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Earth Science

DNA Reveals History of Vanished "Paleo-Eskimos" 57

Posted by samzenpus
from the back-in-the-day dept.
An anonymous reader writes The earliest people in the North American Arctic remained isolated from others in the region for over 4,000 years before vanishing around 700 years ago, new analysis shows. The study also reveals that today's Inuit and Native Americans of the Arctic are genetically distinct from the region's first settlers. "A single founding population settled, and endured the harsh environmental conditions of the Arctic, for almost 5,000 years — during which time the culture and lifestyle changed enough to be represented as distinct cultural units," explained Dr Maanasa Raghavan, first author of the new paper.
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DNA Reveals History of Vanished "Paleo-Eskimos"

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  • by turkeydance (1266624) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @03:38PM (#47796559)
    probably a gated community, too.
    • by nurb432 (527695)

      With gates made of ice.

      • by flyneye (84093)

        If the legends in the folk music of Led Zeppelin is correct. I hypothesize that they merely migrated to "where they could twist and shout". This ain't genocide, it's rock and roll!

        In other thoughts; I met an Alaska Indian once that told me a good way to get the shit kicked out of me; was to call an Alaska Indian "an Eskimo".
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E... [wikipedia.org] Isn't a whole lot of help in figuring out why, Dan, the Alaskan Indian, however shed a bit of light on it. Eskimos
        were still pretty traditional, hunting

      • and the odd killer whale in the surrounding moat

  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2014@virtual-estates.net> on Sunday August 31, 2014 @03:45PM (#47796609) Homepage
    Native Native Americans wiped out by Native Americans. This will be a fine discussion...
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      So today's Native Americans weren't really native? They came and wiped out the real Native Americans? I guess we shouldn't feel any remorse for stealing all this wonderful land away from them then! Really, it was simply justice being served.
      • by mi (197448)
        Some tribes are just more native than others...
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Although it isn't widely taught about in North American schools and even colleges due to it being a politically sensitive topic, anyone who looks into the matter in more depth is sure to learn about the Clovis culture [wikipedia.org] that existed in North America prior to the arrival of the ancestors of what are today called "Native Americans".

        It's likely that the ancestors of today's "Natives" may have helped contribute to the elimination of the Clovis people.

        So it is in fact quite hypocritical of today's "Natives" to com

        • by dugancent (2616577) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @04:21PM (#47796747)

          ~80% of current Native Americans are direct decedents of Clovis people.

          http://www.npr.org/2014/02/13/... [npr.org]
          http://news.ku.dk/all_news/201... [news.ku.dk]

          • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

            by fadethepolice (689344)
            Since 90 percent of native americans were wiped out by european diseases this basically says that 80 percent of the original population of the americas was not resistant to euroasiatic diseases. There is a marked non-scientific warpath to discredit the solutrean hypothesis. The extremes to which modern historians go to discredit the solutrean hypothesis actually reduce the entire discipline to a pseudoscience. Please realize that there was most likely a constant low level genetic drift between the conti
            • by kamapuaa (555446)

              There is a lot of scientific reasons to doubt the Solutrean hypothesis, and very little scientific reason to back it. For instance, the lack of DNA or linguistic similarities. As of now, it is a theory mostly supported by the Discovery channel and such.

              40 thousand years of contact, with no evidence to show for it? It seems very unlikely. There's been pretty good written records in Europe for more than 2,000 years, surely if there was constant contact with the New World there would have been some kind of

              • by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @06:50PM (#47797245)

                There is a lot of scientific reasons to doubt the Solutrean hypothesis, and very little scientific reason to back it. For instance, the lack of DNA or linguistic similarities. As of now, it is a theory mostly supported by the Discovery channel and such.

                40 thousand years of contact, with no evidence to show for it? It seems very unlikely. There's been pretty good written records in Europe for more than 2,000 years, surely if there was constant contact with the New World there would have been some kind of record.

                Leaving the Solutrean hypothesis aside for a minute some of these 'crazy' ideas that our ancestors were more mobile than we give them credit for have been stigmatized by the great egos in the scientific community in the past to the point where putting serious effort into investigating them was the equivalent of professional suicide. Even so sometimes, not always, but sometimes, they deserve better than to be ignored. In fact there is a written record that goes back at least a thousand years about contact between Europe and N-America:
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saga_of_Erik_the_Red [wikipedia.org]
                These records have been well know for a long time but nevertheless until the discovery of L'Anse aux Meadows [wikipedia.org] was rubbed in their faces some scientists thought accounts of Viking travel to the Americas were folk tales that should not be taken seriously. Since then Native American DNA has been found in Icelanders and that DNA is thought to be the result of pre-Columbian contact. Basically there is now genetic evidence that at least one Native American woman was brought to Iceland where she married a local man resulting in a group of living descendants:
                http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/11/101123-native-american-indian-vikings-iceland-genetic-dna-science-europe/ [nationalgeographic.com]
                This is not really so surprising if you think about it. If the Vikings, who count among the greatest navigators and seafarers in history, could find America. Why is it unthinkable that some Native Americans could not have gone back with them to Europe? There is no mention of this in the Sagas or contemporary annals but does that mean it didn't happen? The DNA seems to tell a different story. Another good example is that there is a growing body of evidence that Native Americans had pre Columbian contact with Polynesians which was considered laughable not so long ago. In retrospect it seems pretty ridiculous to think that scientists once considered it obvious a people who are arguably the greatest navigators on earth and who were capable of sailing for thousands of miles over open ocean between tiny islands with primitive technology would have missed what are by far the two biggest islands in the Pacific but that's sicentists for you. In the end they are only human and it takes a change of generations for the thinking to change.

