Hello again. I have taken a short break and vacations (winter here in Argentina, but vacations were needed!), and are back online posting again.
One year ago I wrote about Y chromosome's haplogroup C, one of the oldest ones, found in S.E. Asia, Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia, East Asia and only very rarely among Native Americans (Y chromosome haplogroup C Part 1 - C hg. in America - seeking a link with Homo erectus). I revisited the subject again this week and was interestingly surprised to find two new developments:
New Paper on the Ecuadorian natives
A paper titled "Insights into the origin of rare haplogroup C3* Y chromosomes in South America from high-density autosomal SNP genotyping", by Massimo Mezzavilla, Maria Geppert, Chris Tyler-Smith, Lutz Roewer, Yali Xue (DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fsigen.2014.11.005) looks into different explanations for the unusual prevalence of hg C3* among two groups of Ecuadorian natives and concludes that:
"Our simulations revealed good power to detect recent admixture, and that ≥5% admixture 6 Kya ago could be detected. However, in the experimental data we saw no evidence of gene flow from Japan to Ecuador. In summary, we can exclude recent migration and probably admixture 6 Kya as the source of the C3* Y chromosomes in Ecuador, and thus suggest that they represent a rare founding lineage lost by drift elsewhere."
Which is in line with my conjectures put forth in my post one year ago: "It seems to me that there are several different haplotypes hidden in the C3* paragroup that have yet to be identified, but the Americans, but, it clearly indicates no relationship between Japanese or Koreans and the Amerindians...
It is extremely likely that the current patchy distribution and the extremely low frequences of C3* paragroup in South America reflects the remains of a once widespread lineage later overlaid by more recent migrants from Asia and which was seriously reduced due to the bottleneck provoked by the Conquest of America that began in the Sixteenth Century.".
Which is interesting as it indicates that a very "old" Y chromosome haplogroup is present in America. But wait, there is some more evidence:
The Botocudos of Brazil
A recent article at DNAeXplained, "Botocudo Ancient Remains from Brazil" tells about the odd discovery that took place in 2013 that detected a Polynesian mtDNA among some Botocudo skulls that were analyzed. It also adds some new information gleaned from a paper that was recently published. The skulls' Y chromosome was sequenced and it indicated that "...their Y haplogroups are C-P3092 and C-Z31878, both equivalent to C-B477 which identifies former haplogroup C1b2.". Note that the paper does not mention Y-chromosomes. The above is a conclusion of someone who checked the paper... so you can take that with a pinch of salt until ratified by some other source.
So, rhey are citing a paper which I read and checked, but found no reference to the Y-chromosome. (see it here). It does say that these individuals nuclear DNA as well as their mtDNA Bot15 and Bot17 are strongly Polynesian and lack any kind of Amerindian, African or European admixture. They then conjecture about possible origin for these odd individuals (slave trade of Polynesians via Peru, Madagascar slave trade to Brazil, Spanish or Portuguese ships bringing Polynesians to Brazil and a Trans-Pacific contact (strange as the genes appeared on the Atlantic coast of Brazil...). They are stumped and conclude: "Whether brought by Europeans or the result of the Polynesian expansion, the fact remains that some Brazilian Botocudos carried distinctive Polynesian genetic signatures. We hope that further sampling will provide a more definitive answer to this intriguing finding."
These Native Americans were considered backwards and primitive (see my post on them and the theory that they represented an authoctonous American "race"), below is an image of a Botocudo (and he looks anything but backwards or primitive...).
Their name came from the Portuguese word "botoque" (wooden disk) that they used as a personal decoration in earlobes and lower lip.
An article written in 2005 by Reinaldo Jose Lopes (read it here in Portuguese) stated that (my translation): "according to investigators of the University of Sao Paulo, everything indicates that the most typical representatives of the race of the first Americans were those known as Botocudos...". Lopes then explains that the cranial measurements of the Botocudos are closer to those of Paleo Indians and Africans or Melanesians
This was written in the context of the discovery of "Luzia" a woman's skull in the state of Minas Gerais, at Lagoa Santa (by the way, the Botocudos identified as Polynesians by their DNA were also from Minas Gerais). Luzia was dated at 11,500 years old. Below is a reconstruction of her face. Very African or Australian Aboriginal...
So here we have some interesting facts: some Botocudos of Brazil have a very rare Y-chromosome haplogroup (C) in America, found among a group of Native Americans deemed as the closest to Paleo Indians and to very old remains that actually look Melanesian... The mtDNA and nuclear DNA of these Botocudos are almost pure Polynesian. And also some Ecuadorian natives also have Y Chromosome C Hg., which may belong to a now extremely rare "founding group".
Put together we could conjecture that the old human lineage that peopled Asia reached the New World long before later East Asian or Siberian waves got there. That they are found in some secluded parts of America. They are old, and linked to Melanesia, Australia (whose inhabitants recently moved across the Pacific peopling Polynesia).
In previous posts I have hinted that C hg may actually have a Homo erectus origin (you can read about this it here go down to "Some crazy ideas"), and these recent papers may indirectly support that notion.
Having said this, I also want to give another more critical point of view, a big "BUT..."
I have a suggestion for this oddity, based on the "dog principle": if it has a tail, wags it and barks, its a dog.
So if these skulls have Polynesian mtDNA, Y chromosome unique to Polynesia, nuclear DNA that is 100% Polynesian -and this is the real key- so they did not admix with the Native Americans or Europeans or Africans. These guys were Polynesians. Not American Natives with Polynesian ancestors. No. Pure Polynesians.
Since the papers above clearly indicate that the only possible routes used by these people to get to Brazil are highly improbable, there is only one possible explanation: The skulls belong to Polynesian individuals, picked by some scientific expedition to Polynesia, taken back to Rio de Janeiro, deposited there and incorrectly labeled as Botocudos.
I am going to wait for a formal paper assigning them to Y-chromosome's haplogroup C before considering them seriously.
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