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Thread: Did Scythians carry and spread R1b?

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    Did Scythians carry and spread R1b?

    Discuss please.

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    Quote Originally Posted by newtoboard View Post
    Discuss please.
    Have any "Scythian" remains been tested?

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    The Wikipedia entry for the Scythian people mentions this study http://link.springer.com/article/10....439-009-0683-0 which claims that 26 ancient remains have been tested and all belong to the R1a1-M17 group.
    However, I am not sure how safe it is to assume that the Kurgans are directly related to Scythians.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Humanist View Post
    Have any "Scythian" remains been tested?
    Yes. A sample from the Scytho-Siberian Pazyryk culture produced one Y-DNA R1a1. No other Y-DNA results; just mtDNA. Nor are there Y-DNA results from the Scythian sample from Rostov-on-Don - again just mtDNA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kostop View Post
    The Wikipedia entry for the Scythian people mentions this study http://link.springer.com/article/10....439-009-0683-0 which claims that 26 ancient remains have been tested and all belong to the R1a1-M17 group. However, I am not sure how safe it is to assume that the Kurgans are directly related to Scythians.
    The Keyser 2009 study to which you refer tested a series of samples from the same Central Asian region where we see a series of related cultures starting with Andronovo and ending with Tachtyk. That included the Scytho-Siberian Pazyryk culture sample which I mentioned in the previous post. The series of samples all produced Y-DNA R1a1, which is pretty solid confirmation of a relationship. See http://www.ancestraljourneys.org/ancientdna.shtml

    The Scythians spoke Eastern Iranian, one descendant of the Proto-Indo-Iranian deduced to be spoken by the people of the Andronovo Culture.
    Last edited by Jean M; 02-12-2014 at 07:15 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kostop View Post
    The Wikipedia entry for the Scythian people mentions this study http://link.springer.com/article/10....439-009-0683-0 which claims that 26 ancient remains have been tested and all belong to the R1a1-M17 group.
    However, I am not sure how safe it is to assume that the Kurgans are directly related to Scythians.
    At the outset of the thread it should have been made clear the area in which they lived. For example did the Greeks have contact with the Scythians.

    The region known to classical authors as Scythia included:

    The Pontic-Caspian steppe: Ukraine, southern Russia and western Kazakhstan (inhabited by Scythians from at least the 8th century BCE)[citation needed]
    The Kazakh steppe: northern Kazakhstan and the adjacent portions of Russia
    Sarmatia, corresponding to Ukraine and the eastern Balkans[3]
    Saka tigrakhauda, corresponding to parts of Central Asia, including Kyrgyzstan, southeastern Kazakhstan and Kashgar
    Sakastan, corresponding to southern Afghanistan and eastern Iran, extending to the Sistan Basin
    Parama Kamboja: corresponding to northern Afghanistan and parts of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan
    Scythia Minor: corresponding to the lower Danube river area west of the Black Sea, with a part in Romania and a part in Bulgaria
    The northern Caucasus area


    The Scythians - the Greeks' name for this nomadic people- inhabited Scythia from at least the 11th century BCE to the 2nd century CE.[1] Its location and extent varied over time but usually extended farther to the west than is indicated on the map opposite.[2]

    Is this map even valid.
    Last edited by Silesian; 02-12-2014 at 06:16 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Humanist View Post
    Have any "Scythian" remains been tested?
    No. And I think there will be a problem in determining what Kurgans are Scythian exactly. I think Herodotus was correct when he described Scythians as coming from Asia. We can't establish if the "Scythian" groups east of the Don-Ural region (who could have been speaking Cimmerian or something else but had adopted the Scythian cultural package-which was very quickly adopted across the steppe from Hungary to Mongolia) as well as if the "Andronovoid" cultures of South-Siberia (might be Uralic or Ugric speakers adopting the same cultural package) were speaking an Indo-Iranian language much less establishing if they spoke a Scythian dialect and if they carried significant ancestry from Scythians. I think ancient samples from the Kazakh steppe +Kyrgyzstan will be the safest bet for establishing the genetic structure of Scythians as this region was likely free of admixture from other populations and had genetic continuity dating back to Andronovo (which likely moved into empty territory or pushed the inhabitants of Botai eastwards imo)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silesian View Post
    At the outset of the thread it should have been made clear the area in which they lived. For example did the Greeks have contact with the Scythians.


