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Archaeology & History

Mystery surrounds Himalayan 'skeleton lake'

By T.K. Randall
August 21, 2019 · Comment icon 8 comments

Roopkund Lake remains shrouded in mystery. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Ashokyadav739
A shallow lake situated high up in the mountains of India is filled with skeletal remains dating back centuries.
At a glance, Roopkund Lake might seem like any other mountain lake in the region, but if you venture closer, its icy surface conceals the skeletal remains of hundreds of individuals.

Who these people were and how they got there has long remained a topic of debate among researchers, with some speculating that an ancient catastrophe could be to blame.

Now though, a new study involving an analysis of 38 of the skeletons has revealed that these people came from several distinct groups who arrived in the region over the course of 1,000 years.
"Through the use of biomolecular analyses, such as ancient DNA, stable isotope dietary reconstruction, and radiocarbon dating, we discovered that the history of Roopkund Lake is more complex than we ever anticipated," said Harvard Medical School geneticist David Reich.

Out of those examined, 23 had come from present-day India, 14 had come from Crete and Greece while the one remaining individual appeared to have come from Southeast Asia.

"We were extremely surprised by the genetics of the Roopkund skeletons," said evolutionary biologist Eadaoin Harney from Harvard University. "The presence of individuals with ancestries typically associated with the eastern Mediterranean suggests that Roopkund Lake was not just a site of local interest, but instead drew visitors from across the globe."

Exactly what drew these people to the lake over the centuries however still remains a total mystery.

Source: Science Alert | Comments (8)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Captain Risky 5 years ago
I read about tis today on my news feed. What the bloody hell were Greeks doing in the Himalaya's 800AD? 
Comment icon #2 Posted by Eldorado 5 years ago
Indo-Greek Kingdom "Some Greek nuclei may have continued to survive until the 2nd century AD" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indo-Greek_Kingdom "Malana: A Himalayan village shrouded in myth" BBC Travel: http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20180821-malana-a-himalayan-village-shrouded-in-myth
Comment icon #3 Posted by MissJatti 5 years ago
How far is the silk route from Roopkund
Comment icon #4 Posted by Jon the frog 5 years ago
A soup of bones frozen and unfrozen for centuries... carbon dating are good in these condition ?  Still it's a wonderful spot to drop corpses, one more or one less... who will see the difference.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Piney 5 years ago
It was the Greco-Sogdians who brought Buddhism to China. 
Comment icon #6 Posted by Captain Risky 5 years ago
Thanks Piney. Alexander the Great is a subject I love and am aware of the huge influences they have had on the east and Far East. I think there was an excellent thread not that long ago about Greek artistic influence on the Terracotta Army that was good reading too.  I think by 800AD any racial purity in the Greek settlers would have diluted enough for the scientific tests to prove inconclusive. This was not the case though. Back to the Greek DNA. In the course of testing the bones they found not only the Greek DNA but dietary indicators pointing to food stuffs native to the Aegean and not ... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by Piney 5 years ago
The founder of the Shaolin Monastery and inventor of Kungfu was probably a Greco-Sogdian.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhidharma
Comment icon #8 Posted by kobolds 5 years ago
  since majority are india ,we can exclude silk route theory 


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