July 11, 2012

Genetics of Amerindians

From the New York Times:
Earliest Americans Arrived in Waves, DNA Study Finds 
By NICHOLAS WADE 
North and South America were first populated by three waves of migrants from Siberia rather than just a single migration, say researchers who have studied the whole genomes of Native Americans in South America and Canada. 
Some scientists assert that the Americas were peopled in one large migration from Siberia that happened about 15,000 years ago, but the new genetic research shows that this central episode was followed by at least two smaller migrations from Siberia, one by people who became the ancestors of today’s Eskimos and Aleutians and another by people speaking Na-Dene, whose descendants are confined to North America. The research was published online Wednesday in the journal Nature. 

The Na-Dene speakers include the Navajo and Apache of the American Southwest, although no U.S. tribes were included in the study because of political opposition to genetic research. It's my vague impression that Na-Dene speaking Indians tend to look more Siberian than other American Indians, which wouldn't be surprising since they had ancestors in Siberia more recently.
The finding vindicates a proposal first made on linguistic grounds by Joseph Greenberg, the great classifier of the world’s languages. He asserted in 1987 that most languages spoken in North and South America were derived from the single mother tongue of the first settlers from Siberia, which he called Amerind. Two later waves, he surmised, brought speakers of Eskimo-Aleut and of Na-Dene, the language family spoken by the Apache and Navajo. 
But many linguists who specialize in American languages derided Dr. Greenberg’s proposal, saying they saw no evidence for any single ancestral language like Amerind. “American linguists made up their minds 25 year ago that they wouldn’t support Greenberg, and they haven’t changed their mind one whit,” said Merritt Ruhlen, a colleague of Dr. Greenberg, who died in 2001.

Reductionism is popular in physics, but not in the social sciences since the 1960s, or maybe not since the stock market crash of 1929. Anthropologist Robin Fox jokes that his field suffers from "ethnographic dazzle" or stamp collectoritis.
The new DNA study is based on gene chips that sample the entire genome and presents a fuller picture than earlier studies, which were based on small regions of the genome like the Y chromosome or mitochondrial DNA. Several of the mitochondrial DNA studies had pointed to a single migration. 
A team headed by David Reich of the Harvard Medical School and Dr. Andres Ruiz-Linares of University College London report that there was a main migration that populated the entire Americas. They cannot date the migration from their genomic data but accept the estimate by others that the migration occurred around 15,000 years ago. This was in the window of time that occurred after the melting of great glaciers that blocked passage from Siberia to Alaska, and before the rising waters at the end of the last ice age submerged Beringia, the land bridge between them. 
They also find evidence for two further waves of migration, one among Na-Dene speakers and the other among Eskimo-Aleut, again as Dr. Greenberg predicted. But whereas Dr. Greenberg’s proposal suggested that three discrete groups of people were packed into the Americas, the new genome study finds that the second and third waves mixed in with the first. Eskimos inherit about half of their DNA from the people of the first migration and half from a second migration. The Chipewyans of Canada, who speak a Na-Dene language, have 90 percent of their genes from the first migration and some 10 percent from a third. 
It is not clear why the Chipewyans and others speak a Na-Dene language if most of their DNA is from Amerind speakers. Dr. Ruiz-Linares said a minority language can often dominate others in the case of conquest; an example of this is the ubiquity of Spanish in Latin America.

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

Were the Navajo and Apache considered more war-like? Perhaps they needed to become so since they were moving into already populated areas.

Anonymous said...

Reductionism is popular in physics, but not in the social sciences since the 1960s, or maybe not since the stock market crash of 1929. Anthropologist Robin Fox jokes that his field suffers from "ethnographic dazzle" or stamp collectoritis.

Greenberg's work is very interesting. His method is very reductionist and empirical, which is probably why the softer linguists hated him and his work.

http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~anthro/articles/archaeo-language.html

"Like the biologist E. O. Wilson, Dr. Greenberg is that rare breed of academic, a synthesizer who derives patterns from the work of many specialists, an exercise the specialists do not always welcome.

But though biologists came to acknowledge the pioneering value of Dr. Wilson's work, linguists have reached no such consensus on that of Dr. Greenberg.

Will he one day be recognized as having done for language what Linnaeus did for biology, as his Stanford colleague and associate Dr. Merritt Ruhlen believes, or is his work more fit, as one critic has urged, to be "shouted down"?

Dr. Greenberg is by no means an outcast from his profession. He is one of the very few linguists who are members of the National Academy of Sciences, the country's most exclusive scientific club. His work on language typology (universal patterns of word order) is highly regarded. Somewhat puzzlingly, his fellow linguists generally accept his work on the relationships among African languages but furiously dispute his ordering of American Indian languages, even though both classifications were achieved with the same method.

