What can genes tell us about who we are? Millions of people around the world have begun using consumer ancestry services like 23andMe in an attempt to peer into their personal origins and understand where they came from.
Meanwhile, though, in a handful of elite genetics labs around the world, scientists have begun analyzing ancient DNA — which can now be extracted from skeletal remains that are thousands or even tens of thousands of years old — to ask, and try to answer, even more fundamental questions about the human past.
In only the past few years, as a new report in The New York Times Magazine describes, this burgeoning science of “paleogenomics” has begun to offer surprising revisions to the story of humanity. But at the same time, this research has generated significant controversy, including among some of the archaeologists, anthropologists and other academics who have collaborated with geneticists on this work.
Here are some key takeaways.
For decades, it was commonly believed that ancient communities tended to stay in one place — and thus didn’t mix very much with their neighbors. When a lab in Leipzig, Germany, sequenced the majority of a Neanderthal genome, in 2010, the scientists surprised just about everybody with the finding that humans and Neanderthals had actually interbred; we now know that most people, with the general exception of sub-Saharan Africans, can trace part of their genetic inheritance to our extinct cousins.
As it turns out, we probably bear very little resemblance to human populations of ancient times. Most of these groups — to which researchers have given names like “Ancient North Eurasians” — disappeared as distinct populations as they mixed with other peoples they encountered. The idea of “pure” groups with identifiable “origins” has been largely reconsidered.
For example, ancient DNA research seems to indicate that about 5,000 years ago, when Europe was populated with a mix of hunter-gatherer groups and early farmers, a group of outsiders suddenly arrived — nomadic herders from the Asian steppes — and within a relatively short time their own ancestry became prevalent. Sometimes these prehistoric migrations seemed to result in “admixture” between groups on an even footing. Other times, however, researchers describe population “replacement” or “turnover” — the near-wholesale shift from one predominant ancestry to another. Contemporary Europeans owe a significant amount of their genetic inheritance to the incoming herders.
In the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu, a few thousand kilometers northeast of Australia, the national post issued stamps that commemorated the first settlers on their remote shores. In an artist’s recreation of the founding scene, the people were drawn to resemble the country’s modern inhabitants, an indigenous group called the ni-Vanuatu.
Recent work with the region’s ancient DNA, however, has suggested that the original settlers were in fact the distant descendants of a group of migrants from East Asia — people who looked nothing like the contemporary ni-Vanuatu, whose ancestors are presumed to have arrived much later. Does the country need to reimagine its origin story, down to its stamps?
Many archaeologists feel as though they’ve been here before. For the first half of the twentieth century, archaeology tended to believe that large migrations of superior peoples shaped the landscape and culture of the ancient world. That idea was easily exploited by nationalists, eager to tell stories about their people’s glorious past; the Nazis, for example, seized on the ideas of Gustaf Kossinna, a German archaeologist whose work seemed to find evidence of the inherent superiority of the German people.
In the early 1960s, a new generation of archaeologists came to question these grand historical narratives and the unwarranted assumptions that supported them. They turned away from simplistic stories about the distant past in favor of much more detailed attention to specific societal dynamics. Now, some worry that their geneticist colleagues are making similarly grand claims on the basis of a small number of samples.
Ancient DNA research has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success in a very short period of time, and the latest results are often published in the most prestigious journals. This has led to great demand for access to old bones, especially from exotic places. These unique samples are often destroyed or damaged in the process of DNA extraction.
Archaeologists may get credit for providing the bone samples that make high-profile papers possible, but some say they feel as though their own expertise is being ignored in the process. Some of them have been cited as co-authors on papers that directly contradict their own work. These misgivings are accompanied by a concern among the critics that some leading geneticists are being insensitive to the needs or priorities of indigenous communities. (These geneticists, for their part, believe these criticisms are unfounded; in their view, their high-quality work provides important data for scientists in a variety of fields to build on.)
