Thursday, April 14, 2005

DNA project to trace human steps


A project spanning five continents is aiming to map the history of human migration via DNA.

The Genographic Project will collect DNA samples from over 100,000 people worldwide to help piece together a picture of how the Earth was colonised.

Samples gathered from indigenous people and the general public will be subjected to lab and computer analysis to extract the valuable genetic data.

Team leader Dr Spencer Wells calls the plan "the Moon shot of anthropology".

The $40m (£21m) privately-funded initiative is a collaboration between National Geographic, IBM and charity the Waitt Family Foundation.

Participating in the five-year study are some of the world's top population geneticists as well as leading experts in the fields of ancient DNA, linguistics and archaeology.

I once heard some some-ologist say that bison were not indiginous to North America because they cross the Alaskan land bridge into Alaska 10,000 years ago. How stupid is that? My question is why not elephants? I am interested in the migration of native americans. How and why did they keep pushing until they got well into South America and how long did that take? Also, if I am correct the folks that left Africa and went into Europe were neanderthals who eventually got snuffed out by homo sapiens (from Africa?). So do we know that the Asian guys from Africa who crossed the Alaskan bridge were homo sapien? If not, then we have've got issues to deal with.

I got this from a friend today. I thought it was funny:

After digging to a depth of 100 meters last year, Russian scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 1000 years, and came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network one thousand years ago.

So, not to be outdone, in the weeks that followed, American scientists dug 200 metres and headlines in the US papers read: "US scientists have found traces of 2000 year old optical fibres, and have concluded that their ancestors already had advanced
high-tech digital telephone 1000 years earlier than the Russians."

One week later, the Nigerian newspapers reported the following: "After digging as deep as 500 meters, Nigerian scientists have found absolutely nothing. They have concluded that 5000 years ago, their ancestors were already using wireless phones"


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