Rakhigarhi sneak-peaks

Over at my other weblog, noting that the Indian press is finally starting to simply report the substantive contents of the Rakhigarhi results. As we all know the media can distort and misrepresent, so we need to be cautious and wait on the final paper, mostly because with that the authors can speak freely and without intermediation. But, I have heard through the grapevine the general results, and the results are exactly what Outlook India is currently reporting.

The Rakhigarhi samples themselves aren’t that interesting to me. But, Niraj Rai seems to be pushing the admixture event with IndoA-Aryans after 1500 BC. This could be a misquote, or, it could be that the researchers from various groups now have enough data to fine-tune their parameters so as to narrow down various admixture timing events.


Ancient Ancestral South “Indians” may have roots in Southeast Asia

At the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution conference in Japan there is a presentation which reports evidence for gene flow from Pleistocene Southeast Asians into South Asia. I have long suggested this was possible for several reasons.

During the Last Glacial Maximum ~20,000 years ago Southeast Asia would have been a relatively protected and well-watered region in comparison to South Asia. My understanding is that moist savanna has higher population densities of hunter-gatherers than dry scrubland. Southeast Asia would have had a great deal of the former, and almost none of the latter (the LGM was drier, and the rainforest zone in Southeast Asia would have been smaller, and Sundaland was probably mostly savanna). The Thar desert zone would have been much more expansive, pushing south and east. The summer monsoons were far weaker.

All this indicates Southeast Asia would have had larger populations than South Asia during this period. And large populations tend to impact smaller populations genetically.

Additionally, looking closely at haplogroup M, which is highly diverse in South Asia, some of them look to be intrusive and related to branches in Southeast Asia. Though I do believe some of the M branches in South Asia are very old and probably native, others may have been brought by Southeast Asian people related to the Hoabinhian culture (which was mostly absorbed by rice farmers from the north during the Holocene).

During the Pleistocene Southeast Asia and Southern Asia were probably part of the same biogeographic zone, just as they are today. The ancestors and relatives of the Negrito peoples of Southeast Asia probably displayed a continuity from South Asia down toward Oceania. The preponderant gene flow at some points from the east to the was probably just a function of population size and climate.

Today the genetic differences on the border between South and Southeast Asia are striking. Though Pathans and Punjabis are quite different, they are far closer genetically than Bengalis and Burmese (notably, linguistically the chasm is also far greater). I think that has partly to do with agricultural and sedentarism. The mountainous zones in northeast India and western Burma are far harder for farmers to traverse than small groups of hunter-gatherers.


Bangladeshis are very East Asian, Sri Lankan Tamils are not quite as structured

Click to enlarge

A very long post as my other weblog where I reiterate how East Asian Bengalis, and in particular East Bengalis, are. Aside from the existence of a Dalit/scheduled caste subcommunity, very little has surprised me about Bangladeshi genetics in the last 5 years or so. Rather than a novelty, some simple truths seem to be reinforced over and over. Two major takeaways:

1) the only “exotic” aspect of Bengali ancestry is that Bengalis are substantially East Asian (with the exception that this is sharply attenuated in Brahmins).

2) Though there is some evidence of West Asian admixture in a few Bengali Muslims, you have to look really close to see evidence of it. Though I can believe and do believe, that many Bengali Muslims have a genealogical connection to Iran and Turan through a distinct paternal lineage, that has left a minimal genetic impact.

But one thing I did not emphasize in the post: looking closely at the 1000 Genomes Sri Lankan Tamil samples from the UK I think it is clear that they are less structured than an Indian sample would be. The proportion of Dalits is far lower than in the Indian Telugu sample obtained from the UK. So I will have to update my assertion that the Sri Lanka Tamil sample is as structured as Indians. It isn’t. This is contrast to the Lahore Punjabi samples, which are highly structured. More so than the Sri Lanka Tamils.


Bhadralok are made not born

Tanushree Dutta is a Bengali Kayastha

I have two samples of full ancestry from West Bengal. A Kayastha and a Brahmin. You can see where they plot.

Bengali Brahmins are very similar to North Indian Brahmins (often they have some “eastward” shift). In contrast, the Kayastha individual looks like the Bangladeshi samples, except with far less East Asian ancestry.

I do want more samples. Though I’ve gotten a few Bengali Brahmins and they exhibit the sample pattern as above. I am curious about non-Brahmin West Bengalis. But from the above, I think I will conclude that the hypothesis that Kayasthas are a cultivator caste which uplifted themselves occupationally is probably the right one.


