Recent Studies in Indian Archaeo-linguistics and
Archaeo-genetics having bearing on Indian
by Dr P. Priyadarshi
MBBS, MD, MRCP (UK), MRCPE
Paper accepted for seminar
Recent Achievements of Indian Archaeology,
Department of Ancient Indian History and Archaeology,
Lucknow University, Lucknow, India,
28-30 December 2010,
Joint Annual Conference of
Indian Archaeology Society (44th Conference),
Indian Society for Prehistoric and Quaternary Studies (38th
Indian History and Culture Society (34th Conference)
Recent lexical research in Indian languages conclusively indicates that there was an early and
independent evolution of agriculture in India (Fuller, 2006). On the other hand latest lexical study
also indicates that the speakers of the Proto-Indo-Europeans had farming before their split into
various branches and migration (Comrie, 2003). Added to this, the Indo-European languages of both
India and Europe contain agriculture related loan words from Munda and Dravidian families, which
were most likely borrowed into Indo-European when all the three language families were evolving
within India side by side. Thus the newest linguistic evidence supports Indian origin of Indo-
European language family.
DNAs of cows were examined from all regions of the world. The findings conclude that Indian cow
(or Zebu) had been domesticated in India before Neolithic period, and independently from the West
Asian influence. In addition to that DNA results confirm that Indian cows were carried to other
regions of the world viz. East Africa (by sea), South China, Southeast Asia, West Asia, Europe and
Central Asia during prehistoric periods. Dates suggested by various authors range from 22,000
before present to 4,000 before present. Bellwood (1995) had suggested that buffalo was
domesticated for the first time in India in Orissa-Bihar region, from where it was carried to South
China, where rice farming evolved with the help of buffalo. Recent DNA studies of buffalo confirm
that India was the place of domestication of first buffalo (Kumar, 2007).
DNA study of barley has ruled out importation of barley cultivation from West Asia to India. It has
been proved that barley cultivation developed for the first time in India independently from any
external influence (Sang, 2009). There is evidence suggesting that the gene essential for
‘domestication’ was found only in the Indian wild barley. Similar DNA studies of rice show that rice
cultivation evolved at two places in the world independently—one was Ganga Valley in India and the
other was in South China. However the Chinese rice still contains many wild features, hinting that
the Indian rice cultivation was earlier in time. The lexical studies of Indian languages by Fuller
suggest that sweet potato, cucumbers, okra, and many other food items were originally Indian and
were domesticated in India.
Study of human DNAs finally rule out any Aryan arrival from the Central Asia into India. Rather the
suggested Aryan gene R1a (M17) evolved and migrated out from India about 16,000 to 14,000 years
back crossing through Central Asia ultimately reaching Pontic-Caspian area and Russia (Sahoo, 2006;
Sengupta, 2006; Trivedi, 2008; Underhill, 2009). Study of West Asian genes also suggests that that
there was a human migration from India to West Asia, indicated by presence of Indian genes in the
West Asian population (Y-DNA HGs: F*, L1, H (M-69), K2, C5, C*, R1a (M-17). On the other hand
West Asian genes (Y-DNA: J1, G, I and R1b3) are not found in India, ruling out migration from West
Asia to India. L1, which was earlier suggested to be a marker of migration of Dravidian speakers from
Elam region of West Asia, has now been confirmed to be of Indian origin from where it migrated to
Iran and West Asia (Sengupta, 2006; Sahoo, 2006).
Presence of another gene J2 in India, West Asia, Iran and India was advocated as an evidence of
Indo-European arrival from West Asia to India together with Neolithic culture. This gene has been
proved to be associated with Anatolian and South European Neolithic cultures. Latest data from
Indian population pertaining to this gene clearly militates against its arrival into India from West
Asia. Within India, its presence is more in the Dravidian population than the north Indian population.
Other statistical features also suggest that it may have originated within India. Its branch J2b has an
age of about 14,000 years back in India, and the most likely place of origin is in Uttar Pradesh near
Nepal boarder. Hence evidence from all fields taken together concludes that farming and Indo-
European languages evolved together in India, from where the two migrated to many parts of world.
In the east a migration took place to Southeast Asia carrying Austro-Asiatic language and rice
farming from India (Y-chromosomal DNA O2a migration). Recent archaeological findings from Ganga
Valley, where we have found the oldest Pottery Neolithic site of the world, too corroborate with the
above set of facts.
It has been settled so far that after initial origin in East Africa, modern man migrated quite early
(about 100,000 years before present) to India, where further human cultural and linguistic evolution
took place. Modern man migrated out of India in many waves from that time until 10,000 years back
populating rest of the world.
Recent linguistic research by Bernard Comrie1 and by Dorian Fuller2 point out that the Indio-
European languages evolved at a place which had developed agriculture. This conclusion can
be drawn by presence of agriculture related cognate words in the languages of this family
separated widely by geography, but all having had their origin from one common ancestral
language at a common place. Often such ancient agricultural words of Indo-European family
are shared by languages of Munda (Austro-Asiatic) as well as Dravidian families (see Fuller,
2003, p. 201; Fuller 2006, pp. 4, 15, 18, 35, 39, 40, 55; Fuller, 2007; Fuller, 2008). In fact
Fuller is the first author to say, on linguistic grounds, that India was an independent centre
of framing. Moreover he notes that origins of Indian farming was different qualitatively from
West Asian farming and was similar in many ways to African and Eastern North American
origins of farming.
Fuller finds that “evidence based on both archaeo-botanical material and colloquial
agricultural terms more parsimoniously postulates that early Dravidian had an epipaleolithic
pre-agricultural heritage” and that it “originated near a South Asian core region”. This
should be read with the fact that recently Indian epipalaeolithic (microlithic) has been dated
35,000 B.P. to 15,000 B.P. 3 Fuller’s assertion is an acceptance of India as the oldest place of
farming culture. Fuller (2006) claims that there were several independent centres of plant
domestication within the Indian peninsula by indigenous peoples. Fuller concedes an earlier
and independent rice-Neolithic in Ganga Valley and western Orissa. He accepts that
indigenous Indian plants, trees and vegetables have contributed words to Sanskrit and other
Bellwood, Higham and many such authors had suggested that Austro-Asiatic speakers
originated in South China, and from there they came to Southeast Asia, and from SE Asia to
Comrie, Bernard, “Farming dispersal in Europe and the spread of the Indo-European language family”, in
Bellwood, Peter and Renfrew, Colin (Eds.); Examining The Farming/language Dispersal Hypothesis, CUP
Archives, Cambridge, 2003.
Fuller, D. Q., Agricultural Origins and Frontiers in South Asia: A Working Synthesis, J World Prehist 2006,
20:1–86. Also see ----------, “An agricultural perspective on Dravidian historical linguistics: archaeological crop
packages, livestock and Dravidian crop vocabulary”, in Bellwood, Peter and Renfrew, Colin (Eds.); Examining
The Farming/language Dispersal Hypothesis: (191-213), 2003, p. 204.
Petraglia, M. et al, Population increase and environmental deterioration correspond with microlithic
innovations in South Asia ca. 35,000 years ago, PNAS 2009 Aug., cgi doi 10.1073, pnas.0810842106
Fuller, D. Q.; Agricultural Origins and Frontiers in South Asia: A Working Synthesis, J World Prehist 2006, 20:1–
India with rice farming.5 This has not been supported by DNA studies, which suggest that
eastern India was the source of the AA population. 6 Other DNA studies have also confirmed
Indigenous origin of Austro-Asiatic speaking tribes of India. 7 DNA studies of rice, cattle,
buffalo and mice too support an Indian origin of rice farming with subsequent migration to
Southeast Asia. Jerold Edmondson of Department of Linguistics, University of Texas, has
done a large number of detailed studies based on linguistics as well as DNA, on Neolithic
and human migrations towards east of India. He found that the Tai speakers of the Kradai
branch of Austro-Asiatic language family migrated from India, and first settled in Southeast
Asia long back. They were master cultivators and they took agriculture from India to
Thailand and then from the latter to the Yunnan province of southwest China, and to South
China by 10,000 ybp during Neolithic expansion. 8
On the other hand Harvard scholar Michael Witzel has been struggling hard to prove that
the agriculture related words in the Indo-European languages entered Sanskrit during the
hypothetical stay of Indo-Aryans in Iran and then their contact with the Dravidian speakers
in the Indus valley area and Munda family tribes in the Ganga Valley. 9 Yet the presence of
the same word in Indo-Aryan as well as European languages indicates that these words,
even if had entered from some other languages, had entered Proto-Indo-European language
in India before migration to Europe and Iran had started.
Thus Aryans, which is primarily speakers of a particular language family, can no longer be
considered ‘pastoralists’. Moreover it is wrong to assume that pastorals are independent of
agriculture. Renfrew (1990) pointed out that pastoral life is a part of agricultural society. He
wrote: “The pastoral economy is usually symbiotic with the agricultural one as it has been
shown that a major component of the diet of these pastoralists was bread. The practice of
agriculture is thus a precondition of a pastoral economy.” 10 Added to this fact, the recently
noted linguistic evidence as discussed above shows that the Aryans were farmers from the
Earlier, Renfrew had claimed that Indo-Europeans were farmers from the very beginning,
and that the Mehrgarh people and the Indus Valley people were Aryans i.e. speakers of
Higham, C., Languages and Farming Dispersals: Austroasiatic Languages and Rice Cultivation, Bellwood, P.
and Renfrew, C. (Eds.), Examining the farming/language dispersal hypothesis, Cambridge: The McDonald
Institute for Archaeological Research, 2003.
Kumar, V. et al, Y-chromosome evidence suggests a common paternal heritage of Austro-Asiatic populations,
BMC Evol Biol. 2007; 7: 47.
Chaubey, G. et al; Phylogeography of mtDNA haplogroup R7 in the Indian peninsula, BMC Evol Biol 2008, 8:
227. Maji, S. et al, Distribution of Mitochondrial DNA Macrohaplogroup N in India with Special Reference to
Haplogroup R and its Sub-Haplogroup U, Int J Hum Jenet 2008, 8(1-2): 85-96. Kivisild, T. et al, The genetic
heritage of the earliest settlers persists both in Indian tribal and caste populations, Am J Hum Genet 2003 Feb, 72 (2)
: 313-32, p. 313.
