May 04, 2011

A solution to the problem of Indo-Aryan origins (part 2)



I have recently proposed that the Indo-Aryans originated in West Asia, roughly in the area between the Caucasus, Armenia and Iran (to the west and south of the Caspian Sea).

An alternative hypothesis of Indo-Aryan origins would derive them from the north of the Caspian Sea and ultimately from Northeastern Europe.

My ADMIXTURE experiments so far have provided substantial evidence of the former hypothesis, suggesting that the main Caucasoid component in South Asia is of West Asian origin.

As a visual test of the two hypotheses, I ran a PCA analysis of a number of South Asian populations, together with a wide assortment of Northern European, and West Asian populations to determine the origin of the Caucasoid component in India. Here are the results:

It is fairly clear to me that the Indian Cline is between South Indian and West Asian populations. I have added a regression line on the plot of the South Asian samples, excluding the three Balochistan populations (Makrani, Brahui, Balochi) and this line intersects pretty much the centroids of the Kurdish and Iranian clusters, i.e., the linguistic cousins of the Indo-Aryans and South Asian Iranic speakers.

According to my theory, the direction of the migrating Indo-Aryans took them north of Balochistan, across the Punjab and into India, from an ultimate source in the Transcaucasus, via Iran, Turkmenistan, and Afghanistan.

It is difficult to disentangle different genetic strata in this region, or to assess the importance of Indo-Aryan vs. other population movements. Nonetheless, the South Asian sample points' position on the PCA map can be explained by a linear regression with a high correlation coefficient of -0.83, so a simple cline between Iranian-like and South Indian-like people seems like a very good model approximation.

A recent linguistic model suggests a first-order split in the Indo-European family between Indo-Iranian and the rest of the family. Such a model might be attractive in the context of the best PIE origins model currently available, as it would derive the Indo-Iranians from an eastward migration from Anatolia, the Anatolian speakers from those who stayed behind near the homeland, and the rest of the Indo-Europeans from those who went to Europe.

Personally, I'm not particularly convinced that this is correct vs. the most commonly held model in which the Anatolian-European split is primary. Hopefully, a combination of genetics and linguistics will help resolve these issues.

We should also not forget that the clear vector of West Asian Caucasoid incursions into South Asia detected by both ADMIXTURE and PCA analyses need not have involved a single people or a single time.

It is clear from the figure, that Indo-European (Armenian/Iranian) and Caucasian (Adygei, Georgian, Lezgin) groups of West Asia form a cluster in comparison to both North Europeans and South Asians, and I see no real reason to think that the early Proto-Indo-Europeans were genetically that distinct from their neighbors. So, the Indian Cline was probably formed over thousands of years by dispersals of different kinds of people, speaking different languages, but all sharing the same basic West Asian gene pool.

UPDATE (May 10):

Here is a PCA plot using pretty much all the West Eurasian populations in my dataset. I have allowed no missing values, and the intersection of the various sources has left only 7,687 SNPs over which this was done. It is clear that the cline towards from South Indians to West Asia is recreated:

20 comments:

Onur said...

Behar et al. sampling is problematic. Look at the very clear case of one extremely outlier Georgian for example.

Dienekes said...

Behar et al. sampling is problematic. Look at the very clear case of one extremely outlier Georgian for example.

That is not a problem, unless one tries to say something about the Georgian population, or someone is mixed with a population not included in the analysis.

The existence of some probably Russian-mixed Georgian is not a problem, as Eastern Europeans are included in the plot. It would be a problem if we included, for example, Siddis or Hazaras with their African/Mongoloid admixture respectively, which would then dominate the first two PCs.

AK said...

I can't claim expertise in this subject, but I've always favored the Andronovo as the earliest expression of Indo_Iranian culture, deriving from a more generalized satəm culture represented by the later Yamanya, as its southeastward extension.

I would agree with you regarding the BMAC being the earliest representative of Indo-Aryian, but I would have it evolving in place, then spreading out primarily into India (by the same route you propose), but also small extensions west/northwest (Mitanni), north (Sintasha), northeast (Shang via Afanasevo), and southwest (Kassites). These latter (IMO) were very small groups of chariot-riding elites who were absorbed into the local elites based on the popularity of the chariot for sport. (The chariot is IMO not really a very good weapon of war against any population armed with longbows, as many/most neolithic populations probably were based on Ötzi's equipment, but would have been very popular for sport, including elite duels. These latter IMO probably evolved into the style of warfare found in the late Bronze Middle East and Chou China (Springs and Autums).)

The BMAC collapse, as well as the dispersion mentioned above, were (IMO) caused by social upheavals resulting from the local invention and adoption of the chariot, which began as a two-wheeled cart built from local material (which didn't include large logs for making wheels, but only small slender branches), and was refined for use drawn by running horses for purposes of elite sport and status competition.

