Denisovan Origins and Ancient DNA

Here’s a brief look at the discussion of aDNA in Denisovan Origins and what Collins and Little got wrong.

In their book, Denisovan Origins, authors Andrew Collins and Greg Little appear to paint a picture of how giant Solutreans of “Denisovan origin” dominated less capable Native Americans of a more diminutive stature who arrived across the Beringian land bridge: showed them how to build mounds, established themselves as their “elite” leadership, and passed on their “advanced knowledge.” You know… because plain old Indians couldn’t possibly have figured out all the cool stuff.

The very notion is racist. Are Collins and Little racist? Probably not intentionally. But not all racists are card-carrying members of the KKK or NAZI’s or any number of other extreme notions you can think of. Simply not willing to afford an indigenous population the credit its due for its own accomplishments without injecting some silly notion of “elites” and “giants” is racist.

But perhaps it’s a racist notion arrived at innocently through fallacious thinking. Here are the problems with Collins’ and Little’s understandings of ancient DNA (aDNA).

Haplogroups X, X2, and X2a

In his section of the book, Little repeatedly states that Haplogroup X exists in the aDNA of Native American populations (chapters 23 and 26). Occasionally he rightly refers to the Native American haplogroup in question as X2a but sometimes he calls it X2.

These are three different haplogroups.

I’ll put some quotes from Collins and Little below followed by a critique:

Haplogroup X also is more problematical. While haplogroup X is present in two versions (X2 and X2a) in about 3 percent of living Native American tribal members, it is not evenly distributed.”

Collins and Little: Denisovan Origins, Chapter 26

The only thing he really got right here is the last phrase of that sentence. Distribution is not even. The two X haplogroups found in ancient Native Americans are X2a and X2g. The latter is rare, but both are uniquely North American. They don’t show up in the aDNA of other populations in the world. Nor do other X haplogroups show up in the aDNA of North American populations, at least not in current data (it could all change in the future with better aDNA surveys of ancient populations. Regardless, there is no X2 or X in the current available data for ancient North American populations. Little is wrong about this.

“The X2 haplogroup found in the Altai Mountain regions in Siberia closely matches the X2 found in Native Americans. Of course, many archaeologists hailed this as proof that X2 also came into the Americas via Beringia.”

Collins and Little: Denisovan Origins, Chapter 26

The haplogroup found among populations in the Altai Mountain region of Siberia is X2. But I’m not aware of any archaeologists that “hail this as proof” that the X2a haplogroup found in North America came via Beringia. Other lines of evidence are suggestive of this, however, which David Madsen (2015) lists in nice detail in the very reference Little cites for this next sentence.

However, the X2a version has also been found in heavy concentration in the Orkney Islands of Scotland.

Collins and Little: Denisovan Origins, Chapter 26

For this he cites David Madsen (2015). First, there is no X2a haplogroup on Orkney. Not in among ancient populations and probably not among modern ones. There is, however, the X2 haplogroup present on Orkney Island. And this is what Madsen says: “although, as an aside, it is interesting that a modern population with one of the highest percentages of the X2 clade, higher even than Native American populations, is found in the Orkney Islands off the coast of Scotland.”

It’s important to note that Madsen isn’t saying that X2a is on Orkney. Nor is he saying that X2 is among Native Americans. He’s saying that the percentage of Orkney’s X2 is higher than the percentage of Native American X2a. If you’re not reading the entire paper carefully and if you don’t already have a very basic, working understanding of aDNA (either nuclear or mitochondrial), you might miss the context. But Madsen is assuming his readers know X, X2, X2a, and others are different haplogroups. And that X2a (along with X2g, X2j, X2b, X2c, …) is in the X2 clade.

Haplogroup X and its sub-clades
Chart showing some of the haplogroup X sub-clades. After Raff & Bolnick (2015)

The real question is this: is Little truly ignorant of what a haplogroup is and isn’t? Or is he intentionally conflating and confusing them for his readers. My suspicion is the latter. It’s useful for for the conclusions he and Collins began with when they started looking for data. By pseudoscientifically reducing the X2a haplogroup to the X haplogroup, they can fit data into the very conclusions they’ve both carried for years: giants dominated Native Americans, etc.

Maybe X2a did come to North America by way of an Atlantic crossing. The Solutrean hypothesis is science. But it’s an hypothesis. To date, the evidence stacks against it. And haplogroup X isn’t its savior because that haplogroup is not present in North America. Nor is hapogroup X2 (thehaplogroup found in a modern Orkney population). The haplogroup X2a lineage doesn’t simply fall from X to X2 to X2a. The X2a’j clade lies between X2a and X2-225 before stepping back to X2, along with nearly 10,000 years of mutations.

There’s no good reason to think an Atlantic arrival for X2a is more likely than the Beringia route. Little liked to suggest that since X2a was observed in North America’s northeast that this is evidence, but it really isn’t. X2a was observed in Kennewick man (8690-8400 cal yr BP), putting it about as early as any X2a samples. Little tries to cover this base:

Kennewick Man is one of the few haplogroup X skeletons found that far Northwest. Perhaps the greatest importance of Kennewick Man is that his lineage is haplogroup X2a. It is proof that X2a was in the Americas long, long ago, and not that he was from Asia.

Collins and Little: Denisovan Origins, Chapter 26

At least Little acknowledges that the haplogroup is X2a and not X2 or X. But he’s dead wrong when he says its proof Kennewick was not from Asia. In fact, Kennewick showed many Siberian genetic affinities and no recent European ancestry.

Little isn’t the only one of the two authors to get all this wrong. Here’s Collins in chapter 10:

The closest source of haplogroup X outside of the northeastern and eastern coasts of North America is that present among modern populations in southwestern Europe, which just happens to be the very same territory in which the Solutreans thrived circa 20,000–15,000 BCE.