Witzel, Michael, The linguistic history of some Indian domestic plants, J Biosciences 2009, 34(6): 829-833.
“Fulltext” of this article is available at http://www.ias.ac.in/jbiosci/dec2009/Witzel_fulltext.pdf. We shall refer
that article as Witzel, Fulltext, 2009.
Renfrew, Colin, Archaeology and Language. The Puzzle of Indo-European Origins, CUP Archive,
Cambridge, 1990, p. 198.
Indo-European languages from the very onset of farming culture in these areas. 11 He had
further claimed that an early Indo-European language had been in place in the north India
stretching from the Ganga Valley to Mehrgarh when Mehrgarh civilization was emerging. 12
He wrote, “Certainly the assumption that the Aryas were recent ‘immigrants’ to India and
their enemies were ‘aborigines’, has done much to distort our understanding of the
archaeology of India and Pakistan.” 13
Renfrew wrote, “We should in other words, consider seriously the possibility that the new
religious and cultural synthesis which is represented by the Rigveda was essentially a
product of soil of India and Pakistan, and that it was not imported, ready-made, on the back
of steeds of Indo-Aryans. Of course it evolved while in contact with the developing cultures
of other lands, most notably Iran, so that by a process of peer polity interaction, cultures
and ideologies emerged which in many ways resembled each other. It is not necessary to
suggest that one was borrowed, as it were, directly from the other.
“This hypothesis that early Indo-European languages were spoken with India and Pakistan
and on the Iranian plateau at the sixth millennium BC has the merit of harmonising
symmetrically with the theory for the origin of Indo-European languages of Europe. It also
emphasises the continuity in the Indus valley and adjacent areas from the early Neolithic
through to the foruit of the Indus Valley Civilization—a point which Jarrige has recently
stressed. Moreover the continuity is seen to follow unbroken from that time across the Dark
Age succeeding the collapse of the urban centres of the Indus Valley, so that features of that
urban civilization persists, across a series of transformations, to form the basis of later
Indian civilization. A number of scholars have previously developed these ideas of
Having said this, the new evidence changes some of Renfrew’s assumptions. While Renfrew
thought Anatolia was the original home of the Indo-Europeans where they had developed
the first farming culture, and from where they had migrated to Europe and North India by
6,000 B.C., present evidence indicates that India was the place of origin of the Indo-
Europeans and an independently evolved centre of farming. Otherwise it is impossible to
explain presence of farming related words of Austro-Asiatic and Dravidian origins in the
European branch of Indo-European languages. Renfrew’s views about Anatolia may have
proved wrong, yet his views on South Asia hold true in light of recent evidence which will be
presented in this paper.
Genetic evidence as well as linguistic evidence has made it clear that both the Dravidian and
the Austro-Asiatic languages and their speakers have evolved in India—the Dravidians in the
southernmost part and Austro-Asiatic in the eastern part of the South Asia. The current
findings about early Dravidian languages contradict Renfrew and many other authors who
Renfrew, Colin, Archaeology and Language. The Puzzle of Indo-European Origins, CUP Archive,
Cambridge, 1990, pp. 190, 192, 195-6.
Ibid, p. 190.
Renfrew, Colin, Archaeology and Language. The Puzzle of Indo-European Origins, CUP Archive,
Cambridge, 1990, p. 195.
Ibid. p. 196.
had suggested the place of origin of Dravidian in West Asia from Proto-Elamite after 10,000
B.P., originally proposed by McAlpin.15
We can now have a look at some of these farming related words in the Indo-European
1. Harvest (English), karbitas (to harvest, Proto-Germanic), kerpu (Lithuanian), kerp
(PIE), kripANa (Sanskrit).
2. Sow (E.), sawan (Old English), sero and sevi (Latin, to sow), semen (Latin, seed),
seju and seti (Lithuanian, to sow), *se and seh (PIE, to sow), Santhal, Ho and
Munda si, siu (to plow), and Munda Kharia silo (‘to plow’), sA- (Sanskrit, to sow),
sita (Sk. a furrow of a ploughshare), sulh (Old English, a furrow or ploughshare),
sira (Sk., plough, a plough ox). Related to this group of words are *sehm (PIE,
grain), sasa (Sanskrit; sasam in Rig-Veda), sasya (Sanskrit, food, seed, grain,
herb), sas (Kashmiri, beans, peas, lentils), sas (Bangla, grain, fruit), sasa (Oriya,
kernel, nutritious part), sabz (Iranian, green vegetable), sem (Hindi, beans), *sito-
and *sitya- (PIE, ‘corn’), sitiyam (Sanskrit, corn, ploughed), siri and siri (Khowar,
barley), and sili (Kalasha of Hindukush, millet) are all related. Munda family
language Sora has saro, sar (paddy) and Munda and Kharia have –sro and –srA
(rice, as compound words in ko-soro and ko-sra) are also related. Words sro, sre
and sru meaning ‘rice’ in some Khmer (Cambodia) dialects are obvious cognates
of Munda –sro, Sora saro etc meaning rice. On the other hand the root is also
found in Caucasian—Chechen sos ‘oats’, Eastern Caucasian susV ‘rye’ which are
millets. Witzel thinks that these non-IE languages borrowed these words while
Indo-European was passing across their territories. This is only partly correct--the
direction of migration was from India to West Asia, not from Central Asia to
India, as DNAs reveal.
3. Plough (E.), *plogo (Proto-Germanic), plugas (Lithuanian) and langala (Sanskrit)
are cognates. The ultimate origin of the words is from Munda family (Witzel).16
Fuller writes, “Of interest in this regard is historical linguistic analysis for
widespread cognate terms for plough in Indo-Aryan, Dravidian and Munda
languages which may derive from early borrowing between these groups or from
a common substrate, perhaps from the Harappan zone (Southworth, 2005, p. 80;
Witzel, 1999, pp. 29–30).”17
4. Pita (English, bread), petta (Greek, bread), peptos (Greek, cooked), pita (bread,
Modern Hibrew), pizza (Italian, a cooked food), pastry, pasta (Italian), pittha
(Bihari, a cake made of rice flour), paiSHTa (Sanskrit, meaning cake; derivative of
Sanskrit piSHTa meaning ground or flour, and pis meaning ‘to grind’). English
‘paste’ (dough) is related. ‘Pastry’ may be related.
McAlpin, David W., Elamite and Dravidian: Further Evidence of Relationship, Current Anthropology 1975,
16(1): 105-115. ---------, Proto-Elamo-Dravidian: The Evidence and its Implications, The American Philosophical
Society, Philadelphia, 1981.
Witzel, Michael, The linguistic history of some Indian domestic plants, J Biosciences 2009, 34(6): 829-833.
“Fulltext” of this article is available at http://www.ias.ac.in/jbiosci/dec2009/Witzel_fulltext.pdf. We shall refer
that article as Witzel, Fulltext, 2009.
Fuller, 2006, p. 15.
5. Pestle (E.) related to Old French pestel from Latin pistillum (to pounder, to
pestle) from PIE *pis-to-, to grind; Sanskrit pish- (HK piS “to grind”), pishta (HK
piSTa grinded), pIs (Hindi to grind).
6. Mill (E.) from Old English mylen; Latin mola, millstone and molere to grind; PIE
mel / mol / ml to grind; German muhle and Sanskrit musala (grinder) are from
the same root. In Thai language “mill-stone” is called moh.
7. Grind (E.), O. E. grindan, P. Germanic grindanan, PIE *ghren, *ghreu-, *ghen,
(?*grendh-) all have same meaning i.e. to grind. PIE *gher and *gherzdh mean
‘barley’. The Sanskrit word godhuma, Persian gandum and Tamil godhumai all
meaning ‘wheat’ seem to have originated from the same root. Munda guru,
Santhal and Kherwa guRgu mean ‘grinding stone’, which is in all likelihood
related with the roots meaning ‘grinding’.
8. Acre> agri- from P. Germanic akraz, PIE agros field, Sk. ajra, ajras field. It is likely
that Sanskrit kriS to pull, to cultivate, may have some relation with PIE agros.
9. Sanskrit sUpa and English ‘soup’ have same meaning, pronunciation and
etymology. They are from PIE *sub- derived from another PIE base seue, ‘to take
liquid food’. Proto-Germanic base *supp- and English ‘supper’ are cognates to
these. Tamil sappara may be a cognate. Iranian sabzi meaning ‘vegetable curry or
soup’ is a cognate. Witzel correlates Iranian sabz- (vegetable) with Old Sanskrit
sapa- (drifted reed), Old Iranian sapar-ku, Rosani (Pamir language) sabec ‘beans’,
Lithuanian sapas ‘stalk’ and English dialect haver ‘stalk’, which all are possibly
cognates of Sanskrit supa.
10. Bread (English), bhrajj (Sanskrit, pan cake), bhrijj (Sanskrit, the act of baking,
roasting or frying). Other cognates are Old Irish bruth ‘to heat’, French braser ‘to
burn’, Germanic brese ‘hot coal’, Old English beorma ‘yeast’, Old High German
brato ‘to roast meat’, English brew, PIE *bhreu- ‘to brew’ etc.
11. Sanskrit KshIra meaning ‘milk’ and ‘a porridge made of rice or millets in milk’
(derived from Sanskrit root-word ghas : Monier Williams), its Hindi form khir, and
Hindi ghee (from Sanskrit ghrita, purified butter) are derived from PIE ghwer.
From PIE ghwer are also derived English burn, brandy, therm- etc. It shows some
form of cooking process during PIE stage.
12. Cook, coc (Old English), cocus (Vulgar Latin), coquus (Latin), from PIE pekw-
(cooking). Related to this PIE root is Sanskrit pach- and pak-, Hindi pakAnA and
13. Candy/ candid (English), qand (Persian), khanda (Sanskrit, sugar). These all are
possibly from Tamil kantu (candy), kattu (to harden).
