Thursday, April 30, 2015
The enigma of the Kalash
Last year Garrett Hellenthal et al. claimed that the Kalash people of the Hindu Kush received a large pulse of admixture from somewhere in the west, possibly Europe, as late as 327–326 BCE. They even suggested that Alexander's soldiers may have been the culprits. But this was naive and wrong.
Now, Qasim Ayub et al. are claiming that the Kalash are an Ancient North Eurasian (ANE) population that has remained genetically isolated for the past 11,800 years. This is also naive and wrong.
One day, perhaps in the not too distant future, someone will study the population history of the Hindu Kush using ancient DNA and methods that actually work. What I think they will find is that the Kalash, just like most of their neighbors, are largely the result of an admixture event during the Bronze Age between Indo-Iranian migrants from the steppe and Central Asian agriculturists. They will confirm that the Kalash are an extreme isolate, but only since the Bronze Age, not the early Neolithic.
These results will correlate very nicely with mainstream linguistics and archeology, latest expansion dates for uniparental markers, and even common sense.
Ayub et al., The Kalash Genetic Isolate: Ancient Divergence, Drift, and Selection, The American Journal of Human Genetics (2015), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2015.03.012
The teal people: did they actually exist, and if so, who were they?