Presentation on theme: "Introduction Impetus: 2014 Study by Hellenthal et alia published in Science titled “A Genetic Atlas of Human Admixture History” “In some sense we don’t."— Presentation transcript:
0Cultural Scene Investigation: A consilient approach to human migration studies Final PresentationMUMT 610Jason Leung, Fabio Pires, Arianna Rehak, Moe Touizrar
1IntroductionImpetus: 2014 Study by Hellenthal et alia published in Science titled “A Genetic Atlas of Human Admixture History”“In some sense we don’t want to talk to historians,” Dr. Falush said. “There’s a great virtue in being objective: You put the data in and get the history out. We do think this is a way of reconstructing history by just using DNA.”
2HypothesesGiven that biologists have very recently claimed to be able to date events in human history using the computer modeling of statistical genetic data, and have indicated no need for collaboration with historians, we propose that:Any claim of accuracy is unverified and prematureThe humanities are well-poised to aid both in the verification of biological dating techniques, as well as the degree of accuracy with which they can be appliedBoth scientific and humanistic research into human origins and migration can be accelerated and enriched through an equitable and reasonable consilience in the form of a dedicated and independent inter-disciplinary institute.Arianna
3Overview (of a rather utopian thought experiment) Conflicts Between Evidence and NarrativesBasic Structure of a Consilient Research InstituteGenetic Explanations of Human Origins and Pre-historic MigrationBrief History of Migration in Ancient RomeCase Study: The VandalsPossible Outcomes and ProblemsDiscussion
4Narratives and Evidence: Academic and Theoretical Conflicts Why and how have theories in Archaeology and Anthropology failed to consider evidence that challenges orthodox positions (often rooted in 19th century narratives of ancient history) ?Could the resistance to challenging but compelling evidence be symptomatic of a systemic aversion to change in the humanities (and therefore to consilience) ?----- Meeting Notes (4/9/14 18:46) -----• Why and how have theories in Archaeology and Anthropology failed to consider evidence that challenges orthodox positions (often rooted in 19th century narratives of ancient history) ?• Could the resistance to challenging but compelling evidence be symptomatic of a systemic aversion to change in the humanities (and therefore to consilience) ?
5Two basic paradigms in modern archaeology Processual (Objectivist / Positivist)Scientific approachApproaches culture from an objective orientationAttempts to remain ethically neutral and explicitly nonpoliticalPostprocessual (Material & Structural Individualistic Idealism?)Knowledge is subjectively situatedFocuses on the ideologies, symbols, and mental processes behind human behaviorSearches for structural explanations based on deep-seeded dichotomiesUpholds individual actors as agents in cultural shiftsIdentity and marginalization as key factors in understanding human cultureCompromise: Processual Plus?Approach that values the study of relativism, but can incorporate an objectivist orientation via rigorous scientific methods.
6How Narrative Shapes Evidence (or the lack thereof) -Political Uses- Israel’s constant excavations in the City of David justify modern Jewish presenceexample: SF Chronicle, Sept 6, 2009: “Ancient wall testifies to Jerusalem’s strength”Excavations by Ronny Reich, “Archaeology professor at the University of Haifa”“Archaeological research at the site known as the City of David, just outside the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City, is caught up in the struggle for control of the city.”Archeological site and thePalestinian settlement of Silwan
8Some Challenging Evidence HueyatlacoGeochronological analyses indicate human habitation dating back to ca. 250,000 years ago.Radiocarbon dating of animal remains present in the site produced an age of over 35,000 years ago. Uranium dating produced an age of 260,000 ± 60,000 years ago.Using the zircon fission-track dating method, geochemist C.W. Naeser dated samples of ash from Hueyatlaco's tool-bearing strata to 370,000 ± 240,000 years ago.The findings challenge the scientific consensus for habitation of the New World (which generally places widespread human migration to the New World at 13,000–16,000 years ago).This has been widely refuted by the broader scientific community, and has seen only occasional discussion in the literature.
9Challenging Narratives? How could consilience help to incorporate divergent evidence into a more flexible set of theoretical assumptions?
