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South_Asian_Language_Families

51IZQjMbVlL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ I am often asked by people online to give an “elevator pitch” as to the genetic history of the Indian subcontinent. At this point we’ve got ~90 percent of the story I think. Modern humans arrived in the Indian subcontinent ~50,000 years ago, and pushed onward to East Asia, but over the past ~10,000 years massive changes have occurred genetically due to the intrusion of populations form the northwest and northeast, with likely total cultural turnover. What do I mean by this? First, it’s highly probable that all of the extant language families of the Indian subcontinent are rooted in lineages which were present outside of the Indian subcontinent before the Holocene. In other words, during the Ice Age the ancestral linguistic entities which gave rise to Indo-European, Dravidian, and Austro-Asiatic, were present outside of confines of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan. The only exception here are the languages of the indigenous peoples of the Andaman Islanders.*

516ma6FzHPL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ Older historical works on South Asia often have a preface which suggests that the Austro-Asiatic Munda languages, and those of the Dravidians, were deeply indigenous to the region, to be marginalized in the north and west of the subcontinent by Indo-Aryan dialects which arrived relatively recently. This strikes me as likely wrong in terms of broad brush impressions. I now believe that Peter Bellwood was probably correct to argue in First Farmers that the arrival of Dravidian languages to the subcontinent was mediated through the arrival of agriculturalists, and perhaps may not have predated the Indo-Aryans by very much time at all in most of the subcontinent. I am even more confident that the Munda people are descended from a group with relatively recent origins on Southeast Asia, approximately contemporaneous with, though likely marginally preceding, the arrival of Indo-Aryans. What you see in South Asia today when it comes to linguistic-cultural agglomerations is the jostling of groups whose origins are all exogenous and date to the post-Neolithic period. Though the Pleistocene genetic heritage of South Asia persists to a great extent, as culturally coherent units I doubt there is much of the Pleistocene left in the region (with the exception again of the Andaman Islands).

51MGYd330tL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_ Let’s talk about the Munda people first. Most of South Asian social-demographic analysis focuses on a divide between two disparate elements. Culturally, Indo-Aryan vs. Dravidian. Religiously, Hindu vs. Muslim. Genetically, Ancestral North Indian (ANI) vs. Ancestral South Indian (ASI). These dyads are useful analytically, but they elide the more richly textured diversity of the subcontinent (in the case of Muslim vs. Hindu, neither groups, especially the “Hindu” category, are very homogeneous). According to a new paper, A late Neolithic expansion of Y chromosomal haplogroup O2a1-M95 from east to west, as much as ~15% of the Y chromosomal lineages of South Asia may be attributed to these populations. This group uses quite old-fashioned methods. That is, they’re about 10-15 years old, an eon in modern genetics! Basically the focus is on fast evolving microsatellite lineages, and the patterns of variation thereof. But, the power of the paper is the massive data set, which has strong representation of many populations. By looking at thousands of individuals from some regions they were able to observe patterns with a very high degree of confidence as to their representativeness of a given group.

The following table illustrates what I’m talking about:

Austroasiatic-en.svg

The cultural-historical debate is whether the Austro-Asiatic languages are indigenous to South Asia or not. The balance of the evidence now seems to be that they are not. What likely occurred is that the Austro-Asiatic languages waxed with the rise of an agricultural Diaspora, whose locus of origin was in what is today the southern regions of China proper. More precisely, the Austro-Asiatic languages may have spread with rice farming across Southeast Asia and eastern South Asia. Likely they were the first on the scene in Southeast Asia, as Bellwood reports in First Farmers and First Migrants that archaeology and anthropometrics can detect admixture between the farmers arriving from the north and native hunter-gatherers in places like the Red river valley in northern Vietnam ~4,000 years ago. The frequency of O2a1-M95 for regions and populations is subdivided very precisely in the above paper, and it is clear that in island Southeast Asia its proportions match those in an earlier paper on autosomal inferences of Austro-Asiatic ancestry. Populations in eastern Indonesia and in the Philippines have minimal numbers of males carrying lineages of O2a1-M95, while the densely populated island land of Java has frequencies of ~50%.

The clincher for why O2a1-M95, and therefore Austro-Asiatic populations, are likely exogenous to India genetically would be the genetic diversity of the lineages. In short, there is tentative information from the variation on the microsatellites that the coalescence of the diverse lineages in Laos are the deepest by a few thousand years. But there was another paper from a few years back which makes my confidence in these results higher, Population Genetic Structure in Indian Austroasiatic speakers: The Role of Landscape Barriers and Sex-specific Admixture, which presented autosomal data which was very persuasive to me. In particular, the derived variation of EDAR which is present in very high frequencies among Northeast Asians and Amerindian populations, is present at about ~5% frequency among Munda groups. Among Dravidian populations in South India according to the 1000 Genomes Browser the frequency is less than 1%, while it is absent among populations in Northwest India, aside from those with clear East Asian admixture.

