The oldest North American genome and what it tells us about the peopling of the Americas

Last Wednesday, Dr. Morton Rasmussen of the Natural History Museum of Denmark and his colleagues announced that they had completely sequenced the genome of an infant boy, buried ~12,600 years ago in Montana. A few weeks earlier, I’d been approached by an editor at Nature, who asked me if I and my mentor Deborah Bolnick would be interested in writing a companion paper that would analyze and contextualize their results. We agreed, and the paper was published in last week’s issue, alongside Rasmussen et al.’s work. Because it’s (unfortunately) behind a paywall, I’d like to summarize what we said in that paper for non-scientists. There are a lot of things to talk about with regard to this study, including a consideration of ethical issues and the media’s response, so I’m likely going to do several posts on it. This first post is mainly a discussion of how we interpret the results.

For a TL;DR version of this post, here’s a link to a short interview I did on the subject last week with the BBC World Service.

The infant whose genome was sequenced, referred to as Anzick-1, belonged to the Clovis culture; a widespread and very ancient group of North American hunter-gatherers who made beautiful stone points that are often found in association with mammoth remains. Clovis is the oldest known culture in the Americas, dating to approximately 13,000 to 12,600 years ago. Anzick-1’s DNA isn’t the oldest ever recovered in the Americas*, but his is the first completely sequenced genome from an ancient American** .  This is an extremely important achievement, because it can help us better understand how Native American genetic diversity has evolved, and how the Americas were initially peopled. We don’t have very much genetic information from the very oldest (pre- 5000 years ago) Americans, and Anzick-1 is the only known Clovis burial.

Tools found at the Anzick site. From:


Until very recently, Clovis peoples were thought to be the first inhabitants of the Americas. For example, when I took “North American Prehistory” at Indiana University (about 8 years ago), my professor systematically dismissed every single archaeological site thought to be older than Clovis (at the time many of them did have issues with dating and context). But in the years since, we’ve amassed enough evidence to be certain that people were in the Americas before Clovis–they just didn’t leave much in the way of preserved tools or burials.

The earliest sites in the Americas tell us that people were here before 13,000 years ago.  The Monte Verde archaeological site, dating to 14,600 years ago, shows that the earliest peoples made it as far south as Chile at least by then. The extent of the massive glacial ice sheets that once covered North America gives us a bracket on the other side: people could not have moved southward into the Americas from Beringia until 17,000 years ago along the west coast, or ~13,500 years ago through the interior of the continent.***  Both Monte Verde, and patterns of distribution of certain mitochondrial (a maternally inherited, non-nuclear genome) lineages throughout North and South America strongly argue in favor of a coastal migration sometime after 17,000 years ago. But we also know from analysis of Native American mitochondrial and nuclear DNA that there were other, later migrations from Siberia as well–probably two others: one that likely came through the interior after 13,500 years ago, and one much more recent (~1,000 years ago) that gave rise to the modern inhabitants of the Arctic.

This figure summarizes what we currently know from mitochondrial, nuclear, and archaeological evidence. It’s complex, and definitely subject to change as we get more data!

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 9.54.37 AM
Figure 1 from Raff and Bolnick, 2014. Nature 506: 162


So where does Anzick-1’s genome fit into this picture? First, I should state the obvious: Anzick-1 is indisputably Native American. This is important because there are some who claim, on the basis of some similarity in shape between stone tools, that Clovis peoples were actually descended from migrations across the Atlantic from the Solutrean culture of Europe. I may go into this more extensively in a later post, but I do want to address it briefly here. These similarities in shape between stone tools of both cultures are pretty superficial–not enough to convince most archaeologists that Clovis is actually European in origin. Nor are geneticists convinced: all Native Americans (ancient and modern) genetic lineages studied to date are descended from known founder lineages, and those founders themselves can be traced directly to Siberia (via Beringia). There is currently no genetic data whatsoever supporting a link between ancient Europeans and Native Americans. Could there be some unsampled ancient genetic variation derived from Europe, no longer existing in modern Native American populations because of genetic drift (random loss of genetic diversity)? Possibly, but we can’t argue an entire model from spurious tool associations and non-evidence of genetic lineages. IF proponents of the “Solutrean hypothesis” find evidence for European lineages in securely dated ancient remains, THEN I’ll accept it. Otherwise, as my co-author and I say in the paper “It is time to move on to more interesting questions.”

