Last Updated on 2020/12/06
If you have ever taken some form of DNA test, you might have noticed that some Native American groups are grouped with Asian ones.
In fact, there are many similarities between the two. Why are these two genetic groups so similar when they developed on separate continents? Let’s take a look.
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Why Do a DNA Test?
Many people choose to take a DNA test to find out more about their family’s history. Whether you are wanting to know more about your family or you are just curious to see if you have a connection to a culture from the other side of the planet.
There are many different DNA tests available online which offer different features depending on what you are searching for. You can read more about each test on this site if you would like a more informed decision but there are basically 3 main tests; Ancestry, MyHeritage, and 23andMe. If you are wanting to explore any potential Native American or Asian links in your family, one of these tests would make for the perfect starting position.
It is also worth noting that they present their data in different ways. While Ancestry and 23andMe focus on where your ancestors were geographically, MyHeritage focuses on them through the lens of ethnicity. Since you wish to look at whether or not you have a specific type of link in your family, the data presentation might be completely arbitrary. However, it is something you should think about if you are ready to take a test.
A Bit of History
So, why do we see genes similar to those found in Asia and more specifically in China in somewhere like the Americas? The answer might be simpler than you think.
To understand why, we have to head back in time to when the continents were one. This mega-continent was known as Pangaea. When this mega-continent split up into the shapes we roughly know, they left land bridges where we now have water.
For example, you once would have been able to walk across what is now the English Channel between France and the UK and, most importantly, you would have been able to walk across a land bridge between what is now Russia and Alaska.
Thousands of years ago, the ancestors of humanity were migrating across the world. We walked thousands of miles while looking for somewhere safe to stay and it caused us to settle in many of the places where we have found activity of our ancient ancestors.
Some of us walked North and settled in what is now Europe, and some of us walked East. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that our ancestors Homo erectus were in what is now known as China over one million years ago. When it comes to modern humans, or Homo sapiens, their expansion out of Africa took place over a period 300,000 to 55,000 years ago. Following this, many groups would have slowly spread across the world.
Our closest ancestors used these expeditions to travel far and wide, and some groups would have made it all across the Eurasian continent and across the land-bridge into what is now Alaska. We have evidence that there was human activity in places like Florida approximately 14,500 years ago so we can therefore make some conclusions.
We know that there was human activity in the Americas by this time and we know that it comes in line with the expansion of the Homo sapiens out of Africa. We can therefore estimate that an expansion moved east over a number of years. Whether it was due to following animals, or changes in the weather, or just the birth of simple human curiosity, we cannot know.
However, it is clear that the earliest of Native Americans came from Asia. This is why we see so many similar genetic markers between modern Chinese citizens, other Asians, and Native Americans. While we have separated out into distinct peoples and cultures, we can all be traced back to groups of eagerly exploring early humans. We all came from the same people and there are many similarities we can see by examining our genetic history.
Try a Test Yourself
You never know what you might discover by testing your own genetic heritage. If you want to find out more about your family and where they came from, you might be able to do this through a DNA test.
What’s more, examining the haplogroups of your DNA might be able to tell you a little about where your ancestors were during these periods of mass human migration. If you want to feel a little closer to those who came before you, you should research your lineage using a haplogroup profile.
Humans have travelled all over this planet of ours. By looking at the past, we can find out things we never thought we would know, even as we move into the future.