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Euclides
Monday, October 18th, 2004, 04:52 AM
'' Let us examine the situation in two areas of the Middle East where a radical change in the population and language occurred rapidly without being accompanied by a significant genetic change, and try to explain it. The land that now forms the nation of Turkey (Anatolia) was once a part of Byzantium. Greek (Christian) was the major influence there. The Turkic-speaking people arrived there from Central Asia in the 11th century A.D., spread successfully throughout the land and Turkish eventually became the dominant language as a Turkish nation was established. Turks are, as the authors state, "the only major group in the region that speak a language originated at a great geographic distance (probably in the Altaic region)." The pre-existing people in Anatolia, however, did not physically disappear. The genetic studies show that the majority became part of the new Turkish population. The genetic constitution of the Turks today is much closer to their nearest geographic neighbors, although none is a Turkic-language population, than to the Turkic-speaking populations of Central Asia. The authors interpret this to mean that "the Turkish language was imposed on a predominantly Indo-European-speaking population (Greek being the official language of the Byzantine empire), and genetically there is very little difference between Turkey and the neighboring countries. The number of Turkish invaders was probably rather small and was genetically diluted by the large number of aborigines." And [ in Turkey] "language replacement has occurred essentially without, or with very little, gene replacement."

In view of the authors' theory explaining the genetic characteristics of the population in Turkey, it seems reasonable to consider the possibility that a similar type of event may have occurred in the Arab world of Mesopotamia and its adjacent regions - Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon (and presumably also Syria and Palestine) - to explain the genetic characteristics of those populations. In the 7th century A.D., after the conversion to Islam, the Arabs of the Arabian peninsula conquered large areas, including Mesopotamia and adjacent regions. Arabic became the major language of the region and an Arab nation was established there under Islam. But again, the pre-existing indigenous population, mainly Christian (including Assyrians), did not physically disappear, and the majority must have become part of the Arab population. Looking at the figure, one sees a very large genetic separation between the Arabs of the South - Saudis, Yemenites - and those in the region of Mesopotamia - Jordanian, Iraqi. The latter two groups are much closer genetically to the four non-Arab people of the region that we are interested in (Turk, Iranian, Kurd, Assyrian) than to the Arabs of the Arabian peninsula. As in the case of the Turks in Anatolia, these findings provide a clue that a relatively small number of Arabs from the Arabian peninsula may have carried out the conquest of a region with a much larger population, which included a number of cities, and that although the dominant language, religion and culture changed, the genes of the previous population may not have been significantly diluted and were transmitted to the present population of that region. ''


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morfrain_encilgar
Monday, October 18th, 2004, 04:07 PM
Highland West asia is a Vavilov Hearth or a centre of domestication, and we would imagine that various unrelated languages were spoken by neighbouring populations there, until certain languages expanded.

Using the example of the Assyrians, they were Amorites who started to speak Aramaic, and from Assyrian genetics I suspect that they originally spoke a language like Hurrian before an Amorite conquest.