Re: indo-european origins, cont. (was: What Are the Race Deniers Denying?)

Gerold Firl (
28 Oct 1996 20:42:22 GMT

In article <54o751$>, (Philip Deitiker) writes:

|> (Gerold Firl) wrote:

|> >The majority east asian peoples of today are fairly recent immigrants,
|> >who have been expanding their range south and west for several
|> >millenia. During the time of the PIE (proto-indo-europeans) (say, 5000-
|> >10,000 bp) the mongoloid peoples lived in a much more restricted
|> >range, in the cold northeast. I look at the ainu as a more
|> >representative subspecies of post-ice age east asia. In the old 3-race
|> >model of humanity, the ainu were classified as "caucasian"; in a more
|> >accurate taxonomy they would be a race of their own, the last remnants
|> >of the post-ice age paleo-siberians.

|> But, in fact, I think its safe to consider a fair fraction of north
|> american tribes as either of this so-called group or mixtures of this
|> group with 'first wavers'. You must realize that there developes a
|> little bit of a conundrum here with what you have said.

Not necessarily; I'm picturing the mongolian peoples as occupying the
northern fringe of habitable asia throughout the late glacial and
early interglacial, with the ainu-type paleosiberians to the south. As
the interglacial has progressed, the mongolians have expanded their
range southwards into temperate asia, eastwards over the bering
straits into the americas, and westwards as far as anatolia.

whether any of the early immigrants to the americas were of the
ainu-type paleosiberians is an interesting question; I had never
thought of that before, but it's certainly plausible. There appear to
be stylistic similarities between the arts and technology of the
northwest coast american indians and the ainu, though that could be
due to more recent contact.

|> there could have been tremendous population mobilization in northeast
|> asia after the end of the last ice age, forced by the discovery of the
|> americas. Originally, the common hypothisis was that the frist
|> immigrants came as a small group; however, there is evidence now that
|> population densities grew much faster than possible from a limited
|> number of colonizers. Thus a modern hypothesis might be that ancient
|> settling of the americas created a significant drain on the population
|> of northeast asia (which at that time could have itself been at
|> non-maximal levels, given available resources). This would imply that
|> group after group in the bering-siberia region were basically sucked
|> into the new world by more hospitiable climate and better food
|> resources.

I haven't heard of this hypothesis before. It does seem like the
americas were peopled very quickly, but if the the first wave arrived
when the alaskan ice-free corridor opened up ~30,000 bp, that would
provide sufficient time to fill two continents.

The idea of immigration to the americas pulling large populations out
of asia seems implausible. The area would be lightly populated to
start with, and the terrain is not conducive to either communication
or mass migration.

|> If the artifacts are correct at some point even
|> IE-like caucasions reach the new world.

I haven't seen any convincing evidence for this. What did you have in

|> Thus I think if you want to call the siberian an identifyable form
|> one has a delimna. Is the southamerican of the same form (they were a
|> part of the archaic gradient of northeast asia, presumbably south
|> asians and PIE are the most important adjacent contact point), Or
|> becasue they represent transplanted piece of recent northeast asian
|> evolution that any topical similarities must be disregarded
|> considering that they represent temporally different mergences of
|> temporally distinct genepools of the same evolving parent populations.

In the absence of firm data to the contrary, the south american
populations should be viewed as stemming from the same parent stock as
the north americans, with possible exceptions on the northwest coast,
and of course, the innuit.

It's interesting to note how much local adaptation occured in south
america in the 10-30,000 years (or more?) during which it has been
occupied. The indians of the pampas show an amazing degree of
convergance with the body types of other long-term plains dwellers,
such as the nilo-sudanese and our old friends the PIE. At the same
time, the amazonian indians evolved a distinctive rainforest
phenotype: short and gracile. The yahgan, at the tip of patagonia,
developed the most extreme adaptations for cold since the neanderthal.
Each of these, in a consistant human taxonomy, would be considered a
distinct race.

