Deluge of Atlantis

Deluge of Atlantis
Deluge of Atlantis

Monday, February 17, 2014

Clovis Boy DNA and American Origins

[The way the conclusions of this study were announced is a little misleading. This study has not disproven the Solutrean Hypothesis and it has not actually proven all Native Americans came from Asia by way of the Bering Strait. In fact there is no way you could say that the study DOES prove that: What it DOES say and say very clearly is that all the Native Americans were related to each other and come from common ancestors. This is saying that all people with the Q group Y DNA are related, the study is talking about the Q group. The Q group is closely related to the R group and the R group includes the Europeans. Furthermore the Q group is missing from Eastern Siberia generally and the Q peoples in Asia can be assumed to have come out of America and gone the other way. The distribution of Clovis culture suggests that it arrived in the East and around the Gulf of Mexico and radiated inland. In the West it was definitely headed South to North following the retreat of the glaciers. It did not arise in Siberia. This is well established.-DD]

Ancient native boy's genome reignites debate over first Americans

NEW YORK Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:38pm IST

(Reuters) - For more than 20 years anthropologists have debated whether the first Americans arrived in the New World by walking over a land bridge across the Bering Strait, as millions of schoolchildren have been taught, or by sea from southwest Europe, perhaps in animal-skin kayaks.
A new analysis challenges the out-of-Europe hypothesis, which has figured in a political debate over the rights of present-day Native American tribes. Scientists announced on Wednesday that they had, for the first time, determined the full genome sequence of an ancient American, a toddler who lived some 12,600 years ago and was buried in western Montana. His DNA, they report, links today's Native Americans to ancient migrants from easternmost Asia.
The study, published in the journal Nature, "is the final shovelful of dirt" on the European hypothesis, said anthropological geneticist Jennifer Raff of the University of Texas, co-author of a commentary on it in Nature.
The idea that the first Americans arrived millennia earlier than long thought and from someplace other than Beringia - which spans easternmost Russia and western Alaska - has poisoned relationships between many Native Americans and anthropologists. Some tribes fear that the theory that the continent's first arrivals originated in Europe might cast doubt on their origin stories and claims to ancient remains on ancestral lands.
Despite the new study, other experts say the debate over whether the first Americans arrived from Beringia or southwestern Europe, where a culture called the Solutrean thrived from 21,000 to 17,000 years ago, is far from settled.
"They haven't produced evidence to refute the Solutrean hypothesis," said geneticist Stephen Oppenheimer of Oxford University, a leading expert on using DNA to track ancient migrations. "In fact, there is genetic evidence that only the Solutrean hypothesis explains."
The partial skeleton of the 1-year-old boy, called Anzick-1, was discovered when a front-end loader hit it while scooping out fill in 1968. The grave and its environs contained 125 artifacts including stone spear points and elk antlers centuries older than the bones, said anthropologist Michael Waters of Texas A&M University's Center for the Study of the First Americans, a co-author of the Nature study.
That suggests that the antler artifacts "were very special heirlooms handed down over generations," Waters said. Why they were buried with the boy remains unknown.
The distinctive stone tools show that the boy was a member of the Clovis culture, one of the oldest in North America and dating to around 12,600 to 13,000 years ago. The origins and descendants of the Clovis people have remained uncertain, but the boy's genome offers clues.
"The genetic data from Anzick confirms that the ancestors of this boy originated in Asia," said Eske Willerslev of the Natural History Museum of Denmark, who led the study. The DNA shows that the child belonged to a group that is a direct ancestor to as many as 80 percent of the Native Americans tribes alive today, he said: "It's almost like he is a missing link" between the first arrivals and today's tribes.
The most likely scenario, said Texas's Raff, is that humans reached eastern Beringia from Siberia 26,000 to 18,000 years ago. By 17,000 years ago, receding glaciers allowed them to cross the Bering Strait. Some migrated down the Pacific coast, reaching Monte Verde in Chile by 14,600 years ago, while others - including the ancestors of Anzick-1 - headed for the interior of North America.
The genetic analysis found that the boy is less closely related to northern Native Americans than to central and southern Native Americans such as the Maya of Central America and the Karitiana of Brazil. That can best be explained, the scientists say, if he belonged to a population that is directly ancestral to the South American tribes.
Today's Native Americans are "direct descendants of the people who made and used Clovis tools and buried this child," the scientists wrote. "In agreement with previous archaeological and genetic studies, our genome analysis refutes the possibility that Clovis originated via a European migration to the Americas."
Not all experts are convinced. "We definitely have some stuff here in the east of the United States that is older than anything they have in the west," said anthropologist Dennis Stanford of the Smithsonian Institution, a proponent of the out-of-Europe model. "They've been reliably dated to 20,000 years ago," too early for migrants from Beringia to have made the trek, he said, and strongly resemble Solutrean artifacts.
Genetic analysis is also keeping the out-of-Europe idea alive.
One variant of DNA that is inherited only from a mother, called mitochondrial DNA, and is found in many Native Americans has been traced to western Eurasia but is absent from east Eurasia, where Beringia was before the sea covered it, Oppenheimer explained. For the variant, called X2a, to have such a high frequency in Native Americans "it must have got across the Atlantic somehow," he said. The new study "completely ignored this evidence, and only the Solutrean hypothesis explains it."
The scientists hope the Anzick boy has yielded all his secrets: He will be reburied by early summer.
(Reporting by Sharon Begley; Editing by Michele Gershberg and Douglas Royalty)

