Mysterious Collapse of Native American Ancestors

Sep 2012
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DNA research suggests mysterious collapse of Native American ancestors

A new ancient DNA study bolsters accounts that European arrival in the Americas decimated indigenous populations.

An international team of scientists has sequenced mitochondrial DNA from skeletons and mummies of Native Americans ranging from 8,600 to 500 years ago. They compared this new data to the DNA of modern Native American populations and found that the old sequences were mysteriously missing.

This doesn't mean that all indigenous Americans died off, study lead author Bastien Llamas points out. There still are Native Americans alive today across both continents. But of the 92 archaic individuals that the team looked at, none of their mitochondrial sequences survived to the present day.

It could have been disease, warfare, societal collapse or some other catastrophe, Dr. Llamas tells The Christian Science Monitor. All the study indicates is that something significant happened to reduce the genetic diversity of this population.

But historical accounts suggested the European arrival coincided with a significant reduction of the populations already living in South, Central, and North America. Estimates have ranged from around 50 to 90 percent of the population died off at the time. "Even those low, low numbers, that's an incredible calamity," John Walker, an archeologist at the University of Central Florida who was not part of the study, tells the Monitor.
 
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RosieS

Former Staff
Mar 2013
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Mother Mayo
Contact with Spanish explorers,.French trappers and then the British invasion induced wave after wave.of diseases.for.which the AmerInd have no immunity.

It is told.among the Peoples.That 8 million AmerInd died of disease before the 2 million more killed in wars.and the genocIdal policies of Lord.Amherst and Andrew Jackson, among others that made the genocIdal total.of.more than 10 million AmerInd.

It is no wonder that Hitler and Stalin copied the ways of Jackson and the American military before launching their own genocides,which pale in comparison.

Europeans came close to wiping the AmerInd out. You almost got us all.

Regards from Rosie
 
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Mar 2010
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I'm surprised the native americans allowed the scientists to retrieve DNA from their ancestors. I thought tampering with the dead was a big no no among native americans. ???

Furthermore if this goes back over 8000 years there has to be another explanation for the earlier extirpation, as the major influx of the white man wasn't here that early. My guess is natural catastrophic phenomenon as in massive meteorite strike, massive wildfires, volcanic eruptions, weather disruption, and intense droughts lasting decades.

I personally believe the great plains were that way due to a massive wildfire.
 
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Dec 2014
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The Milky Way
Something about bones in the 1990's, possibly white settlers, very old, Indians getting very worried about their 'nativeness' gimmick, and Bill Clinton not permitting proper research on the bones and ordering they be quickly reburied.
 

Rorschach

Former Staff
Aug 2012
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america
I would wager that many of those who died of disease, had these segments of DNA.

Probably some catastrophic lack of immunity for certain pathogens that had already ravaged through Europe and Asia.

Thus, these lines were already dying off, more than likely, but, the massive influx of NEW diseases swept them up more quickly.

Really hard to pin down as I would wager, those 92 sequences were probably not the only ones that died off, for whatever reason.
 
May 2016
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For all those indians that died from European diseases, millions of Europeans died from Asia-Minor diseases that Europeans later brought with them to the Americas. Isn't globalization great? Good thing we have modern antibiotics.
 
Jun 2014
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Contact with Spanish explorers,.French trappers and then the British invasion induced wave after wave.of diseases.for.which the AmerInd have no immunity.

It is told.among the Peoples.That 8 million AmerInd died of disease before the 2 million more killed in wars.and the genocIdal policies of Lord.Amherst and Andrew Jackson, among others that made the genocIdal total.of.more than 10 million AmerInd.

It is no wonder that Hitler and Stalin copied the ways of Jackson and the American military before launching their own genocides,which pale in comparison.

Europeans came close to wiping the AmerInd out. You almost got us all.

Regards from Rosie
I think we likely did kill off all the native Hawaiians. In some ways, their story is more shocking than any other genocidal campaign against a Native American tribe, and I rarely meet anyone who knows it. It is never part of any public school curriculum.

You'd almost think they never existed.
 
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ARMCX1

Former Staff
Jun 2013
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The researchers tracked the mitochondrial DNA of 92 archaic Native American samples ranging in age from 8000 to 500 years ago and compared them to the mitochondrial DNA of modern Native American populations.

They found a reduction in genetic diversity between the archaic mitochondrial DNA sequences and the modern mitochondrial DNA sequences.

This means the reduction happened between 1515 and the present.

They asked what might have accounted for the decrease in genetic diversity? From the OP:

It could have been disease, warfare, societal collapse or some other catastrophe, Dr. Llamas tells The Christian Science Monitor. All the study indicates is that something significant happened to reduce the genetic diversity of this population.

But historical accounts suggested the European arrival coincided with a significant reduction of the populations already living in South, Central, and North America. Estimates have ranged from around 50 to 90 percent of the population died off at the time. "Even those low, low numbers, that's an incredible calamity," John Walker, an archeologist at the University of Central Florida who was not part of the study, tells the Monitor.
The timing of the decrease and the arrival of the Europeans strongly suggest that the European influx is responsible for the decline of the Native Americans
 
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May 2016
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The researchers tracked the mitochondrial DNA of 92 archaic Native American samples ranging in age from 8000 to 500 years ago and compared them to the mitochondrial DNA of modern Native American populations.

They found a reduction in genetic diversity between the archaic mitochondrial DNA sequences and the modern mitochondrial DNA sequences.

This means the reduction happened between 1515 and the present.

They asked what might have accounted for the decrease in genetic diversity? From the OP:



The timing of the decrease and the arrival of the Europeans strongly suggest that the European influx is responsible for the decline of the Native Americans
Probably all immigrations have a profound effect on native populations, some discussions about that in current politics. It's likely a safe bet to say that native Americans that survived unfamiliar diseases that Europeans had already suffered from but creating antibodies as a result, adopted much of the European's culture, (and some immune systems adaptations too), such as manufactured goods and even some social institutions. Those that died in resistance generate more sympathy , I don't how to apply justice to that except to condemn it but I note that before today's native Americans there were native American populations genetically similar to native Australians of today, of which none remain. Perhaps current native Americans could explain what happened too them?
 
Jun 2014
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None remain? That's certainly not the impression I have. I thought aboriginal rights, etc. was a hot topic in Australia.
 
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