Collins and Little: Denisovan Origins, Chapter 10

He is, of course, wrong. I’ve included a chart based on the one found in Raff and Bolnick (2015) to give you an idea. But suffice to say, Haplogroup X and its sub-clades are present in more places than Collins seems aware. Moreover, he’s also conflating haplogroup X with X2a. And they both occasionally conflate modern populations with ancient populations. As if the presence of haplogroups in modernity reflects the localities of antiquity. They both seem to have an affinity with the X2 haplogroup in modern Orkney populations which 1) is irrelevant to the X2a haplogroup in the Americas; and 2) representative of modern populations, not those of 14,000+ years ago.

Here’s Collins again in chapter 16:

The tribe possessing the highest level of haplogroup X is the Ojibwa. Up to 26 percent of its population’s mtDNA contains haplogroup X, while the Cree also possess haplogroup X, but, once again, at a slightly lower level than their southern neighbors, the Ojibwa.

Collins and Little: Denisovan Origins, Chapter 16

For this, Collins cites Brown et al. (1998), referencing Table 3 on page 1858. You might be wondering why Collins and Little are citing a 20+ year-old paper when there are many more up-to-date sources. The reason, of course, is that within just a few years of 1998, sub-clades of X were being identified and understood. Collins and Little would have been better off citing Fagundes et al. (2008) in the very same journal. But the obfuscation of haplogroup X and ignoring the implications of how the sub-clade X2a is defined, makes it easier for Collins and Little to fit their narrative into the pre-conceived conclusion they already have.

Writing of haplogroup X in broad terms in a book that deals with the peopling of the Americas isn’t really wrong. Unless you’re trying to ignore the nuances and details that come along with its sub-clades. X2 in Orkney is a “modern population” (Madsen 2015: 213). X2a in North America is without a “clear record” of its evolutionary history “in any population” (Raff and Bolnick 2015: 298; see also Fernandes et al. 2012).

Mystery Mongers

Wherever there’s a mystery in science, there will probably be someone ready and willing to pick it up and repackage it as proof of whatever silliness they’ve already concluded to be true. In this case, Collins and Little (among others, eg. Graham Hancock, Brien Foerster, etc) have quickly picked up on the fact that very little is known about Denisovans. With a handful of skeletal remains that point to individuals of large stature, they see the opportunity to display this as proof of their giants. With the mystery of the origin of the X2a haplogroup, this is now an opportunity to point to Solutreans, who are important for Collins and Little to get their giants across the Atlantic and into the Americas.

Never mind that there are literally only a handful of skeletal remains for the Denisovans: a piece of a finger, a tooth, a portion of a mandible, a few others… perhaps as many as seven pieces in all. You needn’t be a bioarchaeologist to realize only the more robust bones of the most robust individuals in the best of conditions will survive the tens of thousands of years these tiny fragments of even fewer individuals. It would be no surprise to me if, like my family, the Denisovan analog these remains are from included some very tall individuals and some rather small members.

And to suggest that because there are X2 haplogroups present in modern populations on Orkney (or even ancient populations for that matter) and therefore it’s more likely that X2a came from there is showing an extremely poor understanding of how haplogroups work, since X2a is not closely derived from X2.

References and Further Reading

Brown, Michael D., Seyed H. Hosseini, Antonio Torroni, Hans-Jürgen Bandelt, Jon C. Allen, Theodore G. Schurr, Rosaria Scozzari, Fulvio Cruciani, and Douglas C. Wallace (1998). mtDNA Haplogroup X: An Ancient Link between Europe/Western Asia and North America? The American Journal of Human Genetics, 63(6), 1852–1861.

Fagundes, Nelson J.R., Ricardo Kanitz, Roberta Eckert, Ana C.S. Valls, Mauricio R. Bogo, Francisco M. Salzano, David Glenn Smith, Wilson A. Silva Jr., Marco A. Zago, Andrea K. Ribeiro-dos-Santos, Sidney E.B. Santos, Maria Luiza Petzl-Erler, and Sandro L. Bonatto (2008). Mitochondrial Population Genomics Supports a Single Pre-Clovis Origin with a Coastal Route for the Peopling of the Americas. American Journal of Human Genetics 82: 583-592.

Raff, Jennifer A. and Deborah A. Bolnick (2015). Does Mitochondrial Haplogroup X Indicate Ancient Trans-Atlantic Migration to the Americas? A Critical Re-Evaluation. PaleoAmerica, 1(4), 297-304.

About Carl Feagans 384 Articles
Professional archaeologist that currently works for the United States Forest Service at the Land Between the Lakes Recreation Area in Kentucky and Tennessee. I'm also a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Army and spent another 10 years doing adventure programming with at-risk teens before earning my master's degree at the University of Texas at Arlington.

56 Comments

  1. Baptist: I know you won’t “get it”, because your tone marks you as narrow minded and bigoted but not everyone has the same path when pursuing their education. When I was in the military, most of one’s college choices were limited to the general proximity of the base you were assigned to; hence my decision to attend West Hills Jr. college and then Chapman University. When I got out of the navy and moved back to SC, I took courses at USC-Allendale, USC-Aiken, and the College of Charleston, before finally graduating from Charleston Southern. That’s what best fit my situation and career path. And by the way, I’m still waiting on you to tell us where you graduated from..chirp, chirp…

  2. James Ford states: “…While we are on the topic of thanks and race maybe a shoutout to anthropologist who have spent the last century working to undercut the “scientific” support for racism and white supremacy. How about the archaeologists and forensic anthropologists who help to investigate war crimes and other crimes and work to recover and identify our war dead. I would suggest that you go back and take a long look at the pioneering work of people like Boas and Herskovits and work your way forward but you and I know that just ain’t gonna happen. Ditto for the doctors who you undoubtedly have significant faith in despite the fact that they were once WRONG about things like bleeding people and not washing their hands between delivering babies, and they still have to carry a lot of malpractice insurance. Those frauds!!..

