Dec 29, 2020 • 45M

Podcast countdown to 2021 - day 4, Alexander G. Ioannidis: Native American ancestry in pre-Columbian Polynesia

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Razib Khan
Conversations about science, culture, and current affairs
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I'm counting down to the new year here by re-releasing favorite past episodes from the archives of my other podcast homes each day until 2021. Hope you'll discover a memorable voice or two you might have missed before. These episodes are free for all; next on the docket are new episodes for paying subscribers only, including conversations with Armand Leroi and Alina Chan.


Alexander Ioannidis is not the most famous Ioannidis at Stanford. But perhaps he should be!

In the summer of 2020, he led a study that seems to confirm gene flow of Native American ancestry into Polynesia long before Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue. On some level, we always knew and suspected this. How could people who crossed the whole Pacific not have arrived on the American mainland? Also, the existence of the American sweet potato in Polynesia indicates some contact.

But we had always assumed it was cultural. Using the “best-of-breed” genetic methods Alex found that there were clear signs of ancient Native American ancestry in the people of the Marquesas. Over 45 minutes in May of 2020, we discuss technical details, the archaeological and anthropological relevance to contacts between Pacific and American peoples, and future directions for his research.

This is day 4 of 6. Here is day 1: Shadi Hamid, day 2: Vagheesh Narasimhan, day 3: Thomas Chatterton Williams.

And if you missed them in the busy runup to the holidays, here is my series of five quick pieces from this past week

The Age of Genetic Engineering Begins

The Original Chinese Man

Applying IQ to IQ

Your Roots are Showing

In Gods We Trusted

One reason I shared this sampler of my writing was to leave those considering a subscription plenty of time to grab one at Substack’s lowest rates before I adjust the pricing upward in the new year.

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