Caste barriers not older than 2000 years: Study

Discussion in 'Religion & Culture' started by LurkerBaba, Aug 9, 2013.

  1. LurkerBaba

    LurkerBaba Staff Administrator

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    I think it deserves a separate thread.

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    Caste barriers not older than 2000 years
     
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  3. LurkerBaba

    LurkerBaba Staff Administrator

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    HMS News source

    Genetics Proves Indian Population Mixture | HMS

    @civfanatic @Virendra @pmaitra @Iamanidiot @Singh @bennedose
     
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  4. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Nothing too surprising about this finding

    1. All Subcontinental groups have both ANI and ASI markers, which means that there was widespread intermixing between all populations of India. There is no group in the subcontinent without ASI(Dravidian?) markers and there is no group in South India (excl Islands?) who don't have ANI markers. (Tibeto-Burmans are an exception)

    2. We also know that regionally Indians form clusters irresp of castes for eg. a North Indian Brahmin will have more in common with a fellow North Indian rather rather than a South Indian Brahmin.
     
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  5. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Indo-Aryans, Dravidians, and waves of admixture (migration?)


    Citation: Genetic Evidence for Recent Population Mixture in India
    Moorjani et al.
    10.1016/j.ajhg.2013.07.006

    [​IMG]

    The Pith:In India 5,000 years ago there were the hunter-gathers. Then came the Dravidian farmers. Finally came the Indo-Aryan cattle herders.

    There is a new paper out of the Reich lab, Genetic Evidence for Recent Population Mixture in India, which follows up on their seminal 2009 work, Reconstructing Indian Population History. I don’t have time right now to do justice to it, but as noted this morning in the press, it is “carefully and cautiously crafted.” Since I am not associated with the study, I do not have to be cautious and careful, so I will be frank in terms of what I think these results imply (note that confidence on many assertions below are modest). Though less crazy in a bald-faced sense than another recent result which came out of the Reich lab, this paper is arguably more explosive because of its historical and social valence in the Indian subcontinent. There has been a trend over the past few years of scholars in the humanities engaging in deconstruction and intellectual archaeology which overturns old historical orthodoxies, understandings, and leaves the historiography of a particular topic of study in a chaotic mess. From where I stand the Reich lab and its confederates are doing the same, but instead of attacking the past with cunning verbal sophistry (I’m looking at you postcolonial“theorists”), they are taking a sledge-hammer of statistical genetics and ripping apart paradigms woven together by innumerable threads. I am not sure that they even understand the depths of the havoc they’re going to unleash, but all the argumentation in the world will not stand up to science in the end, we know that.

    Since the paper is not open access, let me give you the abstract first:


    I want to highlight one aspect which is not in the abstract: the closest population to the “Ancestral North Indians”, those who contributed the West Eurasian component to modern Indian ancestry, seem to be Georgians and other Caucasians. Since Reconstructing Indian Population History many have suspected this. I want to highlight in particular two genome bloggers, Dienekes and Zack Ajmal, who’ve prefigured that particular result. But wait, there’s more! The figure which I posted at the top illustrates that it looks like Indo-European speakers were subject to two waves of admixture, while Dravidian speakers were subject to one!

    The authors were cautious indeed in not engaging in excessive speculation. The term “Indo-Aryan” only shows up in the notes, not in the body of the main paper. But the historical and philological literature is references:

    How does this “deconstruct” the contemporary scholarship? Here’s an Amazon summary of a book which I read years ago, Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India:

    The argument is not totally fallacious, as some castes are almost certainly recent constructions and interpretations, with fictive origin narratives. But the deep genetic structure of Indian castes, which go back ~4,000 years in some cases, falsifies a strong form of the constructivist narrative. The case of the Vysya is highlighted in the paper as a population with deep origins in Indian history. Interestingly they seem to be a caste which has changed its own status within the hierarchy over the past few hundred years. Where the postcolonial theorists were right is that caste identity as a group in relation to other castes was somewhat flexible (e.g., Jats and Marathas in the past, Nadars today). Where they seem to have been wrong is the implicit idea that many castes were an ad hoc crystallization of individuals only bound together by common interests relatively recently in time, and in reaction to colonial pressures. Rather, it seems that the colonial experience simply rearranged pieces of the puzzle which had deep indigenous roots.


