Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New
    Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New of understanding the human past as archeology, linguistics, and the written word Now , inThe New Science of the Human Past, Reich describes just how the human genome provides not only all the information that a fertilized human egg needs to develop but also contains within it the history of our species He delineates how the Genomic Revolution and ancient DNA are transforming our understanding of our own lineage as modern humans how genomics deconstructs the idea that there are no biologically meaningful differences among human populations though without adherence to pernicious racist hierarchies and how DNA studies reveal the deep history of human inequality among different populations, between the sexes, and among individuals within a population."/>
  • Hardcover
  • 335 pages
  • Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past
  • David Reich
  • English
  • 16 September 2019
  • 110187032X

Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past✸ [PDF] ✈ Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past By David Reich ✴ – Essayreview.co.uk Massive technological innovations now allow scientists to extract and analyze ancient DNA as never before, and it has become clear in part from David Reich s own contributions to the field that genomi Massive technological innovations now allow scientists to extract Are and PDF/EPUB é and analyze ancient DNA Who We PDF \ as never before, and it has become clear in part from David Reich We Are and MOBI ï s own contributions to the field that genomics is as important a means of understanding the human past as archeology, linguistics, and the written word Now , inThe New Science of the Human Past, Reich describes just how the human genome provides not only all the information that a fertilized human egg needs to develop but also contains within it the history of our species He delineates how the Genomic Revolution and ancient DNA are transforming our understanding of our own lineage as modern humans how genomics deconstructs the idea that there are no biologically meaningful differences among human populations though without adherence to pernicious racist hierarchies and how DNA studies reveal the deep history of human inequality among different populations, between the sexes, and among individuals within a population.


About the Author: David Reich

Is a well known author, some of his Are and PDF/EPUB é books are a fascination Who We PDF \ for readers like in the Who We Are and How We Got Here: We Are and MOBI ï Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past book, this is one of the most wanted David Reich author readers around the world.


10 thoughts on “Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past

  1. says:

    A book that catalogues the movement and migration of human populations and the current work being done in sequencing and analyzing ancient DNA Someone recommended this to me and I really enjoyed it I think it was accessible but also rigorous It mostly was an overview of the research literature in the domain which I really liked I kind of felt ambivalent about the author s qualifications on genetic research and race however, even though I think he did a fair job explaining his position and hi A book that catalogues the movement and migration of human populations and the current work being done in sequencing and analyzing ancient DNA Someone recommended this to me and I really enjoyed it I think it was accessible but also rigorous It mostly was an overview of the research literature in the domain which I really liked I kind of felt ambivalent about the author s qualifications on genetic research and race however, even though I think he did a fair job explaining his position and his position is a reasonable one I think most of it just has to do with my own skepticism about cognitive behavioral ties being made to biology Even though Reich himself acknowledges that they way genes work to influence cognition and behavior may be indirect or counterintuitive to us I also think it was weird of him to talk about the genetic link to educational attainment being an explanation rooted in waiting to have kids but then not explaining how the genes that influence both go about causing people to delay having kids Just because the genes that predict educational attainmentstrongly predict people delaying having children doesn t mean the genes are influencing either directly It mostly felt weird because later on he talks about the need to follow populations overtime because the increase in genetic variations associated with educational attainment being lower in populations over time as those people have less children because of the previously mentioned link I think it s understandable for someone who comes out explicitly to say they re of the community that follows in the traditions of the Enlightenment or something to that effect to be concerned about educational attainment but it seems to me to be a narrow view of what is worthwhile and desirable in human beings to have these concerns with intelligence education always brought up Really good book overall though, would definitely recommend to others interested in the history of human evolution and migration

  2. says:

    This was the book that I wanted the last book I read on the topic to be Concentrates on the science, lucidly written, although probably best not read when one is too fatigued or sleepy Its explanations seem as simple as possible but no simpler, which I appreciate This is a round up of the most recent as of about the end of 2017 science of ancient DNA by one of the scientists working on the subject It s such a fast moving field right now faster than print publishing, to be sure even a yea This was the book that I wanted the last book I read on the topic to be Concentrates on the science, lucidly written, although probably best not read when one is too fatigued or sleepy Its explanations seem as simple as possible but no simpler, which I appreciate This is a round up of the most recent as of about the end of 2017 science of ancient DNA by one of the scientists working on the subject It s such a fast moving field right now faster than print publishing, to be sure even a year will make a difference, and as a sort of science camp follower, I look forward to trying to keep up.I found the work reported on India and Asia to be especially interesting, as it was new to me I d already read Paabo s book on the Neanderthal work, also highly recommended Highly recommended, although read it soon, rather like eating your ice cream before it melts.Ta, L

  3. says:

    We geneticists may be the barbarians coming late to the study of the human past, but it is always a bad idea to ignore barbarians We have access to a type of data that no one has had before, and we are wielding these data to address previously unapproachable questions about who ancient peoples were. This book has many very, very good qualities It is, without doubt, the best modern summary of ancient genome research and how it is transforming our understanding of the past available However, i We geneticists may be the barbarians coming late to the study of the human past, but it is always a bad idea to ignore barbarians We have access to a type of data that no one has had before, and we are wielding these data to address previously unapproachable questions about who ancient peoples were. This book has many very, very good qualities It is, without doubt, the best modern summary of ancient genome research and how it is transforming our understanding of the past available However, it also carries some very deep, and dangerous, flaws Reich is so keen to move us forward with new techniques that he tramples past cultural, sociological and anthropological scholarship that helps us to understand how we create narratives and guard against bias In doing so, his book reinforces destructive ideas about race human cognition and psychology and class and power Perhaps ironically, in seeking to free us from antiquated scholarship, Reich plays straight back into dominant narratives that have explained and justified racial inequality for centuries.In many ways these are small flaws, affecting a few chapters at the end But Reich has created a narrative around this in which he is a hero taking on the idiocy of political correctness, which makes it impossible not to treat this discussion as the center of the book And as Reich says above, these newcomers to the field of human origins wield enormous influence, which brings with it responsibility for rounded scholarship.It has taken me a month to write this damn review long time to have a tab open in part because Reich sets us such a trap for the critic he consistently argues that those critiquing his view of race are motivated by trying to shut the discussion down People like me are anti evidence, and unless you are going to argue with him over the sequencing techniques, then the criticism is irrelevant As it happens, I agree strongly, as do very many who think he is wrong, with the need to have evidence based discussion about race, gender, intellect, cognition and human origins Especially given the rise of overt racism, and the flock of racist men to blogs and discussion forums around genetic prehistory So it has been important to me to ensure that it is clear that my objections are not to having a conversation, they are to his conclusions, and the way he has framed the debate, and most of all, what he overlooks.Now, Reich argues that he is countering racism his book strips back the stupid claim that races have existed for any significant fraction of human existence, and gives huge weight as does all modern genetic work to understanding that our ancestors mingled, migrated and procreated muchexpansively than we had previously assumed Our modern populations have existed for not muchthan 5000 years in most cases This itself shows what we mean many populations actually have been relatively distinct for longer than that, the San, Australia s Aboriginal groups, Native Americans but they don t correspond to our race ideas, which lump all Africans together, all Oceanic groups together etc really, it is the inhabitants of Eurasia who have mingled incessantly, creating the populations who tend to hold social, economic and political power in our current world Multiculturalism has been a consistent feature of human societies, and yes, conflict is as much a part of that condition as harmony this is part of who we are, in all our glorious complexity But the fact that Reich doesn t think he is making racist assumptions doesn t change two big errors his argument that cognitive differences could exist between large population groups i.e races and his infuriating and frankly petulant dismissal of First Nations concerns around genetic research.On the first to start, Reich is not in the majority in thinking that large populations are the most effective way to look at genetic difference he himself outlines his differences with Svante Paabo in the book, although he talks down the support that remains for Paabo s view that clines is aenlightening slice He admirably starts by pointing out that race, as we think we understand, has been largely debunked He attempts to distinguish himself from the rubbish spouted by journalist Nicholas Wade, and the prejudice of James Watson But as the book progresses, he focuses increasingly on the possibility of differences which have evolved over the last 5000 years, providing markers between populations despite the fact he presents no evidence for this In the end, he seems to be warning that they might be right about some things, attacking his colleagues for using truisms like, there isgenetic variation within population groups than between them this is, by the way, simply true instead, presumably, of focusing on those differences which can be found The fact that there is plenty of scholarship on those differences, such as skin colour, height and susceptibility to disease, doesn t count of course, because really what Reich is getting at is cognitive, personality and the real question of intelligence Who is, after all, the most human the fact we have little idea in any form of scholarship of what that actually means doesn t slow him down at all And honestly, it should.On the IQ look, there are many great articles on this already on the Interwebz Start with Kevin Mitchell in the Guardian The issue here isn t that genetics doesn t predict the possibility of natural selection causing complex differences between populations the only argument that Reich addresses in the book, and one which he says comes from political correctness, adding insult to disagreement the issue is that the main narrative of modern society is that these differences do exist, when there is no untainted evidence for it Mitchell in this link accepts the IQ test as a measure of intelligence but many, many scientists do not We have much evidence, in fact, that economic inequality and stereotype threat much of this research is centered on gender difference in maths This is why the one main significant study into IQ and genetics which Reich makes much of focused on a very uniform genetic population in a country with tiny economic and social inequality, and even then the implications of its results have been widely challenged.Reich s own research on earlier periods challenges the simple search genetics has for the unlocking nature of consciousness and humanity He points out that despite large resources, there simply doesn t seem to be evidence that genetic adaptation closely precedes leaps in human development This is not a surprise to evolutionary biologists, who have known for some time that our capacity to learn and create social structures which then shape our individual cognitive development is our strongest adaptation that our closest primate relatives have genetic capacity for language and tool use, as well as often superior memory and recall But the key lesson here that we have an extreme ability to socially shape our children and hence create ourselves should also result in an understanding that we ourselves, us scientists, are also created and shaped by the societies that created us, is one Reich usually doesn t appreciate the impact of In one rather infuriating section he comments that we should take the same approach to race as to gender, throwing out Most people accept that the biological differences between males and females are profound, and that they contribute to average differences in size and physical strength as well as in temperament and behavior, even if there are questions about the extent to which particular differences are also influenced by social expectations and upbringing for example, many of the jobs in industry and the professions that women fill in great numbers today had few women in them a century ago Today we aspire both to recognize that biological differences exist and to accord everyone the same freedoms and opportunities regardless of them It is clear from the abiding average inequities that persist between women and men that fulfilling these aspirations is a challenge, and yet it is important to accommodate and even embrace the real differences that exist, while at the same time struggling to get to a better place This view, that gender inequality is just a bit of thorny issue society is working through, that most people accept that gendered differences in temperament are profound bears little resemblance to any serious scholarship on either gender, or neuroscience which consistently finds less and less gendered differences , or for that matter the goddamn zeitgeist at the moment, and summarises Reich s dismissiveness.Reich at times shows flashes of insight into how social and biological factors interact for example noting that genetic predictors in again, uniform and highly equal society educational rates may relate to differences in fertility, not cognition, or his wonderful aside that West Africans might not be faster, but justgenetically diverse than others, but when it hasn t been forcefully brought to his attention by a sociologist he met at a dinner party, he seems unaware that what he regards as common knowledge comes from a worldview based on relationships of power and social roles In this context, his blithe assumption that we can find cognitive differences between populations despite the complete lack of agreement into how to measure or understand cognition and an awareness that our common sense assumptions are largely shaped by our social environment is an infuriating result of isolating hard science from the social sciences and humanities.Nowhere is this lack of awareness that he has a worldviewevident than in his frustrated complaints about the role of First Nations peoples particularly in the Americas in refusing participation in genetic testing Reich s bewilderment as to why this is even an issue is clear Scientists interested in studying genetic variation in Native American populations feel frustrated with this situation I understand something of the devastation that the coming of Europeans and Africans to the Americas wrought on Native American populations, and its effects are also evident everywhere in the data I and my colleagues analyze But I am not aware of any cases in which research in molecular biology including genetics a field that has arisen almost entirely since the end of the Second World War has caused major harm to historically persecuted groups and leads on to hints of wanting to disregard agreements with tribal councils not to proselytise around this research I wonder if the distrust that has emerged among some Native Americans might be, in the balance, doing Native Americans substantial harm I wonder whether as a geneticist I have a responsibility to dothan just respect the wishes of those who do not wish to participate in genetic research, but instead should make a respectful but strong case for the value of such research.Reich s claim that his research field has not done harm is a little naive For starters, it involves his version of harm, which excludes the exploitation of genetic material for the primary gain of other groups It assumes that his post Enlightenment worldview in which the search for information is noble, and never dangerous, and in which experimentation isworthy than spiritual contemplation, isworthy than differing worldviews which view knowledge without protection, context and responsibility as dangerous It also ignores the attempts to patent genomic material in the 1990s, and the thirst for profit that US biomedicine is embroiled in, rarely to the benefit of participants He lauds the work of researchers working with Aboriginal groups in Australia, without realising apparently that this work rests upon recognising that work with genetic material of Aboriginal groups must meet needs the community has identified That is, it is about listening, respecting and offering resources none of which is evident in Reich s approach to any of this.So, the good bits Reich loves the pursuit of knowledge and it shows And while he struggles so much with not recognising he has biases, he is refreshingly free from attaching his ego to particularly theories He cheerfully admits where genetic research has proven his assumptions wrong, and this makes most of the book a page turner, able to draw a reader in to rapidly shifting worlds of difference.Reich tackles a range of topics here including the sensitive issue that the genetic evidence indicates we havefemale ancestors than male This process results from bottlenecks, or times where men fathered children on a wide range of women While Reich clearly fears this will upset modern scholars, it is hardly a surprise to anthropologists well aware that polygynous child rearing iscommon than polyandry, and that war and conflict are largely driven male invading forces His research into the Indian caste system is fascinating, indicating the long term effectiveness of social separation within an existing community, and providing really interesting takes on the interaction between social structures and genetic ones The Brahmin caste, he argues, is far from purely different genetic stock, but bears markers of centuries of incestuous procreation and social isolation I wanted faron the Southern Route theory, and the role of Austronesian analysis particularly given a month before the book came out, cave art was dated to 60,000 years in Northern Australia, which, if accurate, comes down solidly in favour of an early Southern route expansion and Denosovan contact after arrival on the continent or errors in genetic dating Reich is well aware that this book is written at a moment in time, and it takes a certain courage to do that, as no doubt many of his current theories will be debunked in coming years In being that brave, he s given the layperson a fabulous chance to explore a field in flux It is just such a shame that he chose to mar this with an unsubstantiated argument about possible things people may find into the future, in a way which feeds into racism and sexism