Clovis People Are Native Americans, and from Asia, not Europe

In a paper published in Nature today, titled “The genome of a Late Pleistocene human from a Clovis burial site in western Montana,” by Rasmussen et al, the authors conclude that the DNA of a Clovis child is ancestral to Native Americans.  Said another way, this Clovis child was a descendant, along with Native people today, of the original migrants from Asia who crossed the Bering Strait.
This paper, over 50 pages including supplemental material, is behind a paywall but it is very worthwhile for anyone who is specifically interested in either Native American or ancient burials.  This paper is full of graphics and extremely interesting for a number of reasons.
First, it marks what I hope is perhaps a spirit of cooperation between genetic research and several Native tribes.
Second, it utilized new techniques to provide details about the individual and who in world populations today they most resemble.
Third, it utilized full genome sequencing and the analysis is extremely thorough.
Let’s talk about these findings in more detail, concentrating on information provided within the paper.
The Clovis are defined as the oldest widespread complex in North America datingfromClovis point about 13,000 to 12,600 calendar years before present.  The Clovis culture is often characterized by the distinctive Clovis style projectile point.  Until this paper, the origins and genetic legacy of the Clovis people have been debated.
These remains were recovered from the only known Clovis site that is both archaeological and funerary, the Anzick site, on private land in western Montana.  Therefore, the NAGPRA Act does not apply to these remains, but the authors of the paper were very careful to work with a number of Native American tribes in the region in the process of the scientific research.  Sarah L. Anzick, a geneticist and one of the authors of the paper, is a member of the Anzick family whose land the remains were found upon.  The tribes did not object to the research but have requested to rebury the bones.
The bones found were those of a male infant child and were located directly below the Clovis materials and covered in red ochre.  They have been dated  to about 12,707-12,556 years of age and are the oldest North or South American remains to be genetically sequenced.
All 4 types of DNA were recovered from bone fragment shavings: mitochondrial, Y chromosome, autosomal and X chromosome.
Mitochondrial DNA
The mitochondrial haplogroup of the child was D4h3a, a rather rare Native American haplogroup.  Today, subgroups exist, but this D4h3a sample has none of those mutations so has been placed at the base of the D4h3a tree branch, as shown below in a grapic from the paper.  Therefore, D4h3a itself must be older than this skeleton, and they estimate the age of D4h3a to be 13,000 plus or minus 2,600 years, or older.
Clovis mtDNA
Today D4h3a is found along the Pacific coast in both North and South America (Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil) and has been found in ancient populations.  The highest percentage of D4h3a is found at 22% of the Cayapa population in Equador.  An ancient sample has been found in British Columbia, along with current membersof the Metlakatla First Nation Community near Prince Rupert, BC.
Much younger remains have been found in Tierra del Fuego in South America, dating from 100-400 years ago and from the Klunk Mound cemetery site in West-Central Illinois dating from 1800 years ago.
It’s sister branch, D4h3b consists of only one D4h3 lineage found in Eastern China.
Y Chromosomal DNA
The Y chromosome was determined to be haplogroup Q-L54.  Haplogroup Q and subgroup Q-L54 originated in Asia and two Q-L54 descendants predominate in the Americas: Q-M3 which has been observed exclusively in Native-Americans and Northeastern Siberians and Q-L54.
The tree researchers constructed is shown below.
Clovis Y
They estimate the divergence between haplogroups Q-L54 and Q-M3, the two major haplogroup Q Native lines, to be about 16,900 years ago, or from between 13,000 – 19,700.
The researchers shared with us the methodology they used to determine when their most common recent ancestor (MCRA) lived.
“The modern samples have accumulated an average of 48.7 transversions [basic mutations] since their MCRA lived and we observed 12 in Anzick.  We infer an average of approximately 36.7 (48.7-12) transversions to have accumulated in the past 12.6 thousands years and therefore estimate the divergence time of Q-M3 and Q-L54 to be approximately 16.8 thousands years (12.6ky x 48.7/36.7).”
