Wednesday, September 6, 2017

"Deeper Than Deep: David Reich’s genetics lab unveils our prehistoric past"

Via InstapunditThis is not “ancient history,” which goes back a few thousand years to the dawn of writing. This is deeper in the past than “deep history,” which takes us even further back—before the invention of agriculture, before the invention of language, before the invention of the wheel.

This is deep, deep history, tens of thousands of years ago. When, it’s now emerging, hordes of humans, vast tribes of variations of hominids—Homo sapiens, Neanderthals, the newly discovered “Denisovans,” the mysterious “ghost populations”—ranged and thronged and clashed and bred and interbred (and probably exterminated large portions of each other) across vast landscapes that were battlefields and graveyards.

It’s deep, deep history that’s beginning to unscroll a vast pageant through the wonders of big data crunching and the analysis of ancient DNA samples from fragments of bone and mummies that have been rotting away in the dusty basements of museums.

(Link to more)


edutcher said...

One of the mysterious “ghost populations” was almost undoubtedly the real Native Americans, who, it's now figured, were wiped out by the people who migrated across ice bridges from Europe and Asia.

Amartel said...

Fascinating work. They're right to be worried that the technology will be grossly abused.
Cough China cough.
Interesting point that multiethnic societies have existed in the past, different peoples living side by side. Apparently at crossroads between societies - southern Sweden, east of the Urals, in Kazakhstan - and thus due to trade. Just like here in the now.

Amartel said...

I think the point about the ghost populations is not that they were wiped out but that they're still with (some of) us, in our DNA, although the "ethnicity" and associated society was dominated and erased by others. I read an article a few years ago about how a lot of American tribal people have some strange DNA that the article was trying to link to aboriginal European DNA. Maybe there's a ghost population in common there.

deborah said...

Excellent article, thanks, Lem. Mysterious to think of what the humanoid ghost populations looked like.

Yes, we may well be wiped out by a runaway virus. Or a mutant zombies. Cue Johnny Cash's When the Man Comes Around.