What’s really neat about Anzick-1’s genome is how many predictions from previous studies it confirms. The figure above is based not on the Anzick-1 results (at least, not entirely), but rather on decades and decades of archaeological, paleoclimate, and genetic research. Anzick-1’s genome fits within this model extremely well. His maternal lineage, D4h3a is very old and rare among living Native Americans, but it seems to have been much more common among ancient populations. This lineage seems to be associated with (or a marker of?) the first “wave” of migration: those individuals who moved from Beringia into the Americas southward along the west coast, and then eastward across the continents. My co-author and I interpret Anzick-1’s possession of the D4h3a lineage as a suggestion that his maternal ancestors (at least) were part of that migration. We think that’s a much better explanation for the close genetic affinities between Anzick-1 and Central/South Americans than saying that Clovis peoples were “ancestral to all Native Americans”, which is how many media organizations are reporting it.

One of the surprising new findings emerging from Rasmussen et al.’s study is that there is additional, previously unrecognized, genetic structure within North American populations. Anzick-1’s genome confirms a previous study’s findings of three “streams” of gene flow from Siberia contributing to Native American ancestry, but it also has a more close affinity with Central/South American populations than with certain North American populations. Although they ruled out an additional “stream” of gene flow to account for this structure, it is hard to distinguish between other possibilities without more North American genomes.

Over the last few decades, mounting genetic and archaeological evidence has led us to develop a very complex model of migrations, admixture, and other evolutionary processes to account for the patterns of genetic diversity we see in ancient and living Native Americans. This paper is another major step towards refining these models, and opens the door for much more sophisticated analyses of Native American genomes. However, the ways in which the media has treated this story have given me some concerns–not the least since I was interviewed for a lot of the stories on it. My next post on this subject will go over my experiences with–and reactions to–some recent articles.


* The oldest DNA from the Americas, fragments of mitochondrial DNA was recovered from human coprolites (ancient poop) at the Paisley Caves site, dating to 14,100 years ago.

**I’m not counting the Paleo-Eskimo Saqqaq genome as “American”, since it’s from Greenland.

***While there are some suggestions for much earlier migrations pre- 30,000 years ago, I don’t think we currently have enough evidence to accept them

References and further reading:

References to all the points I made in this post are contained in our paper (“Genetic roots of the first Americans”) here:

Rasmussen et al. 2014 (“The genome of a Late Pleistocene human from a Clovis burial site in western Montana”) is here:

And here’s more on how we use ancient DNA to study prehistory, and the precautions we take to ensure that ancient DNA isn’t contaminated. If you’re interested in ancient DNA, or have additional questions, please feel free to contact me.

As I said, I’ll be returning to the Solutrean hypothesis in more depth soon, in particular to discuss why haplogroup X2a is not evidence of European ancestry (a point raised in some of the media articles on this). But in the meantime, here’s another blogger’s take on the death of the Solutrean hypothesis.

29 thoughts on “The oldest North American genome and what it tells us about the peopling of the Americas

  1. David Colquhoun February 18, 2014 / 7:08 pm

    That’s fascinating, and more comprehensible than your Nature piece to people who aren’t expert in genetics. I’ll admit that I had to look up Beringia (to me, the Bering strait always brings to mind Lynne Cox who swam across it without a wetsuit). I’m looking forward to the next episode because I’d never heard of “Solutrean” until I read your Nature article, so please explain.

  2. Jennifer Raff February 19, 2014 / 12:07 pm

    Thank you! Yes, I plan to dig in much deeper on the Solutrean hypothesis in the next post on the subject, so please stay tuned…

  3. Stuart Fiedel February 19, 2014 / 7:20 pm

    As you are a geneticist, I can’t fault you for accepting unskeptically, in your “Nature” commentary, what appears to be the consensus among archaeologists: that Monte Verde II is a demonstrated site of pre-Clovis human occupation. However, I have been pointing out for the last 15 years that the pathetic MV lithic assemblage (mainly unmodified stream cobbles) and the other claimed indices of human activity there are completely incongruous with what we know about the early peopling of southern South America. The first people appeared in Chile and Argentina about 13,000 years ago (not 14,500!) with a Clovis-derived toolkit including fluted bifaces and well-made bone foreshafts. For an example of an authentic early site, check out the site of Quebrada Santa Julia in coastal Chile, which was reported in Current Anthropology. Also, it’s ironic that you would now derive Clovis from a Pacific coastal population. Only a year or two ago, the proponents of pre-Clovis occupation of Paisley Caves and other Western Stemmed sites were suggesting that the early people of the northern Great Basin were both technologically and biologically distinct from Clovis, and descended from a supposed pre-Clovis coastal migration wave (for which there is no archaeological evidence) while also asserting that Clovis was solely an Eastern US culture. Clovis was an interior-adapted culture specialized in hunting of large terrestrial mammals, and they descended from the interior-adapted Siberian population now known from Malt’a.