They termed their autosomal analysis “genome-wide genetic affinity.”  They compared the Anzick individual with 52 Native populations for which known European and African genetic segments have been “masked,” or excluded.  This analysis showed that the Anzick individual showed a closer affinity to all 52 Native American populations than to any extant or ancient Eurasian population using several different, and some innovative and new, analysis techniques.
Surprisingly, the Anzick infant showed less shared genetic history with 7 northern Native American tribes from Canada and the Artic including 3 Northern Amerind-speaking groups.  Those 7 most distant groups are:  Aleutians, East Greenlanders, West Greenlanders, Chipewyan, Algonquin, Cree and Ojibwa.
They were closer to 44 Native populations from Central and South America, shown on the map below by the red dots.  In fact, South American populations all share a closer genetic affinity with the Anzick individual than they do with modern day North American Native American individuals.
Clovis autosomal cropped
The researchers proposed three migration models that might be plausible to support these findings, and utilized different types of analysis to eliminate two of the three.  The resulting analysis suggests that the split between the North and South American lines happened either before or at the time the Anzick individual lived, and the Anzick individual falls into the South American group, not the North American group.  In other words, the structural split pre-dates the Anzick child.  They conclude on this matter that “the North American and South American groups became isolated with little or no gene flow between the two groups following the death of the Anzick individual.”  This model also implies an early divergence between these two groups.
Clovis branch
In Eurasia, genetic affinity with the Anzick individual decreases with distance from the Bering Strait.
The researchers then utilized the genetic sequence of the 24,000 year old MA-1 individual from Mal’ta, Siberia, a 40,000 year old individual “Tianyuan” from China and the 4000 year old Saqqaq Palaeo-Eskimo from Greenland.
Again, the Anzick child showed a closer genetic affinity to all Native groups than to either MA-1 or the Saqqaq individual.  The Saqqaq individual is closest to the Greenland Inuit populations and the Siberian populations close to the Bering Strait.  Compared to MA-1, Anzick is closer to both East Asian and Native American populations, while MA-1 is closer to European populations.  This is consistent with earlier conclusions stating that “the Native American lineage absorbed gene flow from an East Asian lineage as well as a lineage related to the MA-1 individual.”  They also found that Anzick is closer to the Native population and the East Asian population than to the Tianyuan individual who seems equally related to a geographically wide range of Eurasian populations.  For additional information, you can see their charts in figure 5 in their supplementary data file.
I have constructed the table below to summarize who matches who, generally speaking.
who matches who
In addition, a French population was compared and only showed an affiliation with the Mal’ta individual and generically, Tianyuan who matches all Eurasians at some level.
The researchers concluded that the Clovis infant belonged to a meta-population from which many contemporary Native Americans are descended and is closely related to all indigenous American populations.  In essence, contemporary Native Americans are “effectively direct descendants of the people who made and used Clovis tools and buried this child,” covering it with red ochre.
Furthermore, the data refutes the possibility that Clovis originated via a European, Solutrean, migration to the Americas.
I would certainly be interested to see this same type of analysis performed on remains from the eastern Canadian or eastern seaboard United States on the earliest burials.  Pre-contact European admixture has been a hotly contested question, especially in the Hudson Bay region, for a very long time, but we have yet to see any pre-Columbus era contact burials that produce any genetic evidence of such.
Additionally, the Ohio burial suggests that perhaps the mitochondrial DNA haplogroup is or was more widespread geographically in North American than is known today.  A wider comparison to Native American DNA would be beneficial, were it possible. A quick look at various Native DNA and haplogroup projects at Family Tree DNA doesn’t show this haplogroup in locations outside of the ones discussed here.  Haplogroup Q, of course, is ubiquitous in the Native population.
National Geographic article about this revelation including photos of where the remains were found.  They can make a tuft of grass look great!
Another article can be found at Voice of America News.
Science has a bit more.

