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Tibetans, Denisovans, and Others: Genes, Evolution, and Archaeology Meet in the High Himalayas
Start Date: 3/1/2018Start Time: 7:30 PM
End Date: 3/1/2018End Time: 9:00 PM

Event Description
AIA Dunwalke Lecture

Professor Mark Aldenderfer
University of California, Merced

The discovery of a new branch of the human species, labeled the Denisovans, in the Altai Mountains of southern Siberia, rocked the scientific community. The painstaking analysis of ancient DNA recovered from their remains indicates that they share a common ancestor with the Neanderthals and may also be related to modern humans, including Melanesians and the indigenous peoples of Australia. Their discovery has led to feverish attempts to create models of migrations across the Old World. But what does this have to do with the High Himalayas? My project has been looking at the genetics and evolution of moving people onto the high plateaus and mountain regions of the world. Studying ancient DNA, we have identified two genes in a population of highlanders in Nepal that promote adaptation to high elevation—EPAS1 and EGLN1-- that go back at least 3000 years. But what does this have to do with Denisovans? Amazingly, our newly-discovered kin also have one of these genes—EPAS1. Does this mean that Denisovans are the ancestors of Tibetans and other high elevation peoples? Maybe, maybe not. What we do know, and what will be stressed in this lecture, is how genomics is changing the way us simple archaeologists think about the past in (mostly) good ways.
Location Information:
*WU Campus - Law School  (View Map)
245 Winter Street SE
Salem 97301
Phone: 503-370-6380
Room: 218 -- (Smartroom)
Contact Information:
Name: Reyna Meyers
Phone: 503-370-6615
Admission / Ticket Info:
This event is free and open to the public
Event Sponsor(s):
The Center for Ancient Studies and Archeology (CASA)
And the Archaeology Institute of America (AIA)

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