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24,000-Year-Old Body Shows Kinship to Europeans and American Indians

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  • 24,000-Year-Old Body Shows Kinship to Europeans and American Indians

    24,000-Year-Old Body Shows Kinship to Europeans and American Indians

    Scientists studied the genome of a boy buried near Lake Baikal in Siberia and were amazed to find partly European ancestry.

    By NICHOLAS WADE
    Published: November 20, 2013 144 Comments

    The first is that the boy’s DNA matches that of Western Europeans, showing that during the last Ice Age people from Europe had reached farther east across Eurasia than previously supposed. Though none of the Mal’ta boy’s skin or hair survives, his genes suggest he would have had brown hair, brown eyes and freckled skin.

    The second surprise is that his DNA also matches a large proportion — about 25 percent — of the DNA of living Native Americans. The first people to arrive in the Americas have long been assumed to have descended from Siberian populations related to East Asians. It now seems that they may be a mixture between the Western Europeans who had reached Siberia and an East Asian population.

    The Mal’ta boy was 3 to 4 years old and was buried under a stone slab wearing an ivory diadem, a bead necklace and a bird-shaped pendant. Elsewhere at the same site about 30 Venus figurines were found of the kind produced by the Upper Paleolithic cultures of Europe. The remains were excavated by Russian archaeologists over a 20-year period ending in 1958 and stored in museums in St. Petersburg.

    There they lay for some 50 years until they were examined by a team led by Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen. Dr. Willerslev, an expert in analyzing ancient DNA, was seeking to understand the peopling of the Americas by searching for possible source populations in Siberia. He extracted DNA from bone taken from the child’s upper arm, hoping to find ancestry in the East Asian peoples from whom Native Americans are known to be descended.

    But the first results were disappointing. The boy’s mitochondrial DNA belonged to the lineage known as U, which is commonly found among the modern humans who first entered Europe about 44,000 years ago. The lineages found among Native Americans are those designated A, B, C, D and X, so the U lineage pointed to contamination of the bone by the archaeologists or museum curators who had handled it, a common problem with ancient DNA projects. “The study was put on low speed for about a year because I thought it was all contamination,” Dr. Willerslev said.
    More.

    NYT
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

  • #2
    Missing link! Missing link! Literally.

    ~Dallas

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    • #3
      For whatever reason, the idea that very early Europeans got around (a lot) is one that is disliked. There's compelling evidence that Europeans came to the New World pretty much first. Many others followed and those lineages were absorbed but the genetic tale is pretty certain.

      Some (but not all) European lines just seemed to be more adventurous and more willing to try new things (new places, new women, new foods, new techniques, etc.). Some few people believe that this is because certain lines bred with Neanderthal lines. Did a penchant for novelty lead to those encounters or did the couplings cause a more relaxed approach to novelty? Who knows?

      If a higher tolerance for novelty is a genetic trait of some European lines, it would explain a lot - both in the past and in the present.
      "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Gingersnap View Post
        For whatever reason, the idea that very early Europeans got around (a lot) is one that is disliked. There's compelling evidence that Europeans came to the New World pretty much first. Many others followed and those lineages were absorbed but the genetic tale is pretty certain.

        Some (but not all) European lines just seemed to be more adventurous and more willing to try new things (new places, new women, new foods, new techniques, etc.). Some few people believe that this is because certain lines bred with Neanderthal lines. Did a penchant for novelty lead to those encounters or did the couplings cause a more relaxed approach to novelty? Who knows?

        If a higher tolerance for novelty is a genetic trait of some European lines, it would explain a lot - both in the past and in the present.
        Or maybe Europe sucks so bad that they'd do anything to be somewhere else.
        "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."

        -John Locke

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        • #5
          Originally posted by scott View Post
          Or maybe Europe sucks so bad that they'd do anything to be somewhere else.
          In every population, there are born survivors. Back in the '50s when we literally lived with the belief that nuclear war was around any corner (politically speaking), a common conversational topic was what one would do s/he survived the blast. Most people, anticipatig that it would take a long time to build adequate shelter and restore some semblance of modern life, planned to head for places where a person could live off the land fairly easily for a time. My mother said, "Go north. Every lazy SOB and thug who plans to live by his wits will go south. Take a gun, water and the encyclopedia. Steal a horse and wagon, because gas will be the first thing to go."
          "Think as I think," said a man,
          "Or you are abominably wicked;
          You are a toad."
          And after I had thought of it,
          I said: "I will, then, be a toad." - Stephen Crane

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
            In every population, there are born survivors. Back in the '50s when we literally lived with the belief that nuclear war was around any corner (politically speaking), a common conversational topic was what one would do s/he survived the blast. Most people, anticipatig that it would take a long time to build adequate shelter and restore some semblance of modern life, planned to head for places where a person could live off the land fairly easily for a time. My mother said, "Go north. Every lazy SOB and thug who plans to live by his wits will go south. Take a gun, water and the encyclopedia. Steal a horse and wagon, because gas will be the first thing to go."
            Seriously?

            Why wouldn't that qualify you as "every lazy SOB and thug"?
            If it pays, it stays

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Frostbit View Post
              Seriously?

              Why wouldn't that qualify you as "every lazy SOB and thug"?
              Because in most of the doomsday scenarios of the time, people piled into their cars and abandoned everything. Who would you suggest that one pay for such things under those circumstances?
              "Think as I think," said a man,
              "Or you are abominably wicked;
              You are a toad."
              And after I had thought of it,
              I said: "I will, then, be a toad." - Stephen Crane

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post
                Because in most of the doomsday scenarios of the time, people piled into their cars and abandoned everything. Who would you suggest that one pay for such things under those circumstances?
                I have a different memory of people that were "prepared" having food, water, and even a "bomb" shelter and planning to stay put for at least one month. It's funny but this topic brings back memories of why Joyce and I became itinerant workers in the early 80's. It was to find a location better suited for survival than the one we were living in.

                If I had thought a haorse and wagon were neccesary for survival I would already own one.
                If it pays, it stays

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