What do we call the Ancient Ancestral North Indians?

By Razib Khan 75 Comments

Commenters on this weblog have expressed dissatisfaction with the nomenclature of the “eastern Iranian farmers” who were the dominant genetic contributors to the Indus Valley People. The author of The formation of human populations in South and Central Asia agrees that this is a problem.

To review: the dominant ancestry component, called Iranian-related or eastern Iranian farmer, has two components. About 5-10% is related to “West Siberian Hunter-Gatherers”, who mostly descend from “Ancient North Eurasian” Paleo-Siberian groups (this group contributed ancestry to eastern European hunter-gatherers and Native Americans). The remainder of the ancestry is related to farming populations that are termed “Iranian” from samples in the Zagros in the early Holocene. But the genetics indicates that the separation of the Indian ancestry component dates to before farming, probably between 10-15,000 years ago. Without ancient DNA that is older, we can’t be sure of its geographic range, but it is reasonable to infer that this was an eastern expansion of hunter-gatherers out of the Zagros (seeing as how the WSHG ancestry is not found in the west, and the broader Iranian farmer clade seems to form a clade with Anatolian farmers and Levantine farmers).

But obviously the use of the term “Iranian” confuses with the nation-state of Iran.  This has come up when I use terms like “Iranian-speaking people,” and people get confused because they don’t assume that I’m talking about people who live in Russia (Ossetes), or ancient people who flourished in Xinjiang and Ukraine.

Historically modern Iran was called “Persia”, and Iran was actually more of an archaic civilizational term. But in the 20th-century the Pahlavi’s resurrected this ancient term for the nation-state, so here we are.

The question this: what is a better term for the “Iranian-related farmers”? I have often used the awkward “NW South Asia”, since it seems plausible this group was present in modern-day Pakistan by the early Holocene, and probably earlier. Thoughts?

I’m basically asking for terms and why you think those terms are good. I may adopt a term in the comments for usage on my blogs.

Note: We can’t call them “Ancient Ancestral North Indians” (AANI) since the ANI turn out to be a compound of Indus Periphery and Steppe.

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75 Replies to “What do we call the Ancient Ancestral North Indians?”

  1. South-Central Asian farmers would be better because they were concentrated in that area before the collapse of IVC. But I find it far-fetched that these Iranian-like people were in South-Central Asia for 12,000 yrs because the 4,500 yr old Rakhigari woman has very low ASI levels. The ASI levels of the skeleton in Eastern Iran and Turkmenistan are also too low. What kept the ASI in India from mixing with the Iranian-related people way earlier?

    1. In this scenario wouldn’t we have to explain how Iranian type ancestry became so widespread in South Asia among all groups to the extent there are no non-admixed AASI?

      And it seems to be the largest component of ancestry for most Indian groups.

      1. Very true. The Early Neolithic Iranian farmers were not even proper farmers like the Anatolian or Levantine ones. They were mostly goat-herders and were living in a region that wasn’t exactly great for a human population to thrive and expand. They did not have cattle while Indian Neolithic farmers had their own native Zebu cattle and perhaps even the Buffalo was already being domesticated early on.

    2. Helen,

      Good suggestion of name. I would slightly modify it and suggest Ancient South Central Asian (ASCA) because this ancestry is older than the Neolithic stage.

      About why AASI and this ASCA did not mix up, there is nothing strange about it. There was Anatolian Farmer Ancestry, Levantine Farmer Ancestry and Iranian Farmer Ancestry in the Near East at the very beginning of the Neolithic. There were all much different from each other with little admixture between them. In succeeding millenia these ancestries gradually mixed up.

      Something similar to the above likely took place in South Asia. Moreover AASI ancestry is concentrated in Peninsular India and people with similar ancestry existed in SE Asia. So it is quite possible that AASI was not really native to North India but came from the south of the Vindhyas perhaps during the Chalcolithic period.

  2. The need for a standardardised nomenclature shows how much young is this science! Astronomy went though this phase in the modern age until we got the IAU in 1919 who are the primary naming agency today. Although with a heavy Euro-centric bias (Roman and Greek names predominate)..

