The suppression of the Native Americans and the decimation of their culture is a black page in the history of the United States. The discrimination and injustices towards this ancient race, which had lived on the American continent long before the European conquerors came to this land, are still present to this day despite the efforts of different groups and organizations trying to restore the justice.
The destruction of their culture is one of the most shameful aspects of our history, the extent of the damage that was done is still being down-played and denied entry into textbooks and history-lessons to this day.
The origin and history of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas have been studied for years by researchers from different countries, and a recent DNA study showed that the genealogy of the western aboriginals is one of the most unique in the world.
The question of whether Native Americans derived from a single Asian population or from a number of different populations has been a subject of research for decades. Now, having compared the DNA samples from people of modern Native American and Eurasian groups, an international team of researchers concluded on the validity of the single ancestral population theory.
The study follows up on earlier research that found a unique variant of a genetic marker in the DNA of modern descendants of Native Americans. “While earlier studies have already supported this conclusion, what’s different about our work is that it provides the first solid data that simply cannot be reconciled with multiple ancestral populations,” said Kari Britt Schroeder of the University of California, one of the authors of the study.
As a result of the previous research, the so-called “9-repeat allele” (or variant) was found in all of the 41 Native American and Asian (from the western side of the Bering Strait) populations that were sampled. At the same time, the allele was absent in all 54 of the Eurasian, African and Oceanian groups that were also sampled in the study.
The researchers supposed that the distribution of the allele was due to the fact that all these ethnic groups (modern Native Americans, Greenlanders and western Beringians) derived from a common founder population, which had been isolated from the rest of the Asian continent thousands of years prior to their migration to the Americas.
This explanation was persuasive enough; however, there was no strong evidence to support it. There were two other plausible versions to explain the distribution of the 9-repeat allele among the modern descendants of Native Americans.
If the 9-repeat allele had originated as a multiple mutation, its presence in the Americas would not suggest common ancestry. Thus, if there had been more than one ancestral founder population and the 9-repeat allele had been present only in one of them, it could possibly have passed to the other ethnic groups and spread among them. If there also had been a second, beneficial allele located very close to the 9-repeat allele, it would certainly have been carried into new populations. At the same time, long stretches of DNA surrounding the 9-repeat allele would be carried along with the beneficial allele due to the mechanisms of natural selection.
In order to check the validity of this hypothesis, researchers led by Noah Rosenberg of the University of Michigan analyzed DNA samples from people from Asian, Native American, Greenlandic and two western Beringian populations, and found that all the samples with the 9-repeat allele had a distinct pattern of base pairs in short stretches of DNA.
As Schroeder noted, “If natural selection had promoted the spread of a neighboring advantageous allele, we would expect to see longer stretches of DNA than this with a similarly distinct pattern. And we would also have expected to see the pattern in a high frequency even among people who do not carry the 9-repeat allele. So we can now consider the positive selection possibility unlikely.”
These findings also excluded the multiple mutations theory, because in this case there would have been myriad DNA patterns surrounding the 9-repeat allele.
“Our work provides strong evidence that, in general, Native Americans are more closely related to each other than to any other existing Asian populations, except those that live at the very edge of the Bering Strait,” concluded Schroeder.
The results of the study were published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution.
Featured image credits: The Times Gazette
UK Boy, 6, Finds Fossil In Family Garden That May be 488 Million Years Old
Children have a natural fascination with rocks, with many of us having spent some days as children standing awe-struck at our museums or science centers looking at dazzling arrays of stones, or learning about the different types that can be found out our local beaches, parks, or hiking trails.
However, none of us managed to make the sort of discovery that one young boy in the U.K. did.
Siddak Singh Jhamat, known as Sid, found a fossil in his garden that dates back millions of years.
Sid found the fossil in his backyard garden in the town of Walsall using a simple fossil-hunting kit he received as a gift, reports the BBC.
His father Vish Singh was then able to identify the fossil as a horn corral that dates back 251 to 488 million years with the help of a Facebook fossil group.
“I was just digging for worms and things like pottery and bricks and I just came across this rock which looked a bit like a horn, and thought it could be a tooth or a claw or a horn, but it was actually a piece of coral which is called horn coral,” Sid explained.
“I was really excited about what it really was.”
His father Vish added:
“We were surprised he found something so odd-shaped in the soil… he found a horn coral, and some smaller pieces next to it, then the next day he went digging again and found a congealed block of sand.
“In that there were loads of little molluscs and sea shells, and something called a crinoid, which is like a tentacle of a squid, so it’s quite a prehistoric thing.”
The father believes that the distinctive markings on the fossil make it a Rugosa coral, meaning it could be up to 488 million years old.
