KUMASI — On October 10, 2015, Menes Tau worked directly with Narmer Amenuti to understand the motivation behind an unprecedented finding in Science: Ancient Ethiopian genome reveals extensive Eurasian admixture throughout the African continent:

Characterizing genetic diversity in Africa is a crucial step for most analyses reconstructing the evolutionary history of anatomically modern humans. However, historic migrations from Eurasia into Africa have affected many contemporary populations, confounding inferences. Here, we present a 12.5x coverage ancient genome of an Ethiopian male (‘Mota’) who lived approximately 4,500 years ago. We use this genome to demonstrate that the Eurasian backflow into Africa came from a population closely related to Early Neolithic farmers, who had colonized Europe 4,000 years earlier. The extent of this backflow was much greater than previously reported, reaching all the way to Central, West and Southern Africa, affecting even populations such as Yoruba and Mbuti, previously thought to be relatively unadmixed, who harbor 6-7% Eurasian ancestry.

Menes’ article came to the conclusion that the science journal was false in purporting that the African gene pool had been douched with Neanderthal admixture.

Three months later the scientists responsible for the paper accepted they had in fact made an enormous error in programming and calculation. In fact there is no such thing as an admixture of the African gene pool with Eurasian genetics.

Turns out that there was a bioinformatics error which negates the magnitude of these results. Erratum to Gallego Llorente et al. 2015:

The results presented in the Report “Ancient Ethiopian genome reveals extensive Eurasian admixture throughout the African continent“ were affected by a bioinformatics error. A script necessary to convert the input produced by samtools v0.1.19 to be compatible with PLINK was not run when merging the ancient genome, Mota, with the contemporary populations SNP panel, leading to homozygote positions to the human reference genome being dropped as missing data (the analysis of admixture with Neanderthals and Denisovans was not affected). When those positions were included, 255,922 SNP out of 256,540 from the contemporary reference panel could be called in Mota. The conclusion of a large migration into East Africa from Western Eurasia, and more precisely from a source genetically close to the early Neolithic farmers, is not affected. However, the geographic extent of the genetic impact of this migration was overestimated: the Western Eurasian backflow mostly affected East Africa and only a few Sub-Saharan populations; the Yoruba and Mbuti do not show higher levels of Western Eurasian ancestry compared to Mota.

We thank Pontus Skoglund and David Reich for letting us know about this problem.

First, scientists are humans and mistakes happen. So we might respect that the authors owned up to it. On the other hand, the conclusion never smelled right to African scientists. Menes Tau and Narmer Amenuti were confused by it. More, we suspected foul play copiously addressed in Menes’ essay.

Unfortunately the result from the bioinformatics error was emphasized on the abstract, and in the press. In The New York Times:

“The most astonishing thing is there’s quite a lot of backflow in all modern African populations,” Dr. Pinhasi said. He and his colleagues estimate that 7 percent of the genomes of the Yoruba people of Nigeria are of Eurasian origin. In the genomes of Mbuti pygmies who live in the rain forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 6 percent of the DNA comes from Eurasians.

Ryan L. Raaum, an anthropological geneticist at Lehman College, part of the City University of New York, called the new study “fantastic” but questioned its conclusions. If people from the Near East moved into Africa, he argued, a drastic shift in the archaeology of the region would logically follow. But no such shift occurred. It is also possible that Eurasian DNA moved into Africa earlier than 3,000 years ago, Dr. Raaum argued. Mota might have simply lived in an isolated community that never encountered people with those genes.

The best way to test the conclusions of Dr. Pinhasi and his colleagues, Dr. Raaum said, would be to gather more DNA from African fossils of the same age. If the researchers are right, they would also lack Eurasian DNA. “Then the argument starts to seem a lot more plausible,” Dr. Raaum said.

A rule of thumb in science is when you get a shocking and astonishing result, check to make sure you didn’t make some error along the sequence of analysis. That clearly did not happen here. The blame has to be distributed. Authors work with mentors and collaborators, and peer reviewers check to make sure things make sense. The idea of massive admixture across the whole of Africa just did not make sense.

If something like this happened to me I’d probably literally throw up. This is horrible. But then again, this paper made it into Science, and Nature wrote articles like this: First ancient African genome reveals vast Eurasian migration. The error has to be corrected.

But who knows, it may have been manufactured. New dogs are playing new tricks again on us. But we have grown out of it. We have outgrown their nonsense!