  4. says:

    This book offers readers a description about the human past that has been made possible by recent technological advances in genome research By comparing whole genomes worth of DNA from ancient humans of various degrees of antiquity together with the data analysis power of modern computers, a picture of ancient human history has emerged that is filled with multiple migrations by varied branches of the human ancestral family The picture that is emerging consists of so many past migrations and m This book offers readers a description about the human past that has been made possible by recent technological advances in genome research By comparing whole genomes worth of DNA from ancient humans of various degrees of antiquity together with the data analysis power of modern computers, a picture of ancient human history has emerged that is filled with multiple migrations by varied branches of the human ancestral family The picture that is emerging consists of so many past migrations and mixtures of past populations that it s difficult to know how to give a sense of its complexity in this review This is compounded by the author s statement that there s an avalanche of new genome data pouring into the field faster than if can be assimilated The author predicts that the complexity of past human history will become increasingly developed in detail and complexity The following items highlighted by this review are simply those portions that impressed me as being particularly interesting.Variation in Human FormsThe variation in human forms varied muchwidely 50,000 years ago than it does today There were at that time alive on earth four major forms of humans In addition to modern humans there were Neanderthal, Denisovan and Homo floresiensis a.k.a Hobbits The Homo floresiensis were isolated on the Island of Flores, Indonesia and may have been descendants of Homo erectus and did not mix with modern humans However, there was intermixing of Neanderthals and Denisovans with modern humans as late as 50,000 years ago Almost all non Sub Saharan Africans alive today carry traces of this ancestry in their DNA.DNA Consequences of American SlaveryThe contribution of European American men to the average genetic makeup of present day African Americans is about four times higher than that of European American women 38 percent versus 10 percent This difference is determined by comparing the differences between Y chromosone and mitochondrial DNA This sex bias in some human ancestries is evidence of an imbalance in social power between human classes during past history A similar difference is found in south Asian DNA which is indicative of a past migration or invasion from the Eurasian Steppes It s interesting how past human sexual behavior, sometimes many years in the past, can be determined by this sort of analysis view spoiler A story I heard in my younger years was that all that racial mixing was caused by the Union troops during Sherman s March to the Sea hide spoiler Native Americans Closer to Europeans than AsiansNative Americans areclosely related to Europeans than to East Asians How can this be if the ancestral native Americans came to North America via the Bering Strait crossing which is in northeast Asia The answer lies in the past existence of a ghost population of ancient north Eurasians that contributed to the genome or both northern Europeans and Native Americans, but not present day Han Chinese Ghost PopulationsThe term ghost population is used to describe a population that can be inferred to have existed in the past using statistical reconstruction but that no longer exists in unmixed form And indeed the bones found in a south central Siberian grave dating from around 24,000 years ago match the predicted genome of ancient north Eurasians The following graphic illustrates the four population ancestral analysis that illustrates how the existence of ancient north Eurasians was determined Sardinians Are Remnant of Early EuropeansIt s interesting to note from the above illustration that today s Sardinians are the closest relatives to ancestral Europeans because the mixing with north Eurasians didn t reach them Neanderthal Markers in European and Asian DNAAlso of interest from the above illustration is the fact that modern human Neanderthal mixing occurred with the ancestral non Africans but not with the predicted ghost population of ancient north Eurasia Consequently, present day Han Chinese have a higher percentage of Neanderthal markers in their DNA than present day northern Europeans 4% vs 2% This is counter intuitive since the mixing between modern humans and Neanderthal occurred in Europe and the Middle East ControversiesThe book contains a chapter which discusses some of the controversies caused by the recent advances in genome research One subject discussed is the refusal of some Native American tribes to allow bones of their ancestors be analyzed This has developed from a long history of scientists who have shown disrespect to this ethnic group The author sees this as an unfortunate situation which he hopes can be resolved with time and improved trust between the two sides.Problems with RacistsAnother issue discussed is the problem with those who object to any analysis of differences between human groups because it gives fuel to racists The author believes that enforcement of artificial political correctness on genome research would allow those of a paranoid disposition to claim that the scientfic community is hiding the truth He says it is best to have an open an transparent discussion of genome differences between racial groups NYT Article of InterestThe following is a link not from the book to an article about an archeological excavation of a grave of a human who was a mixture of Neanderthal and Denisovan, but not modern human.https www.nytimes.com 2018 08 22 scExcerpt from Another BookThe following is not from this book It s a link to an excerpt from Evolving Ourselves by Juan Enriquez and Steve Gullans I found of particular interest the quote, There are almost no examples of Neanderthal cavities Paleolithic and Mesolithic human skulls are almost devoid of cavities

  5. says:

    Reich, a Harvard genetics professor, is a leading scientist investigating ancient DNA He brings us up to date on the significant progress that has been made in the extraction and analysis of DNA from ancient bones These recent studies change what we know about the movements of prehistoric peoples and our relationships to archaic humans and each other In 2010 the genomes of only five ancient people had been published By 2017 over 700 ancient individual genomes had been published with Reich s Reich, a Harvard genetics professor, is a leading scientist investigating ancient DNA He brings us up to date on the significant progress that has been made in the extraction and analysis of DNA from ancient bones These recent studies change what we know about the movements of prehistoric peoples and our relationships to archaic humans and each other In 2010 the genomes of only five ancient people had been published By 2017 over 700 ancient individual genomes had been published with Reich s laboratory having produced 3,000that are unpublished The success rates of DNA extraction from very old bones has increased dramatically and the cost has declined precipitously as everefficient methods have been devised We are at the beginning of a new era in understanding our deep past.A traditional way to view human evolution is like the branches of a tree One population buds off and separates into another but the branches don t come back together Reich s analysis of the genomes of ancient populations shows that modern human prehistory wasn t at all like that Mass movement of people from one location to another was common displacing and mixing in varying degrees with the prior inhabitants creating a new genome With few exceptions ancestors of people in any area came from somewhere else in a process that was repeated time and again This undercuts simple notions of race as we are all the products of blends on top of blends of diverse peoples Examining DNA and its mutations in ancient bones has clarified our relationships to archaic humans, such as Neanderthals and Denisovans Neanderthals separated from modern human ancestors 550,000 770,000 years ago Neanderthals dominated Europe 400,000 years ago Modern humans migrated out of Africa to the Near East 100,000 130,000 years ago Neanderthals expanded out of Europe westward across Asia and to the Near East after about 100,000 years ago and again 70,000 years ago forcing modern humans to retreat Then after about 60,000 years ago modern humans predominated in the Near East Throughout this period there was plenty of opportunity for interbreeding Current analysis shows modern humans and Neanderthals interbred in the Near East 49,000 54,000 years ago and again later in Europe Today non Africans retain 1.5% 2.1% Neanderthal genes with the highest percentage in East and South Asians leading Reich to conclude that most Neanderthal DNA comes from interbreeding in the Near East.Denisovans wereclosely related to Neanderthals than modern humans Neanderthal and Denisovan populations separated 380,000 470,000 years ago Migrations in Asia brought Denisovans and modern humans together and analysis shows they interbred about 44,000 49,000 years ago Asians today have Denisovan genes The highest percentage is found in the indigenous peoples of New Guinea, Australia and the Philippines The people of New Guinea have 3% 6% Denisovan genes on top of their 2% Neanderthal genes for up to 8% archaic human genes Reich goes on to examine the movement, mixing and replacement of many different populations of modern humans A fascinating example is that of Native Americans whose DNA is closer to that of Europeans than Asians How did this happen Over 15,000 years ago an Ancient North Eurasian population split with one group heading east mixing with East Asians along the way and crossing the Bering Strait The other group headed west mixing with another population that would many years later populate northern Europe Today half the people in the world have between 5% and 40% of their genome inherited from these Ancient North Eurasians Current native Siberians are not primarily related to the ancient group Today we all are the result of the mixing and remixing of unique peoples that no longer exist.Since modern humans entered Europe there was continuous cycle of replacement and blending Reich describes it all but I ll just keep it to the recent past Four major groups of people were present in western Eurasia 10,000 years ago Fertile Crescent farmers, Iranian farmers, eastern European hunter gatherers and western central European hunter gatherers Each group was as different from the other as are Europeans and Asians today Each would have looked like a different race Then the farmers expanded their territories and blended with outlying populations Iranian farmers to India, Israeli Jordanian farmers to east Africa, Turkish farmers to Europe European hunter gatherers around 8,000 years ago were dark skinned with dark hair and blue eyes They were largely replaced by migrating Anatolian farmers with light skin, brown eyes and dark hair Then 5,000 years ago the Yamnaya people of the eastern European steppes migrated across northern Europe These violent people had mastered the horse, wheeled carts and a signature battle axe The Yamnaya are the ancestors of modern day north Europeans The Yamnaya brought with them blonde hair from a single mutation 17,000 years ago which they acquired from the Ancient North Eurasian population mentioned earlier The Ancient North Eurasians had also supplied the Yamnaya with the same genes they had contributed to Native Americans The Yamnaya were cattle herders who also brought with them a form of the plague which analysis indicates killed many of the Europeans they replaced Also the Yamnaya spread Indo European language across Europe In movements similar to Europe s around 9,000 years ago Iranian farmers migrated to India mixing with the resident hunter gatherers Then 5,000 years ago another group of Yamnaya from the central Asian steppes migrated to northern India and blended with the existing inhabitants They brought Indo European language and their genes Southern Indians and lower castes haveof the prior residents genome while northern Indians and higher castes, particularly the Brahmins havefrom the invaders Brahmins, the priestly caste, were responsible for the ancient texts written in Old Sanskrit, an Indo European language In the south the Dravidian languages continued to predominate Mitochondrial female DNA of all Indians is almost completely from the prior inhabitants Indians with Yamnaya DNA got it almost exclusively from males It doesn t take much to figure this out European genes in African Americans came primarily from males European genes in indigenous peoples in the Americas also came disproportionately from males.In Asia the original out of Africa modern humans split with some following the coastline east and island hopping down to Australia, some went to Southeast Asia, some to Mongolia, and some to eastern China with some of those continuing on to the north where they would eventually mix with the migrating Ancient North Eurasian population and cross the Bering Strait Unfortunately China does not allow ancient remains out of the country Reich and others in the West cannot perform their advanced techniques to retrieve and analyze the DNA Thus his China analysis is limited as is that of Native Americans due to U.S laws requiring tribal approval to test remains Based on what he has Reich traces two population centers that arose with the advent of farming 9,000 years ago, one on the Yellow River and one to the south on the Yangtze The Yellow River population expanded west to Tibet and the Yangtze River population spread to Southeast Asia and Taiwan mixing with prior residents There was a second island hopping migration, this time from from Taiwan 5,000 years ago They displaced residents of the Philippines and some went onto the Solomon Islands and Fiji, making them the first people on the Southwest Pacific Islands Another migration by people of Papuan decent followed 2,400 years ago from the Bismarck Islands off New Guinea to the Southwest Islands More migrations followed Africa too experienced migrations and populations disappearing and contributing to new ones Unfortunately DNA does not hold up as well in tropical climes, limiting how much has been discovered about older populations However new approaches to DNA extraction are beginning to show results in Africa With sparse results from the distant past Reich sees evidence of substantial mixing as occurred elsewhere but can t define the groups with certainty He isspecific beginning with the expansion of agriculturalists Bantu speakers 4,000 years ago spread from their West African home on the border of present day Nigeria and Cameroon They spread their language and culture east and south across sub Saharan Africa They developed crops supporting dense populations and began making iron tools 2,500 years ago Another migration of Nilo Saharan language speakers who were cattle herders spread their language and culture from Mali to Tanzania They were likely driven by the expansion of the Saharan desert over the last 5,000 years There was migration of Near East agriculture and language into North Africa Khoe Kwadi speakers in South Africa noted for the use of clicks in their language inherited genes and probably language from an East African herder population that no longer exists Reich believes we are just at the beginning of understanding the prehistory of humans But he is concerned about one difficult problem, that of race Given the ugly history of the eugenics movement and the misuse of the findings of genetic science by extremists today, people are rightly afraid of how Reich s work will be used How do we balance this concern against the benefits of modern genetic analysis Reich offers the example of being confronted with racial concerns when he proposed research identifying just which African Americans areprone to prostate cancer Today we know African Americans have a greater risk of prostate cancer, but Reich believes the risk is not evenly spread among them Reich wanted to identify the specific African populations the problem genes came from and trace them to American populations, which meant testing many people So the question becomes how we can talk about genetic differences without invoking race and all the baggage that term carries As much as is covered here, it is still just a snapshot of what is in this book Reich describes manygroups and migrations Also not in this review are the details Reich supplies of the analytics supporting his assertions, another great reason to pick up this book What we learn is groundbreaking but he identifies many gaps that need further research The good news is that the application of these genomic techniques has just begun It s less than ten years since the first five ancient genomes were published I suspect what we will find out in another ten years will be astounding

  6. says:

    The speed at which the ancient DNA revolution is moving is exhilarating The technology is evolving so quickly that many papers being published right now use methods that will be obsolete within a few years Without having any special knowledge of genomics, anthropology or archeology, I am not well placed to review this book Therefore, what follows is just my impressions and main take from it Admirably, Reich s book is not Eurocentric, it covers all the regions to some extent But mine notesThe speed at which the ancient DNA revolution is moving is exhilarating The technology is evolving so quickly that many papers being published right now use methods that will be obsolete within a few years Without having any special knowledge of genomics, anthropology or archeology, I am not well placed to review this book Therefore, what follows is just my impressions and main take from it Admirably, Reich s book is not Eurocentric, it covers all the regions to some extent But mine notes focuson Europe just because i live here.The book is about the breakthrough in a relatively new field Ancient Genomics which analyses the ancient DNA in order to study how the genetic make up of modern people and their ancestors affected history The potential investigative power of DNA for historic research was envisaged in the 60s of the last century But only in the last 5 years or so this area has leaped forward dramatically So, the book summarises the cutting age research, mainly derived from Reich s lab and from his collaborations, the science in flux, not the result of the common consensus This as well as Reich background as geneticist, needs to be taken into the account while reading it, but the book is well written, entertaining and revelatory Moreover, in many ways it disrupts the consensus about the evolution of ancient human populations The consensus, which existed in pre history almost up until 2012 The research covers ancient populations and their movements around the globe since first humans and up to circa 4000 years ago a bit later for Africa So it does not go up to the modern time But Reich states that for Eurasia for example, including India, the genetic make up of people 4 thousands years ago is close to the modern make up across the high level population s clusters such as the West and East Eurasians for example It was certainly not the case for the earlier periods when the mixtures were very different The book covers all significant regions such as Western and Eastern Eurasia, Australia, America, Africa and India.So what the analyses of the samples of ancient people s genome tells us according to Reich Main resultUntil 2012 it was generally accepted that the evolution of the ancient population could be modelled by a tree in which today s populations have remained unchanged and separate since branching from a central trunk after migrating from Africa and, later, after the farmers from Anatolia and Middle East migrated our of their regions But DNA research has revealed that this model is dead and that instead the truth has involved great cycles of population separation and mixture So even 4 thousands years ago there were no such thing as a purity of blood or any populations which were not significantly mixed with the other.Very ancient daysThere is certainly genetic evidence that modern humans and Neanderthals interbreed But Neanderthals genetic inheritance has been decreased by natural selection as their genes seem to be toxic for many parts of modern human genome It has got adverse affect on male s fertility for Y chromosome carrier On another matter, it does not seem to be the evidence of a switch gene the part of DNA sequence which while evolved in pre history made people to obtain the language in a one off development EuropeSouth Europe seems to keep a lot of inheritance from the Middle Eastern and Anatolian farmers the highest correlation is with the modern Sardinian population But for the Northern Europe France, Germany, Britain and alike the story iscomplicated First, Between six thousand and five thousand years ago, most of the northern gene pool was overtaken by farmer ancestry, and it was this mixture of a modest amount of hunter gatherer related ancestry and a large amount of Anatolian farmer related ancestry in a population that retained key elements of hunter gatherer culture that characterized the Funnel Beaker potters and many other contemporary Europeans Europe had reached a new equilibrium The people of the Funnel Beaker culture were among those who built megaliths, the collective burial tombs made of stones so large it would have taken dozens of people to move them The archaeologist Colin Renfrew suggested that megalith building might be a direct reflection of this boundary between southern farmers and hunter gatherers turned farmers a way of laying claim to territory, of distinguishing one people and culture from others The genetic data may bear witness to this interaction, as there was clearly a stream of new migrants into the mixed population The unmixed hunter gatherers were disappearing, persisting only in isolated pockets like the islands off southern Sweden In remote Britain, the megalith builders were hard at work on what developed into the greatest man made monument the world had seen the standing stones of Stonehenge, which became a national place of pilgrimage as reflected by goods brought from the far corners of Britain People like those at Stonehenge were building great temples to their gods, and tombs for their dead, and could not have known that within a few hundred years their descendants would be gone and their lands overrun Then, somewhere between 4.5 thousands years ago and 4 thousands years ago The people from the steppe have migrated into Northern Europe in mass and within few hundreds years mixed and or replaced the local populations to such an extent that they are now primary ancestors of the modern population For example 90% Neolithic Britons those ones who built Stonehenge were replaced with this mixture These steppe people were the Yamnaya, by itself the mixture of Iranian and Armenian populations spreading from the coast of the Black and Caspian sea They were the first people in Eurasia using the wheel, the horse and wagon which made them very mobile It is unclear how they were so effective in replacing the existent population But the one theory is bubonic plague to which they wereimmune They brought it with them Reich finds it ironic that the earlier Europeans might have been the victims of a similar fate the later Europeans inflicted on the Native Americans in the later history The first evidence of Yamaya migration is found in the Corded Ware culture It is notorious by the fact that it helped the Nazis with their theories They thought the Germanic people went East with this culture and laid their territorial claim for the Eastern Europe on that basis The DNA study revealed just the opposite, the Corded wire culture reflected a mass migration of Yamnaya people into the central Europe from the steppeBut the genetics showed that the connection between the Corded Ware culture and the Yamnaya culture reflected major movements of people The makers of the Corded Ware culture were, at least in a genetic sense, a westward extension of the Yamnaya Our finding about the genetic link between the Yamnaya and the Corded Ware culture demonstrates the disruptive power of ancient DNA It can prove past movements of people, and in this case has documented a magnitude of population replacement that no modern archaeologist, even the most ardent supporter of migrations, had dared to propose The association between steppe genetic ancestry and people assigned to the Corded Ware archaeological culture through graves and artifacts is not simply a hypothesis It is now a proven fact The famous Russian symbolist Alexander Blok in 1918 has written a poem in which he said We are all Scythians the later people of the same steppe He might have been right at the end There is also a hypothesis that Yamnaya people were the first who spoke Indo European language which they spread with them both to the West and to India IndiaThe population of India is in fact a set of numerous fairly genetically distinct small populations which do not mix with each other very much Endogamy have been practised in South Asia for thousands years And the theory that the British has substantially boosted the cast system by actively encouraging non mixing between the casts during the colonisation has been disapproved by genetic evidence as far as I understood the argument But no one in India could claim a genetic purity either There is an evidence of substantial West Eurasian incursion, possibly through Yamnaya as well or the related people the male line only But when Reich tried to discuss it with his indian colleagues,They did not want to be part of a study that suggested a major West Eurasian incursion into India without being absolutely certain as to how the whole genome data could be reconciled with their mitochondrial DNA findings They also implied that the suggestion of a migration from West Eurasia would be politically explosive They did not explicitly say this, but it had obvious overtones of the idea that migration from outside India had a transformative effect on the subcontinent.We wrote that the people of India today are the outcome of mixtures between two highly differentiated populations, Ancestral North Indians ANI and Ancestral South Indians ASI , who before their mixture were as different from each other as Europeans and East Asians are today The ANI are related to Europeans, central Asians, Near Easterners, and people of the Caucasus, but we made no claim about the location of their homeland or any migrations The ASI descend from a population not related to any present day populations outside India We showed that the ANI and ASI had mixed dramatically in India The result is that everyone in mainland India today is a mix, albeit in different proportions, of ancestry related to West Eurasians, and ancestryclosely related to diverse East Asian and South Asian populations No group in India can claim genetic purity ControversiesAs Reich has got the background in medical genetics, he might come across as not paying sufficient attention to certain ethnic and cultural sensitivities I personally think that in some areas he is brave enough not to avoid those topics all together But I could see that some people might find him too direct And certainly he might cause a lot of disagreements if ethical applications of if his statements would be taken further Two examples some Native American tribe councils do not allow the tribe members to provide DNA for scientific research even for medical reasons This ban acts even in the cases if a person involved signs the individual consent form Reich thinks it might beharmful than good biological differences across the populations Here it is getting quite complicated because people associate those high level populations like East Asians, Europeans, Africans etc with race The race is very charged word for variety of reasons andappropriate in the conversations about social constructs and their devastating consequences on the society So Reich is careful showing the difference between the terms of race and population However, Reich states that the biological differences across the populations do exist And sooner or later some differences between the traits and cognitive capabilities might be found as well Those differences might be smaller that the differences within populations, but still significant His view that the society should be prepared to discuss this situationWhat real differences do we know about We cannot deny the existence of substantial average genetic differences across populations, not just in traits such as skin colour, but also in bodily dimensions, the ability to efficiently digest starch or milk sugar, the ability to breathe easily at high altitudes, and susceptibility to particular diseases These differences are just the beginning I expect that the reason we don t know about a much larger number of differences among human populations is that studies with adequate statistical power to detect them have not yet been carried out.If selection on height and infant head circumference across the populations can occur within a couple of thousand years, it seems a bad bet to argue that there cannot be similar average differences in cognitive or behavioural traits Even if we do not yet know what the differences are, we should prepare our science and our society to be able to deal with the reality of differences instead of sticking our heads in the sand and pretending that differences cannot be discovered If as scientists we wilfully abstain from laying out a rational framework for discussing human differences, we will leave a vacuum that will be filled by pseudoscience, an outcome that is far worse than anything we could achieve by talking openly We will need to deal with these studies and react responsibly to them when they are published, but we can already be sure that we will be surprised by some of the outcomes The right way to deal with the inevitable discovery of substantial differences across populations is to realize that their existence should not affect the way we conduct ourselves As a society we should commit to according everyone equal rights despite the differences that exist among individuals We aspire to treat all individuals with respect regardless of the extraordinary differences that exist among individuals within a population, it should not be so muchof an effort to accommodate the smaller but still significant average differences across populations Some of these points might be debatable and certainly might be emotionally charged for many people They are discussed in the one of the last chapters of the book I hope this discussion would not distract the general public and the scientific community from the main findings and the substantial break through in the the ancient DNA research which is presented in this book

