Modern-day South Asians can be traced back to their earliest predecessors; African hunter-gatherers.
A UK archaeogeneticist has unearthed the population origins of Indians.
PhD student, Marina Silva, has discovered that the origins of Indians stemmed from a mass immigration to India from Africa, Iran and even central Asia.
These movements into the country took place over a period of 50,000 years.
The findings hold particular relevance to archaeology, particularly due to there being very little in the way of ancient skeletal remains in India to investigate from.
Therefore Marina Silva used her DNA samples from today’s populace.
The aim of her research involved exploring the incredible diversity of language and culture that exists in India to this day.
With the help of her team, Marina discovered how the genetics of modern-day South Asians can be traced back to their earliest predecessors; African hunter-gatherers.
In their findings, they claim that these hunters moved to Indian continent over 50,000 years ago. During the time of when modern humans began to appear.
The team also revealed that immigrants from Iran also arrived in India after the Ice Age. This took place roughly 10-20,000 years ago. Due to the increase in early practices of farming, many travelled to the country to settle and create their own farms.
In addition, the Bronze Age also made a significant impact on India’s population origins. Not only did this witness a movement of Central Asian immigrants entering the country, it saw the arrival of Indo-European speakers.
Hailing from between the Black and Caspian Sea, these migrants consisted mainly of men, who had domesticated the horse. They spoke an early form of Sanskrit, the language associated with classical Hindi.
Researchers were able to uncover some of these traces through the mitochondrial DNA, which tracks the female line. In this, they found the lineage of African and Iran ancestors.
In comparison, the male line (tracked through the Y-chromosome) found recent roots to Central Asian and Indo-Europeans.
Marina spoke about how these different sources of immigration also impacted other populations of the world. She said:
“Migrations from the same source also shaped the settlement of Europe and its languages, and this has been the subject of most recent research.”
However, she has ensured that her research focuses solely on India and its population origins.
Marina’s full findings are available to read here.