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  • Indo-European Urheimat Mystery

    I've decided I should try to pull the various discussion regarding the genetic dimension of the Indo-European Urheimat question into a thread on the genographic forum, rather than the geneology forum, because, in my opinion, it is more appropriate here.

    This is the thread called "YCC Hap I and Indo-Europeans - Redux"
    http://www.familytreedna.com/forum/s...ead.php?t=1191

    And this is the thread: "R1b Diversity: East vs. West"
    http://www.familytreedna.com/forum/s...ead.php?t=1265

    I stumbled upon this presentation discussing the "Out of India" Urheimat hypothesis. I am willing to entertain the proposal, in part because the genetic evidence hints that there might be something to it. OTOH, I have criticisms of the proposal.

    http://www.ifih.org/articles/bbl001.html

    B. B. Lal presents the argument that the Kurgan culture can be ruled out because it was a pastoral culture rather than an agricultural one. In this he draws on the following:

    On the techno-cultural level, the Kurgan people were essentially at a pastoral stage. Discounting this equation, Renfrew (1999: 268) holds that on the European scene mounted warriors appear only as late as the turn of the second-first millennia BCE and these could in no case have been Gimbutas’s Kurgan warriors predating the facts by some 3,000 years. On the linguistic turf, there comes a severe attack by Kathrin Krell (1998) who finds a great incongruity between the terms found in the reconstructed Indo-European language and the cultural level met with in the kurgans. For example, Krell holds that the Indo-Europeans had reached an agricultural level whereas the Kurgan people were just at a pastoral stage.
    But S. V. Makhortykh, in his(?) paper titled The North Black Sea Steps in the Cimmerian Epoch proposes that

    "the apperance of the first nomadic horse-riding groups on the historical arena coincided with considerable changes of the environment in the Final Bronce Age. Worsening of climate conditions had a negative effect on the Pontic steps archaeological cultures with a mixed pastoral-agricultural economy. Steppe populations adjusted to the new conditions by adopting a new nomadic way of life as well as by developing new lands.
    That suggests that nomadism was not the primitive model from which agriculture arose, but rather nomadism arose due to climate change and the advantages it offered over an agricultural way of life. Furthermore, I am aware of evidence that suggests the Scythians had a diverse economy in which nomadism was only one participant. There also seem to have been fixed agricultural settelments in the original Scythian homeland in the region of Pazyryk. (I will have to dig for sources). And Herodotus tells us some Scythians did practice agriculture.

    http://www.ammancarpets.com/map.jpg

    But, lest it be assumed that I am following the Kurgan hypothesis for the origins of the Proto-Indo-Europeans (PIE), I should be clear that I believe the Scythians represented a secondary expansion, and probably the source of the currently observed distribution of R1a in Europe.

    One problem with the "out of India" proposal, as I see it, is the lack of evidence for the use of wheeled vehicles in South Asia as early as would be required by his model. The linguistic evidence suggests the PIE were using wheeled vehicles long before they appeared in India.

    Trying to bracket the date for the Rig Veda based on the disappearance of the Sarasvati river makes a lot of sense. I have to wonder, however, how reliable the current dating is. There is also some dispute as to whether the recently detected riverbed is even the right river. I tend to believe it is the Vedic Sarisvati, but that is based on limited knowledge.

    I have to do a bit of back paddling regarding the relationship between the Cimmerian expansion and the arrival of the Tarim Mummy people in Xinjiang. What I am calling the Cimmerian expansion is an archaeologically attested process that begain around the beginning of the final millennium BCE. It did leave the pontic steppe fairly vacant, but not completely desolated. I am still associating this expansion with the influence that engendered the Scythian culture.

    But that alone did not suffice to produce the subsequent Scythian explosion. That was driven by a climate fluctuation that produced lower temparature and more percipitation in the region of Uvs Nuur and Tuva. The additional percipitation led to a significant increase in pasture biomass, and thus to a corresponding increase in the food supply. Baby Scythians and baby horses had enough to eat. Lookout world!

    Much of what is said about the ethno-linguistics of the Tarim Basin and neighboring regions is conjectural, but Mallory and Mair gave me the impression that Scythians (AKA Saka) began to appear in the Tarim at some point after the initial settlement by "Tocharians", entering from the north. I need to review the literature before I say much more. What I do feel confident in saying is that the authors suggested pretty strongly that the earliest of the mummies were of a slightly different (more 'nordic') physical type than the people who lived there at the beginning of the current era. By that time there had been significant contribution from a Saka population living in what is now eastern Afghanistan.