  7. says:

    Such fascinating science and research on ancient DNA I also really loved all the research about the Iranian Nomad populations that are basically the tribe that took over Europe because those are my people kind of because there was a lot of mixing It was also stunning to see how inequality and male domination affected genetics Basically a few really powerful men who spread their DNA far and wide Women obviously can t have too many children, but also history seems to be just conquering armie Such fascinating science and research on ancient DNA I also really loved all the research about the Iranian Nomad populations that are basically the tribe that took over Europe because those are my people kind of because there was a lot of mixing It was also stunning to see how inequality and male domination affected genetics Basically a few really powerful men who spread their DNA far and wide Women obviously can t have too many children, but also history seems to be just conquering armies of men spreading their seeds over conquered populations of women He also talks at the end about race differences and how we should be prepared to deal with what advanced DNA science will have to say about that I think he s a bitconfident than his data can take him I think the DNA stuff is obviously clear to him, but he s not an IQ scientist and I think most people who study cognitive testing believe that it is far from being scientifically rigorous or rooted in genetic differences In other words, we haven t been able to separate genetics from environment when it comes to cognitive ability Reich may be confident he can parse out modern races from their DNA, but I do worry about trying to plot races on cognitive factors By all means, we should look at diseases and all sorts of stuff that have clear genetic variants, but before we start talking about intelligence, we better make sure the science on that is air tight

  8. says:

    This was a fantastic condensation of modern research on genomics and it s effect on our understanding of anthropology and history Really, what is it with biologists that they are able to write these books understandable to a relatively lay audience without hiding entire detail about how the scientists go about doing their research and draw conclusions We scientists are conditioned by the system of research funding to justify what we do in terms of practical application to health or technology This was a fantastic condensation of modern research on genomics and it s effect on our understanding of anthropology and history Really, what is it with biologists that they are able to write these books understandable to a relatively lay audience without hiding entire detail about how the scientists go about doing their research and draw conclusions We scientists are conditioned by the system of research funding to justify what we do in terms of practical application to health or technology But shouldn t intrinsic curiosity be valued for itself Shouldn t fundamental inquiry into who we are be the pinnacle of what we as a species hope to achieve Isn t an attribute of an enlightened society that it values intellectual activity that may not have immediate economic or other practical impact The study of the human past as of art, music, literature, or cosmology is vital because it makes us aware of aspects of our common condition that are profoundly important and that we heretofore never imagined.Not that some details are hidden Like use of Principal Component Analysis and other statistical techniques and how they get around problems with these techniques is mostly elided Still it was fun learning about things Four Population Tests to identify likely common ancestors and how they group current and past populations of people.The weakest parts of the book are when Reich is trying to walk the tight rope of modern connections between race, behavior and genetics Which is understandable, because it is a difficult topic But his bad arguments don t do well for the values he wants to espouse There is a lot of is vs ought confusion, with no consistency This is especially egregious in Chapter 11 Why do I need to be reminded of treating individuals as individuals, just because we find something about group averages There s something to be said about Nietzsche, that he was correct to claim that trying to derive all our values from objective truth is not ideal, to say the least But an interesting quote I have deep sympathy for the concern that genetic discoveries about differences among populations may be misused to justify racism But it is precisely because of this sympathy that I am worried that people who deny the possibility of substantial biological differences among populations across a range of traits are digging themselves into an indefensible position, one that will not survive the onslaught of science In the last couple of decades, most population geneticists have sought to avoid contradicting the orthodoxy When asked about the possibility of biological differences among human populations, we have tended to obfuscate, making mathematical statements in the spirit of Richard Lewontin about the average difference between individuals from within any one population being around six times greater than the average difference between populations We point out that the mutations that underlie some traits that differ dramatically across populations the classic example is skin color are unusual, and that when we look across the genome it is clear that the typical differences in frequencies of mutations across populations are far less But this carefully worded formulation is deliberately masking the possibility of substantial average differences in biological traits across populations.Anyway the book is a lot of fun One of the funniest parts was about them finding proof for West Eurasian ancestry of large parts of South Asian population They did not want to be part of a study that suggested a major West Eurasian incursion into India without being absolutely certain as to how the whole genome data could be reconciled with their mitochondrial DNA findings They also implied that the suggestion of a migration from West Eurasia would be politically explosive They did not explicitly say this, but it had obvious overtones of the idea that migration from outside India had a transformative effect on the subcontinent.So to get around this We wrote that the people of India today are the outcome of mixtures between two highly differentiated populations, Ancestral North Indians ANI and Ancestral South Indians ASI , who before their mixture were as different from each other as Europeans and East Asians are today The ANI are related to Europeans, central Asians, Near Easterners, and people of the Caucasus, but we made no claim about the location of their homeland or any migrations The ASI descend from a population not related to any present day populations outside India We showed that the ANI and ASI had mixed dramatically in India The result is that everyone in mainland India today is a mix, albeit in different proportions, of ancestry related to West Eurasians, and ancestryclosely related to diverse East Asian and South Asian populations No group in India can claim genetic purity.And for the rest of the chapter, he deadpan goes on using the ANI ASI terminology.Finally, no one comes out looking good when you go far back in time And we are mixes all the way down

