Y-DNA haplogroups in indigenous peoples of the Americas Genetic diversity and population structure in the American land mass using DNA micro-satellite markers genotype sampled from North, Central, and South America have been analyzed against similar data available from other indigenous populations worldwide.
But when it comes to the timing, magnitude, and effects of this depopulation—it depends on who you ask. Many scholars claim that disease struck the native population shortly after their first contact with Europeans, and spread with such ferocity that it left tell-tale fingerprints on the global climate.
Others, however, argue that—though still devastating—the process was far more gradual, and took place over many years. A new Harvard study, however, suggests both theories are wrong Led by Matt Liebmann, the John and Ruth Hazel Associate Professor of the Social Sciences in the Department of Anthropology, a team of researchers was able to show that, in what is now northern New Mexico, disease didn't break out until nearly a century after the first European contact with Native Americans, coinciding with the establishment of mission churches.
But when it did finally strike, the study shows, the effects of disease were devastating.
In just 60 years, native populations dropped from approximately 6, to fewer than among the 18 villages they investigated. The study is described in a Jan. The death rate was staggeringly high—about 87 percent of the Native population died in that short period. In addition, they're clearing the land for farming, so trees weren't growing there when these archaeological sites were inhabited.
But as people died off, the forests started re-growing and we start to see more forest fires. Though there is still wide debate about when this new epoch started, a number of researchers have pointed towhen—ice core records show—global CO2 levels dropped dramatically.
Standing walls at the ruins of an Ancestral Jemez village that was part of the published study. Roos, SMU "One of the 'Early Anthropocene' theories suggests that because Native Americans were being removed from the landscape on a massive scale, especially in the Amazon, they were no longer burning the forest for agriculture, and as the forest re-grew it sequestered carbon," Liebmann said.
To pull it off, Liebmann and colleagues turned to a technology known as LiDAR, which uses lasers to penetrate the dense forest cover and create a map of the region that, in some cases, is accurate down to the centimeter.
A photo of sampled fire-scarred tree that was part of the published study. TJ Ferguson, U Arizona "I thought my career would be standing on these sites with a surveying tool called a total station," Liebmann said. This new technology is what made this study possible. Dating the sites—and in particular when villages may have been abandoned as the population dwindled—is far trickier.
But for this project we didn't excavate the sites, so we couldn't recover the roof beams. Instead, the dendrochronologists on our team looked at the inner rings of trees that are still growing on these sites to establish when they germinated.
They found that tree growth took off between and When we get a cluster of dates in the same year period, that tells us that something happened at these villages to start these trees growing there.
Without humans in the region to clear trees for building materials, heating, cooking, and agriculture, the forest began to reclaim that territory, providing, literally, more fuel for fires.
But as the forest started re-growing, much more widespread fires occurred. That continued until almost exactlywhen a combination of increased livestock grazing and a change in federal forest management policies began to suppress all fires.
What our study shows is that forest fires were being managed by Native people living in dense concentrations on the landscape—not unlike the situation today in many parts of the Southwest. So there may be some lessons here for contemporary fire management.Disease can be attributed to most of the depopulation of the Native American population in the 16th century.
There is little dispute that in the wake of European colonists' arrival in the New World, Native American populations were decimated by disease and conflict. But when it comes to the timing. There is little dispute that in the wake of European colonists' arrival in the New World, Native American populations were decimated by disease and conflict.
Colonies & Native Americans. STUDY. PLAY. Most of the depopulation of the Native American population in the 16th century can be attributed to.
In many areas, 95% of the native population was decimated by disease such as smallpox. What did the early English settlers in Plymouth Colony learn from the Native Americans?
New World devastation “In the Southwest, first contact between native people and Europeans occurred in ,” said Matthew Liebmann, the John and Ruth Hazel Associate Professor of the Social Sciences in the Department of Anthropology. Virgin Soil Epidemics and Native Depopulation.
that the question of genocide and American Indian history centers or depends heavily on the question of the size and intentionality of disease-caused depopulation, the “no it was not genocide” position remains credible.
“New Hypothesis for Cause of Epidemic among Native Americans.