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Thread: Importance of the Altai/Sayan/Baikal region to the peopling of Eurasia

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    Importance of the Altai/Sayan/Baikal region to the peopling of Eurasia

    This region at the border of Kazakhstan, Russia, China, and Mongolia is one of a kind, it is not only a very primordial and remote location but it also contains a collection of fauna that is the most unchanged in the world since the last Ice Age aside from perhaps Sub-Saharan Africa.

    Despite being extremely cold and seemingly uninhabitable to human beings, the Mal'ta Buret culture was located in this region, specifically just west of Lake Baikal and the proposed Urheimat of the Turkic languages was also said to be around the Altai mountains. The Indo-European Afanasievo, non-Indo European Okunevo, and the eastern part of Indo-Iranian Andronovo also occupied these mountains. Not to mention, the name "Denisovan" literally comes from a cave in the Altai mountains which is where the remains of this extinct hominid were found.

    I do not understand what is so particularly appealing about these mountains as they are located very far from the major population centers of Eurasia and are very inhospitable to human beings. But given the fact that they spawned such historically significant entities such as Mal'ta(Ancestral North Eurasian), proto-Turks, and others, there must be some allure to them.

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    Imagine you're a pastoral herder during the bronze age from the northern half of eurasia. What you want to really have a comfortable life is hospitable land, pasture lands, water sources, metal deposits etc. The Altai-Sayan region has all of that and them some. Its not nearly the cold and inhospitable region you're ascribing it to be. Keep in mind most people would've lived in valleys and plateaus rather than high up in the mountains.

    There is something to be said for the climate having influence horse culture and nomadism. Horses can graze through snow quite easily and are therefore great animals to keep when you have snowy winters. So you could imagine a scenario where horses were a more substantial part of the livestock composition over there, leading to a greater development of horse culture and horse riding in comparison to other regions of the Andronovo sphere, ultimately culminating in the significant transitions on the steppes with the onset of the iron age.

    Furthermore, the Altai is connected to the Inner Asian mountain corridor with the western route going into south Asia and the eastern route leads you to the Ordos loop. This means that the region was interlinked with the immense amount of trade that went along these roads.

    I dont think you should include Mal'ta in here because imo there isn't really anything that suggests they came from the Altai specifically, they were chasing mammoth herds on the mammoth steppe so they weren't exactly a stagnant population. Proto-Turkic probably originated somewhere deeper in Mongolia, although I do think that the Altai-Sayan region is more or less the key in early Turkic expansions to the west and the linguistic transformation on the steppes. The Scytho-Siberian horizon on the other hand does have its origin from there.

    It is quite a rich region when it comes to natural resources for bronze and iron age peoples, and it was well connected to several trade networks. Its no surprise then that the Afanasievo people beelined straight to this region leaving not much of a trail throughout Central Asia and that the Andronovo sites in the Altai and Eastern Tian Shan pop up as soon as the Andronovo horizon begins, with the possibility that you had earlier ventures towards that region.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cynic View Post
    This region at the border of Kazakhstan, Russia, China, and Mongolia is one of a kind, it is not only a very primordial and remote location but it also contains a collection of fauna that is the most unchanged in the world since the last Ice Age aside from perhaps Sub-Saharan Africa.

    Despite being extremely cold and seemingly uninhabitable to human beings, the Mal'ta Buret culture was located in this region, specifically just west of Lake Baikal and the proposed Urheimat of the Turkic languages was also said to be around the Altai mountains. The Indo-European Afanasievo, non-Indo European Okunevo, and the eastern part of Indo-Iranian Andronovo also occupied these mountains. Not to mention, the name "Denisovan" literally comes from a cave in the Altai mountains which is where the remains of this extinct hominid were found.

    I do not understand what is so particularly appealing about these mountains as they are located very far from the major population centers of Eurasia and are very inhospitable to human beings. But given the fact that they spawned such historically significant entities such as Mal'ta(Ancestral North Eurasian), proto-Turks, and others, there must be some allure to them.
    High latitude/altitude/cave shadow regions preserve DNA well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by parasar View Post
    High latitude/altitude/cave shadow regions preserve DNA well.
    probably flood and warming in Arctic made these places incident free compared with more populated Persian Gulf and SE Asia where due to Hurricanes & Earthquake activity and flooding of islands and low lands caused massive population losses and movements
    Y: H1a1a4b3b1a8 Yfull id-> YF83218
    Medals->Hidden Content
    mtDNA:U2a1a2
    G25 Ancients Dist 1.0 IRN_Shahr_I_Sokhta_BA2 88.4 MAR_Taforalt 2.6NPL_Mebrak 5
    VK2020_SWE_Gotland_VA 4 Hidden Content

    Lactose Persistence rs3213871 rs4988243 rs4988183 rs3769005 rs2236783
    found -> DA125, Kangju

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    Quote Originally Posted by CopperAxe View Post
    Imagine you're a pastoral herder during the bronze age from the northern half of eurasia. What you want to really have a comfortable life is hospitable land, pasture lands, water sources, metal deposits etc. The Altai-Sayan region has all of that and them some. Its not nearly the cold and inhospitable region you're ascribing it to be. Keep in mind most people would've lived in valleys and plateaus rather than high up in the mountains.
    Water sources and metal deposits? Absolutely. Pasture and hospitable lands? Not so sure about that.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyzyl#Climate

    The climate of the Baikal region is somewhat milder. Both the Tuva and Altai Republics have a very low population density with total populations only in the low hundreds of thousands each. It's not an easy place to thrive.

