Saturday, June 20, 2015

Peer-reviewed study shows that Kennewick-Man was Native American

I'd heard news on these results long ago [2] and was hoping to actually see them and get a glimpse at what some researchers were yammering on about. It seems we finally have uniparental (haplogroups) & autosomal DNA data on the infamous Kennewick-Man of North America & proves that he was ultimately most similar to Native Americans and of a genetic continuity with them. [1]

Kennewick-Man Skull

"Kennewick Man, referred to as the Ancient One by Native Americans, is a male human skeleton discovered in Washington state (USA) in 1996 and initially radiocarbon-dated to 8,340–9,200 calibrated years before present (bp). His population affinities have been the subject of scientific debate and legal controversy. Based on an initial study of cranial morphology it was asserted that Kennewick Man was neither Native American nor closely related to the claimant Plateau tribes of the Pacific Northwest, who claimed ancestral relationship and requested repatriation under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). The morphological analysis was important to judicial decisions that Kennewick Man was not Native American and that therefore NAGPRA did not apply. Instead of repatriation, additional studies of the remains were permitted. Subsequent craniometric analysis affirmed Kennewick Man to be more closely related to circumpacific groups such as the Ainu and Polynesians than he is to modern Native Americans. In order to resolve Kennewick Man’s ancestry and affiliations, we have sequenced his genome to ~1× coverage and compared it to worldwide genomic data including the Ainu and Polynesians. We find that Kennewick Man is closer to modern Native Americans than to any other population worldwide. Among the Native American groups for whom genome-wide data are available for comparison, several seem to be descended from a population closely related to that of Kennewick Man, including the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation (Colville), one of the five tribes claiming Kennewick Man. We revisit the cranial analyses and find that, as opposed to genomic-wide comparisons, it is not possible on that basis to affiliate Kennewick Man to specific contemporary groups. We therefore conclude based on genetic comparisons that Kennewick Man shows continuity with Native North Americans over at least the last eight millennia."

There's actually been a good degree of drama surrounding this chap's possible origins despite the age of his remains (8th millennium BCE), believe or not. From odd original claims that he had a "Caucasoid" morphology [3] to later more reliable anthropological teams finding that he looked rather similar to Ainus and Polynesians. [4]   

This clay facial reconstruction of Kennewick Man, who died about 8,500 years ago in what's now southeast Washington, was based on forensic scientists' study of the morphological features of his skull. [6]

Those suggestions were probably ridiculous from the start as to my knowledge there's no evidence of pre-colonial or pre-Norse peoples other than what are taken to be the ancient predecessors of Native Americans  having crossed over to the Americas. 

A PCA/ cluster, ADMIXTURE run and a heat map of f3-outgroup statistics; warmer colours indicate higher allele sharing

If I had to say I found anything about this rather interesting; it's that 1) that we have some more ancient genomic data from the Americas 2) Despite seeming very genetically similar to contemporary Native Americans and likely being of the same basal mixture as them (MA-1 related/ Ancient North Eurasian ancestry + ancient East Asian ancestry [5]) he seems to look notably distinct (phenotype wise) from many contemporary Native American populations & has more of a phenotypic affinity for groups like Ainus for example.

Otherwise, I don't think there's much else I in particular can say here as Native Americans aren't my forte. Enjoy the study... Christmas really came early this year with all of these new papers from the Sudan study to the Bronze Age Eurasia study (101 ancient genomes)  & now even this.

Reference List:


1. I'm not entirely sure but I think that first image I shared of the skull is basically a plastic casting or replica of some sort? It was even shared by the LA times and other sources and I wasn't sure if it was the real skull as it seems to clean/ white but it is an image of relatively the same skull (same damage on them and so on). I added it as it just looked visually appealing, to be fully honest.

2. Information from the study on his Haplogroups: The mitochondrial genome was sequenced to ~71× coverage and is placed at the root of haplogroup X2a , and the Y-chromosome haplogroup is Q-M3; both uniparental lineages are found almost exclusively among contemporary Native Americans.

Recommended read:

The genome of a Late Pleistocene human from a Clovis burial site in western Montana, Rasmussen et al. 2014

No comments:

Post a Comment