Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Origins of Indians: Version 9.1

Dravidian languages:

The legacy of pseudo-scientific anthropometric studies of the past is still deep rooted in India (at least with people who are interested in history, anthropology...others don't count anyway). Many physical anthropologists had wild and free run classifying Indians. I strongly feel the whole field is absurd.

First of all, the stature and skull shape of Homo Sapiens have never been constant. It changes because of changing food habits and changing geographical conditions. Also, if you compare the present haplogroup clans with those 'racial groups' you can clearly appreciate the futility of whole exercise.

The popular understanding is simple. India was initially inhabited by short and dark Australoid. Most of them were massacred by more robustly built also dark Mediterranean Dravidians. These Dravidians were later subjugated by light skinned Aryans from Europe.

I don't want to go on discussing about these self-sustaining myths (or science at a particular point of time). I would like to make few observations for my group, Dravidians.

If you observe Central India then it must be evident that the Dravidian tribes have in fact recognized the Austro-Asiatic tribes' religious supremacy in the regions where those tribes are dominant. The priests who officiate rituals of Dravidian tribes are from Austro-Asiatic tribes. That probably shows higher level of society belongs to Austro-Asiatics than Dravidians.

Second, there is no Dravidian marker if you go by genetic studies. In fact, there is no uniform distribution of dominant male genetic lineages among three biggest Dravidian groups like Telugus, Tamils and Kannadigas. J2b, H , R2 and L all dominate among different groups. Compare this wih Indo-Aryan speaking population and Austro-Asiatic population. There you can clearly associate R1a1 with IE and O2a with Austro-Asiatics. But not in the case of Dravidians.

This is the precise reason I believe the Dravidian languages are part of South India since the beginning. In north India you can find isolated languages like, Nahali, Burushaski and probably now extinct Bhil language. But not so in the case of South India. Therefore, in my opinion, Dravidian languages have been sustained by Dravidian females through multiple male migrations. Any words related to West Asian languages may be just loans from later arrived males.

Ravi Mundkur blogs about a new study that talks about distinct Koraga(a tribe in coastal Karnataka region) language. But by my understanding it is impossible that south Indian tribes have ever lost their languages. It should be noted here that mainstream Dravidans(along with majority of Indo-Aryans in the north) have maternal lineages that they share with these tribes and not only that nearly 30% male lineages(Haplogroup H) too.

If Dravidian languages have been imposed by the newly arrived males (probably J2b who make up 15-20% of the population and who qualify as "Mediterraneans") then I find it difficult to explain distinct Dravidian language branches among central Indian tribes. Some of these tribes(also J2b is hardly observed among Dravidian tribes) are so remote(Bison Horn Maria) and until recent times were totally cut off from mainstream.

I would propose Dravidian languages are matrilineal.

22 comments:

Maju said...

I can't say for sure but couldn't Dravidian languages have been a product of difussion without need of conquest. After all they are related, closely so, and would they be as old as Indian humankind, they should be almost as different as the most different languages of Eurasia, right?

I agree that the Dravidian genetics are probably old, maybe as old as the first colonization of India by H. sapiens. But genetics and language need not to be directly related.

Manjunat said...

I'll wait for language isolates in South India.

There need not be may language families in South India. Note that I am talking about only South India. Within India there could have been multiple language families starting from north-west of the subcontinent. However, Dravidian speakers might have been confined to a region didn't expand for very long. I think Sengupta et al. 2005 makes an observation that Haplogroup H though believed to be old shows very less diversity. I think small Dravidian group expanded in much recent times notwithstanding the antiquity of their arrival.

Maju said...

I think Sengupta et al. 2005 makes an observation that Haplogroup H though believed to be old shows very less diversity. I think small Dravidian group expanded in much recent times notwithstanding the antiquity of their arrival.

That's interesting.

Manjunat said...

H1(M52) which probably makes up 90% Indian H lineages. Also, age of microsatellite diversity of H1 is less than R1a1, J2 and R2. That probably tells it's a recent expansion centered around central-east India.