  4. Randy Wright February 25, 2014 / 5:28 pm

    I’m just a layman who’s followed this subject as thoroughly as I can, and to add to Stuart Fiedel’s thoughts, I would like to know what “patterns of distribution of certain mitochondrial (a maternally inherited, non-nuclear genome) lineages throughout North and South America strongly argue in favor of a coastal migration sometime after 17,000 years ago”?

    Specifically, the only DNA evidence I’ve seen of a coastal migration is Perego’s use of the D4h3 haplogoup where he noted it was found in California and on down into South America along the Pacific Coast. Yet Deborah Bolnick sequenced D4h3 in those pre-Columbian Hopewell remains in Illinois, and now we have this find as well, which my map tells me is also on the eastern side of the Continental Divide.

    That removes it as “evidence” in favor of the coastal migration, doesn’t it?

  5. Cor April 11, 2014 / 8:08 pm

    I really like this shortcut “_kyr” that saves 2 zeros

  6. John April 30, 2014 / 2:52 am

    “It is time to move on to more interesting questions.”
    You seem to imagine that the sequencing of one body is a home run. I see in the MAMMOTH TRUMPET for April 2014 an article (pg 6-10) which ends with DNA analysis team member Eske Willerslev asserting that “Now we have to assume, with this result, that all early skeletons in the Americas…are related to contemporary Native American groups.” Presumably Mr. Willerslev would have no problem with turning the 168 Windover Lake human remains to some Amerindian group or other for “repatriation”. Such a move would certainly make the lives of scientists adhering to Beringia-only theories easier. In fact there would be no reason to sequence any prehistoric skeletal remains. Some of us, in view of the rather murky situation around the Windover DNA, still consider that to be an “interesting question”.

  7. Melanie Schaab August 16, 2014 / 5:08 am

    Thank you so much for your post. I know this is WAY after the fact (I note you first published this post about 6 months ago), but I was curious as to your opinion on something.

    In my own independent research of Clovis genetic background, I found the same article you reference here by Rasmussen et al., which is how I found this post. In sum, Rasmussen et al. found no European genetic link in the Clovis infant’s genome.

    In another study published just one month prior to Rasmussen et al.’s, the study authors (Raghavan et al.) found what they concluded was a European genetic link in 24,000-year-old Siberian remains. Raghavan et al. concluded that western European admixture occurred prior to the Beringia crossing and not only post-Columbian, as they say was previously believed to be the only source of European blood in Native Americans.

    It’s my understanding that Rasmussen et al did not find a European genetic link in Clovis remains. I also understand that the paleolithic Siberians are believed to be the ancestors to those Paleo-Indians who crossed Beringia. Is it possible that the European genetic link found by Raghavan et al. in the Siberian remains was passed on to Paleo-Indians?

    You stated that you are unaware of any European genetic links found in fossils within the Americas, and neither am I. But I wonder whether one genetic lineage descended from such a Siberian individual as examined by Raghavan et al. might have made it across Beringia and we just have not yet extracted DNA proving the link.

    Since I’m not even a student of anthropology (my areas are midwifery and nursing), I defer to your knowledge on this matter. I am curious to know your thoughts.


    Raghavan, M., Skoglund, P., Graf, K.E., Metspalu, M., Albrechtsen, A., Moltke, I., … Willerslev, E. (02 Jan 2014). “Upper Paleolithic Siberian genome reveals dual ancestry of Native Americans.” Nature, 505, 7481:87-91. Accessed 15 August 2014. doi:10.1038/nature12736

  8. daveinga September 18, 2014 / 7:52 pm

    what about the d.n.a. from the mummies found in the Windover bog in fla.? at first (before the coverup people showed up, they were Eurpoean. hid it for years, then it got defunded right quick. their sewing/cloth was world class European when it was 1st dug up. now I see these people are not even mentioned in these discussions. and how about the Kenniwick man, another cover up attempt? Indians trying to make sure they bury any European evidence to keep the free stuff, 1st people train running? convenient how they get to rebury any pre-Columbus remains due to a treaty, huh? wonder how many they have already hid/buried in some secret location? they didn’t even want the scientist who discovered the Kenniwick man to ever get another look at what he called an obvious European, and he never did. heard the gov. even buried the site in rocks.

    settled science, again?

    don’t care who was 1st. just don’t bury the truth (and science) to kiss some butt.