                • by gl4ss (559668)

                  vikings are a thousand years apart from what was discussed and only mere few centuries way from columbus.

                  that's pretty far from having contact between south europe and middle america 2000 years ago.. or longer.

                  or that aliens did it.

                • The theory that travel was motivated by finding new sources of fish and game and was commercially sensitive goes a long way in explaining the lack of records of the contacts with the new world. One gets to Iceland and brings back prize catches and obviously hides information about where the game was taken. As more vessels figure out where the new gathering grounds are located more adventurous vessels reach out further trying to maintain better yields. Maps were either nonexistent or well hidden.
            • 80 percent of the original population of the americas was not resistant to euroasiatic diseases.

              At the time they migrated to the Americas, the people in Eurasia were not resistant either. They became resistant when they started keeping herds of animals.

              There is a marked non-scientific warpath to discredit the solutrean hypothesis.

              The problem with the hypothesis is that "Asian" people not only replaced "Caucasian-like" people in North America, but that the same thing happened in Northeast Asia. The original aboriginal people of Northeast Asia were similar to Europeans in facial structure and hair color/texture. There are still living remnants of these populations, such as the

          • by silfen (3720385)

            Yeah, but why should anybody care, except for a few specialists in anthropology?

        • Ah, yes! The "Both Sides Do It" argument comes to archaeological discussion.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            Why shouldn't it?

            As a physicist, I think it's critical for all of the facts to be on the table, even if they may be deemed politically incorrect.

            This is what separates real science from the so-called social sciences.

            Real scientists stand for nothing less than the absolute truth, or as close as we can possibly come to it. Social scientists, and I use the term 'scientist' very lightly here, tend to only want to consider the facts that don't hurt people's feelings, or facts that don't further their political a

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by CaptainDork (3678879)

              Not that you are a physicist or stuff.

              Real ones abide by the doctrine that science doesn't take sides.

              You're a fake and a rabid right wing European Invasion denier.

              Go to hell.

            • by TWX (665546) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @06:00PM (#47797105)
              I live around three or four major reservations and have visited others. Poverty among the people governed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs is far, far worse than the poverty of just about any other group, and in part it stems from the policies of the BIA.

              There's a little known fact that if land granted to individuals is not worked, lived on, or otherwise improved by those individuals, being effectively unclaimed the BIA auctions it off, and anyone, not just Indians, can bid. The buyer can't necessarily open-sell that land, but given that it's rural farming or ranching land they can profit through its use, and it can be inherited. Worse, the BIA doesn't assign contiguous chunks to family groups, The father's land may be one area, the mother's another, and the childrens' bits spread out. The land not-worked eventually becomes a patchwork of non-native land among the native land in the reservation.

              So, first we take away their use of their original lands so we can have them. Then we slaughter large numbers of them them and confine them to 'reservations', then we start taking away the reservations. Yeah, they're so getting special treatment and benefits...
            • "Social scientists, and I use the term 'scientist' very lightly here, tend to only want to consider the facts that don't hurt people's feelings"

              Or perhaps those things you call facts simply aren't actual facts.

  • Paleo ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rossdee (243626) on Sunday August 31, 2014 @03:57PM (#47796669)

    4000 years ago isn't that ancient. The clovis people were around in the americas 12,000 years ago

    • Ah, yes. But Clovis is not the Arctic North, is it?
    • by Theovon (109752)

      From the summary, it appears to say that they SURVIVED that long, but we probably have to read the article to find out when they arrived there, which is surely a REALLY long time ago. Like more than 50000.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Ergo, none of the existing western hemisphere indians or eskimos are aboriginal or first nation or descendants of anyone who was aboriginal or first nation. Some of them may be native or indigenous, but then I'm native and indigenous: I live a mile from where I was born, and only a few dozen miles from where most of my parents and grandparents were born. Looks like the fraudulent rent-seeking indian industry has passed it's best-before date.

  • A non-violent mass die-off could suggest something along the lines of a population's first exposure to a new disease (as in one nobody in the population has any immunity for) of some sort, perhaps several. Slightly more modern examples include native american populations that essentially disappeared during the early days of European exploration and settlement of north america.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The Clovis people were physically large and quite peaceful. When your battle is with the environment you gain more from helping each other then by going to war. By contrast, the invading Inuit came over around the same time Genghis Khan was around. They brought with them bows, limited amounts of iron, and knowledge of war. Once established, the Clovis people, who used spears for hunting, were quickly wiped out. There are some archaeological sites in northern Canada which, along with reports from the In

      • If you read the article, the paleo-Eskimos weren't North American Clovis descendents - they were a group of Siberians who'd come over much more recently, but still a long time before the current Inuit.

    • Tsunamis and volcano-caused-climate-change events are historically significant.
  • If they know the DNA, they can tell if anyone living has that DNA ... does anyone living have that DNA?

  • So is that about the Dorset [wikipedia.org] which were finally wiped out... only 112 years ago by disease ?

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