January 21, 2010

R1a1/U2e male in 2,000-year old Mongolian Xiongnu

American Journal of Physical Anthropology doi:10.1002/ajpa.21242

A western Eurasian male is found in 2000-year-old elite Xiongnu cemetery in Northeast Mongolia

Kijeong Kim et al.


We analyzed mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), Y-chromosome single nucleotide polymorphisms (Y-SNP), and autosomal short tandem repeats (STR) of three skeletons found in a 2,000-year-old Xiongnu elite cemetery in Duurlig Nars of Northeast Mongolia. This study is one of the first reports of the detailed genetic analysis of ancient human remains using the three types of genetic markers. The DNA analyses revealed that one subject was an ancient male skeleton with maternal U2e1 and paternal R1a1 haplogroups. This is the first genetic evidence that a male of distinctive Indo-European lineages (R1a1) was present in the Xiongnu of Mongolia. This might indicate an Indo-European migration into Northeast Asia 2,000 years ago. Other specimens are a female with mtDNA haplogroup D4 and a male with Y-SNP haplogroup C3 and mtDNA haplogroup D4. Those haplogroups are common in Northeast Asia. There was no close kinship among them. The genetic evidence of U2e1 and R1a1 may help to clarify the migration patterns of Indo-Europeans and ancient East-West contacts of the Xiongnu Empire. Artifacts in the tombs suggested that the Xiongnu had a system of the social stratification. The West Eurasian male might show the racial tolerance of the Xiongnu Empire and some insight into the Xiongnu society.



terryt said...

"This might indicate an Indo-European migration into Northeast Asia 2,000 years ago".

Fits Tocharian, doesn't it?

Marnie said...

One person though?

There is already quite a lot of evidence to show a trading pattern between East Asia and Persia/Afghanistan etc.

The violin does seem to have come from Asia, been adopted in Southwest Asia, including Persia, and then further adapted and adopted in Southeastern Europe.

Given that the violin or a Persian variant was played in Byzantine music 1000 years ago, I'd think that a violin like instrument appears in Southwestern Asia something like 2000 years ago.

There are lots of other examples of a 2000 year old link between Eastern Asia and Southeastern Europe, aren't there?

Still, it is interesting that they have found an actual grave in an "elite" cemetary.