Topic started by George Azariah-Moreno (@ ppp-1-119.lond-a-2.access.uk.tiscali.com) on Mon Jun 16 14:23:08 .
All times in EST +10:30 for IST.
For all we know, Dravidians may not have had a single origin. There is reason to look both West (Ethiopia/Africa) and East (Australoids,Melanesians,etc) as possible sources.
But, as an Anthropologist, my own view is that Dravidians did not 'come from' anywhere in particular. They probably evolved continually, 'in situ', in the subcotinent from the populations of Homo Erectus that left Africa (and went on to colonise the rest of the World -including Scandinavia...).
There is unequivocable evidence of Homo Erectus in Java (Indonesia). Clearly, Homo Erectus must have passed through the subcontinent to get there. It is very likely that a proportion of these decided that the subcontinent was a good enough place to stay. Indeed, there is fossil evidence to back this, in the form of the Narmada find, which dates back 100,000 to 180,000 years and suggests the species could have spread continuously from Africa to East Asia.
Why would people bother going all the way to East Asia and even the Pacific fringe to then return to the subcontinent specifically? It's clearly more likely that some decided to settle along the way.
The same probably holds for the Andaman islanders. I'm almost certain that genetic studies would show that they are antecedent to Melanesians and Australoids, rather than the other way round.
But then, you may ask why it is that Dravidians can be seen to have 'finer' features than Australoids, if they essentially belong to the same migration out of Africa?
...Remember the Indus Valley civilisation? Intuitively, civilisation itself can be seen as symptomatic of an end to Dravidian isolation, and new elements may have entered the gene pool from Mesopotamia (the closest civilisation at the time), or other nearby places (there may have even been some kind of trade with current Somalia/Ethiopia and Egypt). We are talking thousands of years here. The Todas themselves could be semi-isolated descendants of Sumerian traders... In terms of genetic dynamics, this 'engagement' with the Near East can be expected to have yielded a somewhat harmonised gene pool, preventing 'genetic drift' -and essentially explaining the 'finer' features of Dravidians.
At the same time, Andamanese, Australoids and Melanesians did not experience the same level of 'engagement' with the rest of the World and remained pretty much genetically isolated -going on to develop further distinctive characteristics through 'genetic drift' (until some of these populations met with 'Peking Man' -which adds further ambiguity to the picture, but I leave aside).
We just don't know about the specifics & probably never will, as this is a a very sketchy period, both in History and in the Archaeological record.
Our best bet to better understand the connections is the Human Genome Diversity Project.
What is certain is that, following the so-called 'Aryan' influx, there was even further diversification of the Dravidian gene pool -to the extent we see today...