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Thread: A dynamic 6,000-year genetic history of Eurasia’s Eastern Steppe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alkaevli View Post
    Nowhere in my post did I claim the opposite, I simply referred to the classificiation done by the research team. One of the Turkic-period individuals is classified as a Chinese attendant of the Tang Dynasty, but there is no mention of Sogdians.

    Among the individuals with the highest eastern Eurasian affinity, two Türkic- and one Uyghur-period individual (ZAA004, ZAA002, OLN001. are indistinguishable from the Ulaanzuuk_SlabGrave cluster. Another individual (TUM001), who was recovered from the tomb ramp of an elite Türkic-era emissary of the Tang Dynasty, has a high proportion of Han463 (78.1±1.5%) (Fig. 3e) and especially Han_2000BP-related ancestry (84±1.5%) (Table S21). This male, buried with two dogs, was likely a Chinese attendant sacrificed to guard the tomb entrance (Ochir et al., 2013). The remaining 17 Türkic and Uyghur individuals show intermediate genetic profiles (Fig. 3e).
    This is what you wrote in your post that I objected to (emphasis mine):

    Quote Originally Posted by Alkaevli View Post
    They aren't ancient Mongols. The language spoken by the predominant element of Xiongnu is still a matter of debate. The Early Medieval samples (n=13) on the other hand are exclusively Turkic, namely Türk/Göktürk and Old Uyghur.
    https://anthrogenica.com/showthread....JpO#post655120

    Quote Originally Posted by Alkaevli View Post
    We know from the Chinese sources, Book of Zhou to be more precise, that the Türks (Tujue in Chinese) descend from the northern Xiongnu. Some Chinese sources claim that they were "mixed" nomads. Prior to the establishment of the First Türk Khaganate the Türks were blacksmith vassals of the Rouran realm. None of the Chinese sources indicates Sogdian origin. It's also worth noting that Sogdians were a sedentary people specialized in trade when the nomadic Türks replaced the Rourans as the ruling power in Mongolia.

    The relationship between the Türks and Sogdians reminds me of the relationship between the Seljuks and Persians. Many of the sultans of the Seljuk dynasty had Persian names, Persian and Islamic/Arabic titles were adopted, and Persian was the official language while Turkish was the language of the nomadic Oghuz/Turkmen tribes and military; despite the fact that the Seljuk dynasty was clearly of Oghuz stock. Likewise, Sogdians were very influential in the Türk Khaganate. They were often used as emissaries. Sogdian also served as one of the official languages for writing documents.

    The presence of West Eurasian lineages in Mongolia predates the Türk and Uyghur khaganates and is not related to Sogdians. The Xiongnu individuals also display a large variety of West Eurasian haplogroups. The other Xiongnu individuals (with Central Asian and East Asian genetic profiles) from Damgaard's paper are also R1b.
    I did not say the Ashina clan or the Türk bodun (not all of the Türk Khaganate, which was no doubt a multiethnic entity, but the ruling group within it) in general were Iranian, Turkic, Mongolic, something else or mixed, what I say is that we do not know what language or languages they spoke during the First Türk Khaganate era. I do not think Sogdian ever became a major spoken language in the steppe, what I rather think is that those Sogdian-sounding Türk Khaganate ruler names are actually in another East Iranian language. The reason is that East Iranian languages were already well established in the steppe and as the steppe East Iranian languages are not so well-known and not well-attested (especially in the Kazakh and Mongol steppes) and Sogdian is also an East Iranian language, however a non-steppe one, it is easy to confuse names and words in the steppe East Iranian languages with those in Sogdian and wrongly attribute them to Sogdian.

    I also sometimes make the Seljuk-Iran comparison or the Karakhanid-Iran comparison when trying to make sense of the Türk-Sogdian relationship, but we should not expect a one-to-one correspondence. For one thing, in the Türk-Sogdian case we do not see much religious overlap between the Türk side and the Sogdian side, the former was mostly pagan while the latter was mostly Zoroastrian. Religious differences are an important barrier against cultural assimilation, including adopting personal names from another culture. In the Seljuk-Iran and Karakhanid-Iran cases there was perfect religious overlap, both Seljuks and Karakhanids adopted the dominant religion and denomination of Iran, which was Hanafi Sunni Islam back then and a flood of loanwords from Persian to the specific Turkic languages of Seljuks and Karakhanids followed their conversions. We do not see that many Sogdian loanwords in the specific Turkic language(s) of Türks (when attested during the Second Türk Khaganate era) and Uyghurs.

