November 20, 2013

Were American Indians part-European 10,000 years ago?

Nicholas Wade reports in the NYT:
24,000-Year-Old Body Is Kin to Both Europeans and American Indians 
By NICHOLAS WADE 
The genome of a young boy buried at Mal’ta near Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia some 24,000 years ago has turned out to hold two surprises for anthropologists. 
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 survive, his genes suggest he would have had brown hair, brown eyes and freckled skin. 

On the other hand, not that much of the ancestry of modern Europeans goes back to the Ice Age hunter-gatherers of Europe, but instead to farmers expanding out of the Fertile Crescent. (I think that's the current understanding -- it changes frequently.) All this stuff is complicated and subject to revision and further complications.
The second surprise is that his DNA also matches a large proportion — some 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 aged 3 to 4 and was buried under a stone slab wearing an ivory diadem, a bead necklace and a bird-shaped pendant. Elsewhere at the same site some 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 some 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. 
His team proceeded anyway to analyze the nuclear genome, which contains the major part of human inheritance. They were amazed when the nuclear genome also turned out to have partly European ancestry. Examining the genome from a second Siberian grave site, that of an adult who died some 17,000 years ago, they found the same markers of European origin. Together, the two genomes indicate that descendants of the modern humans who entered Europe had spread much farther east across Eurasia than had previously been assumed and occupied Siberia during an extremely cold period starting 20,000 years ago that is known as the Last Glacial Maximum. 
The other surprise from the Mal’ta boy’s genome was that it matched to both Europeans and Native Americans but not to East Asians. Dr. Willerslev’s interpretation was that the ancestors of Native Americans had already separated from the East Asian population when they interbred with the people of the Mal’ta culture, and that this admixed population then crossed over the Beringian land bridge that then lay between Siberia and Alaska to become a founding population of Native Americans. 
“We estimate that 14 to 38 percent of Native American ancestry may originate through gene flow from this ancient population,” he and colleagues wrote in an article published Wednesday in the journal Nature. 
A European contribution to Native American ancestry could explain two longstanding puzzles about the people’s origins. One is that many ancient Native American skulls, including that of the well-known Kennewick man, look very different from those of the present day population. Another is that one of the five mitochondrial DNA lineages found in Native Americans, the lineage known as X, also occurs in Europeans. One explanation is that Europeans managed to cross the Atlantic in small boats some 20,000 years ago and joined the Native Americans from Siberia. 
Dr. Willerslev thinks it more likely that European bearers of the X lineage had migrated across Siberia with the ancestors of the Mal’ta culture and joined them in their trek across the Beringian land bridge.

Na-Dene tribes (red)
I've always had the vague impression that the Na-Dene-speaking Native American tribes, such as the Apache and the Navajo, whose ancestors appear to have arrived from Siberia many thousands of years more recently than those of earlier American Indian tribes, are more East Asian-looking than the Native American mainstream.

That's easy to explain away on the grounds that the Na-Dene speakers were isolated in Western Canada and then some moved down into the American southwest about 600 years ago, so they interbred less with Europeans than did, say, Mohawks or Cherokees. Nonetheless, I don't think that's the whole story.

Eighteenth Century American commentators such as Benjamin Franklin tended to see East Coast American Indians as not being as different from Europeans as they perceived sub-Saharan Africans to be. Maybe they were on to something?

In contrast, the 20th Centural physical anthropologist Carleton Coon surmised that the fundamental racial division was caused by the mountains of central Asia (e.g., the Himalayas). Thus, he grouped blacks and Europeans as more closely related to each other than to East Asians and Native Americans. 

That turned out to be a big mistake, as genetic research produced the Out-of-Africa theory that argued that the fundamental difference was between sub-Saharan Africans and everybody else. 

In general, down through history, Americans tended to express Franklin's viewpoint rather than Coon's. Thus, for example, having Pocahontas as an ancestor was a mark of distinction treasured by Virginia's finest families, while any black ancestors were hushed up.

Comments on the new find from Dienekes, Razib 1, and Razib 2.

P.S., Somebody should alert Senator Elizabeth Warren that she was 100% correct all along. She does have Native American ancestors after all! It's just that her tribe shoulda took that right turn at Lake Baykal for the Bering Strait instead of that left turn for Europe.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

Europeans and Africans both have wet earwax, rather than the dry earwax of East Asians and American Indians.

Anonymous said...

Native Americans in mtDNA, Y DNA, and autosomal DNA group with other Mongoloids in Asia. Showing no west Eurasian(Caucasian) ancestry except for extremely rare mtDNA X2. There is almost no Mongoloid admixture in Europeans in autosomal DNA. Except ones with known admixture with Mongoloids like Finnish and Tatars.

