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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

DNA from 4,000-year-old human sequenced

"The DNA of a human who lived 4,000 years ago in Greenland reveals that even ancient men had to worry about baldness.
An international team of scientists sequenced the genome of the man from DNA found in a tuft of hair preserved in the permafrost.
Their study was published this week in the journal Nature.
The researchers said the man — whom they've named Inuk, which means human in Greenlandic — was a member of the Saqqaq culture from northwestern Greenland.
"Inuk" is also the singular of "Inuit," but the scientists said that their Inuk is more closely related to modern-day people from tribes in northwestern Siberia than to the Inuit. They chose the name to acknowledge that the discovery was made in Greenland.
From the genome, the researchers were able to determine that Inuk had brown eyes, darker skin than most Europeans, the blood type A-positive, and shovel-shaped front teeth. They also found that he had a tendency toward baldness and was adapted to cold temperatures.
The genome also suggested that he had thick, dark hair, the only physical trait of Inuk the researchers were able to confirm directly."

Read more:

Here is some information about the Saqqaq culture that I found online:

The Saqqaq culture is the archaeological designation of the earliest Palaeo-Eskimo culture of West and Southeast Greenland. The time frame is roughly 2.500 BC - 800 BC.The main area of the Saqqaq culture is West Greenland from the Thule district in the north to the Nanortalik district in the south, East Greenland from the southernmost area to Scoresby Sund in the north.

"No graves are known from this culture and consequently ideas on Saqqaq culture social organisation must be based mainly on analyses of dwellings, site structures and site distribution. The archaeological traces of dwellings show great variation - from quite elaborate mid-passage dwellings over simple tent-rings to small paved areas connected to a simple hearths. The largest mid-passage dwellings are about 6 m long and a 3-4 m wide living floor suggests that the cold season dwelling was either for two families or for one extended family. No long-houses or other dwellings reflecting large gatherings have been found.
At localities rich in resources – e.g. where small whales or harp seals pass during migration or at the 'entrance' to the caribou hunting districts – Saqqaq sites containing dozens of dwellings are found. The structure of these sites suggests that many of the dwellings were used contemporaneously and consequently it was part of the Saqqaq social pattern to meet at large gatherings during the peak of the hunting season."
"A gender-specific division of labour and division of floor areas inside the mid-passage dwellings has recently been suggested based on detailed analyses of the distribution pattern of raw materials, lithic debitage and tools."

To read more about the Saqqaq culture go to the following website (which is where the above posted material was copied from):

Other websites you may want to visit are:

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Thoughts worth thinking about

"Our subconscious minds have no sense of humor, play no jokes and cannot tell the difference between reality and an imagined thought or image. What we continually think about eventually will manifest in our lives."-Sidney Madwed

Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every woman and man present their views without penalty, there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.- Albert Einstein Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. - Leo Buscaglia

A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. - Mohammed

Our task must be to free ourselves... by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty. -Albert Einstein

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others. - Ghandi

The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves. - Helen Keller

Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism. Confronting your fears and allowing yourself the right to be human can, paradoxically, make yourself a happier and more productive person. - Dr. David M. Burns

Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures. -His Holiness The Dalai Lama

Mankind's true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it. -

Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That's the essence of inhumanity. -George Bernard Shaw

Ego's trick is to make us lose sight of our interdependence. That kind of ego-thought gives us a perfect justification to look out only for ourselves. But that is far from the truth. In reality we all depend on each other and we have to help each other. The husband has to help his wife, the wife has to help the husband, the mother has to help her children, and the children are supposed to help the parents too, whether they want to or not.-Gehlek Rinpoche Source: "The Best Buddhist Writing 2005 pg. 165

The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events---that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies---and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.