    Well, interesting to say the least, incoherent at best, but certainly worth a second read if the above was written by someone in an insane asylum. And who knew that most normal folks put their medical doctors in the same category as archaeologists? I can see it all now, in my head, as the doctor is summarizing my latest physical results, and I’m thinking to myself “…but did he ever accept the Clovis First Model as genuine, why or why not…?. I don’t know about you, James, but on the basis of how he answers that question will go a long way toward deciding how good a doc he really is. Don’t misunderstand me; I’m not saying that Cancer Research is unimportant, because surely it is, but it’s not even a close second to the validity of the Topper Site. Welcome back, Mr. Loon….

  3. Gleaner said, “Carl, I majored in history (emphasis in US History), BS degree from Charleston Southern University, so I think I got you beat there knowledgewise.”

    A clear appeal to your education at CSU to speak authoritatively. Who is lying here?

    gleaner said: “But I’m curious, what university would you recommend someone attend for “quality instruction” in race and racism.”

    You solicited information from me and now pretend that you really didn’t because you couldn’t handle the answer. Who is lying here.

    If you can’t keep your story straight in these areas then there is really no need to take anything else that you assert here seriously. it’s just a combination of willful ignorance and trolling.

    “I’m still waiting on you to tell us where you graduated from.”

    I don’t recall being asked for that information although such a question could easily be missed in the many long rambling sermon-like posts you have here. I’ll take a pass on communion and the collection plate now, though. But to answer your question I finished (note FINISHED) my undergraduate career at Southern Illinois University with a B.A. in Anthropology and History, emphasis on archaeology as well as North American and Latin American History. Produced a well-regarded senior history thesis. Earned an M.A. in Anthropology at LSU with advanced coursework and oral and written comprehensive exams in Archaeology, Linguistic Anthropology, Physical Anthropology, and Cultural Anthropology, with cross training in History and Geography. Ph.d. in Historical Anthropology from University of Illinois. Strong concentration in history and ethnography of the U.S. South and race and ethnicity in my graduate work. Published articles and book reviews in Louisiana History, Journal of American Ethnic History, Journal of Cultural Geography, Ethnology, and Southern Journal of Linguistics just to name a few. Also served as a college advisor at two different institutions (one small college, one mid-sized university)who had to have in-depth knowledge of various programs and colleges across the nation to assist in matching students with appropriate quality programs in fields such as anthropology, history, race and ethnic studies, etc. I’m quite confident that I have forgotten more about just about anything discussed here than you ever learned in your entire college career. Unless of course you think that you could keep up with me in a discussion of topics like how the 1870 Federal Population census can be used to critically analyze the concept of hypodescent and racial classification and racism in the US South. Or maybe a discussion of how to develop a semi-structured interview protocol to help develop a database on illicit racism and its influence on observed behaviors in a rural southern community.

    However well your education, introductory anthropology course from a bible college and all, may have fit your situation and career path it is not serving you well here. You come across like a 13 year old trying to argue with a table full of adults and thinking that you are really accomplishing something when every one else in the room just sees you as foolish. For example:

    I’m no expert on the Clovis issue. But I did learn about it in numerous archaeology classes. Like Carl Feagins and others have discussed here, my memory of how it was discussed by archaeologists does not mesh with Graham Hancock’s portrayal of it. Hancock’s account does not even jibe with what I recall reading about Clovis in high school textbooks. The vast majority of archaeologists had other things on their mind besides whether small numbers of hunters and gatherers with similar technology were in North America 18,000 years ago or 13,000 years ago. Hell, I always thought it would go back much further myself, and still do. But thinking and proving are two different things. The Clovis issue actually involved a very small group of specialists whose thoughts and actions do not necessarily reflect archaeology as a whole beyond illustrating how this stuff is supposed to work. You can’t grasp that and are unwilling to even make the effort. Willful ignorance. New data and refined dating methods caused scientists to rethink the dates of early human occupation and made it a more popular topic. But that is very old news and, again, how science is supposed to work. If you want to continue to suffer under the delusion that this somehow means that archaeologists are frauds or pseudoscientists or even absolutely wrong about Clovis (the model actually involved many aspects beyond just dates and much of this remains correct even after decades of pre-Clovis findings) then perhaps you would be better served seeking other venues to discuss the matter. Simply googling up dates for pre-Clovis sites and ignoring everything else involved in the model just demonstrates your lack of knowledge of the overall subject. You are simply coming across as childish here and no one other than fellow Hancock fans takes you seriousy. Carl has been overindulgent thus far since it is quite clear that you are more interested in trolling or serving as the poster child for willful ignorance than having any sort of actual informed discussion or learning from people who are light years ahead of you in terms of relevant education and actual research experience. Now I have finished my own sermon, albeit a much better one than your’s, and this should keep you raving on your soapbox for the rest of the weekend. That will have to be sufficient for you to continue the self-delusion because I’m not going to waste any more time angering and confusing you with facts and logic. At this point it would just be cruel to continue anyway. Cheers.

  4. Baptist states: “Southern Illinois University with a B.A”

    Wow, so you graduated from Southern Illinois? Never heard of them, and certainly nothing to brag about..lol…

  5. Baptist states: “…You solicited information from me and now pretend that you really didn’t because you couldn’t handle the answer. Who is lying here…”.