    Much more importantly, like I said before, both the Türk Khaganate and the Uyghur Khaganate were steppe empires and included many ethnic groups and languages, and not all of them from the same language family, within their borders, so the null hypothesis should not be expecting all the tested individuals from those khaganates to be Turkic, more so after these genetic results.

    The R1b Xiongnu individual you mention belongs to the largely Central Asian PH200 subclade of R1b, he is one of the individuals labeled as "Xiongnu WE", so one of the individuals with high West Eurasian ancestry. Here are his Eurogenes K13 percentages:

    North_Atlantic 18.39 Pct
    Baltic 17.37 Pct
    West_Med -
    West_Asian 14.33 Pct
    East_Med -
    Red_Sea -
    South_Asian 7.60 Pct
    East_Asian 10.58 Pct
    Siberian 25.57 Pct
    Amerindian 3.69 Pct
    Oceanian -
    Northeast_African -
    Sub-Saharan 2.47 Pct

    He clearly has more West Eurasian than East Eurasian ancestry as you see.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alkaevli View Post
    Can we say the same for the Iron Age nomads who scatter along the West-East Eurasian cline? Even those from the same region and period show high diversity. The Sarmatian individuals have rather stable genetic profiles, but the Cimmerian and Saka/Scythian ones don't. For example, can we speculate about the possible linguistic barrier between the Saka individuals from the Kazakh steppe with 40-45% East Eurasian ancestry and the outlier Saka from the same region with much lower level of East Eurasian ancestry?

    I also think that some of those Türk-period individuals were originally non-Turkic speakers, but I wouldn't tell a lot about those individuals simply by looking at their Y-DNA haplogroups or East Eurasian levels.
    To your question, my answer is yes. I do not think the steppe was a linguistically homogeneous place from what is now Ukraine or Moldova all the way to the Altai (so excluding more eastern parts) during the Iron Age, those people probably did not even all speak the same language family. The ancient labels create more confusion than clarity, ancient Greek, Roman and Chinese authors did not have the modern strict standards of labeling or grouping people, we can understand this from the examples from outside the steppe as well (e.g., not all groups labeled as "German" by the ancient Greco-Roman authors were Germanic in speech). Also, even the groupings of the genetic studies themselves are problematic, some of the samples included in the Pontic-Caspian Scythian group in the studies are almost certainly newcomers to the steppe with their typical North Central European genetics. And lastly, the steppe during the pre-modern times was a place where strong states that could impose their language to their subjects never existed (case in point, even the Turkic-speaking peoples that appear in history following the Türk and Uyghur times overwhelmingly do not speak the Türk-Uyghur branch of Turkic but separate branches), such things require sedentary life in the first place, so I am not talking in vain when I write "it is highly unlikely that those tested individuals all spoke the same language or closely-related languages in the pre-modern steppe with so contrasting genetic results" when talking about the tested individuals from the Türk and Uyghur khaganates, especially after seeing the much more genetically homogeneous Karluk, Karakhanid, Kimak and Oghuz/Turcoman results.

    BTW, this is a more complete version of the text you quoted:

    Individual TUK001 (250-383 cal. CE), whose burial was an intrusion into an earlier Xiongnu cemetery, has the highest western Eurasian affinity. This ancestry is distinct from that of the Sarmatians, and closer to ancient populations with BMAC/Iranian-related ancestry (Fig. 2). Among the individuals with the highest eastern Eurasian affinity, two Türkic- and one Uyghur-period individual (ZAA004, ZAA002, OLN001. are indistinguishable from the Ulaanzuuk_SlabGrave cluster. Another individual (TUM001), who was recovered from the tomb ramp of an elite Türkic-era emissary of the Tang Dynasty, has a high proportion of Han- (78.1±1.5%) (Fig. 3e) and especially Han_2000BP-related ancestry (84±1.5%) (Table S21). This male, buried with two dogs, was likely a Chinese attendant sacrificed to guard the tomb entrance (Ochir et al., 2013). The remaining 17 Türkic and Uyghur individuals show intermediate genetic profiles (Fig. 3e).