Dr. Greenberg's work is of considerable interest to population geneticists trying to reconstruct the path of early human migrations by means of genetic patterning in different peoples.

Although genes and languages are not bequeathed in the same way, both proceed in a series of population splits.

"We have found a lot of significant correspondences between what he says and what we see genetically," said Dr. Luca Cavalli-Sforza, a leading population geneticist at Stanford. In his view, the majority of linguists are not interested in the evolution of language. They "have attacked Greenberg cruelly, and I think frankly there is some jealousy behind it because he has been so successful," Dr. Cavalli-Sforza said.

In a windowless office lined with grammars and dictionaries of languages from all over the world, Joseph Greenberg fishes in the plastic shopping bag that is serving as his briefcase. He pulls out one of the handwritten notebooks that are the key to his method of discovering language relationships. Down the left hand margin is a list of the languages being compared. Along the top are names of the vocabulary words likely to yield similarities.

His method, which he calls mass or multilateral comparison, is to compare many languages simultaneously on the basis of 300 core words in the hope that they will sort themselves into clusters representative of their historical development. Many linguists believe such an exercise is futile because words change too quickly to preserve any ancestry older than 5,000 years or so.

"They sell their own subject short," Dr. Greenberg says. "Certain items in language are extremely stable, like personal pronouns or parts of the human body.""

dearieme said...

"an example of this is the ubiquity of Spanish in Latin America." Or English in England. Or French in France. Or Arabic in North Africa and the Middle East. Or ....

corvinus said...

"an example of this is the ubiquity of Spanish in Latin America." Or English in England. Or French in France. Or Arabic in North Africa and the Middle East. Or ....

I think what he was trying to say is that Latin American genetics are mostly non-Spanish (Amerindian, black, sometimes other European), yet they speak Spanish.

That would indeed be true for Arabic in North Africa, which are mostly Egyptian or Berber, but not necessarily for English in England, unless you want to argue that the English people are mostly non-Germanic, which is demonstrably false. English in Ireland would be a good parallel. English being spoken by black Americans, even better.

Philip Neal said...

The Na-Dene languages were shown to be related to the Siberian language Ket (see Wikipedia) by linguist Edward Vajda in 2008. Interestingly, Vajda has both Russian and Native American heritage. He uses the traditional, comparativist, approach to language relationships which seeks to recreate proto-languages by laws of sound change. The main objection to Greenberg and Ruhlen is that they do not try to do this and must inevitably be deceived by the kind of chance resemblances which exist between unrelated words in any two languagues.

agraves said...

Actually these scientific explanations of how Native Americans arrived here are incorrect! A close study of native religious traditions say that they actually sprouted out of the ground, like maize. They deny the land bridge as a European denial of their divine heritage. Let the pile on begin.

elvisd said...

My son and I were out west backpacking a couple of weeks ago by the White Mountain Apache Rez. We stopped in a store and a bunch of teenage girls came in. I have to say, they didn't have that pudgy look most Natives have now. One of them gave my son a bit of a look (he's got a little Choctaw in him). They're definitely some of the most attractive NA's I've seen.

Simon in London said...

corvinus:
"unless you want to argue that the English people are mostly non-Germanic, which is demonstrably false"

It gets argued a lot, actually. Different DNA surveys seem to give different results.

Personally I suspect that the county names are pretty reliable -ie Essex or Sussex are mostly Saxon, whereas Cornwall or Cumbria are mostly Cymric.

Anonymous said...

You'd think that the ones who are furthest from the entrance point in Siberia would derive more of their genes from the first wave than those who came later, and presumably didn't travel as far. So, if you tested the most southerly immigrants in, say, Chile or Argentina, wouldn't they be mostly of the first wave?

Anonymous said...

Interesting, it seems that Greenberg, like James Jesus Angleton, was a Yale man who engaged in intelligence work during WW2:"In 1940, he began postdoctoral studies at Yale University. These were interrupted by service in the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War II, where he worked as a codebreaker and participated in the landing at Casablanca." (via WIKIPEDIA).

Syon

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Greenberg's ultimate effort in linguistic "lumping" was his Eurasiatic hypothesis:"Eurasiatic is a language macrofamily proposed by Joseph Greenberg that includes many language families historically spoken in northern Eurasia. The eight branches of Eurasiatic are Etruscan, Indo-European, Uralic–Yukaghir, Altaic, Korean-Japanese-Ainu, Gilyak, Chukotian, and Eskimo–Aleut, spoken in northernmost North America and Greenland with a toehold in easternmost Siberia." (via WIKIPEDIA)

Syon

stari_momak said...

