Jan 19, 2020, 3:33 PM
by Göran Dahl
Up until very recently, it was thought that Eastern Europeans (in the form of Poles, Belarusians, Ukrainians, Russians and Balts) were the genetically closest to Proto-Indo-Iranians and, indeed, to Proto-Indo-Europeans. However, it appears that these ethnic groups had ever so slightly inflated Steppe ancestry percentages due to having higher levels of so-called Narva_HG admixture. Narva_HG belongs to the Mesolithic Narva culture, whose members were a mixture of EHG (Eastern Hunter-Gatherer) and WHG (Western Hunter-Gatherer).
Today, we can say that the people closest to Proto-Indo-Iranians and Proto-Indo-Europeans in terms of genetic distance (and Steppe ancestry) are Norwegians, Irishmen and Icelanders; the latter due to being a composite of the two former. Irishmen tend to be the closest fit for typical Proto-Indo-Iranian cultures such as Srubnaya and Sintashta, whereas Norwegians are the closest to Yamnaya_Kalmykia (a subset of Yamnaya) and Potapovka, which is thought to be ancestral to the forementioned Srubnaya.