National Geographic News
Photo of a Native American mounted on his horse.

Native Americans may have a more complicated heritage than previously believed.

Photograph by Roland W. Reed, National Geographic

Brian Handwerk

National Geographic

Published November 20, 2013

Nearly one-third of Native American genes come from west Eurasian people linked to the Middle East and Europe, rather than entirely from East Asians as previously thought, according to a newly sequenced genome.

Based on the arm bone of a 24,000-year-old Siberian youth, the research could uncover new origins for America's indigenous peoples, as well as stir up fresh debate on Native American identities, experts say.

The study authors believe the new study could also help resolve some long-standing puzzles on the peopling of the New World, which include genetic oddities and archaeological inconsistencies. (Explore an atlas of the human journey.)

"These results were a great surprise to us," said study co-author and ancient-DNA specialist Eske Willerslev, of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

"I hadn't expected anything like this. A genome related to present-day western Eurasian populations and modern Native Americans as well was really puzzling in the beginning. How could this happen?"

So what's new?

The arm bone of a three-year-old boy from the Mal'ta site near the shores of Lake Baikal in south-central Siberia (map) yielded what may be the oldest genome of modern humans ever sequenced.

DNA from the remains revealed genes found today in western Eurasians in the Middle East and Europe, as well as other aspects unique to Native Americans, but no evidence of any relation to modern East Asians. (Related: "Is This Russian Landscape the Birthplace of Native Americans?")

A second individual genome sequenced from material found at the site and dated to 17,000 years ago revealed a similar genetic structure.

It also provided evidence that humans occupied this region of Siberia throughout the entire brutally cold period of the Last Glacial Maximum, which ended about 13,000 years ago.

Why is it important?

Prevailing theories suggest that Native Americans are descended from a group of East Asians who crossed the Bering Sea via a land bridge perhaps 16,500 years ago, though some sites may evidence an earlier arrival. (See "Siberian, Native American Languages Linked—A First [2008].")

"This study changes this idea because it shows that a significant minority of Native American ancestry actually derives not from East Asia but from a people related to present-day western Eurasians," Willerslev said.

"It's approximately one-third of the genome, and that is a lot," he added. "So in that regard I think it's changing quite a bit of the history."

While the land bridge still formed the gateway to America, the study now portrays Native Americans as a group derived from the meeting of two different populations, one ancestral to East Asians and the other related to western Eurasians, explained Willerslev, whose research was published in the November 20 edition of the journal Nature.

"The meeting of those two groups is what formed Native Americans as we know them." (Learn more about National Geographic's Genographic Project.)

What does this mean?

Willerslev believes the discovery provides simpler and more likely explanations to long-standing controversies related to the peopling of the Americas.

"Although we know that North Americans are related to East Asians, it's striking that no contemporary East Asian populations really resemble Native Americans," he said.

"It's not like you can say that they are really closely related to Japanese, Chinese, or Koreans, so there seems to be something missing. But this result makes a lot of sense regarding why they don't fit so well genetically with contemporary East Asians—because one-third of their genome is derived from another population."

The findings could also allow reinterpretation of archaeological and anthropological evidence, like the famed Kennewick Man, whose remains don't look much like modern-day Native American or East Asian populations, according to some interpretations.

"Maybe, if he looks like something else, it's because a third of his ancestry isn't coming from East Asia but from something like the western Eurasians." (Read about history's great migration mysteries.)

What's next?

Many questions remain unanswered, including where and when the mixing of west Eurasian and East Asian populations occurred.

"It could have been somewhere in Siberia or potentially in the New World," Willerslev said.

"I think it's much more likely that it occurred in the Old World. But the only way to address that question would be to sequence more ancient skeletons of Native Americans and also Siberians."

Intriguing questions also exist about the nature of the advanced Upper Paleolithic Mal'ta society that now appears to figure in Native American genomes.

The Siberian child "was found buried with all kinds of cultural items, including Venus figurines, which have been found from Lake Baikal west all the way to Europe.