Next we address the issue of the Dravidian languages. A new paper in Human Genetics, West Eurasian mtDNA lineages in India: an insight into the spread of the Dravidian language and the origins of the caste system, points to an association between particular mtDNA lineages in South India and southern Iran, in particular the region which was once inhabited by the Elamites, who have been posited to have an association with the Dravidian languages. I don’t put particular stock in the philological association between Dravidian langauges today and Elamite; I can’t judge it with any degree of certainty or competency. But the genetic data is certainly suggestive. Here’s the portion which is relevant:

The autochthonous subhaplogroups—HV14a1 and U1a1a4 uniquely found in contemporary Dravidian speakers share their ancestry primarily with the Near East-Iran populations (Derenko et al. 2013). The coalescence times of HV14a1 and U1a1a4 were estimated to be ~10.5–17.9 kya. The shared ancestry of the Dravidian of South India and Iranian of Near East populations has been shown in the HV14 and U1a1 phylogeny (Fig. 1a) and their time estimates are consistent with the proto-Elamo-Dravidian language diffusion. hypothesis which emphasized that the proto-Dravidian language evolved over 15 kya, specifically in western Asia before the beginning of agricultural development ~11 kya. This language was introduced by Neolithic pastoralists, and was thought to be associated with the spread of these west Eurasian-specific mtDNAs to peninsular India (Pagel et al. 2013). The Y-chromosome haplogroup L1a has added a further dimension to this hypothesis. The subclades of haplogroup L such as L1a, L1b, and L1c were found predominantly in Iranian populations of western Asia (Grugni et al. 2012). In India, only the L1a lineage was observed and was largely restricted to the Dravidian-speaking populations of south India (Sahoo et al. 2006; Sengupta et al. 2006). The coalescence time (~9.1 kya) (Sengupta et al. 2006) and the virtual absence in Indo-Aryan speakers in north indicate that the L1a lineage arrived from western Asia during the Neolithic period and perhaps was associated with the spread of the Dravidian language to India

There has long been a presumption to assume that the Dravidian languages are primal to South Asia. But that was before modern genomics revolutionized our understanding of Indian genetic history. More or less all South Asian populations are a fusion between a deeply indigenous strain which distant affinities to the peoples of eastern Eurasia (ASI), and a group very close to the ones typically found in Western Eurasia (ANI). There are no pure indigenes. South Indian tribal populations, who are presumed to be the closest to indigenous groups are at least ~25% ANI, if not more. To presume that the Dravidian languages are indigenous to South Asia one would have to assume that this exogenous element was absorbed by the cultural substrate, something I find implausible on cross-cultural grounds (more dominant South Asian social elites, even ones of pure Dravidian extraction, such as the Reddy group, have higher fractions of ANI). Additionally, Dravidian languages themselves are not particularly variegated, as one might expect if there was deep local structure, as is the case in inland Papua and pre-Columbian America.

Of course the title of this post has to do with males, so with that, let’s look back to a paper which was first posted on the web last year (though finally “published” this March), The phylogenetic and geographic structure of Y-chromosome haplogroup R1a. Here’s the important part:

…Using the 8 R1a lineages, with an average length of 48 SNPs accumulated since the common ancestor, we estimate the splintering of R1a-M417 to have occurred rather recently, ~5800 years ago (95% CI: 4800–6800). The slowest mutation rate estimate would inflate these time estimates by one-third, and the fastest would deflate them by 17%.

With reference to Figure 1, all fully sequenced R1a individuals share SNPs from M420 to M417. Below branch 23 in Figure 5, we see a split between Europeans, defined by Z282 (branch 22), and Asians, defined by Z93 and M746 (branch 19; Z95, which was used in the population survey, would also map to branch 19, but it falls just outside an inclusion boundary for the sequencing data4). Star-like branching near the root of the Asian subtree suggests rapid growth and dispersal. The four subhaplogroups of Z93 (branches 9-M582, 10-M560, 12-Z2125, and 17-M780, L657) constitute a multifurcation unresolved by 10 Mb of sequencing; it is likely that no further resolution of this part of the tree will be possible with current technology. Similarly, the shared European branch has just three SNPs.

The authors emphasize that the TMRCA has a wide confidence interval. I don’t think so. There’s now a fair amount of work on sequencing R1b and R1a lineages which are very common across Eurasia, and one thing is clear: they’re star-shaped phylogenies which are likely reflecting massive population expansions relatively recently (see A recent bottleneck of Y chromosome diversity coincides with a global change in culture). Additionally, they note that the “Asian” (which includes South, Central, Southwest Asia) and the European branches of R1a1a are relatively well separated, and, the greatest diversity of R1a1a can be found in Iran.

I doubt that R1a1a was associated with one ethno-linguistic group at the end of the last Ice Age. It is present at relatively high frequencies in low caste and tribal populations in South India, so I am skeptical of an exclusive association with Indo-Europeans, though in Europe it may actually be that it arrived only with Indo-Europeans. But, the fact that R1a1a is so common all across Eurasia points to a genetic-cultural revolution. Just as Haplogroup O2a1 is almost certainly rooted in populations outside of South Asia before the Holocene, so is the case with R1a1a. They came with groups of men who brought a new dominant lifestyle. From the west came wheat and cattle. From the east, rice.

The latest research suggests about half the ancestry of modern South Asians dates to the Pleistocene. That is, it predates 10,000 BC. The majority of the mtDNA lineages are from this ancestral element. But culturally this group likely had minimal influence. One question which comes to mind is whether the ASI ancestry is from many groups, or, from only a few which were assimilated into an expanding group of agriculturalists. If the former, then one expects that the ASI ancestral segments which exhibit a tendency toward regional structure. I suspect thought that this is not the case, that the genetic landscape of modern India is characterized by overlapping populations which are all hybrids of different regional groups which only recently expanded. The pattern of Munda groups in South Asia, surrounded by Dravidian and Indo-European speaking groups, points one to the possibility that these groups were pioneers of some sort, but eventually lost.