    So the 17 samples they describe as genetically intermediate are intermediate between the samples ZAA004, ZAA002, OLN001.B and the sample TUK001, so intermediate between Oroqen-like genetics and Chechen-like genetics and very diffusely scattered at that according to the PCAs.
    Last edited by Onur Dincer; 04-07-2020 at 04:14 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by parasar View Post
    Wasn't this part of the first Kurgan wave of Gimbutas?
    "The Kurgan Expansions"
    https://books.google.com/books?id=tzU3RIV2BWIC&pg=PA339
    Yeah at that stage L23 only barely had come into being so chances are any M269 representation would be M269xL23. It seems that this line was likely absorbed into a later Z2103 heavy group and later it was likely pushed out of the Lower Danube and west black seas are into its European hotspot today at the Kosovo-Albania-south Serbia, west Bulgaria, SW Romania interface. It looks to me like it was probably pushed out the Danube and south up the Morova river into the mountains. It seems superficially to me to be associated with Albanian and there is also a hotspot in parts of Armenia. That tends to make me think it was once linked to more easterly Balkans IE groups that pushed/were pushed into those areas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alan View Post
    Yeah at that stage L23 only barely had come into being so chances are any M269 representation would be M269xL23. It seems that this line was likely absorbed into a later Z2103 heavy group and later it was likely pushed out of the Lower Danube and west black seas are into its European hotspot today at the Kosovo-Albania-south Serbia, west Bulgaria, SW Romania interface. It looks to me like it was probably pushed out the Danube and south up the Morova river into the mountains. It seems superficially to me to be associated with Albanian and there is also a hotspot in parts of Armenia. That tends to make me think it was once linked to more easterly Balkans IE groups that pushed/were pushed into those areas.
    By the way, just because a sample is positive for an SNP at the M269 level, it does not mean that this sample belonged to the fully formed clade which, last time I looked, contained about 100 mutations.
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    Quote Originally Posted by R.Rocca View Post
    By the way, just because a sample is positive for an SNP at the M269 level, it does not mean that this sample belonged to the fully formed clade which, last time I looked, contained about 100 mutations.
    True. He could very well be a dead end but it just seems at least a possibility that he was part of the clade given the date, Balkans associations etc. The yfull date for the TMRCA of all these M269xL23 guys does sound very similar to the date of the ancient dna sample.

    I suppose a M269xL23 guy in that area at that time when the earliest steppe influences were coming into the Balkans is that it suggests that M269 was present in the Novodanilovka group who were located between the Dnieper area and Azov.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Onur Dincer View Post
    This is what you wrote in your post that I objected to (emphasis mine):
    Except for one Chinese attendant (which I noticed later), they are classified as Türk and Uyghur. There is another individual whose cultural affiliation is unclassified. ADW_1981 referred to them as ancient Mongols and I corrected him. There might be Iranic and Mongolic speakers among them (which we can't know for sure), but it is incorrect to collectively refer to them as ancient Mongols. They are neither classified as Mongols nor from the Mongol period and this is the point of my post. I hope it is clear now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Onur Dincer View Post
    I did not say the Ashina clan or the Türk bodun (not all of the Türk Khaganate, which was no doubt a multiethnic entity, but the ruling group within it) in general were Iranian, Turkic, Mongolic, something else or mixed, what I say is that we do not know what language or languages they spoke during the First Türk Khaganate era. I do not think Sogdian ever became a major spoken language in the steppe, what I rather think is that those Sogdian-sounding Türk Khaganate ruler names are actually in another East Iranian language. The reason is that East Iranian languages were already well established in the steppe and as the steppe East Iranian languages are not so well-known and not well-attested (especially in the Kazakh and Mongol steppes) and Sogdian is also an East Iranian language, however a non-steppe one, it is easy to confuse names and words in the steppe East Iranian languages with those in Sogdian and wrongly attribute them to Sogdian.
    The theory that the Türks were originally Saka or Wusun is based almost entirely on the uncertain etymology of the name Ashina. I have yet to see an actual evidence or an ancient source that links the origin of Türks to Iranic speakers. Instead, there are Chinese sources describing them as being descended from the Xiongnu.

