Re: Origins

Gil Hardwick (
Mon, 15 May 1995 07:30:23 GMT

In article <3oiqro$> (Phil Nicholls) writes:
> It is believed that blood groups A and B were absent from the
> aboriginal populations of North and South America. In South America
> and the southern part of North America the gene for A is found at
> a frequency of 0.05 of less while the gene for B is 0.05 or less
> throughout North and South America except for the coastal areas
> of Australia. By contrast, the frequency of the O allele in South
> America and the southern part of North America is between 0.95 and
> 1.0. There is an interesting pocket in Central West United States
> in which the frequency of A reaches 0.05-0.15 and I believe it may
> be attributed to a later movement from siberia.
> Source: Mourant, A.E. (1954) Distribution of Human Blood Groups

I am only a tad confused here, Phillip, about whether you are citing
a reference on blood groups, or a reference on genes for blood groups
in support of your position on human evolution.

Are you saying to us here that the researchers had actually gone out
into the field doing genetic research way back then during the late
1940s and early 1950s, more than likely much earlier given the number
of widely distributed study sites, and there had actually located the
genes for all these different blood groups?

I mean, back then in the early post-war years we didn't even know
about DNA, much less understand anything at all about gene sequences.

Nor did we have then the sophisticated field techniques and transport
systems today allowing those blood samples to be flown all the way
back from South America, or all the way from Australia, to arrive in
some passing reasonable condition to a genetics laboratory somewhere.

Even if the lab was in Melbourne, for the Australian study that still
leaves nearly 5,000 Km of desert to fly over using only the military
transport planes at that time available.

Or did the researchers simply carry out fairly basic procedures under
field conditions for blood groups ONLY, Mr Nichols, and then analyse
statistically in an entirely separate exercise what they had referred
to as "island type genetic isolates", LOOSELY DEFINED from *biology*
"as a population in which 50% or more matings occur within its
boundaries" (Birdsell, in Peterson 1976)?

While I myself knowing Aboriginal discretion on such matters wonder
how the hell they would know at all just who was "mating" with whom
away up there along the WA coast, it is only relevant to my friendly
(:-))) rejoinder here that you here now assume that because these
disparate populations are recorded thereby as having quite different
distributions of blood groups, the available evidence somehow offers
us sufficiently reliable information to state so clearly as you do
above that what we are looking at is the distribution of GENES for
those blood groups.

Let me tell you, Mr Nichols, that Norman Tindale carried out the work
here in Australia and had published his preliminary monograph on his
results as far back as 1940. His own American colleague Joe Birdsell
had resurrected the material during the 1970s specifically to refute
doubts expressed by the Australian anthropologist Ronald Berndt (UWA)
arising from his own subsequent field research as to their usefulness
in determining "tribal boundaries".

The research program had nothing to do with human origins or genes at
all, and proceeded in any event by deploying a statistical analyses of
ASSUMPTIONS as to which men and women only MAY HAVE BEEN having sex
with one another based on patterns of marriage from place to place.

Using such data to support an argument on human origins is simply NOT
VALID. It just doesn't hold water, if you get my drift . . .

REF: Nicolas Peterson 1976, Tribes and Boundaries in Australia.