Genetic variation in South Asia

I don’t have too much time right now. So a quick data post. The map above shows India’s scale in relation to Europe.

Below is an NJ tree that shows pairwise Fst values (genetic distance):

Please notice the small genetic difference between Britain/Spain/Poland. Compare to Gujrati vs. Sindhi, let alone Gujrati vs. Telegu.

Now, PCA:

Genetically Sindhis occupy a place between South Indians and Iranians. Some Gujaratis are nearly where Sindhis are, but many are far more shifted toward South Indians. The Fst display masks this since it aggregates populations.

Treemix shows the relationships and their scale. South Asians have a lot of drift between them.

Some of you are probably bored by this post and wonder about it’s practical implication. If so, keep on paging down (or up).


Genetical observations on caste

One of the more interesting and definite aspects of David Reich’s Who We Are and How We Got Here is on caste. In short, it looks like most Indian jatis have been genetically endogamous for ~2,000 years, and, varna groups exhibit some consistent genetic differences.

This is relevant because it makes the social constructionist view rather untenable. The genetic distinctiveness of jati groups is very hard to deny, it jumps out of the data. The assertions about varna are fuzzier. But, on the whole Brahmins across South Asia have the most ancestry from ancient “steppe” groups, while Dalits across South Asia have the least. Kshatriya is closer to Brahmins. Vaisya has lower fractions of “steppe”. And so on. These varna generalizations aren’t as clear and distinct as jati endogamy. Sudras from Punjab may have as much or more “steppe” than South Indian Brahmins. But the coarse patterns are striking.

As a geneticist, and as an irreligious atheist, a lot of the conversations about “caste” are irrelevant to me. They’re semantical.

You can tell me that true Hinduism doesn’t have caste, that it was “invented” by Westerners. They may not have had caste, but the genetical data is clear that South Asians were endogamous for 2,000 years to an extreme degree. Additionally, the classical caste hierarchy seems to correlate with particular ancestry fractions.

Second, you can say Islam, Sikhism, Jainism, and Buddhism don’t have caste. That they picked it up from Hinduism. Or Indian culture. That’s true. But I think Islam, Sikhism, Jainism, and Buddhism are all made up, just like Hinduism. I don’t care if made up ideologies don’t have caste in their made up religious system. I am curious about the revealed patterns genetically.

I have a pretty big data set of South Asians. Some of them are from the 1000 Genomes. Here is where the 1000 Genomes South Asians were collected:

Gujarati Indians from Houston, Texas
Punjabi from Lahore, Pakistan
Bengali from Dhaka, Bangladesh
Sri Lankan Tamil from the UK
Indian Telugu from the UK

Some of the groups showed a lot of genetic variation, so I split them based on how much “Ancestral North Indian” (ANI) they had. So Gujurati_ANI_1 has more ANI than Gujurati_ANI_2 and so forth.

Continue reading “Genetical observations on caste”


American Caste

Our featured post modernist scholar Daria Roithmayr appears to believes that America has four castes: caucasions, latinos, blacks, asians; and emphasizes the importance of caste (which she calls “race”) over class in understanding how the world works and changing societal socio-economic outcomes. And our featured hero, leader of the intellectual dark web, global respected elder, and leading global intellectual Glenn Loury believes in emphasizing class over caste. I am 200% with my hero Glenn Loury on emphasizing class over caste.

Discussions at Brown Pundits seem to be overrun with discussions on caste that I don’t fully understand. The parallels of caste in the muslim world (various different sects of Islam), Arya societies (Iran, Hindu Jain Buddhist influenced societies) and America are uncannily similar. Perhaps a discussion of American caste might help lower extreme passions and facilitate a more productive discussion of caste in muslim societies and Arya influenced societies.

Start watching 35 minutes in if interested.

