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Earth Science

Ancient DNA Reveals a Completely Unknown Population of Native Americans (sciencealert.com) 111

schwit1 shares the findings of a new study of 11,500-year-old bones: Sunrise girl-child ("Xach'itee'aanenh T'eede Gaay") lived some 11,500 years ago in what is now called Alaska, and her ancient DNA reveals not only the origins of Native American society, but reminds the world of a whole population of people forgotten by history millennia ago. "We didn't know this population existed," says anthropologist Ben Potter from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. "It would be difficult to overstate the importance of this newly revealed people to our understanding of how ancient populations came to inhabit the Americas." In a new study published this week, the team reports that a genetic analysis of sunrise girl-child's DNA shows she belonged to a forgotten people called the Ancient Beringians, unknown to science until now. Before now, there were only two recognized branches of early Native Americans (referred to as Northern and Southern). But when the researchers sequenced sunrise girl-child's genome -- the earliest complete genetic profile of a New World human to date -- to their surprise it matched neither.

Given the nature of this field of research -- and the scope of the new findings -- it's unlikely the new hypotheses will remain uncontested for long. But in the light of all the new evidence researchers are uncovering, it's clear the first settlers of America carried a more diverse lineage than we ever realized. "[This is] the first direct evidence of the initial founding Native American population," Potter says. "It is markedly more complex than we thought." The findings are reported in the journal Nature.

Ancient DNA Reveals a Completely Unknown Population of Native Americans

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  • by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Saturday January 06, 2018 @02:09AM (#55874069)
    Sent a DNA sample to ancestry.com for my family tree, they sent back an envelope of seeds with a note "start over".

    sigh
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's obvious that these unknown native americans are actually ancient aliens, as some ancient alien theorists theorize...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Sent a DNA sample to ancestry.com for my family tree, they sent back an envelope of seeds with a note "start over". sigh

      That isn't even half as funny as real life stories of the shock many white supremacists get when they read their ancestry.com results and find out what manner of mongrel they really are. My favourite reaction so far is a guy who actually made his ancestry results public on a 'community' forum and was told that he could still be part of the movement but that he'd not be allowed to breed.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 06, 2018 @08:19AM (#55874819)

        Those DNA-testing companies sell more con than science.

        That’s what Inside Edition discovered when they had a set of triplets send their saliva to Ancestry.com and 23andMe for DNA testing. Although the triplets all came from the same womb, they got wildly different results from both companies. The DNA test results had the triplets differing from each other by more than 10%, which is a greater difference than the 7% genetic difference between humans and monkeys, the 3.1% difference in DNA between humans and orangutans, and the 1.2% difference between humans and chimps. (See “Animals That Share Human DNA Sequences“)

        Indeed, genetics experts say the DNA-testing companies prey on gullible people by pinpointing your biological origins on a map with spurious specificity:

        Anthropologist Deborah Bolnick of the University of Texas at Austin calls “fraudulent” companies that claim DNA testing will tell you where you came from.
        Anthropologist Jonathan Marks of the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, says that instead of tracing our genetic past, what we get is a scientific scam: “It sure looks like science. Well, it is science. It’s done by scientists, and it’s done on DNA samples. And it produces real data.” But these companies simply don’t have enough comparative information to pinpoint a gene on a world map.

        Morgan not only confirms what the anthropologists say — that the DNA tests are not as accurate and precise as they are claimed to be — he also reveals other problems, such as test results being “tweaked” to conform with the customer’s expectations because “It pays to suck up to the people who pay you,” and test samples being contaminated because the customers sent their saliva mixed with other substances, such as food or saliva from another person.

        Most egregiously, Morgan also confides that his DNA testing company has faked African ancestry for customers deemed to be racists:

        “I only know of two times somebody wanted to be tested for being another ethnicity because they didn’t like that ethnicity. Both times, [they were] white people not wanting to believe they had black ancestors. []

        [W]hat we did was add ‘ That way we weren’t lying, and they [the “racist’ customers] would both be wondering how much under a percentage point was. We always try to round to the nearest number because we sometimes hear about percentage points, but for them, we leave it open to whether it’s a one or a zero. []

        [One customer] wrote to us asking what that meant, and we wrote back that it meant it was under 1 percent. And we were not saying zero. Unless they got another test, that was going to bother them. Maybe they weren’t 100 percent Caucasian [] this way it leaves it open, and they’ll always be wondering.