As the Times Magazine’s report notes, the controversy underscores not just a gap in priorities between different academic disciplines but also a conflict between two warring scholarly attitudes: on the one hand, “those bewitched by grand intellectual narratives,” and on the other hand, “those who wearily warn that such adventures rarely end well.”B:
【定】【下】【来】？【安】【奈】【一】【下】【有】【点】【儿】【懵】，【他】【想】【要】，【定】【下】【来】？【和】【谁】？ 【安】【奈】【一】【下】【不】【知】【怎】【么】【反】【应】，【只】【是】【看】【着】【他】，【可】【没】【一】【会】【儿】【他】【像】【是】【又】【恢】【复】【了】【正】【常】，【叹】【了】【口】【气】，【把】【杯】【子】【里】【的】【酒】【一】【饮】【而】【尽】，“【那】【个】【徐】【思】【琪】【最】【近】【太】【活】【跃】【了】。” 【这】【话】【题】【转】【的】【有】【点】【强】【硬】，【可】【安】【奈】【却】【衔】【接】【的】【十】【分】【好】，【毕】【竟】【对】【于】【这】【个】【问】【题】【他】【的】【头】【脑】【是】【完】【全】【清】【晰】【的】。 “【徐】【思】【琪】？
【二】【圣】【回】【道】，【语】【气】【却】【是】【凝】【重】【的】【很】。 【这】【话】【语】，【让】【众】【人】【先】【是】【一】【愣】，【旋】【即】【哄】【笑】【出】【声】。 【人】【怎】【么】【可】【能】【是】【屁】【做】【的】【呢】？ 【何】【况】【二】【圣】【这】【种】【身】【体】【强】【度】【达】【到】【极】【致】，【连】【六】【元】【真】【火】【都】【烧】【不】【死】，【甚】【至】【连】【体】【表】【黑】【色】【毛】【发】【都】【烧】【不】【掉】【的】【存】【在】。 【二】【圣】【似】【乎】【早】【就】【预】【测】【到】【众】【人】【会】【不】【信】，【不】【过】【也】【懒】【得】【解】【释】【什】【么】。 “【没】【想】【到】【啊】，【真】【是】【没】【想】【到】，【这】【世】【间】【竟】
【一】【路】【上】，【雷】【阳】【一】【直】【在】【想】【项】【羽】【小】【姐】【说】【的】【话】。【无】【论】【是】【藏】【龙】【救】【命】【护】【身】【符】，【还】【是】【楚】【少】【白】【和】【楚】【少】【舜】【的】【身】【体】【和】【副】【身】【体】，【雷】【阳】【都】【觉】【得】【很】【神】【奇】。 4 .【当】【时】【他】【的】【情】【绪】【很】【稳】【定】，【但】【实】【际】【上】【他】【很】【紧】【张】。【通】【过】【相】【玉】【姑】【娘】【的】【眼】【睛】，【他】【可】【以】【判】【断】【出】【相】【玉】【姑】【娘】【绝】【对】【没】【有】【说】【谎】。 【但】【是】【她】【也】【从】【其】【他】【地】【方】【听】【说】【了】【这】【件】【事】，【所】【以】【这】【件】【事】【的】【真】【实】【性】【还】【是】【值】【得】东方心经6和资料乐园【最】【后】【叶】【纪】【念】【打】【电】【话】【给】【叶】【昊】【的】【秘】【书】，【扔】【下】【一】【屁】【股】【烂】【摊】【子】【和】【叶】【以】【南】【去】【了】【医】【院】。 【叶】【昊】【的】【秘】【书】【姓】【林】，【经】【常】【给】【叶】【纪】【念】【收】【拾】【烂】【摊】【子】，【能】【力】【强】【话】【不】【多】，【听】【到】【叶】【纪】【念】【的】【吩】【咐】【也】【只】【是】【问】【了】【一】【句】：“【需】【要】【送】【你】【们】【去】【医】【院】【吗】？”【被】【拒】【绝】【后】【也】【不】【多】【再】【多】【话】。 【去】【医】【院】【的】【出】【租】【车】【上】，【两】【人】【一】【路】【无】【言】。【气】【氛】【一】【度】【尴】【尬】【到】【凝】【固】。【司】【机】【师】【傅】【已】【经】【从】【后】【视】
“【怎】【么】【了】【吗】？” 【孙】【章】【听】【话】【地】【转】【身】，【却】【又】【扭】【回】【头】【来】，【看】【着】【望】【夜】【白】。 【望】【夜】【白】【也】【不】【说】【话】，【忽】【然】【横】【出】【一】【掌】【按】【在】【孙】【章】【的】【脊】【背】【上】。 “【呃】【啊】——”【孙】【章】【大】【叫】【一】【声】，【差】【点】【直】【接】【从】【凳】【子】【上】【掉】【到】【地】【下】【去】。 【出】【掌】【瞬】【间】，【域】【境】【已】【经】【延】【伸】【到】【孙】【章】【身】【周】，【那】【些】【受】【损】【的】【经】【脉】，【便】【像】【是】【被】【望】【夜】【白】【亲】【眼】【看】【到】【一】【般】，【所】【在】【何】【处】，【排】【布】【如】【何】，【望】【夜】
【对】【于】【天】【气】【的】【变】【化】，【一】【开】【始】【并】【没】【有】【引】【起】【太】【多】【的】【重】【视】。 【除】【了】【偶】【有】【几】【个】【发】【现】【那】【朵】【飘】【在】【天】【空】【中】【的】【乌】【云】【的】【弟】【子】【们】【会】【私】【下】【里】【议】【论】【一】【下】【外】，【一】【朵】【小】【小】【的】【乌】【云】，【并】【没】【能】【掀】【起】【太】【大】【的】【话】【题】。 【毕】【竟】，【这】【里】【可】【是】【月】【寒】【宫】【所】【在】【的】【小】【世】【界】，【是】【她】【们】【传】【承】【了】【亿】【万】【年】【的】【宗】【门】【所】【在】【地】。 【这】【小】【世】【界】【的】【安】【全】【程】【度】，【说】【一】【声】【是】【三】【界】【六】【道】【最】【安】【全】【的】【地】【方】【也】