Saturday, December 12, 2009

We are the champions

A multinational study has been seeking the answer to a question related to early human migration: what route did the first inhabitants of China and Japan take to reach those places? The general belief was that the tribe of Homo Sapiens that came out of Africa split into two in West Asia (into four if you count those that went west, as seen in the map above). One branch followed the coast into India, traced the peninsula and then spread east to what is now Thailand and Indonesia before crossing a land bridge to Australia. The second branch struck out due north-east, and worked its way to China, before a tiny faction made the incredible move up to Siberia, across the frozen Bering Strait and into north America, proceeding to populate that entire continent while hunting a variety of giant mammals (megafauna) to extinction.
The Human Genome Project's Pan-Asian SNP Consortium has concluded that this standard view is false, and that China was populated not from the west, but from the south, with humans who moved up from South-East Asia.
Here's how Indian papers have responded to the news:
Times of India: Ancestors of Chinese came from India
Daily News & Analysis: The Chinese evolved from Indians
Indian Express: India: Mother of all Asians
Press Trust of India: Study traces genetic origins of Asians to India

This is rubbish. The study restricts itself to lands east of India. Since India was populated from the west, you might as well claim that we 'evolved' from Iranians. It's fair, by this logic, to claim that Persia is the mother of all Asians. Except those who came from further west, of course...

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