14. Meter (E.), measure (E.), matra (Sk.), metre (Fr.), metron (Gk.), Old English mete,
PIE *mat/*met. Many food items, which were measured are from this root, and
they include: Sanskrit masura, masUrikA, mas*, mishta etc, English meat, Hindi
mItha (lump sugar) etc. Sanskrit mASa (a small unit of weight used by jwellers),
which means a pulse (oorad) too, is from the same root.
15. English ‘cotton’, Sanskrit kartta-na (weaving), Hindi kata-na (weaving), Munda
koTNe (pillow) and Santhal kotre (pillow) are most likely from the same root.
Persian kurta (upper garment), Proto-Germanic kalithas (cloth) and English
‘cloth’ are also related. Another set of related words is kapara (Hindi, cloth),
kappaTam (Tamil, cloth), karpAsa (Sanskrit, cotton).
16. Pot (E.), potus (L. drinking vessel), pAtra (Sk. pAtra, drinking vessel, MW, p. 612).
In sanskrit patra means leaf (Greek pter). Large leaves were earlier used as dish
plates in India. Presence of this word widely in IE languages clearly indicates that
the Proto-Indo-Europeans had pottery before they migrated.
17. Kanduka (Sk.), kandu, kanduk (Persian), kandouk (Armenian), xaendyg (Ossetic),
kendwg (Pehlawi), kondu potarion (Middle Greek) all meaning earthenware
vessel. Old English canne, Proto-Germanic kanna, Latin canne, meaning
‘container’ or ‘vessel’ may be related. That Neolithic diffused from Indo-Iranian
into Semitic tribes can be inferred from the fact that these words have been
borrowed by Semitics in the West Asia. For example Syrian kndwk and Arabic
kanduʒ (earthen vessel) are clear borrowings from Indo-Iranian. Presence of this
word in Dravidian indicates its Indian origin. In Tamil, kantu (kanti-) means to
burn, kanku and kankai mean ‘earthen pot-boiler’ (Dravidian Etym. Dictionary,
2nd Ed, Burrow and Ememeau, entry no. 1458).
18. Wheel (E.), cycle (E.), chakra (Sanskrit), charkha (Persian) and PIE k(w)el probably
pertain to pottery-wheel.
19. We get cognate words for cow, pig, goat, sheep and mouse in almost all of the
20. Fuller (2008) gives a list of cognates for cotton, spindle and weaving in Indo-
European and Austro-Asiatic languages, indicating that Proto-Indo-European as
well as Proto-Austro-Asiatic languages had enough contact for exchange of
words. This place could only have been in India, and not West Asia or Central
Asia. Words which are related with weaving but are found in Indo-Aryan,
European, Dravidian and Austro-Asiatic languages are: tantu (Sk., fiber), tantra
(Sk., loom), tAna (Sk., fiber, tone, tension), tanti and tatamA (Hindi, weaver),
tendon (E.), tentacle (E.) tendril (E.), tent (E.), tenter (E., loom), tenet (E.), tonti
(Juang, weaver), dendra (Telgu, a weaver caste); tay (Bonda, to weave), tor (Thai,
to weave), tan (Kharia, to weave), thai:n (Khasi, to weave), tan (Alak, Lave and
Niahon, to weave);
21. tUla (Sk., cotton), tUlika (Sk., brush), tula (Munda-Juang; cotton, feather, hair),
tol (Old Mon; cotton, hair, feather), tuy (Tamil, cotton).
Having proved that the Indo-Europeans were farmers, we need to settle their place of
evolution. There were only two places where farming evolved the earliest. Both can be
claimed to be the place of origin of Indo-Europeans. One is Anatolia (Turkey, West Asia)
and the second is India. Central Asia being a cold desert and grassland combination can
hardly harbor pastoralist populations but not farming.
We note a large number of words from Austro-Asiatic (Munda family) and Dravidian
families in the Indo-European languages located as far away as West Europe. This is a big
list. Some of them have been mentioned above. This could be only possible if the Indo-
European journey started in India, having evolved over ages in neighborhood of these
languages. Hence we can conclude, on the basis of linguistic analysis that the Indo-
European languages evolved in India from where they migrated out to various regions of
DNA studies in Origin of Cow, Pig, Buffalo, Mouse and Black Rat
DNA studies of these animals, which are intimately associated with farming society, have
shown that these animals were first domesticated in India, and that they have not
arrived into India from anywhere else.
Domestication of Cow
History has been more a matter of beliefs of the people in academic establishment than
repository of truth about the past. Thus it was fashionable to attribute each and every
innovation in the human prehistory to West Asia, in which the most sacred places of Jews,
Christians and Muslims are located.
It was largely because of this attitude that cow was thought to have been domesticated for
the first time between 8000 and 10,000 years before present at West Asia from where it
was claimed to have migrated to everywhere including India with farming. During that
imaginary migration through Iran, the Indian breed of cow evolved from the West Asian
breed, they claimed.18 Thus such authors thought domesticated cow reached India from
West Asia with farming. Regarding Zebu (Indian cow) in China, it was said that possibly wild
ancestor of Zebu reached China, where they were domesticated locally in China. 19 And
about African Zebu (African cow of Indian breed), it was said that Arabic traders took them
to Africa from India in the last 700 years. 20
Contradicting such views, Loftus et al (1994) came out with formidable genetic data proving
an independent and indigenous domestication of cow in India. 21 They even postulated
migration of Indian cow through sea to Africa, which was later proved by further DNA
studies. Since then a large number of studies have supported this. The latest among such
works is that of Hiendleder et al (2008), which re-confirmed that there are mainly two
matrilineal populations of domesticated cows in Eurasia. One is of Indian ancestry called
Zebu or Bos indicus, the other is supposedly of West Asian origin called Bos taurus.22
Independent domestication of cow and bull in India implied an independent origin of Indian
farming culture too.
A recent study of DNA of Zebu by Chen (2009) has shown that Bos indicus or Zebu had been
domesticated only in India, and not at any other place, ruling out all skepticism in the
matter, and proving that it was only after full domestication in India, that Zebu migrated to
other parts of the world.23 Zebu cows have a prominent presence in China and Africa. 24
Epstein, H. & Mason, I. L., in Evolution of Domesticated Animals, ed. Mason, I. L., Longman, New York, 1984,
Lei, C. Z. et al, Origin and phylogeographical structure of Chinese cattle, Animal Genetics, 2006, 37(6):579-586.
MacHugh, D. E. et al, Microsatellite DNA variation, and the evolution, domestication and phylogeography of
Taurine and Zebu cattle (Bos Taurus and Bos indicus), Genetics 1997, 146: 1071-1086, p. 1072.
Loftus, R. T. et al, Evidence for two independent domestications of cattle, PNAS 1994, 91:2757-2761.
Hiendleder, S. et al, Complete mitochondrial genomes of Bos taurus and Bos indicus provide new insight into
intra-species variation, taxonomy and domestication, Cytogenetic and Genomic Research 2008, 120(1-2): 150-
Chen, S. et al; Zebu cattle are an exclusive legacy of the South Asian Neolithic, Molecular Biology and
Evolution, Sept 21, 2009, 0:msp213v1-msp213. (accepted manuscript)
Other researches indicated that Zebu genes are present in most of the taurine cow lineages
of Europe, West Asia, Africa and other parts of the world. 25 Even those European and West
Asian cows which are taurine in all other respect have zebuine milk protein gene. 26 This
proves that Indian cows were the first to have been domesticated, and then they migrated
to rest of the world with Neolithic migration, where local wild cows were domesticated.
These data also prove that the migrated Indian cow (Zebu) hybridized all those lineages.
Freeman et al (2006) found that Bos indicus was introduced into Africa by sea route and not
through Suez.27 Moreover Indian cow has been found in Malagasy, which is accessible only
by sea. On the basis of these, and many other facts, Zeder (2006) claims that India was the
place of origin of the first global economy. He asserts that there was an active maritime
trade in cow in the Indian Ocean from Indian west coast during prehistoric times. 28
Now such views are gaining general acceptance. It was further noted that Zebu not only
migrated from India to Africa, but also from Africa to Europe. It has been noted that African
Zebu gene is interspersed in the entire range of taurine distribution in Europe and Africa
(Meghen et al, 2000).29 Thus Zebu entered West Asia and Europe by two routes, one was
through Iran-Iraq route, and the other was from India to East Africa to West Asia to Europe.
The second one may have been the earlier one.
African Zebu cows are Indian in origin, and extend deep into Africa, while non-Zebu cows of
Africa are generally considered either a domesticated wild breed or an imported taurine
breed from West Asia. Earlier authors thought that Indian cows had been introduced into
Africa by Arab traders within last one or two thousand years, and taurine cows had been
introduced into Africa during spread of Neolithic from West Asia. But such a view has not
been supported by DNA studies.
West Asia’s claim to domestication of cows was further undermined by Bradley’s work.
Bradley and colleagues (1996) studied domesticated taurine cow mtDNAs from Africa and
Europe. They found that taurine cow lineages split from the European cow lineages much
before 22,000 years back (p. 5135). This is much before the West Asian 10,000 ybp date of
Neolithic and claimed date of so-called ‘first domestication’ of cattle. This destroys the
hypothesis of introduction first cows into Africa from West Asia. 30 The authors not only
Lai, Song-Jia et al, Genetic diversity and origin of Chinese cattle”, revealed by mtDNA D-loop sequence
variation, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 2006, 38(1):146-154.
Jann, Oliver C. et al, Geographic distribution of haplotype diversity at the bovine casein locus, Genetics
selection evolution 2004, 36(2):243-257.
Ibeagha-Awemu, E. M. et al, Molecular Characterization of Bovine CSN1S2*B and Extensive Distribution of
Zebu-Specific Milk Protein Alleles in European Cattle, Journal of Dairy Sciences 2007, 90:3522-3529.
Freeman, A. R. et al, Combination of multiple microsatellite data sets to investigate genetic diversity and
admixture of domestic cattle, Anim. Genet. 2006 Feb., 37 (1):1-9.
Zeder, Melinda A. et al, Documenting domestication: the intersection of genetics and archeology, Trends in
Genetics (Genetics, Archeology and the Origins of Domestication; Elsevier) 2006, 22(3): p. 146.
Meghen, C. et al, “Charecterization of Kuri cattle in Lake Chad using Molecular Genetic Techniques”, in
Blench, R. and MacDonald, K. C. (Eds.), The Origins and Developments of African Livestock: Archaeology,
Genetics, Linguistics and Ethnography, Routledge, 2000, p. 266.
Bradley, D. G. et al, Mitochondrial diversity and the origins of African and European cattle, PNAS 1996 May,
refuted the West Asian origin of African taurine cow, but also found that the African cow
lineages had a population expansion at 10,000 ybp, while the date for such an expansion in
Europe was 5,000 ybp. Hence African taurine lineage is older than the West Asian and
European ones. Thus, although it is too early to say so, we may express a possibility that the
taurine cows had been domesticated for the first time in Africa, from where they reached
Europe and West Asia.
Ibeagha-Awemu (2005) found that the genetic variability of Indian cows in Africa is far
greater than that of African local or taurine cows, especially in Nigeria and Cameroon. High
variability within Indicine cow genes in Africa indicates a very old migration from India to
Africa, before domestication of taurine cow.31 Thus time of introduction of Indian Zebu into
Africa should be earlier than the molecular date of domestication of taurine cow in Africa,
about 22,000 years back. Migration of Indian humans and Indian cows in large numbers to
the Eastern Horn of Africa at 22,000 ybp, and not via West Asia, indicates that the land
route to West Asia from India was closed because of aridity. Petraglia and many other
workers have noted that this route was closed between about 30,000 ybp and 15,000 ybp. 32
It has been claimed that, “After domestication, survival and diffusion of Bos taurus
completely depended on humans; thus, the phylogeographic patterns of cattle genetic
diversity should mirror human activities or movements and may provide information
complementary to archaeological and anthropological data”.33 Other studies have also
supported this view.34 Hence Zeder’s claim that there was a sea trade in cow to Africa and
other parts of world seems to be true.
If Neolithic revolution originated in the West Asia, why do we get evidence of Indian cattle
from Ancient Egyptian paintings (4000 ybp) 35 as well as Jordanian archeological remains?36
From Arabian littoral remains of 3rd millennium BCE, Indian cow paintings have been
recovered.37 Hence we conclude that domestication of Indian cow and onset of Indian
Neolithic are much older than is usually assumed. Spread of cows from India to other parts
of world was of seminal value in prompting local domestications of taurine cows in other
parts of world.
Post-LGM migration of domesticated cattle over land route, resulting in hybridization of
Taurine and Indian cows in the area between India and Iraq has also been proven
genetically, but that belongs to a later date than the Indian cow migration to East Africa by
Ibeagha-Awemu, E. M. et al, High variability of milk protein genes in Bos indicus cattle breeds of Cameroon
and Nigeria and characterization of a new α s1-casein promoter allele, Journal of Dairy Research, 2005, 72:1:1-9.
James, Hannah V. A and Petraglia, Michael D., Modern Human Origins and the Evolution of Behavior in the
Later Pleistocene Record of South Asia, Current Anthropology 2005, 46( Supplement, Dec.), p.S 7
Pellecchia1, Marco et al, The mystery of Etruscan origins: novel clues from Bos taurus mitochondrial DNA,
PNAS 2006, p. 1, doi:10.1098/rspb.2006.0258.
Kidd, K.K. and Cavalli-Sforza, L. L., The role of genetic drift in the differentiation of Icelandic and Norwegian
cattle, Evolution 1974, 28:381–395.
Marshall, Fiona, Rethinking the Role of Bos indicus in sub-Saharan Africa, Current Anthropology 1989,
Clason, A.T., Late Bronze Age-Iorn Age Zebu in Jordan? J Archaeol Sci 1978, 5: 91–93.
Clutton, Brock, Juliet, The Walking Larder, Routledge, 1990, p. 148-149.
sea.38, 39 Indian cow entered Africa by land route later by 3,500 ybp. 40 Freeman’s data and
distribution-map also indicate that there is a penetration of Indian cow in South-East
Europe. Cattle migration from India to Europe has been proven by other studies also. 41
Some writings claim migration of Zebu to Italy between 30,000 ybp and 25,000. 42
Linguistic evidence corroborates well with genetic findings. English word ‘cow’ has cognates
in Sanskrit (gAva, gau, go), Farsi (gAw), German (kuh or kuhe), Dutch (koe), Danish (ko), etc.
The lexical evidence also proves that India was the source of cow for China and Southeast
Asia. This is reflected in their words for cow-- Pinyin Chinese gu, Cantonese ngau, and Thai
koh. In Africa, Swahili word for cow ngombe. We know that ‘m’ is added to each nown as a
prefix in Swahili language.
Mitochondrial DNA studies have shown that pig, although evolved 500,000 years back in the
wild form in the Southeast Asia (which was a single piece of land then), its one branch came
to India long back. Then this branch radiated from India into many parts of the world in its
wild form. It was from this wild stock of Indian radiation, that pigs have been domesticated
at several places in the world independently, the two most important and oldest being
Southeast Asia and India.
Bellwood and many other authors think that paddy cultivation was not possible without
buffalo which likes water and mud. On the basis of physical features of wild buffalos
surviving in world today Bellwood (1995) diagnosed that water buffalo was domesticated
for the first time in India in Orissa and Jharkhand area (he actually wrote Bihar instead of
Jharkhand, because then Jharkhand was a part of Bihar). 43 Kumar (2007) found, on the basis
of DNA studies, that buffalo was domesticated in India 6,500 years back, and from here it
migrated to Southeast Asia and South China. 44 This migration implies migration with farmers
or traders, because domestic buffaloes cannot migrate alone. Buffalo’s association with rice
agriculture suggests to us that this migration occurred as a farming related migration.
Domestication of Barley
It was claimed, like everything else, in the past that barley was domesticated for the first
time in West Asia. But DNA research on barley revealed that it was actually domesticated by
man in western India, somewhere near modern Pakistan in circa 10,000 B.P. from Indian
Kumar, P. et al, Admixture analysis of South Asian Cattle, Heredity 2003, 91:43-50. See conclusion, p. 49.
Zeder, Melinda A. et al 2006, op. cit., p. 146 (box).
Kumar, P. et al, Admixture analysis of South Asian Cattle, Heredity 2003, 91: 43-50. See conclusion, p. 49.
Also see Chapter 11, FAO map of zebu cattle penetration route into Africa.
Negrini, R. et al, Differentiation of European cattle by AFLP fingerprinting, Animal Genetics 2009 (online
2007), 38(1): 60 – 66.
Bellwood, Peter, “Domesticated and Commensal Mammals of Austronesia and Their Histories”, in Bellwood,
P., Fox, J. and Tryon, D., The Austronesians: Historical and Comparative Perspectives, 1995.
Kumar, Satish et al; Phylogenography and domestication of Indian river buffalo, BMC Evolutionary Biology
wild barley, at southwestern ranges of Himalayas after the glacial ice cleared from this
Badr (2000) found a rich diversity of barley varieties in the sub-Himalayan region. Diversity is
an indicator of place of origin. 45 Morell and Clegg (2007), on the basis of DNA analysis
suggested that there were two centers of domestication of barley, one in the Fertile
Crescent and the other probably 1500 to 3000 kilometers to the East in western India. 46 This
study also indicated that although, the European varieties of barley originated from the
Fertile Crescent variant, the eastern nations received barley breeds from Indian
domestication. This leads us to conclude that barley was locally domesticated in the Indus
Valley area in circa 10,000 B.P.
DNA research by Azhanguvel and Komatsuda (2007) further indicated that there were
eastern and western two independent centers of barley domestication in Eurasia. 47 Saisho
(2007) found the eastern edge of Iran plateau was the site of domestication of eastern
barley.48 Jones (2008) finally clarified after studying the Ppd-H1 gene of barley from
European farmlands that the agricultural variant of barley which has “flowering time
adaptation”, the essential adaptation for agriculture, did not originate in West Asia or the
Fertile Crescent, but further east, probably in western part of India or in East Iran. 49 Sang
(2009) reviewed all the scientific papers presented so far and concluded that at about
10,000 B.P., barley cultivation started in western India independently from any external
Thus it is concluded by DNA study that barley was cultivated in India independent of any
West Asian influence, and that the essential gene for farming, as noted by Jones, was found
in Indian wild breeds only, indicating that Indian domestication event was primary and the
West Asian one was secondary. This correlates well with finding of barley at Mehrgarh at
9,000 to 10,000 years back.
Domestication of Rice:
There are two main sub-species of rice, Oryza sativa indica or Indian rice and Oryza sativa
japonica or Chinese rice. It is now accepted that Oryza nivara, one of the wild species of rice
from Central India, which is not found in China, is the immediate ancestor of cultivated rice
Badr, A. et al, On the Origin and Domestication History of Barley, Molecular Biology and Evolution 2000,
Morell P. L. and Clegg M. T.; Genetic evidence for a second domestication of barley (Hordeun vulagare) east
of fertile crescent, PNAS 2007, 104: 3289-3294.
Azhanguvel, P. and Komatsuda, T.; A phylogenetic analysis based on nucleotide sequence of a marker linked
to brittle rachis locus indicates a diphylectic origin of barley, Ann Bot. Lond. 2007, 100: 1009-1015.
Saisho, Daisuke and Purugganan Michael D.; Molecular phylogenography of domesticated barley traces
expansion of agriculture in Old world, Genetics 2007, 177: 1765-1776.
Jones, Huw et al; Population-Based resequencing reveals that the flowering time adaptation of cultivated
barley Originated east of Fertile Crescent, Molecular Biology and Evolution 2008, 25(10): 2211-2219.
Sang, Tao; Genes and Mutations underlying domestication transitions in grasses, Plant Physiology 2009, 149:
63-70. American Society of plant Physiologists.
Oryza sativa.51 O. nivara originated from another Indian wild species O. rufipogon, whose
related wild breed is also found in Southeast Asia, but not in China. 52
Domestication of Oryza sativa’s sub-species indica occurred in east India south of
Himalayas; and that of the sub-species japonica occurred in South China.53 Chen (1993)
found that ‘deletion type Cp DNA’ is found in ‘annual’ varieties of Oryza rufipogon, which is
the ancestor of O. sativa indica. On the other hand non-deletion type CpDNA is found in
wild “perennial rufipogon”. It was this wild perennial non-deletion type which gave birth to
the Chinese breed of rice. Thus indica and japonica were domesticated separately and from
two different strains of rufifipogon. Thus the Chinese rice is only distantly related to indica,
and not and ancestor of indica.
