Friends of America's Past

Forum | Editorials & Opinions

Response to Prince

J.M. Prince (1/19/00) let his willingness to distort scientific data show when he selectively quoted Powell & Neves ("Craniofacial Morphology of the First Americans: Pattern and Process in the Peopling of the New World.") as saying that it is their considered opinion that "...the data are consistent with Paloindians having derived from an undifferentiated Asian population that was not ancestral to modern American Indians."

An honest look at the Powell & Neves article reveals that this comment was tempered by their saying "However, the assumptions required for such an interpretation are not realistic, and the diversity of early populations could as easily reflect population structuring processes such as genetic drift, demographic growth, and other phenomena. More importantly, the authors go on to say that "When the data were analyzed controlling for the effects of genetic drift (i.e., with smaller long-term effective population sizes for Paleoindians), the Paleoindian samples were no longer distinct from modern Native American populations."

In a related issue, while the attempt at analysis of Kennewick Man's DNA failed, every single PaleoIndian sample (including some called "caucasoid") that has been successfully analyzed has proven to belong to one or another of the four primary Native American haplogroups, affirming the genetic continuity indicated by the Powell & Neves article.

Wade Wofford

Return to Editorials & Opinions