Since H1(M52) is hardly observed in Pakistan where other clades of H and also F* are present I suppose the oldest F, H had small groups spread from Pakistan to South India.

Maju said...

I'm not aware of the subdivisions of H. Just that overall, H is most concentrated in S/SW India (Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu), with concentrations above 30% (even >50% in the core area).

But I'll take your word on that, even if central-east India (Andrah Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh) only seems to have relatively low ammounts of H (20-10%).

Manjunat said...

H is most concentrated in S/SW India (Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu), with concentrations above 30% (even >50% in the core area).

Which study you are referring to?

I think Maharashtra has the highest concentration of H.

Maju said...

Sangamitra Sahoo et al., "A prehistory of Indian Y chromosomes: Evaluating demic diffusion scenarios". PNAS, 2006. (http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/103/4/843)

Which one are you refering to?

Maju said...

I think Maharashtra has the highest concentration of H.

In Sahoo's paper, Maharastran tribals share second highest H, after southern ones. But for non-tribals, the South is the highest concentration area of this haplogroup. Coastal Maharastra and Gujarat are intermediate (20-30%), as well as some areas of the Ganges Basin and Hymalayas. Central-Eastern India seems pretty low (for Indian standards).

Maju said...

Correcting myself: Western tribals have the highest H (c. 60%) if you look at the supplementary material, followed by southern tribals and southern non-tribals (both c. 30% overall, but with the map showing some higher peaks).

Sorry, I had not looked at the supplementary material much earlier. I was guiding my opinion on the map. Anyhow western non-tribals are still somewhat low in H: c. 20%, somewhat higher than Easterners (tribal and non-tribals).

Manjunat said...

Sahoo et al. 2006. uses samples ranging from 4-20. That is too small I suppose.

Central-East I suppose has the highest diversity of Haplogroup H. I forgot where I read it. That is the reason I said it might have spread from there.

Maju said...

Sahoo et al. 2006. uses samples ranging from 4-20. That is too small I suppose.

The total sample is 936 individuals, most ethnospecific samples are over 10 and most states have samples ranging between 46 to 173. These include Central-East Indian states, that happen to be precisely the most widely sampled of all (Orissa: 107, Andrah Pradesh: 173). Would you be talking of Gujarat (9) or Sikkim (11), I could understand your reserves.

Now, Sahoo doesn't seem to get into the subtleties of H subclades but he seems to give a nice overall review of the general distribution of Indian Y-DNA, with R1a dominant in the North (as well as in Pakistan), H in the south/SW (but also in the north), R2 in the SE, and the rest less important (L and J2 more in West/NW, O2a and O3 in Assam and nearby areas, and dominant among Eastern tribals).

Central-East I suppose has the highest diversity of Haplogroup H. I forgot where I read it. That is the reason I said it might have spread from there.

It would be nice if you could provide your source for high H diversity in Mid-Eastern India, as I would like to contrast data, but I'll take your word on it anyhow.

Yet diversity may be misleading. As I read somewhere: Brazil is much more genetically diverse than Portugal, but that doesn't mean that Portuguese are descended from Brazilians, while the opposite is largely true. Just a word of caution: if H1 and H2 have two separate origins and their dispersal converged there, you'd find that result too.

aryan said...

dude u r a genius !! i just got my DNA analyzed by genome program, did not know there were India specific studies ! that would be awesome, maybe, we can bury the caste system once and for all

Manjunat said...

aryan:
not much help. Thank you.

kangaroo said...

The haplogroup H doesnt seem to be a dravidian marker. In Tamil higher castes h subclades only makes 7% of population.In tamil middle and lower castes it becomes 23%.
When it comes to western coast of kerala it just constitutes 8% of all castes.In upper and middle castes it is almost absent .
On the other hand haplogroup H is the major one for chitpavan brahmins.in two studies conducted it comes around 22% and 33% respectively.

In MP the total % of H comes the highest of all .
So the original H population would have come (from somewhere north? )to the region of present madhyapradesh and spreaded out in all directions

kangaroo said...

