Austro-Asiatic Homeland

Jun 2010
Logging in after a long time. Spent over one hour reading the thread on the Aryan Invasion Theory. Was tempted to make a comment but I have a bad habit of trolling and the thread seems to be going well. I'll just wait for essays/blog posts from Midas and LoG.

South Asia is no doubt very diverse. Usually we tend to ignore languages which have fewer number of speakers. The Austro-Asiatic Family is represented by languages like Munda and Khasi in India.

Viet and Khmer also belong to the same group and according to some experts AA speakers once formed a continuum across Central India and South East Asia. Indo-European, Dravidian, Austronesian, Tai, and Tibeto-Burman expansions reduced the Austro-Asiatic territory.

According to some experts Austro-Asiatic speakers were instrumental in spreading rice cultivation and may have been the first people to settle in India. However, there is no consensus on the Austro-Asiatic homeland.

It would be great to read the thoughts of other forum members on this topic.
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Oct 2009
the Boomtown Shenzhen
First from memory, so I don't claim expertise in genetics, is the first out of Africa event that passed through coastal India and apparently shows genetic evidence today of settlements in Southern/Coastal India and genetic similarity with Australia Aboriginals, so perhaps as much as 50,000 years ago. So perhaps not the first to settle but one of the first.

Domesticated rice may have begun to spread from the Yangtze Valley in China as long ago as 10,000 years, but probably didn't enter India or South East Asia until much later, somewhere in range of 2000 to 3000 years ago. It certainly is possible that peoples of this language group did spead the growing of rice, considering that the Western Golden Sand/Yangtze river valley runs through Northern Yunnan which shares river systems such as the Mekong, with many Austro-Asiatic peoples. Perhaps (and this is more intuition than science) the Tibeto-Burman language groups expanding South into Yunnan and Burma separated the culture in China from the Southern groups of Austro-Asiatic
Jun 2010
I am no expert in genetics either rehabnonono. I think the advances in genetics are exciting and try and follow new studies. Like archeology this branch of knowledge can no doubt help us find more about the past. The trouble arises when folks twist the data to fit their prejudices.

The accepted view seems to be that Austro-Asiatic speaking people (mostly males) migrated to India, through an Eastern route, with the knowledge of cultivating rice.

It can be difficult to co-relate genetic and linguistic relationships. There is an interesting genetic study on the Paternal Heritage of Austro-Asiatic speaking people ---> Y-chromosome evidence suggests a common paternal heritage of Austro-Asiatic populations

Our findings are consistent with the linguistic evidence, which suggests that the linguistic ancestors of the Austro-Asiatic populations have originated in India and then migrated to Southeast Asia.
The Indian Khasi-Khmuic to a certain extent and Mon-Khmer groups have physical features of East Asian populations, whereas the Mundari populations have features similar to those of the Dravidian linguistic family. Further, except the Mundari sub-family which is restricted to the Indian subcontinent, the languages of the other two sub-families of Austro-Asiatics are spoken by a large number of populations in Southeast Asia. However, neither the possibility of any genetic link among the three linguistic branches of Indian Austro-Asiatics, nor that between the Indian and Southeast Asian Austro-Asiatics has been comprehensively explored till now, despite the fact that the Indian subcontinent has been considered to have probably served as an important corridor for migrations to Southeast Asia.
To sum up we conclude that, because of its very high frequency and diversity, haplogroup O-M95 had an in-situ origin among the Indian Austro-Asiatics, particularly among the Mundaris, not in Southeast Asia as envisaged earlier. Given the large estimate of TMRCA, our study suggests that the Mundari populations are one of the earliest settlers in the Indian Subcontinent. It is most likely that these populations have come from Central Asia through the Western Indian corridor and subsequently colonized Southeast Asia, although more data on Y-chromosome and mtDNA are needed from other relevant populations to draw firmer conclusions.
The diagram below provides a fair idea of different languages comprising this language family and when they split from each other.

Now the genetic study I cited says :

... ne may safely conclude that O-M95 has originated in Mundari populations roughly around 65,000 YBP (95% C.I. 25,442 – 132,230), as suggested by TMRCA. Therefore, the ancestors of present day Mundari populations must have come to India prior to the origin of haplogroup O-M95, probably in the Pleistocene era. This is consistent with the archeological evidence, which suggest human habitation in mainland India during early Paleolithic times.
That confuses me ---> the Haplogroup is older than the Munda language. Is it wise to co-relate it to that language?

Here is the link to the complete study --->

Came across a nice article about origins of Rice ---> Debating the Origins of Rice

... recently in India rice grains and early pottery found at the site of Lahuradewa in Uttar Pradesh dating to ca. 6500 BC, have been suggested to indicate very early rice cultivation about 4000 years earlier than has often been assumed for this region. However, other scholars contend that these early rice finds may have been collected from wild stands and further evidence is needed to prove cultivation or domestication. Similarly, in Chinese archaeology it has been assumed that early rice finds of ca. 7000 BC were cultivated, but previous methods of sample analysis did not establish evidence either for cultivation behaviours or for the physical domestication traits in rice. For example most studies on early rice in China have been based on recovered archaeological grains, which may not be the most informative on whether or a not a plant is domesticated.
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