Melanesians in the Americas and European genes among the Chinese

2 Dec 2010

At http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html ... this is a post going back to October 26th 1999 and is probably out of reach of a simple click. A skull of a human fossil found in Brazil appears to have an origin in Melanesian people on the other side of the Pacific. In fact, there seems to have been a cemetery of them but only one of them was sent to the University of Manchester to be analysed. Quite how they might have crossed the Pacific is unknown as these people appear to have practised a semi nomadic hunter gatherer lifestyle.

Meanwhile, the mainstream media have been rattling on about a Chinese boy with blonde hair and incredulously claim he was a descendant of a lost Roman legion that disappeared somewhere near modern Afghanistan. At http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp/2010/11/no-romans-needed-to-explain-chinese-blondes/ a more rational explanation is given for people with European genes or traits in central Asia, particularly any that might be living in NW China. A myth has grown up that claims they were descended from Romans and he sets out to prove this is a fallacy by simply demonstrating the genetic evidence. The blog author, instead, points a finger at the so called Tocharians and those burial mounds in the mountains containing European mummified remains. They had spread eastwards from the Russian steppe zone at the beginning of the second millennium BC - at the same time other groups moved south into the Middle East. In China they are recorded from the Shang period as a people on the border, where they may already have become mixed with Mongols and Turks. The modern Uighurs, for example, are a blend of European and Turkish and it is likely the same thing happened in China among the tribes on the periphery that were later absorbed into the expanded state - or driven forwards by later invasions.