    Hopefully a neutral mechanism is discovered that can do justice to native and political articulation of historical ownership.

    To begin with, if a list of surrogates –

    1. Place of discovery
    2. Any cultural artifact that distinguishes the site in terms of known historicity
    3. Where do the modern descendants of this particular cline live?
    4. The recorded antiquity of that area (any particular names) with reference to that site

  3. South-Central Asian farmers would be better because they were concentrated in that area before the collapse of IVC. But I find it far-fetched that these Iranian-like people were in South-Central Asia for 12,000 yrs because the 4,500 yr old Rakhigari woman has very low ASI levels. The ASI levels of the skeleton in Eastern Iran and Turkmenistan are also too low. What kept the ASI in India from mixing with the Iranian-related people way earlier?

    right. the iranian-related farmers might have been in eastern iran? who knows.

    the main way AASI ancestry would be kept out is that perhaps the thar desert was a pretty intense barrier? and the density of hunter-gatherers really low before agriculture in mostly desert areas

    1. The Thar desert is only between 4000 to 10000 years old. I would say that the lower range is more realistic because there is a singular lack of reference to the desert in the Rgveda.

      1. Ugra,

        The West Iranian/East Iranian farmer/forager separated from each other between 20-15 kya. The oldest division is between Iranian plateau and Indian subcontinent. Central Asia has younger clades. So this means the ancestral population expanded when the Last Glacial Maximum came to an end sometime after 20 kya.

        Before this time, the Thar desert did exist but palaeolithic evidence indicates that humans did live in its eastern zone. After 20 kya, with melting of ice, there was massive flow of water across major rivers in North India, Afghanistan, Eastern Iran and Central Asia. The Indian monsoon was also at its peak and its influence extended into Eastern Iran and Central Asia. Saraswati most likely began around this time. It is then that the Thar desert nearly disappeared or went extinct. But beginning around 6.5 kya, the monsoon began to progressively weaken and perhaps meltwater also decreased which then culminated into the Thar desert coming again. Atleast this is what it looks like at the moment.

    2. Even in Eastern Iran, there was 30% Anatolian farming ancestry by 5000 BC. Maybe a large population of Iranian-related people were forced to move to South-Central Asia 8000 yrs ago by the incoming Anatolian farmers.

  4. I would say that the lower range is more realistic because there is a singular lack of reference to the desert in the Rgveda.

    for stuff like deserts, paleoclimate and geosci research is more credible than rgveda. is the 4 to 10K range from that?

    1. Yes, the 4000 to 10000 range is a scientific input. Around 1500 years ago, aridification accelerated due to a change in monsoon parts. The western part of the Thar desert is only 1500 years old. The oldest part of the desert is the southern region bordering Gujarat (10000 years).

      https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/291542891.pdf

  5. another option is that AASI pushed up from the south or from the east after the holocene. east seems unlikely since andamanese are probably from burma-pleistocene groups and they diverged from AASI 35-40 K BP.

    1. Would be interesting to get samples from the neolithic ash mound people of the central deccan. If they were already InPe admixed, or pure AASI. That culture was extant from 3000bc to 1200bc i believe.

  6. It is about the time to clarify many terms used in our discussions which only create confusion. One of the first is ‘Indo-European’, i.e. former ‘Indo-Germanishe’(languages and people?). In last OT I also mentioned ‘Indo-Iranian’. ‘Steppe’ is also a candidate because it does not mean anything. What does it mean ‘Iranian’ and how old is this term? Why ‘ancient people who flourished in Xinjiang and Ukraine’ are called ‘Iranians’? Why not, for e.g. ‘Balkanians’ if they have origins over there? Or maybe not?

    1. That was one small step for BP but one giant leap for mankind that Houston recognised that we have a problem (reported by Austin) with a taxonomy. By fixing this, we will finally resolve the cornerstone of the world history. All elements are already presented in the last OT. If the ‘Iran’ means ‘Aryan’ why we make confusion?

