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No. 91: Jan-Feb 1994

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Dna Undermines Key Paradigms

Lately, the Wall Street Journal has expanded its coverage from stocks and bonds to the Marfa lights and other scientific anomalies. Now, it is challenging archeological sacred cows using mitochondrial DNA. Quite a switch from pork futures! Of course, the WSJ is not a recognized scientific source, but its reporter did get his information directly from D.C. Wallace, a well-known professor of genetics and molecular medicine at Emory University and a champion of the African Eve theory.
DNA in mitochondria that may upset long-held theories of human migration
Surely an unusual illustration for the archeology section, but the DNA in these mitochondria may upset long-held theories of human migration.

Anyway, Wallace has been studying mitochondria, those little energizers in human and animal cells. Strangely, mitochondria have their own DNA, which is separate and distinct from the nuclear DNA that directs other biological processes. Mitochondrial DNA has had its own history of evolution and is different for various human populations. Wallace has used this fact to trace the origins of American Indians by comparing their mitochondrial DNA with that from Asians, Africans, etc. His conclusions are controversial to say the least.

  1. The Amerinds, who comprise most of the Native Americans, arrived in a single migratory wave 20,000-40,000 years ago -- not merely 12,000 years ago!

  2. Native Siberians lack a peculiar mutation of mitochondrial DNA that appeared in the Amerinds 6,000-10,000 years ago, casting doubt on the Siberian land bridge theory. Instead, this particular mutation is found in Southeast Asia, Melanesia, and Polynesia.

  3. The Navajos, Apaches, and other so-called Na-Dene peoples entered North America a mere 5,000-10,000 years ago. The article does not say from where.

(Bishop, Jerry E.; "A Geneticist's Work on DNA Bears Fruit for Anthropologists," Wall Street Journal, November 10, 1993. Thanks to several people who telephoned or sent along this article.)

From Science Frontiers #91, JAN-FEB 1994. 1994-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987