        • Seemed pretty extraordinary so I thought I would validate one of those claims so I picked deborah bolnick

          She does exist
          https://liberalarts.utexas.edu... [utexas.edu]
          I couldn't find that statement by her with dna and fraudulent
          I did find an article by her on "recreational" dna testing here.
          https://anthropology.stanford.... [stanford.edu]

          I think on balance this article supports the parent post's assertions. She says that recreational dna testing is real testing and real science but that there is a low coorelation between dna and race

        • Although the triplets all came from the same womb, they got wildly different results from both companies.

          The fact is, this is normal! They are siblings and siblings often share less than 25% of their DNA with each other. Each person receives half of their autosomal DNA from their mother and half from their father. But the DNA doesn't come in "halves", it comes in little bits, a bit from here and a bit from there, so siblings definitely do not get all the same DNA.

          In theory, siblings can share almost none, or almost all, of their autosomal DNA. The process is entirely random and on average, it is 25% s

          • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

            Something that has 25% DNA different to you, is something that is no longer human, not even a little bit. It is far more likely that DNA delivered in sperm is a variation to the theme, not you specifically but nearly you and every egg is identical baring environmental DNA impact. That combination does not produce random outcomes, that makes no sense what so ever, the only logical variation is in the DNA package of sperm, sperm are likely not identical with tweaks based upon age, hormonal and environmental c

            • by ve3oat ( 884827 )
              You are right; I misspoke.

              What I am talking about is shared patterns in the autosomal DNA, patterns formed by segments of identical strings of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The longer the segments of identical patterns comparing person A with person B, the more likely they are to share a close genealogical relationship. If the pattern is broken by person A having a different SNP at some location or missing an SNP that the other person has, then the shared segment is shorter than it might have
            • and every egg is identical

              Bzzzzt! Genetics exam failed. Go back and re-do your genetics course.

              During meiosis (chromosome reductive cell division; not regular cell division - that's mitotis), each chromosome splits into two haves, then split at number of points within each chromosome ("crossovers") . The segments between crossover points then randomly switch to one daughter chromosome copy and to another. If both alleles of a gene in a crossover segment are the same, then you'll get indistinguishable produ

      • 56% Face (Score:3, Interesting)

        many white supremacists get when they read their ancestry.com results and find out what manner of mongrel they really are

        Apparently it is news to people that the Irish have Semitic and North African admixture, that Slavs are a quarter Asian, and that all of Southern Europe is shot through with Mediterranean outliers.

      • That isn't even half as funny as real life stories of the shock many white supremacists get when they read their ancestry.com results and find out what manner of mongrel they really are.

        I also find it ironic that "Aryan" actually means "Iranian".

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

  • The real question is how did they know Xach'itee'aanenh T'eede Gaay was her name? The next time you bring your pet to the veterinarian give them this as your pet's name. They will look at you a little bit differently.
    • Yea! And what's this I hear now about her saving the planet?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by swb ( 14022 )

      The real question is how did they know Xach'itee'aanenh T'eede Gaay was her name?

      They didn't, and of course if her entire population was lost to history, it also seems unlikely that whatever language she spoke it isn't the same as the contemporary native language being used to translate her name, either.

      I'm not sure why the article chose to provide us a name in a language her people didn't speak or to give her a name in the style of a contemporary native group, either.

      My guess is that it's part of some multiculturalist agenda to elevate native cultures beyond the status of stone age sem

      • by gtall ( 79522 )

        Whoosh! Please have your comedic sensors checked for faulty alignment.

      • by HiThere ( 15173 )

        How about because "It's a lot of work to come up with good unique names."? Nobody ever accused the British settlers of Australia of being culturally sensitive, but they still gave animals names like kangaroo and wallaby.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Saturday January 06, 2018 @02:57AM (#55874179)

    How do we know they were called "the Ancient Beringians"?

  • Two Tribes (Score:5, Funny)

    by mentil ( 1748130 ) on Saturday January 06, 2018 @03:26AM (#55874223)

    two recognized branches of early Native Americans (referred to as Northern and Southern)

    North American is best American!

  • This archaeological finding trumps them ALL. https://www.theonion.com/archa... [theonion.com]
    • The joke is on extrapolation to millions of years ago.

      • That's when spooky dinosaur skeletons roamed the earth; they were wiped out by an asteroid hit that killed all the hosts they were trying to haunt.

  • >average coverage of approximately 17 times

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Native American oral history states that they have always resided in the Amercias. They didn't come from somewhere else. Your science can't trump history.

    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      That *is* a problem, but if we're going to respect any religious beliefs, there isn't a legitimate reason to refuse to respect theirs. We don't need to agree with them, though. I don't agree with any religious beliefs I know of except my own (which are experimentally derived), and I'm *not* an atheist. More nearly a heretical Jungian, with a bias as to what religion means. But not believing doesn't mean I shouldn't respect them.