    You are again; clearly my question was in jest, as I said before, but perhaps you are, as I also said, a little “thick”…

  6. Baptist states: “…You come across like a 13 year old trying to argue with a table full of adults..”.

    Let’s see; you show up here out of the blue, denigrate colleges you know nothing about, a whole region of people, and to insult their religion you use the term “snake handlers”. But I’m the one who comes across as 13???? And yet, despite all the personal attacks, you still haven’t engaged with a single argument I made….

  7. Baptist states: “…At this point it would just be cruel to continue anyway. Cheers…”.

    A cop out, because you’re lying about your education and you can’t engage a real argument, preferring the ad hom route..sure…what an idiot…

  8. Baptist states: “..Gleaner said, “Carl, I majored in history (emphasis in US History), BS degree from Charleston Southern University, so I think I got you beat there knowledgewise.” A clear appeal to your education at CSU to speak authoritatively. Who is lying here?”.

    The narrative in these types of threads usually follows a very predictable pattern. If one disagrees with any opinion held by mainstream archaeologists, the usual response is “..well, your just uneducated…”. When you can show that you have a college degree, the charge then changes to “…well, you went to a crappy college…”, or “you don’t understand science”. When I respond that I have about 20 hours of college credits in science courses, then my religion comes into play as I obviously went to a school run by “snake handlers” so naturally of course my profs were low quality or creationists. Baptist is especially guilty of the constant moving of the goal posts like that. So when mentioned my education, i wasn’t trying to play the “authority game”, which obviously you (Baptist) and Carl are. I’m all willing to continue the dialog, but lets see who throws out the first insult…

  9. Carl states: “..On the contrary, SIU has an extremely high reputation among professional archaeologists. I do my fair share of hiring, and when I see SIU on a resume I take note…”.

    I didn’t say they did or didn’t, I simply said I’d never heard of that school..I’ve heard about Clemson, USC, Ga tech, Iowa State and Bob Jones U, but never SIU..sorry about that…

  10. Baptists states: “…I’m no expert on the Clovis issue. But I did learn about it in numerous archaeology classes. Like Carl Feagins and others have discussed here, my memory of how it was discussed by archaeologists does not mesh with Graham Hancock’s portrayal of it…”.

    No one here I’m guessing thinks you are an expert on the Clovis First Model; did you actually read Hancock’s analysis of it, if so, how did he portray it?

  11. Baptist states: “…because I’m not going to waste any more time angering and confusing you with facts and logic…”.

    Project much? You are the one here who is so obviously angry, if not, why all the insults? Are you an SJW or something similar?

  12. Baptist: Apparently, at that unaccredited school you attended in Flyover Country, “Southern Illinois University”, there were no requirements to take a course in logic nor to even read anything you disagree with, so I’ll give you a brief summary on how Hancock “portrayed” the Clovis issue in America Before; Hancock was not so much interested in the details of the Clovis Culture, because obviously those details are so well known and attested to, why bother? Rather, he was more interested in the thoughts of those who vehemently defended the Clovis Fist/Only Model, and why. Secondly, he was also interested in what came before the Clovis culture, and why that data was missed for nearly a century. Do you see the distinction? I have the book in front of me, so feel free to ask questions. But be honest, did you even read a single word that Hancock wrote, or are just relying on what his critics say here? Since you are a known liar, I’ll wager that you’ll lie about this also. “Cheers”..

  13. Carl,
    Go Salukis!!! Your insights into SIU compared to others nicely illustrates the knowledge gap here. I guess that some people might find it worth wading thru about 50 mini-tantrums to learn that SIU is a fine school for archaeology especially if one is interested in CRM. Glass half-full, I guess. I’ve lost touch with people there. I assume that they still do the annual conference sponsored by the CAI. Have you ever been to one?

    • I assume that they still do the annual conference sponsored by the CAI. Have you ever been to one?

      I haven’t as yet, but our conference opportunities in the Forest Service are limited. There’s some belief in Washington that an academic conference is something akin to a convention at Las Vegas instead of where professionals can gather, share methods, successes/failures, and learn from each other about modern standards of the field. I’m hoping to have some stuff to present in the way of iron industry investigations and clandestine distilleries in the near future, however. Possibly even some work related to vernacular gravemarkers in cemeteries (we have over 270 historic cemeteries on my Forest) and early 20th century silage practices. I get more and more caught up in historic versus prehistoric archaeology these days!

  14. Baptist states” “…However well your education, introductory anthropology course from a bible college..”.

    You are a special kind of stupid; as I made clear, my intro to Anthropology course was taken at The College of Charleston; do you think that is a “Bible College”? Unreal…

  15. Baptist states: “…I’m quite confident that I have forgotten more about just about anything discussed here than you ever learned in your entire college career…”.

    Oh yeah? Well my Dad can beat of your dad! Isn’t that about the level of discourse you aspire to? But anyway, as I made clear here, I majored in US history and minored in Secondary Education; so why in the world would you want to pick a fight with me on the subject of the “1870 Federal population census”?
    Further, is that tied to “anything that is discussed here”? You sound like a little uptight and light in the loafers. For what it’s worth, my specialty area within US history would be the American Civil War, and within that, the subject of Ironclads. But it’s nearly impossible to imagine, that on an archaeology blog, I would challenge you to a duel in that rather narrow field. Anyway, I have America Before right in front of me, and I’m assuming you have your copy, so if you would like to get back to that, I be more than happy for a civil dialog with you, with Carl as a slightly biased referee. With your phantom Phd from “SIU University” (is that like Phoenix University, an on-line school?). it should be a walk-over…..

  16. Since Happily Lapsed Baptist has been completely transparent about his education and published papers, I would like to do the same amount mine, and the readers can judge which is more impressive:

    1.) Attended West Hills Jr. College, Coalinga, Ca, 1986; while there I used scale models of the Bismarck and the HMS Hood to recreate their famous clash in WWII; voted “super cool” by my roommate.