Y DNA R1 over 6,000 years ago was non existent in most of west Eurasia. R1a1a M17 most likely originated in eastern Europe and spread with Indo European languages specifically Indo Iranian and Balto Slavic but maybe partly with others. It did not become widespread and popular like today till 5,000-3,000ybp. R1b most likely originated around the Near east and first arrived in Europe 6,000-10,000ybp as R1b1a2 M269 or R1b1a2a L23. The western European subclade R1b1a2a1a L11 is estimated to be only 6,000-5,000 years old. And spread with Germanic and Italo Celtic language mainly in the bronze age.

R1 tells nothing about the overall origin of Europeans or any other western Eurasians it is just a paternal line that randomly became very popular mainly in the last 5,000 years. Y DNA R most likely did not originate in west Eurasians(Caucasians) because all descendants of its grandfather K(Xlt) are exclusive to Mongoloids and Oceania except R. So even if it did originate in West Eurasians its ancestral form got to them through Mongoloid inter marriage.

This 24,000 year old Siberian has west Eurasian ancestry in autosomal DNA not because he had a Y DNA R father but because he had a mtDNA U mother. I really don’t see how this connects Europeans and Native Americans the mtDNA U and west Eurasian ancestry just as likely came from Near easterns as Europeans.

Anonymous said...

the real war on women in Dallas... no in NY.

http://www.wjla.com/articles/2013/11/rep-grace-meng-attacked-robbed-near-eastern-market-97135.html

SGOTI said...

That's it. I am opening a casino and selling discount smokes.

Eric Falkenstein said...

I just had my DNA analyzed by 23andMe, and they said I was 1.1% Native American & East Asian, 98.5% European. It's improbable my American ancestors was a Native American--it had to have happened in the 1800s--making me think that in general there's some common heritage amongst all Europeans and Native Americans.

dearieme said...

So that's why Senator Lawsquaw looks so white. All is clear.

WarLord said...

"Y DNA R1 over 6,000 years ago was non existent in most of west Eurasia. R1a1a M17 most likely originated in eastern Europe and spread with Indo European languages specifically Indo Iranian and Balto Slavic but maybe partly with others. It did not become widespread and popular like today till 5,000-3,000ybp. R1b most likely originated around the Near east and first arrived in Europe 6,000-10,000ybp as R1b1a2 M269 or R1b1a2a L23. The western European subclade R1b1a2a1a L11 is estimated to be only 6,000-5,000 years old. And spread with Germanic and Italo Celtic language mainly in the bronze age.

R1 tells nothing about the overall origin of Europeans or any other western Eurasians it is just a paternal line that randomly became very popular mainly in the last 5,000 years. Y DNA R most likely did not originate in west Eurasians(Caucasians) because all descendants of its grandfather K(Xlt) are exclusive to Mongoloids and Oceania except R. So even if it did originate in West Eurasians its ancestral form got to them through Mongoloid inter marriage."


Holy crap! This is the result of your own genetic study?!

I won't comment on R1b-L23 being of Near Eastern origin, because this theory belongs to Saturday Night Live.

WarLord said...

The mixed Europoid-Mongoloid origin of Native Americans was clear as early as 15 years ago, when the first studies on Y haplogroup tree came out. So it seems that some sleeping scientists discover America in 2013...

The presence of R1 around the Lake Baikal is surprising, though. One would expect only the Q-lineage there. R1 headed to the west.

Anonymous said...

I won't comment on R1b-L23 being of Near Eastern origin, because this theory belongs to Saturday Night Live.

This isn't that controversial at all. It's r1b-l23 is relatively common in the Middle East and dominant among Armenians.

Peter Frost said...

A more parsimonious explanation would be that the Mal'ta boy belonged to a population that was ancestral both to Europeans and to Amerindians. Within Siberia itself, this population largely died out, probably at the height of the ice age, c. 17,000 years ago.

"not that much of the ancestry of modern Europeans goes back to the Ice Age hunter-gatherers of Europe, but instead to farmers expanding out of the Fertile Crescent. (I think that's the current understanding"

No it isn't.

Anonymous said...

The mixed Europoid-Mongoloid origin of Native Americans was clear as early as 15 years ago, when the first studies on Y haplogroup tree came out. So it seems that some sleeping scientists discover America in 2013...

Y haplogroups are just paternal lines. They just tell us direct male lineage, not racial origin.

Almost 100% of R1b in west Europe is under deep subclade R1b1a2a1a L11 which is estimated to be just 5,000-6,000 years old. 31 y DNA samples from Neolithic west Europe not one had R1b. R1b1a2a1a L11 probably originated in central Europe and its main subclades P312 and U106 spread mainly in the last 4,000 years. It is definitely also the spread of Germanic and Italo Celtic tribes. 50% of west European men direct male line was in Caucasus, Near East, or Anatolia just 8,000 years ago. But that is just the direct male line. R1b in no way defines Europeans.

Autosomal DNA takes ancestry from all lines not just direct maternal or paternal lines. There are Dodecade K7b, K12b, and globe13 results from 5 Europeans from Mesolithic, Neolithic, and the copper age. All definitely non R1b and R1a. They show that the genetic makeup in modern Europeans was there and R1a and R1b don't define Europeans at all. What the results show is that North Euro in globe13 and K12b is from pre Neolithic Europe and may descend from people who came tow Europe from the Near east over 30,000 years ago. It also shows that Mediterranean, west Asian, and southwest Asian came to Europe with spread of farming.

WarLord said...

"This isn't that controversial at all. It's r1b-l23 is relatively common in the Middle East and dominant among Armenians."

Well, I actually meant R1b-L11, not R1b-L23, but it doesn't matter much. R1b-L11 is a very old Badegoulian lineage that diverged into R1b-S116 and R1b-U106 around the Glacial maximum. The Neolithic theory is an utter insanity.

agnostic said...

Europeans today are the descendants of the Indo-Europeans, who displaced the Fertile Crescent farmers (except in isolated areas like Sardinia), who in turn displaced the earliest hunter-gatherers.

Anonymous said...

Well, if we just go on looks, lit should be obvious that the tall gracile Indians on the American east coast met by the first English are far closer related than are the short and squat asiatics of central Mexico we see immigrating to the US today.

Hokum such as the Indians being thought of as the 10 Lost Tribes of Israel would have had no hope of accpetance if many Indians didn't look a bit white.

agnostic said...

Na-Dene folks definitely look more Asian than other Amerindians do. Here's one of the first results from Google Images for "Navajo girls" --

http://www.turtletrack.org/Issues02/Co08242002/Art/RezDogGirls.jpg

Most Americans would probably guess that they were Thai, part-Vietnamese children of war brides, or something like that.

Anonymous said...

Y DNA R is probably Mongoloid and likely originated in Siberia. R probably got to Caucasoids through intermarriage around 20,000ybp developing into R1b somewhere around the Near East and R1a possibly in Europe and R2 around South Asia and Iran. I thought that it would have been Mongoloids migrating into the Near east and Europe but this mtDNa U suggests Caucasoids migrating east and returning with Mongoloid Y DNA R.

R was not in Europe 24,000ybp because it was in Siberia. R1a1a1b1 Z283 did not became widespread and dominate in eastern Europe till Corded ware culture(spoke ancestral language to Balto Slavic) just 5,000ybp and R1b1a2a1a L11 did not begin to spread in western Europe with Germanic and Italo Celtic languages till just 4,500-5,000ybp. If anything the mtDNA U I think is connected with the Near east not Europe and might be connected with Native American mtDNA X2. They have their own unique subclade X2g and they also have subclade X2a which has been found in Israeli Druze.

Anonymous said...

Well, if we just go on looks, lit should be obvious that the tall gracile Indians on the American east coast met by the first English are far closer related than are the short and squat asiatics of central Mexico we see immigrating to the US today.

Hokum such as the Indians being thought of as the 10 Lost Tribes of Israel would have had no hope of accpetance if many Indians didn't look a bit white.


The Indians on the American east coast weren't tall and gracile, and they didn't look white at all. Europeans were relatively shorter back then.

Howard Zhu said...

@Eric. In 23andme you need to drill down to the subregional level and see whether your East Asian/Native Am. is attributed perhaps solely to East Asia.

Ashkenazim routinely have 1-2% Mongoloid admixture. Some say it's Khazar; others Krymchak.

Anonymous said...

"Thus, for example, having Pocahontas as an ancestor was a mark of distinction treasured by Virginia's finest families.."

I've also met white folks who look all-white but say they are Indian or part-Indian. My reaction was always hmmmmm.

I guess there's mythic aura attached to Indians, so even non-Indians like to believe they got some Indian blood. Also, if a white person says he's Indian, he's both victor and the noble victim. Both cowboy and Indian.

This is also true of Jewishness. Being Jewish is so special that some people who are just barely Jewish--their great-grandmother for example--will say they are Jewish or part Jewish.

This makes us wonder about the homo percentage of the population. Today, homos are lauded by the media and presented as saintly. Deviant sexual behavior are honored whereas straight-normal behavior is seen as 'dull, bland, and boring'.

So, I don't believe in the 5% number. I think some people just claim to be 'bi' because it makes them feel special and makes them appear noble to other people in an America that wets its pants over the sight of homos parading by waving rainbow flags. (What does fecal penetration between men have to do with the rainbow? I dunno, but Jews and homos insist on it, and most Americans are dummies.)

So, just like many white folks falsely or delusionally claimed that they are Indian or part-Indian, I think some people who claim to be 'bi' just wanna seem special according to the social fashion of the day. So, some straight guy might have sucked dick once or some straight woman might have 'experimented' with lesbianism in college, and they might claim to be 'gay'. But they really are not.

Homohontas Factor.

Anonymous said...

We've long been told that there are more genetic differences within races than among races.

If that's the case, how is it possible to ascertain that someone is mostly European and not Asian or African?
How can we say a person is 95% European and 5% Asian if there are more genetic variances among Europeans than between Europeans and Asians?

Anonymous said...

At Anonymous,
Look, you did the very same post at West Hunter when it came up there. Your own study of genetics was let us say idiocyncratic then and it has not gotten any more mainstream.

If you are the guy who said East Coast Indians didn't or don't look more European than NaDene you are full of it there too. People have been remarking that the East Coast natives look more European since almost Columbus' day.

They did look more European and still do. My NaDene children are often mistaken for Koreans. My Choctaw family never are mistaken for any Asian group.

Mark Presco said...

The three great migrations out of east Asia: Early Americans, Polynesians and Australian Aborigines all look as much Caucasian as Asian to me. I know this is not scientific, but I have been wondering about this for a long time.

Anonymous said...

If you are the guy who said East Coast Indians didn't or don't look more European than NaDene you are full of it there too. People have been remarking that the East Coast natives look more European since almost Columbus' day.

They did look more European and still do. My NaDene children are often mistaken for Koreans. My Choctaw family never are mistaken for any Asian group.


East Coast Indians didn't look white at all.

The East Coast today is the most densely populated part of the US and there are virtually no pure Indians left there.

Lots of Choctaw were already heavily mixed by the 19th century. Most "Choctaw" today have significant white or black blood. Pure Choctaw didn't look white at all.

Anonymous said...

Much of the Choctaw Nation today is quite literally a pale imitation of the original Choctaw.

The Chief and Assist. Chief of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma are two white guys named Gregory Pyle and Gary Batton:

http://choctawnation.com/news-room/from-the-desk-of-brchief-gregory-e-pyle/

http://choctawnation.com/news-room/from-the-desk-of-brassistant-chief-gary-batton/

Anonymous said...

They did look more European and still do. My NaDene children are often mistaken for Koreans. My Choctaw family never are mistaken for any Asian group.

The Choctaw and other Indians in the East Coast and Southeast were on prime real estate. That's why few of them are pure today. On the other hand, the NaDene were located in Alaska, the Yukon, and the deserts of the southwest.

Anonymous said...

Yes I am aware of where my family's from. The point is that these folk looked more European 400+ years ago. The guys that look more European have more European genes.

Relax the connection is 20+ thousand years old. Nobody's suggesting Nordic bronze age guys had colonies here or anything.

Anonymous said...

Yes I am aware of where my family's from. The point is that these folk looked more European 400+ years ago. The guys that look more European have more European genes.

But they didn't look more European 400 years ago.

The guys that look more European (or black) do have more European (or black) genes. There are few pure East Coast Indian specimens left.

Anonymous said...

Mark Presco:

The three great migrations out of east Asia: Early Americans, Polynesians and Australian Aborigines all look as much Caucasian as Asian to me. I know this is not scientific, but I have been wondering about this for a long time.

Y chromosome haplogroup R1-M173 is present in both the Indian and Aborigine populations, and is of course related to the dominant Eurasian Y-chomosome group.

Anonymous said...

Mark Presco:

The three great migrations out of east Asia: Early Americans, Polynesians and Australian Aborigines all look as much Caucasian as Asian to me. I know this is not scientific, but I have been wondering about this for a long time.

Y chromosome haplogroup R1-M173 is present in both the Indian and Aborigine populations, and is of course related to the dominant Eurasian Y-chomosome group.

Anonymous said...

Eric Falkenstein said, I just had my DNA analyzed by 23andMe, and they said I was 1.1% Native American & East Asian, 98.5% European.

