April 03, 2008

mtDNA haplogroups A2 and B2 in pre-Clovis Americans

Read also, a much related recent study on The phylogeny of Native American mtDNA haplogroups

Researchers, led by UO archaeologist, find pre-Clovis human DNA:
DNA from dried human excrement recovered from Oregon's Paisley Caves is the oldest found yet in the New World -- dating to 14,300 years ago, some 1,200 years before Clovis culture -- and provides apparent genetic ties to Siberia or Asia, according to an international team of 13 scientists.


The team’s extensively documented analyses on mitochondrial DNA -- genetic material passed on maternally -- removed from long-dried feces, known as coprolites, were published online April 3 in Science Express ahead of regular publication in the journal Science.


The DNA testing indicated that the feces belonged to Native Americans in haplogroups A2 and B2, haplogroups common in Siberia and east Asia.

Science DOI: 10.1126/science.1154116

DNA from Pre-Clovis Human Coprolites in Oregon, North America

M. Thomas P. Gilbert et al.

The timing of the first human migration into the Americas and its relation to the appearance of the Clovis technological complex in North America ca. 11-10.8 thousand radiocarbon years before present (14C ka B.P.) remains contentious. We establish that humans were present at Paisley 5 Mile Point Caves, south-central Oregon, by 12,300 14C yr. B.P., through recovery of human mtDNA from coprolites, directly dated by accelerator mass spectrometry. The mtDNA corresponds to Native American founding haplogroups A2 and B2. The dates of the coprolites are >1000 14C years earlier than currently accepted dates for the Clovis-complex.



Jim Bowery said...

Fascinating that mtDNA was not available from the samples taken of the skeleton of the 9000 year old Kennewick man, while mtDNA was available from 14,000 year old feces:

Pieces of metacarpal and rib bone were … sent for DNA analysis to three renowned laboratories: Yale University, the University of California at Davis and the University of Michigan. None of the laboratories was able to extract DNA for analysis due to the antiquity and mineralization of the more than 9,000 year-old bone.

pconroy said...


Right, but then of course Kennewick man did have a somewhat European appearance, which was "troubling" for some academics...

War Lord said...

What about if Altaian Proto-Indians (Q+A) had got to America before they mixed with Proto-Mongoloids in Asia? I think over this possibility recently. However, most of the American "Non-Indian" crania coming from early Holocene have affiliations with South-East Asia and Papuomelanesia, which would make mtDNA haplogroup B the most likely candidate... But then they say that B is of the same age like A, C, D, X... Only paleogentics can resolve this problem.

Crimson Guard said...

Yeah, I am not satisfied as to the way they handled and botched up the Kennewick man find. There was lots of cover-ups and politics involved. Oddly enough Anthropologists never agreed as to whether the Ainu people were Proto-Caucasoids, Caucasoids,Proto-Mongoloid, Australoid or some kinda combo, even years ago.

Here's some plates from-

Professor Coon:


Professor Hooton:

Jim Bowery said...

One thing that occurs to me concerning the coprolites is that if they are so superior to skeletons as a source of DNA that a 14kyo coprolite yields results but a 9kyo skeleton doesn't, we may be in fat city from an ancient DNA perspective! I mean think about the total mass left by a human's feces vs the total mass left by a human's skeleton and you may see what I mean.

A serious look-see around areas like Cactus Hill, VA for coprolites should yield some very interesting mtDNA results.

Unknown said...

Dear Jim Bowery

The problem is that there are other skeletons like the Kennewick Man in America but the Amerindians don't allow those to be removed from their tombs!

Dienekes Pontikos said...

>> The problem is that there are other skeletons like the Kennewick Man in America but the Amerindians don't allow those to be removed from their tombs!


Unknown said...

I don't remember Dienekes.
I can recall though that i have read it in a relative article about the Kennewick Man but not which in particular.
There was an issue with the Amerindians and their non willingness to dig out some other skeletons from the earth.

Unknown said...

Very interesting also would be to try and take Y-DNA from the Chancelade fossil!!!
I am wandering if it's going to be a typical Hg of Europoids or of Mongoloids?
Perhaps it could none of the above!!!

Jim Bowery said...

The real problem is less that digs are being prevented than that DNA testing is being prevented due the politically explosive nature of the material. For instance, an obvious candidate for DNA testing is the Spirit Cave mummy, but the museum will not perform the DNA testing out of fear of the political and consequently legal complications resulting.

"DNA analysis and radiocarbon dating on Spirit Cave Man and other sets of human remains from
the Lahontan Basin was withdrawn earlier this year.
“The Secretary of the Interior is considering recommendations from the NAGPRA Review
Committee on the disposition of remains like those from Spirit Cave that cannot be affiliated,”
said Abbey. “I am keenly aware of the cultural sensitivity of the materials from Spirit Cave and I
have no intention of approving any research that involves invasive testing of the human remains
until the Secretary acts.”"


In other words, DNA testing is "invasive testing" and cannot be authorized until "affiliation" can be determined. A classic Catch-22.

Unfortunately, this Catch-22 is likely to err on the side of reburying any remains prior to DNA testing if policies promoted in California become uniform law:

"Native American human remains found on private land must be reintered "in a location not subject to further subsurface disturbance" if the Commission cannot identify a descendant of the remains..."


""Native science" (i.e., oral traditions) must be given "no less weight than any other evidence" in proceedings to have federal land declared sacred. If interpreted liberally, this requirement would mean that even obviously unreliable oral accounts would be entitled to the same weight as the strongest scientific data."


So even if, somehow, DNA testing were permitted in order to determine "affiliation" -- which the Spirit Cave mummy demonstrates it is not -- then the tribes, whoever they are, can claim anything they want to claim and the courts must accept those claims as "evidence" of equal weight to DNA results.

UncleTomRuckusInGoodWhiteWorld said...

Antigonos is not wrong Dienekes...here is an example:

"The repatriation debate stormed into Illinois with a vengeance in 1989, when the World Archaeological Congress condemned the Dickson Mounds Museum’s open display of Mississippian burials near Lewiston. The 200-some burials had been left mostly as Dr. Don Dickson had excavated them beginning in 1927, complete with pottery and other grave goods, and had been a popular tourist destination for many years. They also became an increasingly popular target of Native American protests, especially after other similar open burial displays had shut down. Museum Director Judith Franke and other anthropologists in the Illinois state museum system recommended to then-Governor Jim Thompson that the open burial exhibit be closed.

Governor Thompson agreed, but when his decision hit the newspapers, a firestorm of protest rained down from local residents who felt the exhibit was an important part of their history that should not be closed. The dispute intensified during the 1990 gubernatorial campaign; on one occasion several Native American protesters jumped into the exhibit and covered some of the skeletons with blankets, and later a group of more than fifty activists, some from as far away as Oklahoma, marched into the exhibit area with shovels and began reburying the remains."


There are many Native American tribes who believe any disturbance of ANY pre-Columbian finds in the Americas to be sacrilege. They not only protest and request the return of skeletons from museums but also protest any new excavations...especially when they fear it shows they came from Asia, which goes against most of their tribal myths and their claim that they have "always been here".

This is a religious issue for many of them as much as identity.