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13 July 2012


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The Twisted Genius

I did not find this news as earth shattering (or theory shattering) as it seems to be in the general press. The CS Monitor article mentions the anthropological linguist Joseph Greenberg who theorized that multiple migrations occurred based on his linguistic studies. There were earlier physical anthropologists that agreed with him based on their own studies. My advisor did his fieldwork among the Chipwayans so my interest in circumpolar peoples was a good fit. I could always tell he was in his office as soon as I climbed the stairs to the faculty floor. He wore his smoke tanned moose hide coat most of the time. I always saw the Inuits (Eskimos) of North America were culturally much closer to the native populations of Siberia than to the other "native" populations of the Americas. A few years ago, I saw a PBS show on tracing the human migrations out of Africa to all corners of the globe. The show's main thesis was that Africa was the cradle of humankind. I don't remember if it postulated multiple migrations across the Bering land bridge. It would be interesting to see that data if I can find it. It seems the term "aboriginal" is relative.

FB Ali


An article in the July 2008 Scientific American on the study of human migrations based on analysis of mitochondrial DNA and the Y chromosome indicates that there were two migrations by separate lineages across the Bering bridge. It does not discuss the question of multiple crossings by cohorts from each lineage at different times. A link to the abstract is at:


Maureen Lang

-Hey, Maureen, there's our great great..... grandpa chatting with Samoset. pl

Hmmmm, always did wonder why I have such an affinity for wide-brimmed hats...

Maureen Lang

-Maybe Custer didn't "die for our sins." Maybe he was just a jerk.

Remember the line from "The Court Martial of George Armstrong Custer?" "Too many, Yellow Hair. Too many."

I'm voting "jerk."



I would walk by his grave at WP and spit on it in memory of the 250 odd troopers of the 7th Cavalry Regiment that he killed at LBH by his mania and stupidity. pl


Have you ever been to LBH? The first time I saw the place it was creepy. In the Fall at about 5 p.m., sun low in the West and very gold and brown all around. I've questioned Custer's wisdom since then. What the hell was he fighting for? A bone dry piece of Montana with rattlesnakes?


There is no reason to think that the waves of immigration (each of which probably took centuries) entailed a massive extermination or even displacement of established populations. As the DNA survey points out, these ethnically similar populations gradually merged. This could not have been like the Anglo-Saxons invasion of the tiny island of Britain a few miles removed. Most certainly, it was not at all like the invasion of the Americas by a wholly alien population (in every sense) with an enormous advantage of technology and weaponry. The latter produced rapid slaughter, enslavement and/or total displacement on an incomparable scale. there is no gainsaying that reality.

Babak Makkinejad

It seems to me that you are unaware of the nub of the issue.

The non-Mongoloid remains, such as those of the Kennwick man, raises the question of the racial origins of the founders of Central & South American Civilizations - the Toltecs, the Olmecs, the Maya, the Inca and the others.

Very many anthropologists, due to their "liberal" disposition, are extremely uncomfortable with such questions that attempy to ascertain the relationship between race, culture, and civilization.

On the other hand, there was a long tradition of European thinkers after Enlightenment that subscribed to the doctrine that only "White Men" are capable of civilization.

Unfortunately, the achievement of Scientific Truth is no longer the aim under such conditions.



"such questions that attempy to ascertain the relationship between race, culture, and civilization." I am quite aware and find liberals amusing in their sensitivity over this. pl

Alba Etie

Col Lang
The studies by Professor Gates suggests that no matter what we may think or feel about Race - we all are Cousins . And yes BHO did invent himself.

The Twisted Genius

Brigadier Ali,

Thanks for that link. I also found some gems in Wikipedia. The research and the accompanying debate are explained quite succinctly. Some of the research suggests smaller back migrations along with the larger migrations into the Americas. The quality of Wikipedia varies wildly, but these articles are top notch.



The Twisted Genius


You seem to be channeling Franz Boas. He first classified South and Central American indians as mongoloid based on physical characteristics. That claim is not standing up to genetic and linguistic research. Besides, classification is not origin.

Anthropologists as liberals? Ain't that the truth! Anthropology is still primarily fieldwork and "going native" is a common disease.

You're also right about those early anthropologists that believed in orthogenesis. I think Boas' greatest contribution to the field is his challenging of that view and championing of the theories of cultural (Darwinian) evolution.

The Twisted Genius

Professor Brenner, think millenniums rather than centuries, but you do get the general idea.



"Race - we all are Cousins"

Well, my proprietor friend.

Sadly I prefer some cousins (Caucasians, Jews, etc.) to others (denizens of mena, mainland chinks, etc).

Babak Makkinejad

I am not channeling anyone.

I actually do not believe, based on empirical evidence, on cultural evolution theories.

Australia is a good counter example; 60,000 years of stasis seems to have been the case.

I actually have come to suspect that the scientific truth lies closer to diffiusionism.

Yes, I know of Elliot Smith and other discredited investigators but there is too much thematic commonality in myths to otherwise explain.

