Originally Posted: January 1, 2015
New finds, theories, and genetic discoveries are revolutionizing our understanding of the first Americans.
By Glenn Hodges
The first face of the first Americans belongs to an unlucky teenage girl who fell to her death in a Yucatán cave some 12,000 to 13,000 years ago. Her bad luck is science’s good fortune. The story of her discovery begins in 2007, when a team of Mexican divers led by Alberto Nava made a startling find: an immense submerged cavern they named Hoyo Negro, the “black hole.” At the bottom of the abyss their lights revealed a bed of prehistoric bones, including at least one nearly complete human skeleton.
Nava reported the discovery to Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History, which brought together an international team of archaeologists and other researchers to investigate the cave and its contents. The skeleton—affectionately dubbed Naia, after the water nymphs of Greek mythology—turned out to be one of the oldest ever found in the Americas, and the earliest one intact enough to provide a foundation for a facial reconstruction. Geneticists were even able to extract a sample of DNA. READ MORE
The process of integrating immigrant newcomers, particularly refugees, is complex and involves many possible approaches. Integration, as perceived and driven by national agendas, may not be felt or experienced in the same way by refugees. The concept of belonging offers a way to think about how those who are displaced understand being “in the right place,” “members,” or “fitting in” to new social spaces as well as their interactions with new, diverse groups of people. From this lens we can consider if refugee belonging is more successful in a major city where resettlement agencies and refugees themselves have access to more resources and opportunities or in a village where face-to-face relationships predominate. Is integration more effective in contexts that offer more hands-on assistance or in those that are more laissez faire? A case study of two little-known resettled Hmong populations that originated from the same refugee group 30 years ago offers insight into these questions. The resettled Hmong originally came from the hills of Laos near the Plain of Jars where a clandestine conflict against communist forces took place during the Vietnam War. The Laotian Hmong were shuffled into Thai refugee camps with up to 140,000 other Hmong and Vietnamese and were eventually split and in 1979 resettled to communities with markedly different approaches to welcoming them—Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, in the United States, and Gammertingen, in Germany. This article, drawn from the book Belonging: The Social Dynamics of Fitting In as Experienced by Hmong Refugees in Germany and Texas, explores the integration of these particular Laotian Hmong refugee groups, and what it means to belong in the United States and Germany. READ MORE
Dallas Morning News… Dallas researchers out to scientifically prove biblical version of creation
Most scientists believe Darwin got it right: Single-celled creatures evolved into complex ones, a process of natural selection and genetic adaptation that over eons turned a primordial swamp into shape-shifting cells, into ape-like primates, into people.
His theory is taught in virtually every science classroom in the world. It is used to demystify the complexity of life, translate the language of DNA, and make sense of geology, biology and paleontology. READ MORE
WFFA: All this week, we’ve been continuing the conversation about the border crisis. We’ve tried to give perspective on all sides of what is happening.
Today’s topic: Are these children immigrants or refugees? And why does it matter?
Dr. Faith Nibbs is an expert in forced migration and a professor at SMU. She joined Shelly Slater on News 8 at 4 with some answers. WATCH THE VIDEO HERE
Dallas Morning News: Thomas DiPiero is Southern Methodist University’s new dean of Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, university officials announced Tuesday. READ MORE HERE
Alan Brown, professor in the department of psychology, responds: READ MORE HERE
This past spring, 69 Engaged Learning projects were approved. Below are the 40 Engaged Learning Fellows with Dedman majors and the 26 Dedman faculty and staff are serving as mentors. READ MORE HERE
Dr. Bing is a professor of global health in the Department of Applied Physiology and Wellness in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development and in the Department of Anthropology in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences at SMU. He has a concurrent appointment with the George W. Bush Institute as senior fellow and director of global health. READ MORE HERE