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Thread: Rakhigarhi: DNA study finds no Central Asian trace, junks Aryan invasion theory

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    Question Rakhigarhi: DNA study finds no Central Asian trace, junks Aryan invasion theory

    Harappan site of Rakhigarhi: DNA study finds no Central Asian trace, junks Aryan invasion theory



    By Anubhuti Vishnoi ET Bureau|Updated: Jun 13, 2018, 12.24 PM IST





    The much-awaited DNA study of the skeletal remains found at the Harappan site of Rakhigarhi, Haryana, shows no Central Asian trace, indicating the Aryan invasion theory was flawed and Vedic evolution was through indigenous people.


    The lead researchers1 of this soon-tobe published study — Vasant Shinde and Neeraj Rai — told ETthat this establishes the knowledge ecosystem in the Vedic era was guided by “fully indigenous” people with limited “external contact”.


    “The Rakhigarhi human DNA clearly shows a predominant local element — the mitochondrial DNA is very strong in it. There is some minor foreign element which shows some mixing up with a foreign population, but the DNA is clearly local,” Shinde told ET. He went on to add: “This indicates quite clearly, through archeological data, that the Vedic era that followed was a fully indigenous period with some external contact.”


    According to Shinde’s findings, the manner of burial is quite similar to the early Vedic period, also known as the Rigvedic Era. The pottery, the brick type used for construction and the general ‘good health’ of the people ascertained through the skeletal remains in Rakhigarhi, he said, pointed to a well-developed knowledge system that evolved further into the Vedic era. The study has, in fact, noted that some burial rituals observed in the Rakhigarhi necropolis prevail even now in some communities, showing a remarkable continuity over thousands of years.


    Shinde, who is the vice-chancellor of the Deccan College, Pune, was the lead archaeologist in the study while Rai, who is the head of the ancient DNA laboratory at Lucknow’s Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, did the DNA study.


    MINOR TRACES OF IRANIAN STRAINS
    According to Rai, the evidence points to a predominantly indigenous culture that voluntarily spread across other areas, not displaced or overrun by an Aryan invasion. “The condition of the human skeletons, the burial...all show absence of palaeo-pathology symptoms which could indicate ailments due to lack of medical care. The persons here were healthy; denture morphology showed teeth free of any infection; bones are healthy, as is the cranium,” Rai told ET.


    He also discounted the notion of any violent conflict. “There are no cuts and marks which would be associated with a population subjected to warfare. All this indicates that the people were receiving well-developed healthcare and had full-fledged knowledge systems.” The excavations in Rigvedic phase, he said, corroborate this. “This points to greater continuity rather than to a new Aryan race descending and bringing superior knowledge systems to the region,” Rai said.


    The Rakhigarhi study, he said, while showing absence of any Central Asian/Steppe element in the genetic make-up of the Harappan people, does indicate minor traces of Iranian strains which may point to contact, not invasion.


    The Aryan invasion theory holds forth that a set of migrants came from Central Asia armed with superior knowledge and arms and invaded the existing settlements to establish a more sophisticated civilisation in India and pushed the original inhabitants down south. Rakhigarhi is one of the biggest Harappan civilisation sites spread across 300 hectares in Hisar, Haryana. It’s estimated to be 6,000 years old and was part of the mature phase of the Harappan period.


    Rai disclosed that 148 independent skeletal elements from Rakhigarhi were screened for the presence of DNA molecules at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad. Of the 148 skeletal remains, only two samples yielded any relevant DNA material.


    Meanwhile, hectic last-minute efforts are on to get additional genetic details of the DNA material. One of the DNA samples recently faced contamination in a Seoul laboratory and efforts are on to segregate it. Samples were sent to laboratories in Seoul and Harvard for establishing accuracy. The contamination, Rai said, is unlikely to have any major bearing on the study’s primary findings.


    https://economictimes.indiatimes.com...w/64565413.cms


    What do you guys think?

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    That Indian genetists like to know even less the archaeology of their own country than Westerner genetists.
    "What I've seen so far after my entire career chasing Indoeuropeans is that our solutions look tissue thin and our problems still look monumental" J.P.Mallory

    "The ultimate homeland of the group [PIE] that also spread Anatolian languages is less clear." D. Reich

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    Quote Originally Posted by berun View Post
    That Indian genetists like to know even less the archaeology of their own country than Westerner genetists.
    Lol. Be gentle.