      In a sentence – Aryans originated in Vincha and 4500 years ago started spreading through grasslands (steppes), valleys and mountains in Russia, SA, Iran, Tibet, Tarim Basin, Xinyang, China (‘Northern people’), Gulf, even reaching Serendib. Their language was a basis for future Euro-languages and Sanskrit. They also brought few other things in their luggage.

      Apart from the previously mentioned names, the term ‘Caucasians’ probably also will need to be changed. It can be replaced by using the place/civilisation of the origin – ‘Vinchans’ or by the language originally spoken – ‘Serbians’.

      1. Milan,

        Enough with the crackpottery. Alexander the Great wasn’t Serbian, Media isn’t Serbian, Vinca wasn’t Serbian, and the original Indo-Europeans did not speak Serbian.

        The Serbs did form as a people until the South Slavic expansions south of the Danube.

        Enough with the trolling and stupidity.

  7. If Anatolian farmer and Iranian farmer and Levantine farmer exist as accepted terms, the easiest term for these Eastern Iranian farmers would be Indian farmers since the assumption is that AASI are hunter gatherers ? Or since Yamnaya-related pastoralists is acceptable terminology, perhaps Mehrgarh-related farmers ? Or perhaps Basal North Indians ?

  8. In this scenario wouldn’t we have to explain how Iranian type ancestry became so widespread in South Asia among all groups to the extent there are no non-admixed AASI?

    outside of a few groups all south indians have some steppe too. lower % than northern groups. my model is that the ‘iranian-related’ component spread in two waves

    1) before 3000-1000 BC (ASI formed then)
    2) 1000 BC and later where indo-aryan speakers from the north moved south

    1. Razib,

      Are we sure that the ‘steppe’ ancestry in most South Indians is not the ANE/WSHG already found in InPe ?

    1. Žile, it seems that your proposition got overwhelming support. I had slightly different suggestion, but after overnight deliberation, I gave you my voice, too. The next step is that Razib communicate this, as BP proposition, to the academic community. Also, someone should inform the runner option (‘Proto-Acronymistani’) that they were unsuccessful in a final round. I suggest assigning this task to Bhimrao for ‘liberals’ and to IsThisReal for hard core jihadi community. I will undertake the toughest task and communicate the final resolution to the OIT hawkish wing. I also delegate you in the solution implementation team. Stay cool.

  9. “What do we call the Ancient Ancestral North Indians”

    Amey might not like it, but ancient ‘North-West Southerners-migrating Eastward’ Asians has ring to it

  10. Eastern Iranian HG is the only thing that makes sense. The strongest genetic signal for this population is found in Iranic speaking peoples on the Iranian Plateau (Balochistan).

    1. Doesn’t make much sense. Early evidence of farming is not just found in Mehrgarh, Baluchistan but also far away in Haryana where the two sites of Kunal and Bhiranna have Neolithic levels earlier than 7000 BCE. The livestock included Indian Zebu, Buffalo, sheep and goats – similar to how it was in Mehrgarh. Considering how the Rakhigarhi sample with high Iran N type ancestry is from this very region, I am quite positive that the early Neolithic people of Haryana were also quite similar to Rakhigarhi sample with a bit less AASI perhaps.

      Therefore, an ancestral population with already such a wide geographical expanse in the Neolithic itself and such a major presence in all South Asian groups without exception cannot be associated merely with the limiting term ‘Iranian’ in the least bit. A term like Ancient North Eurasian is much more appropriate because it signifies presence over a large expanse. The term Iranian Neolithic farmer or Zagros farmer is also not appropriate for the Western Iranian Farmers, tbh. But considering the close presence of radically different Neolithic groups like the Anatolian and Levantine, it is understandable which the geneticists went for this name.

      I think, that the ancestral group that gave rise to Iranian Neolithic farmers, the CHG and also the Ancestral SC Asians should be named as Ancient Central Eurasians since their wide geographical presence over the central part of Eurasia from Caucasus to South Asia makes it quite an appropriate designation.

  11. At some point we’re going to get a type sample from the eastern Iranian plateau, so might as well pre-empt it with an an appropriate and neutral geographic term.
    Ancient Khorasani? Trans-Hindu Kush?

