Skip to comments.CU-led study says Bering Land Bridge a long-term refuge for early Americans
Posted on 03/01/2014 11:51:30 PM PST by SunkenCiv
A new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder bolsters the theory that the first Americans, who are believed to have come over from northeast Asia during the last ice age, may have been isolated on the Bering Land Bridge for thousands of years before spreading throughout the Americas.
The theory, now known as the "Beringia Standstill," was first proposed in 1997 by two Latin American geneticists and refined in 2007 by a team led by the University of Tartu in Estonia that sampled mitrochondrial DNA from more than 600 Native Americans. The researchers found that mutations in the DNA indicated a group of their direct ancestors from Siberia was likely isolated for at least several thousand years in the region of the Bering Land Bridge, the now-submerged plain that lies between northeast Asia and Alaska once exposed by a significantly lower sea level.
CU-Boulder researcher John Hoffecker, lead author of a short paper article appearing in the Feb. 28 issue of Science magazine, said the Beringia Standstill model gained little traction outside of the genetics community after it was proposed and has been seen by some scientists outside of the field as far-fetched... The last glacial maximum peaked roughly 21,000 years ago and was marked by the growth of vast ice sheets in North America and Europe...
Hoffecker and others are now theorizing that a population of hundreds or thousands of people parked itself in central Beringia for 5,000 years or more. One key to the extended occupation may have been the presence of wood in some places to use as a fuel to supplement bone, which burns hot and fast. Experiments have shown that at least some wood is necessary to make bone practical as a fuel.
(Excerpt) Read more at eurekalert.org ...
A photo of Alaska's shrub tundra environment today showing birch shrubs in the foreground and spruce trees scattered around Eight Mile Lake, located in the foothills of the Alaska Range. Credit: Nancy Bigelow, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Don’t look now but Putin has just claimed it for Russia.
This would seem to be a very reasonable hypothesis. Backing it up will have its difficulties. Several now underwater regions must hold real surprises, ie. Southeast Asia/Indonesia, the English Channel, the Black Sea, and the Persian Sea to name a few.
Why would anyone park on cold freezing islands for 5,000 years when warm beautiful Hawaii was just sitting there??
Doesn`t make any sense.
This is statistical nonsense. Data could show that a group was genetically isolated in a small region for 5,000 years, but data cannot distinguish between genetic isolation on a land bridge, genetic isolation in some Asian terrain (whether due to ice, mountains, or culture), or genetic isolation in a North American outpost before spreading out throughout North America. The fact of extended genetic isolation is interesting, but the inference goes too far.
It couldn’t show even that.
There may be other explanations, but I can’t think of many at the moment (other than war/disease wiping out most of the North American population and leaving only one group standing). Mitrochondrial DNA acquires harmless mutations at a more or less constant rate. If the appropriate number of harmless mutations are found in all native Americans and not in other populations, that is significant evidence of genetic isolation in a small, well-mixed population. What is your alternative?
DNA shows that the American Indians came through Siberia from Germany. The American Indians were selfish Europeans trying to keep other Europeans from enjoying the bounty of The Americas.
I understand that many archaeologists still resist that enterprising humans came to the American continent before 13-15,000 years in the past by means other than trudging over that land bridge in their moccasins, in spite of the mounting evidence that is making them look silly-but isn’t it insulting their intelligence to say they hung out on the frozen edge of an ice sheet, housekeeping and hunting, burning sticks and bones for fuel for a couple thousand years? Especially when there was better land with more vegetation, animals and less ice a few weeks’ walk further, when they’d already walked so far...