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Plan to promote genetic study of fossils: Expert

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D.N. Tripathi
D.N. Tripathi

T. Saravanan

To trace the evolution of Homo sapiens over the years

MADURAI: The Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) will promote research works in the emerging field of archaeogenetics, said its chairman D.N. Tripathi. Archaeogenetics is genetic analysis on the archaeological remains (fossils).

Talking to The Hindu here recently, he said that historians all over the world had started adopting this scientific method to trace the evolution of Homo sapiens.

It was a new science developed after World War II, he said and added that deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) tests were conducted to ascertain the origin.

The DNA analysis done on samples taken from the fossils of ancient man, which was more than 60,000 years old, and of the modern man revealed traits of the former in the latter.

Tracking the movement of ancient man, he said that antediluvians would have moved `out of Africa' to Central Europe from where one group would have branched out to West Asia and India, and another to Russia, Japan, China and Mongolia.

The number of archeogenetic tests conducted on fossils belonging to upper pleistocene period taken from Palestine, Java and Central Europe too had confirmed the biological similarity of ancient and modern man, Professor Tripathi said.

Tracing the Aryan invasion theory, he said that it did not happen suddenly but over a period, and contended that there was no such divide called north and south India, as intensive tests conducted on samples taken from the people proved beyond doubt that both belonged to the same genome group.

Historical studies based on archaeogenetics could provide some interesting results and had been widely accepted for its scientific truths, he said.

Hence, the ICHR has included archaeogenetics in the area of research along with those on the priority list of research fields for which sufficient funds from the council had been allocated.

Rewriting textbooks

Regarding the issue of rewriting history found in the school textbooks, he said that only positive things had to be featured in textbooks, as it was a sensitive issue. "School teachers are in the process of shaping young minds. Hence, only good things had to be focussed. Including portions that might create differences among people should be avoided. Pan-Indian values need to be projected so that the country remain united," he said.

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