"So now we know that the individual represented with this culture is a western Eurasian, even though he was found very far east. It's an interesting question how closely related this individual might have been to the individuals carving these figurines at the same time in Europe and elsewhere."

197 comments
Ken Otawi
Ken Otawi

Only in America. Seriously folks - reading a science article on the genetics of indigenous peoples and the commentaries degenerate into a childish debate over biblical mythologies.  So sad. 

David Wainwright
David Wainwright

To all who are attempting to use this interesting research to "prove" or "disprove" the Book of Mormon: 

There will always be evidence that supports or does not support the Book of Mormon, but it is impossible to absolutely "prove" or "disprove" things of a religious nature, including the Book of Mormon, as well as the Bible.  The nature of religious and spiritual things is that they are understood and believed in spiritually, and by faith, not by any physical evidence or lack thereof.  The only way to personally know and believe that the Book of Mormon, the Bible, or anything else claiming to be of divine origin, the word of God, is to receive this knowledge through Him, through His Holy Spirit.  This and other scientific discoveries are interesting, compelling, and important, but they cannot and should not be the basis for faith and belief in spiritual things.  One reason for this is that scientific theories are always being updated, refined, or even changed.  If one bases his religious belief on a piece of scientific evidence, as soon as he discovers a contradicting piece of evidence his faith is destroyed.  If one bases his religious belief on what he receives from the Spirit, however, physical evidences will have no effect on that belief.  Again, the only way to find out the truth of something is to go to what is claimed to be the source of that something; if a scientific or historical book, go to scientific and historical sources to confirm the truth of that book.  If the book claims God as its source, go to God to confirm the truth of that book.  Anyway, I'm not saying that evidence like this can't be the basis for interesting and thoughtful discussion and speculation.  I just don't think it should be used to definitively prove or disprove religious things. 

Lynn Harrington
Lynn Harrington

Oh... Another thing. From what I understand, I think it came from Francis Parkman, there were 2 immigrations of Jews into the French communities in Canada right around inquisition time. Both Jewish communities married into French families and became Catholic and changed their languages to French. Some of the people from those families intermarried with Indigenous peoples. So... there you may have it with the Middle Eastern genes.


It would be worth it to geneticists to check on this. It would take a little deep digging perhaps, but it is there and has been historically reported. Possibly in French.

Lynn Harrington
Lynn Harrington

I'm finding this a little simplistic. The Mongolian invasions of Europe could also have something to do with the findings... And although most histories of voluntary mixed blood communities in North America have been buried, there were quite a lot of them, particularly west of the Appalachias. Also, there is speculation and oral history which says the Cherokee came from Polynesia. Which is very different from E. Asia- not sure if those sequences are shared there or not.


And I think there are similarities with Asian communities. Even to the sound of some of the languages.

Beth H.
Beth H.

I recall the finding that Meso American tribes around 21-17,000 BCE were using a very particular kind of tool making that was being used at the same time in the Solutrian culture in ancient France. This tool-making has not been found elsewhere. People have been migrating throughout history and prehistory, mixing and then separating.  It seems reasonable to assume different genetic peoples probably made their way to the Americas and mixed together here as well

Vera C.
Vera C.

Interestingly enough, years ago Gaddafi claimed that Native Americans came from Libya.

Mark Hansen
Mark Hansen

Mormons,

This is old news, from a year ago.  Why are you bringing it up again?  Daniel Peterson, you are dishonest.  You know this has NOTHING to do with the book of mormon.

Read carefully mormons, 17,000 and 24,000 years ago.  This has zero to do with the book of mormon.  

This is way before Adam and Eve, and way before the global flood which you STILL believe killed everyone on the planet.  The brethren just released this essay this year confirming it again.

https://www.lds.org/topics/noah?lang=eng&query=noah

There is still zero evidence to support Lehi coming over in 600 BC and all the people in the Americas being populated from him.  And there is still MOUNTAINS of evidence that disagree with your book that came about from a guy sticking his head in a hat, most of the time "translating" without the plates even in the room.  

Get educated about your own religion.  

