April 28, 2005

Clicks and pygmies

Science reports on some exciting new findings from the 2005 Paleoanthropology meeting:
Human relations. Sarah Tishkoff and Floyd Reed of the University of Maryland, College Park, presented preliminary analyses of a massive data set on genetic variation in humans around the world, particularly Africans. Samples from more than 3000 people, including 2000 Africans, were processed at 1275 loci by a genotyping powerhouse, the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation in Wisconsin. Tishkoff and Reed, who received the complete data set only 3 weeks ago, say it offers a powerful tool to uncover relationships among populations. For example, the data suggest that culturally distinct groups of Pygmies are more closely related to each other than to other Africans. The researchers also detected unique similarities in the peoples of Oceania and East Africa, lending support to the hypothesis of an early "southern route" of migration out of Africa, around the coast of India to Oceania and then Australia. Finally, they found ancient kinship among three groups of click speakers, supporting the idea that the click languages form a single, ancient language family
Addendum: Research page of Sarah Tishkoff.

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