* Language isolates like Kusunda and Nihali may date to the era before the Holocene, but without relatives we can’t really make a good guess. Possible relationships of Kusunda to Andaman or Papuan languages strike me as implausible due to the time depth of separation.

 
• Category: History, Science • Tags: Genetics, Genomics 
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  1. In regards to the R1a among the low caste and tribal populations in South India not being of Indo-Aryan origin, I’d totally believe it if their R1a wasn’t a subset of the R1a-M417 in the rest of India. But that’s exactly what it looks like with the samples we have available.

    Also, I wouldn’t say the greatest diversity of R1a1a is in Iran. What Underhill et al. found was that Iran had some R1a-M420* lineages that split at the base of the R1a tree. But we don’t know where those lineages were a couple of thousand of years ago. They might have arrived in Iran from the northeast only during the Iron Age.

    Europe certainly has the most complex R1a-M198/M417 phylogeny. Underhill et al. failed to explore this, but Haak et al. came through with the goods, finding its sister clade R1a-M459 in the Mesolithic Karelian forager, and a basal R1a-M417* in one of the Corded Ware skeletons.

    So something like 99% of the R1a in the world today appears to be from a founder effect dating to the Copper Age. I do realize that this is hard to believe, and it’ll have to be confirmed with ancient DNA from Asia. But this will happen within a couple of years.

    My prediction is that there won’t be any R1a in any ancient remains from Iran or India before the arrival of the Indo-Iranians in these countries.

    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    not a crazy position. weak confidence in a lot of models.
  2. Very informative post.
    It seems that the genetic history of India resembles that of Europe: local foragers, agriculturalists from the Middle East, Indo-Europeans.

  3. @Davidski
    In regards to the R1a among the low caste and tribal populations in South India not being of Indo-Aryan origin, I'd totally believe it if their R1a wasn't a subset of the R1a-M417 in the rest of India. But that's exactly what it looks like with the samples we have available.

    Also, I wouldn't say the greatest diversity of R1a1a is in Iran. What Underhill et al. found was that Iran had some R1a-M420* lineages that split at the base of the R1a tree. But we don't know where those lineages were a couple of thousand of years ago. They might have arrived in Iran from the northeast only during the Iron Age.

    Europe certainly has the most complex R1a-M198/M417 phylogeny. Underhill et al. failed to explore this, but Haak et al. came through with the goods, finding its sister clade R1a-M459 in the Mesolithic Karelian forager, and a basal R1a-M417* in one of the Corded Ware skeletons.

    So something like 99% of the R1a in the world today appears to be from a founder effect dating to the Copper Age. I do realize that this is hard to believe, and it'll have to be confirmed with ancient DNA from Asia. But this will happen within a couple of years.

    My prediction is that there won't be any R1a in any ancient remains from Iran or India before the arrival of the Indo-Iranians in these countries.

    not a crazy position. weak confidence in a lot of models.

  4. Thanks for doing this comprehensive post Razib.

    the arrival of Dravidian languages to the subcontinent… perhaps may not have predated the Indo-Aryans by very much time at all.

    Are we talking kya or centuries? ANI from any Dravidian influx is still distinct from any later IE influx? Some of the fobby TamBrams I know are adamant that they have some super special IE genes.

    The pattern of Munda groups in South Asia, surrounded by Dravidian and Indo-European speaking groups, points one to the possibility that these groups were pioneers of some sort, but eventually lost.

    They might’ve brought rice farming to the region? What makes this interesting is that South Indians eat rice but have only 1% EDAR. So maybe the Mundas succeeded in bringing their rice-farming cultural-toolkit to the South prior to any Dravidian influx? The Brahui today eat mostly wheat.

    I’m curious as to your take on the end of the IVC?

    PS Third para starts with a take instead of a talk.

    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    They might’ve brought rice farming to the region? What makes this interesting is that South Indians eat rice but have only 1% EDAR. So maybe the Mundas succeeded in bringing their rice-farming cultural-toolkit to the South prior to any Dravidian influx? The Brahui today eat mostly wheat.

    to be explicit, i think dravidians might long have been a presence in NW south asia. the expansion south may have been late, and just before or contemporaneous with IE intrusion into subcontinent. might explain why dravidians have R1a1a, but at lower fractions.

    yes, obviously there was cultural diffusion of rice agriculture too.
    , @Razib Khan
    Are we talking kya or centuries? ANI from any Dravidian influx is still distinct from any later IE influx? Some of the fobby TamBrams I know are adamant that they have some super special IE genes.

    south indian brahmins clearly do have a different genetic make up. you can see it in the harappa dna results.
  5. I was th guy who was asking for the elevator pitch, an I thank you for that.

    Munda intrusion to India

    You remark that the “identification of people who speak Munda-like languages were carriers of O2a1-M95 into India” was based on somewhat ancient research tools. This work started in 2008, and was completed recently because the Munda-like language speakers are distributed in very rural areas. However, the speakers of Munda-like languages is less than 9 million, and the entire eastern-India tribal population is less than 7%. Has 021a1-M95 found in people like you? I ask because Munda-like people were not major cultivators of rice, at least until 1950s. I wish they subdivided E-india into subgroups like Munda, and then Bengali castes, and gave us a percentage for non-tribal populations. All I am saying is that 021a1-M5 may be the East Indian signal, which is in addition to ANI and ASI in India. Nonetheless, the recent arrival of th Munda substrate is demonstrated here, and the fact that Eastern Indians are three-way admixtured (as you showed about 5 years ago).