    I dont think you should include Mal'ta in here because imo there isn't really anything that suggests they came from the Altai specifically, they were chasing mammoth herds on the mammoth steppe so they weren't exactly a stagnant population. Proto-Turkic probably originated somewhere deeper in Mongolia, although I do think that the Altai-Sayan region is more or less the key in early Turkic expansions to the west and the linguistic transformation on the steppes. The Scytho-Siberian horizon on the other hand does have its origin from there.
    This is not why I included Malta there, it's because they lived just to the west of Lake Baikal which is considered the eastern boundary of the Altai-Sayan region. The whole section from the Altai to Lake Baikal and northwestern Mongolia is closely interlinked geographically, historically, and biologically.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altai_..._forest_steppe
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sayan_...onifer_forests

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cynic View Post
    Water sources and metal deposits? Absolutely. Pasture and hospitable lands? Not so sure about that.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyzyl#Climate

    The climate of the Baikal region is somewhat milder. Both the Tuva and Altai Republics have a very low population density with total populations only in the low hundreds of thousands each. It's not an easy place to thrive.



    This is not why I included Malta there, it's because they lived just to the west of Lake Baikal which is considered the eastern boundary of the Altai-Sayan region. The whole section from the Altai to Lake Baikal and northwestern Mongolia is closely interlinked geographically, historically, and biologically.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altai_..._forest_steppe
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sayan_...onifer_forests
    https://link.springer.com/article/10...520-018-0664-0

    Read this article, it's got pretty much all you need to know.

    You have a Altai-Sayan in your location and you're asking me if there is pasture land there? Are you not from there?

    Modern population sizes (and climate even) are not all that relevant when discussing the role the region played in ancient times of nomads, for obvious reasons.

    Cold weather is not all that relevant either to be honest because none of them were agricultural intensive. Your horses will manage the winter fine but you might need to hit the reserves for your cattle, you put on a thick coat and sit inside your tent.

    Besides those tempratures are to be found in many other places during the winter as well. The Altai-Sayan region is not exceptional in that regard. Many Canadians have similar climates and do fine.

    I'm well aware of lake Baikal is thank you for the geography lesson though. You did say this:
    But given the fact that they spawned such historically significant entities such as Mal'ta
    To which I said we have no idea that the ANE came from there specifically.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CopperAxe View Post
    https://link.springer.com/article/10...520-018-0664-0

    Read this article, it's got pretty much all you need to know.

    You have a Altai-Sayan in your location and you're asking me if there is pasture land there? Are you not from there?

    Modern population sizes (and climate even) are not all that relevant when discussing the role the region played in ancient times of nomads, for obvious reasons.

    Cold weather is not all that relevant either to be honest because none of them were agricultural intensive. Your horses will manage the winter fine but you might need to hit the reserves for your cattle, you put on a thick coat and sit inside your tent.

    Besides those tempratures are to be found in many other places during the winter as well. The Altai-Sayan region is not exceptional in that regard. Many Canadians have similar climates and do fine.

    I'm well aware of lake Baikal is thank you for the geography lesson though. You did say this:


    To which I said we have no idea that the ANE came from there specifically.
    When do you think that J-PH1795 entered the early Turkic gene pool?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CopperAxe View Post
    https://link.springer.com/article/10...520-018-0664-0

    Read this article, it's got pretty much all you need to know.

    You have a Altai-Sayan in your location and you're asking me if there is pasture land there? Are you not from there?

    Modern population sizes (and climate even) are not all that relevant when discussing the role the region played in ancient times of nomads, for obvious reasons.

    Cold weather is not all that relevant either to be honest because none of them were agricultural intensive. Your horses will manage the winter fine but you might need to hit the reserves for your cattle, you put on a thick coat and sit inside your tent.

    Besides those tempratures are to be found in many other places during the winter as well. The Altai-Sayan region is not exceptional in that regard. Many Canadians have similar climates and do fine.

    I'm well aware of lake Baikal is thank you for the geography lesson though. You did say this:


    To which I said we have no idea that the ANE came from there specifically.
    Fair enough. You made a good point about the needs and considerations of a Bronze Age pastoral population being different to those of a modern settled society. I suppose I was looking at it too much through a modern lens. There are pastures there for sure, I should have clarified and said that there’s much more grassland to the south and west of the region, but the Altai region’s metal deposits and other resources such as wood and water can make it even more appealing than the Eurasian steppe in spite of its harsher weather.

    I don’t know where ANE originated either but it seems the Siberian region from Western Siberia all the way east to at least as far as Mal’ta was inhabited by people sharing a similar genetic profile(West Siberian Hunter gatherers, Afontovagora, and MA1/ANE). So the Altai given it’s central location may well have been the nucleus but that’s all speculation for now.

    And no, I don’t live there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cynic View Post
    Fair enough. You made a good point about the needs and considerations of a Bronze Age pastoral population being different to those of a modern settled society. I suppose I was looking at it too much through a modern lens. There are pastures there for sure, I should have clarified and said that there’s much more grassland to the south and west of the region, but the Altai region’s metal deposits and other resources such as wood and water can make it even more appealing than the Eurasian steppe in spite of its harsher weather.

    I don’t know where ANE originated either but it seems the Siberian region from Western Siberia all the way east to at least as far as Mal’ta was inhabited by people sharing a similar genetic profile(West Siberian Hunter gatherers, Afontovagora, and MA1/ANE). So the Altai given it’s central location may well have been the nucleus but that’s all speculation for now.

    And no, I don’t live there.
    It has been posited that from the NE of Malta, Arctic Yana RHS' ANS autosomally contributed in a big part to ANE. The Yana RHS Y and mtDNA also seem consistent with that theory.

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