Native Americans Descend From Ancient Montana Boy

12 February 2014 1:30 pm
Clovis cache. The child's skull was found in Montana with a host of Clovis tools.
Samuel Stockton White
Clovis cache. The child's skull was found in Montana with a host of Clovis tools.
In 1968, when Sarah Anzick was 2 years old, a construction worker discovered more than 100 stone and bone tools on her family’s land near Wilsall, Montana. The artifacts were blanketed with red ochre, and with them, also covered with ochre, was the skull of a young child. In the years since, archaeologists concluded that the skull was about 12,700 years old—the oldest known burial in North America—and that the tools belonged to the Clovis culture, one of the first in the New World. Meanwhile, Sarah Anzick grew up, became a genome researcher at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and dreamed of sequencing the rare bones.
This week, she is the second author on a paper in Nature that reports the complete sequence of the Anzick child’s nuclear genome. The sequencing effort, led by ancient DNA experts Eske Willerslev and Morten Rasmussen of the University of Copenhagen, comes to a dramatic conclusion: The 1- to 2-year-old Clovis child, now known to be a boy, is directly ancestral to today’s native peoples from Central and South America. “Their data are very convincing … that the Clovis Anzick child was part of the population that gave rise to North, Central, and Southern American groups,” says geneticist Connie Mulligan of the University of Florida in Gainesville.
If correct, the findings refute the Solutrean hypothesis, which postulates that ancient migrants from Western Europe founded the Clovis culture. The data also undermine contentions that today’s Native Americans descend from later migrants to the Americas, rather than from the earlier Paleoindians. And that could help tribes that want to claim and rebury ancient American skeletons such as that of the 9400-year-old Kennewick Man from Washington state. “This is proof that Kennewick Man was Native American,” says archaeologist Dennis Jenkins of the University of Oregon, Eugene. Sarah Anzick, whose family is in possession of the infant, says that it is likely to be reburied in May.
Researchers have long wanted to examine the DNA of the first Americans for clues to their origins. But even after scientists developed tools to get DNA from poorly preserved bones, they lacked the full cooperation of today’s Native Americans. The Anzick child remained available for study in part because it was found on private land, so the U.S. Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA)—which gives native peoples the right to claim and rebury many human remains—does not apply.
Willerslev and colleagues extracted DNA from bone fragments taken from the child’s skull and one of its ribs, then sequenced the genome. They compared the genome with those of 143 modern non-African populations, including 52 Native American ones, in a database compiled over several decades by geneticist David Reich of Harvard Medical School and others. The database includes 45 DNA samples from Central and South America and seven from Canada and the Arctic, but none from the lower 48 states, in part because U.S.-based Native American groups have historically resisted providing DNA samples, and because Reich felt that true informed consent was lacking for some samples.
Despite the North American data gap, the team was able to determine that the Anzick genome was much more closely related to Native Americans than to any other group worldwide. The child’s DNA more closely resembles that of Central and South Americans than Native Americans from the far north, although the relationship is still very close, Willerslev says. Comparing the Anzick genome with that of a 24,000-year-old Siberian boy and a 4000-year-old Paleo-Eskimo from Greenland confirms that Native Americans originally come from Northeast Asia.
How to explain the north-south difference? The team concludes that the most likely scenario is that an ancestral population that lived several thousand years before the Clovis period split into two groups, one staying north and one going south. Just where and when this split happened cannot be determined from the genetic data, Willerslev and Rasmussen say. The northerners then likely mated with peoples who came in later from Asia, and so became slightly more genetically distant from Anzick.
The study “is a real technical and analytical achievement,” says anthropologist Theodore Schurr of the University of Pennsylvania, who was not a co-author. It “effectively puts the Solutrean hypothesis to rest,” he says. But advocates of that idea take umbrage at such a dismissal. “This is a single individual and can in no way represent all that was happening,” says archaeologist Bruce Bradley of the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom.
Schurr cautions that the lack of U.S.-based Native American genomes could have biased the analysis of how closely related the Anzick boy is to today’s native peoples. “The authors might want to be more cautious about making such definitive statements” about the Clovis culture’s ancestral status “without having … a much broader sampling of North American Indian populations,” he says.
Members of the team say they hope to get more U.S. data. “We hope the continued dialogue with local populations and studies like this will entice … Native peoples to participate in genetic studies,” Rasmussen says. Shane Doyle, a professor of Native American studies at Montana State University, Bozeman, and a member of the Crow tribe, shares that hope. Doyle is coordinating negotiations about reburying the child with the Anzick family, the researchers, and members of 11 local tribal groups, but he sees the value of such research for today’s Native Americans. “This is absolutely going to change the game about how we think about Paleoindians and their links to modern-day tribes,” Doyle says.
Both Doyle and Anzick (who notes that she is acting for her family, not NIH) say they are agonizing over how, and how soon, the child should be reburied. They worry that reburial will destroy data that might be retrieved years from now with better genetic techniques continue to improve. Schurr agrees: “This is why scientists are fighting against NAGPRA repatriations of Paleoamerican remains, as much can be learned from these ancient samples.”
But Doyle and Anzick insist that the child should be reburied out of respect for his Native American descendants. “The boy has given us an amazing gift,” Doyle says. “Now we must repay that by putting him back where he belongs.”