    9000 Year old Dravidians from Southwest Iran

    “But culturally this group likely had minimal influence”

    Is this true? I assumed that the people from southwest Iran brought everything into India.

    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    However, the speakers of Munda-like languages is less than 9 million, and the entire eastern-India tribal population is less than 7%. Has 021a1-M95 found in people like you?

    i put the paper up:

    http://ronunz.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/ArunKumar2015.pdf

    read the table. it seems pretty clear that most O2a1 is not going to be in munda speakers. though harappa data set has no one with that haplogroup, so that's suggestive.

    it is interesting to note that some high caste individuals have this haplogroup. that indicates that mundari people were absorbed with the expansion of IE groups. some have argued that the gangetic plain has as much evidence for munda occupation as dravidian (or not at all of the latter).
  6. I ask because Munda-like people were not major cultivators of rice, at least until 1950s.

    On pg 87 of this http://www.academia.edu/1208363/Pathways_to_Asian_Civilizations_Tracing_the_Origins_and_Spread_of_Rice_and_Rice_Cultures
    the author considers the possibility of Austro-asiatics introducing rice cultivation. Do you have any sources? I’m guessing the Mundas around today are only a shadow of their original presence.

    The thrust of that paper vis a vis rice cultivation in South India suggests that it was introduced
    from China via Pakistan/NorthWestern India . Seems the Harappans did a little rice cultivation as well. It posits that most mass rice cultivation in South India only started in the Iron Age,
    allowing for settled Dravidians of the NorthWest to bring it to South India in a secondary migration. So South India probably experienced two separate waves of Dravidians.

    “But culturally this group likely had minimal influence”
    Is this true? I assumed that the people from southwest Iran brought everything into India.

    You obviously skimmed the post. He’s referring to the primordial ancestral substrate
    that probably came right out of Africa in the very beginning.

  7. @dravid
    Thanks for doing this comprehensive post Razib.


    the arrival of Dravidian languages to the subcontinent... perhaps may not have predated the Indo-Aryans by very much time at all.
     
    Are we talking kya or centuries? ANI from any Dravidian influx is still distinct from any later IE influx? Some of the fobby TamBrams I know are adamant that they have some super special IE genes.


    The pattern of Munda groups in South Asia, surrounded by Dravidian and Indo-European speaking groups, points one to the possibility that these groups were pioneers of some sort, but eventually lost.
     
    They might've brought rice farming to the region? What makes this interesting is that South Indians eat rice but have only 1% EDAR. So maybe the Mundas succeeded in bringing their rice-farming cultural-toolkit to the South prior to any Dravidian influx? The Brahui today eat mostly wheat.

    I'm curious as to your take on the end of the IVC?

    PS Third para starts with a take instead of a talk.

    They might’ve brought rice farming to the region? What makes this interesting is that South Indians eat rice but have only 1% EDAR. So maybe the Mundas succeeded in bringing their rice-farming cultural-toolkit to the South prior to any Dravidian influx? The Brahui today eat mostly wheat.

    to be explicit, i think dravidians might long have been a presence in NW south asia. the expansion south may have been late, and just before or contemporaneous with IE intrusion into subcontinent. might explain why dravidians have R1a1a, but at lower fractions.

    yes, obviously there was cultural diffusion of rice agriculture too.

  8. @Vijay
    I was th guy who was asking for the elevator pitch, an I thank you for that.

    Munda intrusion to India

    You remark that the "identification of people who speak Munda-like languages were carriers of O2a1-M95 into India" was based on somewhat ancient research tools. This work started in 2008, and was completed recently because the Munda-like language speakers are distributed in very rural areas. However, the speakers of Munda-like languages is less than 9 million, and the entire eastern-India tribal population is less than 7%. Has 021a1-M95 found in people like you? I ask because Munda-like people were not major cultivators of rice, at least until 1950s. I wish they subdivided E-india into subgroups like Munda, and then Bengali castes, and gave us a percentage for non-tribal populations. All I am saying is that 021a1-M5 may be the East Indian signal, which is in addition to ANI and ASI in India. Nonetheless, the recent arrival of th Munda substrate is demonstrated here, and the fact that Eastern Indians are three-way admixtured (as you showed about 5 years ago).

    9000 Year old Dravidians from Southwest Iran

    "But culturally this group likely had minimal influence"

    Is this true? I assumed that the people from southwest Iran brought everything into India.

    However, the speakers of Munda-like languages is less than 9 million, and the entire eastern-India tribal population is less than 7%. Has 021a1-M95 found in people like you?

    i put the paper up:

    http://ronunz.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/ArunKumar2015.pdf

    read the table. it seems pretty clear that most O2a1 is not going to be in munda speakers. though harappa data set has no one with that haplogroup, so that’s suggestive.

    it is interesting to note that some high caste individuals have this haplogroup. that indicates that mundari people were absorbed with the expansion of IE groups. some have argued that the gangetic plain has as much evidence for munda occupation as dravidian (or not at all of the latter).