Moreover Chinese rice seems to have been domesticated much later than the indica.54
Yamane et al (2009) on the basis of another gene Hd6 supported the view that indica and
japonica sub-species of rice had been domesticated independently. 55 These works rule out
earlier conjecture that rice cultivation originated in South China and was later transported
to India with Austro-Asiatic farming tribes.
On the basis of sh4 gene Sang (2009) claimed that indica was domesticated earlier in India
than the Chinese rice, and that it was from the Indian domesticated breed that this gene
(sh4) essential for farming was transmitted into Chinese variety. The sh4 gene stops
shattering of grains on ripening, and is crucial to domestication. Without this gene, the
grains shatter and fall down from the rice plant as soon as they get ripe. 56 This gene
originated in domesticated Oryza sativa indica in India, once only, and has by now
introgressed into all the paddy types by cross pollination and seed selection. 57
Fuller has alleged that rice found at Lahuradewa dating back to up to 10,000 years before
present was not cultivated, but gathered from wild growth. In his support he cites presence
of unripe rice on the spikelets as evidence of being wild. Presence of unripe seeds on the
paddy-spikelet found at Lahuradewa only indicates that Lahuradewa farmers were forced to
harvest spikelets at a relatively unripe stage, because ripening may have resulted in
shattering of paddy seeds. This only implies that mutation sh4, which is responsible for
prevention of shattering in paddy plants, had not occurred by that time, and therefore the
Lahuradewa farmers had to harvest paddy spikelets before ripening. It was the food-value
of rice which forced man to cultivate it, not presence or absence of sh4 mutation. This
De Datta, S. K., Principles and Practice of Rice Production, John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1981, p. 173.
Grillo, M. A. et al, Genetic Architecture for the Adaptive Origin of Annual Wild Rice: Oryza nivara,
Evolution, 2009, 63 (4):870-883.
Lonedo J. P. et al; Phylogenography of Asian wild rice, Oryza rufipogen, reveals multiple independent
domestications of cultivated rice oryza sativa, PNAS 2006, 103, 9578-5983.
Harris, David; “The Multi-disciplinary Study of Agricultural Origins: „One World Archeology‟ in Practice”, in
The Future for Archeology, edited by Layton, Robert et al, Routledge Cavendish, 2006, p. 238.
Chen, et al; Distribution of deletion type in CpDNA of cultivated and wild rice, Japanese Journal of Genetics
1993, 68: 597-603.
Yamane, Hiroko et al; Molecular and Evolutionary analysis of the Hd6 Photoperiod Sensitivity Gene Within
Genus Oryza, Rice 2009, 2:56-66.
Sang, Tao, 2009, op. cit.
mutation occurred only later after domestication, as discovered by Sang (vide supra), and
selectively promoted by seed selection by the farmers.
Fuller argues that empty husks have been found in Lahuradewa’s archaeological findings,
therefore they should be considered ‘gathered’ wild paddy. Such a view is a product of
naiveté about rice farming. Occurrence of empty husks is a common mishap in paddy
cultivation even today, and is not at all associated with wildness of the breed in those cases.
Moreover, Dorian Fuller expects modern domestication features in about 9,000 years old
paddy samples. It is too much. Today’s paddy is a product of ceaseless process of seed-
selection by Indian famers over 10,000 years, and the earliest farmers cultivated wild breeds
only. Till 1960’s many of the cultivated breeds of Indian paddy were little different from wild
breeds, and this is natural owing to cross pollination.
Fuller further alleges: i.) that Lahuradewa rice had smaller grain size, ii.) that the
Lahuradewa rice had red seeds, and iii.) that the plant size was tall hence the plants could
stand erect only in water-logged fields. On the basis of these arguments, he claims that
Lahuradewa paddy was wild. These all allegations merely show his ignorance about paddy
and paddy cultivation. Grain-size of the seed is selected by farmers even today on the basis
of productivity. Long-grains are often not good at yield in most of the fields. Hence most of
the farmers in the Ganga Valley grow small grains. The grain size of cultivated Indian paddy
varies widely. Till recently, red seeds were most common varieties of cultivated rice in
Eastern India. Desaria, an Indian domesticated breed of red rice, extincted only recently,
had up to six feet tall feeble straw, which grew only in deep waters, and harvesting was
done by farmers riding on boats. Thus Fuller’s allegations about Lahuradewa rice are not
Fuller (2003, 2006) himself has elsewhere written that there was an early farming in the
Ganga Valley which gave cultivation related words to both Sanskrit and Tamil. 58 He accepts
that there was an indigenous evolution of agriculture in India in the Gangetic valley, from
where agriculture related words have been derived in both Sanskrit and Tamil. “Linguistic
evidence congruent with an early North Indian (Gangetic) agricultural complex comes from
a range of agricultural terms found in Sanskrit, and sometimes in Dravidian languages, which
appear to derive from extinct languages of unknown affiliation.” 59 Hence his opposition to
Lahuradeva findings is strange.
Thus the genetic evidence favours that India (Ganga Valley) was the first centre of rice
cultivation with the help of ox and buffalo, and the Southeast Asians learned this from India,
and cultivated their own wild rice. The process then spread to China, whose cultivated rice
still contains many wild features.
The Domestic Mouse and Rat
Fuller, D. Q., “An agricultural perspective on Dravidian historical linguistics: archaeological crop packages,
livestock and Dravidian crop vocabulary”, in Bellwood, Peter and Renfrew, Colin (Eds.); Examining The
Farming/language Dispersal Hypothesis: (191-213), 2003, p. 204. ----------; Agricultural Origins and Frontiers
in South Asia: A Working Synthesis, J World Prehist 2006, 20:1–86.
Fuller, D. Q., 2003, op. cit.
Mouse and rat are two different species of rodents. Incidentally, both of them originated in
India and migrated out about the same time with agriculture. Although archaeological
evidence for agriculture starts from 10,000 years back, the black rat migration out of India
took place at 20,000 years back and mouse migration took place 15,000 years back
Domestic mice (Mus) have lived in and around human dwellings feeding on human stored
food and food debris for ages. In the beginning Mus lived only in north India since 900,000
years back,60 as a commensal of Homo erectus and later Homo sapiens sapiens (Ferris,
1983).61 It diverged into three principal species, viz. Mus musculus domesticus, M. musculus
musculus and M. castaneus by 500,000 years back (Geraldis, 2008; Din, 1996). 62
When Homo sapiens sapiens inhabited India in about 100,000 ybp or earlier, these species
of mice became adapted to live in and around human dwellings (Boursot, 1993). 63 Mice
probably felt safer in human surroundings. Tsutim et al (2008) found that human
environment gives protection to sparrows from being predated by carnivorous birds and
animals.64 The same applies to mice.
Groves (1984) found that many types of mice and rats had been introduced into Island
Southeast Asia from India together with rice agriculture. 65 Mus caroli, Mus cervicolor and
Rattus argentiventer are found in Southeast Asia north of Malay. They are invariably
restricted to wet rice growing areas. Mus dunni, a small mice, native of northeast India and
Rattus nitidus, a native of Nepal, are rice-field pests of Indonesia. These all species
originated in India.66
Bandicoot-rat (Bandicota bengalensis) a rice-field pest in Indonesia originated in Mahanadi
delta in association with buffalo. 67 We have already discussed buffalo domestication and
migration from India. The other sub-species of mice which migrated out of India to
Southeast Asia is Mus castaneus. This species is adept at digging holes in soil. Probably they
learned to do this in a bid to eat tubers and sweet potatoes which grew in abundance in
Indian soil. Mus caroli is another species of Southeast Asian mice which dwells in rice fields.
Boursot, P., et al, Origin and radiation of the house mouse: mitochondrial DNA phylogeny, Journal of
Evolutionary Biology 1996, 9: 391-415.
Ferris, S. D. et al, Mitochondrial DNA evolution in mice, Genetics 1983, 105(3):681-721.
Geraldis, Armando, et al, Inferring the history of speciation in house mice from autosomal, X-linked, Y-linked
and mitochondrial genes, Molecular Ecology 2008, 17(24):5349-5363. Also, Din, W. et al, Origin and radiation
of the house mouse: clues from nuclear genes, Journal of Evolutionary Biology 1996, 9(5):519-539.
Boursot, P. et al, Evolution of House Mice, Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 1993, 24:119-152.
Tsutim, Ido, et al., Foraging Behavior of Urban Birds: Are Human Commensals Less Sensitive to Predation
Risk than their Non-urban Counterparts, The Condor 2008, 110(4):772-776.
Groves, Colin P., “Domesticated and Commensal Mammals of Austronesia and Their Histories”, in
Bellwood, P., Fox, J. and Tryon, D., The Austronesians: Historical and Comparative Perspectives, 1995. Also,
Groves, C. P., Of mice and men and pigs in the Indo-Australian archipelago, Canberra Anthropology 1984,
Bellwood, P. et al, 1995.
Black rat (Rattus rattus) is another species which originated in India and then migrated to
other parts of the world. From India it migrated to West Asia and then to Europe. Rattus
reached West Asia by 20,000 years before present, a date which is earlier than domestic
mouse migration.68 Other migration of this species was from India to Madagaskar. 69
We can guess from the dates of Ganga Valley Pottery Neolithic that Pre-Pottery Neolithic
may have started in India about 13,000 ybp to 14,000 ybp. We are forced to assume that
roughly the same time PPN migration out of India to West Asia started. Mus domesticus
migration out of India to West Asia must be a direct result of Neolithic migration. Date of
migration of Indian male lineage J2b from northern Ganga Valley to West Asia (13,800 years
back) coincides with that. Mus domesticus reached the Eastern Mediterranean basin in
about 10,000 ybp.70, 71 The route map of mice migration as mapped by the geneticists is
exactly the same as that of human migration.
