American Indians/European Invaders

John Cherwonogrodzky jcherwon at
Fri Feb 2 16:56:19 EST 1996

Dear M. Coon:
     I forget the source (Scientific American, Discover) but there was an 
excellent review on native Indian susceptibility to European diseases. Seems 
that Europeans lived with animals and co-evolved with some of their diseases 
(smallpox/cowpox) or had enough plagues (e.g. Black Death) so that resistant 
populations emerged. Native Indians on the other hand had few domesticated 
animals and were susceptible to these diseases. Hence the figure varies from 
50-95% of their numbers being wiped out. 
     Regarding genetics, I saw a documentary about a year ago where native 
populations in North and South America were assessed genetically. Seems 
there's 3 regions, the Inuit in the tundra, the native Indians in an area 
roughly within Canada, and everyone else (US all the way to the tip of Chile).
     My own thoughts appear to be wrong. I thought that perhaps there were 
several, not just one, migration. The first were Polynesians landing in the 
Peru/Colombia area about 50,000 years ago, the second were the Siberians 
crossing the land-bridge about 10,000 years ago. I took it from the 
documentary that native Indians have different genetic ancestory 
than the former.     Take care...John 

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