  12. How about Ancient Gedrosians.

    I know that it is a foreign Latin/Greek name but so is India in AASI. Not equivalents since India comes from Sindhu but still an option.

  13. Ancient Bactria / Das Bactria/BMAC people
    Since we don’t know what they called themselves

  14. Early South Asian Farmer (ESAF)… similar to EEF (Early European Farmer). Keep it consistent.

    Or change EEF to Turkish Farmer – keep it consistent that way.

    I’d also be ok with Early Baloch Farmer, IVC Farmer, Indus Farmer, Mehrgarh Farmer… just not Iran – its way too confusing.

  15. As the topic of an older Podcast and also what I commented on twitter.
    Doesn’t NW south Asian sound very very confusing ?

    Indus ancient farmers or Ancient Baloch Farmers might really be appropriate than deep into the North Western South Asia (Just East missing )

  16. Iranian like a farmers though slightly misleading is less confusing than North West South Asia. Iran being a concrete well defined term people looking up Iranian farmers are less likely to be confused in my opinion than NW South Asia.

  17. I have just realised that the name ‘Balkanians’ cannot be used. The term ‘Balkan’ is a Turkish name, but it was introduced by British in the 19th.c. Turks, themselves, have never used this name, they used a Turkish translation of the original Serbian name – Helm. It is an archaic form of Hum what means – Hills. ‘Hum’ is still used as a toponym or a root for many words, e.g. Zahumlye (a region behind the Hill) or Humka (hillock).

    Another name which can be used is Media. This name was actually transferred from the Balkan to Persia. This ancient region consisted of the most of Yugoslavia but also included a part of northern Greece. One of the names which was widely used for Serbs was – Medi (Meds). This region has seen many kingdoms with different names, but the name of the land remained – Media. Alexander’s Makedonia before got this name was (a part of) Media. It is also known that Alexander married 10000 of his Serbian soldiers with Persian girls in one day in a common ceremony in Babylon. In fact, they had the same origin.

    Someone mentioned ‘Iranic speaking people Balochi’. Even wiki says that a tribe Balochi (actually – Belići=Whites) came to SA with the first Aryan leader Bell (=white, e.g. Belgrade=white city) and because they got this name. If they spoke ‘iranic’, it means that they spoke the above mentioned ancestral Aryan language.


  18. “The question this: what is a better term for the “Iranian-related farmers”? I have often used the awkward “NW South Asia”, since it seems plausible this group was present in modern-day Pakistan by the early Holocene, and probably earlier. Thoughts?”

    obviously “pakistani farmers”. after all, pakistan as a nation has existed since pre-history, far longer than the british creation called “india”. 😉

    1. Nah, their new stance is that Pakistan was known throughout history as Mehrgarh, then as IVC, and now as Pakistan.

      So the term you’re looking for is “Mehrgarh farmers”, lol.

      1. To an extent I am sympathetic to Pakistanis on this. the word “India” is bound to be associated with the “Republic of India”, which is just as new a political entity as Pakistan.

        I guess the difference is the ‘concept’ of Pakistan first as an pure Islamic State for Indian Muslims, and post-Bangladesh secession as an “Indus state” is a bit newer.

        But like other regions of the subcontinent, the parts that comprise Pakistan do have some distinct history and identity. The overcompensation aspect of disavowing any ties to Indic cuture is a bit silly, because the areas that are currently a part of Pakistan produced some of the finest contributions to Dharmic culture.

        Along the same vein the areas that are currently a part of India produced some of the finest contributions to Indo-Islamic culture. It is kinda silly for non-Muslim Indians to disavow that history as completely foreign.

        1. Better go with River or ethnic names which are more neutral. Like Indus Hunter gatherers or Balochi or farmers Zagros related herders or something similar

  19. Since the OIT nitwits project the present assumptions about the Indian state into the past, why not call them Ancient Ancestral Pakistanis.