    2.) Attended Chapman College in 1987, presented a class presentation on the Monitor vs. Merrimack naval battle; voted “really cool” by same roommate.

    3.) Attended College of the Sequois in 1989 and gave lecture entitled “Bigfoot: What the Establishment is Hiding”; voted Best paper by Visalia, Ca., “Bigfoot Association”

    4.) 2008, Completed course work for “UFO Field Investigator” by MUFON (Mutual UFO Network).

    5.) 2009, graduated with degree in “Ancient Technology” from the David Hatcher Childress Foundation.

    6.) 2012, “Why UFOS are Real”, published in the peer-reveiwed journal “Atlantis Rising”.

    7.) 2017: won an on-line debate with The Friendly Atheist.

    8.) 2018; finished reading Graham Hancock’s “Supernatural”, but nearly died of a drug overdose doing it.

    I think those “credentials” stack up very nicely with old Lapsed Baptist…

  17. “QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016 – Archaeology”

    Trying to find more info on this “Southern Illinois University” and it’s alleged reputation; in the above ranking of the 100 best schools of archaeology worldwide, SIU didn’t make the list. In fact, I can’t find them on ANY list of highly rated schools in that area…

  18. “Bachelor’s in Archaeology: Top 20 Values”

    Nor did SIU make this list, but guess who did? You guessed it, that “Bible School”, The College of Charleston………so it seems like, someone here is either ignorant or just a flat liar….

  19. Carl states: “..On the contrary, SIU has an extremely high reputation among professional archaeologists. I do my fair share of hiring, and when I see SIU on a resume I take note…”.

    If that’s true, Carl, I’m having a very difficult time finding that info; surely they would have made someone’s top 20/50/100 list, correct? Call me a skeptic, but can you provide me with any info outside of you just saying it, that would support what you’re suggesting?

  20. A couple comments, not based on all these prior comments but on the review. 1. mtDNA is never considered to be “human DNA” in genetics and biology because it does not contain any human DNA. It has DNA to duplicate itself only, just like our intestinal bacteria has DNA to duplicate itself. It is simple. It is pretty clear now why you don’t understand this. 2. We don’t write to please or be accepted by the mainstream community. If we did, no one but your small closed community would read it. And it would be amazingly boring, repeat what all of you are indoctrinated to believe, and perpetrate the lies spewed by the mainstream. So understand that in the community for which we write, having the mainstream attack–especially using lies and distortions that can be easily demonstrated–is a badge of honor that demonstrates we are on a good track. For your own reasons, you assume others would want your approval. 3. Last, mainstream American archaeology rests on a bedrock of racism that began at the start of “archaeology” and the Smithsonian’s involvement. This racist base permeates throughout the entire mainstream belief system. There is a psychological process at work there I don’t expect you to understand, but as you peer out of your belief system you see racism as the explanation of people who disagree with your underlying beliefs. Maybe you should write that book you have been talking about.

    • mtDNA is never considered to be “human DNA” in genetics and biology because it does not contain any human DNA.

      Your circular reasoning here might be correct. Maybe mtDNA is never considered to be human DNA. Except by just about everyone who actually works with mtDNA professionally. For example:

      Chang DD, Clayton DA (1985). Priming of human mitochondrial DNA replication occurs at the light-strand promoter. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, USA 82, 351-355

      Payam A. Gammage , Lindsey Van Haute , and Michal Minczuk (2016). “Engineered mtZFNs for Manipulation of Human Mitochondrial DNA Heteroplasmy.”In Mitochondrial DNA: Methods and Protocols, Matthew McKenzie (ed). New York: Humana Press, p. 145.

      Kasiviswanathan R, Gustafson MA, Copeland WC, Meyer JN (2012). Human mitochondrial DNA polymerase gamma exhibits potential for bypass and mutagenesis at UV-induced cyclobutane thymine dimers. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 287, 9222-9229.

      Laurent Chatre , Benjamin Montagne , and Miria Ricchetti (2016). “A Single-Cell Resolution Imaging Protocol of Mitochondrial DNA Dynamics in Physiopathology, mTRIP, Which Also Evaluates Sublethal Cytotoxicity.” In Mitochondrial DNA: Methods and Protocols, Matthew McKenzie (ed). New York: Humana Press, page 50 (fig.1).

      Miyako K, Takamatsu C, Umeda S, Tajiri T, Furuichi M, Nakabeppu Y, Sekiguchi M, Hamasaki N, Takeshige K, Kang D (2000). Accumulation of adenine DNA glycosylase-sensitive sites in human mitochondrial DNA. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 275, 12326–12330

      Spelbrink JN, Li FY, Tiranti V, Nikali K, Yuan QP, Tariq M, Wanrooij S, Garrido N, Comi G, Morandi L, Santoro L, Toscano A, Fabrizi GM, Somer H, Croxen R, Beeson D, Poulton J, Suomalainen A, Jacobs HT, Zeviani M, Larsson C (2001). Human mitochondrial DNA deletions associated with mutations in the gene encoding Twinkle, a phage T7 gene 4-like protein localized in mitochondria. Nature Genetics 28, 223–231

      …and the list could go on and on, obviously.

      But don’t take my word for it:

      Human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is a 16.5 kb, circular, multi-copy genome encoding several structural components of the respiratory chain, ATP synthase, and RNA components necessary for mitochondrial gene expression” (Gammage, Van Haute, and Minczuk 2016).

