The study in question is ‘The genomic origins of the Bronze Age Tarim Basin mummies.’
Read here:


  1. Preamble
  2. TL;DR
  3. Tarim Mummies, the story so far
  4. What the new study actually tells us (genetic results)
    4.1. Genetics: Tarim EMBA
    4.2. Genetics: Dzungaria EBA.
  5. Tarim mummies, the story updated
  6. Disinformation contained in the study

1. Preamble

I don’t know if the authors work for the CCP or not, I just presume that Chinese university scientists are employed by their communist government. Did the clickbait work? Apologies for any typos or errors, just got back from the gym and I see this malarkey. Now I’m tired and seething.

The raw data from this study was leaked earlier this year, so I’ve already had a chance to check it out. Looks like my prediction on Twitter that “this paper will make some ridiculous sweeping conclusions” was 100% correct.

This quote perfectly summarizes the shoddily disguised propaganda piece that is this study: “the material culture and genetic profile of the Tarim mummies from around 2100 bc onwards call into question simplistic assumptions about the link between genetics, culture and language.”

2. TL;DR

Archaeologists thought that the earliest Tarim mummies were one type of Caucasoid population (Indo-Europeans) but it turns out that they were a different type of Caucasoid population (similar to West Siberian Hunter-Gatherers) that was directly descended from the Paleolithic ancestors of the Proto-Indo-Europeans: The Ancient North Eurasians. The mainstream media and even the study authors themselves have published a lot of disinformation and are lying by omission to obfuscate these simple facts.

3. Tarim mummies, the story so far

At the beginning of the 20th century, European explorers found mummies preserved in the Tarim desert of Xinjiang in Western China. The earliest mummies are dated to around 4,000 years ago and the latest to around 2,000 years ago. Surprisingly, archaeologists and anthropologists found that the early Tarim mummies “were exclusively Caucasoid, or Europoid” [Victor Mair]. Their phenotypic features include many stereotypically European traits, including tall stature, high cheek bones, deep-set eyes, “fair hair, long nose, elongated skulls, high cranial vaults, etc.” [Christopher P. Thornton]. Many of the mummies have intact hair, with colors ranging from light blond to deep brown. From around 3,000 years ago, mummies of the Tarim’s eastern regions begin to show some Mongoloid/East Asian phenotypes.

Scientists presumed that the Europid mummies must have been Indo-Europeans, as multiple Indo-European languages (including Tocharian and Sogdian) are archaeologically attested in the region. Furthermore, many Chinese primary sources speak of people with Northern European features living in the northern, central, and western regions of what is now modern-day China:

  • “The Great Yuezhi are located about seven thousand li [2,910 km] north of India. […] The skin of the people there is reddish white.” — The Western Regions, Wan Zhen (3rd century AD)
  • “Among the barbarians in the Western Regions, the look of the Wusun is the most unusual. The present barbarians who have green eyes and red hair, and look like macaque monkeys, are the offspring of this people.” — Book of Han, Yan Shigu (1st Century AD)

The Tocharian language was last attested in the Tarim Basin during the Early Middle Ages until the Tocharian-speakers were wiped out by East Asians through genocide and assimilation. However, linguistic analysis has shown that the Tocharian language descends from an extremely early split in the Indo-European family tree. The only viable source for this language is the Afanasievo population, which inhabited the Altai Mountains and Mongolia, immediately to the north of Xinjiang, from around 3300 BC.

The logical conclusion was that these Caucasoid/Europid mummies must have descended from the Afanasievo people. A genetic study conducted on Tarim mummies of the Xiaohe Cemetery (dated 2000 to 1500 BC) found that all of the men carried the Y-DNA haplogroup (male lineage) R1a1a, confirming that “the parental ancestry of the Xiaohe people originated from somewhere in Siberia or Europe, which is consistent with the origin of maternal ancestry.”

However, a 2018 study found that Afanasievo men overwhelmingly belonged to the haplogroup R1b, meaning that the Xiaohe mummies could not have paternally descended from the Afanasievo peoples. The male ancestry of these Xiaohe mummies was likely derived from the R1a-carrying Andronovo population, Indo-Iranic-speaking Northern Europeans who migrated into Asia from Eastern Europe during the Bronze Age.

The 2018 study confirmed that the material culture of the Xiaohe Cemetery was “incompatible with the Afanasievo culture” and pointed out that the Xiaohe burials aligned with the beginning of the Andronovo period, which was 500 years later than the Afanasievo period. It also noted that “the Bronze Age population of the Xinjiang at Gumugou/Qäwrighul is not phenotypically closest to Afanasievo but to the Andronovo (Fedorovo) group of northeastern Kazakhstan and western Altai.”

