UPDATED below with my National Geographic Geno 2.0 information and a really odd result.
The following are DNA sequences which show a bright mark where my DNA is the same as that of the DNA extracted from Anzick-1 aka Clovis Boy a 13-thousand-year-old skeleton found with the Clovis artifacts and Kennewick man a 9-thousand-year-old skeleton which would be of a person descended from the same group as Clovis boy. Most all Native Americans have DNA from Kennewick man.
Note I match one quite a bit and the other hardly at all. How is that possible? Let’s take a deep dive into how all of this really works.
It is not at all like a DNA paternity test or a crime scene test. In those cases, samples of the DNA of living people are compared. In the case of ancestral DNA testing very little is passed on without genetic recombination. Most of your DNA is not a 50% 50% mix of your mother and father. One child might get 60% from their father the other only 40%. There are many more assumptions involved in genetic genealogy.
Ancestry.com presents their ethnicity estimate as follows.
In simple terms that is about 79% African, 20% white and 1% Native American. Seems straight forward. Except for one thing, error bars. The error on those subgroups within African range from 10 to 50 percent. The error on the white ranges from 0 to 40% and the error on the Native American ranges from 0 to 2%. All the above in simple round numbers. So, I could be as little as 20% African and the rest white with a bit more Native American sprinkled in. I could be 100% African. Look at my picture and you can see these extremes cannot be true.
Ancestry.com’s ethnicity estimates are just that estimates based on available data samples. They admit such in many places on their website and many genetic genealogist have pointed out the same problems I am about to. First of all these type of estimates depend on living people choosing to have their DNA sequenced and sharing it with the scientific community. Second, these estimates try to use that data to figure out who you are related to looking back into the past. In truth this means they wind up being estimates of what percentage of people in their database you are related to. Not as it turns out who your ancestors were which can be different things.
A famous example of this is when Larry David had his DNA tested and it showed him as 25% Native American. He is 100% proven Ashkenazim, European Jewish. They have written ancestry records going way back. Such people have very little reason to use a DNA ancestry service to find out who their ancestors are… they already know them by name, place and date of birth etc. This is why a latter DNA test conducted by PBS for a Henry Louis Gates tv show found Larry David was 97.8% Ashekenazi Jewish.
Better computer algorithms and more people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent had taken ancestry by DNA test and shared the results with the scientific community. So the test taken nine years latter showed a different result from the same data. Science is about constantly refined understandings of knowledge not absolute truths.
What groups are most motivated to have their DNA tested for family research purposes? Populations which do not have such written ancestry records but who would value having them.
African Americans are one such group. During slavery for many of us the best written records are things like bills of sale and wills showing us being bequeathed like cattle or a chair. That is if there are any records. So too are people from Mexico, since their culture experienced great destruction under Spanish rule they value having that information and so they are DNA tested a lot. Examine in detail how many more ancestry regions there are for Native Americans in Mexico compared to the US, Canada, or even Brazil.
This means to test with a large ancestry estimate of American Indian one would likely have to either be VERY native American 50% or more or be of south western or Mexican descent. This is not because they are somehow the only real natives or some such. This is because they are not shy about having their DNA tested. Meanwhile, many full-blooded members of native tribes in the US are in a situation more similar to someone like Larry David. Most of them have sufficient written records to prove their affiliation with native American ancestry. Not to mention they can look in the mirror and see it in every feature they have in their relatives in their culture. To them asking them to test themselves and prove they are who they are is just another insult.
When it comes to my personal ancestry a DNA test wouldn’t do much. The Native American groups to which records show I am related, the Citizen Band and/or Prairie Band Pottawatomie and further back various Virginia Algonquian groups that made up the Powhatan paramount chiefdom (the Pamunkey and Mattaponi), and their neighbors the Nottoway determine membership via ancestral records. In the case of the Pottawatomie I can prove descent from various members of their nation but not to the specific tribal rolls used to determine membership. In all cases, especially the natives from Virginia they are known to be of some degree white and black admixture with Native American consistent with my own ancestry..but so what? Native Americans define themselves by culture and community first, being related second.
Let’s look at the full results from gedmatch.com for archaic DNA. Archaic DNA testing is the closest to being what people think ancestry DNA is doing. Comparing my living DNA to that recovered from the remains of people who lived in various regions so long ago that if you have ancestry from that region you will test as being from that region.
Note that there are no truly archaic DNA results from places with really warm much less tropical climates. So nothing from Africa. That is a bias in archaic DNA test.
Here you can see a strong match to Clovis, I am related to him and to other skeletons from Europe. You also see at the bottom a very weak match to Kennewick. This can mean a few things. My hypothesis is it means that there is something in the DNA from Clovis boy which has provided, over the generations, some survival advantage to my ancestors. So, ancestors who had that DNA reproduced just a bit more than others. Just enough to keep those genetic factors robust in my genome.
From my phenotype I can only point to a few features that are native. Shovel teeth, a bit of epicanthal fold, higher body fat percentage for equal weight, possibly skin tone. Keeping on more body fat for a similar weight can make surviving famine and cold weather easier. Meanwhile I have many African features, body proportions, hair, etc, and European features i.e. freckles, eyes just a bit lighter. The big survival feature of African DNA would be resistance to a wide variety of diseases. While other people died of starvation and measles in early colonial Virginia. My multiracial ancestors survived then thrived. This is not to claim any sort of superiority simply an attempt to explain why those genes didn’t get washed out. It is just a confluence of lucky factors.
So does my DNA showing I am descended from Clovis boy aka the Anzick-1 skeleton’s people but not Kennewick man show that Kennewick man is not a descendant of Anzick-1. No. If anything it may show that Native Americans are not some homogeneous blob of people who can be genetically stereotyped as being just one way. Yes going way back all scientific evidence shows we are related but so are all the people in Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa… who are in turn related to each other.
Just another branch on the human family tree. The one that had to hunt Mammoths and deal with Sabre toothed and Scimitar toothed cats to live in America. … no big deal. They were survivors and it seems that key parts of their DNA will survive in those of us who have it and pass it on for generations to come.
One unique strength of Ancestry.com's DNA testing is that it is linked to documented family trees. If you are like me and have done your traditional ancestry through records you can find not only your admixture ethnicity estimate, but living people and how you are related. I have 1000+ matches from a group called Northern Virginia African Americans.
I also have hundreds from people who have fully worked out family trees (most of whom are white since it is way easier to do that for white people.)
This is an example of one of my ancestry matches going way back on my mothers side. To a revolutionary war soldier. One of George Washington's "Commander in Chief Guards". William Pace was present at every battle Washington was present at from the formation of the CinC guard.
Click this image to see a public Facebook album where I will share screen caps related to this issue in the future. Watch this space for a discussion of the results of my second DNA lab test by National Geographics genographic 2.0 project.
The below shows a DNA connection in the female line to william pace. Each of those females right up to Lottie williams was either white, or multiracial African American.
This line supposedly leads back to Rheinland Germany...
The above is backed by DNA. Then my Geno2.0 results show this for my Y Chromosome and my MT DNA.
So what gives? I will do a 23 and me test and a full write up on this when I've done some more research... but right now the only way I see to reconcile all of this is with the facts in this FB posting of mine.
- Clovis Boy Genome Reveals That 80 Percent Of American Natives Are Direct Descendants
- Modern Native Americans Related To Kennewick Man
- You Can Self-identify With Any Ancestry You Want, But Genetically...
- Bering strait theory, and the Out of Africa model scientific method, not dogma.
- A World Map Of Neanderthal And Denisovan Ancestry In Modern Humans