|> >To summarize, I'm suggesting that the PIE occupied the entire eurasian
|> >steppe. At the end of the ice age, when changing climate and expanding
|> >populations in the middle east were driving the conversion to
|> >agriculture, the PIE were able to continue as hunter-gatherers for a
|> >much longer time, since the grasslands still supported large herds of
|> >game animals. As population pressure increased, domestication
|> >(possibly adopted from the civilized south) increased carrying
|> >capacity; the evolution of lactose-tolerance increased it still
|> >further. It wasn't until about 4000 bp that the PIE became too
|> >numerous to sustain their accustomed way of life in the steppes, but
|> >rather than taking up agriculture they burst out of their homeland
|> >upon their civilized neighbors to the south, and upon their less
|> >civilized neighbors to the east and west. Mobile warfare had long been
|> >the supreme art of the plains, and the PIE had a significant military
|> >advantage over everybody else. They rapidly conquered northern india,
|> >anatolia, and the middle east as far as egypt. Based on the chariots
|> >of shang china, they may have gotten there too; possibly as far as
|> >shantung. They probably reached jutland before shantung, since the
|> >corridor of plains is much more open westward. Jutland was like a
|> >miniature steppe

|> Maybe so, but if there were IE in jutland they seemed pretty
|> ineffective at keeping their brethren out. noting the occurance of
|> celtic religious practices in the region (4th to 6th century BC) and
|> use of the region as a staging area for scandinavian invasion (from
|> the 4th centruy BC).

IE peoples reached jutland well before this time; I'm not sure when,
but I'd guess it was at roughly the same time they appeared in india,
persia, anatolia, and china: 2000 bc.

|> Finally, the 'when' question has to be asked.
|> Sure during the latter part of the 4th or 5th millineum BC this is
|> possible, but the real question is whether these folks were actually
|> the first to colonize the newly livable european regions after
|> deglaciation.

I don't think so. I consider the basques as better representatives of
the post-ice age europeans, with the IE as invaders from the eurasian

|> I find it difficult to reconcile PIE european settlement
|> and northeast-asian track settlement simultaneously happening. One
|> has, at that time, an uncompetitive range of roughly 10,000 linear
|> miles (vs 100's of tangential miles) for a relatively small an closely
|> related groups.

I don't think the core territory is quite that big. I'm talking about
the swath of continuous steppe lands from the carpathians in the west,
to the tien shan in the east. That's a couple of thousand miles long.
It's a huge ecumene; possibly the largest continuous biogeographical
region in the world, but it's an open highway once you tame the horse
and invent wheeled transport.

|> I can support an argument to the contrary by asking
|> the relative probability that such a group vs. range over say 4000
|> years would fracture frequently and to the extent most of the PIE
|> would be represented by mergences with groups on the periphery and
|> little in the form of a 'core' group would be left.

why? People adapted as big game hunters or nomadic pastoralists will
stay where the animals and the grazing are, or else search out greener
pastures. That is exactly what history seems to show.

This is kind of
|> contradictory with your idea of a solid IE/PIE group, which really
|> means as a group they must have maintained themselves over the last
|> 12KY by ranging from place to place, but, in doing so, they never
|> spread out so much as to dilute themselves by interaction with others.

Hard to say how much mixing went on with the forest dwellers to the
north or the mountain people to the south. I haven't seen data either

|> Any sub-population of IE which ranged into jutland or scandianavia are
|> likely to become quickly isolated from the main group and lose (as the
|> celts did) the core features of PIE culture.

How so? The celts seem about as indo-european as they get; what makes
you say they lost any core PIE characteristics?

|> I think there is a better explanation. That this group was actually
|> more east than west for the first half of the current IG period and
|> more west than east for the second half, and the transition from nomad
|> to pastoral, by chance, happened while this group was in the west
|> fixing their postion west.

The west would always be favored; the climate is milder, and rainfall
is higher. The hungarian plain is better yet, and jutland best of all
for people who value cattle and grass. The mix of climate,
environment, and lifestyle would always bias the IE westwards.
Climatic fluctuations periodically render the eastern steppes
inhabitable for pastoralists; it can get very dry.

|> [Since this reply is getting longer than uselful, I'll stop here]

Me too. %^)

Disclaimer claims dat de claims claimed in dis are de claims of meself,
me, and me alone, so sue us god. I won't tell Bill & Dave if you won't.
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=---- Gerold Firl @ ..hplabs!hp-sdd!geroldf