In a recent post to his webpage Linguist Robert Lindsay makes two important observations (among others). In the final paragraph he notes how the Mozabite people in Algeria are Caucasoid but they are “some of the weirdest-looking Caucasoids I have ever seen. They don’t really look like any other race of humans..” He notes some look like people from India. He also notes that in papers about the genesis of the Caucasian race North Africa, the Middle East, and India are mentioned (frequently) as hubs for the development of this race 30-40 kya. He further notes that the Mozabite people are mentioned over and over when remains of ancient genetic groups are discussed along with the Uighur “for some odd reason.” I think this is because some researchers consider the Mozabites and Uighur to be some of the most ancient people on the planet.
This is subject matter for a future post I think but for now I want to focus on something else Lindsay said in this post. He notes, “There are also links between Orcadians (Scottish Islanders) and Siberians.” This is true and has been acknowledged by some researchers. Then Lindsay goes on to say this:
“Skulls from Europe from 21,000 YBP (years before present) look more like Amerindians than anything else. The closest match-up between those ancient European skulls is the Makah Amerindian tribe from Europe.”
Now the Makah are actually a Native American tribe currently dwelling in Washington State in the Pacific Northwest of the US. They are a federally recognized tribe. These people have hunted whales and seals for generations. So I’m not sure what Lindsay means by saying the Makah “tribe from Europe” because most anthropologist believe these people came via the Beringia Landbridge into North America and never were in Europe. However, skulls of SOME Europe from around 21 kya DO in fact resemble Amerindian skulls!
In 2007 there was a find and DNA analysis that undercut recent theories about Paleoamericans (the first people in the New World) having originally come from SE Asia or even Europe. That find was the “Cave Maiden.” These remains were of a teenage girl found in a Mexican cave who lived about 12 kya. The cave is the Outland Cave in the Yucatan. Her bones are believed to be one of the oldest and most complete skeletons ever found in the Americas. DNA analysis showed her ancestry was from a now vanished land between Siberia and Alaska.
The cave maiden was named “Nala” and in terms of her skull, teeth, and general facial structure she looks NOTHING LIKE MODERN NATIVE AMERICANS! In fact, NEITHER TO THE REMAINS OF OTHER PALEOINDIANS!! This lack of resemblance is what gave rise to many wild theories that these first Americans came from far away places such as Polynesia, Western Asia, and even Europe. Analysis of Nala’s DNA showed that her lineage was from that land between Siberia and Alaska known as Beringia from around 15 kya.
Something else about this lack of resemblance between Paleoamericans and modern Native Americans is that it raises a VERY INTERESTING question. That is, why the skull and facial changes between the two? Or to put it as geneticist Rasmus Nielsen at UCLA has put it, “Is it really true that Native Americans have EVOLVED IN SUCH A SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME?”. Indeed is it? But Nala and her people, the Paleoamericans, are not alone in this quick evolution as this has been found in other human populations as well! I wonder instead of rapid evolution could it have been a matter of the Paleoindians entering into the Americas and interbreeding with some human population that was already here with the end result being hybrid offspring (modern Native Americans)? And could this also be the case with other people who are thought to have “rapidly evolved”?
But, there is still something else in this matter which needs to be considered. Nala’s DNA shows her ancestry is from Beringia but DNA evidence from living and ancient people conducted in two studies in 2015. BOTH of these studies detected traces of DNA in modern Native Americans from Australia and Melanesia!! Add this other studies showing that there is NO Australian or Melanesian traces of DNA in ancient South American Indians but they did find such traces in modern South American Indians!! Confusing? You bet!!
Now as if this all isn’t enough to confuse you add in these two elements: Kennewick Man (sorry but IMO the science is NOT settled!! and the Solutreans!!
So why do some ancient European skulls look like Native American skulls?
Let me say that I think many people from many different areas came to the Americas and interbred with people already here. I think the foot traffic between Siberia and Alaska went both ways with many back and forth treks. I think Polynesians and Pacific Islanders reached the Americas via the ocean especially in South America. And on the eastern side of North America I DO think the Solutreans (Europeans) reached our shores even though this theory is highly controversial. Whether by some long gone landbridge or ice bridge who knows? But I personally do think there is enough evidence to support the Solutrean theory.
The Americas, then, were NOT AN ISOLATED PLACE! In fact, I don’t think they ever have been an isolated place! I think they have been people for a long, long time!! We’ve got to get this idea (myth) out of our minds and perception that the Americas were once this pristine Eden untouched by ancient human ancestors. In my mind that idea is just more American ethnocentrism!
All of these people coming to the Americas and interbreeding to various extents support the fact that we find European, African, and Pacific Islander as well as Asian DNA in ancient remains in the Americas. In fact, I can’t help but wonder if the Americas have been a “melting pot” far, far longer than we suspect! But it all worked TWO WAYS. Why do SOME European skulls resemble Native American skulls? Interbreeding! Ancient people did NOT live in isolation and, in fact, just the opposite seems to be true and that is man/woman were EXPLORERS and MIGRATORS. And they interbred with the people they encountered to various extents producing hybrid offspring.
All this is why we find European skulls that look Native American. It is why we see the “rapid evolution” in from Paleoindians who looked nothing like modern Native Americans. It wasn’t “rapid evolution” but contact and interbreeding! We like to conceive of things as nice and orderly but I do NOT think the migrations of ancient people were nice and orderly at all. Further, I am 100% certain humans have always been explorers and migrants! So why should it be any different in prehistoric times? I mean, afterall, didn’t we migrate in and out of Africa as asserted in the mainstream?
IF the evolution between Paleoindians and modern Native Americas rapidly took place over the past 20,000 years then that is fantastic! How do we explain it? What could cause such speedy evolution? Then, how to we explain those species which have undergone little to NO evolution? These examples alone certainly suggest that we are missing SOMETHING BIG in our evolutionary theories!! And I mean REALLY BIG!!
It was NOT rapid evolution at all. It was multicultural contact and interbreeding! Hybridization in short!! It’s time to wake up and smell the remains 🙂