Daria Roithmayr believes that due to a series of historical events humans are not born with the same social capital. This inequality in social capital is inherited across generations and she believes drives differences in average socio-economic outcomes between America’s four castes. The way she believes social capital in inherited across generations is:

  1. Inter-generational wealth transfer from parents to children [I think this is easily overcome]
  2. Rich kids go to better public schools funded by high property tax revenues [I don’t think school funding matters as much as she does. Expensive versus cheaper public schools matter far less than the power of “good company”, or the effect of kids being surrounded by other amazing kids.]
  3. Social networks [this or the power of “good company” is even more important and valuable than she thinks]
  4. Leadership of or influence on social networks [I don’t think I understand this point]

Daria Roithmayr is right that social capital advantage is inherited across generations. My belief is the way social capital transfers across generations is through affecting four types of privilege:

  1. Physical health [Sharira Siddhi in Sanskrit]
  2. Mental health [Chitta Shuddhi in Sanskrit]
  3. Intelligence [Buddhi in Sanskrit] {Intelligence is affected by physical and mental health as well as by meditation in eastern philosophy}
  4. Good company [This is the least important of the four and primarily works via the influence good company has on physical and mental health and intelligence. There is an eastern saying: “tell me your company and I will tell you who you are”. Social networks or what Glenn Loury calls “relations over transactions” is part of “good company”.]

The other issues Daria is discussing has a far smaller effect on inter-generational social capital transfer than these four.


Is American culture sharply increasing crime?

The US is currently experiencing the second largest increase in crime since statistics began to be tabulated, the largest increase in crime being in the 1960s and 1970s. From “Crime in California 2016” Table 5, page 9 in document, page 13 in PDF, the total number of forcible rapes in California increased by 49.3% between 2014 (8,562) to 2016 (12,785). From Table 1, page 5 in the document, page 9 in the PDF:

  • Homicides increased 13.7% between 2014 (1,697) and 2016 (1,930)
  • Robberies increased 12.6% between 2014 (48,650) and 2016 (54,769)
  • Aggravated Assault increased 13.8% between 2014 (91,681) and 2016 (104,307)

To better understand the massive US crime wave, I decided to calculate crimes committed  by various ethnic groups.

This article will use California crime data since US national level data on crime for Latino Americans and Asian Americans is usually not publicly released by the US government; perhaps for fear of what such data would show. I suspect that US and Canadian nationwide data would show similar trends. California demographic data by ethnicity is taken from 2015 US Census Bureau estimates. From “Crime in California 2016” Table 30, page 33 in document, page 37 in PDF, “Felony and Misdemeanor Arrests” 2016:

  • Caucasions were 4.99 times more likely to be arrested than Asians
  • Hispanics were 5.91 times more likely to be arrested than Asians
  • Blacks were 17.04 times more likely to be arrested than Asians
  • Non Asian Others (mostly native Americans) were 3.38 times more likely to be arrested than Asians

Arrest data by Asian country are also available; but Asians commit so few crimes that such data would be skewed by the law of small numbers. However you are free to research it yourself. The spreadsheet used for these calculations is available upon request.

Total crimes committed by caucasions, hispanics, blacks and “other” are released by category. “Other” is not broken down into Asian and non Asian other. However if we assume that non Asian others commit 3.38 times as much crime as Asians (a stretch to be sure), then:

Total homides by race from “Crime in California 2016” Table 31, page 34 in document, page 38 in PDF:

  • Caucasions were 2.44 times more likely to commit homicide than Asians
  • Hispanics were 4.44 times more likely to commit homicide than Asians
  • Blacks were 17.23 times more likely to commit homicide than Asians

Total robbery by race:

  • Caucasions were 4.63 times more likely to commit robbery than Asians
  • Hispanics were 7.96 times more likely to commit robbery than Asians
  • Blacks were 44.19 times more likely to commit robbery than Asians

Total rape by race:

  • Caucasions were 3.13 times more likely to commit rape than Asians
  • Hispanics were 5.44 times more likely to commit rape than Asians
  • Blacks were 12.24 times more likely to commit rape than Asians

Total assault by race:

  • Caucasions were 4.44 times more likely to commit assault than Asians
  • Hispanics were 5.48 times more likely to commit assault than Asians
  • Blacks were 15.44 times more likely to commit assault than Asians

Total kidnapping by race:

  • Caucasions were 3.92 times more likely to commit kidnapping than Asians
  • Hispanics were 6.52 times more likely to commit kidnapping than Asians
  • Blacks were 18.42 times more likely to commit kidnapping than Asians

If we assume that non Asian others are 3.38 times more likely to be incarcerated than Asians, then from

  • Caucasions were 4.18 times more likely to be incarcerated than Asians
  • Hispanics were 5.8 times more likely to be incarcerated than Asians
  • Blacks were 25.2 times more likely to be incarcerated than Asians

Continue reading “Is American culture sharply increasing crime?”