New genetic study looks at Steppes migration across Eurasia

Posted On: Jul 23rd, 2018 at 15:58

Interestingly, after yesterday’s complex post and the ongoing genetic debate on the origins of the Indus Valley culture and thus modern-day Indians, a new study into the genetic migrations of the Steppes has produced some interesting results.
But let’s jump straight to the argument. The main cultures of the Steppes have been the Scythians, the Mongols and the Huns, and if we take these genetic features literally then we do not see them in the Indian people. We do see them, of course, in modern-day Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet and China. These people have influenced the far north of India, but certainly not the Indus Valley. What I mean is, of course, those with Mongoloid features. This is largely missing in India, and if we were to conclude there was the Aryan migration into India then we would perhaps see more of a Mongol influence in the genetics. Although this study was not about India at all, it was fully aware of the Aryan migration debate, thus the following statements have been made:

“The Science study also uncovered evidence of two waves of migration from the western Eurasian steppes into South Asia, a topic that has been hotly debated by both archaeologists and linguists alike. Although the Yamnaya and Afanasievo cultures have been proposed as the most likely groups to have traveled south and introduced western Eurasian genetic signatures into South Asian populations, the authors behind today’s paper found no evidence that either group did so.
Instead, the team uncovered suggestions of two waves of migration into South Asia: a very early one prior to the Bronze Age (ruling out the Early Bronze Age Yamnaya and Afanasievo) and a second during the Late Bronze Age, 3,200-4,300 years ago, which may have introduced Indo-Iranian languages into the region.
Before everyone gets all up in arms about these findings (you Yamnaya afficionados in particular can be insufferable), it’s important to remember that these are early findings. Exciting, yes, but still early. And though the database of ancient genomes is increasing in number, geographical and chronological range and also quality, there is still plenty more information to be found and reconciled with the archaeological, linguistic and historical records.”

The paper suggests people shouldn’t get “all up in arms” about these findings but I cannot help but get excited, for this does contradict yesterday’s report. An earlier migration from western Eurasian Steppes as far back as pre-Bronze Age is something that was missing in yesterday’s paper. If you remember, a stand-in sample was used where DNA samples from the early Indus Valley culture was missing. In this report, we have those earlier DNA markers and thus a suggestion there was indeed an earlier migration from the Steppes into the Indus Valley – the infamous Aryan migration.
But the article also clearly points to a later migration from “Indo-Iranian” peoples rather than “Indo-European” peoples, bringing that migration form the west rather than the north. That, to me, would rectify the lack of physical attributes of the Mongol race in India. It eradicates the markers of the earlier migration to a large degree, removes the physical features by natural breeding over time, and would clearly explain the origins of Sanskrit. It would also explain the links between the Indus Valley culture and Mesopotamia.
Are you following?
This debate is only getting started. Watch this space…