Cesletter.com

Mormonthink.com

Jonathan Mateo
Jonathan Mateo

"Although we know that North Americans are related to East Asians, it's striking that no contemporary East Asian populations really resemble Native Americans,"


I found this interesting as I have seen multiple people from the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand that have traits of Native Americans...to the high cheek bones, the "flat faces", to skin complexion.


I'm talking more of the native people that live out away from the major cities.

Danny Wolfertz
Danny Wolfertz

Um thats no surprise National Geographic Just read the The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. We have known for years that they came from the middle east. Once again confirming the truthfulness of the The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Is the only true and living church on the earth.

Rainer Ludwig
Rainer Ludwig

IF one visits the cultural exhibit of Chinese anthropology near the Birdnest Olympic stadium in Beijing, one finds a group of indigenous  ancestral nomads (now under the umbrella of China) who had been living in wigwams, used birchbark canoes and were clothed in deerskin sewn clothing almost identical to the traditional North American Indian culture! If my memory serves me well they came not from the coastal regions of China but from near their border of central China with Mongolia...stunning display indeed!

Mary Viola Signorelli
Mary Viola Signorelli

@Anthony Johnson 

I am 50% Italian .... and the rest is a mix made up of English, Dutch, German, Irish and Native American. My husband is 100% Italian.   Our daughter looks like she is from Hawaii.  We can only figure that her polynesian look comes from the Native American.   It's her eyes, and the shape of her face.   When she was younger, strangers would ask if she was adopted.

Guy Pant
Guy Pant

"we know that North Americans are related to East Asians, it's striking that no contemporary East Asian populations really resemble Native Americans"

Is this guy blind as I have seen many that clearly resemble Natives? His comments now make me skeptical. It's been proven genetically they are linked (even with the oldest DNA sample in America, which has no European link) and physical traits can vary through evolution which has been proposed; not all East Asians look alike as there is a wide variation.

Lukas Lo Medico
Lukas Lo Medico

 what if Celtic populations crossed the north sea and mixed up with east asian tribes crossing the bering bridge.....

Margus Waffa
Margus Waffa

I wonder, do they took in to account of invesions from another species of humans, and compare dna of people who have been becoming to be invador (Like rus people ,Rurik Varagadian, Nomands ..) and see if there is similar freak DNA groups among native people.

Asma Begum
Asma Begum

humans r related yet so very far

Patrick Seery
Patrick Seery

Im just waiting for a response from the Mormons !!

Rose Westwood-Merrick
Rose Westwood-Merrick

This may be of interest to any of you who have Native American ancestry.  The deep DNA is more complex than we thought.

Rose Westwood-Merrick
Rose Westwood-Merrick

This is truly a seminal investigation of Native American DNA, but it looks as if the "Middle Eastern" gene admixture happened long before the wandering Bedouin tribes Western Asia became Hebrews.  One finds other populations in Eastern Asia with some characteristics of Western Asians, such as the Mongolians and the Ainu people, so folks have been traveling from one part of the Eurasian continent to the other for quite some time.  One has to consider all the possibilities of how middle eastern DNA got mixed with a population who used to live in Siberia and eventually migrated to the New World.  This current evidence does not support the Book of Mormon which says a lost tribe of Hebrews traveled by boat across the Atlantic to Mezo-America and built the pyramids there.  There are so many details in the BofM that do not fit the evidence.

ashby Manson
ashby Manson

I've long thought that the Ainu were some of the first inhabitants of the new world. The Ainu are a sea going people, the original inhabitants of Japan. They could have followed the kelp beds and seals around the Northern Pacific to the new world. 


They look quite different from the modern Japanese. http://www.flickr.com/photos/24443965@N08/2746187012/


DNA evidence (from 2001) appears to support the link between the Ainu and native Americans. 


http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11543902


"Interestingly, an indigenous population in North Japan, Ainu, was placed relatively close to Native Americans in the correspondence analysis. Distribution of particular HLA-A, -B, -DRB1 alleles and haplotypes was also analyzed in relation to migration and dispersal routes of ancestral populations. A number of alleles and haplotypes showed characteristic patterns of regional distribution. For example, B39-HR5-DQ7 (B*3901-DRB1*1406-DQB1*0301) was shared by Ainu and Native Americans. A24-Cw8-B48 was commonly observed in Taiwan indigenous populations, Maori in New Zealand, Orochon in Northeast China, Inuit, and Tlingit. These findings further support the genetic link between East Asians and Native Americans."