  21. The mainstream archaeologists here, and their supporters, who have hurled charges of racism at those who disagree with them (and that includes me), are certainly not going to like it at all when they are accused of the same sin. My guess is, in their defense, they will not only categorically deny it, but go so far to say that such a thing among themselves or in their work is utterly preposterous. In fact, it’s unthinkable. Why as we all know, racism, in all it’s forms, is something that exists on “the other side”, but certainly not here. I am going over to Amazon in a few minutes and buy the book by Little and Collins for sure….

  22. Carl states: “…There is no “mainstream” in modern archaeology. One is either doing archaeology scientifically or one is not…”.

    Dr. Albert Goodyear, chief archaeologist at the Topper Site, with whom I think you are in disagreement with, mainly because some of the artifacts he uncovered might date to around 50,000 years BP; is Dr. Goodyear “mainstream”, or in fact a pseudo-archaeologist? Given your either/or philosophy, he has to be one or the other, as their is, by your logic, no third position….

  23. Every reference you use says “Human Mitochondrial DNA” meaning the mitochondria in our cells as opposed to the mitochondria in every other living organism. Following your reasoning they should just say “human DNA.” “But don’t take my word for it: “Human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is a 16.5 kb, circular, multi-copy genome encoding several structural components of the respiratory chain, ATP synthase, and RNA components necessary for mitochondrial gene expression” (Gammage, Van Haute, and Minczuk 2016). Gee, why does it say “mitochondrial gene expression” and not human gene expression? Maybe because mtDNA produces mitochondria and not human cells? You are not worth any more of my time. On the other hand, I assume that here you are writing and asserting official positions for the US Forestry Service and the “Land Between the Lakes” section as that is prominently displayed here as well as on your Facebook and Twitter pages. No where do I see that the statements are solely your own.

    • You are not worth any more of my time. I assume that here you are writing and asserting official positions for the US Forestry Service and the “Land Between the Lakes” section as that is prominently displayed here as well as on your Facebook and Twitter pages. No where do I see that the statements are solely your own.

      Honestly, I can’t imagine I was ever worth your time. I’m just some guy on the internet with an opinion, which, by the way, is mentioned on my About page as being my own and not that of my employers’ or affiliated universities. LOL. And “taking note” is hardly a “hiring decision” by itself.

      Anyway, I’ve no real dog in the hunt regarding mtDNA’s status as either human or non-human. I poked at it a bit because I was curious why it was important to you. I’m assuming there might be some grand, pseudoscientific conclusion that rests on it being this way, but damned if I can sort it out. Maybe not… you just seem unusually hung up on it. And me, for that matter. Anyway, Cheers, Greg.

  24. Carl,

    I understand the situation. I’ve met people in similar straits who had to deal with a lot red tape and skepticism just to attend a conference two states away. By the way, historical sidenote my first introduction to this pseudo archaeology crap came in one of Jon Muller’s archaeology class. He didnt use that concept to describe it though. If my memory serves me correctly Muller had done some work in kentucky on glyphs or something like that. Or maybe it was Gumerman. Hard to keep track given the number of well known people who were around back then.

  25. Baptist states: “…:Hard to keep track given the number of well known people who were around back then…”.

    Well, you know, Baptist, when you make stuff up as you go along, it would indeed be difficult to keep track of all those fantasies in one’s head, like your phantom college degrees, or the assertion that the College of Charleston is a “Bible School”, but hey, on the internet you can say, or be, whatever you wish, and most people won’t ever notice the difference….

  26. My, my, Gleaner63 has racked up quite the obsessive, oops, I mean impressive number of posts here. A few comments before leaving Gleaner to whatever he is struggling to do here.

    1.I provided the links to articles demonstrating that there are debates about the nature and properties of electricity. Go back and revisit the original discussion of this, then move the goalpost back where it belongs, and then think it through. No need for me to discuss the implications of these debates for how electrical engineers work in the present because it isn’t relevant to the original discussion. Now, how electrical engineers will have to deal with the changing state of knowledge in the future is a different and more relevant topic. I guess when some things believed by electrical engineers turn out to be wrong 50 or 100 years from now then it means they are pseudoscientists. Darn, where have I heard this argument before?

    2.Don’t know why you keep trying to associate me with abusing drugs. I do research on habitual substance abusers like Hancock. You can’t seem to grasp the difference.

    3.I know of SIU-C by reputation and interacting with people from there (see below). A solid program with good faculty that provides four-field training and a large varied curriculum. The Center for Archaeological Investigation is well regarded. Doesn’t matter if the department is ranked 1st or 150th it still trumps a no-name Jesus school in education in anthropology or anything else. No need to even waste time going into the merits of LSU or University of Illinois compared to…I can’t even remember the names, sorry. Once you get to the Ph.D. level nobody really gives much thought to where the undergraduate was earned anyway, so only someone like you would try to make an issue of this.

    4.As the following write-ups help to illustrate, Hancock does indeed misrepresent Pre-Clovis/Clovis First to try to paint archaeology as a whole in broad strokes. This is very evident throughout social media where Grammy and his advocates consistently speak in general negative terms about archaeology, or whatever discipline can be mined for a strawman argument. You’ve done this as well in other discussions here, but are now trying to change your tune for obvious reasons. Hancock has to do this because all archaeologists, at least the ones who are even aware that he exists, think Hancock is full of shit no matter where they stood on Clovis First or anything else. In fact, one of the few things that involve a legitimate consensus that tops Clovis First by a long shot in archaeology is that Hancock is a loon and a crank.. So he and his followers have to speak in generalities about archaeology although as usual they sometimes start to wiggle and claim “that’s not what he/I really meant” when the BS flag is thrown. But then a week later they are back to spouting the same old stuff. The Hancock reddit page is full of this. Kind of like intellectuallly feeble wack-a-moles. Gleaner63 is a lost cause but hopefully others with a bit better grasp of the obvious will find this interesting.

    http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/graham-hancock-to-archaeologists-you-guys-are-the-pseudoscientists

    https://www.andywhiteanthropology.com/blog/is-graham-hancocks-new-book-really-as-much-of-a-yawner-as-it-sounds-like-it-is

    Lapsed Baptist,
    We may have some overlap at LSU. Does the nickname Rambo ring a bell when it comes to archaeologists? How about the Library? Is the person that you mentioned at Clemson named Bob Coggeshall? I know him slightly. Ph.D. from SIU-C whom Clemson hired and granted tenure. Damn, come to think of it, Andy White at University of South Carolina has an M.A. from SIU-C. Guess that the people in South Calinky whose opinions count the most in such matters think of lot of what the department at SIU-C produces.