    • Jennifer Raff September 18, 2014 / 8:03 pm

      There was no cover-up in either case.

      Just out of curiosity, if you were doing the DNA work and you got a “European” sequence out of ancient Native American remains, how would you distinguish between contamination and genuine ancient DNA?

      • A.D. September 24, 2014 / 7:15 am

        Me,my friend(john linehan who’s mentioned in jason’s blog) and a fellow youtuber who used to go by the name salsassin have all contacted Joseph Lorenz regarding the windover remains.Pretty much the media pulled another fast one on the public like they did with K-man.

        In Seguchi et al,2011 craniometric study the Windover skulls clustered with the Paleoindian Lagoa Santa skulls from Brazil.In Stojanowski et al, 2011 paper on teeth of the archaic Windover bog remains clearly shows the figs they showed as having shovel shaped incisors.

        American Antiquity, 65(2), 2000, pp. 291-316

        “Cranial characteristics, femoral morphology and stature together led me, in the forensic venue, to suggest an affiliation with modem Euroamericans. Once the skeleton’s age was known, however, I referred to the remains as “Caucasoid-like” (Preston 1997).~ I did not state, nor did I intend to imply, once the skeleton’s age became known, that he was a member of some European group (Chatters 1998).”

        “It is possible, however, to compare the specimen with modern groups in search of the population with the closest statistical similarity and thus a possible common ancestry.

        This can be done using the craniofacial morphometry of Howells (1973, 1989) (e.g., Jantz and Owsley 1997, 1998; Neves and Pucciarelli 1989; Steele and Powell 1992, 1994). Applying this approach, Chatters et al. (1999) used principal components analysis to compare craniometrics of the Kennewick skull cast (Table 3) with the Ainu and the 18 modem populations that Howells (1989) believes comprise most of the metric variability of modem Homo sapiens.A graphic comparison of the first two components, which included size (Figure ll), placed him nearest the Pacific Islanders and Ainu-Brace and Hunt’s (1990) Jomon-Pacific cluster. When size was factored out, he was an extreme outlier, with no close relationship to any modem population. Powell and Rose (1999) reached the same conclusion using a wider array of techniques and a variety of human databases. These results are consistent with previous analyses, which find that the closest craniofacial morphometric affinity of northern Paleoamericans is generally to the Pacific Islanders and South Asians (Steele and Powell 1992, 1994), and that when size is factored out, they are often far removed from modem peoples (Jantz and Owsley 1998). In general appearance, the Kennewick skull does somewhat resemble Polynesians, particularly Easter Islanders, and Jomon/Ainu.”

        “Dental discrete traits (Table 5) echo this Jomon-Pacific affinity. Turner (1985,1990)”

        “Thus, craniofacial and dental evidence converge to suggest an affinity-a common origin-with some modern coastal and maritime peoples of east Asia and the Pacific.”

        “His physical features, teeth, and skeletal measurements show him to be an outlier relative to modern human populations, but place him closer to Pacific Islanders and Ainu than to Late Prehistoric Amerinds or any other modern group. Despite his uniqueness relative to modern peoples, he is not significantly different from other Paleoamerican males in most characteristics.”

        Anna Roosevelt’s brief lecture on Paleoindians and Kennewick starts around 20:14

        New Light on the Peopling of South America

        Of course this will all eventually come to fruition as Stojanowski et al 2014 paper “Sinodonty and beyond” shows how dental anthropologist are moving beyond the “sinodont/sundadont” dichotomy.

        Well that’s that :)

      • proto57 December 8, 2014 / 3:58 pm

        Simple, Jennifer: It is “contamination” when you don’t like it, and “evidence”, when you do. This is a very common feature of almost every investigation with a differing agenda as to the outcome. Any evidence not desired is said to be contamination, or added later, or in error; any evidence which is desired is scientific, proper and acceptable. And when it gets down to interpretation of results, words like “likely”, “probable”, “unlikely”, “impossible”, and so on, are used by the different “sides” of an issue, to explain, or explain away, any evidence in any direction desired.

        The simplest ways to get to the truth of any matter are, then, in my opinion, 1) to see who is claiming found objects, DNA, and so forth, are “added” or “contamination”, and then, suspect that opinion, and 2) See who is trying to hide information… the ones who do not mind all information being available, or ask for all of it to be seen, probably are ready for the truth, and don’t care for politics to intrude.