While this "Great Surprise" article argues that native Americans don't bear a strong resemblance to modern asians, neither do the Ainu who appear to be significantly more siberian/caucasoid or proto-mongolian than the general asian populations. 


The genetic history of the family of man is getting more and more interesting the more we learn! Great stuff.

Anthony Johnson
Anthony Johnson

I can see you guys are not understanding enough...We all came from africa is a theory,and that native american came from asia they are both theory...

No native american came from asia,how they got here?From a landbridge/icebridge.They cross the icebridge by following the wolly mamoths,they were called eskimos...Wolly mamoths originally came from asia also,then the population migrated to north america. The fact that native americans don't have afros,but squenty eyes..

Asian people don't only have white skin but all(Tan,white,brown) Their eyes/ asian features just give away where they originates. 

Thai/Cambodians people have many kind of skin colors but most likely tan or brown.These people have squenty eyes. 

Chinese people most likely have White pale skin color and squenty eyes.And these are full blooded asians with many different kind of skin color. 

You will generally see more chinese people.Than cambodians/that or laos.

And eskimos are not black obviously...Eskimos are asians with squenty eyes

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Polynesians are asians...Remember signing a form that says Asian/Pacific islanders...

black,white,ect

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Native americans dont have afro's,blonde hair or even orange...They have black or brown

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What im trying to say 2 same race makes a baby that looks like another

race.?

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Phillipines are most likely have squenty eyes that can identify them as asians,dont mistake them because of their name sounds like another race...But still Spanish blood is closely related to asian blood,but now alot of spanish people getting mixed with other race,its hard to tell full blooded ones that a few used to have squenty eyes or something that makes them look asian for a reason..

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

But if you don't think all that is not true and would like to seperate races between mexicans and asians,then why would there be mexicans in the phillipines if its located near asia.It's clearly that phillipines founded by asians/mongoloids.Do understand what im saying?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Example:See the asian that looks mexican in this video.that is how alot of my asian friends look like but they are full blooded asians,Not mixed!!!?

...What gives away where he decendant from are his eyes and something that makes you think he's asian or mixed...

Please understand this

Blu Scarab
Blu Scarab

No surprise to me. I never ever believed that East Asians would be the only ones to hunt the mammoths across Siberia and the land bridge. Its not like they had any formalized property rights back then.

Mary Christensen
Mary Christensen

You're right.  This does not prove the Book of Mormon - YET!


Perhaps you should do some research on the meaning of the word  "CULT".

Omar Curi
Omar Curi

Why mention the Mormon cult and use this article to fish for souls? Don't you people have a better place to troll scientific fact instead of using it as a tool for your recruiting convenience? Stop using your cult as one which "could" be prophetic of DNA found in some skeletons remains.

Sage Wheeler
Sage Wheeler

To My Fellow Mormons,

I can appreciate your expressions of faith and testimony, but please think critically AND READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE before claiming this validates the BOM.  If anything, it supports an alternate conclusion. Most likely there is no connection.  The dates don't match (at all!) and the region of this finding is quite far from the Americas.  What this finding indicates is that any Middle Eastern genes in the American pool likely migrated from western europe, not overseas. Additionally, it is but one finding, a long way from home.  Grabbing at straws makes us appear desperate to defend our faith. It needs no defense but our good works.  Some of the debates going on here do not paint us in a good light. Some comments are frankly ignorant and others, at best, display a disappointing lack of understanding of basic scientific theory.  Please stop! 

Thomas Strobel
Thomas Strobel

@David Wainwright @David Wainwright Yes, well said. Plus, according to the Book of Mormon Lehi and his family came over much more recently than the indigenous peoples of America and thus this discovery has little to do with them. Also, most Mormon scientists believe that the Lamanites must have interbred with the indigenous peoples early on in order to produce the population growth and change in phenotype (dark skin) exhibited. This is barring direct change of their DNA by divine means. However, the previous hypothesis would explain why the Nephites were always so dramatically outnumbered by the Laminates. Also, they are many examples of a small population with a strong culture coming in and joining a large population and yet strongly altering the previous culture. An obvious example is the Christians taking over the Roman empire from within. That aside, with the Nephites giving been totally annihilated we of course would not expect their DNA to be found in the modern native Americans'. As for the Lamanites, population genetics (Sewell-Wright eqn, for example) tells us that a population as small as Lehi's party's after interbreeding with a larger population would be very unlikely to perpetuate enough of its genome for it to remain in any traceable amount all these years later. Further evidence that the Lamanites interbred can be seen in that they agreed a pattern of living very similar to that of the indigenous peoples throughout the Americas. Most obvious is their system of government at least during a portion of their history contained in the Book of Mormon. The Lamanites are described in the book of Alma as having a main king (chief) whose sons each take portions of the population and start a new settlement where they rule as king (chief) themselves. This is occurred among indigenous peoples in both Mesoamerica and North America and thus doesn't eliminate either location as possible sites for the Book of Mormon. The joining of the Nephites and Lamanites in the book of 3rd Nephi also can be substantiated by the Lamanite interbreeding hypothesis in that the populations came together (with an unknown level of interbreeding) and then separated again after several hundred years due to mounting tensions. There are several scenarios how this could have effected their DNA. We know that the Lamanites which took part in this joining were observed to take on light skin color like the Nephites. This again would rewrite their DNA being changed either by divine means (possible precedent for such an occurrence: fruit of tree of knowledge of good an evil in the garden of Eden) or that this occurred in succeeding generations due to the Nephites being the dominant population. Neither possibility is specified. Of course these people did not understand population genetics and just tried to make sense of things as best they could. In addition, much of the interpretation of events can be attributed to Mormon who was not an eyewitness. No wonder Mormon felt it necessary to include several disclaimers that his record was effected by his human frailty. In the end, even this population separated back into two populations (Nephites and Lamanites) and one was annihilated by the other. The Lamanites were observed to have taken back dark skin color (again, interbreeding with the outside indigenous population is definitely a viable hypothesis). In the end, the Lamanite population was again observed to outnumber the Nephite population considerably (one hypothesis is that the Nephites and Lananites never truly became homogeneous, this would explain why they separated again back to such a similar situation as was the case before) decreasing the likelihood that DNA from the original Lehi population (or Mulekite population for that matter) would be traceable after over a thousand years in the late population it was bred into. 


The bottom line is that science is based on empiricism just as much as it is based on rationalism. Thus, it is limited to observable evidence. In this case, God has likely stayed true to His style and has removed the observable evidence of the Book of Mormon in human DNA requiring us to use Spiritual tools for observing spiritual things rather than trying to use temporal tools for attempting to observe spiritual things (an inherently flawed strategy). Scientists fail to recognize that Spiritual truth is not supernatural, but rather 'super-physical.'  Therefore I agree with David and the Nephite prophet Moroni in that the only way to know if the Book of Mormon if true is to do what we need to do to sharpen our spiritual tools for observation (fix your relationship with God through prayer and the way you live), exercise faith, read it, and ask God in prayer if it is true. He'll answer. He's answered the millions who have done this before and its changed their lives. Faith precedes the miracle. That's how God likes to do it. He knows what He is doing. Good luck with with this everybody.

Mark Hansen
Mark Hansen

@David Wainwright That is false.  

First there is not any evidence that supports the BOM.  If you think there is, cite it.  Not a single piece of objective verifiable evidence.  

You can absolutely use science to disprove a claim, even a religious claim.  The BOM claims that all the native americans are descended from a Jew named Lehi.  This claim has been proven false.  There is no jewish blood in ANY native american populations.  

In the same way that the BOM claims there was NO DEATH before the fall 6000 years ago.  This claim is also false.

