[INDOLOGY] New Scientist article about the Yamnaya migrations (27 March 2019 )

Dominik Wujastyk wujastyk at gmail.com
Sun Apr 14 22:01:55 UTC 2019

Here it is:

Europe is not enough

Almost all people of European descent can trace their paternal origins back
to inhabitants of the Eurasian steppe. In recent years, it has become clear
that these people, known as the Yamnaya, and their descendants travelled
across the continent during the Neolithic replacing locals – particularly
the men – as they went (see main story). Now we have discovered the Yamnaya
also migrated east.

A study by David Reich at Harvard Medical School and his colleagues posted
to the bioRxiv preprint server
<https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/292581v1> in 2018 gives us an idea
of when and how this happened. Using DNA samples from the remains of
hundreds of people who lived across south Asia between about 7000 and 3000
years ago, the team found evidence that Yamnaya-related DNA began appearing
there between 4000 and 3000 years ago.

Those steppe pastoralists mingled with people who may have been related to
the inhabitants of the famous Indus Valley Civilisation. In doing so, they
formed an “Ancient North Indian” population, one of the two ancestral
populations that define the ancestry of most people living in the Indian
subcontinent today. What’s more, incomers from the steppe may have brought
major cultural changes. Speaking at New Scientist Live
in September, Reich pointed out that people in the Indian subcontinent
today who carry the largest amounts of Ancient North Indian ancestry tend
to speak similar languages to one another, and often (but not always)
belong to upper castes.

As in Europe, it looks like the steppe migrants were largely young, male
and violent. A study by Martin Richards at the University of Huddersfield,
UK, and his colleagues found that maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA
sequences changed relatively little
<http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12862-017-0936-9> when they arrived. By
contrast, between 60 and 90 per cent of men now living in the area can
trace their paternally inherited Y chromosome to Yamnaya-related migrants.

“Indigenous males seem to have been marginalised by the new arrivals much
more than the women and were unable to have children to the same extent,”
says Richards. “This seems unlikely to have been a wholly benign process.”

On Sun, 14 Apr 2019 at 15:55, Olivelle, J P <jpo at austin.utexas.edu> wrote:

> Thanks, Dominik. This article refers to another on p. 30 of the issue,
> “Europe is not enough” and deals with Yamnaya in India. Do you have access
> to it?
> Patrick

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