        So when a site is buried; funding stopped; remains demanded and/or returned; and the evidence given is explained away as “contamination”; and when requests for more testing and/or more information are denied; and worse yet, when those rejections are couched in negative political or social terms… well then you have your answer. In this case the DNA probably is European, in part, for all the reasons given, above.

        • Colin December 8, 2014 / 4:46 pm

          You start by asking who the other person is, and then “suspect that opinion” if you don’t like it? That’s not a method for finding out the truth, it’s a method for intentionally discrediting evidence you don’t like. You’re using the same reasoning beloved of UFOologists, Bigfoot believers, and creationists: if they don’t agree with me, they must be trying to suppress the truth. But sometimes, it’s not a conspiracy–sometimes you’re just wrong.

          • proto57 December 8, 2014 / 4:50 pm

            Colin: You’ve completely misstated my point in some other terms, then argued that, instead of my actual point. That is using a “straw man” argument. Rather than repeat myself, anyone can go back and read the actual post I made, and understand it is very different then how you imagined it.

        • Jennifer Raff December 9, 2014 / 8:50 am


          “It is “contamination” when you don’t like it, and “evidence”, when you do” isn’t answering my question. I want to know how you, standing in the laboratory, would determine whether a sequencing result that you got back was authentic or not. Maybe it’s a bit of an unfair question, since you aren’t trained in ancient DNA methods.

          Let me try to get at the issue of authenticity a different way. You are very convinced from your reading that European sequences have been found from ancient American remains. For the sake of argument, let’s say that I got an authentic European haplogroup from a pre-contact individual. I would accept its authenticity if it met all of the following criteria:

          1. Replication of the sequence from multiple extractions of the sample, done at least a month apart in order to guarantee that different batches of reagents were used in each extraction.
          2. Clean negative controls in all PCRs and extractions that returned this result.

          3. The sequence couldn’t be my own sequence. (I hope it’s obvious why this would be an issue. However, If I were convinced by all of the other criteria in this list that the ancient individual and I were indeed genetically identical at this locus, it doesn’t mean I’d throw out the result. I would simply have another person take over all extractions and PCRs, and absent myself from the laboratory while they did so.)

          4. Cloning of the PCR product to ascertain damage patterns, and rule out any contributing contaminants.

          5. Replication of the extraction, PCRs, and sequencing on an independent sample of that individual in another laboratory. If it was a controversial result (such as a European sequence in a pre-contact North American population), then I might request yet a third laboratory to replicate, just to be certain.

          All of the above is for a single-locus amplification and sequencing approach. If I was taking a genomics approach (which I probably would with an interesting sample, such as in this hypothetical case!), then I would look closely at the damage patterns of all sequenced fragments. DNA acquires characteristic damage as it ages (principally cytosine deamination), and one can tell endogenous DNA from contaminants by its chemistry. Finally–and crucially– I would publish all my raw data for other experts to review. They might see something that I missed.

          Thus far not one single “European” sequence from an ancient Native American population has met these criteria. Not one. On the other hand, those hundreds and hundreds of published sequences from Native American populations have met all of them. To you these precautions might seem onerous, but they are the accepted standard for ancient DNA work used all over the world.

          When you ask us to accept these particular results as authentic, then, you are asking us to make an exception from the standard practices for the results YOU like. That’s not good science, that’s special pleading.

          • proto57 December 9, 2014 / 9:57 am

            Hi Jennifer: First of all, let me clear up a couple of straw dogs you’ve created for me. You say, “You are very convinced from your reading that European sequences have been found from ancient American remains.” That is incorrect… I am rarely “convinced” of anything, as I am a skeptic at heart. And in this case, I also never claimed to be convinced… so the premise of your rebuttal is off to a bad start.

            As for the standards you then outline, those sound good to me. You are correct, I am far from a DNA expert, but I will take it on face value that the standards you believe in, and outline here, are good ones. Whether or not they actually apply to the present argument, I can’t say… but you don’t seem to say they do. What I am concerned about is this. In the video I saw, which is here on youtube: Starting at about the 6:25 mark on that video, about the DNA, Dr. Joe Lorenz, “Coriell Institute for Medical Research”, said,

            “… when I was looking for the [DNA] sites I know are characteristic of Native American haplogroups, I was surprised because I did not find them.”

            Narrator, “In contrast to all previous findings, Lorenz could not confirm the Windover People were Americans. Further investigation revealed something even more remarkable…”

            Lorenz, “I went back to the screen, and I looked at the sequences again… the first person’s DNA, it looked European. When I looked at the second one, it looked European. When I looked at the third, fourth and fifth, they were slightly different than the first two, but they looked European.”