ΓΕΩΡΓΙΟΣ ΓΕΩΡΓΙΑΔΗΣ said...

ΣΑΦΩΣ Η ΙΝΔΟΪΡΑΝΙΚΗ ΟΜΑΣ ΑΠΕΚΟΛΛΗΘΗ ΤΩΝ ΑΛΛΩΝ ΠΡΟΧΩΡΗΣΑΣΑ ΔΥΤΙΚΩΣ ΑΠΟ ΤΗ ΚΟΙΤΙΔΑ Η ΟΠΟΙΑ ΑΝΑΜΦΙΣΒΗΤΗΤΩΣ ΕΙΝΑΙ ΤΟ ΞΙΝΚΙΑΝΓΚ (ΔΕΙΤΕ & ΤΟ ΖΗΤΗΜΑ ΤΗΣ ΤΟΧΑΡΙΚΗΣ). ΠΙΣΤΕΥΩ ΟΤΙ ΠΡΕΠΕΙ ΝΑ ΑΝΤΙΜΕΤΩΠΙΣΘΗ ΤΟ ΘΕΜΑ ΚΑΘΑΡΩΣ ΓΛΩΣΣΙΚΩΣ & ΚΑΤΟΠΙΝ ΓΕΩΓΡΑΦΙΚΩΣ & ΤΡΙΤΟΝ ΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΛΟΓΙΚΩΣ (ΔΙΟΤΙ ΑΙ ΓΛΩΣΣΑΙ ΕΙΝΑΙ ΑΝΕΞΑΡΤΗΤΟΙ ΟΝΤΟΤΗΤΕΣ, ΕΝΩ ΟΙ ΟΜΙΛΗΤΑΙ ΑΛΛΑΣΣΟΥΝ)--ΘΕΡΜΑ ΣΥΓΧΑΡΗΤΗΡΙΑ ΔΙΑ ΤΟ ΥΠΕΡΟΧΟΝ ΣΑΪΤ κ. ΔΙΗΝΕΚΗ!!

iglebor said...

"Russian-mixed Georgian" - or Kipchak-mixed Georgian?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_IV_of_Georgia :
"He resettled a Kipchak tribe of 14.000 families from the Northern Caucasus in Georgia in 1118–1120... This 56.000 men strong army was entirely dependent on the King. Kipchaks were settled in different regions of Georgia... They were quickly assimilated into Georgian society."

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

The genetic evidence for a West Asian biological ancestry origins for Indo-Aryans that the analysis in this post makes has merit, but that doesn't necessarily establish that the language and culture share that origin. The genetic make up of the Tocharians, who are pretty much universally viewed as an early branch away from the rest of the PIE population - which has a more Northeastern European affinity seems to support the case that somebody along the long experienced language and culture shift.

The strong Indo-European affinity to horse and chariot culture, the rituals of the early Indo-Europeans with regard to their dead, and other cultural cues supported by archaeology would make the case of that influence flowing from the North to West Asia, rather than from West Asia to the North seem more plausible.

In short, it seems likely that Indo-Aryans may have been predominantly West Asian people who first experienced a linguistic and cultural shift under the influence of a Indo-European superstate from the North.

Dienekes said...

The genetic make up of the Tocharians, who are pretty much universally viewed as an early branch away from the rest of the PIE population - which has a more Northeastern European affinity seems to support the case that somebody along the long experienced language and culture shift.


The genetic makeup of the Tocharians is unknown, as no one has tested actual Tocharians, i.e. the people who spoke the language in the first millennium AD.

The strong Indo-European affinity to horse and chariot culture, the rituals of the early Indo-Europeans with regard to their dead, and other cultural cues supported by archaeology would make the case of that influence flowing from the North to West Asia, rather than from West Asia to the North seem more plausible.

Horses from the Southwest of the Caspian are more diverse than those from Europe

http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2011/04/two-holocene-refugia-for-european.html

In short, it seems likely that Indo-Aryans may have been predominantly West Asian people who first experienced a linguistic and cultural shift under the influence of a Indo-European superstate from the North.

I don't discount the possibility that the Indo-Aryans used northerners in their militaries. It has been a common practice among Indo-European armies to recruit northern barbarians in their armies with examples furnished by Rome (Goths/Gauls), Athens (Scythian archers), Byzantium (Varangians), Macedon (Thraco-Illyrians), Persia (Sakas). I consider that a strong possibility.

mike said...

where do southern europeans and Greek/Cypriots fall on this plot?

terryt said...

"It is fairly clear to me that the Indian Cline is between South Indian and West Asian populations".