    Stepping back in time from the early modern to the ancient, the implications of this research seem straightforward, if explosive. One common theme in contemporary Western treatments of the Vedic period is to interpret narratives of ethnic conflict coded in racialized terms as metaphor. So references to markers of ethnic differences may be tropes in Vedic culture, rather than concrete pointers to ancient socio-political dynamics. The description of the enemies of the Aryans as dark skinned and snub-nosed is not a racial observation in this reading, but analogous to the stylized conflicts between the Norse gods and their less aesthetically pleasing enemies, the Frost Giants. The mien of the Frost Giants was reflective of their symbolic role in the Norse cosmogony.

    What these results imply is that there was admixture between very distinct populations in the period between 0 and 2000 B.C. By distinct, I mean to imply that the last common ancestors of the “Ancestral North Indians” and “Ancestral South Indians” probably date to ~50,000 years ago. The population in the Reich data set with the lowest fraction of ANI are the Paniya (~20%). One of those with higher fractions of ANI (70%) are Kashmiri Pandits. It does not take an Orientalist with colonial motives to infer that the ancient Vedic passages which are straightforwardly interpreted in physical anthropological terms may actually refer to ethnic conflicts in concrete terms, and not symbolic ones.

    Finally, the authors note that uniparental lineages (mtDNA and Y) seem to imply that the last common ancestors of the ANI with other sampled West Eurasian groups dates to ~10,000 years before the present. This leads them to suggest that the ANI may not have come from afar necessarily. That is, the “Georgian” element is a signal of a population which perhaps diverged ~10,000 years ago, during the early period of agriculture in West Asia, and occupied the marginal fringes of South Asia, as in sites such as Mehrgarh in Balochistan. A plausible framework then is that expansion of institutional complexity resulted in an expansion of the agriculture complex ~3,000 B.C., and subsequent admixture with the indigenous hunter-gatherer substrate to the east and south during this period. One of the components that Zack Ajmal finds through ADMIXTURE analysis in South Asia, with higher fractions in higher castes even in non-Brahmins in South India, he terms “Baloch,” because it is modal in that population. This fraction is also high in the Dravidian speaking Brahui people, who coexist with the Baloch. It seems plausible to me that this widespread Baloch fraction is reflective of the initial ANI-ASI admixture event. In contrast, the Baloch and Brahui have very little of the “NE Euro” fraction, which is found at low frequencies in Indo-European speakers, and especially higher castes east and south of Punjab, as well as South Indian Brahmins. I believe that this component is correlated with the second, smaller wave of admixture, which brought the Indo-European speaking Indo-Aryans to much of the subcontinent. The Dasas described in the Vedas are not ASI, but hybrid populations. The collapse of the Indus Valley civilization was an explosive event for the rest of the subcontinent, as Moorjani et al. report that all indigenous Indian populations have ANI-ASI admixture (with the exceptions of Tibeto-Burman groups).

    Overall I’d say that the authors of this paper covered their bases. Though I wish them well in avoiding getting caught up in ideologically tinged debates. Their papers routinely result in at least one email to me per week, ranging from confusion to frothing-at-the-mouth.


    Indo-Aryans, Dravidians, and waves of admixture (migration?) - Gene Expression — blogs.discovermagazine.com — Readability
     
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  6. Singh

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    Genetic Evidence for Recent Population Mixture in India


    Finally the paper I had been waiting for ever since the conference presentations on ANI-ASI admixture dating by Moorjani et al at Reich Lab is out:

    Here's the abstract:

    In this paper, Moorjani et al calculate ANI (Ancestral North Indian) percentage as:

    ANI%=f4(Yoruba,Basque;India,Onge)f4(Yoruba,Basque;Georgian,Onge)

    From Reich et al, they changed the outgroup from Papuan to Yoruba and the ANI clade group from CEU (Utahn Whites) to Georgians. I think both are much better choices. Looking at the D-statistics in Table S2, Georgians are definitely an appropriate choice for forming a clade with ANI.