Rajabi-Maham et al (2008) studied mice DNA from Iran up to Europe. They found that after
reaching the Fertile Crescent mice expansion toward Europe and Asia Minor took at least
two routes, tentatively termed the Mediterranean and the Bosphorus/Black Sea routes.
They found that another domesticated animal goat also followed the same routes almost
the same time about 12,000 years back. 72 Thus goat and mice migrated along with
Protracted commensality of Mus m. domesticus in India indicates that Homo sapiens sapiens
was doing some primitive farming or foraging and storing food since much before actual
onset of Neolithic migration. Indians of that era had possibly a settled life and home and
they depended on cereal, fruit and tuber diet.
Cognate words for ‘mouse’ are found exclusively within the Indo-European family of
languages (English ‘mouse’, Latin mus, Sanskrit mUSaka, muSika, mUs, muSka,73 Pahlavi
musk), indicating expansion of domestic mouse out of India with migrating Neolithic culture
of the Indo-European speakers of north India.
Migrations and Ecology
Alpin, Ken in Science News, Science Daily, Feb. 6, 2008.
Tollenaere, C. et al, Phylogenpgraphy of the introduced species Rattus rattus in the western Indian Ocean,
with special emphasis on the colonization history of Madagascar, Journal of Biogeography 2010, 37 (3): 398-
Cucchi, Thomas, Vigne J. D. and Auffray, J. C., First occurrence of the house mouse (Mus musculus
domesticus Schwarz & Schwarz, 1943) in the Western Mediterranean: Western Mediterranean: a
zooarchaeological revision of subfossil occurrences, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 2005, 84: 429-
Rajabi-Maham, H., Orth A and Bonhomme F., Phylogeography and post-glacial expansion of Mus musculus
domesticus inferred from mitochondrial DNA coalescent, from Iran to Europe, Mol Ecol 2007, 17(2): 627-641.
Also, Cucchi, T. and Vigne, J., Origin and Diffusion of the House Mice in the Mediterranean, Human Evolution
Rajabi-Maham, H. et al, Phylogeography and postglacial expansion of Mus musculus domesticus inferred
from mitochondrial DNA coalescent, from Iran to Europe, Mol. Ecol. 2008, 17 (2): 627-41.
Monier Williams Sanskrit English Dictionary, Cologne Scanned copy on the net, pp. 824, 827.
Large scale human migrations have taken place mostly out of compulsion. As the number
increases, there is a lot of competition for food and space within the members of the
species. Causes stress. To avoid stress, members of population disperse to new ecological
niche (Gliessman 2006).74 Groube (1996) pays attention to carrying capacity model, and
derives on ecological grounds that any migration would not have been possible from the
Fertile Crescent (West Asia) to either south or east as those had already been colonized well
by Homo sapiens sapiens.75 Hence due to ecological factors alone the population of Levant
and Fertile Crescent had no choice but to migrate only to the north or west. Hence ecology
too rules out population spread from West Asia to Iran and India.
The Central Role of India in Populating Europe and Asia:
Study of Human Maternal Lineages
Earlier, when the Out of Africa theory came, it was thought that man came out of Africa
through Suez and West Asia. That made people and scholars, alike, believe that West Asia
was the source of all further populations of Europe, Asia and beyond. This assumption
coupled with findings at Jericho and other sites in West Asia made authors believe that
farming originated at the West Asia, from where it travelled to Europe and India. While
farming went to South Europe with Indo-European language, it went to India with Dravidian
language—they thought (Colin Renfrew). Thus Renfrew suggested that four major language
families of the world--Indo-European, Dravidian, Altaic and Afro-Asiatic—originated in the
West Asia.76 He thought that their common precursor was Proto-Nostratic, the ancestor of
Nostratic macro-family, which was located in the West Asia, sometime before 10,000 B.P.
(p. 80), he suggested.
But it was realized soon that the West Asian route of exit from Africa was untenable. By
1998 Cavalli-Sforza and his team reached the conclusion that from Africa, Homo sapiens
sapiens came out quite early and only once to reach India. In India that population
expanded, had linguistic and cultural development, and then it was from India that the rest
of the world was populated. 77 This finding has been further supported by a large number of
extensive DNA studies by Quintana-Murci78, Kivisild79, Bamshad et al. 2001;80 Kivisild et
Gliessman, Stephen, R., Agroecology, CRC Press, 2006.
Groube, Les, “The impact of disease upon the emergence of agriculture”, in Harris, D. R. (Ed.), The Origins
and Spread of Agriculture and Pastoralism in Eurasia, Routledge, 1996.
Renfrew, Colin; “Language families and the spread of farming”, in The Origins and Spread of Agriculture
and Pastoralism in Eurasia, Ed. Harris, D. R., UCL Press, 1996; reprint Routledge, 2004.
Cavalli-Sforza, L.; Man and diversity of his genome: An extraordinary phase in the history of population
genetics, Pathologie-Biologie, Paris 1998, 46 (2):98-102. [Article in French]
Quintana-Murci, L. et al; Genetic evidence of an early exit of Homo sapiens sapiens from Africa through
eastern Africa, Nature Genetics 1999, 23:437–41.
Kivisild, T. et al; “The place of the Indian mitochondrial DNA variants in the global network of maternal
lineages and the peopling of the Old World”, in Genomic Diversity (Ed. Papiha, S.S. et al), Kluwer
Academic/ Plenum Publishers, 1999, pp. 135-152. --------- et al; Deep common ancestry of Indian and
western-Eurasian mitochondrial DNA lineages, Curr Biol 1999, 9 (22) :1331-1334. ---------- et al, “An
Indian ancestry: A key for understanding human diversity in Europe and beyond,” in Archaeogenetics: DNA and
the population prehistory of Europe”, in Renfrew, C. and Boyle, K. (Eds.), McDonald Institute for Archaeological
Research, Cambridge, 2000, pp. 267–75.
Bamshad, M., Kivisild T. et al; Genetic evidence on the origins of Indian caste populations, Genome Res
2001, 11 (6): 994-1004.
al81,Metspalu et al , Endicott et al, 2003; Forster, 2004; Forster and Matsumara, 2005;
Macauley, 2005; Thangaraj et al, 2005).82
Thus latest consensus is that there was a single exit out of Africa to India along coastal route
very early in history of human evolution about 100,000 years back, after which all the areas
of world were populated by migration from India. Migration maps made by authors like
Oppenheimer (2003) and Metspalu (2004) on the basis of DNA studies showed that India
occupied centre-space of human evolution and dispersal. Metspalu et al reaffirmed that
“Southern Coastal Route” to India was suggested by the phylogeography of mtDNA
haplogroup M. The oldest Eurasian mitochondrial DNA lineage is M. Metspalu noted that
‘M’ is virtually absent from North Africa and Near East. This undermined the likelihood of
the initial colonization of Eurasia taking a route through Egypt and Suez.
Metspalu further noted that the split between West and East Eurasian mtDNAs occurred
between the Indus Valley and Southwest Asia, and not in the Central Asia. This contradicted
the earlier scheme in which Central Asia had been considered the central place for further
expansion, branching and further migration of mankind once man had left Africa. Metspalu
and his colleagues explained: “It is in the South Asia that local branches of the mtDNA tree
(haplogroups given in the spheres) arose (circa 40,000 – 60,000 B.P.); and from there they
were further carried into the interiors of the continents of Asia and Europe (thinner black
arrows).”83 They further noted that the “northern route” – from northeast Africa over Sinai
to the Near East–was used much later (about 30,000 to 17,000 B.P.) by East African people.
The first migration out of India, which took place about 85,000 years back, was to the
Southeast Asia. Man soon reached Australia from Southeast Asia, the migrations greatly
facilitated by Sunda shelf, which is submerged in sea but less than 100 meters deep at the
most. India and Sri Lanka as well as New Guinea and Australia were also joined by land. Such
a view in favour of coastal migration of humans was earlier mooted in 1962 by evolutionary
geographer Carl Saucer, who had explained on the basis of ‘ecological niche’ that forest and
savanna (grasslands) were least likely to be human home during early days; and sea shores
were the only likely place for human home (p. 42).84 A recent review article by Endicott et al
(2007) clearly concludes that India was the central player in cultural evolution of man and
Recent Migrations of Male Lineages after Last Glacial Maximum
Kivisild, T. et al; The genetic heritage of the earliest settlers persists both in Indian tribal and caste
populations, Am J Hum Genet 2003, 72 (2) : 313-32.
See details of articles in the bibliography. Endicott, P. et al; Macaulay, V., et al; Single, rapid coastal
settlement of Asia revealed by analysis of complete mitochondrial genomes, Science 2005, 308:1034–1036.
Metspalu, M. et al; Most of the extant mtDNA boundaries in South and Southwest Asia were likely shaped
during the initial settlement of Eurasia by anatomically modern humans, BMC Genetics 2004, 5:
Sauer, Carl; Sea-shore primitive home of man? Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 1962, 106:
Endicott, P., Metspalu, M. and Kivisild, T., “Genetic evidence on modern human dispersals in South Asia: Y
chromosomal and mitochondrial DNA perspectives: The world through the eyes of two haploid genomes,” in
Petraglia, M and Allchin, B. (Eds.), The Evolution and history of South Asia, Springer, Netherlands, 2007, p.
When it became clear on the basis of matrilineally transmitted DNA lineages, that West
Asians and Central Asians or any region out of India has not contributed to Indian gene pool,
then it was claimed, if not matrilineally, then patrilineally, Indians have descended from
Central Asians (Aryans) and West Asians (Dravidians). Descendants of all men who originally
expanded out of India, started coming back to India from Central Asia, West Asia, Tibet,
China, Southeast Asia etc once Last Glacial ended, they claimed. Literature was flooded by
imaginary stories of human male lineage arrivals. Thus the story became changed now. Now
it was said that although matrinineally, Indians, the castes, tribes and the linguistic groups,
have been there in India since 100,000 years back, yet most of them were fathered by
arriving males from different directions, who introduced the various languages spoken in
From West Asia came Dravidian speaking fathers and brought barley and wheat agriculture,
as well as bull, cow, goat and sheep. From Central Asia came Aryan fathers with horse, and
from South China via Southeast Asia came Munda speaking fathers with rice agriculture.