The Twisted Genius

Professor Brenner et al,

When I said you got the general idea, I was referring to the timeframe of human history. It's not quite geologic time, but it's a far grander view than that of recent political history... many, many millenniums rather than a couple of decades. A fitting continuum would be the timeframes of geologists, anthropologists, historians and political scientists.

I also did not mean to infer that early America was a peaceable kingdom prior to the coming of the white man. Over the years (or millenniums in this case) we tend to romanticize our distant past or just lose sight of it. We do not know anything about the level of violence among the early migrators into the Americas, but we do know something about the violence of the descendants of these early migrators. The Aztecs and Mayans were accomplished practitioners of warfare. The Iroquois waged bloody war against their neighbors including the Huron, the Algonquin and the Susquehan. They often drove their enemies from their lands while expanding their own Iroquois Nation. We, as humankind, were good at war long before the invention of cold steel and gunpowder. We just kept getting better at it.


This is old, old news. Where has Prof Ruiz-Linares been during the past half century. A substantial body of scientific evidence has accrued re multiple migrations. And one has only to note the differences between Inuit and Aleut, Anasazi and Athabascan to realize their were multiple migrations and those are only four of the 500 Nations.

But that does not mean we should start looking for a lost tribe of Welshmen like Jefferson thought; or for a lost tribe of Israel; or the survivors of Atlantis. Those are eurocentric pipe dreams. As far as Kennewick Man, I never understood the big deal. Ainu ethnicity is considered early mongoloid. They are definitely not Caucasian despite the hair. They were present in the the Kurile Islands and in Siberia in addition to Japan. There is nothing to indicate that they could not have been part of one of those multiple migrations.

Speaking of the hairy Ainu, they or their ancestors were also present in the Ryukyu Islands. Not so much on the main island of Okinawa anymore, but there are still traces in the outlying islands. So they were a seafaring people and could easily have participated in coastal-littoral trips to the Americas. Much of their culture is similar to the early culture of coastal Alaskan and northwestern US tribes. I recall fondly that back in the early 60s while stationed on Okinawa I knew a girl from Miyako Jima that still had some traces of Jomon ancestry. She was beautiful, but a tad hairy. No beard but she shaved her legs just about every day. Although just a teenager (so was I) she had armpit hair as thick and as long as that of a Sicilian matron. Wonderful girl, I should have married her, but she would never leave her kith and kin.

I would think there is probably a little Polynesian DNA mix along the coast of Ecuador and Peru. There is some evidence now that a small group of Polynesians made it to South America. Heyerdahl always tried to prove the opposite that some white paleoindians, the Kon-Tikis colonized Polynesia. I believe that has been discredited.

The Twisted Genius


I disagree. The Aborigine culture of Australia is a good example supporting the theory of cultural evolution. A culture in relative stasis is a legitimate response to an environment in relative stasis. Cultural evolution does not mean constant change for the sake of change. The imperative for change/advancement is a Western concept... and a hallmark of the orthogenesists.

I do agree with you that there is plenty of evidence for diffusionism, especially with the increased cross cultural contact of the last few centuries. But diffusionism will never reach its ultimate conclusion of Friedman's flat earth.

The Twisted Genius

Mike, I am in violent agreement with you. Multiple migrations into the Americas was part of Anthropology 101 back in the early 70s.


TTG & Mikw

Surely you realize that even I knew about multiple immigrations from Asia. Do you count the stream of Chinese gandy dancers and laundrymen into California as another? pl



I used to walk by his grave at WP and spit on it in memory of the several hundred troopers of the 7th that he killed with his egotism and stupidity. pl

Babak Makkinejad

We have to agree to disagree then about evolutionism; you seem to wish to have it both ways: sometimes evolution applies and sometimes it does not.

It is like the Darwinians who cannot explain why sea turtles, as an example; have remained unchanged in form over tens of millions of years while the genus homo underwent rapid changes.

In regards to diffusionism, my intent was not the contention of an eventaul homogenization of human societies into the future.

I had in mind somethings such as Ancestor Worship rites that seem to have been widespread all over the world; in Africa, in Rome and Greece, in the Near East as well as in the Far East.

The Twisted Genius


Not enough gandy dancers and laundrymen to constitute a wave... yet. We'll see what happens in the next couple of hundred years. I will note that my oldest son was the only person of European ancestry in his suite at CMU. His seven roommates were Chinese. I wonder if the Hispanic "wave" now moving north will be considered a continuation of the migration of Europeans to the new world, first northern Europeans, now Iberian Europeans. Several thousand years from now, perhaps the mitochondrial DNA evidence will show a minor back migration of South and Central American Indians northward along with Iberian wave. I have no doubt that advances in genetic, linguistic and other fields of anthropology will allow the tracking of human migration to a very precise degree.

Yes, Colonel Lang, your post is more perceptive than most will realize. The migration of northern Europeans across the Atlantic Ocean and westward across the continent is just one of many migrations undertaken by humankind and not the last one... but you probably knew that, too.



Yes. The circumlocutions are a habit, but you knew that. pl

Alba Etie

Define 'mainland chink " please

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