    [​IMG]

    Another important result from the paper is the difference in the date of admixture for Dravidians (108 generations or 3,132 years) and Indo-Europeans (72 generations = 2,088 years).

    Testing for multiple waves of admixture, they find that it is more likely in upper-caste and middle-caste Indo-Europeans and the admixture history of a lot of Indian groups is more complex.
    [​IMG]

    Genetic Evidence for Recent Population Mixture in India — www.harappadna.org — Readability
     
  7. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Major admixture in India took place ~4.2-1.9 thousand years ago (Moorjani et al. 2013)



    [​IMG]

    A new paper on the topic of Indian population history has just appeared in the American Journal of Human Genetics. In previous work it was determined that Indians trace their ancestry to two major groups, Ancestral North Indians (ANI) (= West Eurasians of some kind), and Ancestral South Indians (ASI) (= distant relatives of Andaman Islanders, existing today only in admixed form). The new paper demonstrates that admixture between these two groups took place ~4.2-1.9 thousand years ago.

    The authors caution about this evidence of admixture:

    This is of course true, because admixture postdates migration and it is conceivable that the West Eurasian groups might not have admixed with ASI populations immediately after their arrival into South Asia. On the other hand, a long period of co-existence without admixture would be against much of human history (e.g., the reverse movement of the Roma into Europe, who picked up European admixture despite strong social pressure against it by both European and Roma communities, or the absorption of most Native Americans by incoming European, and later African, populations in post-Columbian times). It is difficult to imagine really long reproductive isolation between neighboring peoples.

    Such reproductive isolation would require a cultural shift from a long period of endogamy (ANI migration, followed by ANI/ASI co-existence without admixture) to exogamy ~4.2-1.9kya (to explain the thoroughness of blending that left no group untouched), and then back to fairly strict exogamy (within the modern caste system). It might be simpler to postulate only one cultural shift (migration with admixture soon thereafter, with later introduction of endogamy which greatly diminished the admixture.

    The authors cite the evidence from neolithic Sweden which does, indeed, suggest that the neolithic farmers this far north were "southern European" genetically and had not (yet) mixed with contemporary hunter-gatherers, as they must have done eventually. But, perhaps farmers and hunters could avoid each other during first contact, when Europe was sparsely populated. It is not clear whether the same could be said for India ~4 thousand years ago with the Indus Valley Civilization providing evidence for a large indigenous population that any intrusive group would have encountered. In any case, the problem of when the West Eurasian element arrived in India will probably be solved by relating it to events elsewhere in Eurasia, and, in particular, to the ultimate source of the "Ancestral North Indians".

    It is also possible that some of the ANI-ASI admixture might actually pre-date migration. At present it's anyone's guess where the original limes between the west Eurasian and ASI worlds were. There is some mtDNA haplogroup M in Iran and Central Asia, which is otherwise rare in west Eurasia, so it is not inconceivable that ASI may have once extended outside the Indian subcontinent: the fact that it is concentrated today in southern India (hence its name) may indicate only the area of this element's maximum survival, rather than the extent of its original distribution. In any case, all mixture must have taken place somewhere in the vicinity of India.

    [​IMG]

    A second interesting finding of the paper is that admixture dates in Indo-European groups are later than in Dravidian groups. This is demonstrated quite clearly in the rolloff figure on the left. Moreover, it does not seem that the admixture times for Indo-Europeans coincide with the appearance of the Indo-Aryans, presumably during the 2nd millennium BC: they are much later. I believe that this is fairly convincing evidence that north India has been affected by subsequent population movements from central Asia of "Indo-Scythian"-related populations, for which there is ample historical evidence. So, the difference in dates might be explained by secondary (later) admixture with other West Eurasians after the arrival of Indo-Aryans. Interestingly, the paper does not reject simple ANI-ASI admixture "often from tribal and traditionally lower-caste groups," while finding evidence for multiple layers of ANI ancestry in several other populations.

    My own analysis of Dodecad Project South Indian Brahmins arrived at a date of 4.1ky, and of North Indian Brahmins, a date of 2.3ky, which seems to be in good agreement with these results.

    The authors also report that "we find that Georgians along with other Caucasus groups are consistent with sharing the most genetic drift with ANI". I had made a post on the differential relationship of ANI to Caucasus populations which seems to agree with this, and, of course, in various ADMIXTURE analyses, the component which I've labeled "West Asian" tends to be the major west Eurasian element in south Asia.

    Here are the estimated admixture proportions/times from the paper:

    [​IMG]

    Sadly, the warm and moist climate of India, and the adoption of cremation have probably destroyed any hope of studying much of its recent history with ancient DNA. On the other hand, the caste system has probably "fossilized" old socio-linguistic groups, allowing us to tell much by studying their differences and correlating them with groups outside India.

    AJHG doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2013.07.006

    Genetic Evidence for Recent Population Mixture in India

    Priya Moorjani et al.

    Most Indian groups descend from a mixture of two genetically divergent populations: Ancestral North Indians (ANI) related to Central Asians, Middle Easterners, Caucasians, and Europeans; and Ancestral South Indians (ASI) not closely related to groups outside the subcontinent. The date of mixture is unknown but has implications for understanding Indian history. We report genome-wide data from 73 groups from the Indian subcontinent and analyze linkage disequilibrium to estimate ANI-ASI mixture dates ranging from about 1,900 to 4,200 years ago. In a subset of groups, 100% of the mixture is consistent with having occurred during this period. These results show that India experienced a demographic transformation several thousand years ago, from a region in which major population mixture was common to one in which mixture even between closely related groups became rare because of a shift to endogamy.

    Major admixture in India took place ~4.2-1.9 thousand years ago (Moorjani et al. 2013) — dienekes.blogspot.in — Readability
     
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  8. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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  9. civfanatic

    civfanatic Retired Moderator

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    So this supports the long-standing theory that the social norms prescribed by Manusmrti (and others) became widespread in India around this time (2nd cent. A.D.)?
     
  10. Jack Jones

    Jack Jones New Member

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    To Singh, Very interesting read, thanks for the comments above and your own thoughts.

    Just a question if can your clear up something. Do ANI and ASI come from one common source, like ancestoral Indians, or do ANI originate from west asia, entering into india mixing with ASI?

    I have read in other sites, that other studies conclude a different result, i just wanted your take if you have time, as you seem to be very educated in the matter. Thanks. The studies below seem to suggest that ANI lived in south asia with ASI, and that ANI moved out into west asia and central asia. So in your opinion which direction did this migration take place?


    1.(Metspalu, Gyaneshwer Chaubey et al, American Journal of Human Genetics, Dec. 2011)

    Genetic study finds no evidence for Aryan Migration Theory--On the contrary, South Indians migrated to north and South Asians migrated into Eurasia. All Indians have the same DNA structure. No foreign genes or DNA has entered the Indian mainstream in the last 60,000 years. The study is comprehensive, unlike previous studies of human genome and is unique, because it focuses on large number of populations in South Asia, and India, a region which harbours one of the highest levels of genetic diversity in Eurasia and currently accounts for one sixth of human population in the world. The study analysed human genetic variation on a sample of 1310 individuals that belong to 112 populations, using new genome-wide data contains more than 600,000 single nucleotide polymorphic sites among 142 samples from 30 ethnic groups of India. The most important scientific findings of the study are:

    • South Asian genetic diversity is 2nd in the world, next only to Africa, mainly due to long periods of indigenous development of lineages and with complex population structure where one can see the different caste and tribal populations.