            Narrator, “Lorenz had found DNA unlike any other from Native Americans”.

            So of course you may say that standards were not met by Lorenz, if that is what you are saying. Perhaps you know what method he used, and would argue his results are not acceptable because of it. Perhaps you, like others, would say there is contamination. My point is simply this: Someone found similarities to European DNA in five samples from five Windover Bog people, and no resemblance to other Native American groups. So that can be argued away, by you or anyone, and has been, obviously.

            But given the above statements, it is reasonable to desire that that more information be forthcoming… access to the DNA for proper testing, outside of the world of political correctness, politics in general, and so on and so forth. So again, when I do see you, or anyone else, dismissing evidence as “contamination”, or bad practice, or other, as I said, I suspect that… and not at first, the science that came up with results you do not like.

            “When you ask us to accept these particular results as authentic, then, you are asking us to make an exception from the standard practices for the results YOU like. That’s not good science, that’s special pleading.”

            Again, this is a straw man. You are assuming that because I am fascinated by the possibility that Lorenz posed… possible early European types coming to North America… and by the statements of the finds he clearly believed in… that I am the one who is prejudiced toward those findings. But that is of course unfair on your part… I am 57 years old, and I have been, and will be, perfectly happy to know all about the groups who came here. I’ve been interested in this subject since a child, and followed all the theories, all my life. What interests me is that my discussion all these theories, whether they turned out right or wrong, has NEVER resulted in the sort of resistance I see here, in any discussion.

            My point is, it is not me who has an agenda. I don’t care who came here, I only want to know. But when I see the outcry against these European findings, using straw man arguments; claims of contamination of evidence; claims of bad science; insinuations of prejudice on the part of those who disagree; retraction of funding; dumping of thousands of yards of earth, and so on and so forth… as I said, I then suspect there is an agenda, on the part of those who use those methods of argument and suppression of evidence.

            • daveinga December 11, 2014 / 9:44 pm

              then there is the evidence of weapons and tools. the vast majority of ‘European like’ fluting tools/weapons found to date in the u.s. are located along the east coast. there is a video by a Smithsonian scientist that explains why, and it makes a lot of sense.

              once again I mention the weave in the cloth found w/ the Windover people. a utube video I saw years ago had an expert testifying how this weave was a very advanced (for that time) European weave. to be honest, I don’t see how credibility can be established when everything pointing to European settlers is either shut down, purposely buried by the government, or whisked away by same never to be seen again by independent investigators.

              I worked at the Space Center for 7 years while the Windover Bog was being excavated in the adjacent neighborhood and I never heard a word about it. it was literally not reported, hidden, and eventually defunded. I heard one of the original researchers say that they had only uncovered a portion of the mummies.

              its obvious to anyone wanting to find out the real truth that ‘tipping the rice bowl’ is allowing politics as usual to do the real contamination in this field of study.

            • A.D. December 31, 2014 / 1:54 am

              Why don’t both of you contact Lorenz yourself instead of crying conspiracy or throwing around buzzwords like “political correctness” and other thought terminating cliches.Or maybe because you just don’t like the answer.

              Oh and quit watching those trash tv shows like ancient aliens and american unearthed.It rots your brain.
              TV shows are not good sources to get your information.

              I find it odd how both of you completely ignored my There’s more where that came from trust me ;)

              • proto57 December 31, 2014 / 9:59 am

                Hi “A.D.”: You’ve created more straw men… and straw women… which does nothing to help the situation. I don’t watch Ancient Aliens, although I’ve been asked to appear on it… but as a counterpoint to an alien theory. I do deal in facts, and I am very pragmatic, despite your misleading and somewhat edgy post.

                “Political correctness” is a cliche, but an appropriate one for many situations. It does not “terminate”: thought, rather pointing it out is a plea to put it aside… because quite the opposite of what you say (Duckspeak?), the “thought termination” happens with those who either use political correctness to decide an issue, or are too afraid of being unfairly judged to speak up. Quite the opposite of what you say… political correctness does, and is designed, to terminate all talk on matters that some people feel are distasteful, and the truth be damned.

                Most ironically, those who use political correctness in their thought process… that is, those who believe it has any place in any discussion… would be the only ones who would distract from its dangers… and might argue against the claim it is interfering. Do you care about hurting feelings, or what people will say about you, when you are confronted with the truth? Do you keep quiet about truths you know, because they are not PC?

