A new book for a popular audience, combining archeology with new genetic evidence, tells the story of the Siberian people who first lived in the Americas about 20,000 years ago.
“”Origin: Genetic history of the AmericasWritten by Jennifer Raff, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Kansas, published this month by Twelve Books, and recently. New York Times‘Bestseller list.
“This book is for everyone,” Raff said. “I hope teachers who teach about the subject of this book will also help in their courses, but it is definitely not aimed at scholars. The general public who seems to be very, very interested. It’s very important to people. Settlement of the Americas and what we know about it is genetics and Archaeological evidence How people first arrived in Americas. “
Raff’s book also explores how scientists have reached their current knowledge of Settlement of the Americas. This study may be done at the expense of indigenous communities.
“It’s not really fun history,” Raff said. “Indigenous peoples were very hurt by some research done in search of answers to the question of where and how people got here. When I was writing this book, I I found it important to explore that subject. These things are intertwined, just as genetic and archaeological evidence shows us. “
According to KU researchers, this topic is of great interest to both academics and the general public, so it is important to understand the impact of research in this area on the descendants of Native Americans.
“Although genetics can be used as a tool to understand the past, research in this area can be harmful to indigenous peoples, and we need to be aware of that,” Ruff said. increase. “I give examples of harmful research in the book, but many archaeologists who have worked with tribes to build long-term relationships, productive and respectful research together. We will also talk about examples of good research done by geneticists Partnership. “
She said this is the way she and her anthropologist try to do their job.
“KU’s Anthropology Department is a community-based leader in anthropological genetics research, prioritizing respect for tribal sovereignty and the care of indigenous peoples, from department chairs to undergraduate researchers. “
She said the state of knowledge about how the Americas lived was “really fluid” and recent discoveries have the potential to change the story.
“Current genetic and archaeological evidence positions the first indigenous ancestors of the Americas in Siberia and East Asia,” Ruff said. “There were two groups. One is the ancestor of today’s East Asians. One is called the Ancient North Eurasian. By about 25,000 years ago, these two groups interacted. He created multiple groups, one of which was Native American and one of whom stayed in Siberia. “
Rough said population Later, Native American ancestors were isolated for thousands of years at the height of the Last Glacial Maximum. This is a period of global frigidity and dryness when the world’s population has retreated to Refugium.
“During that period of isolation, this population evolves varieties that are unique to the people of the Americas,” Ruff said. “We really don’t know where that isolation happened, so it could have happened in the Beringia itself. It’s about twice the size of Texas on this land between Asia and North America. It was a connection. Reconstruction of the paleoenvironment, the peak of the Last Glacial Period, showed that there were areas in it that seemed to be suitable places to live, especially along the south coast of the Beringia. it was done.”
KU investigators said these refugiums may have helped those who were supposed to be the original people of the Americas.
“In the center of Beringia, it would have been warm and moist, and plants, animals, and people would have lived there relatively easily,” she said. “This is one of the places archaeologists and geneticists have identified as possible places for this population during the Last Glacial Maximum, but this is because the area is now underwater. There is not much direct archaeological evidence. There are unsolved mysteries in this history, and people may have been elsewhere. They were the huge ice that covered Siberia or the whole of Canada. It may even have been in North America, south of the floor. “
To highlight the mysterious nature of the first people’s migration to North America, Ruff pointed out a location in White Sands, New Mexico. This shows evidence of the humans who lived there about 25,000 years ago.
“That’s amazing. It’s one of the big unsolved problems. How did people enter the Americas after or before the Last Glacial Maximum,” she said. .. “We are still solving that. What we see in the genomes of these ancient populations is to divide the populations into different groups, and an interesting distribution of those groups throughout North and South America. There is. It’s all in the book. “”
Many tribes Oral history Position their origins within the Americas much earlier than traditionally accepted by the majority of scientists. Raff wants more collaboration between researchers and tribes in line with these policies.
“Of course, archaeological and genetic data and history reconstructed from oral history do not always match, and we should not necessarily expect them,” she said. “But there are some great examples of traditional knowledge holders working with researchers to interpret findings together. This approach takes a long time, but we non-native scientists It is important to respect the expertise of the descendant community regarding their history. “
So far, “Origin: The Genetic History of the Americas” has been an important and commercial success. In addition to creating the New York Times bestseller list, Rough’s new book has reached number 11 on Amazon’s nonfiction bestsellers and is currently sold out on its website.
“The reason I wrote this book is that the field is very complex and focused, and research is published frequently, changing what we know,” she said. “I The general public You may be interested in this topic — and it really is. I’m a little surprised by the magnitude of my interest, but I’m very grateful to be able to reach a larger audience with our fascinating areas. ”
University of Kansas
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The new book “Origin” details the migration of the Americas through the latest genetic and archaeological evidence.
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