Mysterious link emerges between Native Americans and people half a globe away

ScienceMag.org

Originally Posted: July 21, 2015

The Americas were the last great frontier to be settled by humans, and their peopling remains one of the great mysteries for researchers. This week, two major studies of the DNA of living and ancient people try to settle the big questions about the early settlers: who they were, when they came, and how many waves arrived. But instead of converging on a single consensus picture, the studies, published online in Science and Nature, throw up a new mystery: Both detect in modern Native Americans a trace of DNA related to that of native people from Australia and Melanesia. The competing teams, neither of which knew what the other was up to until the last minute, are still trying to reconcile and make sense of each other’s data.

“Both models … see in the Americas a subtle signal from” Australo-Melanesians, notes Science co-author David Meltzer, an archaeologist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. “A key difference is when and how it arrived in the New World.” The Nature team concludes it came in one of two early waves of migration into the continent, whereas the Science team concludes it came much later, and was unrelated to the initial peopling. READ MORE

 

Fred Wendorf, Henderson-Morrison Professor of Prehistory Emeritus, archaeology career spanned six decades

Midland Reporter Telegram

Originally Posted: July 15, 2015

Excavator of “Midland Man” site dies at age 90

DALLAS — Noted archaeologist Fred Wendorf — who excavated the so-called “Midland Man” site and who is credited with discoveries in Africa and the American Southwest — died in Dallas Wednesday following a long illness. He was 90.

Wendorf’s career as a field archaeologist spanned six decades and he spent four decades on the faculty of Southern Methodist University. He retired in 2003 as the Henderson-Morrison Professor of Prehistory Emeritus, according to a press release from SMU.

Wendorf was born July 31, 1924, in Terrell, and as a teenager developed an interest in archaeology while roaming the fields of Kaufman County in search of Native American artifacts. He earned a bachelor of arts in anthropology in 1948 from the University of Arizona and a doctorate from Harvard University in 1953. READ MORE

DNA From Kennewick Man Shows He Was Native American, Says Study With SMU Ties

KERA NEWS

Originally Posted: July 14, 2015

kennewick-man-SI

Nearly two decades after an ancient skeleton was discovered in Kennewick, Washington, scientists finally have a better idea about its hotly-debated origins. SMU anthropologist David Meltzer co-authored a recent study into what’s been dubbed the Kennewick Man. LISTEN HERE

Follow Christopher Kiahtipes, Ph.D. candidate in anthropology, on SMU Adventures blog

SMU Adventures

Updated: July 6, 2015

Christopher Kiahtipes is a Ph.D. candidate in anthropology at SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. His work includes reconstructing past environments in tropical Central Africa to better understand the links between culture, ecology and climate. He is spending part of the summer in Europe to present his research at the 8th International Workshop on African Archaeobotany (IWAA) in Italy and to visit libraries and botanical collections at the University of Montpellier in France. READ MORE

 

SMU Adventures: Katherine, Maguire Fellow and Medical Anthropology grad student in San Francisco

Originally posted: June 25, 2015

Katherine is a graduate student in the medical anthropology program. She was awarded a Maguire and Irby Family Foundation Public Service Fellowship for summer 2015 from the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility at SMU for her research on struggles for LGBTQ immigrants in the San Francisco Bay area. READ MORE

David Meltzer, Anthropology, 8,500 year-old Kennewick Man is a Native American

Live Science

Originally Posted: June 18, 2015

Research-KennewickMan

The relatives of a much-debated 8,500-year-old skeleton found in Kennewick, Washington, have been pinned down: The middle-age man was most closely related to modern-day Native Americans, DNA from his hand reveals.

The new analysis lays to rest wilder theories about the ancestry of the ancient American, dubbed Kennewick Man, said study co-author Eske Willerslev, an evolutionary biologist at the Natural History Museum of Denmark at the University of Copenhagen.

“There have been different theories, different mythology, everything from him being related to Polynesians, to Europeans, to [indigenous people] from Japan,” Willerslev told Live Science. “He is most closely related to contemporary Native Americans.”

A couple first discovered the skeleton in 1996 on the banks of the Columbia River in Kennewick. The coroner analyzing the remains noticed an arrow tip lodged in the man’s pelvis, and surmised he was a European felled by a Native American, said co-author David Meltzer, an anthropologist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

But the man’s bones revealed he was at least 8,000 years old.