                As for “ignored my post”… was your rant designed to promote it, or your viewpoint? It had the opposite effect, with me, at least.

      • A.D. March 2, 2015 / 8:58 am

        Hello Jennifer I sure hope you will make a blog post about K-Man’s DNA when it’s soon to be published. :) It’s always surprising,but expected, reading the comments here.I’ve seen it a lot in other forums.Lots of upset and angry and ignorant people.I blame the bowls of the internet for much of their distress.They’ve been fed so much bs from docudramas and sensationalist “news” articles that they are totally clueless of the facts.Also obvious prejudices also factors into their upset and angry behavior.Facts just don’t matter for some of them.

        Every DNA study I have read on ancient american remains from North and South America has shown genetic continuity.It’s pretty much sound.It’s the trolls on the internet who distort the facts that is the problem.

        • proto57 March 2, 2015 / 1:38 pm

          Hi A.D.: I find it ironic that while you rail against people who ask questions, and bring up points you personally disagree with, you use terms such as “angry and ignorant”, with ideas from the “bowls” (I think you meant “bowels”, BTW) of the internet, that they are “distress[ed]”, being fed “bs”, which is “sensationalist”, and therefore they are “clueless”, and “prejudiced”.

          But with such obviously emotional vitriol from you, you clearly make the exact opposite point to the one you are projecting.

          Science is about asking questions, challenging what is believed, and sometimes asking painful questions. It is how we respond to those questions, and the answers we get, that defines the level of openmindedness that we approach the problem with. However, you have not responded in a way that invites confidence in your viewpoint. You’ve demonstrated in your wording the exact thing you complain against, that is.

          As I’ve said above, I am very interested in where all the Native American groups have come from, where ever that may be. I wait with interest the final results from Denmark, along with you and millions of others.

          • A.D. March 2, 2015 / 9:59 pm

            Hmm this was meant for Jennifer not you.I must have hit the wrong reply button.Anywho,from my experience from all of this was never to convince the likes of people like you.I’m just putting out this info out there for those people who might stumble onto this blog and want to know the facts.




            “Eske and his postdoc, Morten Rasmussen, have completed the major aDNA isolations and feel that Kennewick has normal, standard Native American genetics. At present, there is no indication he has a different origin than North American Native American. Solutrean and other “interesting” origins for early Americans have been rebuked.”

            Can’t wait to read the paper.I hope to hear Eske Willeslev’s podcast on their finds soon and Jennifer Raff’s breakdown on the results.

            Anyway here is a new paper that will be published soon which is consistent with previous studies..

            Genome-wide data from ancient Peruvian highlanders and the Population History of South America Fehren-Schmitz et al. 2015


            “Despite recent advances in archaeology and population genetics, the number of human dispersals into South America and the routes these settlers took throughout the continent remains subject to controversy. The analysis of DNA from ancient human remains has proven to be an efficient tool to get insights into such ancient population dynamic processes. However, ancient DNA research in South America so far has been mostly restricted to the analysis of the mitochondrial control region and samples 5000 years old and younger. While these studies have increased our understanding of the pre-Columbian population history, inferences have been restricted to female population dynamics and have not allowed us to address relevant aspects like admixture and selection properly. Here, we present genome wide data from pre-Columbian Central Andean individuals from various archaeological sites dating from 7000 BC to 1100 AD. Ancient DNA genomic libraries were analyzed employing both shotgun sequencing and targeted hybridization capture approaches. We compare this data with published genome-wide data from ancient and modern Native American populations and reconcile our results with craniometric studies. Our results show a striking genetic continuity in the Andes over at least 8000 years despite observed changes in cranio-morphological variability. Additionally, our observations support the hypothesis of a single-wave scenario, in which the early and later populations of pre-Columbian South America derived primarily from a single source population.”

            You can go cry in the corner now. :)

            • proto57 March 3, 2015 / 6:42 am

              Hi A.D.: I have no reason to “cry” anywhere… that is the point, this odd assumption on your part that people who are interested in the outcome, regardless of what it is, are the ones who have any sort of agenda. I have not reason to champion any results… I, and many others, only want to know what they are, and we all dislike the sort of emotional bias for one result (or the other) that you are demonstrating in your posts, and in your snarky comments.

              • Jennifer Raff March 3, 2015 / 2:07 pm

                Proto57, what would you expect to see from Kennewick’s genome if the Solutrean Hypothesis is correct? Alternatively, what would you expect to see from his genome if the hypothesis is inaccurate?