And what's the rest?

Anonymous said...

Your own study of genetics was let us say idiocyncratic then and it has not gotten any more mainstream.

Not idiosyncratic at all. They're all facts.

Anonymous said...

The current thinking on British and Irish DNA goes(as I recall) something like this:

Roughly 80% of the genes come from the ancestral hunter-gatherers who were kicking around Europe during the last Ice Age tens of thousands of years ago.

About 10% comes from the Levant. Those people brought the knowledge of agriculture with them and spread it around Europe. They were the same group of people who were ancestors of everybody in the Middle East.

The last 10% comes from the Caucasus region, and those were the people who brought the language with them, namely the Indo-Europeans.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. There may be another Denisovan mystery population lurking.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/11/20/ancient-humans-interbred-with-neanderthals-and-mystery-species-in-lord-of-the-rings-world/

"Ancient humans interbred with Neanderthals, Denisovans and a mystery species that may have originated in Africa and migrated to Asia, paleontologists said this week.

Improved genome sequencing from two extinct human relatives suggests the forerunners to modern humans intermingled with one another more extensively than was previously known.

Ancient genomes, one from a Neanderthal and one from a different archaic human group, the Denisovans, were presented Monday at the Royal Society in London, where researchers said they’d found evidence to suggest rampant interbreeding among members of ancient human-like groups more than 30,000 years ago in Europe and Asia – including an unknown human ancestor.

“What it begins to suggest is that we’re looking at a ‘Lord of the Rings’-type world — that there were many hominid populations,” said Mark Thomas, evolutionary geneticist at University College London."

stari_momak said...

"In contrast, the 20th Centural physical anthropologist Carleton Coon surmised that the fundamental racial division was caused by the mountains of central Asia”

I suspect he was thinking of the Urals. The HImilayas aren’t all that extensive geographically, and run East West. The Urals, while not very impressive as mountains, run North-South, i.e. forming a barrier between East Eurasian (who we are are war with) and West Eurasia. The Urals also proactively leverage their synergies with their very cold, northerly, and all around bleak surroundings, the Siberian steppe.

stari_momak said...

"Lots of Choctaw were already heavily mixed by the 19th century”

Serves ‘em right for pushing Billy Joe McAllister off that bridge.

sunbeam said...

Anonymous posted:

"Ancient humans interbred with Neanderthals, Denisovans and a mystery species that may have originated in Africa and migrated to Asia, paleontologists said this week.

Improved genome sequencing from two extinct human relatives suggests the forerunners to modern humans intermingled with one another more extensively than was previously known."

We all have theories and things we believe about human nature.

I have one. It goes something like "If it can be nailed, it will be nailed."

With no proof, I hold it as an article of faith that this fundamental feature of human nature held for Neandert(h)als, Denisovans, Mystery Offshoots in the evolutionary tree, cattle, sheep, what have you.

All it takes for some gene admixture is means and opportunity, motive is covered.

And fertility for the cross-species (insert your word here) matches. Occasionally that is, it's not like they weren't going to try, try, and try again.

I remember reading the old reports, the ones that said Neanderthals for one, never admixed with the human race.

My thinking was "Yeah, Right."

Anonymous said...

Stari momak:

No, he was thinking of the Himalya's, extending as the Tien Shan mountains through to Gobi desert to the Altai Mountains to split Mongolia from the Turkish regions and extending as the Arkan Yoma to split Burma from India

West and south of there are Indo-Europeans and Turks and Dravidians. East of there are Asiatics and Mongoloids. The wastes of Siberia and the topical jungles of Burma form the mixing points between peoples.

Anonymous said...

There's an anthropologist that argues for an "Out-of-America" theory of human origins:

http://anthropogenesis.kinshipstudies.org/

Anonymous said...

If Kennewick Man hadn't been overwhelmed by a tide of non-white immigrants?

No lessons to be learned there though, no lessons at all!

GC

Anonymous said...

This is not titled well.

It would be like saying because Northern Indians (from India) and Western Europeans are both part Indo-European Indians are part Northern European


Native Americans and Europeans are both part Siberian. This older type is not present in East Asians or current Siberians to my understanding.

Anonymous said...

I am confirmed R1b1a2a1a2 S116 subclade - Proto Italo Celtic DNA. I am related to Niall of the Nine Hostages, have a large Iberian presence and that of Crete.

Here is the TWIST.... according to my Y-DNA STR Markers - 101 markers tested - my nearest ancestral origin is Navajo. HOW?


Anyone have any studies as to this TWIST?

Thank you,

SD