The haplogroup H doesnt seem to be a dravidian marker. In Tamil higher castes h subclades only makes 7% of population.In tamil middle and lower castes it becomes 23%.
When it comes to western coast of kerala it just constitutes 8% of all castes.In upper and middle castes it is almost absent .
On the other hand haplogroup H is the major one for chitpavan brahmins.in two studies conducted it comes around 22% and 33% respectively.

In MP the total % of H comes the highest of all .
So the original H population would have come (from somewhere north? )to the region of present madhyapradesh and spreaded out in all directions

kangaroo said...

The haplogroup H doesnt seem to be a dravidian marker. In Tamil higher castes h subclades only makes 7% of population.In tamil middle and lower castes it becomes 23%.
When it comes to western coast of kerala it just constitutes 8% of all castes.In upper and middle castes it is almost absent .
On the other hand haplogroup H is the major one for chitpavan brahmins.in two studies conducted it comes around 22% and 33% respectively.

In MP the total % of H comes the highest of all .
So the original H population would have come (from somewhere north? )to the region of present madhyapradesh and spreaded out in all directions

kangaroo said...

regarding about dravidian markers haplogroup L and J2 can be considered as dravidian markers .
The division of haplogroups among the population of tn and kerala excluding the tribal population

haplogroup TN Kerala
L 16% 18%
J2 22% 19.5%
R1 24% 32%
H 16% 8.5%
R2 8% 10 %


Around 38% population of both the states belong to L+J2

In Andhra R2 overtakes L+J2 as the major haplogroup

Maju said...

Maju will explain better but Dravidian brahmins are original from North India and should be considered along Indoeuropean brahmins.

In fact it'd be a lot better if brahmins would be ignored altogether because AFAIK they make less than 3% of the Indian population but maybe 50% of the DNA samples, distorting everything.

If you're going to cut along castes or social classes, the substance is always in the middle and lower classes and not the always cosmopolitan or even immigrant elites.

I think you are anyhow wrong when looking for "Dravidian" markers. Razib had a recent post on how the identities Dravidian and IE (or Basque and IE in Europe) can't be explained by genetics (or not only): they are linguistic.

He also argues solidly the case that Brahui are by no means immigrants to Pakistan but a Dravidian-speaking remnant. What would seem to support a Pakistan (IVC) origin of this language family. Maybe it's time to resuscitate the Elamo-Dravidian super-family and get over the fact that languages do migrate much more easily than genes.

Maju said...

Erratum, in first line I meant "Manju will explain better" not myself. Sorry, my first post this morning, and I'm not really human before I have my first dose of nicotine.

manju said...

As I said in the post you can't pinpoint any single male haplogroup as the Dravidian marker. Considering uneven distribution (there are non-brahmin dominant castes where H is dominant like Okkaligas in Karnataka) of haplogroups in Dravidian dominant castes. Therefore, we can consider female haplogroups as the true Dravidian markers.

If anything we can even argue that Y-Haplogroup H is the original Dravidian marker but certainly not L and J2b.

Note that, all the branches of Dravidian languages have been observed in central-east India. ie. you can observe North Dravidian, Central Dravidian and South Dravidian branches around Godavari basin. If we apply the largest diversity as a sign of proto-home or a root point of the dispersal then central east India serves as that point. And we do know that Y-haplogroup H dominates central Indian region. And east does have strong R2 presence.

This is the reason;
- I donot consider Dravidian civilization is created solely by original Dravidian linguistic group. It was a mixture of Dravidians and Prakrit speakers (and J2 and L probably represent Indus valley population but we don't know their mother tongue. and L is found in appreciable frequency among central Dravidian tribes).
- Tamil Nadu and Kerala are the least representative of the original Dravidian population. Once Dravidians became sedentary civilization in Kannada and Telugu region, there were remote chances that any newly colonized regions further South could have non-Dravidian linguistic identity.

kangaroo said...

Hi Manju

Thanks for the reply.One more doubt regarding this.In Wikipedia it is mentioned G2a3b1 is the haplogroup of the pariaya tribe but i cant find any studies regarding this . Is there any truth to it . or is it a false info

manju said...

Sorry, I don't have any info. about this.