    Gleaner63 takes the hissy fit up to an entirely new level in 3-2-1……

  27. James Ford states: “1.I provided the links to articles demonstrating that there are debates about the nature and properties of electricity…”.

    Then you must being having a debate with yourself, because I never raised the issue of the ultimate nature of electricity, and I made the point that EEs on the job don’t either. I now have about 30 years worth of experience with EEs, and for all the stuff I’ve helped them troubleshoot and repair, not once has the subject of the “nature and properties of electricity” ever arisen. So again, where this is coming from only you can tell us…

  28. James Ford states: “…2.Don’t know why you keep trying to associate me with abusing drugs. I do research on habitual substance abusers like Hancock. You can’t seem to grasp the difference…’.

    You raised the point about your alleged “drug research”, again for reasons unknown to me, on an archaeology blog. Since you continually do it, and the two have no known connection, I poke a little fun at you. What now, you can’t take a joke or 2? And what is your proof on Hancock’s drug abuse?

  29. James Ford states: “..3.I know of SIU-C by reputation and interacting with people from there (see below). A solid program with good faculty that provides four-field training and a large varied curriculum. The Center for Archaeological Investigation is well regarded. Doesn’t matter if the department is ranked 1st or 150th it still trumps a no-name Jesus school in education in anthropology or anything else. No need to even waste time going into the merits of LSU or University of Illinois compared to…I can’t even remember the names, sorry. Once you get to the Ph.D. level nobody really gives much thought to where the undergraduate was earned anyway, so only someone like you would try to make an issue of this…”.

    So you freely admit then, that SIU is not ranked by anyone as an outstanding school, and is only known by you, and that’s what matters, correct? Come on James, you can do better than that…as you said about where I graduated from, SIU is a “no-name school”…sorry…

  30. James Ford…..well, you did get one thing correct, Clemson is highly ranked and highly regarded; but doesn’t it being in the Deep South and attended by a lot of conservative Christians somehow disqualify it? Hissy fit? Wow, do they have mirrors at your institution, or is the bong smoke just a little thick in there?

  31. James Ford states: “..Hancock has to do this because all archaeologists, at least the ones who are even aware that he exists, think Hancock is full of shit no matter where they stood on Clovis First or anything else…”.

    You’re having a hissy fit: I expected more of a reasoned argument from such a highly educated person as yourself, James….

  32. So what really eats away at James Ford, Carl, Lapsed Baptist and others here so much that they have to accuse others or racism, drug abuse and anything else they can possibly imagine? They can’t bear the thought, even for a moment, of being wrong, and by a wide margin, on topics like the Clovis First/Only model. And that Hancock reminds them of it pokes them in the eye with it…..

  33. Imagine belonging to a discipline, where, for the better part of 100 years, despite the best efforts of thousands or field workers, professors, professional societies, peer reviewed papers, academic journals, unlimited funds and the support of numerous colleges and universities, that at the end of the day you would have been proven to be utterly…..wrong. And not just by a few years, but tens of thousands of years. And yet this accurately describes the discipline of archeology and it’s relation to the Clovis First Model. And no doubt accounts for most if not all of the vitriol directed at Hancock and others…

  34. James Ford states: “..Once you get to the Ph.D. level nobody really gives much thought to where the undergraduate was earned anyway, so only someone like you would try to make an issue of this…”.

    I never made an issue of where anyone went to school because I didn’t see the relevance of it, but your fellow traveler, Lapsed Baptist, apparently does, along with you. So once again, you hurl insults at people, then throw a fit when someone returns the favor….

  35. James Ford states: “…a no-name Jesus school…”

    Ya just gotta love that bit of “acceptable prejudice” in the religious bigotry department, perfectly ok with you and your friends here, the kind that lecture others on racism and with such a straight face…

  36. James Ford states: “..My, my, Gleaner63 has racked up quite the obsessive, oops, I mean impressive number of posts here…”

    Your last screed James, took up almost 50 lines of text here; a little obsessive maybe on your part? Naaaa, couldn’t be. Since your posts are usually rambling, incoherent, and off topic, it’s easier to deal with them in sections, hence what you see as obsessive….at any rate, back to your crack pipe and another imaginary “research paper on drug abuse”….lol…

  37. James Ford states: “…Grammy and his advocates consistently speak in general negative terms about archaeology..”.

    Ah, I see, the tribalism thing, archaeology cannot be criticized, that would be “off-limits”; and yet Hancock is the leader of a “cult” according to you. Good grief, continued use of mary-ju-wana over a life time really does have side effects…

  38. James recommends: “http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/graham-hancock-to-archaeologists-you-guys-are-the-pseudoscientists

    https://www.andywhiteanthropology.com/blog/is-graham-hancocks-new-book-really-as-much-of-a-yawner-as-it-sounds-like-it-is“.

