The Genographic Project: Questions Seeking Answers

Edited by Bob Ranger

Updated: February 1, 2017.

We can trace back to Africa within the past 60,000 years but we need the details to our settling the other continents.

“Where do we come from?” Where did we originate as a species, and when? How did we come to populate the entire world? The Genographic Project seeks to answer questions such as:
How many waves of migration were there into the Americas? Was one of the earliest migrations along the west coast?

Could Europeans have migrated to the Americas thousands of years ago?

Is there a genetic signal from the expansion of indigenous American agriculture — i.e., was it farmers or the culture that moved?

Were there migrations to South America from the Pacific?

How do we account for the extraordinary linguistic diversity found in South America; have populations been separate for a long period of time?

Can we find genetic signals of now extinct populations in today’s admixed groups, for example, the Arawaks in the Caribbean, etc.?

Was there any mingling between modern humans and Neanderthals and the newly-discovered Denisovans during the European Upper Paleolithic? Boy, do I have an idea for a movie with this one.

Where did the Indo-Europeans come from, and what languages were being spoken prior to their spread?

What routes did modern humans take in their settlement of Europe?

Did the Celtic expansion of the mid-first millennium B.C. leave a genetic trail?

When did modern humans first colonize the Arctic?

Who were the first people in the Caucasus, and why is there such incredible linguistic diversity there?

Did Alexander the Great’s armies leave a genetic trail?

What role did the Silk Road play in dispersing genetic lineages?

Where did the Afro-Asiatic languages (including Arabic and Hebrew) originate?

Can we find genetic traces of the great Middle Eastern empires — Phoenicians, Hittites, etc.?

Who were the aboriginal inhabitants of North Africa, and are the Berbers their direct descendants?

Who are the oldest populations in Africa (and therefore the world)?

How has colonialism had an impact on the genetic patterns in Africa?

Can we trace the origins of the Bantu people — and their expansion across Africa — from their genetic patterns?

Who were the first to settle in India — Dravidians, or some other group?

When did the Indo-European languages arrive in India, and from where?

What role has the caste system had in determining patterns of genetic admixture in India?

Who are the Andamanese? What?

How has the geography of China molded genetic patterns there?

Who were the aboriginal inhabitants of Indonesia?

Was there any admixture with Homo erectus as modern humans spread throughout Southeast Asia?

What are the patterns of genetic variation in New Guinea, and do they parallel the extraordinary linguistic diversity there?

How much genetic exchange has there been between Southeast Asia and Australia?

How do the genetic patterns correlate with the Australian Aboriginal songlines, their own oral histories?

Can we use genetics to trace the spread of the Polynesians and Micronesians from island to island in the Pacific?

Is it possible to obtain intact DNA from the remains of Homo erectus and other extinct hominid species?

Can ancient remains from animals help to trace the spread of domestication?

The questions above were blatantly snarffed from Dr. Spencer Wells' book "Deep Ancestry" and Lucie McNeil and Michael Loughran from their paper, "The Genographic Project: Seeking Answers, April 2005." In some instances questions are rephrased to reflect the goals of this site.

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Your questions and comments are welcome.

Copyright © 2017 by Robert Ranger, Wilmington, North Carolina.