Each migration was wrongly identified with a Y-chromosomal male lineage. Thus West Asia
to India, it was J2 and L1; from Central Asia to India was R1a; and from South China to India
it was O2a. But fortunately conjectures cannot survive for ever in science. Latest researches
have clarified most of the issues which were of vital importance to India.
Origin and Migration of the Y Chromosomal Haplogroup R1a out of India after LGM:
Y-chromosome is found in the males and is transmitted from father to son. DNA of Y-
chromosomes can be used to trace male lineages. In technical language, a main lineage is
called haplogroup. We are now able to identify lineage of any individual, and correctly tell
the ancestral relationship, or time of separation of the two individual’s common ancestor,
with any other individual with the help of DNA identification techniques.
It was found that Y-chromosomal DNA HG R1a is found in good numbers in India, Central
Asia and Europe. This prompted Wells et al (2001) to suggest that R1a (M17), and R2 which
is also found in India and Central Asia alike, are Aryan DNAs. He suggested that Aryans
carrying R1a DNA entered Europe and India from Central Asia. 86
Cordaux et al (2004), on the basis of presence of both hunter-gatherer and agriculturist
societies living side-by-side in modern India suggested that original Indians were hunter
gatherer tribes, and agriculture arrived into India by “demic diffusion” from outside. 87 No
DNA evidence was presented. Yet this became a reference work for all future workers.
Although Cordaux had conducted a large DNA study of Indian caste and tribes a year back
which had shown that the Indian castes and tribes share the same gene pool, and that they
are more closely related with East Asians than with Europeans and West Asians. 88 Cordaux
Wells, R.S. et al, The Eurasian Heartland: A continental perspective on Y-chromosome diversity, PNAS 2001,
Cordaux, R., et al, Genetic Evidence for the Demic Diffusion of Agriculture to India, Science 2004,
Cordaux, R. et al, Mitochondrial DNA analysis reveals diverse histories of tribal populations from India, Eu J
Hum Genet 2003, 11(3):253-264.
(2004) argument was adopted by Regueiro et al (2006) trying to envision a wave of
migration of R1a starting from Turkey to Central Asia to India then to Iran (p. 140).
The Aryan Invasion theory of Wells (2001) was contradicted by some leading genome
scientists of the world, including Sahoo, Kivisild, Metspalu, Villems and their colleagues. On
the basis of a large study (Sahoo et al, 2006, p. 845), they declared that the Central Asian
origin of sub-haplogroup R1a and Aryans cannot be substantiated at all on any account of
facts.89 They held, “The perennial concept of people, language, and agriculture arriving to
India together through the northwest 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.” (p. 847)
They found that R2, H and F* are Indian in origin, and it is from India that they have
migrated to Central Asia. Their data suggested an indigenous origin for Aryan DNA R1a.
Another team working on the same topic included Sengupta, King, Cavalli-Sforza, Underhill
and colleagues. They showed that R (especially R1a1 and R2) diversity in India is indigenous
in origin and does not support hypothesis of immigration from Central Asia or anywhere
outside. R1a prevalence is not only high in Indo-European speaking Punjab, south Pakistan
and Ganga Valley, but also in Chenchu and Koya tribes of south India (Kivisild et al. 2003).90
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 is
not only more diverse in South Asia than in Central Asia but diversity characterizes its
presence in isolated tribal groups in the south, thus undermining any theory of M17 as a
marker of a 'male Aryan Invasion of India.' Study of the geographical distribution and the
diversity of genetic branches and stems again suggests that Ruslan, along with his son M17,
arose early in South Asia, somewhere near India”.91
Finally Underhill and colleagues (2009) presented a detailed study of R1a lineages. 92 They
found that R1a is oldest in India. This lineage started expanding from Gujarat about 16,000
years back. By 14,000 years back or earlier, it reached the Ganga Valley and Indus Valley.
Then people carrying R1a genes migrated out of India, through Afghanistan and Tajikistan,
reaching Central Asia. From Central Asia they entered East Europe. They inhabited the
Pontic-Caspian area. Then they populated those areas which are inhabited today by Slavic
and Baltic speaking people.
Sahoo, Sanghmitra et al, A prehistory of Indian Y chromosomes: Evaluating demic diffusion scenarios, PNAS
2006 Jan., 103(4): 843-848.
Sengupta, S. et al, Polarity and Temporality of High-Resolution Y-Chromosome Distributions in India
Identify Both Indigenous and Exogenous Expansions and Reveal Minor Genetic Influence of Central Asian
Pastoralists, Am J Hum Genet 2006 Feb., 78(2): 202–221.
Oppenheimer, S., Out of Eden: Peopling of the world, Robinson, London, 2004, p. 153.
Underhill, P.A. et al, Separating the post-Glacial coancestry of European and Asian Y-chromosomes within
haplogroup R1a, European Journal of Human Genetics 2009, 4 November online.
Genetics today rules out any possibility of any significant migration from Central Asia to
India, and supports regular migration from India to Central Asia in all ages of human
prehistory. A large number of lineages of Indian origin—R1a, R2, H, F*, C5, L etc. are found
in the Central Asia, but Central Asian lineages are not found in India. The HIV protective
gene is found in the Central India, but not found in India. This rules out Central Asian
migration into India. 93
Migration of Lineage J2 and Farming
There is another male lineage which expanded after the Last Glacial Maximum and which
became controversial over last ten years in the genetic, anthropological and linguistic circles
because of its wide range of spread spanning from India to South Europe. This is haplogroup
J2 (M172). It is found in South Europe, Turkey, Iraq, Iran and India in good frequency. It was
noted by King and Underhill (2002) that in Europe and in Levant, Turkey, Iraq and Iran this
haplogroup is found in those areas which also have archaeological evidence of early
farming, figurine, clay sealing stamps and painted pottery. 94 Chiaroni et al (2008) showed
that the haplogroup J2 is found principally in those areas of West Asia which have a good
rainfall.95 This area is termed the Fertile Crescent. It is indirect evidence that this lineage
came from an area which had a good rainfall, and that these people subsisted on monsoon
These findings sparked wild speculations. One group of authors thought that presence of J2
in India indicates arrival of Indo-European speakers with farming to Mehrgarh and North
India. Other group suggested that J2 was a marker of the Dravidian speakers of the West
Asia (Elam region) to north India, who were master farmers, and who developed Mehrgarh
and Indus farming societies. None of the two conjectures were taken seriously, yet it
became a common belief in the genetic circles that J2 is West Asian in origin and arrived
into India with farming.
Lately, J2 (M172) lineage has been studies in India in detail. Its study in India shows that its
frequency is 19% in Dravidian speaking castes, and only 11% in Aryan speaking castes.
Among the tribes, its frequency is 11%.96 Hence its arrival through northwest Indian corridor
into India is ruled out. Because it was found that in the northwest India its frequency is less
than that in south Indian caste population. Its good presence in all segments of Indian
society proves that either this haplogroup originated in India, or this haplogroup is fixed
from very old days in India, possibly since Pleistocene, and not just 8,000 years back.
Kivisild, T. et al; The genetic heritage of the earliest settlers persists both in Indian tribal and caste populations,
Am J Hum Genet 2003 Feb, 72 (2) : 313-32, p. 328; Majumdar, P. and Dey, B., Absence of HIV-1 Protective
Delta ccr5 allele in most ethnic populations of India, Eur. J. Hum. Genetics 2001, 9: 794-794.
King, Roy and Underhill, Peter A., Congruent distribution of Neolithic painted pottery and ceramic figuries
with Y chromosome lineages, Antiquity 2002, 76:707-714.
Chiaroni, J., King, Roy J., Underhill, Peter A., Correlation of annual precipitation with human Y-chromosome
diversity and the emergence of Neolithic agricultural and pastoral economies in the Fertile Crescent, Antiquity
Sahoo, Sanghmitra et al, A prehistory of Indian Y chromosomes: Evaluating demic diffusion scenarios, PNAS
2006 Jan., 103(4): 843-848. Also see Sengupta et al, 2006; Trivedi et al, 2008.
Sengupta and colleagues (2006) found that age of J2b (M12), which is a branch of J2, is
about 17,600 years to 10,000 years (mean age 13,800 years) in India. On the other hand the
same figures for Europe for J2 were only 8,700 years and 4,300 years (mean 6,500 years). 97
That means age of J2b, a descendant of J2, in West Asia and Europe is further less than 6500
years. The date of J2b expansion in India is thus much before the supposed date of onset of
farming into India. This is enough evidence to suggest that J2 and J2b originated in India. 98
Genetic diversity is a marker of age of a haplogroup in any area. HG J2 exhibits a genetic
diversity of 0.702 and lineage diversity of 0.999 in India (Trivedi et al 2008).99 This means an
early settlement and insidious origin of J2 in India. Although the workers (Sengupta, 2006;
Sahoo, 2006; Trivedi, 2008) have supplied the arguments and the data against possibility of
J2 arrival from India to West Asia, yet they have not spelled the obvious conclusion,
probably because of fear of back-lash from Western academic establishment, to whom
West Asian origin of civilization is sacrosanct. Origin of J2 must have been in India can be
said by having a look at Table 3 of Trivedi. The genetic diversity of J2 in the table is 0.702,
which is more than or almost equal to genetic diversities of other haplogroups considered
Indian in origin but also found in West Asia or Central Asia viz. P, F, H, L, K, K2, R1a, C and
Moreover, there are other DNA lineages found in good numbers in West Asia like R1*, R1b3,
J*, J2f, I, G and E which are in total more than 53% population of west Asia. These are
virtually absent from India (Sahoo, p. 844). Had people migrated from West Asia to India,
these haplogroups would also have arrived into India. This evidence proves that J2 did not
arrive from West Asia, because no lineage can ever migrate without other lineages also
migrating along with it from the place of origin or expansion. On the other hand nearly all of
the Indian male lineages like F*, L1, H (M-69), K2, C5, C*, R1a (M-17) etc.101 are found in
West Asia, proving a definite Indian migration to West Asia. The HIV protective gene, which
is found in West Asia, and Central Asia too, is absent from India (Majumder and Dey, 2001).
