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November 30, 2012 - 14 went

Final Friday at Tom's and celebrate the rediscovery of the Pirate Flag

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Added by Polly J.
via Meetup for iPhone
on Nov 30, 2012.
 

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  • Joanne

    In continuation of our discussion of genetic studies of human migration here some highlights and the URL from the article they came from: "But findings over the past few years — and a re-examination of old ones, such as the mastodon rib — have shown conclusively that humans reached the Americas well before the Clovis people. The case for pre-Clovis Americans has now gained more support, including from analyses of ancient DNA. One of the first bits of genetic evidence came from preserved faeces, or coprolites, that had been discovered in a cave in south-central Oregon by Dennis Jenkins, an archaeologist at the University of Oregon. Radiocarbon dating showed that the coprolites are between 14,300 and 14,000 years old, and DNA analysis confirmed that they are from humans". "The recovered DNA even shared genetic mutations with modern Native Americans. Some key clues have emerged from studies of population genetics, in which researchers tallied the number of differences between the genomes of modern Native Americans and those of people living in Asia today. They then used estimates of DNA mutation rates as a molecular clock to time how long the diversity took to develop. That provides an estimate for when people split from ancient Asian populations and migrated to the Americas. Judging from the limited genetic diversity of modern Native Americans, Ripan Malhi, a geneticist at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and others have argued that the founding population was small, perhaps just a few thousand hardy settlers. In a study of mitochondrial DNA from modern Native American and Asian populations, Malhi and his colleagues also found hints that the first American colonists paused on their way out of Asia, waiting out the peak of the last ice age on the exposed Bering land bridge for perhaps 5,000 years — long enough to become genetically distinct from other Asian populations. When the glaciers blocking their path into North America began to melt around 16,500 years ago, the Beringians made their way south over land or sea, passing those genetic differences on to their descendants in America. Other researchers say that there is a major problem with relying on population genetics to answer questions about the peopling of the Americas. At least 80% of the New World's population was wiped out by disease, conflict or starvation after Europeans first arrived some five centuries ago. And the genes of many Native Americans today carry European and African markers, which confounds efforts to piece together the migration story. “If we look pre-contact, we're going to find a lot more indigenous diversity,” says Malhi. That means going back in time, by studying ancient genomes. “You're going to see a lot of ancient-DNA studies coming out, and that's going to tell a powerful story about the first Americans,” says Waters. http://www.nature.com/news/ancient-migration-coming-to-america-1.10562 Instead, the DNA evidence supports the consensus that people didn't migrate into the Americas — whether by boat or over land — until the end of the last glacial maximum, 16,500 years ago at most.

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  • Joanne

    downloadable map from National Geographic showing current theory of human migration world wide from Africa http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0603/feature2/map.html

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  • Joanne

    Also very interesting - how do we sort through DNA to find evidence of human evoluton and migration - well the secret is mitochondrial DNA. This fascinating article by NOVA explains the significance of mitochondrial DNA http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/neanderthals/mtdna.html

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