Indian media is finally reporting on the Aryan migration into South Asia

For various ideological reasons in India there has been a strong resistance to the idea that Aryans came from outside of South Asia. When David Reich’s Reconstructing Indian Population History was published 2009 the Indian media had a weird response. For example, Aryan-Dravidian divide a myth: Study.

Though Reich’s paper was equivocal, it was clear to me that it was likely going to be the launching point for a resurrection of the Aryan migration theory. Now Tony Joseph in The Hindu has published a pretty good survey of the literature, How genetics is settling the Aryan migration debate. Nothing new for readers of this weblog, but he some good quotes:

The avalanche of new data has been so overwhelming that many scientists who were either sceptical or neutral about significant Bronze Age migrations into India have changed their opinions. Dr. Underhill himself is one of them. In a 2010 paper, for example, he had written that there was evidence “against substantial patrilineal gene flow from East Europe to Asia, including to India” in the last five or six millennia. Today, Dr. Underhill says there is no comparison between the kind of data available in 2010 and now. “Then, it was like looking into a darkened room from the outside through a keyhole with a little torch in hand; you could see some corners but not all, and not the whole picture. With whole genome sequencing, we can now see nearly the entire room, in clearer light.”

In relation to online debates I have had Indian interlocutors tell me flat out that they believe in the papers published between 2005 and 2010. It is nice to get the scientists who actually published this work now admit that new results overturn the older theories.

Note: I am going to refer to this as a migration, because “invasion” seems to connote too much specificity as to how it happened. But I have a difficult time imagining that it was a peaceful process.

12 thoughts on “Indian media is finally reporting on the Aryan migration into South Asia”

  1. One question in my mind is:

    To preface 1. Nothing wrong with hierarchy
    2. Aryas were tanned & not white so

    What about the migrations mentioned in Vedas & other texts. As an aside question, why are they always ignored & unexplained?

    Have no problem with AIT especially as it’s not bunch of blond blue eye anglos spreading daughter selling.. Lol

    But why is that entire side ignored.

    Imo because they want to contain India using Pakistan & keep away from C Asia.

    In short have no problem with AIT per se but in addition, what do you think about the Vedic migrations such as sons of Sri Raja Yayati Ji।।

  2. What current day populations would most closely resemble the pre-inv… uh migration Aryans, and same questions for the locals?

    1. south indian tribals have the highest ASI. since india seems to have had a few migrations from the north/west there isn’t a good analog. perhaps some people in the caucasus because there has been a lot of ANI-carrying migration into that zone in the past few thousand years?

      for most south asians proper (beyond pakistan) the ANI ancestry that is aryan most likely looks very similar to the yamna itself, not successor cultures.

          1. And that’s why so many people respect you Razib; you go with the evidence like the true scientist you are, even if it proves you had been wrong. That’s the way of science.

  3. Razib,

    It seems Moorjani et al paper says that there could be multiple waves of ANI into South Asia and the latest one to about 4k-4.5k BP.
    And recent David Reich lecture indicates (as much as I could make it as a layperson) that ANI in South Asia is more Yamnya kind and not nearby Andronovo culture.

    Based on these, what would be a guess for the earliest ANI introduction to South Asia, or may be the easier part, when did R1a-Z93 split to be of South Asians?
    Is the split for R1a -Z93 dated to be about the same time period as the latest ANI admixture to South Asia? This helps to understand if all ANI is from R1a-Z93 or if a part of ANI came with others earlier and latest ones happen to carry R1a-Z93.

    Also, my understanding from eurogenes (and its comments ) is that EHG part of Steppe DNA is missing from South Asians. Is it just a statistical issue based on which populations are used as a proxy for ANI in Admixture? (Just to be clear, I don’t know “Admixture” but have some grasp on what is PCA and what it usually says and what eigen values mean). Do you think if South Asians were modelled as a mixture of aDNA from Yamnya and Onge, would it give a better picture?

    Sorry for too many questions. Perhaps you will have a post at some point after aDNA from Rakhigarhi is available.

    1. @ViT

      Steppe_EBA ancestry in South Asia is the same package as elsewhere: mostly a mixture of EHG and CHG.

      You might be taking the labels in my qpGraph models too literally. In the South Asian models I label the HG ancestry in Yamnaya as Steppe_HG. But this is actually a subset of early EHG.

      In other words, Yamnaya doesn’t have EHG ancestry from, say, Karelia, but rather from the steppe.

    1. Not exactly against it but
      They say “We see no evidence that the caste system emerged in the wake of the arrival of Indo-Aryan speakers from the north, “

  4. Important genetic signals of european connection with south asians
    1.Almost all south asian R1a bearers having AA allele at rs1426654 which is european in origin
    2.North west Indians having CT/TT allele at rs4988235(MCM6 gene) but not all R1a south asians having this european lactose persistance mutation.It reminds Allentoft et.al 2015 deduction that light skin pigmentation arosed much earlier than Lactose persistance in europe.
    If ANI is much like Yamnaya then R1a might have reached BMAC-India before Andronovo’s influence.

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