Where does this put Kennewick Man and the Tierra del Fuego natives?

dearieme said...

"unless you want to argue that the English people are mostly non-Germanic, which is demonstrably false": some hold it to be false, some true. I'd incline tentatively to its being true, myself.

Once DNA techniques have matured, and their strengths and weaknesses have become clear, it may be possible to be firmer.

Sid said...

"Were the Navajo and Apache considered more war-like? Perhaps they needed to become so since they were moving into already populated areas."

Yes, absolutely.

"The Na-Dene languages were shown to be related to the Siberian language Ket (see Wikipedia) by linguist Edward Vajda in 2008."

You beat me to it!

---

Now, as to whether there is an "Amerind" language family as Greenberg proposed: a lot of work needs to be done there, which unfortunately is exceedingly hard to do. Native American languages are notoriously hard to learn. You can form an entire sentence with one word in Nahuatl, because of how polysynthetic it is.

From what I gather, Nahuatl is an Uto-Aztecan, which have no established connections with the Mayan languages (also polysynthetic), which has no known connection with Quechua, which is also polysynthetic.

In plain lingo: Native American languages are extremely difficult to learn, and it's hard to jump from one language to another.

In "The Language Instinct," Steven Pinker states that after a language evolves for 10,000 years, it will bear no resemblance to what it used to be. The first Native Americans migrated to the Americas about 12,000 years ago or so, and over the next millennium, diffused thoroughly across the continents.

It stands to reason that the first migrants spoke a single language, which evolved into so many different forms that they bear no resemblance to each other. In contrast, there was a Proto-Eskimo-Aleut language, and there is a Dene-Yeniseian language.

So there is substantial linguistic evidence for a three wave hypothesis: the first Native Americans migrated over 10,000 years ago, and hence, their languages bear little resemblance to each other. The other waves (Eskimo and Na-Dene) were more recent, and their subgroups still have linguistic connections to each other.

Sid said...

"It's my vague impression that Na-Dene speaking Indians tend to look more Siberian than other American Indians, which wouldn't be surprising since they had ancestors in Siberia more recently."

I have heard anecdotes (don't take this as gospel) that, during WWII, the Navajo code talkers were escorted by white Marines at all times. It was feared that, since the Navajo so resembled the Japanese, they would be subject to friendly fire by Americans.

Granted, no one sees a close up of the Navajo and mistakes them for Samurai, but they were still close enough in visage to the Japanese that, from a distance, they could be mistaken for their foes by whites.

Anonymous said...

Heads up Steve & Steveospherians: Google search has "Pat Buchananed" the search term "immigrant", try for yourself. "Migrant" is the latest thing on the euphemism treadmill it seems. It actually freaks me out a little bit.

Anonymous said...

RE: the Dene of Canada's NWT, it's sort of a cliche in some circles that Dene chicks are relatively hot. I've been there and can confirm it.

Anonymous said...

Yes many Na Dene look Oriental. I won't say Asian. That is about as asinine description. I could say 'Mongoloid' but of course they are so that's simply redundant.

It is more common among the girls than the guys. Many female Na Dene in our area are mistaken for Koreans.

To the young man down at 'White Mountain', they are almost certainly very mixed or very young. Most Apaches women who are north of 15 are very heavy.

Modern diets are hell on Na Dene.

James A. Donald said...

Hey, time to let out your inner Nazi.

The reason why multiple waves are not PC is that these were waves of CONQUEST, where the superior race, the higher IQ race, CONQUERED the inferior race, but was ultimately absorbed by the more numerous inferiors, ending their wave of conquest.

The more northerly native Americans have larger brains than the more southerly native americans.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Donald,
That's probable, but also probably only a portion of the equation. They also likely had traditions of in-group cohesiveness and aggression to help out as well.

Anonymous said...

"no U.S. tribes were included in the study because of political opposition to genetic research."

I have weird feeling between my ears. Explain.

Anonymous said...

I teach in AZ and a lot of Navajo kids get teased on the playground for having "Chinese eyes."

Thomas O. Meehan said...

A southwest indian POW recounted on television that his Japanese captors attempted to turn him, using his mongolid facial characteristics. As I recall he had been raised by whites in Oklahoma, felt himself to be 100% American, and told his captors to go to hell.

Sorry I can't remember the program but it was a documentary.

Sid said...

"Hey, time to let out your inner Nazi."