    1. Roy,

      Mind your language. Just because someone supports OIT he does become a nitwit. Name-calling is certainly not appreciated. OIT is supported by ancient textual evidence and is now also supported by archaeological evidence. Stop looking at the western academics as some kind of infallible gods. They are not free of their biases and in the Indo-European field, they pay much less attention to South Asian data when it comes to formulating their theories. Stop being naive.

  20. In light of the fact that these ‘eastern iranian famers’ are mostly seen leaving their mark in Indus valley (correct me here if wrong) the appropriate term is Ancient Indus farmers. After all the separation between them and iranian farmers is 10-15 thousand years which cannot be dismissed as minor detail.

    Otherwise using same logic and current consensus we cannot call steppe people as ‘indo iranian’ or ‘indo aryan’ as the approached India. We may have to keep calling them sintashta or east european pastoralists or something to that effect. That obscures what those farmers represent or what they are expected to do in subsequent period.

  21. I really don’t think we can come up with a proper name right now. Like Vagheesh said, more genetic samples is the way to go (preferably ones that can also somehow help settle the whole Sarasvati/Ghaggar-Hakra debate too).

  22. //Note: We can’t call them “Ancient Ancestral North Indians” (AANI) since the ANI turn out to be a compound of Indus Periphery and Steppe.//
    In fact, don’t we have precedent? Ancient Ancestral South Indians (AASI), even though ASI turn out to be a compound of AHG related + Indus Periphery

  23. Khanishka has just opened the Pandora’s box and things just keep coming. We can use the analogy with utilisation of the term Proto-Something (e.g. Proto-Indo-European, etc) in a contemporary science just to illustrate such nonsense. Accordingly, in this case we can use the term ‘Proto-Pakistanis’. Similarly, Apaches are Proto-Yanks, Serbs are Proto-Greeks and, if we assume that in a 100-200 years some people will go to the Mars, we are in fact, all Proto-Martians.

  24. My proposal is Uttara Madra Farmers (UMF)……that region was called as Madra and Uttara Madra by Indians in the 2nd millennium BC.

    This has a historic basis, is properly attested in texts and if we go by descriptions, the people of those areas were also self aware of that name.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madra

  25. @Razib, generally how many skeletal samples have been taken from the Indian subcontinent to arrive at AASI/asi/ani, etc., let us say pre-1500 BC period

      1. Any reason for non preservation of skeletons? The area has a huge climatic and geological variety , so I am surprised. Hindu burning of bodies would not account even for 50% of the dead so far. So, in cold areas with hard surface or even dry desert conditions, the remnants of bodies to yield a DNA should have high probability . Bringing more areas under cultivation would have destroyed a large number of them.

          1. permit-raj issues don’t arise for Indian archaeologists , the apex body is Archaeological Survey of India . Even uni archaeology/genetics dept shud not have the problem . The situation in India is not like American Indians or Sami who don’t want to part with bones of long dead ancestors We will have a better pre-historic genetic profile of India when we have dozens if not hundreds of skeletons from across India pre 2000 BC . Actually there are many sites in South India with burial pots and even chambers. The oldest sites are about 150000 old , a paleolithic ‘factory’ on the outskirts of Chennai, near the airport . That is known for about 150 years. I don’t know what happened to any genetic studies from their remains . May be in pre-Genetics days, they were not preserved . It is ironic, a population of about 1.5 billion, there are not many samples 3000 BP

  26. We can call them Ancient Ancestral Dravidians, or proto Dravidian. They were eastern Iranian hunter gatherers who turned to farming and most probably spoke a proto dravidian language. We have the brahui language in that area still surviving.

  27. I like South-Central Asian or South Siberian due to their higher ANE ancestry. Given that all other branches of MA-1 have been defined as ANE vs. Dzudzuana vs. WHG ancestry. I wonder what their ANE vs Dzudzuana vs AASI breakdowns would be.

    1. Also, I only have access to Eurogenes’ PCA tools, but doesn’t the ANE/Dzudzuana component in IVC cluster more closely with Central Asian eneolithic samples (Geoksyur, Namazga_Tepe, Parkhai, Sarazm) than with neolithic Iranian samples?

