Today is a big day. Two long-awaited genetic studies have been published now – the updated version of the widely-read ‘The Genomic Formation of South and Central Asia’ is out in Science, and the first study of a genome from a Harappan site, Rakhigarhi, is out in Cell.
Both support earlier findings about the formation of Indian population and who the Harappans were with even more robust evidence than earlier.
The part about the genome lacking ancestry from Steppe is a reiteration of the earlier finding that Steppe ancestry shows up in South Asia only AFTER the decline of the Harappan Civilization, which means Steppe pastoralists who brought Indo-European languages to India, came later
The part about the Harappan genome lacking ancestry from Iranian farmers is a new detail.
It means the West Asian migrants who mixed with the First Indians to form the population that spread agriculture in northwestern India and built the Harappan Civilization were not yet farmers when they came to India. They came before agriculture had begun anywhere in the world.
In other words, farming is likely to have begun independently in India (a point made strongly in my book 'Early Indians: The Story of Our Ancestors and Where We Came From').
In short, the Rakhigarhi DNA study confirms the earlier understanding that the Harappan Civilization was built by a mixed population of First Indians and West Asians, and that the Steppe pastoralists who brought Indo-Aryan languages to India were not present in the region then.
This is a direct quote: “However, a natural route for Indo-European languages to have spread into South Asia is from Eastern Europe via Central Asia in the first half of the 2nd millennium BCE, a chain of transmission that did occur as has been documented in detail..."
Also: “The fact the Steppe pastoralist ancestry in South Asia matches that in Bronze Age Eastern Europe (but not Western Europe) provides additional evidence for this theory, as it elegantly explains the shared distinctive features of Balto-Slavic and Indo-Iranian languages.”
The new version confirms the earlier findings about the arrival of Steppe pastoralists in India in the first half of the 2nd millennium with even more robust evidence.
Here is a direct quote: “Using data from ancient individuals from the Swat Valley of northernmost South Asia, we show that Steppe ancestry then integrated further south in the first half of the 2nd millennium BCE, contributing up to 30 per cent of the ancestry of modern groups...
Also: “The Steppe ancestry in south Asia has the same profile as that in Bronze Age Eastern Europe, tracking a movement of people that affected both regions and that likely spread the unique features shared between Indo-Iranian and Balto-Slavic languages."
Furthermore, the study says: “Our findings also shed light on the origin of the second-largest language group in South Asia, Dravidian..."
"The strong correlation between ASI ancestry and present-day Dravidian languages suggests that the ASI, which we have shown formed as groups with ancestry typical of the Indus Periphery Cline moved south & east..." (contd)
...after the decline of the IVC to mix with groups with more AASI ancestry, most likely spoke an early Dravidian language."
Also: “Our results not only provide evidence against an Iranian plateau origin for Indo-European languages in South Asia but also evidence for the theory that these languages spread from the Steppe...
"...Although ancient DNA has documented westward movements of Steppe pastoralist ancestry providing a likely conduit for the spread of many Indo-European languages to Europe, the chain of transmission into South Asia has been unclear because of a lack of relevant aDNA..." Contd.
“Our observation of the spread of Central_Steppe_MLBA ancestry into South Asia in the first half of the second millennium BCE provides this evidence, which is particularly notable because it provides a plausible genetic explanation for the linguistic similarities between..."Contd
"...the Balto-Slavic and Indo-Iranian subfamilies of Indo-European languages, which despite their vast geographic separation share the “satem” innovation and“ruki” soundlaws."
Congratulations to the large number of top scientists from India and around the world who have been working on this path-breaking project that has shed light on the formation of the largest population in the world!
ALL the direct quotes given in this long thread are FROM the two research papers. (They are NOT from my book, Early Indians, as one media channel reported wrongly).
I have picked these direct quotes to show how strongly and robustly the two papers confirm earlier genetic findings of major migrations of Central Asian Steppe pastoralists into India between 2000 BCE and 1500 BCE, bringing Indo-European languages to this region.
In fact, the new paper in Science goes much farther than the earlier findings to say that the language of the Harappan Civilization is likely to have been Dravidian. (Please read the direct quotes given in this thread.)
Keep those direct quotes in mind (and also read the papers themselves) when you see utterly baseless and contradictory headlines and reports in places such as The Economic Times, The Print and so on:
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