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    I'd be wary of articles in the Indian press. Wait for the actual paper from the scientists.

    The thing to do now is sample the new remains found with chariots.


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    2 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    I'd be wary of articles in the Indian press. Wait for the actual paper from the scientists.

    The thing to do now is sample the new remains found with chariots.
    Scientists are not happy. I read a couple of tweets by Razib Khan.



    Don't know what's going on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by noman View Post
    Scientists are not happy. I read a couple of tweets by Razib Khan.



    Don't know what's going on.
    The journalist either doesn't know anything about the topic or is practising deliberate disinformation.

    You wouldn't expect steppe in Harappa. It would be later.

    It's a non-story story.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    The journalist either doesn't know anything about the topic or is practising deliberate disinformation.

    You wouldn't expect steppe in Harappa. It would be later.

    It's a non-story story.
    Agree! Something similar Razib said in one his tweets.

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    Finally, he responded.

    The Rakhigarhi samples date to 2500 to 2250 BC last I checked. That means they shouldn’t have any steppe ancestry if the model of the relatively late demographic impact of Indo-Aryans after 2000 BC is correct.
    https://www.gnxp.com/WordPress/2018/...s-non-sequitur

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    0 out of 3 members found this post helpful.
    If Harappan samples have the same Y-DNA profile as BMAC with J2, G2, J1, L1a, T, E1b, R1b, the Indus Valley Civilization was already Indoeuropean, the people who spread this package from a small region in the neolithic south Caucasus all the way to Italy and India by 3000BC some 6500 kilometers.

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    Why would the expect central Asian DNA in the Harappan culture 6000 years ago? That's long before the Indo-europeans moved into central Asia.

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    2 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    Well, my friend, it is actually and exactly the opposite: if the Rakhigarhi DNA study finds NO Central Asian-derived ancestry in the samples of those IVC sites, that fact actually REINFORCES and DEMONSTRATES the high plausibility of the Aryan migration/invasion theory. You seem to have got some information completely wrong. That theory postulates that India, including the IVC, was not Indo-Aryan before 2000-1500 BC, and that Aryan languages appear there after the Early-Mid Bronze Age together with BA Central Asian ancestry, probably from Andronovo or Sintashta-related sites. Well, well, well, if the IVC lacked Central Asian ancestry, but modern Indians and particularly modern NORTH INDO-ARYAN-SPEAKING Indians have Central Asian ancestry, what do you think unbiased scientists with no nationalist or xenophobic agendas will have to conclude? Obviously, that something related to Central Asian peoples happened after Rakhigarhi and the other IVC period DNA samples, and before the modern era. The Aryan migration theory fits this evidence perfectly well, because it doesn't assume that the IVC was Aryan, unlike many Hindu nationalists do.

    That burials were simialr before and after that period is an interesting point, but doesn't fundamentally change things, because we know many other examples of complete changes in burial traditions in attested ancient Indo-European populations, like the cremation practice of Hittites instead of the kurgan burials of steppe peoples, or the even more striking example of the cremation traditions of burial among the Romans (already different from earlier European populations like the Tumulus culture), which was then replaced by a predominance of inhumation practices during the Late Roman Empire, even though we all know that the language, culture and people remained the same.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saetrus View Post
    If Harappan samples have the same Y-DNA profile as BMAC with J2, G2, J1, L1a, T, E1b, R1b, the Indus Valley Civilization was already Indoeuropean, the people who spread this package from a small region in the neolithic south Caucasus all the way to Italy and India by 3000BC some 6500 kilometers.
    Why? Was there a noticeable expansion of BMAC-like admixture (keep in mind they had, for example, a good chunk of native South Asian ancestry, which is lacking almost everywhere in ancient samples outside Central Asia) or of this particular package of BMAC Y-DNA haplogroups into Europe, North Asia and Anatolia? I really doubt so, at least if you consider the (sizeable number of) ancient DNA data scientists have gathered. Also, that theory wouldn't explain why there is a noticeable increase in EHG-related admixture in virtually all known or presumed ancient Indo-European cultures, except (for now) in Anatolia. That means that, at the very least, most of the expansion didn't come from the BMAC area, but via somewhere else (probably where EHG were really found, Northeast Europe/Northwest Asia)

