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Thread: Rakhigarhi: DNA study finds no Central Asian trace, junks Aryan invasion theory

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    Question Rakhigarhi: DNA study finds no Central Asian trace, junks Aryan invasion theory

    Harappan site of Rakhigarhi: DNA study finds no Central Asian trace, junks Aryan invasion theory


    By Anubhuti Vishnoi ET Bureau|Updated: Jun 13, 2018, 12.24 PM IST


    The much-awaited DNA study of the skeletal remains found at the Harappan site of Rakhigarhi, Haryana, shows no Central Asian trace, indicating the Aryan invasion theory was flawed and Vedic evolution was through indigenous people.

    The lead researchers1 of this soon-tobe published study — Vasant Shinde and Neeraj Rai — told ETthat this establishes the knowledge ecosystem in the Vedic era was guided by “fully indigenous” people with limited “external contact”.

    “The Rakhigarhi human DNA clearly shows a predominant local element — the mitochondrial DNA is very strong in it. There is some minor foreign element which shows some mixing up with a foreign population, but the DNA is clearly local,” Shinde told ET. He went on to add: “This indicates quite clearly, through archeological data, that the Vedic era that followed was a fully indigenous period with some external contact.”

    According to Shinde’s findings, the manner of burial is quite similar to the early Vedic period, also known as the Rigvedic Era. The pottery, the brick type used for construction and the general ‘good health’ of the people ascertained through the skeletal remains in Rakhigarhi, he said, pointed to a well-developed knowledge system that evolved further into the Vedic era. The study has, in fact, noted that some burial rituals observed in the Rakhigarhi necropolis prevail even now in some communities, showing a remarkable continuity over thousands of years.

    Shinde, who is the vice-chancellor of the Deccan College, Pune, was the lead archaeologist in the study while Rai, who is the head of the ancient DNA laboratory at Lucknow’s Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, did the DNA study.

    MINOR TRACES OF IRANIAN STRAINS
    According to Rai, the evidence points to a predominantly indigenous culture that voluntarily spread across other areas, not displaced or overrun by an Aryan invasion. “The condition of the human skeletons, the burial...all show absence of palaeo-pathology symptoms which could indicate ailments due to lack of medical care. The persons here were healthy; denture morphology showed teeth free of any infection; bones are healthy, as is the cranium,” Rai told ET.

    He also discounted the notion of any violent conflict. “There are no cuts and marks which would be associated with a population subjected to warfare. All this indicates that the people were receiving well-developed healthcare and had full-fledged knowledge systems.” The excavations in Rigvedic phase, he said, corroborate this. “This points to greater continuity rather than to a new Aryan race descending and bringing superior knowledge systems to the region,” Rai said.

    The Rakhigarhi study, he said, while showing absence of any Central Asian/Steppe element in the genetic make-up of the Harappan people, does indicate minor traces of Iranian strains which may point to contact, not invasion.

    The Aryan invasion theory holds forth that a set of migrants came from Central Asia armed with superior knowledge and arms and invaded the existing settlements to establish a more sophisticated civilisation in India and pushed the original inhabitants down south. Rakhigarhi is one of the biggest Harappan civilisation sites spread across 300 hectares in Hisar, Haryana. It’s estimated to be 6,000 years old and was part of the mature phase of the Harappan period.

    Rai disclosed that 148 independent skeletal elements from Rakhigarhi were screened for the presence of DNA molecules at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad. Of the 148 skeletal remains, only two samples yielded any relevant DNA material.

    Meanwhile, hectic last-minute efforts are on to get additional genetic details of the DNA material. One of the DNA samples recently faced contamination in a Seoul laboratory and efforts are on to segregate it. Samples were sent to laboratories in Seoul and Harvard for establishing accuracy. The contamination, Rai said, is unlikely to have any major bearing on the study’s primary findings.

    https://economictimes.indiatimes.com...w/64565413.cms

    What do you guys think?
    Last edited by khanabadoshi; 06-14-2018 at 04:46 PM. Reason: [Moderator: Edited post due to the political nature of the content]
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    Well the actual genetic results seem to be: there are 2 samples (maybe only 1); they don't have steppe ancestry; they have mostly indigenous ancestry, especially maternally; they have minor Iranian ancestry. So depending on what they mean by indigenous vs Iranian, could mean they are mostly AASI with a little Iranian farmer type ancestry, or it could mean they are including ancient Iranian farmer type ancestry in the indigenous category and the "minor traces" refer to later elements like BMAC, Tepe Hissar, etc. The latter seems more likely but who knows. So probably like Indus periphery as suspected, maybe more AASI (they are much further east).