  9. says:

    Who We Are And How We Got Here Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past by David Reich Reich does an admirable job laying out the field of genomics and its implications on our understanding of human origins, migration patterns, and related fields of linguistics, and medicine.The book pulls largely from Reich s own research work and samples at his Harvard laboratory He navigates the ethics of genetic research with special sensitivity to how this research has been abused and misuse Who We Are And How We Got Here Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past by David Reich Reich does an admirable job laying out the field of genomics and its implications on our understanding of human origins, migration patterns, and related fields of linguistics, and medicine.The book pulls largely from Reich s own research work and samples at his Harvard laboratory He navigates the ethics of genetic research with special sensitivity to how this research has been abused and misused in the past, leading to oppression, genocide, and decades of struggle for many people groups throughout history.While any book claiming to have the new research will be inevitably superceded, this is the book to check out right now for a 2010s landscape view of genetics, and population studies.Completely fascinating

  10. says:

    Due to Goodreads limits, this review is cropped The full review can be found at review will likely be updated as I mull over or re read the book. when we discover biological differences governing behavior, they may not be working in the way we naively assume David Reich, Who We Are and How We Got Here Reich has done a tremendous job condensing the work of many people and disparate areas of research into a compelling story that is po Due to Goodreads limits, this review is cropped The full review can be found at review will likely be updated as I mull over or re read the book. when we discover biological differences governing behavior, they may not be working in the way we naively assume David Reich, Who We Are and How We Got Here Reich has done a tremendous job condensing the work of many people and disparate areas of research into a compelling story that is potentiallyinformative for the history and process behind the scientific discoveries than the conclusions or his commentary on their societal effects While the book is highly recommended based alone on the wealth of new ideas and potential to upturn old facts accepted by many, and is the reason I gave it a high rating rather than because I agree with everything said, it should be read with caution and an eye for what is not said for reasons pointed out below. DNA vs ArcheologyThe book is mainly divided into an introductory portion, where the story of the Neanderthals helps provide a basis to go over techniques used in the ancient DNA field Reich then moves across the globe from Europe through India, the Americas, East Asians, and Africa and goes over different migratory patterns that have been revealed by ancient DNA analysis In addition, as is the case with India, he shows cases where endogamy marrying within certain groups can be demonstrated by analysis of highly unlikely similarity of DNA coding regions across time in specific populations Further, he also shows how cases like the Star Cluster can help demonstrate cases in which specific males or groups of males had an outsized levels of breeding success, potentially due to war or migration as mentioned previously An interesting question that he does not really address is the use of ancient DNA analysis to show how monogamy or polygamy play out in actuality, or if there wascheating going on than would be expected giving stated societal norms across time and regions Lastly, he ends looking both at the future good and the ethical implications of ancient DNA analysis the weakest part of the book,on that later Overall, the style suites the topic really well and is a great way to get people new to the field acquainted with a forest level view.Reich does a convincing job of showing the advantages of ancient DNA analysis over traditional archeology in certain areas, such as pointing out the discrepancy between archeologists claiming that for there to have been a large incursion of non Indians into that subcontinent, replacing people and leaving a genetic footprint, that there would be carbon, etc evidence of burnt towns, etc But the well recorded fall of Rome by the Visigoths and others did not leave such a record to the degree anticipated, throwing such conclusions into doubt This can be captured in the classic phrase absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. Estimating the past from genomic data.However, and this is a theme about my criticisms of the book, he does not provide examples or speculate on places where the archeological record does show migration or invasion but there is not much ancient or modern DNA evidence left Two scenarios of many would be an invasion where the invading population did not breed much with the locals despite large changes to civilization think modern American wars or pass through migrations on the way to some other destination if those occurred It would have been informative for him to spend time on the limits of what could possibly be known given ancient DNA basically relies on the dynamics of sex to have occurred in some predicted pattern e.g conquering males impregnating conquered females Further, it is not clear how much the Star Cluster or similar traits is due to a single male or many closely related males, e.g whether there is a limitation in what this type of analysis can tell us These might be hidden within academic reviews, but the point of this book should be to give a high level view of the pros and cons of ancient DNA analysis without a reader needing to get their hands dirty on the first pass. image error Good illustration of why whole genome analysis can be very useful.On the other hand, he does a good job pointing out several neat ideas, such as due to the random splitting of DNA during production of gametes, that several generations back one is unlikely to contain DNA from all ones ancestors by sexual reproduction In addition, he does a good job at attacking old dogmas that are based on bad assumptions, such as Richard Lewontin s 1972 study The Apportionment of Human Diversity see Lewontin s Fallacy, that don t take into account the whole genome or correlations between variations across the genome This type of thinking is still prevalent, as can be seen in a recent National Geographic issue, see There s No Scientific Basis for Race It s a Made Up Label.In addition, his small aside about finding that the cochlear contains the best store of ancient DNA is fun and could potentially have been an opportunity to point out serendipity in science should that be the case here There are several other times, such as the story of discovering ghost populations that may no longer exists but related Europeans and Native Americans that was resolved finding the Mal ta boy, where he brings up cool stories of how science leads to hypotheses turns to field work and final novel insights about the world This is captured in a nice assertion Reich makes near the beginningWe scientists are conditioned by the system of research funding to justify what we do in terms of practical application to health or technology But shouldn t intrinsic curiosity be valued for itself Shouldn t fundamental inquiry into who we are be the pinnacle of what we as a species hope to achieve Isn t an attribute of an enlightened society that it values intellectual activity that may not have immediate economic or other practical impact The study of the human past as of art, music, literature, or cosmology is vital because it makes us aware of aspects of our common condition that are profoundly important and that we heretofore never imagined David Reich, Who We Are and How We Got Here And it reminds me of Richard Feynman s excellent The Value of Science essay and a key quoteAnother value of science is the fun called intellectual enjoyment which some people get from reading and learning and thinking about it, and which others get from working in it This is an important point, one which is not considered enough by those who tell us it is our social responsibility to reflect on the impact of science on society Richard Feynman The Value of Science Reich also gives overviews of several techniques used in the field to identify likely common ancestors Four Population Test and to group current and past groups of people e.g principal component analysis These are supplemented by excellent diagrams However, he doesn t spend much time pointing out to the reader problems with these techniques or how they get around them This is especially important as it relates to discussions of grouping people into categories based on in the book obvious delineations between say Europeans and some Asians subcategories. Our initial approach was to carry out a principal component analysis, which can identify combinations of mutation frequencies that are most efficient at finding differences among samples David Reich, Who We Are and How We Got Here Example of principal component analysis to reduce many genetic variations across groups into a single, easy to read graph.As a scientist, and knowing how quickly new fields can evolve and old methods be found to contain technical and conceptual errors, I am