Ancient DNA in North America and the effects of migration on prehistoric populations

by Snow, Meradeth Houston, Ph.D., UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS, 2011, 172 pages; 3499497


Ancient DNA analysis of the variation found within Native American populations was carried out to better understand the effects of population migration and demic diffusion on the distribution of mitochondrial DNA haplogroups and haplotypes. The Southwest was utilized to investigate the relationship of prehistoric populations within the Southwest and Mexico. A hypothesized migration into the Southwest of individuals from Mexico, bringing with them maize agriculture and the Uto-Aztecan language family, has been a longstanding hypothesis to explain these similarities between the two regions and, through analysis of the prehistoric occupants of the Southwest, a better understanding of this relationship was sought. Comparison with modern DNA revealed a direct link between past occupants of the Southwest and current populations in the region, however, and no direct link with Mexico was found. Chapter 1 represents the results from analysis of seventy-three individuals from the Tommy and Mine Canyon sites, located near Farmington, New Mexico. The results of my study of aDNA from these Pueblo II and Pueblo III sites, respectively, demonstrated that the haplogroup pattern currently seen in the Southwest was maintained at the Tommy Site, while the Mine Canyon Site was significantly different. However, the haplotype sequences from the Mine Canyon samples exhibited two derived mutations that are also found among the modern Zuni, and ancient Californian Chumash (Monroe, 2010). The possibility of migration both within the Southwest, and from Mexico, was addressed. Chapter 2 addresses the relationship of the aDNA results with the discrete dental traits analyzed by Kathy Durand in relation to intraregional migrations in the Southwest. Specifically, the timing of the proposed southward migration from the Mesa Verde region, as well as the proposal that groups moved into the Middle San Juan Region (where the Tommy and Mine Canyon sites are located) early in the twelfth century, were discussed. Chapter 3 turns to the Mimbres population during the Classic period (1000–1130AD), and their relationship to the Southwest as a whole, as well as to modern populations in the Southwest and Mexico. The Mimbres, while culturally distinct in the Mogollon region, are genetically similar to the rest of the Southwest in terms of its haplogroup frequencies, and shares haplotypes with the Ancestral Pueblo populations to the north. Chapter 4 presents the results from analysis of sixty-three samples from the late-prehistoric Arikara population of South Dakota. We found that they shared highly derived lineages with Algonquian and Siouan speaking groups and ancient lineages with Siouan and Cherokee populations, which is in keeping with the Macro-Siouan language hypothesis, which states that the Iroquois, Sioux, and Caddoan languages share a recent common ancestry.

AdviserDavid Glenn Smith
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsArchaeology; Physical anthropology; Native American studies
Publication Number3499497

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