MesoAmerican North America & The Big Linguistic Groups

1. Links between Apaches and MesoAmericans.
2. An old map showing the Aztecs once lived North of the Hopi (very speculative - but must be negated or confirmed.
 
That study showed that while many Apacheans carried an albumin variant common among natives in the Southwest and Mesoamerica
 

Y chromosome study sheds light on Athapaskan migration to southwest US

Modified from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Na-Dene_langs.png with reference to Campbell (1997) and Goddard (1996).

A large-scale genetic study of native North Americans offers new insights into the migration of a small group of Athapaskan natives from their subarctic home in northwest North America to the southwestern United States. The migration, which left no known archaeological trace, is believed to have occurred about 500 years ago. The study, led by researchers at the University of Illinois, is detailed this month in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. It relied on a genetic analysis of the Y chromosome and so offers a window on the unique ancestral history of the male Athapaskan migrants. Previous genetic studies of this group focused on mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down exclusively from mothers to their offspring.

The new findings reinforce the hypothesis that the Athapaskan migration involved a relatively small group that nonetheless was very successful at assimilating and intermixing with native groups already living in the southwest. The newcomers were so influential that the Athapaskan language family now dominates many parts of the Southwest. Now called Apacheans, the Navajo and Apache descendants of the early migrants are dispersed throughout the central Southwest and speak languages closely related to the Chipewyan, an Athapaskan language found in the subarctic.

(Language studies also revealed that Athapaskans migrated to the northwest U.S. and settled on the coast in parts of California and Oregon.)

How the Athapaskan migrants were able to spread their language – and genes – so successfully is unknown. Anthropologists note that the migrants probably arrived in the Southwest at a time of stress among indigenous groups as a result of an extended drought.

The new study also revealed how pervasively European males intermixed with native groups, said principal investigator Ripan Malhi, a molecular anthropologist in the department of anthropology at Illinois.

"A lot of the Y chromosomes have been replaced by European males," he said.

Malhi and his colleagues looked at specific regions on the Y chromosome that can vary from person to person. Tiny differences in the sequence of nucleotides that spell out the genetic code can be used to determine whether – and how closely – individuals are related to one another. Those who share many of these genetic signatures are more likely to share a recent common ancestor than those who don't.

The researchers analyzed 724 Y chromosomes from 26 native populations in North America. By including groups from across the continent (they studied tribes from Alaska to the Yucatan Peninsula and eastward to Hudson Bay and southeast U.S.), the researchers were able to analyze genetic differences among many native groups and to get an idea of the degree of European male infiltration into the native gene pool.

Consistent with a previous study of native North American mitochondrial DNA (also led by Malhi), the new analysis found a pattern that indicates that a small group of subarctic Athapaskans miYgrated to the Southwest. This pattern is reflected in the fact that many Apacheans carry the genetic signature of a small subset of subarctic Athapaskans.

These findings also affirm an earlier study of variants of a particular protein, albumin, in different native groups. That study showed that while many Apacheans carried an albumin variant common among natives in the Southwest and Mesoamerica, some Apacheans were the only ones to carry a variant that also occurs in subarctic populations.

Other patterns emerged from the Y chromosome analysis. One genetic signature associated with European males was detected in native males throughout North America, but was found at the highest frequency in groups living nearest to Hudson Bay, where trade between Europeans and the region's indigenous peoples was established in the early 17th century.

The new study, along with the earlier genetic and protein studies and the language analyses, is filling a gap in the archaeological record of Athapaskan migration, Malhi said.

This gap is the result of the fact that the Athapaskan migrants seem not to have altered the physical landscape, architecture or cultural practices of the populations they assimilated in the southwest U.S.

The only lasting evidence of the Athapaskan migration found so far is in their language and their genes, Malhi said.

"We're fitting together different lines of evidence," he said. "We're not just using the genetic data. We're using it in combination with the linguistic, oral histories from elders in the community and archaeological data. And even though there has been over a century of archaeological research done in the Southwest, there's not much information there about the Athapaskan migration into the Southwest."