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    As one scholar states.........R1a, R1b and R2 are all in the area so it cannot be central Asia ...................but he fails to understand that the ancestor of R came as per Karafet 2014 paper from South-East Asia.
    There are too many "fake" scholars
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    when a people no longer dares to defend its language it is ripe for slavery.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Razib Khan, 'unlike Hitler', descends from Odin. He has said that. Indian journalists should be careful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by A. Papadimitriou View Post
    Razib Khan, 'unlike Hitler', descends from Odin. He has said that. Indian journalists should be careful.
    Razib's y DNA is r1a1

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    Don't gloss over that this conclusion is from two samples. They throw out the 148 skeleton figure but only got DNA from two.

    And by those journalistic standards, Britain domination of India never happened, Rome never conquered England, and the IE people didn't control the Hittites.

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    Quote Originally Posted by I1a3_Young View Post
    Don't gloss over that this conclusion is from two samples. They throw out the 148 skeleton figure but only got DNA from two.

    And by those journalistic standards, Britain domination of India never happened, Rome never conquered England, and the IE people didn't control the Hittites.

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Eupedia Forum mobile app
    They have been working on that project for at least 2/3 years and the best they could do was to get aDNA from only two samples (and one also with contamination)?

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    You think you could do better? Or was it a conspiracy?

    For your information, the warmer the climate the more difficult it is to get workable dna. That's why so much of what is in the papers is from the far north.

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    What do you guys think?
    The answer is quite simple really.
    1. The Vedic civilization was largely a continuation of the Harappan. Not surprising - archaeologists have been saying that for decades
    2. There was possibly a minor indo-european genetic influx
    3. There was NO signs of invasion or forceful upturn of culture - again something said by most mainstream archaeologists
    4. Harappans were a mixture of indigenous people and a few Levant area migrants

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    "Don't gloss over that this conclusion is from two samples. They throw out the 148 skeleton figure but only got DNA from two."
    I like how people cry 'conspiracy' or 'bad data' when the results don't agree with them. Nah they know the risks and significance better than anyone else. This is a large international study and a continuation of the paper published earlier this march (with 30+ international authors), of which Vasant Shinde and Niraj Rai were also co-authors. Shinde has been excavating at Rakhigarhi for several years now, and is a reputed archaeologist working with several international teams. From the ET article, we know that the conclusions are not just based on genetics, but also archaeology. Indian civilization is indigenous, it seems. We'll know more once the results are out, waiting with held breath

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    "Well, my friend, it is actually and exactly the opposite: if the Rakhigarhi DNA study finds NO Central Asian-derived ancestry in the samples of those IVC sites, that fact actually REINFORCES and DEMONSTRATES the high plausibility of the Aryan migration/invasion theory."
    "
    Well, well, well, if the IVC lacked Central Asian ancestry, but modern Indians and particularly modern NORTH INDO-ARYAN-SPEAKING Indians have Central Asian ancestry, what do you think unbiased scientists with no nationalist or xenophobic agendas will have to conclude? "

    They probably will have to conclude based on available archaeological and genetic evidence, that steppe migrants came in a small number and managed to incorporate themselves into an existing Harappan type society (which makes sense because Harappans had knowledge of urbanism), creating a composite culture that is predominantly Harappan in nature with a few steppe elements. Further that the steppe migrants managed to become part of the upper echelons of such a society hence their genes became widespread
    What you're doing here is no different than what you're accusing others of doing - labeling them the bad guys just because their results dont agree with what you want. Shinde has authored with several international teams before and he is as trustworthy as anyone else


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    2 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    Gentlemen, the bottom line is that no one expected there to be steppe ancestry in India this early (Harappa), so the fact the scientists found none is irrelevant as to whether there was migration from the steppe via Central Asia into India.

    Let's see what the newest finds, those in a chariot context, show.

    The point is that in densely populated, culturally sophisticated areas, the impact of such migrations is not going to be the same as it was in mostly empty northern Europe or even a Central Europe suffering from population crashes and decimated by the plague brought by the steppe people.

    Look at the Mycenaeans, long heralded as THE Indo-European culture. Their steppe ancestry is very minor despite all the predictions they'd be Sintashta like, of all things.

