Dhaka, Bangladesh
Ancient Eurasian migration

Ancient Eurasian migration

A century and a half ago linguists invented a new map of the world. Their research showed that a single family tree stretches its branches almost unbroken across most of Eurasia: from Iceland to Bangladesh, most people speak language descended from “Proto-Indo-European“. The philologists had a theory to explain why Sanskrit, the ancient forebear of Hindi, has closer cousins in Europe than in South India. The Economist editorial commentary feels that at some point before the composition of the Vedas, the oldest texts of Hinduism, an Aryan people had migrated into India for the north-west, while their kin pushed westward into Europe. The culture depicted in Sanskrit texts has different traits. It was largely rural and pastoral, relied on iron instead of bronze and appears to have used horses, chariots and bows and arrows–all of which are absent from the original Indus settlements. Proponents of the Aryan invasions conclude that a large influx of outsiders would neatly explain all this. An accumulating pile of research using DNA from both ancient human remains and modern people indicates strongly that, beginning around 2000 BC, northwest India was indeed infused with new blood. The newcomers appear to have shared the same roots in what is now southern Russia as did the invaders of a similar–sized peninsula to the west called Europe. Strikingly, too, the genetic markers identifying this group seem to be far more prevalent among modern north Indian Brahmins than among other Indians. The wider study not only confirms that “Aryans” probably migrated from the steppes around the Volga and Don rives to both India and Europe at around the same time. It also show that their genetic markers later spread southwards across India, and are indeed particularly prevalent in “groups of priestly status”. — The New York Times

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