Study of Mitochondrial DNA Ties Ancient Remains to Living Descendants

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Researchers report that they have found a direct genetic link between the remains of Native Americans who lived thousands of years ago and their living descendants. The team used mitochondrial DNA, which children inherit only from their mothers, to track three maternal lineages from ancient times to the present.


The findings are reported in the journal PLOS ONE.

The researchers compared the complete mitochondrial genomes of four ancient and three living individuals from the north coast of British Columbia, Canada. This region is home to the indigenous Tsimshian, Haida and Nisga'a people, all of whom have oral traditions and some written histories indicating that they have lived in the region for uncounted generations. Archaeological sites, some with human remains, date back several millennia. But until the current study, nothing definitively tied the current inhabitants of the area to the ancient human remains found there, some of which are 5,000 to 6,000 years old.

"Having a DNA link showing direct maternal ancestry dating back at least 5,000 years is huge as far as helping the Metlakatla prove that this territory was theirs over the millennia," said Barbara Petzelt, an author and participant in the study and liaison to the Tsimshian-speaking Metlakatla community, one of the First Nations groups that participated in the study.

Written By: Science Daily
continue to source article at sciencedaily.com

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  1. These findings may have political repercussions as well. Canada has been settling land claims. Over 50% of the territory of Canada has been returned to aboriginal groups who form about 4% of the population. You would think this would make them the wealthiest Canadians. But for some reason, aboriginal children live in third world poverty and health.

    The area where this study was done had a luxurious life style. There were ample clams, oysters, fish, berries and deer all year round. They had plenty of leisure for art work in cedar bark, wood, stone and copper.

    • In reply to #1 by Roedy:

      These findings may have political repercussions as well. Canada has been settling land claims. Over 50% of the territory of Canada has been returned to aboriginal groups who form about 4% of the population. You would think this would make them the wealthiest Canadians. But for some reason, aborigi…

      The trouble with simply giving land back to natives is that it doesn’t reverse 600 years of economic progress. We simply don’t live in a world where a native lifestyle and economy can translate to the basic standard of means we see as first world conditions. Essentially whatever land they get must be developed in a way to make it profitable, which in the minds of many runs contrary to the spirit of the thing, but in practical terms its necessary. I would however suggest a more sustainable solution than that of a casino which is the way the issue is resolved where I live.

      I would say that they should receive a public subsidy in order to accomplish this, in fact it may be worth funding a traditional native lifestyle simply to preserve it as an intrinsic aspect of national heritage.

  2. They’ve been there 6,000 years yet their stories don’t tell of a rapidly spreading incestuous family peopling the earth, a flood, a massive ship full of dinosaurs ….. who are these people?

  3. No better proof than DNA – that the modern people come from that land… from a long line of people that goes back 6000 years……In fact Many Aboriginal Australians say that They belong to their land and they are simply the guardians of it……They didn’t claim to “own” the land until someone else tried to take it for themselves…

  4. There is a problem with politicising these genetic links to the “motherland”. Muslims (and to be fair, many others) are forever going on about reclaiming historically held lands. Let us not forget that Christians (and Pagans) resided in and controlled Mecca before the time of the pedophile prophet. Things evolve! How would Britain react to a claim by the descendants of Rome (or Germany/Denmark etc.) to reclaim dominion over the British Isles. In fact (as far as I am aware) the oldest identified ethnic group of the British Isles were known as “Iberians” based on the similarities perceived between those ancient skulls and those of modern Spaniards. Maybe we could do a swap with them involving Gibraltar?

    Should we ever sort out this human dilemma then we must hope that we have not perfected genetic cloning and rebuilding techniques allowing the revivification of Homo Neanderthalis or Erectus lest we have to cede Bromsgrove to them on the grounds of historic primacy.

    Shit happens, peoples get pushed around, enslaved and more or less removed from history and it is frankly ludicrous for much later generations to try to re-set the clock. If it were possible all 6 1/2 billion of us would return to Africa leaving the other continents vacant.

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