Now, now. Let's be more discreet and call it "Social Darwinism."

"The more northerly native Americans have larger brains than the more southerly native americans"

The Eskimos have the largest brains in the world, but they're not the smartest race. Their IQ seems to average around 90. Apparently their large brains are to help keep themselves warm (much the way equatorial races have smaller brains/heads to keep their bodies cool). Unfortunately for the Eskimo, they so far haven't tapped into their large brains yet.

(I'm not a peanut-brained fool who insists there is no correlation between IQ and brain size, but the Eskimos seem to have large brains for the sake of keeping warm.)

Anonymous said...

Interesting, it seems that Greenberg, like James Jesus Angleton, was a Yale man who engaged in intelligence work during WW2:"In 1940, he began postdoctoral studies at Yale University. These were interrupted by service in the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War II, where he worked as a codebreaker and participated in the landing at Casablanca." (via WIKIPEDIA).

It's not that surprising since he was a linguistics grad student. Foreign lang., linguistics, math, etc. students and academics were pressed into codebreaking.

Anonymous said...

You can form an entire sentence with one word in Nahuatl, because of how polysynthetic it is.

Is that such a big deal? "Go" can be a sentence in English.

MQ said...

Reductionism is popular in physics, but not in the social sciences since the 1960s, or maybe not since the stock market crash of 1929.

WTF? You cannot find a more reductionist academic discipline than economics, or a worse case of physics envy. It's shocking how eager economists are to abstract away from the real world in the name of theoretical consistency and 'elegance'.

Beagle Juice said...

Anyone who thinks the Siberian/Asian man (straight black hair and broad face) are the "native" Americans needs to visit the northwestern corner of Brazil. It is geographically isolated from the rest of the continent by an enormous arid (not quite desert) barrier. The indigenous people of this area have curly hair, stout skulls, and protruding ears. They aren't overly handsome, but they are generally slim (closest cousin might be the Australian aborigines). It is obvious to anyone with a map in their hands that the "Siberian" settlers populated the western hemisphere and exterminated/absorbed all of these previous dwellers except for this inhospitable corner of the southern continent. They left these primitive fisherman alone to enjoy some of the world's most beautiful beaches for another couple of millennia before the Dutch and Portuguese arrived.

Don't look for this in any anthropology books! It isn't PC, but you can visit the area anytime and see for yourself. Fortaleza is my favorite ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi, have these studies thrown any light on Zuni origins?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zuni_language

"Zuni is considered a language isolate (i.e., unrelated to any other known language). Zuni may have become a distinct language at least 7,000 years ago."

One theory is that Zuni has some connections to Japanese, perhaps direct (lost fishing boats after a tsunami, I suppose, or even something intentional). The book "The Zuni Enigma: A Native American People's Possible Japanese Connection", Nancy Yaw Davis, 2001, explored this. There are apparently some cultural similarities as well as linguistic.

I think I saw somewhere (maybe in skimming her book) that at least one Zuni WWII Japanese prisoner found understanding Japanese surprisingly easy.

Which reminds me, in regard to Navajo code talkers, I recall from somewhere that the Japanese had one or two Navajos who were native Navajo speakers in WWII as prisoners, I think captured US Army troops in the Philippines at the start of the war. Luckily no one made the connection.

stari_momak said...

"(I'm not a peanut-brained fool who insists there is no correlation between IQ and brain size, but the Eskimos seem to have large brains for the sake of keeping warm.)"

Let's do some spit-balling here.

1) A large brain (and thus head) is actually a handicap in a cool climate. Remember, most heat is lost through the head (the old hiker's adage, if your feet are cold, put on a hat). A bigger head means more heat loss. Plus, just like your computer, keeping that brain running requires huge amounts of energy.

2) Eskimos are supposedly off the charts on the spatial elements of IQ tests. (If true, must mean their verbal IQ is dismal for them to average 90). Makes sense that they have high spatial IQ, making your way in a nearly featureless wilderness must require a lot of processing.

Interestingly, I've been reading a book of knots, ad the guy has quite a lot, by way of introducing the subject, about eskimo technology. The kayak, for example, is so efficient that our plastic versions haven't really altered the basic design. Even more impressive is the 'pre-contact' hunting technology. Harpoons had a detachable point, attached to the shaft via a ball and socket. The harpoon line was attached to a seal-skin bladder float, so the hunter could track the prey as it submerged after being hit. The harpoon itself was launched with a spear-thrower, increaing the hunter's strength via mechanical advantage.