  1. I find it depressing--albeit telling--that Sanford and Bradley are insisting this find doesn't invalidate their Solutrean claims. Worse, apparently Stephen Oppenheimer supports them with his claim that "only the Solutrean hyposthesis explains" these genetic findings. Oppenheimer is apparently unaware that mtDNA haplogroup X2a is not found anywhere in Europe, and it is believed to have separated from the other X-lineages early on (on the order of 20,000 plus years ago), and the evidence overwhelmingly shows that New World haplogroup X's arrived in this hemisphere at the same time as the other four (which clearly originated in Asia). As noted the D4h3 hg of this child's mtDNA has a close relative in China, and this article neglects to mention that Deborah Bolnick found D4h3 in some pre-Columbian Hopewell remains in Illinois. If I as a mere "interested layman" can bring these facts to the discussion, then certainly the "experts" should be able to do as well or better. The only evidence for the Solutrean hypothesis is some superficial similarity in how flint points are fashioned, and Sanford managed to find a Solutrean point by dredging in water off the east coast of the United States. That one is easily explained as likely originating in ballast from a post-Columbian shipwreck; the alternative is that the ancient European mariners managed the transoceanic voyage to this continent without benefit of a maritime technology or any navigational aids such as a compass. A romantic notion, but hardly scientific.

    1. Well really it DOESN'T invalidate the Solutrean claims, not by a long chalk. Furthermore it DOESN'T prove an Asiatic origin either. Ultimately it only proves an ancestry back to the Out of Africa group and the interrelatedness of American natives and that is just IT. Any conclusions that go beyond that point are introoducing further data outside the DNA study itself. Bith the Solutrean theorists and the Asiatic theorists are doing exactly that. I have no quarrel with mtDNA C and D coming by way of East Asia. But mt DNA X did not, and A and B are related to X and are not native to Eastern Asia. Furthermore both Y DNA Q and R are not native to Eastern Asia or NE Siberia either. In all these cases the presence of these haplogroups in Asia at all can be explained as intrusive from other areas.


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