    I feel pretty strongly that the Scythians and their offspring were the ones who spread R1a into Europe. One might say the contribution found in the Germans is attributable to the sons of Saka. That would be Sakasons. I'm not sure where that R1a came from, but wild speculation tells me Uvs Luur.

    It may not be popular these days, but I believe the Germanic language family has a significan Aryan contribution. That could very well have been contributed by the Saka who are usually understood to have been Iranian speaking.

    History tells us there were multiple incursions of Saka into India, and probably into Iran. Despite the latest spin on the genetic evidence, I am inclined to believe this history explains the high level of R1a found in the higher casts of India. I do not know if the original Indo-Aryans would have been primarily R1a carriers or not.

    Indo-Aryan is attested to in Anatolia and Messopotamia with the Mitanni. The Mitanni may have been fairly influential in Egypt for some period of time. They may well have even married into the Pharaohonic dynasty over multiple generations.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitanni

    The if and when of the "Aryan invasion" of India are hotly contested notions. My education placed the earliest inroads of Aryans into India at around 1200 BCE. If that is accurate, it would mean the Mitanni preceeded the Indian Aryans by centuries. I'm inclined to ask if they are not one in the same.

    It's interesting to note the name of Rama's father King Dasaratha appears in the Ramayana and bears a striking similarity to the name King Tushratta.

    I'm throwing this in for gratis:

    http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~witzel/AryanHome.pdf

  • #2
    Invaders and priests?

    I am inclined to believe this history explains the high level of R1a found in the higher casts of India.
    Invaders becoming passive priests sounds bit farfetched . Considering the fact that caste system was created in North-West India(present day Pakistan, Punjab(India)), why shouldn't one expect that high R1a among Brahmins show that Haplogroup frequency in North-West India? Just a thought. Well, it's also possible that historical migrations also might have changed haplogroup frequency. Tamil Brahmins show R1a at 28%, however, Bengali Brahmins have it at 45%. May be extra 17% are those from Sakas.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Paleo_Indian
      Invaders becoming passive priests sounds bit farfetched . Considering the fact that caste system was created in North-West India(present day Pakistan, Punjab(India)), why shouldn't one expect that high R1a among Brahmins show that Haplogroup frequency in North-West India? Just a thought. Well, it's also possible that historical migrations also might have changed haplogroup frequency. Tamil Brahmins show R1a at 28%, however, Bengali Brahmins have it at 45%. May be extra 17% are those from Sakas.
      If becoming a Brahman determined who got the pick of the best brides, or who got any brides, that might go a long way in explaning things. I'll have to admit, I don't have access to the detailed discussion of the latest research. For that I would need a subscription which costs over $1000 USD. What I am trying to understand is the distribution of R1b and centum IE at both extremes, and a big swath of sentum and R1a in the middle. Tocharian is, btw, not the only centum language group detected in the East.

      The preponderance of evidece tells me the earliest known inhabitants of the Tarim Basin were closely related to Western Europeans, both genetically and culturally. They seem also to have been related, but more distantly to the Indo-Aryans. It's a rather stange situation. For now, I am at the mercy of "experts" who condescend their findings, but do not bother to expose the details of their reasoning.

      Comment


      • #4
        New India Y-chromosome paper

        New India Y-chromosome paper
        India Acquired Language, not Genes, From West

        Most modern Indians descended from South Asians, not invading Central Asian steppe dwellers, a new genetic study reports. The Indian subcontinent may have acquired agricultural techniques and languages—but it absorbed few genes—from the west, said Vijendra Kashyap, director of India's National Institute of Biologicals in Noida.

        http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...tml?source=rss

        "Based on my readings so far, I believe that the Proto-Indo-Iranians and hence the ancestors of the first speakers of Indic speakers belonged primarily to haplogroups J2a and R1a1. Today, J2a is found approximately 4% of Hindus, and primarily in the upper castes where the signal of the founders of the caste system would be most evident.

        R1a1 is found across the caste hierarchy and in tribals and is more diverse in tribals and lower castes than in the upper castes. I suspect though, that the lack of informative subclades of R1a1 may mask multiple origins. Most of it is doubtlessly pre-Indo-European and probably pre-Neolithic, but some yet-undetected clade will be discovered that is of more recent origin. This will reflect the genetic contribution of Eurasian steppe groups which were themselves Indo-Europeanized at an earlier time from J2a-bearing populations that spread from Anatolia through the Balkans into Eastern Europe.