 

 

Related images
(click to enlarge)
Geronimo, a well-known military leader of the Chiricahua Apache in New Mexico, may have been a descendant of subarctic Athapaskan immigrants.
Library of Congress. Photo by Edward S. Curtis.
Principal investigator Ripan Malhi, a molecular anthropologist in the department of anthropology at Illinois, led a study of the Y chromosome in North American native groups.
Photo by L. Brian Stauffer, U. of I. News Bureau.
Dark areas on this North American map represent the distribution of the Athapaskan language family. 
Boiled Bones Show Aztecs Butchered, Ate Spanish Invaders

Boiled Bones Show Aztecs Butchered, Ate Spanish Invaders
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posted on Thursday, August 24, 2006

 

BOILED BONES SHOW AZTECS BUTCHERED, ATE INVADERS
By Catherine Bremer
Reuters
August 24, 2006

Original Link

CALPULALPAN, Mexico - Skeletons found at an unearthed site in Mexico show Aztecs captured, ritually sacrificed and partially ate several hundred people travelling with invading Spanish forces in 1520.

Skulls and bones from the Tecuaque archaeological site near Mexico City show about 550 victims had their hearts ripped out by Aztec priests in ritual offerings, and were dismembered or had their bones boiled or scraped clean, experts say.

The findings support accounts of Aztecs capturing and killing a caravan of Spanish conquistadors and local men, women and children travelling with them in revenge for the murder of Cacamatzin, king of the Aztec empire's No. 2 city of Texcoco.

Experts say the discovery proves some Aztecs did resist the conquistadors led by explorer Hernan Cortes, even though history books say most welcomed the white-skinned horsemen in the belief they were returning Aztec gods.

"This is the first place that has so much evidence there was resistance to the conquest," said archaeologist Enrique Martinez, director of the dig at Calpulalpan in Tlaxcala state, near Texcoco.

"It shows it wasn't all submission. There was a fight."

The caravan was apparently captured because it was made up mostly of the mulatto, mestizo, Maya Indian and Caribbean men and women given to the Spanish as carriers and cooks when they landed in Mexico in 1519, and so was moving slowly.

The prisoners were kept in cages for months while Aztec priests from what is now Mexico City selected a few each day at dawn, held them down on a sacrificial slab, cut out their hearts and offered them up to various Aztec gods.

Some may have been given hallucinogenic mushrooms or pulque -- an alcoholic milky drink made from fermented cactus juice -- to numb them to what was about to happen.

TEETH MARKS

"It was a continuous sacrifice over six months. While the prisoners were listening to their companions being sacrificed, the next ones were being selected," Martinez said, standing in his lab amid boxes of bones, some of young children.

"You can only imagine what it was like for the last ones, who were left six months before being chosen, their anguish."

The priests and town elders, who performed the rituals on the steps of temples cut off by a perimeter wall, sometimes ate their victims' raw and bloody hearts or cooked flesh from their arms and legs once it dropped off the boiling bones.

Knife cuts and even teeth marks on the bones show which ones had meat stripped off to be eaten, Martinez said.

Some pregnant women in the group had their unborn babies stabbed inside their bellies as part of the ritual.

In Aztec times the site was called Zultepec, a town of white-stucco temples and homes where some 5,000 people grew maize and beans and produced pulque to sell to traders.

Priests had to be brought in for the ritual killings because human sacrifices had never before taken place there, Martinez said.

On hearing of the months-long massacre, Cortes renamed the town Tecuaque -- meaning "where people were eaten" in the indigenous Nahuatl language -- and sent an army to wipe out its people.

When they heard the Spanish were coming, the Zultepec Aztecs threw their victims' possessions down wells, unwittingly preserving buttons and jewellery for the archaeologists.

The team, which began work here in 1990, also found remains of domestic animals brought from Spain, like goats and pigs.

"They hid all the evidence," said Martinez. "Thanks to that act, we have been allowed to discover a chapter we were unaware of in the conquest of Mexico."

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