  28. In fact, don’t we have precedent? Ancient Ancestral South Indians (AASI), even though ASI turn out to be a compound of AHG related + Indus Periphery

    ASI = AASI + iranian-related
    ANI = (iranian-related + AASI) + steppe

    so the correspondence is difference. if it was ANI = AASI + iranian-related then iranian related could be AANI? perhaps that’s what would work even though the steppe is in ANI?

  29. I would like to see the day when it is discovered that the Steppes people also came from somewhere and get reduced to a formula comprising more ancient peoples.

    All of the current terminology – ANE, WHG, EEF – only date to the beginning of the Holocene. If we go further beyond the Last Glacial Maximum, then it might be interesting.

  30. Looking at the data, I’d caution against Gedrosian.

    I think the problem with Gedrosian lies in the fact that IVC-related West Eurasian ancestry does not peak in the populations of Balochistan.

    The Balochistanis (Baloch, Brahui, and Makrani) and many Bandari Iranians represent a rather substantive survival of actual Iran_N admixture.

    Again, it’s not the sort of ancestry seen with Indus_perhiphery; it’s the sort of ancestry seen with the Zagros Neolithic. In fact, these people constitute a distinctive cluster within the context of West Asian variation. I suppose we could call them the Southeastern Iranians.

    Getting more speculative though (since I haven’t worked with the samples):

    I think that it’s quite likely that IVC-related West Eurasian genetic ancestry peaks among the Toda of southern India. These people cluster alongside UP Brahmins, despite a probable lack of any Steppe_MLBA. So, there’s a good chance that they’re somewhere around 70-80% IVC-related West Eurasian, somewhere around 30-20% AASI.

    Regardless, if we’re really married to AASI-ASI, then there’s certainly something to be said for AANI-ANI.

    And from the perspective of deep phylogeny, AANI is rather interesting when compared with it’s Near Eastern and Caucasian relatives.

    ^ As per some qpGraph modeling, AANI is about as “Basal Eurasian” as CHG (and thus much less so than Iran_N). But unlike CHG, there’s a clear lack of affinity towards WHG (in truth, probably a lack of affinity towards Dzudzuana; we certainly need those samples).

    Considering these general affinities for AANI, I think a prehistoric population fitting the bill could be found in remains from the far eastern fringe of the Near East, in what is now eastern Afghanistan/the western edge of Pakistan. So that’s rather unfortunate, considering the conditions at play in the region.

    On the brightside though, we could probably uncover AANI with more extensive sampling of IVC in Pakistan; we already have a few Indus_P that are approximately 90% West Eurasian… so, we’re bound to eventually uncover some with essentially 0% AASI, no?

    1. Looking at the Todas, they do look different. Some look like North Indians, others look ASI-admixed.

      Do you know how much steppe and ASI ancestry non-pathan and non-baloch Pakistanis have on average?

    2. Sein,

      I am sure you must have pondered on this – what do you make of the fact that the Indus Periphery samples are actually to the west of the Baluchistan region and most likely came to the site of Shahr-i-Sokhta in Eastern Iran from either Afghanistan (Mundigak) or from Chacolithic cultures of Mehrgarh, Baluchistan.

      So how come the modern Balochis are more western shifted and more alike to Neolthic Iranians than to Indus Periphery samples ?

      1. It could be because modern Balochis probably have Anatolian ancestry from Iran. That’s why they favor Neolithic Iranians, who did have some Anatolian ancestry.

  31. I don’t agree with all the terms used by the archeo geneticists, their usage of names and current geography for those names just don’t match. AASI, ASI, ANI, AANI, Steppe, AHG. ANI and ASI are not single populations, and adds to the confusion. While in reality South Asia is made up mostly of three populations.

    AASA – Ancient Ancestral South Asians. These people were found all over South Asia, including India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh. They are currently called AASI. Implication to the layman is that these people lived in South India. They should be called AASA.

    ASAF – Ancestral South Asian Farmers. Hunter gatherers closely related to Iran HG, who turned to farming in West South Asia. What we call Iran related. Their language was most probably proto dravidian, and the Dravidians today carry the highest amount their DNA.