        So, Hindus are indeed primarily descended from Pre-Indo-European populations, but they may still possess the signal of the arrival of the first Indic speakers. This will become even clearer once informative SNPs are discovered in haplogroup R1a1." - Dieneke's Blog

        Comment


        • #5
          If becoming a Brahman determined who got the pick of the best brides, or who got any brides, that might go a long way in explaning things.
          . You are absolutely right! Minimum risk(or no risk at all) and total success. Indeed, that explains why Hinduism is not much about celibacy, whereas, Buddhism and Jainism founded by Kshatriyas stressed on that fact(obviously they didn't want best brides or for that matter any). Perhaps, that explains the role reversal in Indian society .

          Comment


          • #6
            Nuristanis: Macedonians, Indo-Aryans, Tocharians?

            http://www.matthewleeming.com/pages/alex.html

            These people may be the descendants of Alexander’s settlers who have moved higher up the mountains over the past 2,300 years. The inhabitants at Boroghil, where the samples were taken in 2002, have named one of the huge mountains that tower over their village Qala Iskanderiya – the Fort of Alexander. So the knowledge of Alexander’s conquests live on in these people’s collective memory. Elsewhere in Afghanistan the murderous Mongol invaders probably killed all the inhabitants, but people up in high mountain villages escaped.

            A second, and parallel, explanation is that these people share a common ancestry with the Greeks. Intriguingly, when Alexander conquered the inhabitants of what is now Nuristan he greeted them as fellow worshippers of Dionysus. Certain tribal groupings in Afghanistan may well be descended from Indo-Europeans, a prehistoric people who spread their languages across Asia and Europe.
            ...

            The Nuristanis speak five different, but related, Indo-European languages and are therefore likely to be descendants of a very early Indo-European migration. The recognised academic authority on the languages of Nuristan is Richard Strand of the University of Chicago. He dates the arrival of people bringing an Indo-European language to Nuristan sets their arrival at about 2,000 BC . We are fortunate that Dr Strand will be accompanying the Expedition to Nuristan.

            The Greek language is also Indo-European. The first intrusive Greeks are almost certainly to be identified with invaders shown in the archaeological record between 2200 and 1450 BC , and would thus be very closely related to the migration that peopled Nuristan.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thank you la roccia and your quote from Dr. Kashyap, for bringing the only modern scientific and genetic contribution to this otherwise wildly speculative thread.

              Comment


              • #8
                "Based on my readings so far, I believe that the Proto-Indo-Iranians and hence the ancestors of the first speakers of Indic speakers belonged primarily to haplogroups J2a and R1a1. Today, J2a is found approximately 4% of Hindus, and primarily in the upper castes where the signal of the founders of the caste system would be most evident.

                R1a1 is found across the caste hierarchy and in tribals and is more diverse in tribals and lower castes than in the upper castes. I suspect though, that the lack of informative subclades of R1a1 may mask multiple origins. Most of it is doubtlessly pre-Indo-European and probably pre-Neolithic, but some yet-undetected clade will be discovered that is of more recent origin. This will reflect the genetic contribution of Eurasian steppe groups which were themselves Indo-Europeanized at an earlier time from J2a-bearing populations that spread from Anatolia through the Balkans into Eastern Europe.

                So, Hindus are indeed primarily descended from Pre-Indo-European populations, but they may still possess the signal of the arrival of the first Indic speakers. This will become even clearer once informative SNPs are discovered in haplogroup R1a1." - Dieneke's Blog
                Very scientific speculation, indeed. By the way, Dr. Kashyap didn't say that.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Paleo_Indian
                  Invaders becoming passive priests sounds bit farfetched .
                  The point is that most people agree now that it was not an invasion, but multiple migrations. And migrating folks can easily latch onto the exalted Brahmin/priest post for their economic benefit, since they wouldn't have land to till. And then it became hereditary going forward.

                  Of course, it wasn't hereditary everywhere, as can be seen from various texts quoting that people could become Brahmins by virtue and not by birth. This is also confirmed by genetics showing a lot of R1a in Brahmins, but not ONLY R1a.

                  Originally posted by Paleo_Indian
                  why shouldn't one expect that high R1a among Brahmins show that Haplogroup frequency in North-West India?
                  The question would still remain as to how R1a made its way to the North West.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Hetware
                    If becoming a Brahman determined who got the pick of the best brides, or who got any brides, that might go a long way in explaning things. I'll have to admit, I don't have access to the detailed discussion of the latest research. For that I would need a subscription which costs over $1000 USD. What I am trying to understand is the distribution of R1b and centum IE at both extremes, and a big swath of sentum and R1a in the middle. Tocharian is, btw, not the only centum language group detected in the East.

