Genes Trace the Ancient Wanderings of White People
Report; Posted on: 2006-10-06 00:42:09
DNA testing reveals the secrets of history.
Columbus Day 2006 is on Oct. 9
by Steven E. Romer
WE NOW know that the first Americans were Europeans, and that Vikings came here too. I think somehow that the original mix of people (the early Whites who disappeared and who left genetic traces in some tribes of later Amerindians) screws up the interpretation of some of the data on the new racial DNA tests -- reporting some definite Europeans as having "native American" genes. Some of the genes of Europeans may have been left behind, upsetting the norming used to define "Native American."
See the Discovery Channel special available on DVD, "Ice Age Columbus, who were the first Americans?"
As you watch the film, remember also the well-known 9,000-year-old Caucasian bones known as "Kennewick Man" found here in the U.S. near Kennewick, Washington. Scientists also have found Caucasian skeletons near Mexico City from 11,000 years ago. The ages of these finds predate the remains found of the Asian and Amerindian types who were the ancestors of those known as Indians, Amerindians, or "Native Americans" today.
Also suggestive of a much wider range for our race in prehistoric times are the frozen 4,000- to 5,000-year-old mummies of Urumchi in northeastern China, which are clearly European.
This month, believe it or not, the Discovery Channel will be telling us about "The Riddle of the Desert Mummies": "The most amazing thing about 4,000-year-old mummies discovered in the Chinese desert is that they were not Asian, but Caucasian. DNA analysis is helping scientists piece together the mystery of these fair-haired people in the heart of Asia."
The program will air this month: JAN 15 2006 @ 07:00 PM; JAN 16 2006 @ 03:00 AM; and JAN 16 2006 @ 11:00 AM. There is no DVD for this show available that I know of, so record this one if you can.
And there are the still-mysterious Alaskan mummies found in the Aleutian Islands -- the only mummies ever found in North America.
These are pretty close geographically to the Chinese mummies, but Amerindians are litigating to have these remains quickly re-buried -- just like they did with Kennewick man (since they are motivated not by the quest for truth, but by other things) -- saying they are "sacred ancestors," but not wanting us to test the bones to be sure.
There was racial mixing in ancient North America. Apparently the European presence was, tragically, not large enough to be independent and viable. You can follow our ancestors' journey across Asia and across the Atlantic to the east coast of North America. It is entirely possible that Asians came here as "sherpas" with the European explorers, since we know that Asians are not really the explorer-type (as evidenced by their lack of this sort of activity and even their Great Wall). They do not climb mountains "because they are there" as Sir Edmund Hillary so cryptically (and genetically?) said.
Some clearly European people have tested as having "Native American" genes on their genetic tests. This ancient story may be why. DNA Print Genomics has shown this pattern in particular on some tests where the testee knows he is fully European. Lots of these designations are statistical. Because of what are called "confidence intervals" you must be careful about accepting low levels of admixture as authoritative. For example, if you show just 5% sub-Saharan African, then you may actually have zero sub-Saharan ancestry. With the "Native American" designation, you could be all European with higher "Native American" readings than shown, for the reasons I state. Also, we do not know the populations they are norming this stuff on. Many "Indians" are mixed-race. "Mestizo" means mixed.
The Genographic Project also looks interesting. They're attempting to trace the ancient movements of people -- and DNA -- around the globe. This project may yield more important info than the space program or any other science. Beautiful thing. We must participate.
Another worthwhile company is Ancestry by DNA (ABD).
At the top right of this article is a graph from my results at ABD, and to the left is my graph from the Genographic Project. As science advances, it will help us understand our true heritage. The truth must be known. Follow the links here; some companies resell these services as brokers for twice the price these days. Go direct.
Mr. Romer is a behavioral neuroscientist and is the author of The Textbook of the Universe: The Genetic Ascent to God.
More essays by Steven E. Romer
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