But Indo-European-speaking Europeans are not part of that cline. This is surprising, especially if you're using the existence of a 'cline' to expalin the language's spread. Every set of contiguous populations form a cline eventually so we should see the Europeans included in some sort of 'Indo-European cline'. Perhaps the cline you see is just the southern margin of an Indo-European cline. In which case an Indo-European origin north of the Caucasus is still possible. The cline between South India and Europe may pass through that region, although it is quite likely that such a cline has been interupted by the subsequent expansion of Mogolian and Turkic-speaking people.

eurologist said...

Let'a also not forget one of the strongest argument for an ultimate origin from the north (for this portion of IE): the earliest Iranian is an almost perfect IE that does not have the expected coloration or loan words from Caucasian, Anatolian, or any other western Asian languages.

Andrew Oh-Willeke said...

"The genetic makeup of the Tocharians is unknown, as no one has tested actual Tocharians, i.e. the people who spoke the language in the first millennium AD."

Ancient DNA from people who were very likely to have spoken Tocharian, which we do have, is a pretty impressive proxy. We also have ancestral populations that can be inferred from admixture type analysis of current populations there.

Dienekes said...

Ancient DNA from people who were very likely to have spoken Tocharian, which we do have, is a pretty impressive proxy.

You are far too easily impressed. If you take a time span of 2-3,000 years in Europe, the vast majority of its territory has seen language replacement. Celtic has been largely replaced by Romance, old Balkan languages by Slavic, Baltic by Germanic and Slavic, and so on.

With the exception of Greece, Italy, Scandinavia/North Germany, the small territory of the Baltic states, and the small homeland of the Slavs somewhere in Poland or Ukraine, the major part of the European continent has seen language replacement.

Hence, I don't share your faith that the historical Tocharians were "very likely" to have spoken the same language as the people who lived there 2-3 thousands years before their time.

Nirjhar007 said...

Still we are at nowhere.
1. R1a which is the PIE peoples y-dna has its oldest clades and most frequent diversity in india.
2. Saying BMAC as indo-aryan is horses egg as it has the same amount of horse evidence as IVC.
3.no eurasian mtdna as U5, Hv, H is present in india.
4. Iron making is present in india from 2000 bc.

batman said...

The oldest languages left in Europe are the Scandinavian and the Finnish, representing the two language groups that populated western and eastern Europe after ice-time.

The users of these languages were both arctic populations, who populated their respective regions during the start of Holocene. At that start of this period the arctic climate was still dominant in the northern belt of Eurasia, as well as in the mountain-ranges of central Eurasia - from Madrid to Manchuria.

The Uralian languages seem to have spread east of the Wizla river and north of the Donau - to become 'Sarmatians' and 'Scytians' - from Balkan and the Baltic to Baikal and Baku. Their descendants are still present all over northern Caucasia, even if their langiage have changed to 'slavonic' - the 'lingua franca' of Constantinopel.

East of the ural speakers there were Tocharians, from the Aral mountains to the coast of Manchuria (Canay) - along the Chineese Wall.

The relatedness of 'proto-German' and 'proto-Uralian' may be as high as 40% - which is supposed to derive from a common source at the early Mesolitic. There could be a similar relatedness between the Uralic and the Altaic language.

While these populations spread in the arctic climate-zone there have obviuosly been a variety of contacts across the climate-zones, from arctic and semi-arctic to semi-tropic and tropic. Since the climate also defines what kind of natural resources one can learn to use, there are common traits between the respective cultures/economies that spread through the various zones.

Large populations obviously manage to adapt and then stay in the various regions they populated. With time they even adapted biologically - according to climate-zone - into various features and biological traits. Thus we may still talk - even if at odds - about historical cultures and historical etnities to have developed - along with the major language-groups that still exist.

batman said...

Since the great wars of India, Persia, Greece, Rome and Europe started - these etnicities must have been very stable. That indicates a relative low mixing across etnic borders - and may be the result of a common policy between the various etnicities. The building of the chineese wall may have had such motives. From both sides, btw. Since mixing between arctic and tropic genetics could jeopardize the biological adaptions one may aspect that the old heads of the various families/branches/stems/kingdoms would have a common interest with their due neighbours. A similar specification can be found along the equator as well as in the arctic zones - between IE, Uralian and Tocharians.

Throughout the mesolitic the contacts between the various cultures (kingdoms?) increased, as the climate grew better and the populatins of the arcitic and semi-arctic climate-zones grew larger. In the communication and trade between the old populations the Caspian area became a central area of Eurasia. Following the trade-routes of the rivers the Caspian conects Kina, India, Sumer and Greek Anatolia with the Skytians and Sarmatians - who could ship both rice and spice west from the Caspian Sea and north from the Black Sea - to the Baltic Sea and Europe.

