Archive for Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Experts theorize on human migration

The International Conference on Human Migration is being held this Monday and Tuesday at KU.

March 2, 2010


U.S.-China role reversal

The numbers are clear, Felix Moos says: Up to 98,000 students from mainland China were studying on U.S. campuses a year ago, while only 15,000 U.S. students — “at most” — were likewise hitting the books in the People’s Republic.

“It’s just a tremendous discrepancy working against us,” says Moos, a Kansas University professor of anthropology. “The roles, in my view, have been completely reversed. Americans used to be everywhere. Today it’s the Chinese.”

Moos’ presentation, “I am leaving: Globalization, conflict and Asian migration to the Americas,” is set for 9:30 a.m. today in The Commons at Spooner Hall on KU’s main campus. The public is invited.

Conventional wisdom says the first humans made their way into the Americas some 12,000 to 14,000 years ago, in a single mass migration from Africa to Asia to an area that now includes North America.

Eske Willerslev doesn’t buy it.

The evolutionary geneticist bases this on his work of the past eight years, DNA research indicating that a new, “independent” migration of humans occurred in Greenland much more recently: about 5,500 years ago.

Following his logic, there’s reason to think other humans may have migrated into North and South Americas from other places, during other times, and with other purposes.

“Are we to believe that people went in one time and that’s it?” said Willerslev, of the Centre of Excellence in GeoGenetics at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, after a presentation Monday at KU. “It’s probably much more complex than that, and that’s likely true for the Americas.”

Willerslev is among experts from two dozen institutions in 10 countries to offer theories, evidence and outlooks regarding the movements of peoples during the first International Conference on Human Migration, which lasts through Wednesday in The Commons at Spooner Hall.

The conference is the first of its kind to compile an interdisciplinary approach to migration, said Michael Crawford, a Kansas University professor of anthropology and the conference’s organizer.

Psychologists, biologists, anthropologists and others with interests and knowledge about the past 1.8 million years of human migration have an opportunity to compare notes and share resources as they contemplate a future filled with additional migratory issues.

Among them is global warming, Crawford said, and how Bangladesh, portions of Florida and other lands someday will be underwater, forcing their inhabitants to shift their existences elsewhere.

“We don’t want to repeat past mistakes that we made as humans,” he said. “Hopefully, we learn from our past.”

Willerslev, whose research with collaborators was published in the journal Nature, applauded KU for convening the conference. He’s already connected with colleagues who could offer additional samples for DNA testing.

“We hope we can work with you guys in the future,” he said to about 50 colleagues listening to his presentation Monday.


headdoctor 8 years, 2 months ago

Ah yes, the study of anthroprobably at its best.

Olympics 8 years, 2 months ago

what a narrow misleading summary of this writing fail Mark Fagan.

Would it have been TOO difficult to look at a "program"? It's free to download.

lindseydoyle 8 years, 2 months ago

“Are we to believe that people went in one time and that’s it?” said Willerslev." What does belief have to do with science? It may be fun for you and pay your salary but it's not science.

Chris Golledge 8 years, 2 months ago

I don't know that it is that conventional to think of humans coming to America only once or only across the Alaskan land bridge. It has been a couple of decades since I had an anthropology class and the picture was more complicated than that then.

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 2 months ago

Sniff sniff...

Smells like little barrypampers needs a change.

fastwalker 8 years, 2 months ago

barry won't change his diaper, YWN, because he enjoys the constant presence of his own filth pressing against his thighs.

kugrad 8 years, 2 months ago

Nurnburg, Marijuana is indigenous to North America, so they probably just came to smoke it.

Brent Garner 8 years, 2 months ago


But if that is the case, then someone must have gone from here to there--wherever there is--to tell them about it, right? (Just trying to keep you humorous answer going there!)

georgiahawk 8 years, 2 months ago

The only migrating humans did was from the Old Testament to the New Testament. Anything else is just manipulation of the "facts". When will the "scientists" learn the difference between fact and fantasy?

headdoctor 8 years, 2 months ago

georgiahawk (anonymous) says... The only migrating humans did was from the Old Testament to the New Testament. Anything else is just manipulation of the "facts". When will the "scientists" learn the difference between fact and fantasy?

Heh, heh, Yup, and all the races and languages can be traced back the the Tower of Babel.

devobrun 8 years, 2 months ago

lindseydoyle, no mention of the word science is evident in the article.

The -ologies mentioned are the studies of.....

A study is not necessarily a scientific study.

My guess is these studies are scientific only in a modern Bayesian or even a PNS sense.

That is, they are not real science. They are guesses from people who have read each others works of narrative and think logically about each others work. Combining disciplines allows erudite, but meaningless chatter to occur and it all looks like science.

Nothing comes of it. Mental masturbation.

This non-fecundity is evident by the term "expert". A sure sign that a person is really knowledgeable, but useless.

Graczyk 8 years, 2 months ago

What part of DNA research isn't science, devobrun? Also, I wonder, are you part of a scientific community? But I don't fully blame you for your reaction - this article is a crap job.

denak 8 years, 2 months ago

".....Wise Latina's and hard working Latino's migrate to this part of the world..."

That's wise Latinas and hard working Latinos. Please, learn the difference between possessive and plural.

AnthroSource 8 years, 2 months ago

75X55 If you knew anything about the researchers or their research, you would know that the presenters in this conference are already well funded. The motivation for the conference was to develop more creative, analytical, and collaboative ways of spending that funding to better this realm of scientific inquiry.

devobrun You merely sound bitter and uninformed. While many non-scienctific fields do end in -ology (e.g. astrology), the -ologies participating in this conference are among both the soft and hard sciences (archaeology, anthropology, biology, epidemiology, sociology...).

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