                • proto57 March 3, 2015 / 2:23 pm

                  Hi Jennifer: I would not “expect” to see anything, as I don’t know where he came from. And not being a geneticist, I do not have the background to interpret the data… I have to trust the verdict of those, like you, who can. This is why I listen carefully to see if there is any prejudice on the part of the interpreter, because that can make all the difference.

                  From what I do know about Kennewick man, and from what I have read up to date, I saw the possibility that he was whole or in part descended from the Ainu. The possibility. The preliminary results from Denmark seem to rule this out, so… I am interested to see the results.

                  In my area of investigation… which involve a work of literature… I have found the most profound influence on what we think we know is not on the raw data, but the very human interpretation of it. The very same results can and often are used to “prove” the exact opposite theories. This is why it is both frustrating, and telling, for me to see such vehement, polarizing attitudes (not from you) on this particular issue… I don’t like being reliant on the opinions of others, but this is unavoidable in life… we cannot know everything, and all the “whys”, so we have to trust in someone.

                  What I have learned in my brief 57 years is that trusting is pretty dangerous… but, what can I do? Do my best to find the best voices, who would not be afraid, or be compelled, to see one result over the other, but only the correct one.

        • Jennifer Raff March 3, 2015 / 2:05 pm

          Thanks, A.D. I do plan on writing about the Kennewick results as soon as they’re published. Hopefully this won’t be too long from now, although I have a few papers of my own coming out that I need to write about also.

          • daveinga March 4, 2015 / 11:53 am

            while you are writing about the Kennewick man’s supposed d.n.a., you might answer the question as to why this information took several years to get into the historical/scientific ‘facts’. would you also please try to explain why the coe was directed to destroy completely the site where he was found? more coincidence? yeah, right. I worked for the coe for years so I know what it takes to get something like this done. it also sounds illegal to those of us required to follow the law. also, have independent experts (not funded or associated w/ the u.s. government) been allowed to examine these remains at length? i’ve heard complaints from the scientists involved. which brings us to the question, is there a ‘chain of custody’ requirement w/ respect to these or any other similar finds where government funding or personnel are not included in the chain? from actions taken so far to hide, obfuscate and destroy, I seriously doubt it.

            btw, what ever happened to the original dna findings from the bog people in florida? especially of interest was the testimony from an expert called in who specialized in ancient fabrics (on u-tube). never heard from him again. at the time he was shocked to see some of the most advanced ‘European’ textile weaves anywhere for that ancient time period. I predict he will be seen (as usual) somewhere backpedaling. once again, whenever the words European or Caucasian or Negroid anything are used to possibly describe some remains in the Americas (especially N.A. where huge amounts of funding/tax breaks go to ‘native populations’) the dig funding gets slashed or the remains go missing, or destroyed, and so forth.

            also of interest in this discussion is the prevalence/abundance of the obvious Solutrean weapons and tools found all up and down the east coast. there were more found around that one site in Va. than on all the rest of the NA continent. what, they all came here from the far west but the vast majority of their artifacts show a very obvious east-west trek? that sounds like some more politically motivated ‘settled science’ to me.

            my questions are not meant to say I care who was 1st here, or last, or whatever. I am of European and American Indian ancestry. I don’t care from a personal pov, and I always try to be objective when investigating these very interesting finds. however, that said, I do care about the manipulation of results. we (researchers) are seeing a lot of what appears to be the manipulation of science (in several fields) to insure a certain outcome. I don’t trust any data that went anywhere near a governmental agency w/ this present administration in power. for instance, the present congress (gop) is trying to get a bill through that would require the epa to show the data/documentation giving credence to their many new executive based laws on environmental issues like climate change, or global warming, or whatever they need to call it to try to stay relevant. as usual a veto is promised if ever the light of truth even gets a chance, which I doubt it will for a while.

            there is one sure way to tell when one has crossed into some sort of political no-no land. as soon as the conversation gets heated and interesting, the name calling and nasty insults (ex: ‘people like us’?) start up like clockwork. soon others angrily respond in kind and the whole discussion goes into a conversational black hole.

            you have also suggested that we get our info. from places other than t.v. documentaries. why? that is condescending at best. i’m a retired c.e., and there are mostly very educated adults here who fully understand the need for there to be a certain amount of commercialism in these abbreviated lessons in today’s ‘made for t.v.’ science. it does none the less do a lot to help educate those w/o the time to do the extensive research necessary to fully understand, as do these type informal blogs.

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