    Never heard of them. Where did they go to school? What religion are they members of? Are they in a cult? What section of the country are they from? Are they now, or have they ever been racists, voted for racists, or closet racists and do they read racist literature? Unless you can answer that to my satisfaction, I can only assume they have something wrong with them. Sorry, but I’m just trying to apply your standards to who or what is or isn’t acceptable to be read or discussed here…

  39. James:

    My B.A. from SIU and some nice letters of reference from Handler, Muller, and Barton (history) got me a full ride scholarship for the LSU grad program. I’m happy with it. As I indicated before with some very good people in the right positions it doesn’t need to be an elite program to work out very well. Coggeshall was finishing up his diss. and working as a lecturer or visiting prof, can’t remember which, when I was there. He was one of the first people I met on a campus visit. He had just gotten the position at Clemson, a secular school by the way, for the following year when I got there. At least I think that is the chronology. Oh yes, Rambo. I got along better with her than a lot of people. She is hell on wheels in oral comps but I assume that you already know that unless you were geography side. I was there for Kniffen-West Fest if that helps with time frame. I had a few at the Library but was more of a Chimes person. We probably shouldn’t get too much more detailed than that in a forum like this. You can just imagine what filled my email in-box for a week the last time I was dumb enough to provide too much info in a setting like this. too many people with unhealthy fixations.

    Hancock has a certain rat-like cunning and sometimes even he can figure out that it is time to leave a particular sinking ship like he did with the earth crust displacement and ancient white civilizations spiels that he was pushing a while back. I’ll bet a Dixie beer that he beats the Clovis drum less harder once he has made his bundle off the latest book. At least a lot of his fans besides the zealots are inclined to back off of it when pushed on it. Maybe he will get the memo too.

    It’s way too hard to sort through all the ravings and try to carry on conversation in this section. Perhaps we can touch bases the next time our paths cross on Carl’s blog at a point before the running of the loons really opens up.

  40. Baptist states: “…As I indicated before with some very good people in the right positions it doesn’t need to be an elite program to work out very well…”

    I think anyone who’s ever been to college would recognize that; I’m happy with my undergrad education I got at CSU in the field of history. The professor I took most of my courses under had previously taught at Princeton and the University of Virginia, both elite schools….

  41. Baptists states: “…It’s way too hard to sort through all the ravings and try to carry on conversation in this section…”.

    Carrying on a civil conversation should be easy, here or anywhere else. Of course it helps to adhere to certain rules, like not purposely insulting people. It also helps to see the people you are talking to, despite the disagreements, as people to be valued, just like yourself. When Hilary Clinton referred to millions of Americans as “deplorables”, she was of course letting us know that a civil discourse was impossible, and never her actual intent anyway…

  42. Ex-Baptist,

    Dream on. Hancock’s whole civilization wiped out without a trace is just a grown man’s spin on the old elementary school “hey teacher the dog ate my homework and you can’t prove that it didn’t” routine. Clovis is just a red flag for him to wave in the face of his fans to get them so stoked up with moral outrage toward archaeology that they don’t notice that the emperor is not wearing any clothes. They then turn right around and ape the whole routine on social media. He is too invested in it, literally. Clovis ain’t going anywhere until GH heads off to that big ayahuasca patch in the sky.

    I came after the big Fred Kniffen conference. Or maybe it went down when I was out of state doing research. Or maybe I am confusing it with when they hosted the Conference of Latin American Geographers or something like that. Too many moons ago. By all means let’s pick this up elsewhere and by all means no contact info online. I will be on the road for the near future so it will be more later than sooner.

    Geaux Tigers!

  43. James Ford states: “…Clovis ain’t going anywhere until GH heads off to that big ayahuasca patch in the sky…”.

    Try to keep up, James: the Clovis First/Only Model is already gone…really, really gone. Tribal/mainstream archaeologists have now fallen back to a pre-prepared position; “…well, we’re still right, even when we are wrong..” (everything we say is “provisional”, so that should cover nicely for this and later, debacles”.

  44. “pseudoscience toolkit.”

    Mmmmm; wonder what the alleged “official science toolkit” might contain?

    1.) Claim that all official positions by science are provisional, including, but not limited to: 1.) the Earth is round, 2.) Evolution is true, 3.) there is no Lost Civilization, 4.) The heliocentric solar system model, 5.) The Big Bang, 6.) The vast age of the Earth, 7.) Man landed on the moon, 8.) the Face on Mars is a natural geologic formation, 9.) ESP is false, 10.) Ghosts aren’t real, 11.) Roswell wasn’t an ET crash site, 12.) Creationism is false, 13.) Global Warming is a fact….

    Try defending any of those positions as “provisional” and see what happens..

  45. This is probably offering up pearls to swine but: there is a big difference between the process by which people from Copernicus to Sagan collect data, analyze it, interpret it, and communicate findings and how it is done by people like Collins and Little. Just because certain propositions in the past were viewed as outrageous by some it is not a valid argument for uncritically accepting every outrageous proposition that every Tom, Dick, and Harry comes along with in the present as valid or even provisional. Inundating a blog comments section with apples and oranges logic and details of underwhelming credentials only makes you look amateurish and foolish. Your sure to be multiple responses will undoubtedly be amateurish and foolish and it is clear that you have nothing better to do than to behave in this manner. So, I see no need to continue the discussion. Good evening.

  46. Susan Ford: Thanks for the comments. Carl will probably delete this because he apparently feels the need to protect those on one side of this argument while holding those on the other side to a more rigid standard, but we’ll see. In regard to your “swine argument”, is that a good, sound, scientific argument to you? You didn’t include a picture, so I can’t judge. I’m curious however, about your comments regarding Carl Sagan. Prior to von Daniken, when Sagan believed that Paleo-Contact (or Ancient Astronauts) was a perfectly legitimate theory, what data did he “collect, analyze and interpret”? Just curious….

Leave a Reply