                    The preponderance of evidece tells me the earliest known inhabitants of the Tarim Basin were closely related to Western Europeans, both genetically and culturally. They seem also to have been related, but more distantly to the Indo-Aryans. It's a rather stange situation. For now, I am at the mercy of "experts" who condescend their findings, but do not bother to expose the details of their reasoning.
                    Originally posted by Hetware
                    If becoming a Brahman determined who got the pick of the best brides, or who got any brides, that might go a long way in explaning things.
                    Brahminism was started by the migrating Indo-Aryans in the north west. And Brahmins from there spread across India. But the community assimilated others also as Brahmins because of the saying that " A person can be a Brahmin by virtue and not birth". However it is most likely that the high demand and exalted status of Brahmins created a vacuum filled in by the locals, who later fully assimilated and inter-married with the migrating Brahmins.

                    I don't think it was a question of getting the best brides, it was the reverse - Brahmins would have been sought after. There was an outsider Bramin group (men and women) to start with, their descendants chose local brides in many cases as some genetic studies show, and later assimilated some more local men who joined the Brahmin profession.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The point is that most people agree now that it was not an invasion, but multiple migrations. And migrating folks can easily latch onto the exalted Brahmin/priest post for their economic benefit, since they wouldn't have land to till. And then it became hereditary going forward.
                      I was responding to Hetware's speculation about Saka 'incursions' and the resultant R1a among 'higher castes'.

                      Of course, it wasn't hereditary everywhere, as can be seen from various texts quoting that people could become Brahmins by virtue and not by birth. This is also confirmed by genetics showing a lot of R1a in Brahmins, but not ONLY R1a.
                      The beauty of Hindu/Vedic texts is that you can explain why there are a lot of R1a(a favourite of White racists) and also why not only R1a . 'Virtue' gaining over Racial purity! I just hope people will now find examples in our texts the celebration of virtuous non-Brahmins becoming Brahmins. Of course, not that of poor Vishwamitra .

                      The question would still remain as to how R1a made its way to the North West.
                      I don't know. I would expect Brahmins exhibiting the same Haplogroup diversity that is found in North-West of the subcontinent. R1a, R2, L*, H*, G*, J2*... what else?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        A Few Thousand Words

                        Two Kalash Children
                        Kalash Girls
                        Where Pakistan, Afghanistan and China meet

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Uh oh, wrong example The Kalash were never part of the Aryan migration to India, but they are descendants of Alexander's Greeks who stayed back.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            A person's appearance doesn't necessarily designate one's Haplogroup. R1b, R1a, I, etc. do not have a monopoly on blonde features. For some reason I get the impression that manipulation of science and history is taking place.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Tell me about it.

                              To write unequivocally that some blue-eyed Indian is the descendant of Alexander's Greeks is just hogwash.

                              All it does is betray the fact that you know about one famous historical migration that took place in the first millenium BC.

                              There were tens (hundreds?) of other migration events that took place between the emergence of the blue-eyed gene (yet undated) and the emergence of the haplogroups we discuss (c. 40,000 kya).

                              You really can't ignore all the other potential candidate migrations for the genotype that happened in between 40,000 kya and c. 400 BC.

                              Moreover, we do not know that Alexander's Greeks were blue-eyed. (Sorry, Troy doesn't count).

                              Oh, I know - let me guess, you've read some ancient writings. Many of these misunderstandings come from people who have read a couple translations of ancient authorities and think they are experts on the coloring of the ancients.

                              Sorry, you have to read them in the original language.

                              You see, Greek and Latin didn't have easily translated words for "blonde." Their words most often translated as "blonde" in English means, "changing color with exposure to the sun; tawny." (In fact, that is the original meaning of the word in English too, incidentally).

                              All experts I've ever studied under say that when it was written that Helen of Troy was blonde, it meant that her hair was tawny - that it changed color when exposed to the sun, like many brunettes.

                              Another example of this vernacular is still present in Southern Italy, where locals use the word "russo" to mean everything from "red," "russet" (brown) and "ruddy" (changing colors with sun exposure).

                              At any rate, when we (English speakers) say "blonde," we mean "canary yellow." The Greeks and Latins would write "yellow" when they meant it.

                              But, didn't Suetonius and others write about ancients with blonde hair?

                              Sorry again - when he wrote that the emperor Nero had "blonde" hair, he meant DYED blonde hair, which Roman women and homosexuals often sported. He was commenting on Nero's proclivities, not his natural hair color.

                              Almost all extant mosaics of the Greeks, Romans and Etruscans portray them with the same mostly dark(er) features of the same modern populations. This is not to say there were no blondes and blue eyed. 50% of SOUTHERN Italy has blue eyes, and it ain't all from invasions.

                              But to write unequivocally that some blue eyed Indian is a descendant of Alexander's 3000 men is patently ludicrous.

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