    ASAP – Ancestral South Asian Pastoralist. The Sintashta/Andronovo people who came to South Asia. Indo-Aryan if you will.

    1. If you are going to be so politically strict about it then why include Asia in the name? After all Asia is the historical name given to a small region in Anatolia by the Greeks.

  32. @Razib, Interesting 🙂
    //ANI = (iranian-related + AASI) + steppe// Well. this implies before two admixture events, North India was populated with iranian-related people and it qualifies the name, ‘Ancient Ancestral’, right? Just because , the other two parts AASI ( South Indian – geography) and Steppe ( pontic-caspian steppe – geography).

    Intention here is to understand the logic behind AASI naming and trying not be pedantic, Please. and also applying the same logic to AANI. probably it was assumed that AASI was spread all over India(south asia) long time back. I dont think so. Iranian-related broke up with Iranian ancestry quite early more than 10000 BCE, right?

    1. According to the Shinde paper, the Iran in IVC split from all Iran groups over 10,000 BC. The east Iran mesolithic Hotu separated from the west Iranian groups over 10,000 BC and Iranian herders from Ganj Dareh split from the western Iranian farmers over 8,000 BC but after 10,000 BC.

  33. The naming ANI and ASI was a blunder. And we followed that blunder with AASI, and now you want AANI?

    We have to start from a clean slate. Because we can see three unrelated populations clearly today. You can call those three populations

    AASA or SAHG or if you want to call South Asia as India, then IHG.
    ASAF or ESAF or EIF (Early Indian Farmer)
    ASAP – Pun unintended. ESAP or EIP (Early Indian Pastoralist).

    Let us accept the original blunder and move on.

    1. Agree with Rajan. Let’s assign new, more meaningful names.

      Ancestral Indian (AI) replaces AASI – represents the Ancient East Eurasian part of South Asians

      South Asian HG (SAHG) for Mesolithic South Asian hunter gatherers (SAHG = AI + whatever else depending on region)

      West Indus HG (WIHG) stands for the Eastern variant of Iran HG

      A new name for early Indo-Aryan culture in Northern Pakistan based on their material culture — a naming similar to CWC in Europe or later PGW culture in South Asia.

  34. Razib,

    I think the designation Ancestral South Central Asian (ASCA) would be quite appropriate with the parental population of ASCA, CHG and Iran N groups being designated as Ancestral Central Eurasian (ACE).

    I would disagree that ASCA ultimately came from Zagros. The Neolithic Iranian samples already have ANE (i.e. WSHG) and ASI admixture indicating that the Zagros farmer himself might have come from more eastern regions.

  35. (AIU) Ancient Indian Uncle. He probably left the Iranian Plateau because those “rascals” were intermarrying with Anatolian HGs, who were “thoroughly useless.”

    AIU arrives in Northwest South Asia, and discovers (AIA) Ancient Indian Auntie. She believes leisure is evil, and everyone should be working all the time. She discovers AIU is very much into this new form of intensive gathering that involves the management of certain plant species to increase yields, and this new form of intensive hunting that better tracks and manages the movements of animals. She likes this, as she thinks most people are also “thoroughly useless.”

    AIA and AIU get married, and start lecturing everyone and providing unsolicited advice how they can be more productive, live in more permanent settlements, and larger communities. They create AIK (Ancient Indian Kid) who then starts getting into this new thing called Engineering. He discovers that you can build these big settlements with sewage, roads, and nice houses, and support those populations with the highly productive agriculture his parents have been emphasising.

    Perfect nomenclature.

  36. I don’t think there is anything particularly wrong with ancient Iranian farmers / hunter-gatherers. Though Zagrosians may be a better word?

    After all nobody confuses Neanderthals with Germans / Germanic people.

  37. Aren’t the Kalash an example of ANI? I remember reading that they were the closest to it somewhere. Despite their appearance, they are very genetically distant from europeans and middle easterners and fall on the south asian cline. I wonder why that is.

    Maybe the further east you go, the higher ANE or some other ancestry that shifts it away. So I don’t like calling it iranian-related if they are so distinct.

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