Thus on no account, any migration from West Asia to India can be supported.
Sengupta et al noted that frequency and variance of J2b2 are very high in Uttar Pradesh
near Nepal boarder. Regarding place of maximum frequency and variance of J2b2, they
remind, “It should be noted that numerous Mesolithic sites have been observed in this
region (Kennedy, 2000).” 102 Although, scepticism exists in the matter, Sengupta’s and
Trivedi’s studies certainly indicate that lineage J2 originated in India. It is only a matter of
time. In near future we expect to get more extensive report unequivocally confirming origin
of HG J2 in India and that Indian Neolithic migrated to West Asia with J2 and other lineages.
Semino, O. et al, Origin, diffusion and differentian of Y chromosome haplogroups E and J: Inferences on the
Neolithization of Europe and later migratory events in the Mediterranean area, Am J Hum Genet 2004, 74: 1023-
Sengupta, p. 210.
Trivedi, R. et al, Genetic imprints of Pleistocene Origin of Indian Populations: A comprehensive
phylogeographic sketch of Indian Y chromosomes, Int J Hum Genet 2008, 8(1-2): 97-118, p. 103, Table 3.
Trivedi, p. 103.
Sengupta, p. 210.
Sengupta et al 2006, p. 210.
Sengupta (2006) showed that J2 is well distributed in Indian population. 103 Sengupta et al
(2006) found that the haplogroup J2 had a quite high variance, and hence deep time-depth
in Indian tribes and castes too. Moreover the frequency is higher in the Dravidian speaking
south Indians (19%) than the Indo-European speaking north Indians (11%). This destroys the
Aryan migration into India from West Asia hypothesis of Bellwood (2003 and 2005). The
inference what we can derive from Sengupta and colleagues study’s data is that J2
haplogroup originated in India during Last Glacial Maximum, and migrated out of India when
climate permitted. J2 is 18.7% in south Pakistan, the central place of Indus civilization.
Lineage J2 and its derivatives are 23% in Iran and 22.2% in Turkey. (Regueiro et al. 2006).
But their variances are less than in India. Semino (2004) gives 18,000 ybp as the time of
origin of J2. The variance was also high indicating indigenous origin of the haplogroup in
India.104 J2 as well as its sub-clade J2b2 show a decreasing variance from India to the
Balkans as depicted in the following table:
Haplogroup India Iran West Asia Anatolia Balkans/Europe
J2b (M12) 0.43105 0.33 0.24 0.191
J2 (M172) 0.84 0.52
Age of J2 as per Semino’s calculation is 18,000 ybp. 106 Age of J2b (M12) in Anatolia is 8,600
years (Cinnioglu, 2004, Table 2, p. 131).107And that of its sub-lineage J2b2 (M241) is 13,800
ybp (Sengupta, 2006, p. 216). Although Sengupta does not provide age of J2b, yet it must be
older than its descendant’s age 13,800 years ago. Thus presence of J2b in India is far earlier
than in Anatolia, where J2b is seen at the time of Neolithic at 8,600 years back.
Another lineage L1, which is a branch of L, is found in India, Iran and West Asia. This finding
had prompted some authors to write that L1 is a marker of Neolithic migration to India with
Dravidian language, to Mehrgarh and Indus Valley. These authors resurrected the theory of
Elamite origin of Dravidian. Sahoo and colleagues (2006) studied the Indian Y chromosomal
lineages and found that R1a, L1, F and H are of Indian origin. 108 Not only Sahoo’s but all
recent works have completely ruled out the possibility that L1 is a marker of West Asian
origin of Dravidian speaking people of India. Current opinion is that L1 is of Indian origin and
is well distributed in castes and tribes of both north and south India. But it is absent from
East Indian states.
Hence Sahoo et al rule that, “The near absence of L lineages within the IE speakers from
Bihar (0%), Orissa (0%), and West Bengal (1.5%) further suggests that the current
distribution of Y haplogroups in India is associated primarily with geographic rather than
linguistic or cultural determinants.” (p. 847) On the other hand Y-chromosomal DNA
distribution in West Asia and South Europe is surely associated with language and culture.
Sengupta, S., 2006, op. cit.
Sengupta, S. et al; op cit.
Sengupta, 2006, Fig. 4, p. 212.
Semino, O. et al., Origin, Diffusion, and Differentiation of Y-Chromosome Haplogroups E and J: Inferences
on the Neolithization of Europe and Later Migratory Events in the Mediterranean Area, Am J Hum Genet 2004,
Cinnioglu, C. et al, Excavating Y-chromosome haplotype strata in Anatolia, Hum Genet 2004, 114 : 127–
Sahoo, S. et al, 2006, p.
Association of language or culture with a DNA lineage indicates immigration from outside,
and non-association indicates an autochthonous origin within a geographical area. While
Indian lineages qualify to be original of India, the West Asian and European lineages qualify
to be immigrants to their present country, barring a few exceptions.
Although frequency of Y-haplogroup J2, which is a marker of farming and pottery, increases
beyond the northwest boundaries of India, its slightly lower frequency in India compared to
Iran, Iraq or Turkey is not because it arrived into India as a result of some invasion from
West Asia, but because a large number of Y-chromosomal haplogroups like R1a, R2, J2, L, O,
C, F*, H exist in India side by side, which evolved in India over last 70,000 years. Hence their
relative frequency becomes low (the total cannot exceed 100 percent).
We are aware that India is a primary source of human migration, both male and female, to
Eurasia. Hence she harbours the largest number of autochthonous Y-chromosomal
haplogroups. The frequency of J2 increases in Tajikistan, Iran, Iraq and Turkey because of
founder effect of an arriving population in a sparsely populated area. It is useful to
remember that during the Last Glacial Maximum, Iran and West Asia had become almost
completely depopulated. Hence whichever lineages arrived there after LGM, they grew up
fast with a high frequency. This phenomenon is called founder effect of a gene.
India as a Source of Neolithic: Correlation between Genographic and Archaeological
Thus it seems to be settled by now that J2, J2b, R1a and R1b originated and migrated out of
India to Iran and from there to West Asia--more markedly to the Fertile Crescent (Kurdistan,
Turkey and Levant). This finding becomes more relevant in light of latest archaeological
findings which show presence of Pottery Neolithic in the Ganga Valley in India at about
9,000 to 10,000 years before present, i.e. at least 3000 years before West Asian Pottery
Neolithic culture (Sharma 1978; Tewari 2006, 2008; Govt. of UP Communique). At that very
time (9,000 ybp) we get Non-Pottery Neolithic in western part of India (now Pakistan) at
Mehrgarh, which was supported by well trained artisans and domesticated cattle (Jarrige
1984).109 Coppa (2006) found that agriculturist people of Mehrgarh suffered from dental
caries, probably due to cereal diet, which had been treated by drilling by dentistry practice
as early as 9000 ybp. 110 Sceptics have claimed that cereal grains recovered from 9000 ybp
Indian archaelogical sites had been gathered from wild (Fuller, blogspot, 2009), and they
may be entitled to claim that dental caries might have been caused by eating wild cereals;
but the drilling treatment of root canal could not have been done by a wild food-gatherer
dentist at 9000 years before present. The World Dental Federation Congress recognizes
today that their profession originated in India in 9000 years before present (Pearn 2008). 111
Although Mehrgarh and Koldihwa-Lahuradewa cultures were contemporary, presence of
pottery at Koldihwa and Lahuradewa, and their absence from Mehrgarh indicate that Ganga
Jarrige, J. F., “Chronology of the earlier periods of the Indus as seen from Mehrgarh, Pakistan”, in South
Asian Archaeology 1981, Ed. B. Allchin, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1984, pp. 21-28.
Coppa, A., et al; Palaeontology: Early Neolithic Tradition of Dentistry, Nature 2006, 440: 755-756.
Pearn, J.; Enduring symbols of dentistry: international metaphors of dental science, British Dental Journal
2008, 205, 615 – 621.
Valle Neolithic was older than Mehrgarh and was probably a source of Mehrgarh Neolithic.
Hence Ganga Valley appears to be the earliest source of Neolithic. Its genetic correlation
becomes apparent when we find in Sahoo’s maps that Ganga Valley has the densest
distribution of R1a (Sahoo et al. Fig. 2, p. 846). Possibly because of Post-LGM founder effect
R1a occupied the centre-space of the Ganga Valley.
A Pre-Pottery-Neolithic migration out of Ganga Valley reaching west India (Mehrgarh)
before 9,000 ybp can be postulated on the basis of data available so far. It is possible that
this wave of migration is represented today by R1a distribution in the area.
J2 migration seems to have occurred after R1a migration because of J2’s regular association
with pottery in West Asia. The epicentre of J2 migration was probably 11,000 ybp to 10,000
ybp Ganga Valley. Y-chromosomal haplogroup J2 has been found to be regularly associated
with areas where Neolithic farming is recorded in archaeological excavations (Di Giakomo et
al. 2004). Thus J2 entered with agriculture into south Europe and Mediterranean islands
from Levant and Anatolia (Semino et al. 2004). J2 is not only a marker of agriculture but also
of painted pottery and figurines spreading from West Iran into South Europe through
Levant/Anatolia (King and Underhill 2002). And both of these, pottery and agriculture, occur
together for the first time in the Ganga Valley at 9000 ybp (Tewari et al, Sharma, G. R.).
Recent archaeo-linguistic studies point out that the Indo-European languages originated at a
place which had agriculture. Evidence further indicates that this place was no farther than
the place of evolution of Austro-Asiatic languages and Dravidian languages, because words
from these latter languages are found in the oldest core vocabulary of the Proto-Indo-
European language. Coupled with this, recent archaeo-genetic studies of rice, barley, cow,
pig, buffalo and mice prove their origin in India. This supports an Indian origin of farming,
and subsequent spread to the east and west of India. These studies reject the theory of
Aryan arrival to India from Central Asia (or West Asia), Dravidian arrival from the West Asia
and Austro-Asiatic arrival from the Southeast Asia (or China). Finally human DNA studies
rule out any migration to India from Central Asia or West Asia. On the other hand there is
DNA evidence of human migration from India to Central Asia, Europe, West Asia and