Many religion including the LDS church claim there was a worldwide flood that killed all but 8 people and 2 of every animal that were on a boat.  This is also false.  It is also absurd.  

Science has disproved all these things.  To say it hasn't is dishonest.  

Unless you believe in a trickster God that erases evidence.... in which case I don't know how to help you.  

Also, the burden of proof is on the one making the claim.  If I claim I have an invisible dragon in my garage, are you going to believe me?  Why or why not?  

Start thinking critically.  


Henri Paratte
Henri Paratte

At the time of the Inquisition there were no European immigrants in North America

Mark Hansen
Mark Hansen

@Danny Wolfertz I think you had better go back and read the BOM.  Remember ALL the native americans are descended from Lehi.  The land was empty when they got here around 600 BC.  This article is talking about 17,000 years ago.  Plus according to the LDS church, repeated AGAIN in 2014, the global flood would have destroyed anyone that lived in the americas at the time of the flood.  

According to the historian, Elder Snow, these essays on the topic section are official and sanctioned by the top brethren.

So if you don't believe in the worldwide flood that killed all but 8 people, you are in apostasy.  

Facts are pesky things  

https://www.lds.org/topics/noah?lang=eng&query=noah

John Smith
John Smith

@Danny Wolfertz 

This is hardly evidence for the Book of Mormon. These Western Eurasians came over to the Americas 17,000 years ago. That is long before the time the Book of Mormon takes place and, if I am not mistaken, is older to the history of humanity according to Mormonism's literalist interpretation of the Adam and Eve story. The people spoken of in this article aren't Jews nor were they from Jerusalem. Jerusalem didn't even exist at this time. Nor did they come via boat to the Americas. The bones the DNA that this article is talking about came from Siberia, so even they are West Eurasian, the discovery this article mentions has nothing to do with the Book of Mormon, either in discrediting or proving it.

Doug Forbes
Doug Forbes

@Patrick Seery  OK. The first Americans are referred to as Jaredites in the Book of Mormon (BoM). They preceded the Israelite settlers that wrote the BoM by thousands of years. The Jaredite history is represented within the BoM by the Book of Ether. The Book of Ether is translated from a document found in the ruins of an ancient city by the descendants of Israelite and Phoenician settlers sometime between 500BC and 100BC.

Glen Cruikshank
Glen Cruikshank

@Rose Westwood-Merrick  How many will accept or get consider getting educated to this knowledge seeing as other beliefs are so engrained? And they may not want to think outside the box?

Leslie Weinberg
Leslie Weinberg

@Rose Westwood-Merrick  Extremely interesting, since my genealogical research traces my ancestry back to the 1830s ( have not managed to get farther back) in Eastern Europe, and yet my DNA is Native American.

Doug Forbes
Doug Forbes

@Rose Westwood-Merrick  15% of Yemenite jews belong to the Q1a2c lineage group which is closely related to the Q1a2a lineage group to which most American Indians belong. The Y chromosome tree, of course, continues to be revised.

Kevin L.
Kevin L.

@Rose Westwood-Merrick  The Book of Mormon?  A snake oil salesman invents a religion so he can go to bed with multiple women... and potentially proves his fictional accounts.

Steven O'Dell
Steven O'Dell

@Rose Westwood-Merrick The Book of Mormon does not say they landed in Meso-America. It does not specify where they landed. But the tests have been done to follow the currents from the Arabian peninsula just as they may have and it does equate with the days of being blown backward by winds and currents, as recorded. It is also important to note that the Sac, Fox and Ojibwa have the unique DNA haplo-markers consistent with the Etruscan settlements in Italy (a Hebrew people, you should note) and with those of the Holy Land. Add to this the fact that the Cherokee have an oral tradition that their ancestors "ESCAPED" from a place across the sea which was called Masada. The Ojibwa, according to one book I read years ago in Canada, from a non-LDS author and scholar, claimed the spoken language of the Ojibwa was 13% recognizable Hebrew. These are people of the Great Lakes region in the case of the first mentioned 3 tribes. The narrow neck of land or passage of about 20 miles across (which could be traveled in a day and a half, as noted, which the Panama region of swamps and mountains could not), is called Niagara, which MEANS narrow neck or passage. In fact, Niagara Passage was a common term for our early settlers.  The BoM mentions it led to the land northward and indeed this does, also lying between two inland seas, I might add. If you can call the Sea of Galilee a sea, then certainly the Great Lakes qualify as well. I could go on about other evidences recorded in the antiquities studies of New York and Ohio, etc., but suffice it to say it is very compelling.