    Besides, this sentence of yours contradicts the theory:
    And lastly, the steppe during the pre-modern times was a place where strong states that could impose their language to their subjects never existed.

    Who imposed the specific Turkic language on the ruling Türks? Another East Iranian language (Sogdian) was still there, they could have adopted it instead.

    Quote Originally Posted by Onur Dincer View Post
    The R1b Xiongnu individual you mention belongs to the largely Central Asian PH200 subclade of R1b, he is one of the individuals labeled as "Xiongnu WE", so one of the individuals with high West Eurasian ancestry. Here are his Eurogenes K13 percentages:

    North_Atlantic 18.39 Pct
    Baltic 17.37 Pct
    West_Med -
    West_Asian 14.33 Pct
    East_Med -
    Red_Sea -
    South_Asian 7.60 Pct
    East_Asian 10.58 Pct
    Siberian 25.57 Pct
    Amerindian 3.69 Pct
    Oceanian -
    Northeast_African -
    Sub-Saharan 2.47 Pct

    He clearly has more West Eurasian than East Eurasian ancestry as you see.
    What's your point? I didn't say he has more East Eurasian ancestry than West Eurasian.
    Last edited by Alkaevli; 04-10-2020 at 10:33 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alkaevli View Post
    Except for one Chinese attendant (which I noticed later), they are classified as Türk and Uyghur. There is another individual whose cultural affiliation is unclassified. ADW_1981 referred to them as ancient Mongols and I corrected him. There might be Iranic and Mongolic speakers among them (which we can't know for sure), but it is incorrect to collectively refer to them as ancient Mongols. They are neither classified as Mongols nor from the Mongol period and this is the point of my post. I hope it is clear now.
    The point is, in your this post you answered to ADW_1981 on linguistic grounds (as you clearly referred to the spoken language in the second sentence of your answer), but now you say that your answer was based on the archaeological classifications of the paper. They are different things, archaeological classification does not indicate the language; like you acknowledge now, there might be Iranian and Mongolic speakers among those individuals. Anyway, thanks for the clarification.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alkaevli View Post
    The theory that the Türks were originally Saka or Wusun is based almost entirely on the uncertain etymology of the name Ashina. I have yet to see an actual evidence or an ancient source that links the origin of Türks to Iranic speakers. Instead, there are Chinese sources describing them as being descended from the Xiongnu.
    I did not mean to say that Türks were necessarily originally Iranian, I was just mentioning it as one of the probabilities. Anyway, the individuals labeled in the paper as "Türk", "Uyghur", etc. are not necessarily all from the said groups or speak their language, this is especially true for the imperial steppe states beginning from the Xiongnu (so includes the Türk and Uyghur khaganates as well).

    Quote Originally Posted by Alkaevli View Post
    Besides, this sentence of yours contradicts the theory:
    And lastly, the steppe during the pre-modern times was a place where strong states that could impose their language to their subjects never existed.

    Who imposed the specific Turkic language on the ruling Türks? Another East Iranian language (Sogdian) was still there, they could have adopted it instead.
    I am not a fan of the Iranian theory of Türk origins, but according to that theory, besides the nobility titles, the name of the Ashina clan, and the khagan names and inscriptions from the First Türk Khaganate, they assimilated over time after coming to what is now central Mongolia among the Turkic-speaking locals living there. Not implausible and deserves to be taken into account, especially given that they came from the Altai region according to the historical records, that their Xiongnu origin is far from established and that even the Xiongnu language or languages themselves are not clear as you already acknowledge. Lots of things are more obscure than they seem at first sight.

