They mixed up Huns with Tocharians

I don’t yet have the genomes from the recent Ning et al. paper on the Iron Age nomads from the Shirenzigou site in the eastern Tian Shan. But I do have most of the previously published data featured in the paper, including the Damgaard et al. 2018 Hun and Saka samples from the western Tian Shan.
After reading the Ning et al. paper between the lines and running a few analyses of my own, it’s clear to me that most of the supposedly Tocharian-related Shirenzigou individuals actually share a very close relationship with the Tian Shan Huns, and indeed may have been their ancestors.
For instance, Ning et al. found that a large part of the ancestry of the Shirenzigou ancients could be modeled with the Tian Shan Huns, which was an anachronistic approach because the former are older than the latter. They also found that Ulchi-related ancestry was a key part of the genetic structure of eight out of the ten Shirenzigou individuals, and this likewise appears to be an important part of the genetic structure of the Tian Shan Huns.
Note the strong statistical fits in the Global25/nMonte and qpAdm mixture models below, respectively, which characterize these Huns as a two-way mixture between the Ulchi and the earlier Tian Shan Saka. Also keep in mind that the Saka too have significant Ulchi-related ancestry.

Hun_Tian_Shan
Saka_Tian_Shan,92
Ulchi,8

distance%=1.2553
Hun_Tian_Shan
Saka_Tian_Shan 0.928±0.009
Ulchi 0.072±0.009

chisq 4.409
tail prob 0.992464
Full output

Moreover, the Shirenzigou males belong to Y-haplogroups Q1a and R1b (two instances of each), and they share the latter with one of the Tian Shan Huns. The Y-haplogroup assignments for the other Tian Shan Huns end at R and R1, but that’s almost certainly due to missing data.
On the other hand, two Tian Shan Sakas belong to Y-haplogroup R1a but none to R1b, which fits with the pattern from currently available ancient DNA that R1a was more common than R1b in Saka-related groups, such as the Scythians and Sarmatians (see here).
This is all very interesting, because the Huns replaced the Saka in the western Tian Shan, and, considering their R1b and excess Ulchi-related ancestry, very likely moved into the region from the direction of Shirenzigou. Indeed, in my opinion a strong argument can now be made that the Iron Age population from the Shirenzigou region was likely to have taken part in the formation of the Hunnic confederacy.
So where does that leave the theory presented by Ning et al. that the Shirenzigou ancients may have been closely related, and perhaps even ancestral, to the Tocharians, simply because they packed a lot of Yamnaya-related and possibly proto-Tocharian Afanasievo ancestry, and were living close to the Tarim Basin, where Tocharian languages were subsequently first attested?
I’m not sure, but I now find it difficult to reconcile this theory with the fact that they were closely related, and probably ancestral, to the Huns. As far as I’m aware, the Huns cannot be linked to the Tocharians in any meaningful way.
Of course it’s possible that different Afanasievo/Yamnaya-related groups were living in the Tarim Basin and surrounds, and, as some merged with new populations pushing into the region from the east and adopted non-Indo-European languages, others retained their Tocharian speech and eventually split into communities speaking Tocharian A, B and apparently also C (see here).
But this has to be demonstrated directly with ancient DNA from archeological sites where Tocharian languages were attested. Till then, I’ll keep thinking that Ning et al. wrote a paper about Tocharians that really should’ve been a paper about Huns.
Here’s a famous wall painting of Tocharian princes from the cave of the sixteen sword-bearers in the Tarim Basin, dated to 432–538 AD. They don’t look like guys with a lot of Ulchi-related admixture to me, but I might be wrong. Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments below.

See also…
Almost everything you ever wanted to know about the Xiaohe-Gumugou cemeteries
The mystery of the Sintashta people
Late PIE ground zero now obvious; location of PIE homeland still uncertain, but…
Source

Dragon Installed to Station’s Harmony Module for Cargo Operations

SpaceX — Dragon CRS-18 Mission patch.

July 28, 2019

Two days after its launch from Florida, the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft was installed on the Earth-facing side of the International Space Station’s Harmony module at 12:01 p.m. EDT.

The 18th contracted commercial resupply mission from SpaceX (CRS-18) delivers more than 5,000 pounds of research, crew supplies and hardware to the orbiting laboratory.

Image above: July 27, 2019: International Space Station Configuration. Five spaceships are parked at the space station including the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft, Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter, the Progress 72 resupply ship and the Soyuz MS-12 and MS-13 crew ships. Image Credit: NASA.

A key item in Dragon’s unpressurized cargo section is International Docking Adapter-3 (IDA-3). Flight controllers at mission control in Houston will use the robotic arm to extract IDA-3 from Dragon and position it over Pressurized Mating Adapter-3, on the space-facing side of the Harmony module. NASA astronauts Nick Hague and  Andrew Morgan, who arrived at the station Saturday, July 20, will conduct a spacewalk in mid-August to install the docking port, connect power and data cables, and set up a high-definition camera on a boom arm.

Robotics flight control teams from NASA and the Canadian Space Agency will move the docking port into position remotely before the astronauts perform the final installation steps. IDA-3 and IDA-2, which was installed in the summer of 2016, provide a new standardized and automated docking system for future spacecraft, including upcoming commercial spacecraft that will transport astronauts through contracts with NASA.

SpaceX CRS-18 Dragon berthing

Video above: The SpaceX Dragon CRS-18 cargo spacecraft was berthed to the International Space Station’s Harmony module on 27 July 2019, at 16:01 UTC (12:01 EDT). The spacecraft was captured with the International Space Station’s robotic Canadarm2 by NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch, on 27 July 2019, at 13:11 UTC (09:11 EDT). The CRS-18 Dragon spacecraft was launched by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on 25 July 2019 at 22:01 UTC (18:01 EDT). The CRS-18 Dragon spacecraft previously supported the CRS-6 mission in April 2015 and the CRS-13 mission in December 2017. Video Credits: NASA TV/SciNews.