alarmed by Reich s lack of giving any kind of confidence mathematical or otherwise about statements being made that upturn old archeological or other theories Given many studies he cited are less than a decade, sometimes only a couple years old, this is concerning He does not spend much time going overcaveats to the technical methods e.g extraction of DNA from ancient samples, though he does talk about some initial challenges and solutions in the case of Neanderthal DNA or conceptual ideas e.g Four Population Test This is evidenced, for example, in his out of place bringing up of the Jefferson Hemings relationship that adds nothing to the story but he presents as if it has been conclusively shown with genetics, while glossing over the caveats More humility about the possibilities of ancient DNA analysis would have strengthened the book. image error Text has many simple illustrations that help get scientific points across.Reich would also have done well to specifically state who he is referring to when he makes comments about those wanting to return to a racially pure state, while he leaves their timescale for determining purity indefinite Those discussing maintaining a recent European stock in their writings e.g The Daily Stormer, American Renaissance, Occidental Dissent, etc are slightly different that those proposing old Nordic Theories and similar stories e.g see The Long Journey, The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy, etc He does briefly mention the Eurogenes and several other blogs, but only in passing and not directly in relation to his reference to racists and bigots Further, he then contradicts himself by pointing outHowever, in Europe, where we have made most progress in the ancient DNA revolution so far, we know that by four thousand years ago, many populations were already highly similar in their ancestry composition to those of today For example, the classic measure of genetic differentiation between two British populations is about one hundred times smaller than the same measurement of population differentiation comparing Europeans to East Asians David Reich, Who We Are and How We Got Here That he does not attempt to reconcile these comments about populations that are relatively homogenous and have not mixed much over recent history leaves room for people to misinterpret or use such findings to justify their beliefs. Ancient DNA has established major migration and mixture between highly divergent populations as a key force shaping human prehistory, and ideologies that seek a return to a mythical purity are flying in the face of hard science David Reich, Who We Are and How We Got Here In addition, at the end of several chapters and throughout the book Reich makes reference to racial purity not being a thing without taking care to note that purity depends on the timescale used and, thus, is an annoying strawman As noted above, he also contradicts this statement in several cases, among which include the distinct ethnic groups in Indian that have been maintained for tens of generations even among physically mixed populations. Around a third of Indian groups experienced population bottlenecks as strong or stronger than the ones that occurred among Finns or Ashkenazi Jews Many of the population bottlenecks in India were also exceedingly old It meant that after the population bottleneck, the ancestors of the Vysya had maintained strict endogamy, allowing essentially no genetic mixing into their group for thousands of years Even an average rate of influx into the Vysya of as little as 1 percent per generation would have erased the genetic signal of a population bottleneck The ancestors of the Vysya did not live in geographic isolation And the Vysya were not unique A third of the groups we analyzed gave similar signals, implying thousands of groups in India like this David Reich, Who We Are and How We Got Here In addition, he also seems focused on the idea of human migrations to the exclusion of focusing on how ancient DNA can tell us about changes occurring in non migratory populations thought he hints at the end of the book about this For example, this could address Clark s A Farewell to Alms assertion about rich Britons breedingbeing a reason for the industrial revolution and would be a starting point for many interesting analyses During the discussion of the low occurrence of mixture between physically inter mixed groups within India, e.g endogamy or the caste system, he then goes on a tangent about his Jewishness and how he sympathized with the unnamed people who were prevent from finding love outside their ethnic social group These very overt tendencies to favor mixture over non mixture are concerning in that he doesn t state in reality what guides his and those in the fields scientific questions and how that might bias future hypotheses or research, impacting interpretation of the past and having consequences for how society at large interprets the fields results. The genome revolution provides us with a shared history that, if we pay proper attention, should give us an alternative to the evils of racism and nationalism, and make us realize that we are all entitled equally to our human heritage emphasis mine David Reich, Who We Are and How We Got Here This book, along with the excellent The Neuroscience of Intelligence by Richard Haier and many others will start to raise questions that need to be addressed by scientists and non scientists To put it bluntly, old and new research points toward the ability to quantify intelligence broadly defined or by IQ and DNA and other analysis has shown fairly definitively that there are different clusters of humans e.g ethnicities and ancestral groups for those wanting to avoid the loaded race category The question remains that once people combine the two areas of research, as China is attempting to do specifically looking at the genetics of g, are we as a society equipped to handle the results regardless of what they might be especially if differences appear Will nationalism of the kind focused on celebrating a shared culture be instead directed toward war like nationalism focused on extermination of those with traits that are not desired by some group His blanket negative statements on anything tribal related be that racism, nationalism, endogamy, etc cloud useful insights and suggestions that could be gleaned by anuanced position. image error Different statistics for admixture from Schaefer, 2016 Reich could have included a paragraph or two on comparison between methods In an individualistic society, ethnic history reminds us of the enduring consequences of centuries old cultural patterns into which each individual is born It is not personal merit but simply good fortune to be born into a group whose values and skills make life easier to cope with Substantial reshuffling of the rankings of nations and races at different stages of history undermine genetic explanations in general A reshuffling of the IQ rankings of American ethnic groups within a period of half a century26 undermines the theory of genetic determination of intelligence, even aside from questions about the tests themselves The fact that black orphans raised by white families have IQs at or above the national average27 is even stronger evidence against that theory Thomas Sowell, Ethnic America Thomas Sowell in Ethnic America appears to attribute many of the differences between ethnic groups to differences in culture and notes that persistent disparities between African Americans Hispanics and Caucasian descent Asians need to be explained In his famous How Much Can We Boost IQ and Scholastic Achievement and subsequent essays and books, Arthur Jensen proposes that IQ is heritable The Bell Curve, Levin s thought provoking Why Race Matters, and many others point toward potential genetic differences between groups Reich somewhat addresses this field of research but does so haphazardly and at times commits the same errors as he accuses other of, e.g when criticizing Watson and others, he notes that there is no genetic evidence of different IQ of sub Saharan Africans, ignoring the evidence that there is a lower IQ but that we don t yet know the genetic origin He offers the following solution to deal with the fallout of finding differences between human groupsThe right way to deal with the inevitable discovery of substantial differences across populations is to realize that their existence should not affect the way we conduct ourselves As a society we should commit to according everyone equal rights despite the differences that exist among individuals If we aspire to treat all individuals with respect regardless of the extraordinary differences that exist among individuals within a population, it should not be so muchof an effort to accommodate the smaller but still significant average differences across populations David Reich, Who We Are and How We Got Here Given human nature toward tribalism and noticing differences, this is a na ve solution It would have been nice for him to at least briefly note how this type of thinking jives with how humans behave in the real, non utopian world Seeing as he makes mention of the misuse of archeology in the past by National Socialists and others, this is not too much to ask There are many other gaps along these lines that he should have addressed, but instead danced around or ignored. Full review

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