    • Replies: @Vijay
    Thanks for the paper; so many things happened in India between 4000 BP and 5200 BP and I have not registered everything yet.
  9. @dravid
    Thanks for doing this comprehensive post Razib.


    the arrival of Dravidian languages to the subcontinent... perhaps may not have predated the Indo-Aryans by very much time at all.
     
    Are we talking kya or centuries? ANI from any Dravidian influx is still distinct from any later IE influx? Some of the fobby TamBrams I know are adamant that they have some super special IE genes.


    The pattern of Munda groups in South Asia, surrounded by Dravidian and Indo-European speaking groups, points one to the possibility that these groups were pioneers of some sort, but eventually lost.
     
    They might've brought rice farming to the region? What makes this interesting is that South Indians eat rice but have only 1% EDAR. So maybe the Mundas succeeded in bringing their rice-farming cultural-toolkit to the South prior to any Dravidian influx? The Brahui today eat mostly wheat.

    I'm curious as to your take on the end of the IVC?

    PS Third para starts with a take instead of a talk.

    Are we talking kya or centuries? ANI from any Dravidian influx is still distinct from any later IE influx? Some of the fobby TamBrams I know are adamant that they have some super special IE genes.

    south indian brahmins clearly do have a different genetic make up. you can see it in the harappa dna results.

  10. @Razib Khan
    However, the speakers of Munda-like languages is less than 9 million, and the entire eastern-India tribal population is less than 7%. Has 021a1-M95 found in people like you?

    i put the paper up:

    http://ronunz.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/ArunKumar2015.pdf

    read the table. it seems pretty clear that most O2a1 is not going to be in munda speakers. though harappa data set has no one with that haplogroup, so that's suggestive.

    it is interesting to note that some high caste individuals have this haplogroup. that indicates that mundari people were absorbed with the expansion of IE groups. some have argued that the gangetic plain has as much evidence for munda occupation as dravidian (or not at all of the latter).

    Thanks for the paper; so many things happened in India between 4000 BP and 5200 BP and I have not registered everything yet.

  11. jtgw says: • Website

    I really appreciate your observation that Dravidian can’t be indigenous owing to the simple fact that we can reconstruct a common ancestor for those languages, indicating a time depth that can’t extend beyond the beginning of the Holocene, even assuming very conservative (e.g. Icelandic) rates of change. Or at least, if Dravidian does descend from some very ancient population going back to the Ice Age, we must be looking at the descendants of a particular branch of pre-Proto-Dravidian that only diversified much more recently.

    I’m curious about the language isolates from South Asia that we know about: they all seem to be found in the north, i.e. Burushaski, Nihali, Kusunda. Is that simply a function of greater population density?

    • Replies: @Vijay
    The three language isolates are in three different countries, Pakistan, Nepal and central India. The genetics of the people and the way they became language isolates are different. It can be said that there is nothing in common with the languages or how they became isoaltes.
  12. @jtgw
    I really appreciate your observation that Dravidian can't be indigenous owing to the simple fact that we can reconstruct a common ancestor for those languages, indicating a time depth that can't extend beyond the beginning of the Holocene, even assuming very conservative (e.g. Icelandic) rates of change. Or at least, if Dravidian does descend from some very ancient population going back to the Ice Age, we must be looking at the descendants of a particular branch of pre-Proto-Dravidian that only diversified much more recently.

    I'm curious about the language isolates from South Asia that we know about: they all seem to be found in the north, i.e. Burushaski, Nihali, Kusunda. Is that simply a function of greater population density?

    The three language isolates are in three different countries, Pakistan, Nepal and central India. The genetics of the people and the way they became language isolates are different. It can be said that there is nothing in common with the languages or how they became isoaltes.

  13. Why Sri Lanka is Indo-Aryan but South Indian remained Dravidian?

    • Replies: @vijay
    Language and race are two different things. In Srilanka, all populations are ASI-dominated as you can find in Zach's Harappa DNA results. However, Tamil spoken in Northern and eastern SL is a dravidian language, and Sinhala iss classified as an Indo-Aryan language. DNA wise, the differentiation between the two people is hard to infer, but can be made. The issues are further confused by veddoid, but luckily, they are not dominant in overall racial structure.
    , @rec1man
    Assamese and Nepalese are mostly mongoloid, yet they speak Assamese and Nepali, both Indo-Aryan languages

    In Sri Lanka, about 2000 years back, there was a split between Hindus and Buddhists - genetically they are almost identical, except the sinhalese seem to have more of Bengali mix - Y-dna R2 is common among Sinhalese.

    The buddhist clergy created an artificial sinhalese race based on myth of human-lion hybrid and pushed a separate language, Sinhalese which is Pali related - Pali is Indo-Aryan language -

    The Sinhalese cricket team looks very dravidian, and within recent recorded history, several castes have switched declared ethnicity from Tamil to Sinhalese

    Short Answer, Sinhalese are mostly South Indian buddhists, esp Tamil Buddhists, who fled to Sri Lanka after they lost out in mainland India.
  14. @Chiron
    Why Sri Lanka is Indo-Aryan but South Indian remained Dravidian?

    Language and race are two different things. In Srilanka, all populations are ASI-dominated as you can find in Zach’s Harappa DNA results. However, Tamil spoken in Northern and eastern SL is a dravidian language, and Sinhala iss classified as an Indo-Aryan language. DNA wise, the differentiation between the two people is hard to infer, but can be made. The issues are further confused by veddoid, but luckily, they are not dominant in overall racial structure.