10Vision for a Fully Consilient Research Institute
11Pewterschmidt Institute for Consilient Research (PICR)
12Basic Structure of PICR Inspired by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary AnthropologyCore mission of equilibrium between the Sciences and HumanitiesFlexible Project-Based HierarchyAll projects determined by a small committee of humanists and scientists
14On the Origin of Man Homo sapiens sapiens (Anatomically Modern Human) Primate subspecies of homo sapiens, genus homo200,000 years ago to presentAround 100,000 years ago:Africa: homo sapiensEurope: homo neanderthalensisAsia: homo erectus (also found in Africa and Europe)Around 30,000 years ago: everywhere homo sapiens onlyAt present: two main, competing theories1. Recent African origin of modern humans (“Out-of-Africa” model)2. Multiregional origin of modern humans
15“Out-of-Africa” (v. 2.0) Homo erectus Homo sapiens Migration from Africa2 million years agoHomo sapiensEvolved in Africa100,000 years agoReplaced other hominin populations worldwide
17Multiregional Hypothesis Homo erectusMigration from Africa2 million years agoEach group continued to evolve separatelyMixture of genes between populationsAccounts for different physical attributesExternal/Internal
19Building Blocks of Life DNA: double helixNucleotides: A, T, C, G (“letters”)Base pairs (A+T, C+G)Humans: 3.2 billion bpTwo helices = two copiesReplication by duplication
20Molecular Clocks Mutations Known mutation rates Genetic markers Variation amongst humans: 1 bp in 1000Known mutation ratesGenetic markersPolymorphisms: differences in individual lettersMini-/microsatellites: small group of repeating letters
21Survival of the Fittest Theory “Out-of-Africa” has greater evidence to support it1. Co-existence of homo s. sapiens and other hominins2. Genetic studies: new development! (within past 5 years)
22Survival of the Fittest Theory 2.1 Little admixture from other hominin speciesEveryone genetically equidistant from those species
23Survival of the Fittest Theory 2.2 Tracing human lineage: Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA)Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)Exclusive inheritance from motherMatrilineal (mother to daughter)Mitochondrial Eve:140,000–200,000 years ago in AfricaY-chromosome DNA (Y-DNA)Exclusive inheritance from fatherPatrilineal (father to son)Y-chromosomal Adam:100,000–300,000 years ago in Africa
25Barbarian Migration: How the humanities might help to test the efficacy of genetic dating techniques Moe
26Overview of the Migration Period in Ancient Rome 100 BCE CEConsidered to be the transition from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages.Marks the arrival of the Germanic peoples as colonizers of Europe.Arianna
27Why Migration Matters to our Project We have specific humanistic accounts of peoples and movements.Allow us to create benchmarks for comparison between historical and biological evidence.We can then confirm or refute the accuracy of the proposed DNA dating methods.Arianna
28Genetic Admixture: G. Hellenthal, G. B. J. Busby, G. Band, J. F Genetic Admixture: G. Hellenthal, G.B.J. Busby, G. Band, J.F. Wilson, C. Capelli, D. Falush, S. Myers, Science (2014)Genetic admixture occurs when individuals from two or more genetically distinguishable groups have children together.This can be a result of individuals from one part of the world settling into a new geographic region already inhabited by other people, e.g. due to invasions or large-scale migrations.Moe
29Sourcing Genetic History When individuals from different groups have children (i.e. admix), their offspring's DNA becomes a mixture of the DNA from each admixing group.Pieces of this DNA are passed along through subsequent generations, carrying on all the way to the present day.Therefore, the genomes of modern- day individuals (who descend from this admixed population) contain segments of DNA inherited from each of the original source groups.Moe
30The Case of the VandalsOrigin of the Vandal tribe is thought to be in Scandinavia.From 40 BCE – 533 CE, they embarked on a tour of Europe and the Mediterranean because they were never able to settle anywhere permanently.We believe this means that they must have mixed with many diverse populations.Arianna
34Phase 1 – Data Collection Identify sites along the Vandal migration path for genetic testing of contemporary populations.CSI teams to be deployed to sitesTeams consist of an historian, a geneticist, an archaeologist, and a physical anthropologist.Arianna
35Phase 2 – Data Analysis Laboratory analysis. Create a geographic representation of Vandal DNA.Construct as accurate a genetic timeline as possible.Moe
36Phase 3 – The Consilient Consolidation of Disparate Data Comparative analysis of timelines between genetic dating and historical records.Results: Consilience WORKS!Arianna
37Possible Problems with the Case Study Is it scalable? If the genetic test works, will it work further back into history?What if the genetic data contravenes the accepted historical narrative?How much does population mixing in the time between the event and the test play a part? Does it interfere with the interpretation of data?The potential Goldilocks problem with the sample size.Moe
38Possible Problems with the Institute Incompatible methodologies, epistemologies, vocabulary & perspectives.Communication of the big picture to so many different specialists.“Us vs. Them” (Scientists vs. Humanists).Funding feasibility?Arianna
39Discussion QuestionsWill this project revolutionize the “hard” histories? If so, how?What is the power of this technique to change the human narrative?If the technique works, what can it tell us about the modern period? What can it do for pre-historical period and what can’t it do?What happens when there is discrepancy between the humanistic data and scientific results? How do we prevent it from being a turf war?Moe