Lot's of technology.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

It is welcome news that Nature publishes this. Greenberg fans such as I have waited for the acceptance to come. The African categories first, the Amerind categories second, and finally, the Eurasiatic hypothesis will hold. Lingusts are among the worst in terms of insisting that if you don't do things by their rules, nothing you will learn is valid. They just cannot see outside that box, believing that because mistakes are possible, they are therefore present. But as the alternative hypothesis - independent development of language in several places - has no evidence for it whatsoever, they are reduced to sputtering.

Also. There is a small Polynesian genetic influence in native population of western South America. Thor Heyerdahl had it backwards.

Anonymous said...

(I'm not a peanut-brained fool who insists there is no correlation between IQ and brain size, but the Eskimos seem to have large brains for the sake of keeping warm.)

Native Hawaiians have very large cranial capacity as well. Brain size may under some circumstances correlate very highly with intelligence since, as in computer architecture, the region of control (the amount of space that signals must traverse in a clock cycle) is minimized in order to maximize computation flexibility (take branches, etc.). Brain size might have some unknown function for organisms that navigate the oceans like cetacea and, of course, Hawaiians.

Anonymous said...

Re:Eskimos/Inuit large brains - they have a high average visual-spatial intelligence.

Steve Sailer said...

In your PC, the biggest chip is the CPU, but the second biggest is often the 3d video chip. It's kind of like how in IQ, the biggest factor is g but the most non-g correlated is 3d ability.

Axis of Tanning said...

Simon in London said...


"unless you want to argue that the English people are mostly non-Germanic, which is demonstrably false"

It gets argued a lot, actually. Different DNA surveys seem to give different results.

Personally I suspect that the county names are pretty reliable -ie Essex or Sussex are mostly Saxon, whereas Cornwall or Cumbria are mostly Cymric.


Personally I like to think its where you would most likely be on the tanning/burning scale - recently mentioned on an isteve post.

Us East Coast Englanders, who tend towards tanners, are more likely to be mistaken for krauts, than West coast burners, who I suspect are mostly descended from conquered Celts. ;)

Simon in London said...

"15,000 years ago. This was in the window of time that occurred after the melting of great glaciers that blocked passage from Siberia to Alaska"

Not really. Alaska was not a nice place to be 15,000 years ago, still very close to the glacial maximum around 20,000 ya. The last Ice Age didn't actually end until about 10,000 ya.

If there was a narrow gap in Alaska between the glaciers 20,000 ya then it would have been a meltwater swamp. It seems more likely that people would have traversed down the coast, living off the sea.

We really don't know much at all about the first peopling of the Americas. The original population don't seem to have been particularly Asiatic; the split between distinct modern European and Asian races seems to date from ca 20,000 ya when central Asia became uninhabitable (glaciers & polar desert) for 10,000 years. The genes of the first people into the Americas seem to predate this split.

This video is a few years old but its conjectures still look plausible to me: http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/journey/

Melykin said...

The Inuit in Canada suffer greatly from alcoholism and drug addiction . The have a high suicide rate and a lot of criminality and violence in the communities.

The same can be said of natives throughout Canada. They never had a chance to evolve any protection from alcoholism .

People in Mongolia also have a very high rate of alcoholism. They were herders, not farmers. Only farming societies could produce a lot of alcohol .


The Haida on the Queen Charlotte Islands seem to have less trouble with alcohol and to generally be more functional and productive.

Simon in London said...

@Axis of Tanning - agreed, though my 'black Irish' mother tans pretty well, I guess her tan-genes are pre-Celtic. My father's descent from Newcastle Vikings and Wessex Saxons gives him blond hair and decent tanning ability. :)

Anonymous said...

my 'black Irish' mother tans pretty well, I guess her tan-genes are pre-Celtic. My father's descent from Newcastle Vikings and Wessex Saxons gives him blond hair and decent tanning ability.

I've noticed this before. Germans and Scandinavians being able to tan relatively well, while Celtic types like Irish having very pale skin that burns right away and doesn't tan. Has anyone ever looked into this? Maybe different genes are involved.

Axis of Tanning said...

James A. Donald said...

Hey, time to let out your inner Nazi.

The reason why multiple waves are not PC is that these were waves of CONQUEST, where the superior race, the higher IQ race, CONQUERED the inferior race...


Are not the Navajos simple herders who conquered and displaced the tribes in the Grand Canyon area, the tribes who had built all those interesting pueblo villages, temples and cave dwellings?

Wouldn't these buildings indicate higher IQs?

Maybe the Navajos were just better at fighting for some reason, maybe there were more of them, maybe for a Navajo to die in battle was a great honour?

Maybe they brought diseases with them.