Here’s some of the science arriving at station:

Effects of Microgravity on Microglia 3D Models

Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) – adult cells genetically programmed to return to an embryonic stem cell-like state – have the ability to develop into any cell type in the human body, potentially providing an unlimited source of human cells for therapeutic purposes. Space Tango-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells examines how specialized white blood cells derived from iPSCs of patients with Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis grow and move in 3D cultures, and any changes in gene expression that occur as a result of exposure to a microgravity environment. Results could lead to the development of potential therapies.

Mechanisms of Moss in Microgravity

Space Moss compares mosses grown aboard the space station with those grown on Earth to determine how microgravity affects its growth, development, and other characteristics. Tiny plants without roots, mosses need only a small area for growth, an advantage for their potential use in space and future bases on the Moon or Mars. This investigation also could yield information that aids in engineering other plants to grow better on the Moon and Mars, as well as on Earth.

After Dragon spends approximately one month attached to the space station, the spacecraft will return to Earth with cargo and research.

Related articles:

Dragon Captured With New Science Experiments
https://orbiterchspacenews.blogspot.com/2019/07/dragon-captured-with-new-science.html

Dragon Reaches Orbit, Astronauts Prepare for Saturday Capture
https://orbiterchspacenews.blogspot.com/2019/07/dragon-reaches-orbit-astronauts-prepare.html

SpaceX Falcon 9 Successfully Launches CRS-18
https://orbiterchspacenews.blogspot.com/2019/07/spacex-falcon-9-successfully-launches.html

Related links:

Canadarm2: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/tag/canadarm2/

Space Tango-Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7976

Space Moss: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7892

International Docking Adapter-3: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/meet-the-international-docking-adapter

Harmony module: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/harmony

Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html

International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Image (mentioned), Video (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia.

Best regards, Orbiter.chArchive link

They mixed up Tocharians with Huns

I don’t yet have the genomes from the recent Ning et al. paper on the Iron Age nomads from the Shirenzigou site in the eastern Tian Shan. But I do have most of the previously published data featured in the paper, including the Damgaard et al. 2018 Hun and Saka samples from the western Tian Shan.
After reading the Ning et al. paper between the lines and running a few analyses of my own, it’s clear to me that most of the supposedly Tocharian-related Shirenzigou individuals actually share a very close relationship with the Tian Shan Huns, and indeed may have been their direct ancestors.
For instance, Ning et al. found that a large part of the ancestry of the Shirenzigou ancients could be modeled with the Tian Shan Huns, which was an anachronistic approach because the former are older than the latter. They also found that Ulchi-related ancestry was a key part of the genetic structure of eight out of the ten Shirenzigou individuals, and this likewise appears to be an important part of the genetic structure of the Tian Shan Huns.
Note the strong statistical fits in the Global25/nMonte and qpAdm mixture models below, respectively, which characterize these Huns as a two-way mixture between the Ulchi and the earlier Tian Shan Saka.

Hun_Tian_Shan
Saka_Tian_Shan,88.2
Ulchi,11.8

distance%=1.5421
Hun_Tian_Shan
Saka_Tian_Shan 0.893±0.009
Ulchi 0.107±0.009

chisq 9.034
tail prob 0.82888
Full output

Moreover, the Shirenzigou males belong to Y-haplogroups Q1a and R1b (two instances of each), and they share the latter with one of the Tian Shan Huns. The Y-haplogroup assignments for the other Tian Shan Huns end at R and R1, but that’s almost certainly due to missing data.
On the other hand, two Tian Shan Sakas belong to Y-haplogroup R1a but none to R1b, which fits with the pattern from currently available ancient DNA that R1a was more common than R1b in Saka-related groups, such as the Scythians and Sarmatians (see here).
This is all very interesting, because the Huns replaced the Saka in the western Tian Shan, and, considering their R1b and excess Ulchi-like ancestry, very likely moved into the region from the direction of Shirenzigou. Indeed, in my opinion a strong argument can now be made that the Iron Age population from the Shirenzigou region were likely to have taken part in the formation of the Hunnic confederacy.
So where does that leave the theory presented by Ning et al. that the Shirenzigou ancients may have been closely related, and perhaps even ancestral, to the Tocharians, simply because they packed a lot of Yamnaya-related and possibly proto-Tocharian Afanasievo ancestry, and were living close to the Tarim Basin, where Tocharian languages were subsequently first attested?
I’m not sure, but I now find it difficult to reconcile this theory with the fact that they were closely related, and probably ancestral, to the Huns. As far as I’m aware, the Huns are more likely to have spoken a Turkic language, rather than anything Indo-European like Tocharian.
Of course it’s possible that different Afanasievo/Yamnaya-related groups were living in the Tarim Basin and surrounds, and, as some merged with new populations pushing into the region from the east and adopted non-Indo-European languages, others retained their Tocharian speech and eventually split into communities speaking Tocharian A, B and apparently also C (see here).
But this has to be demonstrated directly with ancient DNA from archeological sites in the Tarim Basin where Tocharian languages were attested. Till then, I’ll keep thinking that Ning et al. wrote a paper about Tocharians that really should’ve been a paper about Huns.
Here’s a famous wall painting of Tocharian princes from the cave of the sixteen sword-bearers in the Tarim Basin, dated to 432–538 AD. They don’t look like guys with a lot of Ulchi-related admixture to me, but I might be wrong. Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments below.

See also…
Almost everything you ever wanted to know about the Xiaohe-Gumugou cemeteries
The mystery of the Sintashta people
Late PIE ground zero now obvious; location of PIE homeland still uncertain, but…
Source