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How Americas were Populated (Part 8 of 8)

We’re concluding our conversation with Dr. Thomas Murphy.  Last time we talked about why modern Egyptians don’t match current Egyptians.  Dr. Murphy says a similar case arises with Native Americans.  We talk about how Native Americans migrated from Asia, and how long they’ve been in the Americas.

Thomas:  The dating of the entry into the Americas is hugely debated. There’s some archaeological evidence suggesting 130,000 years ago, but the DNA evidence suggests that indigenous people were separated from their closest Asian relatives around 30,000 years ago. Then, we’re finding more and more archaeological evidence pushing that date of the migration back. But our challenge is that not a lot of fossils older than 12,000 years old are in the Americas. There’s some archaeological sites and stuff that we found in the Americas that are older than that. But, the DNA suggests that the ancestors of the American Indians have been here longer than anthropologists typically thought, maybe used to think. So, now we’re much more open to the idea that people were here before the Ice Age. It’s really the ice age that is kind of the controlling factor there.  The assumption of most anthropologists before the rise of DNA evidence, was that people came after the melting of the ice, the end of the ice ages, so that would put it after 12,000 years ago, that the ancestors American Indians came.  Just down the road from me, there’s a mastodon that’s got a stone point embedded in the bone that’s older than the ice ages, 13,000 years old. So, how did it get there if there weren’t people? Most definitely, I think we can say now that people arrived here before the ice ages. That raised the point of how did they get here? Because that idea before was that there was this land bridge and then there was an ice-free corridor between two of the glaciers that opened up, and that people must have come down through that ice free corridor.

GT:  The Bering Strait, right?

Thomas:  Yes. They actually looked at the ice-free corridor and looked at the ecology of it using this environmental DNA work. The plants and animals weren’t there to sustain people early enough for that to be a viable entry point for people into the Americas.  So, from my perspective, that’s been refuted.

GT:  Whoa. There’s not a land bridge? They had to come a different way, not on the land bridge. Is that what you’re saying?

Thomas:  They had to come from Asia, because that’s where the relatives are. But coming through an ice-free corridor, from basically the Beringia through an ice-free corridor into the Americas, we know that’s wrong now.

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Dr. Thomas Murphy says the first Native Americans probably didn’t come across a land bridge in Beringia.

Don’t miss our other conversations with Dr. Murphy!

473: Possible to Lose DNA?

472: Who Killed the Indians?

471: Strengths & Weakness of DNA Essay/ Comparing Indian & BoM Stories

470: Behind the Scenes of DNA Essay

469: Untold Story of Indian Slavery in America

468: Religious Fights over DNA

467: Native American DNA Scholarship

 

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Possible to Lose DNA? (Part 7 of 8)

According to the Gospel Topics essay, the reason why Middle Eastern DNA isn’t found among Native Americans is because the Nephite/Lamanite DNA was dwarfed by a large population.  Dr. Thomas Murphy takes issue with that, but he does acknowledge that DNA can be lost.

GT:  Are you saying that it is possible to lose DNA, like the Incan boy and the Vikings and Egypt?

Thomas:  It’s possible for DNA lineages to go extinct. Yes.

GT:  Okay.

Thomas:  That’s definitely possible. It’s documented, no doubt about it. And so it’s possible for a small population to have come to the Americas, and if they did not do much interbreeding with others, and for some reason, like the Vikings ended up leaving, and it’s possible that there’s not a lot of genetic evidence of that. But the problem with that scenario is that’s not the story the Book of Mormon tells. The Book of Mormon tells a story of a population that arrives here and grows exponentially into hundreds of thousands, millions in the case of Jaredites, of people. When you have that population explosion, you’re not going to lose your genetic signature. Now, they tried to say, “Well, if they intermarried, if there was a large amount of intermarriage, it might swamp out the genetic signature. But again, as we discussed earlier, there’s not Book of Mormon evidence for that.  There’s not evidence in the Book of Mormon suggesting that that actually happened. It’s theoretically possible, but then we have to stop and say–let’s suppose we look at a mitochondrial lineage that disappears, like that Incan example. Well, what about the Y chromosome? What about nuclear DNA? What about the DNA of our gut microbes? What about the DNA of the ants of the animals and plants we brought with us? So, the essay makes a big emphasis on a couple of principles of population genetics, things like gene flow, genetic drift, mutation, or, excuse me, a founder effect, and suggests that these sorts of changes in the gene pool may explain the loss of DNA. But if we look at those practices, those are largely random practices, or largely random phenomenon, that you might randomly lose, one lineage doesn’t get passed on. What we see is across the genome, of not just humans, but our gut microbes, our dogs, our other domestic animals, and what we see [is] the same story being told across that group of gene pools. If we have a random event eliminating one mitochondrial lineage, we still have our paternal heritage. We still have all of our nuclear DNA. We still have our gut microbe DNA. We still have the DNA of our domesticated plants and animals. Random events don’t affect all of those at the same time in the same way, all resulting in extinction. Does that makes sense?