As a recent tourist in the area, I'm kinda curious.

Anonymous said...

http://listverse.com/2009/01/18/15-surprisingly-super-smart-celebrities/

Tarantino 160 iq? Didn't do him much good.

Steve Sailer said...

Tarantino's not exactly working at the video store anymore.

Anonymous said...

That's cuz people are dumb enough to see his movies

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't these buildings indicate higher IQs?

Beavers build wooden buildings and structures. I don't think they have higher IQs than dolphins or the big predator cats.

Philip Neal said...

Assistant Village Idiot said...
It is welcome news that Nature publishes this. Greenberg fans such as I have waited for the acceptance to come. The African categories first, the Amerind categories second, and finally, the Eurasiatic hypothesis will hold.

Johanna Nichols, a comparativist who is open to the possibility of long range linguistic relationships and has worked in that area herself, has applied tests of statistical significance to Vajda's proposal and an earlier attempt to link the relevant language groups, Yeniseian and Athabaskan by Merritt Ruhlen. She finds that Vajda's proposal is statistically significant at p <0.05 and that Ruhlen's is not. See The Dene-Yeniseian Connection ed. Kari and Potter (full reference in the Wikipedia entry on Ket).

Karl said...

I have read Greenberg's Language in the Americas.

In defense of his mass comparison method: Yes, languages change so fast that any two languages will lose most of their resemblances after a few thousand years. Change "two" to "many", however, and you have a better chance of detecting the original signal amidst the noise. In the case of the Indo-European language family, this is blindingly clear, and I do mean blindingly. The common descent is not in dispute, and comparative linguists had the luxury of so much data that they developed detailed hypotheses of which they were so proud that they rejected analyses like Greenberg's for not being equally detailed. But when his method is retroactively applied to Indo-European data, it not only detects the common descent, it also correctly identifies the groupings and subgroupings. In the same way, the groupings and subgroupings that his method detects in African and American languages are in many ways more interesting and useful than the mere fact of common descent.

Anonymous said...

Comanche patriot Dr. David Yeagley considers himself to be a Mongol.

I saw a Korean standing at the driver's door of his pickup truck a few years ago. It was outside the entrance to the garage at a local auto dealership. Outside the passenger door of the pickup stood his mestizo employee. The two looked like mirror images of one another, sorta like an Escher print.

As for the Fuegians of Tierra del Fuego, what about them?

Justin said...

The Navajo and Apache were indeed considered more war-like. It was their presence in the American Southwest which stymied Spanish colonization for literally hundreds of years. Under constant raids by those tribes, Spanish settlements were abandoned. Only when Anglo Americans arrived starting in the 1850s did Euro settlement begin to be possible, because the US Army was called in to pacify those tribes.

Interestingly, other native tribes (such as the Papago) played a key role in pacifying the Navajo and Apache. The peaceful, agriculture-based tribes of the Southwest hated the predatory Navajo and Apache, being constant subjects of their theft and violence, and were more than happy to help the US Army pacify them.

Many people are unaware, for example, that the Hopis and Navajo are traditional enemies.

Geronimo's autobiography is free online, it is a good read. He respected and liked Anglo Americans, but absolutely hated Mexicans. To this day, Indians in the southwest get annoyed when some Mexican tries to speak Spanish to them.

Sid said...

On the matter of Eskimo intelligence:

" Lynn concludes that they are the (distant) third most intelligent racial group reviewed, with an average IQ of 91.

Even in Marshall's book there is discussion of the Eskimos ability to draw detailed maps from memory. Like the Australian Aborigines, with whom they share a recent hunter-gatherer lifestyle, Lynn shows the Arctic people have an elevated visual memory IQ of 106. Although it is not shown that this likewise present in Eskimos removed from the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, it is also a feature shared by related groups such as East Asians and Native Americans."

http://www.gnxp.com/blog/2006/02/world-of-difference-richard-lynn-maps.php/

That, of course, was way back in 2006, so more research has probably been done on the matter. Regardless, Eskimos appear to have the strongest visual memories of all groups, and their IQs are at 91, which isn't too bad.

The issue arises as to why their brains are the largest, but that they're not the smartest. Wise commentators have noted that the parts of the brain which require visual skills take up the most space (Charles Murray believes this is one reason why men have larger brains: their superior visual skills require more brain space, whereas women are more verbal, even though men and women have the same average g).

That being said, the Eskimos' advantage seems only to extend to visual memory, which is a useful property but not the only kind visuo-spatial intelligence. There's the point I raised earlier, that big brains help keep the body warm, which is no small advantage in coastal Alaska.