  15. @Chiron
    Why Sri Lanka is Indo-Aryan but South Indian remained Dravidian?

    Assamese and Nepalese are mostly mongoloid, yet they speak Assamese and Nepali, both Indo-Aryan languages

    In Sri Lanka, about 2000 years back, there was a split between Hindus and Buddhists – genetically they are almost identical, except the sinhalese seem to have more of Bengali mix – Y-dna R2 is common among Sinhalese.

    The buddhist clergy created an artificial sinhalese race based on myth of human-lion hybrid and pushed a separate language, Sinhalese which is Pali related – Pali is Indo-Aryan language –

    The Sinhalese cricket team looks very dravidian, and within recent recorded history, several castes have switched declared ethnicity from Tamil to Sinhalese

    Short Answer, Sinhalese are mostly South Indian buddhists, esp Tamil Buddhists, who fled to Sri Lanka after they lost out in mainland India.

    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    Assamese and Nepalese are mostly mongoloid, yet they speak Assamese and Nepali, both Indo-Aryan languages


    this is false. they are less than 50% east asian.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2945611/pdf/nihms232431.pdf?attredirects=0

    if you put more false data into comments i'll ban you.
  16. @rec1man
    Assamese and Nepalese are mostly mongoloid, yet they speak Assamese and Nepali, both Indo-Aryan languages

    In Sri Lanka, about 2000 years back, there was a split between Hindus and Buddhists - genetically they are almost identical, except the sinhalese seem to have more of Bengali mix - Y-dna R2 is common among Sinhalese.

    The buddhist clergy created an artificial sinhalese race based on myth of human-lion hybrid and pushed a separate language, Sinhalese which is Pali related - Pali is Indo-Aryan language -

    The Sinhalese cricket team looks very dravidian, and within recent recorded history, several castes have switched declared ethnicity from Tamil to Sinhalese

    Short Answer, Sinhalese are mostly South Indian buddhists, esp Tamil Buddhists, who fled to Sri Lanka after they lost out in mainland India.

    Assamese and Nepalese are mostly mongoloid, yet they speak Assamese and Nepali, both Indo-Aryan languages

    this is false. they are less than 50% east asian.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2945611/pdf/nihms232431.pdf?attredirects=0

    if you put more false data into comments i’ll ban you.

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    First of all, thank you very much for the wonderfully interesting post. Very informative and interesting.

    this is false. they are less than 50% east asian.
     
    I know nothing of the genetic background of the Nepalese, but I do have some familiarity with the Gurkhas who are recruited in Nepal. They seem to run the gamut from looking very Indian to looking almost entirely East Asian (but darker). The majority I saw in person was mostly East Asian-looking with dark skin. But it might be that the composition of the Gurkha recruits has changed over time. The historical photographs of older Gurkhas seem to show those who are much less East Asian-looking or at least more mixed-looking.

    I don't know about the Nepalese in general, but the Gurkhas, to me, seemed much more than 50% East Asian. But that's just looks.

    The Nepali aristocrats, however, seem to be mostly Indian in appearance.
  17. @Razib Khan
    Assamese and Nepalese are mostly mongoloid, yet they speak Assamese and Nepali, both Indo-Aryan languages


    this is false. they are less than 50% east asian.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2945611/pdf/nihms232431.pdf?attredirects=0

    if you put more false data into comments i'll ban you.

    First of all, thank you very much for the wonderfully interesting post. Very informative and interesting.

    this is false. they are less than 50% east asian.

    I know nothing of the genetic background of the Nepalese, but I do have some familiarity with the Gurkhas who are recruited in Nepal. They seem to run the gamut from looking very Indian to looking almost entirely East Asian (but darker). The majority I saw in person was mostly East Asian-looking with dark skin. But it might be that the composition of the Gurkha recruits has changed over time. The historical photographs of older Gurkhas seem to show those who are much less East Asian-looking or at least more mixed-looking.

    I don’t know about the Nepalese in general, but the Gurkhas, to me, seemed much more than 50% East Asian. But that’s just looks.

    The Nepali aristocrats, however, seem to be mostly Indian in appearance.

    • Replies: @CupOfCanada
    I'd suggest that how people look isn't a great way to judge deeper ancestral connections. Particularly when it comes to skin colour, a trait that has experienced so much selection.

    Re: the Brahmans - it always seemed to me that genetically they were a synthesis of Indo-Aryan elites and an existing pre-Indoeuropean (Harrapan? Dravidian?) upper caste/class, with varying degrees of ancestry from each group depending on the locale. Does that match others' view? If so they'd be an obvious vector for spreading R1a south, without necessarily having any implications on the origin of proto-Dravidians.

    Though the alternate scenario seems plausible too - that "Armenian-like" group that entered the Steppe just prior to the Indoeuropean expansion may have migrated to other areas. I don't think it's implausible that some ANE got swept up into the expansion of agriculture along the way.
    , @CS
    The % of East Asian in Nepalis just depends on the ethnic group or caste in question. The Newars, the inhabitants of Kathmandu, are pretty much a 50-50 mix between Tibeto Burman and Indic. The Newari language is Tibeto-Burman, but Newars can have surnames like Joshi and Sharma.
    Now, the Tibeto Burman tribes living in the hills would have some Indian admixture, as they live side-by-side with bahuns and chettris. My guess would be around 20%. Magars may have it higher. My expectation would be for Sherpas to have lower Indian admixture than the hill tribes.
    Chettris are the Kshatriyas of Nepal. There are multiple ways one can become a chettri. Marriage between a bahun and a Magar or Rai would produce a Chettri Child. "Pure" Chettris are called Jharra chhetris with surnames like Khadka or Karki. A marriage betweemln a bahun and a chettri also produces a chettri decendent. They are known as Khatri Chetris, or KC for short. Then you have the Thakuris who would be the Chettri aristocrats. The Chettri genetic data I have seen has East Asian in the 20-30% ballpark.