    Whatever the data shows, it has to be accommodated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arcsabre View Post
    What do you guys think?
    The answer is quite simple really.
    1. The Vedic civilization was largely a continuation of the Harappan. Not surprising - archaeologists have been saying that for decades
    2. There was possibly a minor indo-european genetic influx
    3. There was NO signs of invasion or forceful upturn of culture - again something said by most mainstream archaeologists
    4. Harappans were a mixture of indigenous people and a few Levant area migrants
    I beg to differ. Harappans were mainly a mixture of Neolithic Iranian migrants with indigenous South Asians, though there were most probably also other minor contributions, including from the Levant. But still it seems quite a "coincidence" that Indo-European language only appears in South Asia after this "minor Indo-European genetic influx" you talk about in your 2nd point (even the IVC script could never be transcripted on the basis of IE or more specifically Indo-Aryan lexicon and sentences). Not only that, the IE branch that appears there is not some archaic and very distinctive IE family like Anatolian, but one significantly related to other "late" IE branches much to the northwest (mainly Armenian, Hellenic and Balto-Slavic) without any noticeable trace of a Bronze Age South Asian genetic influx into those regions, whereas there is growing evidence of a steppe influx into South Asia.

    So, I think Indians and other South Asians will have to come to grapples with the basic fact that genetics, linguistics and material culture don't always come together into the same package, with perfect correlation with each other. It's perfectly possible, even probable that despite a remarkable cultural continuity in material objects there was a minor but socioculturally significant influx of foreigners into South Asia, one that was influential enough to cause a gradual but steady expansion of an Indo-European language there. Native people don't "disappear" suddenly just because they shifted their language.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by arcsabre View Post
    "Well, my friend, it is actually and exactly the opposite: if the Rakhigarhi DNA study finds NO Central Asian-derived ancestry in the samples of those IVC sites, that fact actually REINFORCES and DEMONSTRATES the high plausibility of the Aryan migration/invasion theory."
    "
    Well, well, well, if the IVC lacked Central Asian ancestry, but modern Indians and particularly modern NORTH INDO-ARYAN-SPEAKING Indians have Central Asian ancestry, what do you think unbiased scientists with no nationalist or xenophobic agendas will have to conclude? "

    They probably will have to conclude based on available archaeological and genetic evidence, that steppe migrants came in a small number and managed to incorporate themselves into an existing Harappan type society (which makes sense because Harappans had knowledge of urbanism), creating a composite culture that is predominantly Harappan in nature with a few steppe elements. Further that the steppe migrants managed to become part of the upper echelons of such a society hence their genes became widespread
    What you're doing here is no different than what you're accusing others of doing - labeling them the bad guys just because their results dont agree with what you want. Shinde has authored with several international teams before and he is as trustworthy as anyone else

    No, it is not, especially because you may have failed to notice it, but my personal opinion on this subject is exactly what you yourself said: "steppe migrants came in a small number and managed to incorporate themselves into an existing Harappan type society (which makes sense because Harappans had knowledge of urbanism), creating a composite culture that is predominantly Harappan in nature with a few steppe elements. Further that the steppe migrants managed to become part of the upper echelons of such a society hence their genes became widespread"

    In my opinion, it is clear that there was very significant genetic and cultural continuity in India before and after the IVC, and that the steppe migrants probably brought their new layer of culture and genes only after the declining phase of the IVC. However, to say that there was a significant continuity doesn't mean that things stayed the same.

    If you don't take into account only the Indian part of this story, but all the Indo-European expansion (which clearly points to a northwestern root, not a southeastern one), and the very "late" nature of the IE spoken widely in South Asia, it becomes clear to anyone, but nationalists or ethnocentrists, that Indian culture is to a relevant degree indigenous, but also decisively mixed with some foreign elements, and that the Indo-European languages came with one of the most influential of these migrations. They may have been originally a very small part of the population and, therefore, basically absorbed a lot from their more numerous neighbors, but managed to preserve and expand their own cultural traits (language, most of all) as well as their genetics after some centuries, by becoming politically and militarily dominant in most of South Asia. Believe it or not, it is not just totally possible, but almost certain that most Northern Indians descend in part both from Harappan ancestors and Central Asian steppe migrants, and still from other ancient populatons, too. There is no mutual exclusivity in paleogenetics.

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