W6 Archaeology in the News Post

Ancient DNA shows European wipe-out of early Americans

Date: April 1, 2016
Source: Sciencedaily.com

This article discussed about tracing the history of early American people through genetic sequencing data. The research led by University of Adelaide’s Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACDA), and they found out that there is a striking absence of pre-Columbian genetic lineages in modern Indigenous Americans. They figured this by comparing directly into DNA of pre-Columbian skeletons between 500 and 8600 years old. None of the genetic lineages from modern populations showed evidence of descendants. From this findings, they hypothesized that the lineages extinct following European colonization in the late 1400s. Possible reasons behind this is due to the peak of last Ice Age, when cold deserts blocked human movements, thus populations stayed geographically isolated and the majority became extinct shortly after colonization.

With this technology coming among archaeologists, it can help to determine not just genetic lineages but also spatial distribution of the populations. So, when we combine all of the techniques that we have, such as archaeological remains, fieldwork observations, and DNA tracing altogether, it is going to be a great combination. Thus, we will have a better understanding on human origin, human evolution, human behavior and ecology in the past, which then lead us to future preservation efforts.

2 thoughts on “W6 Archaeology in the News Post

  1. This is quite an interesting article on how they are using the indigenous people in North America today to try and relate their DNA to those from thousands of years ago. It is a wonder how many civilizations and populations have vanished over the centuries due to inhabitable climates and changing weather conditions. The advancements in technology over the past decade has greatly improved the efficiency and information that can be gathered from each expedition that is started. Without these advancements and combining all the techniques that have been established over decades of archaeology, the current information that is known of the human evolution would not be where it is.

  2. I think it is really cool that we can use DNA not only to determine the age of some artifacts, but use it to determine traveling patterns and spatial distribution as well. I think it is pretty cool that they were able to narrow the reasons for the lack of Columbian lineages down to the last Ice Age. It is a very plausible reason though! On a side note, the way that today’s archaeologists combine multiple techniques to find out more about our past is astonishing. Like you said, these combinations could lead to a whole new way of understanding the history behind our ancestors!

Leave a Reply