Interestingly, a 2019 study documented a change in burial practices across the Tarim Basin from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age, with the newer burials being more closely aligned to those of the wider Andronovo culture.

In summary:

  • The Tocharian language was attested in Xinjiang until the Early Middle Ages.
  • This language is a very archaic Indo-European language that split from some of the earliest Proto-Indo-European populations.
  • The only viable candidates for this language appearing in Xinjiang are the Afanasievo people, who lived immediately to the north.
  • Genetic analysis on Tarim mummies from the Xiaohe Cemetery found that they exclusively belonged to the Y-DNA haplogroup R1a, rather than the Afanasievo R1b.
  • Therefore, they probably descended from R1a-carrying, Indo-Iranic-speaking Andronovo peoples, who neighbored the Tarim Basin.
  • Physical analysis demonstrated that Xiaohe phenotypes more closely resembled Andronovo people than Afanasievo.
  • Likewise, their burial rites were very similar to those of the Andronovo.

So, from this information we can assume that the Afanasievo people must have inhabited the Tarim Basin at some point, otherwise their Tocharian language would not be in the region. Then, during the Bronze Age, an Andronovo-related population invaded the region, replacing its existing male lineages and importing new cultural practices. For some reason, this Andronovo-related population decided to keep the Tocharian language. Why? We’ll never know.

4. What the new study actually tells us (genetic results)

Bizarrely, nobody has thought to conduct an autosomal genetic analysis on the Tarim Mummies until 2021. This mystery could have been solved long ago. Presumably, the ChiComs didn’t want to play ball. They’ve caused a lot of problems for Western scientists trying to study the Tarim mummies.

Anyway, the study looked at five Early Bronze Age (EBA) individuals from the Dzungarian Basin (3000–2800 BC) and thirteen Early-Middle Bronze Age (EMBA) individuals from the Tarim Basin cemeteries of Gumogou (2135–1939 BC), Xiaohe (1884–1736 BC) and Beifang (1785–1664 BC). Note that the Tarim samples are dated to the very earliest phases of known mummy burials. We are missing almost 2000 years of mummies.

Disregarding all of the “sneaky” disinformation propaganda inserted by the study’s authors (which I’ll explain below), the raw data in this study is actually very interesting.

4.1. Genetics: Tarim EMBA

The Tarim mummies studied were neither of Andronovo or Afanasievo descent. Fascinatingly, they belonged to a population known as West Siberian Hunter-Gatherers (WSHG), who directly descended from the Ancient North Eurasians (ANE). As the name implies, the ANE was a very ancient population; they diverged from ancient West Eurasians (most likely Paleolithic Europeans, similar to Gravettians) when they moved into Siberia during the Ice Age. The ANE had some ancient East Eurasian ancestry from a population similar to Tianyuan Man, which is ancestral to all East Asians but predates the development of the classic East Asian “Mongoloid” phenotype. This admixture event is predicted to have occurred very soon after the West Eurasian / East Eurasian split following the Out of Africa migration.

Early human migration maps borrowed from the Indo-European[dot]eu blog (note that Ancient North Siberians were mostly West Eurasian in origin):

WSHG seem to derive around 85% of their ancestry from ANE, with 10% ancient East Asian ancestry, and the remaining tiny fraction being West European Hunter-Gatherer (WHG) related. For reference, modern Northern Europeans have 20-35% ANE ancestry, and Proto-Indo-Europeans had 50%.

On a principal component analysis, the Tarim EMBA people cluster with the WSHG (West_Siberian_N and Botai) and close to the ANE samples Mal’ta Boy (MA-1) and Afontova Gora 3 (AG3).

Admixture analysis shows that the Tarim EMBA carry ~72% WSHG, ~16.6% ANE, and ~11% East Asian ancestry, most of which (~5.7%) appears to be related to Native Americans (aka Paleosiberians). This makes sense, since Native Americans have 15–30% ANE-related ancestry and both populations lived in Siberia.

When removing WSHG from the admixture analysis, we see that Tarim EMBA peoples were around ~85% ANE and ~15% East Asian. This is an extraordinarily high level of ANE admixture for a Bronze Age population. Furthermore, since all of the earliest Tarim Basin mummies were confirmed to be “exclusively Caucasoid, or Europoid” by anthropologists, this confirms that Ancient North Eurasians had a Caucasoid phenotype. Not only that but a Caucasoid phenotype that closely resembled Northern Europeans.

4.2. Genetics: Dzungaria EBA

The Dzungarian results were far less revolutionary or surprising, but they definitely help build the Tocharian narrative. Dzungarians mostly descended from Afanasievo peoples (~55.6%) mixed with West Siberian Hunter-Gatherers (~31.8%). They had an additional ~4.3% Middle Eastern and ~6.5% East Asian ancestry.