    Bahuns are pretty much similar to North Indian brahmins. The difference being some excess East Asian in the 5-10% range typically with some exceptions. Nepalese politicians tend to be bahuns. The Koiralas are all bahuns. The Maoist leader Prachanda is another bahun. Bahuns are divided into two groups: Paschimes who hail from Kumaon and Garhwal, and Purbiyas.

    Also, the Terai would be similar to Bihar.

    There are some Nepali samples on Harappa. They cluster into three groups. In reality though, I would separate out Newars from Magars.
    , @Razib Khan
    i think the gurkha are recruited from the hill tribes more. that's what wiki seems to be saying

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gurkha#Ethnic_identity
  18. @Twinkie
    First of all, thank you very much for the wonderfully interesting post. Very informative and interesting.

    this is false. they are less than 50% east asian.
     
    I know nothing of the genetic background of the Nepalese, but I do have some familiarity with the Gurkhas who are recruited in Nepal. They seem to run the gamut from looking very Indian to looking almost entirely East Asian (but darker). The majority I saw in person was mostly East Asian-looking with dark skin. But it might be that the composition of the Gurkha recruits has changed over time. The historical photographs of older Gurkhas seem to show those who are much less East Asian-looking or at least more mixed-looking.

    I don't know about the Nepalese in general, but the Gurkhas, to me, seemed much more than 50% East Asian. But that's just looks.

    The Nepali aristocrats, however, seem to be mostly Indian in appearance.

    I’d suggest that how people look isn’t a great way to judge deeper ancestral connections. Particularly when it comes to skin colour, a trait that has experienced so much selection.

    Re: the Brahmans – it always seemed to me that genetically they were a synthesis of Indo-Aryan elites and an existing pre-Indoeuropean (Harrapan? Dravidian?) upper caste/class, with varying degrees of ancestry from each group depending on the locale. Does that match others’ view? If so they’d be an obvious vector for spreading R1a south, without necessarily having any implications on the origin of proto-Dravidians.

    Though the alternate scenario seems plausible too – that “Armenian-like” group that entered the Steppe just prior to the Indoeuropean expansion may have migrated to other areas. I don’t think it’s implausible that some ANE got swept up into the expansion of agriculture along the way.

  19. CS says:
    @Twinkie
    First of all, thank you very much for the wonderfully interesting post. Very informative and interesting.

    this is false. they are less than 50% east asian.
     
    I know nothing of the genetic background of the Nepalese, but I do have some familiarity with the Gurkhas who are recruited in Nepal. They seem to run the gamut from looking very Indian to looking almost entirely East Asian (but darker). The majority I saw in person was mostly East Asian-looking with dark skin. But it might be that the composition of the Gurkha recruits has changed over time. The historical photographs of older Gurkhas seem to show those who are much less East Asian-looking or at least more mixed-looking.

    I don't know about the Nepalese in general, but the Gurkhas, to me, seemed much more than 50% East Asian. But that's just looks.

    The Nepali aristocrats, however, seem to be mostly Indian in appearance.

    The % of East Asian in Nepalis just depends on the ethnic group or caste in question. The Newars, the inhabitants of Kathmandu, are pretty much a 50-50 mix between Tibeto Burman and Indic. The Newari language is Tibeto-Burman, but Newars can have surnames like Joshi and Sharma.
    Now, the Tibeto Burman tribes living in the hills would have some Indian admixture, as they live side-by-side with bahuns and chettris. My guess would be around 20%. Magars may have it higher. My expectation would be for Sherpas to have lower Indian admixture than the hill tribes.
    Chettris are the Kshatriyas of Nepal. There are multiple ways one can become a chettri. Marriage between a bahun and a Magar or Rai would produce a Chettri Child. “Pure” Chettris are called Jharra chhetris with surnames like Khadka or Karki. A marriage betweemln a bahun and a chettri also produces a chettri decendent. They are known as Khatri Chetris, or KC for short. Then you have the Thakuris who would be the Chettri aristocrats. The Chettri genetic data I have seen has East Asian in the 20-30% ballpark.

    Bahuns are pretty much similar to North Indian brahmins. The difference being some excess East Asian in the 5-10% range typically with some exceptions. Nepalese politicians tend to be bahuns. The Koiralas are all bahuns. The Maoist leader Prachanda is another bahun. Bahuns are divided into two groups: Paschimes who hail from Kumaon and Garhwal, and Purbiyas.

    Also, the Terai would be similar to Bihar.

    There are some Nepali samples on Harappa. They cluster into three groups. In reality though, I would separate out Newars from Magars.

    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    The % of East Asian in Nepalis just depends on the ethnic group or caste in question.

    the average is less than 50%. simple inspection of the numbers makes that clear. though correct, it is a highly structured population, rather like south asia rather than east asia.
  20. Additionally, they note that the “Asian” (which includes South, Central, Southwest Asia) and the European branches of R1a1a are relatively well separated, and, the greatest diversity of R1a1a can be found in Iran.