Does anyone know about the quality of education for Eskimos? We don't need to be extreme nurturists to agree that a good education certainly doesn't hurt IQ. Indian reservations are notorious for their standard of living in the contiguous US, but I don't know if the standard of living is similarly awful for Eskimos in Alaska.

Melykin said...

Sid wrote:
"Does anyone know about the quality of education for Eskimos? We don't need to be extreme nurturists to agree that a good education certainly doesn't hurt IQ. Indian reservations are notorious for their standard of living in the contiguous US, but I don't know if the standard of living is similarly awful for Eskimos in Alaska."

-------------------------

The bad living standards on Indian Reserves in Canada seems to be caused by alcoholism. It is possible IQ is involved, but IQ is hopelessly confounded by alcoholism (and also fetal alcohol syndrome, which lowers IQ). In the far north the situation among the Inuit is, if anything, worse than the conditions on the reserves further south. The Inuit have the highest suicide rate of any group in the world (I believe). They also have high rates of domestic violence (and violence in general). Most of them don't finish highschool, but this could be because of the extremely high addiciton rates.

My son has worked in a far northern community and he told me that in the town he was in about 80% of the population smoke weed every day. The community was very isolated and there are restrictions on bringing in alcohol. In isolated communities the teachers are usually white. My son stayed in the teachers' house during the summer when the teachers went south.


Here is a link to a government article about aboriginal people in Canada. The article gives the general impression of a high level of dysfunction, but blames it on residential schools, colonialism, etc.

If no one will face the most probably truth--that the dysfunction is caused by a genetic tendency to alcoholism--how can we ever find a cure?

http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/pi/rs/rep-rap/2008/rr08_1/p1.html


In Alaska, I would guess the situation among the aboriginals is the same as in Canada. I also get this impression by watching the TV show "Alaska Trooper". I have only watched it a few times, but it often involves natives.

Anonymous said...

Here is a link to a government article about aboriginal people in Canada. The article gives the general impression of a high level of dysfunction, but blames it on residential schools, colonialism, etc.

Yes, everything gets blamed on the residential schools. Native groups that weren't sent to residential schools - e.g. most Inuit (Eskimoes) and the Innu of Labrador - tend have the same social problems as groups that were sent, but this fact is ignored.

Cennbeorc

Paleo-Indigenous said...

Judging by looks is verboten in America today but what a shame: Looks tell you a lot about who's related to who. And as Steve notes it agrees with the cultural/IQ/language divisions. There's a certain look all up and down the Americas that's probably paleo-indian, Na-Dene have their own, different kinds of eskimos have their own. What surprises me is the large shared genetic contribution given the widely differing skull morphologies and IQs.

Axis of Tanning said...

Justin said...

The Navajo and Apache were indeed considered more war-like... Only when Anglo Americans arrived starting in the 1850s did Euro settlement begin to be possible, because the US Army was called in to pacify those tribes.

Interestingly, other native tribes (such as the Papago) played a key role in pacifying the Navajo and Apache. The peaceful, agriculture-based tribes of the Southwest hated the predatory Navajo and Apache, being constant subjects of their theft and violence, and were more than happy to help the US Army pacify them.

Many people are unaware, for example, that the Hopis and Navajo are traditional enemies.


I was in Northern Arizona and Southern Utah on holiday a couple of months ago. I saw plenty of what I took to be Navajo.

Amongst the books I read before I went were:

The Exploration of the Colorado River and Canyons by J W Powell and also Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey.

Powell mentioned encounters with peaceful Indians as well as many descriptions of fortified Cave dwellings and buildings (mostly deserted) in the canyon walls and commented on how whoever lived there, must have lived in great fear of something or some people.

Edward Abbey talks about the Indians and the Navajo in particular and said because of the terrain and the very war-like nature of the Navajo, the US army eventually had to starve the Navajo out by shooting their herds.

I take it you (Justin) are from Arizona? I drove along route 66 and stayed in Williams which I thought was a gorgeous little town.

The whole area is breathtakingly beautiful.

Bill said...

The Dene people are related to Tuvans; a sort of proto-Turkic group in south central Siberia.

As for population "waves," I doubt they ever stopped. Inuit were going back and forth from Siberia to Alaska even during the Cold War, and even an Irish Catholic missionary made the trip himself back in 1936 to gain converts in Siberia.

It seems pretty clear to me that Indians of the NW coast have something in common with NE Asians. Human movement doesn't usually happen in these Biblical "parting of the Red Sea" events, as people imagine, but rather constantly and innocuously. Just as the Middle East and Africa have always been intimately connected, so have Siberia and North America. Both have been inhabited for tens of thousands of years, and the barrier - the Bering Strait - is not all that formidable.

