debate, But Not How Left-Liberals Believe

Generally hilarious stuff, except the parts where the author abuses blogger Razib Khan for moving with the latest genetic data and arguing in favor of the Aryan expansion into India (see here and here). So what are we to expect when the first big paper with ancient DNA from South Asia comes out, probably in the next few months? For starters, accusations of racism and maybe even hate speech against anyone who claims that the results support the AIT or AMT, or anything even close. And lots of shouting and carrying on. But also a lot more comic relief. See also… Late PIE ground zero now obvious; location of PIE homeland still uncertain, but…Source via Eurogenes Blog

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