One of the most interesting aspects for future linguistic research, boosted by the current knowledge in population genomics, is the influence of Uralic – most likely spread initially with Corded Ware peoples across northern Europe – on early Indo-European dialects.
Whereas studies on the potential Afroasiatic (or Semitic), Vasconic, Etruscan, or non-Indo-European in general abound for ancient and southern IE branches (see e.g. more on the NWIE substrate words), almost exclusively Uralicists have dealt with the long-term mutual influences between Indo-European and Uralic dialects, and often mostly from the Uralic side.… Read the rest “Early Uralic – Indo-European contacts within Europe”
Open access PhD thesis Indo-Iranian borrowings in Uralic: Critical overview of sound substitutions and distribution criterion, by Sampsa Holopainen, University of Helsinki (2019), under the supervision of Forsberg, Saarikivi, and Kallio.
Interesting excerpts (emphasis mine):
The gap between Russian and Western scholarship
Many scholars in the Soviet Union and later the Russian Federation also have researched this topic over the last five decades. Notably the eminent Eugene Helimski dealt with this topic in several articles: his 1992 article (republished in Helimski 2000) on the emergence of Uralic consonantal stems used Indo-Iranian and other Indo-European loans as key evidence, and
… Read the rest “Intense but irregular NWIE and Indo-Iranian contacts show Uralic disintegrated in the West”
Open access structured abstract for The first horse herders and the impact of early Bronze Age steppe expansions into Asia from Damgaard et al. Science (2018) 360(6396):eaar7711.
Abstract (emphasis mine):
The Eurasian steppes reach from the Ukraine in Europe to Mongolia and China. Over the past 5000 years, these flat grasslands were thought to be the route for the ebb and flow of migrant humans, their horses, and their languages. de Barros Damgaard et al. probed whole-genome sequences from the remains of 74 individuals found across this region. Although there is evidence for migration into Europe from the steppes, the
… Read the rest ““Steppe people seem not to have penetrated South Asia””
Open access Close inbreeding and low genetic diversity in Inner Asian human populations despite geographical exogamy, by Marchi et al. Scientific Reports (2018) 8:9397.
Abstract (emphasis mine):
When closely related individuals mate, they produce inbred offspring, which often have lower fitness than outbred ones. Geographical exogamy, by favouring matings between distant individuals, is thought to be an inbreeding avoidance mechanism; however, no data has clearly tested this prediction. Here, we took advantage of the diversity of matrimonial systems in humans to explore the impact of geographical exogamy on genetic diversity and inbreeding. We collected ethno-demographic data for 1,344 individuals
… Read the rest “Close inbreeding and low genetic diversity in Inner Asian human populations despite geographical exogamy”
New article on The Caravan, Indus Valley People Did Not Have Genetic Contribution From The Steppes: Head Of Ancient DNA Lab Testing Rakhigarhi Samples, by Hartosh Singh Val.
Niraj Rai, head of the DNA Laboratory where the samples from the Harappan site of Rakhigarhi in Haryana are being analysed, has this to say:
It will show that there is no steppe contribution to the Indus Valley DNA.
The Indus Valley people were indigenous, but in the sense that their DNA had contributions from near eastern Iranian farmers mixed with the Indian hunter-gatherer DNA, that is still reflected in the
… Read the rest “Rakhigarhi samples from the Indus Valley Civilisation will support the conclusions of Narasimhan et al. (2018)”
New open article Ancient Human Migrations to and through Jammu Kashmir- India were not of Males Exclusively, by Sharma et al., Scientific Reports 8, N. 851 (2018)
Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), the Northern most State of India, has been under-represented or altogether absent in most of the phylogenetic studies carried out in literature, despite its strategic location in the Himalayan region. Nonetheless, this region may have acted as a corridor to various migrations to and from mainland India, Eurasia or northeast Asia. The belief goes that most of the migrations post-late-Pleistocene were mainly male dominated, primarily associated with
… Read the rest “Mitogenomes show ancient human migrations to and through North-East India not of males exclusively”
Razib Khan reports on his new website about an article by Tony Joseph, Who built the Indus Valley civilisation?, itself referring to the potential upcoming results of a genetic analysis project involving Rakhigarhi, the biggest Harappan site.
The possible scenarios based on potential sample results in terms of Y-DNA and mtDNA haplogroups seem to be generally well described, and I would bet – like Khan – for some kind of an East-West Eurasian connection. This is all pure speculation, though, and after all we only have to wait one month and see.
Out of the potential models … Read the rest “The Indus Valley Civilisation in genetics – the Harappan Rakhigarhi project”
Preprint paper at BioRxiv, Dissecting Population Substructure in India via Correlation Optimization of Genetics and Geodemographics, by Bose et al. (2017), a mixed group from Purdue University and IBM TJ Watson Research Center. A rather simple paper, which is nevertheless interesting in its approach to the known multiple Indian demographic divisions, and in its short reported methods and results.
India represents an intricate tapestry of population substructure shaped by geography, language, culture and social stratification operating in concert. To date, no study has attempted to model and evaluate how these evolutionary forces have interacted to shape the patterns
… Read the rest “Indo-European and Central Asian admixture in Indian population, dependent on ethnolinguistic and geodemographic divisions”
The Proto-Indo-European Urheimat
Not long ago, the Proto-Indo-European language Urheimat problem used to be cyclic in nature: linguistic and archaeological publications appeared supporting a Copper Age migration from the steppe proposed by Marija Gimbutas, or a Neolithic expansion from Anatolia (or Armenia) proposed by Colin Renfrew, and back again.
I have always supported the simpler, more recent Chalcolithic migration of Late Indo-Europeans from the Pontic-Caspian steppe over an older Neolithic expansion from Anatolia with agriculture. The latter model implied a complex cultural diffusion over a greater span of time than is warranted by linguistic guesstimates, understood as the … Read the rest “The Aryan migration debate, the Out of India models, and the modern “indigenous Indo-Aryan” sectarianism”