“The period that they existed from was between 500 and 251 million years ago, the Paleozoic Era,” Vish said.
“England at the time was part of Pangea, a landmass of continents. England was all underwater as well… that’s quite significant expanse of time.”
Researchers Find 50,000-Year-Old Frozen Body of Extinct Woolly Rhino in Siberia
Researchers in Siberia have stumbled upon the 50,000 year-old remains of a rare woolly rhinoceros that was trapped in permafrost.
The remains of the woolly rhino were excavated from the Abyisky district of the Sakha Republic. The rhino was first discovered by a local in Siberia named Alexei Savin, Business Insider reported.
Savvin stumbled upon the remarkable find walking near the Tirekhtyakh River in Yakutia, Siberia last August.
It’s worth noting that this woolly rhino was found close to the site where a previous baby woolly rhino named Sasha was discovered back in the year 2014. Woolly Rhinos were once believed to have been prevalent in Europe, Russia and northern Asia thousands upon thousands of years ago until they ended up extinct.
Paleontologist Albert Protopopov of the Academy of Sciences of the Sakha Republic unveiled that the baby woolly rhino would have been approximately three to four years old when it died presumably from drowning.
The only other woolly rhino thus far that has been discovered in these regions — Sasha — was dated to be from around 34,000 years ago. However, Protopopov suggests that the newly discovered body could be anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 years old.
However, despite the body being there for so long according to Protopopov “among other things, part of the internal organs are preserved, which in the future will make it possible to study in more detail how the species ate and lived.”
Protopopov further added, “Earlier, not even the bone remains of individuals of this age were found, not to mention the preserved carcasses of animals. As a rule, these were either cubs or adults.”
A fellow paleontologist Valery Plotnikov from the Academy of Sciences further adds, “We have learned that woolly rhinoceroses were covered in very thick hair. Previously, we could judge this only from rock paintings discovered in France. Now, judging by the thick coat with the undercoat, we can conclude that the rhinoceroses were fully adapted to the cold climate very much from a young age.”
Isaac Newton’s Secret “Burnt” Notes Included Theory That Great Pyramids Predicted Apocalypse
Sir Isaac Newton, one of the most famous scientists of recorded history, left behind a large body of work that is still vital in our understanding of the world today. However, as with many public intellectuals, he also had plenty of work that was never shared with the public, even after his death.
Now, for the first time ever, some of these unpublished notes are being auctioned off, and these notes contain some of his most wild theories, and includes his thoughts on the occult, alchemy, and biblical apocalypse theory. Newton was known to dabble in the more esoteric realms of study, but very little written evidence remains about his specific thoughts on mystical topics.
Some of the remaining manuscript notes are currently being auctioned by Sotheby’s. The notes have been through a lot, and are obviously burned. The auctioneers claim that the notes were damaged in a fire that is believed to have been started by a candle that was accidentally toppled by Newton’s dog, Diamond.
According to the auction listing, “These notes are part of Newton’s astonishingly complex web of interlinking studies – natural philosophy, alchemy, theology – only parts of which he ever believed were appropriate for publication. It is not surprising that he did not publish on alchemy, since secrecy was a widely-held tenet of alchemical research, and Newton’s theological beliefs, if made public, would have cost him (at least) his career.”
The notes currently have a leading bid of £280,000, the equivalent of about $375,000.
In the notes, Newton speaks on some far-out topics that would surprise modern thinkers. For example, Newton’s notes include a theory that ancient Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza predicted the apocalypse. While it is unclear what logic he used to get to his conclusion, the theory began with his study of how the pyramids were designed according to an ancient Egyptian unit of measurement called the royal cubit.
While studying the pyramids and the cubit, Newton believed he developed an insight into sacred geometry, which somehow aligned with the apocalypse predictions in the bible.
“He was trying to find proof for his theory of gravitation, but in addition the ancient Egyptians were thought to have held the secrets of alchemy that have since been lost. Today, these seem disparate areas of study – but they didn’t seem that way to Newton in the 17th century,” Gabriel Heaton, Sotheby’s manuscript specialist, told The Guardian.
“It’s a wonderful confluence of bringing together Newton and these great objects from classical antiquity which have fascinated people for thousands of years. The papers take you remarkably quickly straight to the heart of a number of the deepest questions Newton was investigating,” Heaton added.
Interest in alchemy and mysticism was not unusual for serious scholars at the time, in fact, it was recognized as a legitimate field of scientific study.
“The idea of science being an alternative to religion is a modern set of thoughts. Newton would not have believed that his scientific work could undermine religious belief. He was not trying to disprove Christianity – this is a man who spent a long time trying to establish the likely time period for the biblical apocalypse. That’s why he was so interested in the pyramids,” Heaton said.
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