Since the beginning of their flint- and amber-trade the stem of these languages have developed, even though many branches have been altered and/or mixed with other stems to conform new languages - such as the arab, the roman and the slavon languages. Since the large warfares and imperial politics occured we've been through a hell of a lot before the English language occured - to take presedence in the international world of today...

Scrolling back to the roots of these matters - and the questions concerning language-types, feno-types and geno-types - one may concern the following map - reviewing how the arctic settlers also became pioneers in developing the trade in and out of Trans-Caucasia - to grow rich and migty as Atila, the Hun:

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

Moreover it may be worth while to consider whether the IE/Uralian border still is reflected - from the Botnic Bay to Trans-Sylvania. This means - according Alinei et al - that the Uralian and the IE languages have a very old, common border - unchanged since the beginning of the spread of the paleolithic industry.

Relating that to some new, stunning discoveries in the distant, deep-freezed north may change the way we may view the paleolithic ancestors of modern man;

http://johnhawks.net/weblog/reviews/early_modern/arctic/pavlov_2001_arctic_europe.html

South Central Haplo said...

Dienekes Write:
"Personally, I'm not particularly convinced that this is correct vs. the most commonly held model in which the Anatolian-European split is primary. Hopefully, a combination of genetics and linguistics will help resolve these issues."

"I have added a regression line on the plot of the South Asian samples, excluding the three Balochistan populations (Makrani, Brahui, Balochi) and this line intersects pretty much the centroids of the Kurdish and Iranian clusters"

Not sure how you can skip the Balochi and Brahui. Their genetic makeup is close to south Indians. first combine the nearby entities when they are related. You can not cherry pick.

Dienekes said...

Not sure how you can skip the Balochi and Brahui. Their genetic makeup is close to south Indians. first combine the nearby entities when they are related. You can not cherry pick.

First, Balochi and Brahui are not particularly "related" to South Indians, theya are actually further from South Indians than all other subcontinental populations in the plot.

Second, including them in the regression would shift it higher i.e., even further in the West Asian rather than European direction.

Razvan Bera said...

Fist of all I would like to excusee my lack of expertise in the domain, and any mistake due to unsufficient information regarding the matter.

Concerning the linguistic approach of
Dienekes :' With the exception of Greece, Italy, Scandinavia/North Germany, the small territory of the Baltic states, and the small homeland of the Slavs somewhere in Poland or Ukraine, the major part of the European continent has seen language replacement.'

Evidence dug out of neolithic settlements in both present Romania seemt to point out to the proto-latin ancestry of older vocabulary terms; which in old Latin have no correspondance. Also, some of these lexical constructions might bare evidence of early IE traces, as most (if not all) of them refer to village-associated life and habits, sheep & cattle herding as well as weather and natural phenonmenons. Also, there is a liguistical direction for interepretation which links such language to the proto-latin spoke by early neolithic settlers of the Black Sea Basin. Corroborated with topographic and geological studies pointing out to the ancient borders of what is now the Black Sea, then an inland lake fueled by the debit of more than 5 importand and long rivers of Eurasia ( Danube, Nistre, Dnistre, Don, etc) might also reveal a living space not yet seriously taken into account, the Black Sea Basin. Kind of leads me to postulate a theory regarding a possible source for proto IE , especially taking into account mentions of the Great Flood and historical sources speaking of the descendants of Noah ( not taking this adlitteram, but mainly symbolic ).

Welcoming any feedback on the subject; many thanks in advance..

Unknown said...

This study is consistent in revealing non-continuity between iranians and populations eastward, (including Indian populations) however it also proves quite a bit of overlap with Turks/Caucuasians - an assertion which tends to be a major taboo, nowadays. Nonetheless iranian samples show quite a bit of scattering.

zadeh79 said...

Dienekes' assertions are starting to sound more and more like mine, by the decade. Keep up the good work.

The sampling in the Behar study is actually superior to the the Grungi, 2012 study, simply because a larger number of genes were examined. Grungi restricted his anaylysis to 80 Y-chromosome markers. The data, as presented here provide a more accurate picture of the near east.

Iranian Balochis are a clearly distinct group of people, that have strong genetic and cultural ties to Indians. We don't even need genetic data to show this.


As for, "I can't claim expertise in this subject, but I've always favored the Andronovo as the earliest expression of Indo_Iranian culture, deriving from a more generalized satəm culture represented by the later Yamanya, as its southeastward extension". --- As D.P once said himself, "there is just as much evidence that the Plains Indians were proto-indo-iranian as there is Andronovons or BMACs". (Yes, you did say that D.P).

Indeed when once considers the existence of 5K B.C 'Burnt city', it would be peculiar to suggest an external source of IE