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Ice Age migrations

23 November 2013

At www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-11/uoc-asg112013.php … a skeleton of an individual dated around 24,000 years ago, at the height of the Late Glacial Maximum (LGM) was found at a site it south central Siberia, known as Mal'ta. It belongs to the Upper Palaeothic and as such attracted the attention of geneticists, and they have published a paper in Nature. It claims the individual shows little genetic affinity with the modern population of central Siberia – which is not althogether surprising as the region has been awash with migrations over the last 5000 years. Instead, and this surprised the researchers (or so they say, the evidence might actually say otherwise), it turns out he was related to modern day western Euroasians (Europeans) and to Native Americans. What this implies is that western Euroasians (or their Palaeolithic ancestors rather than the modern population) occupied a wider geographical range than they do nowadays. In fact, they occupied a large tract of Siberia – in the Ice Age.

We may note a large part of NW Euroasia was ice bound in the LGM so is this really so surprising? However, they are also saying the western Euroasians are genetically similar to people that colonised the Americas – which is more important. How much so? The gene flow is said to be up to 38 per cent with 60 per cent of Native Americans having a gene flow connection with East Asians. The study goes on to show that Native American gene pools are derived from two old world populations, one related to modern East Asians, and the other to modern western Euroasians. They say this result surprised them – but I can't help being sceptical as I can remember reading that Native Americans with Haplo Group X had an origin in central Siberia – and so did Europeans. They seem to have fortified this view at the expense of the migration from Europe across the Atlantic (the Solutrean parallels with Clovis). It is presented in all innocence but I suggest there is evidence of an ulterior motive – but I might be imagining that.

Actually, I'm not against the idea of a genetic connection between Europeans and Native Americans via central Siberia as this adds weight to the idea that Siberia was a fairly pleasant place to live in the LGM and human colonisation of the Americas took place in the Ice Age – rather than at the end of the Ice Age. It is therefore an important study and should be taken seriously. That does not detract from the conniving that goes on in the academic community.

A second site in south central Siberia, Afantora Gora 2 site, and dated after the LGM (which they say encompassed the period 26,000-19,000 years ago) at 17,000 years ago and therefore within the Oldest Dryas Event and moreorless part of the last Ice Age, had an individual with a similar genetic signature. Hence, at the end of the Ice Age the same people were living in south central Siberia (and elsewhere in Siberia and other parts of Euroasia). What this seems to mean is that the Americas were not neccessarily peopled after the Ice Age – but within the Ice Age.

Note … as previously mentioned this also explains mitochondrial lineage X and suggests the Solutrean hypothesis of an Atlantic migration route is wrong. IN addition, this new study is not an entirely new finding (as it is presented) as I can remember reading some years ago of a mt X lineage in central Siberia with one movement of people out towards western Europe and another out to the Americas. What is new is that we can date these movements – to the LGM period.

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