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The origins of the Turkic peoples has been a topic of much discussion. Recent linguistic, genetic and archaeological evidence suggests that the earliest Turkic peoples descended from agricultural communities in Northeastern China and wider Northeast Asia, who moved westwards into Mongolia in the late 3rd millennium BC, where they adopted a pastoral lifestyle. By the early 1st millennium BC, these peoples had become equestrian nomads.
The genetic and historical evidence suggests that the early Turkic peoples were of largely East Asian origin but became increasingly diverse, with later medieval Turkic groups exhibiting both East Asian and occasionally also West Eurasian physical appearances and genetic origins. Many vastly differing ethnic groups have throughout history become part of the Turkic peoples through language shift, acculturation, conquest, intermixing, adoption, and religious conversion. Nevertheless, certain Turkic peoples share, to varying degrees, non-linguistic characteristics like cultural traits, ancestry from a common gene pool, and historical experiences.