Chris Gray
Chris Gray

@Anthony Johnson Negritos are the ones who founded the Philippines. They do have afros and dark skin, Fijians , Papua New Guineau , Australian Aboriginals(and in N.America), Melanesians. and a few more. Not saying they are African, but they do have the phenotype 

Steven O'Dell
Steven O'Dell

@Omar Curi I share with you what I shared with @Rose Westwood-Merrick The Book of Mormon does not say they landed in Meso-America. It does not specify where they landed. But the tests have been done to follow the currents from the Arabian peninsula just as they may have and it does equate with the days of being blown backward by winds and currents, as recorded. It is also important to note that the Sac, Fox and Ojibwa have the unique DNA haplo-markers consistent with the Etruscan settlements in Italy (a Hebrew people, you should note) and with those of the Holy Land. Add to this the fact that the Cherokee have an oral tradition that their ancestors "ESCAPED" from a place across the sea which was called Masada. The Ojibwa, according to one book I read years ago in Canada, from a non-LDS author and scholar, claimed the spoken language of the Ojibwa was 13% recognizable Hebrew. These are people of the Great Lakes region in the case of the first mentioned 3 tribes. The narrow neck of land or passage of about 20 miles across (which could be traveled in a day and a half, as noted, which the Panama region of swamps and mountains could not), is called Niagara, which MEANS narrow neck or passage. In fact, Niagara Passage was a common term for our early settlers.  The BoM mentions it led to the land northward and indeed this does, also lying between two inland seas, I might add. If you can call the Sea of Galilee a sea, then certainly the Great Lakes qualify as well. I could go on about other evidences recorded in the antiquities studies of New York and Ohio, etc., but suffice it to say it is very compelling.


Now, if you will look up 'cult' in the dictionary, you will find it fits MOST churches or systems of belief and could quite as easily be applied to atheistic science cults.

James Mclean
James Mclean

@Omar Curi Maybe you should learn to have an adult conversation without using insults.  It's takes away from any credibility you have had.

Christopher Strickland
Christopher Strickland

@Sage Wheeler Heartily agreed! Genetics and religion are not really compatible topics for lengthy discussion in this particular instance, in respect to the article. There is a world of unknowns out there that we as human beings are still ignorant of, and only time, physical evidence and thorough research will bring them to light and prove or disprove what we already know about history, human religions, genetics and the cosmos in general. It is disappointing to the point of exhaustion to read excellent articles that should stir imagination and provoke deeper thought but end of creating confrontational replies between a herd of idealistic bulls charging blindly at one another. Give the article careful thought and cease attacking each others ideology. There is more than enough warfare, strife and battling going in the name of different beliefs throughout the world already.

Steven O'Dell
Steven O'Dell

@Sage Wheeler We are told of at least three groups of peoples who came here from across the sea. Two we know shared similar DNA. The third, Jaredites, may not have. Perhaps this is the Jaredite origin?

