Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Old World Migrations to the Americas

Migrations out of the Upper Nile Valley

It has been suspected that native populations of the Americas arrived from different points of origin. Some came via a land bridge from Siberia. Some may have come to South America from Africa, and some came from Northern Europe via Greenland and Labrador.

Paleoanthropologists have established a clearer picture of the connection between the ancestors of modern Siberians and some Native Americans using DNA.

Linguists have verified a connection between the Siberian language Ket and the language of the Navajo.

According to the oral tradition of the Miqmac of Eastern Canada, they came in two waves from the Middle East to Scandinavia, then to Greenland and to the Hudson Bay area. They are in Haplogroup X2b5, which traces the maternal line (Mitochondrial DNA).

This is a different route of migration than that taken by other Old World peoples coming to North America across Eurasia and the Bering Strait. When it comes to mtDNA haplogroup X, there is no genetic trail across Eurasia. The dispersion of Haplogroup X is shown below. The greatest concentrations are indicated by the darker shade. MtDNA traces lineage by the mitochondria, received from mothers.

Only 7% of the Dene (Navajo) are in Haplogroup X, yet their language is related to Ket, a Yeniseic language spoken by a small Siberian population. This suggests that point of origin, genetic inheritance, and the language spoken must be analysed as separate features when studying a population.

To gain a better understanding of old world migrations into the Americas, scientists must draw on several disciplines, including DNA analysis, archaeology, linguistics, and anthropology.

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