    Just a small correction, but if you’re referring to Underhill, that would be the Iranian/Eastern Turkey – the Zagros mountains.

    It’s worth noting that this is the location where animal domestication occurred. Which gives a very plausible source of expansion independent of the spread of grain agriculture.

  21. @CS
    The % of East Asian in Nepalis just depends on the ethnic group or caste in question. The Newars, the inhabitants of Kathmandu, are pretty much a 50-50 mix between Tibeto Burman and Indic. The Newari language is Tibeto-Burman, but Newars can have surnames like Joshi and Sharma.
    Now, the Tibeto Burman tribes living in the hills would have some Indian admixture, as they live side-by-side with bahuns and chettris. My guess would be around 20%. Magars may have it higher. My expectation would be for Sherpas to have lower Indian admixture than the hill tribes.
    Chettris are the Kshatriyas of Nepal. There are multiple ways one can become a chettri. Marriage between a bahun and a Magar or Rai would produce a Chettri Child. "Pure" Chettris are called Jharra chhetris with surnames like Khadka or Karki. A marriage betweemln a bahun and a chettri also produces a chettri decendent. They are known as Khatri Chetris, or KC for short. Then you have the Thakuris who would be the Chettri aristocrats. The Chettri genetic data I have seen has East Asian in the 20-30% ballpark.

    Bahuns are pretty much similar to North Indian brahmins. The difference being some excess East Asian in the 5-10% range typically with some exceptions. Nepalese politicians tend to be bahuns. The Koiralas are all bahuns. The Maoist leader Prachanda is another bahun. Bahuns are divided into two groups: Paschimes who hail from Kumaon and Garhwal, and Purbiyas.

    Also, the Terai would be similar to Bihar.

    There are some Nepali samples on Harappa. They cluster into three groups. In reality though, I would separate out Newars from Magars.

    The % of East Asian in Nepalis just depends on the ethnic group or caste in question.

    the average is less than 50%. simple inspection of the numbers makes that clear. though correct, it is a highly structured population, rather like south asia rather than east asia.

  22. @Twinkie
    First of all, thank you very much for the wonderfully interesting post. Very informative and interesting.

    this is false. they are less than 50% east asian.
     
    I know nothing of the genetic background of the Nepalese, but I do have some familiarity with the Gurkhas who are recruited in Nepal. They seem to run the gamut from looking very Indian to looking almost entirely East Asian (but darker). The majority I saw in person was mostly East Asian-looking with dark skin. But it might be that the composition of the Gurkha recruits has changed over time. The historical photographs of older Gurkhas seem to show those who are much less East Asian-looking or at least more mixed-looking.

    I don't know about the Nepalese in general, but the Gurkhas, to me, seemed much more than 50% East Asian. But that's just looks.

    The Nepali aristocrats, however, seem to be mostly Indian in appearance.

    i think the gurkha are recruited from the hill tribes more. that’s what wiki seems to be saying

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gurkha#Ethnic_identity

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    Makes sense. Most Gurkhas I saw resembled this guy: http://metro.co.uk/2011/03/24/gurkha-dipprasad-pun-who-fought-off-30-taliban-by-himself-awarded-honour-648090/
  23. @Razib Khan
    i think the gurkha are recruited from the hill tribes more. that's what wiki seems to be saying

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gurkha#Ethnic_identity
  24. Thanks for a really great post. A couple of thoughts, though.

    “At this point we’ve got ~90 percent of the story I think”.

    Possibly. But what about this:

    “More or less all South Asian populations are a fusion between a deeply indigenous strain which distant affinities to the peoples of eastern Eurasia (ASI), and a group very close to the ones typically found in Western Eurasia (ANI). There are no pure indigenes”.

    That argues against this:

    “Modern humans arrived in the Indian subcontinent ~50,000 years ago, and pushed onward to East Asia”

    The first comment indicates that the origins of the ASI eastern component did not arrive in East Asia via India. In fact it looks as though India at no time provided a viable route all the way from SW to SE Asia.

    “Though the Pleistocene genetic heritage of South Asia persists to a great extent”

    I don’t know about that. It seems unlikely to me that pre-Munda haplotypes should have been totally exterminated in India as a result of later arrivals and yet it is difficult to see any indigenous haplotypes that may be leftovers from earlier than the arrival of Munda, perhaps 10,000 years ago. Even Indian Y-DNA C may have come from the east, as may have Indian mt-DNA R. Probably long before other surviving haplotypes however. Even mt-DNA M may have spread from SE Asia, not India.

    “the genetic landscape of modern India is characterized by overlapping populations which are all hybrids of different regional groups which only recently expanded”.

    And arrived in India relatively recently.

  25. A further point:

    “I doubt that R1a1a was associated with one ethno-linguistic group at the end of the last Ice Age. It is present at relatively high frequencies in low caste and tribal populations in South India, so I am skeptical of an exclusive association with Indo-Europeans”

    R1a1a’s presence in ‘ low caste and tribal populations’ does not actually preclude it from having arrived with Indo-Europeans. In North America many European males moved ahead of the main European expansion and lived with indigenous groups. The same holds for New Zealand European and Maori interaction. In fact many Native Americans and Maori have European Y-DNA.

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