When breaking down the populations into earlier components, this equates to ~68% ANE ancestry (~7.4% from their 20.6% CHG ancestry). Interestingly, the Middle Eastern components from the previous model were grouped with CHG and EEF when I removed Afanasievo and WSHG. No idea why this happened, those components were still included in the model.

5. Tarim mummies, the story updated

This new information was a pretty big curveball. It was previously assumed that Indo-Europeans were the first to settle the Tarim Basin but it looks like Ancient North Eurasians got there first. The Dzungarians (who lived immediately to the north of Tarim) carrying high levels of Afanasievo and WSHG ancestry demonstrates an irrefutable link between the two populations. There is now a clear route for the Tocharian languages into the Tarim Basin, though this had already been hypothesized in many previous studies. While the raw contained data in this study was certainly interesting, the study itself was completely useless with regards to answering the question “Who were the Tocharians?” I believe this was by design…

6. Disinformation contained in the study

Mainstream media reporting on this study was, predictably, full of lies. For example, The Smithsonian called Indo-Europeans, who were ethnically Northern European, “migrants from West Asia.” When pointing out that ANE ancestry is common all over the Northern Hemisphere, they specified “particularly in Siberia and North America,” ignoring the 20-35% ANE ancestry in modern Northern Europeans (Uralic people have especially high levels of ANE ancestry). They claimed that the Tarim mummies have “facial features unusual in Asian populations,” which is an extremely duplicitous way of saying that Tarim mummies have Caucasoid/Europid phenotypes.

Every article I read published the same lies. However, the study itself contained masses of disinformation. Where do I even begin? This study is trash. Pure trash. Firstly, it doesn’t mention haplogroups at all. It doesn’t mention any previous data on R1a vs R1b, any of the past findings related to the mummies’ phenotypes, or the documented cultural shifts over the Bronze Age. So, they’re already lying by omission, which is despicable enough.

The word “Andronovo” isn’t mentioned once. Of course, the particular populations that they studied did not have any Andronovo ancestry, but that is almost certainly due to their incredibly narrow temporal and geographic focus. We are missing almost 2000 years of mummies and data from all over the Tarim Basin. This sample selection is completely insufficient. A lot can change in a millennium, especially with regards to human migrations and population turnovers. Entire ethnic groups can be wiped out or replaced in a century or two.

In addition to lying by omission, the authors also did plenty of regular lying. This began in the abstract when they claimed that their results “do not support previous hypotheses for the origin of the Tarim mummies.” They later expanded upon this by claiming that their results “support no hypothesis involving substantial human migration from steppe or mountain agropastoralists for the origin of the Bronze Age Tarim mummies.” The only thing that their results definitively prove is that Ancient North Eurasian-type people lived in some regions of the Tarim Basin from ~2100 to ~1700 BC. They disproved nothing about the previous Tocharian origin hypotheses.

One of their most egregious lies was describing the Caucasoid / Europid (i.e. West Eurasian) Ancient North Eurasians as an “ancient autochthonous Asian genetic group.” Autochthonous is an ancient Greek word meaning “sprung from the earth,” implying that ANE were of “Asian” (i.e. Mongoloid / East Asian) genetic ancestry. They then claimed that the Tarim mummies “belong to an isolated gene pool whose Asian origins can be traced to the early Holocene epoch” and that their SO-CALLED Western physical features are probably due to their connection to the Pleistocene ANE gene pool.” Not only does this cast aspersions on the proven fact that the early Tarim mummies had Caucasoid/Europid phenotypes, but it understates the fact that Tarim EMBA people had ~85% ANE ancestry. The authors also managed to lowball the level of ANE ancestry in Tarim EMBA by representing their East Asian ancestry with a sample that had almost 25% ANE ancestry (Baikal_EBA).

I believe that the following two quotes fully expose the authors’ agenda:

  • “the material culture and genetic profile of the Tarim mummies from around 2100 bc onwards call into question simplistic assumptions about the link between genetics, culture and language”
  • “the greater IAMC, which spans the Hindu Kush to Altai mountains, may have alternatively functioned as a geographic arena through which cultural ideas, rather than populations, primarily moved”

Typical globalist nonsense: “Being a Tocharian is not related to genetics. Anyone can be a Tocharian if they simply adopt the Tocharian language. See, there was no genetic transmission at all [within this very narrow timeframe and in these very specific locations]!”

Why didn’t they study any samples after 1700 BC? Did something happen around that time period? Like the arrival of R1a-carrying Andronovo people who replaced the R1b-carrying inhabitants of the region?