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    They were simply pre-Aryan guys. What do they expect in such case?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Megalophias View Post
    Well the actual genetic results seem to be: there are 2 samples (maybe only 1); they don't have steppe ancestry; they have mostly indigenous ancestry, especially maternally; they have minor Iranian ancestry. So depending on what they mean by indigenous vs Iranian, could mean they are mostly AASI with a little Iranian farmer type ancestry, or it could mean they are including ancient Iranian farmer type ancestry in the indigenous category and the "minor traces" refer to later elements like BMAC, Tepe Hissar, etc. The latter seems more likely but who knows. So probably like Indus periphery as suspected, maybe more AASI (they are much further east).
    I think you are on the right track. The article is written very poorly. The only thing that everyone in mainstream India knows is the AIT. So every article will make some reference to that. Its quite sad. Because there is such an amazing story here but everything has to be brought back to that one thing because its the only thing that the general public knows about.

    When they finally release the data, I'm gonna guess it will be AASI (south asian HG) with lesser amounts of Iran Neolithic farmer as well. These rakhigarhi graves were not very rich. The archaeological site apparently indicated they were labourer class or migrants or both. My bet it they will look similar to modern day tribal castes.

    Whats more interesting are the so-called sanauli 'royal' burials that were recently discovered. A DNA test there will determine whether the people higher up the social order had more Iran_neolithic farmer in them. If that turns out to be the case, then we can reasonably assume that the origins of the caste system may precede the arrival of any steppe admixture.

    In any case, the south asian HG (or AASI) are a remarkable people. They left such an insanely strong genetic imprint all over South Asia (and even Iran and central asia to a lesser extent). Very remarkable for people who were always being pushed to the bottom of society.

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    Finally, Razib responded to that publication.

    The Rakhigarhi samples date to 2500 to 2250 BC last I checked. That means they shouldn’t have any steppe ancestry if the model of the relatively late demographic impact of Indo-Aryans after 2000 BC is correct.
    https://www.gnxp.com/WordPress/2018/...s-non-sequitur
    Last edited by noman; 06-13-2018 at 03:20 PM.
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    Only way it would refute so called Aryan invasion is if the Steppe signal is there in Rakhigarhi. Lack of steppe and being heavy in AASI and minor Iranian Neolithic only advances Aryan intrusion theory and the historical retreat of an indigenous AASI group. Of course the whole construct of AASI is again artificial and is being defined as the xIran_N in those that were Indus periphery. If the original hypothesis and construct is invasionist then all the models can be presented in similar manner with any and all data...

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    The samples simply predate the arrival of steppe. I thought it was already established from recent papers that IVC was mainly AASI + Iran N, with different ratios. [Moderator: Edited post due to the political nature of the content]
    Last edited by khanabadoshi; 06-14-2018 at 04:44 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by redifflal View Post
    Only way it would refute so called Aryan invasion is if the Steppe signal is there in Rakhigarhi. Lack of steppe and being heavy in AASI and minor Iranian Neolithic only advances Aryan intrusion theory and the historical retreat of an indigenous AASI group. Of course the whole construct of AASI is again artificial and is being defined as the xIran_N in those that were Indus periphery. If the original hypothesis and construct is invasionist then all the models can be presented in similar manner with any and all data...
    Niraj Rai has earlier told the results do support Aryan migration theory . I think the journalist might have confused what was told to him . The lack of steppe in Indus valley should actually support AMT/AIT rather than discrediting it . Vasant Shinde though it seems to support indigenous Aryan theory .

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    Quote Originally Posted by BMG View Post
    Niraj Rai has earlier told the results do support Aryan migration theory . I think the journalist might have confused what was told to him . The lack of steppe in Indus valley should actually support AMT/AIT rather than discrediting it . Vasant Shinde though it seems to support indigenous Aryan theory .
    The picture used for article kind of gives away which people it is targeted towards. I'm positive the researchers have a lot of pressure from the government as well. This is why I sometimes doubt the papers from our country, or any country.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BMG View Post
    Niraj Rai has earlier told the results do support Aryan migration theory . I think the journalist might have confused what was told to him . The lack of steppe in Indus valley should actually support AMT/AIT rather than discrediting it . Vasant Shinde though it seems to support indigenous Aryan theory .
    The issue is with the constant commingling between the terms 'steppe' and 'aryan'. The people who first started calling themselves aryan in the bmac region may have well had aasi ancestry in them too. Certainly a lot of the data from Swat seems to indicate that (they had horses, cremation etc but only 22% steppe admix in the early second millennium bce).

    Also the word 'invasion' is just implying something that there is absolutely no evidence for. Going forward these publications should refer to 'steppe migrations' as that would be more accurate. If and when we find evidence of an invasion, then we can start calling it steppe invasion. After that, if we ever find evidence that people in sintashta were referring to themselves as aryan then we can call it aryan invasion.

    Also the word aryan is simply too ingrained in hindu religion for anyone to ever have a reasonable discussion about it right now.

    Because of this bullsht no one is able to enjoy these amazing discoveries or feel real actual pride about them.

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