November 27, 2007

Indians came from Siberia?

Mutations shed light on migration mysteryThe analysis shows:

- genetic diversity, as well as genetic similarity to the Siberian groups, decreases the farther a native population is from the Bering Strait--adding to existing archaeological and genetic evidence that the ancestors of native North and South Americans came by the northwest route.

- a unique genetic variant is widespread in Native Americans across both American continents--suggesting that the first humans in the Americas came in a single migration or multiple waves from a single source, not in waves of migrations from different sources. The variant, which is not part of a gene and has no biological function, has not been found in genetic studies of people elsewhere in the world except eastern Siberia.
First Americans All Came From Siberia, DNA SuggestsThe scientists said genetic oddities in those genes are very fresh, which they take as a strong sign that humans migrated in a recent and single wave instead of arriving in several waves all across North and South America.

How they ventured south once traversing an icy northwestern passage, however, is another question.

In Rosenberg and his colleagues' study, detailed in a recent edition of the journal PLoS Genetics, the scientists support the idea that humans migrated south along the coasts by boat rather than toughing it out on land.

"A migration route along the coast provides a slightly better fit with the pattern we see in genetic diversity," Rosenberg said.
Comment:  At least this study seems to contradict the claim that a significant number of Natives have European ancestry.


alanajoli said...

Rob, was that claim (European ancestry) also part of a study? Or just propaganda of some kind?

Rob said...

The brouhaha about Natives possibly having a European origin started with the Kennewick Man controversy. Or rather it reached the public consciousness then, since I believe there were precursors. Since then, I've heard claims that some tribes are as much as 25% European genetically.

dmarks said...

Predating the Jean Luc Kennewick controversy are statements/beliefs by Mormons and others:

"I began to closely examine the text of the Book of Mormon. The Introduction to the book states that the principle ancestors of the American Indians are the Lamanites" from "DNA Genealogies of American Indians and the Book of Mormon

Lamanites are from an area bordering the Red Sea in the ancient Holy Land. While not being Europeans, they would have been Caucasians, and I think this example is close enough to matter.

For something more specifically European, read also of Prince Madoc and the White Indians.

Rob said...

Right, but I was thinking of scientific claims, not religious ones. If the Mormons believed their claims were based on scientific evidence, they were deluding themselves.

alanajoli said...

The Madoc story strikes me as kind of nifty--but even if there's "fact" behind it, given that he's 12th century, bringing a small crew to the Americas (assuming some portion of them survived...) They're easily here well after the Americas are well and truly populated, and I highly doubt that such a small population would end up having genetic significance visible by eye by the time the 1800s roll around. ;) Great story, but a non-issue, since even white supremicists couldn't make a reasonable claim with it. (Not that white supremicists are known for being reasonable.) And it's definitely not a scientific claim.

How did the Kennewick Man controversy come out? I read a couple of the links, but they all look dated (most of it happened in 2000/2001, no?). What was the conclusion?

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
The Kennewick Man 'controversy' came out on the side of the scientists, who now ostensibly are free to continue their testing of the fossils and underwrite their claims to its authenticity. BUT --
There never will be 'rare earth' analyses made or revealed, except for ones that supposedly verify the age and racial identity of the Kennewick find. 'Rare earth' analyses are tests that reveal the exact geographic derivation of a given fossil simply because it lived, breathed, and ate in a unique environment of radioactive isotopes. Match the isotope content of a fossil and you know where it originated. And dollars will get you donuts that Kenneiwkc Man DID NOT ORIGINATE in what is now Oregon. And since anthropologists handle human fossils older than 12,500 years old EVERY DAY, then we know just how such a supposed Caucasian ancestor made it to Oregon.
And any European mutation evidence in modern Native DNA can only result from historic Viking infusions or much more recent intermixings, period.
All Best
Russ Bates

alanajoli said...

Thanks Russ!

Rob said...

The fate of Kennewick Man is lost in the mists of time--recent time. I had to look it up to see where it stands.

Apparently the case is still being adjudicated. Congress is thinking of amending NAGPRA to render the court case moot and cede the remains to the Indians.

For more information, see the following links. Also see Kennewick Man, Captain Picard, and Political Correctness.

Judge John Jelderks found that Kennewick Man cannot be defined as Native American under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

The U.S. Senate Indian Affairs Committee has slipped a landmark change into a routine housekeeping bill that could affect the 9,300-year-old remains known as Kennewick Man.

Rob said...

Here's a typical posting from someone who thinks Europeans were here first. I haven't followed the situation closely enough to say whether his claims are valid or not. But I'm betting they aren't.

Correspondent Wade Wofford used to do the Kennewick Man analyses for me, but he passed away. If someone reading this is an expert on Kennewick Man and Paleo-Indians, feel free to contact me. I may need your help someday. ;-)

alanajoli said...

Wow, Rob, thanks for all the information!