At a news conference then, researchers studying the skeleton said the ancient man was “Caucasoid,” an archaic, 19th-century term that includes a wide swath of people with origins in Africa, Western Asia and Europe. Reporters heard the word “Caucasian,” and all of a sudden people were wondering how a European showed up in North America and was shot thousands of years before Europeans set foot on the continent, Meltzer said. READ MORE

Dedman College students receive prestigious national fellowships and awards

Congratulations to the Dedman College students awarded prestigious national fellowships and awards during the 2014-15 academic year, including Fulbright Grants and a fellowship to the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress. These students include:

Fulbright Scholar:

Whitney Goodwin
Michaela Wallerstedt
Kandi Doming

Institute for Responsible Citizenship Scholar:

Garrett Fisher

Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress Presidential Fellow:

Tracy Nelson

National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates

Nicole Hartman

READ MORE

 

Professors receive tenure, promotions effective in 2015-16

DedmanCollegeRB

 

Congratulations to the Dedman College faculty members who are newly tenured as associate professors or have been promoted to full professorships to begin the 2015-16 academic year.

The following individuals received tenure or promotion effective Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015.

Recommended for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor:

Angela Ards, English
Greg Brownderville, English
Justin Fisher, Philosophy
Matthew Keller, Sociology
Matthew Lockard, Philosophy
Daniel Moss, English
Nia Parson, Anthropology
Christopher Roos, Anthropology
Stephen Sekula, Physics
Alicia Zuese, World Languages and Literatures (Spanish)

Recommended for promotion to Full Professor:

Thomas Coan, Physics
Darryl Dickson-Carr, English
Robert Kehoe, Physics
Francisco Morán, World Languages and Literatures (Spanish)
Tony Ng, Statistical Science
Sherry Wang, Statistical Science

Seven Dedman College professors receive emeritus status in 2014-15

Congratulations to the following professors who received emeritus status in 2014-2015. The professors, and their dates of service:

buchanan

 

Christine Buchanan, Professor Emerita of Biological Sciences, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1977-2015

 

CARTER

 

Bradley Kent Carter, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1970-2015

 

Cortese

 

Anthony Cortese, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1989-2015

 

habermanRichard Haberman, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1978-2015

 

 

Hopkins D11

 

James K. Hopkins, Professor Emeritus of History, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1974-2015

 

ubelaker

 

John Ubelaker, Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1968-2015

 

ben_wallace

 

Ben Wallace, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, 1969-2015

 

SMU Students Mark History Milestone With Trip To Selma

CBS DFW

Originally Published: March 6, 2015

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – They are marching back in history to mark a major milestone. Students from Southern Methodist University loaded into buses Friday and set off — bound for Selma, Alabama.

They know it will be an emotional trip and it’s one they’ve planned for more than a year.
There are 36 students and four adults on their way to Selma. The group is largely made up of young people with majors in Human Rights and Anthropology – majors that are a part of part SMU’s political science department.

But the pilgrimage wasn’t by exclusive invitation; it was also offered to all students at SMU.

LaQuencia Dorsey’s grandmother was among the thousands who participated in the march from Selma to Montgomery 50 years ago.

“It’s going to be an emotional roller coaster for me,” she said. “Especially [since], my grandmother was part of it as well. It’s really unique for me to be able to touch the bridge, to actually feel where things happened.”

Facilitator Ray Jordan explained that the American civil rights movement and the experience of events in Selma aren’t mutually exclusive to African Americans. “It’s incredibly important that this becomes American history,” he explained. “Sometimes it’s segregated or sectioned into Black History, but this is the history of our country.”
Unlike those who made the trip from SMU in 1965, those who left on Friday are not afraid for their safety.

It was 50 years ago, on the eve of his bus ride to Montgomery that retired SMU Professor Kenneth Shields says a group of African American janitors came to his door. He recalled, “They said, ‘you don’t realize the dangers you are going into.’”

Shields explained that he and the others who left from SMU 50 years ago were motivated by what happened on Bloody Sunday. “I have always felt an identification and empathy for people who are marginalized.”

Friday Shields was there to help send off the next generation of activists. “I wish very much that I could be going along with you,” he told the group.

On March 25, 1965, Professor Shields says he marched next to a girl who could’ve been more than 14-years-old.

“She was still bandaged from being beaten on Bloody Sunday. And I said, ‘what do you think of the sheriff and the people who beat up on you?’ And she said, ‘I love them.’”
The group traveling then found that advice from janitors proved to have merit. In 1965, the bus company provided box lunches for the marching students’ ride home. When they opened them they found them full of garbage.

The 2015 group will reach Jackson, Mississippi Friday night and will be in Selma by Saturday morning. READ MORE