      • Their claim should be given the same respect that '6000 year old earth' is given. That is to say regular mocking and laughter whenever it's raised. Particularly when someone attempts to use it to end a discussion. For instance when natives attempt to end study of ancient remains by claiming that they are, by definition, 'their ancestors'.

      • More nearly a heretical Jungian, with a bias as to what religion means.

        What does that mean? It sounds atheistic, or like you are calling yourself a god. Serious question.

        • by HiThere ( 15173 )

          I'm saying the gods are real and exist in all humans in essentially identical potential forms which are actualized in way that derive from personal experiences. The gods are direct creations of the DNA machines that underly us, but because of this they aren't adapted to the local situations that we encounter. Which is why they need to be instantiated during development...but the instantiated instance is not the real god.

          Don't think of them as "mental", or as "physical", because they exist at a lower menta

          • Is that God, or is it just a declaration that we can't really understand the processes that govern us? More to the point, is there an afterlife in your view?
      • but if we're going to respect any religious beliefs

        Your question contains the answer : just don't respect any beliefs. If you want respect for a belief, provide some tangible evidence for it. Do a miracle! Raise a dead person. Turn whine into water. Otherwise, take the religious idea and bury it's fetid corpse under the garden hedge along with the last three cats.

  • Facinating (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This has intrigued me for years. Can some explain or point me to a reference that explains the following.

    It's widely believed Americas was settled by people's crossing the Bering Straights and migrating out. If that is the case then why are the seemingly more advanced/developed civilizations located in central or south America. It seems counter intuitive that the further away regions are more developed.

    • by ve3oat ( 884827 )
      In the equatorial regions, life is easy. In the northern regions of America, life is hard. It takes all your energy and time just to survive and there is no time or incentive to invent things like bloody sacrifices, pyramids, intricate jewellery, or complex social structures. That's why the "further away" regions eventually had what are perceived as more "advanced" civilizations. The people in the north were just as "advanced"; it is just that all of their advancements were related to hunting for food a
    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      It wasn't always true. But the more southern regions could support higher population densities during much of the history, and those make developing a culture easier.

      OTOH, the Algonquin nations in the late 1600's were probably the highest civilization in the new world. Of course, partially this depends on what you consider "civilization" to mean. They didn't tend to live in dense population clusters. The Pueblo Indians did, however, before a climate change wiped them out. (Killed them? Forced them to

    • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )

      The book "1491" has some great exploration of the North American populations and their development. Boiled down to one word, I think the answer is "maize."

    • It's widely believed Americas was settled by people's crossing the Bering Straights and migrating out. If that is the case then why are the seemingly more advanced/developed civilizations located in central or south America. It seems counter intuitive that the further away regions are more developed.

      Firstly, the peopling of the Americas took place between approximately 15500 years ago and 14800 years BP (Before Present, "Present" being 1950, when absolute archaeological dating was just getting started). The

  • What they're going to find is why the Native American organizations have VOCIFEROUSLY fought any dna testing of other paleo-samples: we're going to "discover" that the Native Americans that WE refer to as original inhabitants of the New World are in fact just the last-previous swarm of people that came, kicked the shit out of whoever was there before, and wiped them out.*

    *thus showing that they did the same (or worse) than the Caucasians did to them, deeply damaging their 'victimization' franchise and perma

  • Clearly, this is proof that Jesus came to America, saved the white indians, who were wiped out by the brown people (because all the hardships are just tests by god to see if you were worthy). Praise Xenu or whatever it is they worship.

  • Look, we're not living in some hippy commune and I don't believe they were either. How the hell do they figure out that this girl's name was "Sunrise" when the anthropologist quoted in the article says we didn't even know this culture existed?

    And yet so quickly we understand their language and the names they gave their children?

    How did they figure out her name or her first cousin's name? How do they know they were cousins? Were there written records to go by? Or perhaps these were just names given a

    • How the hell do they figure out that this girl's name was "Sunrise" when

      Oh for fucks sake. Did you actually read the fucking paper? That was a name given to the body by the present-day occupants. They could just as well have called it "Joe Bloggs", "Jane Doe", or "Harley Featherstonehaugh pronounced Fish, the Twenty Third".

      No Longer an AC

      If that' the most substantial comment you can come up with, then it was a bit of a waste of effort, wasn't it?

  • Seriously? They thought they had it all worked out and then this?
    Fortunately the climate scientists are much better and _they_ have everything figured out.
    Yeah trollish. But the point is this: there is still a boatload of stuff that remains unknown. Assuming in any scientific discipline that 'we've pretty much got it all figured out' should be interpreted as a sign that they don't.

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