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Indus Valley settlers had a distinct genetic lineage

Topics Covered:

  1. Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.


Indus Valley settlers had a distinct genetic lineage


What to study?

For Prelims: Harappan sites, culture and features.

For Mains: Significance of their way of life, issues and recent findings.


Context: A study of DNA from skeletal remains excavated from the Harappan cemetery at Rakhigarhi argues that the hunter-gatherers of South Asia- people from Indus Valley Civilisation, who then became a settled people, have an independent origin


Findings of the study:

  1. Independent origin: The hunter-gatherers of South Asia had an independent origin. They do not contain genome from either the Steppe region or ancient Iranian farmers.
  2. The same hunter-gatherer communities developed into agricultural communities and formed the Harappan civilisation.
  3. As the Harappans traded with Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Persian Gulf and almost all across South Asia, there was bound to be movement of people resulting in a mixed genetic history. India had a heterogeneous population right from the beginning of settled life.
  4. There was a movement of people from east to west as the Harappan people’s presence is evident at sites like Gonur in Turkmenistan and Sahr-i-Sokhta in Iran.
  5. Researchers find no trace of the Anatolian-related ancestry that is a hallmark of the spread of farming to the west, but the Iranian-related ancestry they detected in South Asians comes from a lineage that separated from ancient Iranian farmers and hunter-gatherers before those groups split from each other.


Background and significance of the study:

With these findings, the theory of the Harappans having Steppe pastoral or ancient Iranian farmer ancestry thus stands refuted. The finding also negates the hypothesis about mass migration during Harappan times from outside South Asia.


Sources: the Hindu.