What do you think of Murphy’s claims?  Check out our conversation….

Don’t miss our previous conversation with Dr. Murphy!

472: Who Killed the Indians?

471: Strengths & Weakness of DNA Essay/ Comparing Indian & BoM Stories

470: Behind the Scenes of DNA Essay

469: Untold Story of Indian Slavery in America

468: Religious Fights over DNA

467: Native American DNA Scholarship

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Who Killed the Indians? (Part 6 of 8)

It is well-known that Europeans wiped out many Native Americans.  The Book of Mormon claims that darker skinned Lamanites killed the white-skinned Nephites.  Is it possible that these genocidal killings wiped out all traces of Middle Eastern DNA among Native Americans?  Dr. Thomas Murphy is here to answer that question.

Thomas:  I think the settlers, long before Joseph Smith came along were developing ways of reconciling that. The ways that they were trying to reconcile that was that they said, well, the Indians around us they look like savages. But we look and we see all these monuments that–this evidence of great architecture, big mounds and evidence of sophisticated culture, couldn’t have been these Indians.  It must have been an ancient white race that did this. Now, that’s convenient to suggest that, because if there was an ancient white race that created civilization in the Americas and the remnants of that civilization, then you can say, “Well, the American Indians and their ancestors must have destroyed them. They must have done what we’re doing right now.”  So, it becomes a way of solace. It becomes a mythological tradition that helps settler colonists to reconcile their own violation of their own ethics.

Thomas:  The essay, on one sense, blames American Indians for an ancient genocide of the Nephites that may have eliminated DNA.  It also acknowledges the 16th and 17th century annihilation of most Native Americans. Now notice the timing of that 16th and 17th century. Why is that important? The 16th-17th century suggests that it was Spanish, French and Dutch, not the English. You really look at, the genocide continued in the 18th and the 19th century.  Even Mormons themselves participated in it in the colonization of the Great Basin. So that destruction of native populations, kind of at its apex was around 1900. So, the 18th and 19th centuries, the essay ignores altogether. So we’re also critical of the essay for not acknowledging the English and American wrong in genocide. It really overlooks those and suggests blaming the Spanish and the French and the Dutch.

GT:  And not the Americans is what you’re saying.

Thomas:  Yeah, not the English and Americans who did it just as much, in fact, more so. Because the Spanish and the French–well the Spanish, their kind of colonial system was one where they incorporated indigenous peoples into an economic system at the lower rungs of society, as peasants, compasinos in Spanish.  They are incorporated into the society, enslaved for sure, but incorporated into colonial society. The French had a little different perspective. The French kind of more incorporated themselves into the indigenous society and used trade and economics to their advantage but operating within an indigenous system. So, the social structure under the French was largely still indigenous. One of my mentors, Richard White, describes that as a middle ground of the French. Now the English, use a different strategy. The English, initially they were kind of incorporating, as I said earlier, bringing the kids into the homes and stuff. They were a little more like the Spanish in those initial periods, but eventually with what’s called the King Philip’s War, they adopted a different approach and that is to exterminate. They adopted a genocidal approach towards indigenous populations and wiped them out and removed them from their indigenous territories. That English approach is actually the more appropriate analogy for the Book of Mormon, than the Spanish and the French. So, Ugo just gets his history wrong, is what I’m saying.

We’ll look at a story of a 15th century Incan boy as well as some Egyptian mummies to see if DNA can disappear.  We also talk about why Viking DNA doesn’t show up in Canada.  Check out our conversation….

The Church’s DNA essay claims Lamanites killing Nephites could have wiped out middle eastern DNA, as well as European Colonists.  Was is Lamanites or Europeans who killed so many Indians?

 

Please check out Dr. Ugo Perego’s arguments about Vikings.

77: How do Lemba Tribe & Viking DNA Relate to the Book of Mormon? Part 2 (Perego)