    Quote Originally Posted by Alkaevli View Post
    What's your point? I didn't say he has more East Eurasian ancestry than West Eurasian.
    I should have asked the same question to you actually as you brought him as an example of a R1b-carrying individual with high East Eurasian ancestry while I have never said high East Eurasian ancestry individuals cannot have such Y-DNA haplogroups, I was just pointing to a statistical correlation between the autosomal and haplogroup results. You can even find East Asians with fully East Eurasian autosomal results but West Eurasian Y-DNA haplogroup and/or mtDNA haplogroup if you search enough.
    Last edited by Onur Dincer; 04-10-2020 at 01:21 PM.
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    It seems like one of the author's has cleared piped up a bit in regards to Alexey Kovalev accusing them of not getting permission to use certain ancient samples. In the comments section at biorix for this paper.

    ''As the senior author of this study, I would like to clarify that we obtained permission from the Mongolian Office of Professional Inspection and from the National University of Mongolia to conduct this study and to analyze the skeletal material included in the study. Our permit number is A 0109258, MN DE 7 643''

    Also some individual who goes by the user name ''gastornis'' posted this in the comments section.

    ''It's behind a paywall but one can read online extracts; particuarly western Sakas had up to 50% WSHG; Also the second study I've linked shows that individuals from the steppe had also some Ir_N , and it was found very early up to Siberia, https://t.co/DMex''

    Unfortunately the link that he gave does not seem to work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Onur Dincer View Post
    The point is, in your this post you answered to ADW_1981 on linguistic grounds (as you clearly referred to the spoken language in the second sentence of your answer), but now you say that your answer was based on the archaeological classifications of the paper. They are different things, archaeological classification does not indicate the language; like you acknowledge now, there might be Iranian and Mongolic speakers among those individuals. Anyway, thanks for the clarification.
    I haven't changed my mind, I still think it is utterly false to collectively refer to Xiongnu and Turkic-period individuals as ancient Mongols. This was the point of my first post but I found myself in a discussion that leads to nowhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by Onur Dincer View Post
    I did not mean to say that Türks were necessarily originally Iranian, I was just mentioning it as one of the probabilities. Anyway, the individuals labeled in the paper as "Türk", "Uyghur", etc. are not necessarily all from the said groups or speak their language, this is especially true for the imperial steppe states beginning from the Xiongnu (so includes the Türk and Uyghur khaganates as well). I am not a fan of the Iranian theory of Türk origins, but according to that theory, besides the nobility titles, the name of the Ashina clan, and the khagan names and inscriptions from the First Türk Khaganate, they assimilated over time after coming to what is now central Mongolia among the Turkic-speaking locals living there. Not implausible and deserves to be taken into account, especially given that they came from the Altai region according to the historical records, that their Xiongnu origin is far from established and that even the Xiongnu language or languages themselves are not clear as you already acknowledge. Lots of things are more obscure than they seem at first sight.
    If you are not fan of it, what was the point of bombarding me with those theories?

    Quote Originally Posted by Onur Dincer View Post
    I should have asked the same question to you actually as you brought him as an example of a R1b-carrying individual with high East Eurasian ancestry while I have never said high East Eurasian ancestry individuals cannot have such Y-DNA haplogroups, I was just pointing to a statistical correlation between the autosomal and haplogroup results. You can even find East Asians with fully East Eurasian autosomal results but West Eurasian Y-DNA haplogroup and/or mtDNA haplogroup if you search enough.
    Because your first post indirectly explains the presence of Turkic-period West Eurasian haplogroups with Sogdians. Do I really have to remind this?
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Man View Post
    It seems like one of the author's has cleared piped up a bit in regards to Alexey Kovalev accusing them of not getting permission to use certain ancient samples. In the comments section at biorix for this paper.

    ''As the senior author of this study, I would like to clarify that we obtained permission from the Mongolian Office of Professional Inspection and from the National University of Mongolia to conduct this study and to analyze the skeletal material included in the study. Our permit number is A 0109258, MN DE 7 643''

    Also some individual who goes by the user name ''gastornis'' posted this in the comments section.

    ''It's behind a paywall but one can read online extracts; particuarly western Sakas had up to 50% WSHG; Also the second study I've linked shows that individuals from the steppe had also some Ir_N , and it was found very early up to Siberia, https://t.co/DMex''

    Unfortunately the link that he gave does not seem to work.

    https://twitter.com/gastornis17/stat...02423299846144

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    Ok thank you...Unfortunately those are not abstracts from new papers.

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