    Is this map even valid.
    Who knows? Like I said there was a common cultural package from Central Asia adopted across the steppe but I doubt there is any way to determine if that involved significant admixture or language shift. The Royal Scythians of Ukraine could have been Cimmerians who adopted a new language and lifestyle without much gene flow.

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    Ancient DNA bowled a googly or two recently so I dont know. I dont have them on my mental list of IE languages that were likely driven by R1b. I am wondering what age M73 is now that SNPs tend to be pushing dates back about a third - maybe 7-8000BC. I am now getting more of a feeling it may have emerged at the western end of the Asian steppe/south-west Siberia rather than arriving there from the west.

    Perhaps it was a branch that emerged in a general P297* movement from Siberia in post LGM times in the final upper palaeolithic. I am guessing but if P297 was dated to about 9000BC by STR methods then SNP counting could push that back to 13000BC or the like, not so long after the LGM. Such an early date and a late Upper Palaeolithic context like that actually would nicely explain why P297* appears to not exist today.

    M73 was perhaps a branch that emerged on its route west and later M269 emerged further west still c. 6000BC. That kind of model is essentially east to west from Siberia in the final Palaeolithic and Mesolithic that reached the west end of the Asian steppe/Urals and beyond c. 8000-6000BC That has a nice simplicity and more natural clade shedding pattern compared to previous attempts using west to east models to understand the strongly contrasting distributions of M269 and M73 despite them being close cousins.

    To elaborate, P25* may have traveled west from central Siberia after the LGM. It would then have branched as it headed through the asian steppe or southern fringes of Siberia, splitting into P25* and P297* branches by 12/13000BC as it traveled west. P25* may have continued west to reach the south Caspian. P297* may also have followed west in a similar period but on a slightly more northerly trajectory,first shedding the M73* branch in say south-west Siberia/Urals/west central Asia c. 7-8000BC. Travelling even further west P297* later shed the M269 branch around 6000BC, perhaps somewhere like Crimea and/or the east Carpathians. As I posted before, I think there is a chance that this could be linked to microblade groups.

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    I think its generally best to look at major language group development and dialect development as relating to zones of interaction. I do not see languages as closely linked to a lineage. Its more of a matter of geography and interaction zones IMO. The more I read into it the more obvious it is that IE could only have developed through the Sredny Stog network.

    I suppose what I posted just above essentially makes me think that R1b was indigenous to and spread wide across central Asia, the southern edge of Siberia and into the western steppe from the Mesolithic. Language wise I suppose a very extensive spread like that would mean R1b clades of Eurasia would have fallen into several orbits of language family and dialect development, most of which probably are completely unknown today but also including IE. If R1b did have a scattered distribution over an extremely wide area from the Mesolithic then I would think they could have become an element in several language genesis. A Mesolithic, thin and wide spread of R1b all across central Asia, the Urals, the steppe at a time before any of the known language families had yet evolved and later 'capturing' of R1b populations within several developing language and dialect zones would fit quite well the very complex linguistic identity of R1b. Only part of this very wide R1b spread fell into the zone where IE slowly emerged. Hence the complexity of R1b linguistic identity. In all probability the part of R1b that fell into the zone where IE would emerge was M269 and was located somewhere like the northern fringes of the Causasus, Crimea and/or around the Dniester-Carpathians.

    IMO R1a probably has a simpler linguistic identity on the whole because its was initially a smaller group who settled in a much more restricted an compact area (probably the Volga-Urals-North Caspian), who territory fell more predominantly into the IE development zone and who expanded relatively late and massively from this area in the copper age.

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