Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Did the orientation of the continents hinder ancient settlement of the Americas?

Date:
September 21, 2011
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
In an intriguing original look at the history of the first Americans, a new study finds evidence that the north-south orientation of the American continents slowed the spread of populations and technology, compared to the east-west axis of Eurasia.

In an intriguing original look at the history of the first Americans, a new study finds evidence that the north-south orientation of the American continents slowed the spread of populations and technology, compared to the east-west axis of Eurasia.

Related Articles


The research, published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, is part of a special section which explores who the first Americans were and how they were able to settle in the last great unexplored habitat.

The research, by Sohini Ramachandran and Noah Rosenberg, from Brown University and Stanford University respectively, uses genetic information to explore the effects of continental axes and climates on human migration and adaptation across the Americas.

"It has been proposed that the east-west orientation of the Eurasian landmass aided the rapid spread of ancient technological innovations, while the north-south orientation of the Americas led to a slower diffusion of technology there," said Ramachandran. "Our research develops this idea, arguing that continental orientation influenced migration patterns and played an important role in determining the structure of human genetic variation and the distribution and spread of cultural traits."

The research supports the idea that technological diffusion was accelerated across Eurasia because populations with the same latitude experience similar climates, making adaptation to new locations easier for domesticated animals, plants and consequently humans. Alternatively, migrating along lines of longitude involves adapting to new climates.

"The idea that technology was diffused along latitudinal lines was proposed by Jared Diamond in 1997, but if this is correct and the spread of technology was accompanied by human migrations it follows that a comparative study into genetic variation would reveal a signature of greater genetic differences between populations along lines of longitude in the Americas than that in Eurasia along lines of latitude," said Ramachandran.

To test this hypothesis the team analysed genetic variation data from 68 populations, 39 from Eurasia and 29 from Native Americans. The data were used to identify relationships between the genetic and geographic distances between populations on each continent.

The results confirmed that the increase in genetic distances along lines of longitude in the Americas occurs over shorter geographic distances than the increase in genetic distances in Eurasia along lines of latitude.

"For many years anthropologists have asked who the first Americans were and how they were able to settle in the last major habitat open to humans," said Jeff Long, guest editor of the special section. "These six papers use genetics to answer these questions, not only confirming the genetic signatures of historic relationships between Native Americans and Eastern Asia, but also providing evidence for prehistoric migration and adaptation of settlers to the new world."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley-Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sohini Ramachandran, Noah A. Rosenberg. A test of the influence of continental axes of orientation on patterns of human gene flow. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 2011; DOI: 10.1002/ajpa.21533

Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "Did the orientation of the continents hinder ancient settlement of the Americas?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110921074744.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2011, September 21). Did the orientation of the continents hinder ancient settlement of the Americas?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110921074744.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "Did the orientation of the continents hinder ancient settlement of the Americas?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110921074744.htm (accessed March 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

Raw: Lioness Has Rare Five-Cub Litter

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) — A lioness in Pakistan has given birth to five cubs, twice the usual size of a litter. Queen gave birth to two other cubs just nine months ago. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Jockey Motion Tracking Reveals Racing Prowess

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) — Using motion tracking technology, researchers from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) are trying to establish an optimum horse riding style to train junior jockeys, as well as enhance safety, health and well-being of both racehorses and jockeys. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bear Cubs Tumble for the Media

Bear Cubs Tumble for the Media

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) — Two Andean bear cubs are unveiled at the U.S. National Zoo in Washington, D.C. Alicia Powell reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Botswana Talks to End Illegal Wildlife Trade

Botswana Talks to End Illegal Wildlife Trade

AFP (Mar. 25, 2015) — Experts are gathering in Botswana to try to end the illegal wildlife trade that is decimating populations of elephants, rhinos and other threatened species. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Continents Influenced Ancient Human Migration, Spread of Technology

Sep. 19, 2011 — New research pieces together ancient human migration in North and South America. Researchers have found that technology spread more slowly in the Americas than in Eurasia. Population groups in the ... read more

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins