Historical and Genetic Methodology in Projection of Paleolithic-Era Human Migration

Saturday, January 7, 2017: 4:10 PM
Mile High Ballroom 3A (Colorado Convention Center)
Patrick Manning, University of Pittsburgh
Study of the human genome has confirmed that anatomically modern Homo sapiens migrated from eastern Africa to settle in the Old World tropics, between 100,000 and 50,000 years ago, and Old World temperate zones from about 45,000 years ago. This paper shows that such research results require the combination of genomic and historical methods in the three elements of analysis. First is determining the nature and the order of the divergence in genetic constituents—work that is entirely genetic. Second, estimating the chronology of each divergence depends on algorithms developed to model the historical rates of genetic change—requiring genetic skills, mathematical skill in algorithms, and historical knowledge of conditions that modify rates of genetic change. Third, tracing the trajectory of migration requires linking the known modern humans from whom genetic samples are taken to the presumed past communities from whom they are descended, through assumptions about language, ethnicity, and other social characteristics. This presentation explores the literature on three examples of Paleolithic-era migration—from Africa to South Asia, to Southeast Asia, and to Eastern Europe—to show the interdependence of genetic and historical methods in projecting the identity of migrants, the time of their movement, and the path of their migration.
<< Previous Presentation | Next Presentation