European genes --- where might they have travelled to or from?

23 Dec 2012

Chiefio has turned his mind to genes and has a spiffing post on Native Americans and European roots, all nicely speculative but interesting never the less, not so much science as observation by the eye - see In a distribution map of Haplogroup R Y-DNA one can see a close connection between western Europe, on the one hand, and the Great Lakes region, on the other. He also notes the use of long houses among the Iroquois peoples, and others such as the Cherokee. I don't know if that is significant as long houses pop up in various parts of the world, even in SE Asia.

A global distribution map of Haplogroup X mtDNA is also instructive and the link, where we are informed Haplogroup X is common to the Ojibwe, Nun Chuh Nulth, the Sioux, and the Yahina. I always wondered why Chief Sitting Bull, in profile, was the spitting image of my mother - or am I imagining this? Probably. However, before we get over excited, the Haplogroup X mtDNA in Europe and North America are distantly related rather than directly so, and one line of opinion is a common ancestor group in central Euroasia (but this is not apparent on the global map). Hence, the ancestor group may have moved - to the east and to the west, vacating their former homeland. Time estimates for the arrival of X in N America is between 12,000 and 36,000 years ago. Obviously, there is a lot of migration history that we know nothing about, which genetics may help to illuminate - to a degree. Chiefio then speculates that a Younger Dryas impact event may have killed off large numbers of the Clovis people and the remnants were subsequently diluted by arrivals from across the Bering Strait. We can be sure it is a lot more complicated than that as this is an add-on. In addition, chiefio draws attention to the theory genes shrink over time, one of the flaws in taking genetic evidence at face value. Over time, minority genes will virtually disappear - and this is the sort of thing we notice with Neanderthal versus modern human genetics.