    • Two genetic components among Indians are observed: one is restricted to India and explains 50% genetic ancestry of Indian populations , while, the second which spread to West Asia and Caucasus region. Technically called “haplotype diversity”, it is a measure of the origin of the genetic component. The component which spread beyond India has significantly higher haplotype diversity in India than in any other part of world. This is clear proof that this genetic component originated in India and then spread to West Asia and Caucasus.


    2.Sahoo et al: “The perennial concept of people, language, and agriculture arriving to India together through thenorthwest corridor does not hold up to close scrutiny.Recent claims for a linkage of haplogroups J2, L, R1a,and R2 with a contemporaneous origin for the majority of the Indian castes’ paternal lineages from outside the subcontinent are REJECTED, although our findings do support a local origin of haplogroups F* and H.” .They also rule out arrivals from Southwest Asia because West Asian haplogroups (like Y-Hg G) are not found in India.

    3.Kivisild’s findings (2003) too had shown that humans could not have arrived from West Asia into Indiabecause of lack of West Asian Y-hgs E, G, I, J* and J2f. Kivisild et al wrote,“When compared with European and Middle Eastern populations (Semino et al. 2000), Indians (i) share with themclades J2 and M173 derived sister groups R1b and R1a, the latter of which is particularly frequent in India; and (ii) lack or show amarginal frequency of clades E, G, I, J*, and J2f.”

    4.The study analysed 500,000 genetic markers across the genomes of 132 individuals from 25 diverse groups from 13 states. All the individuals were from six-language families and traditionally upper and lower castes and tribal groups. "The genetics proves that castes grew directly out of tribe-like organizations during the formation of the Indian society."

    "Impossible to distinguish between castes and tribes since their genetics proved they were not systematically different."
    -"Reconstructing Indian Population History"
    - David Reich, Kumarasamy Thangaraj, Nick Patterson, Alkes L. Price & Lalji Singh

    5.Oppenheimer (2003) also had supported Indian origin of R1a which is also called M17 in genetic circles. He wrote, “And sure enough we find highest rates and greatest diversity of the M17 line in Pakistan, north India, and eastern Iran, and low rates in the Caucasus. M17 isnot only more diverse in South Asia than in Central Asia but diversity characterizes itspresence in isolated tribal groups in the south, thus undermining any theory of M17 as amarker of a &#39male Aryan Invasion of India.&#39 Study of the geographical distribution and thediversity of genetic branches and stems again suggests that Ruslan, along with his son M17,arose early in South Asia, somewhere near India”.

    6.The Y-chromosomal data consistently suggest a largely South Asian origin for Indian caste communities and therefore argue against any
    major influx, from regions north and west of India, of people associated either with the development of agriculture or the spread of the Indo-Aryan language family.Sanghamitra Sahoo, headed eleven colleagues, including T. Kivisild and V. K. Kashyap, for a study of the Y-DNA of 936 samples covering 77 Indian populations, 32 of them tribes.

    7.West Eurasian diversity is derived from the more diverse South Asian gene pool - Shared and Unique Components of Human Population Structure and Genome-Wide Signals of Positive Selection in South Asia, 2011.

    8. Mait Metspalu of Evolutonary Biology Group of Estonia studied 600,000 Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) markers among 30 ethnic groups in India: ”Thus the mixing of the ANI and ASI did not happen 140 generations before as was believed, but probably more than 500 generations back (Each generation is 25 years).

    ______________________


    In your opinion, did ANI migrate out into west asia and beyond, or did they migrate into india? Also do both ASI and ANI come form one ancestoral group or two out of africa movements? If South Indians migrated to North India, as some studies suggest, then over time isolated from south indians, then North Indians migrate to west asia and beyond, thereby creating a genetic link back to north india, would this be correct?

    ultimately both ASI and ANI come from One group, am i correct in this understanding?
     
  11. bennedose

    bennedose Senior Member Senior Member

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    Thanks for posting. I am trying to access the original article for my archives. i have all the earlier related articles by Reich and Thangaraj
     

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