Friday, December 11, 2009

Another headline post

Nature story on human migration to Asia
Get it while it's hot; I don't think Nature keeps its stories available to non-subscribers for long. Basically, a huge genetic study, in which special pains were taken to get scientists in mutually hostile countries to work together, supports a mitochondrial-only study done awhile back in positing a single, large population event for Asia. The alternate theory, based on morphology (i.e., the way people look), is that distinct-looking populations in southeast Asia (Malaysian and Negrito) are remnants of an early migration pushed to the fringes by later migrations.
The new study, a five-year examination of variation at some 55,000 SNPs in 1928 individuals, found that Negrito populations had a high level of genetic overlap with other southeast Asia populations, suggesting a common ancestry. East Asians, the analysis suggests, share a large degree of common genetic background with southeast Asians but very little with central Asians, seeming to preclude a peopling of east Asia through a northern route via the Eurasian Steppes. And genetic variation within local populations decreased from southeast to northeast Asia. The two observations suggest that diverse peoples living in southeast Asia migrated northwards.

Genetic studies confuse me, because I don't know how to make story sense of them, but here it is for what it's worth.

Meanwhile, down in the Amazon basin, ancient civilizations are being revealed - alas, by massive modern deforestation.

I wish I could pass on more Bigfoot stories, but not today.

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