The spread of Transurasian languages ​​was due to agriculture

The spread of Transurasian languages ​​was due to agriculture

The origin and early spread of Transeurasian languages, including but not limited to Japanese, Korean, Tangus, Mongolian, and Turkic, are among the most controversial issues in Asian prehistoric times. Although much in common between these languages ​​is due to borrowings, recent studies have shown a reliable basis of evidence supporting the classification of Transeurasian as a genealogical group or group of languages ​​descended from a common ancestor. However, the acceptance of ancestral kinship of these languages ​​and cultures raises questions about when and where early speakers lived, how descendant cultures maintained and interacted with each other, and their paths of spread over millennia.

New article published in the magazine nature By an international team comprising researchers from Asia, Europe, New Zealand, Russia and the United States, providing interdisciplinary support for the “agricultural hypothesis” of language dispersal, the Transeurasian languages ​​trace back to the first farmers who moved through Northeast Asia since the beginning of the Neolithic period. Using newly sequenced genomes, an extensive archaeological database, and a new vocabulary-concept dataset for 98 languages, they triangulate the temporal depth, location, and dispersal pathways of ancestral societies.Transeurasian language.

Evidence from linguistic, archaeological, and genetic sources suggests that the origins of Transurasian languages ​​can be traced back to early millet cultivation and the early Amur gene complex in the western Liao River region. In the late Neolithic period, millet farmers carrying Amur-linked genes spread to contiguous regions across Northeast Asia. Over the ensuing millennia, speakers of the daughter branches of the Proto-Transeurasian mingled with groups from the Yellow River, Western Eurasia, and Jomon, adding rice cultivation, Western Eurasian cultures and pastoral ways of life into the Transeurasian bundle.

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“Taking the science alone, no single discipline can definitively solve the big questions of language dispersal, but combined, the three disciplines increase the credibility and validity of this scenario,” says Martine Robbeets, lead author of the study and head of Archaeological Linguistics Research. Collection from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. “By aligning the evidence presented by the three disciplines, we have gained a more balanced and richer understanding of trans-Eurasia migration than any of the three disciplines individually could provide.”

The linguistic evidence used in the triangulation came from a new data set of more than 3,000 related groups representing more than 250 concepts in nearly 100 languages ​​across Eurasia. With this in mind, the researchers were able to construct a phylogenetic tree showing the 9,181-year-old pre-present roots of the Proto-Transeurasian family of millet farmers living in the West Liao River region. There is a small nucleus of ancestral words related to cultivating the land, cultivating millet, millet and other signs of a sedentary lifestyle that support the farming hypothesis.

The team’s archaeological findings also point to the western Liao River basin, where communities began cultivating broom millet around 9,000 years ago. Bayesian analysis of an archaeological database of 255 Neolithic and Bronze Age sites, including 269 directly carbon-dated grain species, revealed a group of related Neolithic cultures in the West Liao Basin, separating two branches of poultry farming cultures: branch Korean chulmon and korean chulmon branches. Branch of cultures covering Amur, Primorye and Liadong.

The analysis then matched sites in West Liao area with Momon sites in Korea and Yayoi sites in Japan, which indicates the addition of rice and wheat to the agricultural package in Liadong and Shangdong and its subsequent transfer to the peninsula. Korean in the early Bronze Age and from there in Japan about 3000 years ago.

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The new study also points to the first set of ancient genomes from Korea, the Ryukyu Islands, and early grain farmers in Japan. By combining their results with previously published genomes from East Asia, the team identified a common genetic component called “Amur ancestry” among all speakers of Transurasian languages. They were also able to confirm that the Yayoi period in Bronze Age Japan saw a mass migration from the mainland at the same time as the arrival of agriculture.

Taken together, the results of the study show that despite obscuring intense cultural interaction for thousands of years, the Transurasian languages ​​share a common ancestry and that the early spread of Transurasian speakers was driven by agriculture.

“Accepting that the roots of one’s language – and to some extent of one’s culture – lie beyond current national borders may require some kind of identity reorientation, which is not always an easy step to take. But the science of human history shows us that the history of all languages, cultures, and peoples,” says Robbeets. It is a history of interaction and mixing on a large scale. »

This study demonstrates how triangulation of linguistic, archaeological, and genetic approaches can increase the credibility and validity of a hypothesis, but the authors quickly recognized the need for further research. More ancient DNA, more research into etymology, and more archaeological research will deepen our understanding of human migrations in Neolithic Northeast Asia and reveal the impact of later population movements, many of which were pastoral in nature.

“There was much more to the formation of the Transurasian language family, as the ultimate whole, than just a basic impulse of Neolithic migration,” says Mark Hudson, an archaeologist with the Archaeological Linguistic Research Group. “There is still much to learn.”

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