Thomas Strobel
Thomas Strobel

@Mark Hansen @David Wainwright 

Mark, I credit you for trying to be a critical thinker... as I do David as well. I don't see anything narrow minded about his post. But all of us learn by assimilation and accommodation and thus cannot escape bias no matter what we do.The fact of the matter is that you are both good people trying to make sense of the world. I join you in your quest. As both a Latter-Day Saint and a student of science (attending medical school starting Fall '15), I am in a position to mediate between you and David. Beside what I wrote in my post to David (below). I must say that I agree with you that most Latter-Day Saints believe Noah's flood was worldwide and that there was no death before the fall of Adam and that the empirical evidence seems to disprove both of these. However, many Mormon scientists and leaders are reconciled with these facts. Because most of the people who have become Latter-Day Saints come from a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant background some beliefs are assumed to be part of our doctrine that actually have not been revealed (for example, some traditional Anglo-Christian beliefs still commonly influence many Mormons' opinions such as Scottish Archbishop James Usher's calculation that the earth was approximately 5,600 years old, however, in the Book of Abraham-- a book given by revelation to Joseph Smith-- we find Abraham's account of the creation along with a statement that directly contradicts the 7,000 earth theory *see inset at bottom of post). These problems you have brought up all fall under the category of issues non-critical to our doctrine and thus our church leaders have remained neutral on them as with issues such as human evolution. Thus, even though most members of the church believe these things it really can't be said that they are church doctrine. They really aren't, even if they are posted on lds.org. We are told as Latter-Day Saints that doctrine is something that is stated during general conference repeatedly by many prophets and apostles. Everything else we are to take as opinion. Even if it is written in a book by an apostle for example. We believe that God inspires people with revelation inasmuch as they NEED and our church leaders have it the same. So these non-critical issues are left up to our own judgement. Many Mormon scientists and scholars have reconciled themselves with the empirical and rational arguments against a world-wide flood, no death before the fall, etc. However, any attempts to teach these to the general body of the church would be inappropriate because the the general body of the church doesn't have the level of education necessary to reconcile these issues and they simply are not even important to our doctrine. So the church's strategy is to teach such things in an academic setting via it's universities. What difference does it make if God created man directly from dust through a complex mechanism or if He created man from dust via a slower yet equally complex organic evolution. What difference does it make weather if Noah gathered two of each of the animals he knew into an ark and saw the entire world as he knew it flooded instead of gathering two of every animal in the entire world into and ark with a genuine world-wide flood. The scriptures have been preserved for thousands of years, many times by societies who weren't living a Godly lifestyle at all... its amazing that it has been preserved as well as it has! You know what an official belief of our church is?: "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly..." That's what we are unified on. For, the other things that don't matter, there is a wide variety of opinions. Take Brigham Young's for example:

"As for the Bible account of creation we may say that the Lord gave it to Moses, or rather Moses obtained the history and traditions of the fathers, and from them picked out what he considered necessary, and that account has been handed down from age to age, and we have got it, no matter whether it is correct or not, and whether the Lord found the earth empty or void, whether he made it out of nothing or out of rude elements; or whether he made it in six days or in as many millions of years, is and will remain a matter of speculation in the minds of men unless he gives revelation on the subject.“  -Journal of Discourses, 14:115-6

* Abraham 5:13

"...Now I, Abraham, saw that it was after the Lord's time, which was after the time of Kolob; for as yet the Gods had not appointed unto Adam his reckoning."


There you have it. The earth is much older than 6,000 years and the "creation" did not occur according to our reckoning of time but according to God's. We learn in the Doctrine and Covenants that it was revealed through Joseph Smith that God's time is at least a whole order of magnitude faster than ours. The creation of the world and modern man could therefore be speculated to have taken just as long as radiometric dating says it has. This is only one of a great many details that make Mormonism the most compatible religion with modern scientific discovery.


Mark Hansen
Mark Hansen

@Steven O'Dell @Rose Westwood-Merrick What are you babbling about?  Lehi was a jew descended from Abraham himself.  Does this article say that the DNA that was found was jewish?  It does not.  It says that the DNA found was west Eurasian from 17,000 years ago.  This has zero to do with Abraham, or Lehi, and nothing to do with the book of mormon.  Quit grasping at straws.  


Share

Featured Article

Latest From Nat Geo

See more photo galleries »

The Future of Food Series

  • Download: Free iPad App

    Download: Free iPad App

    We've made our magazine's best stories about the future of food available in a free iPad app.

  • Why Food Matters

    Why Food Matters

    How do we feed nine billion people by 2050, and how do we do so sustainably?

See more food news, photos, and videos »