It would only take a couple days on a kayak with a stop on one of the Diomede islands. Actually, it would be a nice trip in early summer. I'm sure people have been crossing back and forth for thousands of years.

Anonymous said...

"The Navajo and Apache were indeed considered more war-like. It was their presence in the American Southwest which stymied Spanish colonization for literally hundreds of years."

The big problem for a long time was the larger and more powerful Comanches who occupied the lower central plains (the Apaches were a smaller tribe they had pushed south, but with whom they often allied). A problem for the US, and a bigger problem for Mexico, who they constantly raided. The Comanche had a big effect on US history, causing Mexico to invite armed settlers to Texas. As late as 1846 they raided within 150 miles of Mexico City in strength. See Comancheria:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Comancheria.jpg


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comanche-Mexico_War

"The Comanche considered themselves owners of a 500 by 400 mile block of land that stretched from the Arkansas River in Colorado to near the Rio Grande River in Texas. In the early nineteenth century, more than 10,000 Comanches shared this land, called Comancheria, with 2,000 Kiowa and Plains Apache..."


Even with Texas defending their north-east frontier, Comanche continued to raid Mexico. (I think at the time there were only around 4,000 Mexicans in Texas, mostly at missions):


"By the time the American army invaded northern Mexico in 1846 during the Mexican-American War the region was devastated. ...

"In attacking Mexico, the Comanche seemed motivated by opportunity, economics and revenge – their animosity toward non-Comanches sharpened by decades of war and reprisals. Thus, their raids on Mexico became increasing bloody and destructive. ...

In September 1840 and continuing until March 1841 came the first of the great raids. During this period six Comanche armies numbering between two hundred and eight hundred warriors invaded northern Mexico. The most far reaching of the raids reached ... 400 miles south of the Big Bend, their most common crossing point into Mexico. 472 Mexicans were reported killed and more than 100 captives were taken from these raids.

... between 1831 and 1848 a total of 44 raids of more than 100 men each were sent into Mexico. The victims of these raids amounted to 2,649 dead and 852 captives, of whom 580 were redeemed. ...

What livestock the Comanche could not steal, they killed. ...

The Comanche, on their part, suffered heavy casualties because they often seemed to seek out a fight rather than just raiding. ...

The bloodiest raiding year was July 1845-June 1846 when 652 Mexicans and 48 Comanches were recorded as killed...

The Comanches had turned northern Mexico into a “semicolonized landscape of extraction from which they could mine resources with little cost.”



The Comanches retained control over the plains until the advent of the revolver (more arrows could be fired from charging horses than muskets.) The Texas Rangers were formed primarily to fight the Comanche threat. (The Rangers were among the first to adopt the revolver as a standard weapon.)


After the US Mexico war, Mexico ceded land they did not control and hoped the US could end their Comanche problem:

"The United States pledged in the treaty that it would police the border to prevent Indian invasions of Mexico."

Anonymous said...

"The issue arises as to why [Eskimo's] brains are the largest, but that they're not the smartest. Wise commentators have noted that the parts of the brain which require visual skills take up the most space."

From looking at data collected by Lynn and others, it appears that among peoples whose ancestors were recent hunter-gatherers and primitive semi-nomadic scratch farmers (i.e., no heavy plows or improvement/fertilization of the land to maintain its fertility, but simply exhaust and move on), as one moves north into colder climes there is an marked tendancy towards larger brains, higher g, and, even more pronounced than elevated g, elevated visuospatial skills.

I've also noticed that, in addition to this climactic effect advocated by Lynn, peoples with a long history complex, hierarchical, agricultural societies with strong division of labor and literacy seem to "punch above their brain-size" in g and verbal ability. I suspect that this process, which is essentially what Cochran, Hardy, and Harpending proposed to explain high Ashkenazi intelligence has happened to a lesser extent in most "civilized" peoples and has been at least as important in elevating human intelligence as climatic effects in recent millenia.

I suspect that the reason such peoples tend to "punch above their brain-size" re g is twofold: 1) As other commenters have noted, the type of intelligence selected for by complex agricultural societies is less visuospatial and hence requires less processing space, and 2) because large, complex agricultural societies can support much higher populations, there are many more random mutations for natural selection to work upon and a greater likelihood of gene variants emerging that increase neural efficiency and can achieve the same levels of g with less volume of metabolically costly brain tissue (and a smaller head/brain that worked just as well would also reduce mortality risks from childbirth).