11 COMMENTS

  1. This is exceedingly refreshing to read. I am elated. Perhaps this underscores an earlier quote from you: Knowledge of the ourselves is the mother of all Knowledge. So it is incumbent on us to know ourselves, to know it completely, to know its minutiae, its characteristics, its subtleties, and its very atoms. That is the only to assure our continuous conviction in who we are. This is the only way to steer clear of western deception.

  2. We have grown passed pseudo-science publication for African studies, we will introduce our science with clear understanding of our cultural experience. Bravo

  3. I am extremely proud of Grandmother Africa today. Last year in October, we published an article (by Menes Tau) about the ridiculousness of a publication in Science and Nature that sort to rewrite African history.
    We didn’t stop it exactly. But we knew better. We didn’t take the bait. Kudos to Menes Tau who worked directly with Narmer Amenuti to understand the motivations behind such a paper.
    Alas, the researchers now admit making huge MISTAKES. Science and Nature were both wrong in believing such an outrageous premise and conclusion. Although here at Grandmother Africa we don’t quite see it as a mere error, but a conscious attempt – one in many such trends – to rewrite the history of the world and African history.
    Thanks to all those who take this fight very very seriously! Propaganda is a war. It must be won. Better we win!

  4. I just came to the conclusion that kleptomaniacs (looting everywhere, slashing and burning the remains) are always liars. They cannot be helped. The issue for me it to protect myself and my stuff from these maniacs!

  5. Someone presented me with the findings of that paper and I immediately saw the “tricknology” that was going on and being passed as science.

    People who are well aware of the schemes that go on under anthropology and genetics are very wary of terms such as ‘Eurasian’, ‘Near Eastern’ or ‘North African’ because these are NOT racial categories but rather geographical areas.

    Let me show you the deception that has taken place with this Eurasian category.

    Firstly, the notion that the elongated head, narrow nose and thin lips are Caucasian phenotypes that got spread by them mixing with other local populations is totally wrong! The Black people from whom the Caucasians derive were the Blacks from the Middle East. These Blacks typically had what we call today European features except for the White skin. It is these Blacks who traveled to Europe and gradually lost their pigmentation giving birth to White skin but the thin nose and lips were already a part of them before they migrated out to Europe. It is for this same reason why Caucasian anthropologists grouped Ethiopians, Indians and Middle Easterners as Caucasians thereby naming the fathers after the children.

    Now because Caucasians derived from this early Blacks of the Middle East they have closer genetic affinity to them then the Blacks who remained in Africa. This is the fulcrum around which much of the deception revolves. Whenever the Middle Eastern Blacks mixed with the African Blacks they call it ‘Eurasian’ admixture with Africans. But when you actually identify these ‘Eurasians’ they were Blacks as well.

    This is why terms such as ‘Eurasian’ admixture or migration means very little but can be used to deceive so many.

  6. You are spot on Atiga Atingdui. We cannot, looking at the history of science, rely on the conclusions of western geneticists and anthropologists alone. It seems they have completely lost our confidence and are trying neither to repair it or admit it. Indeed, we must watch out for such strange appearances of Eurasians in Africa. We must watch out for strange doctrines.

    I read one some 10 years ago, which I have yet to find the time to write about. The ‘Genome: The Autobiography of a Species In 23 Chapters’ by Matt Ridley. The nonsense of it. Not to bore you but to make a quick point: He argues that bacteria could be more advanced than the human species. I knew where it was going: that simplicity could be a sign of complexity/advancement. While muddling the obvious common sense that complexity is the only sign of complexity! I knew he was reaching to say the Caucasians were more advanced than Africans because the former are simpler beings, which we already know from the genome!

    Such writers and others think they are slick in their presentation – which you call ‘tricknology’ – but they are not. They are just a bunch of white supremacists using the Scientific Method to make their point.

  7. Old Dogs, Old Tricks.

    As long of our researchers are not the leaders in that field, things like this will continue to happen.

  8. Science does make many things right but it is the deception, misdirection and abuse of it that science falls on its face assisted by agendas! Look at this: Doesn’t it sound off that African are Africans, Asians but Europeans are Caucasians instead of Europeans.! The people from the Caucasian highlands were Muslim and a few Christian Armenian communities and they are often called ‘blackasses” (chernozaphy-in Russian) by their Slavic neighbours so when one usurps the names and culture of those who cannot speak or who were refused to even be in the same location as their oppressors, the guilty can use that to distort history and pretend otherwise.
    Just as E1b1b is found mainly in East Africa, it is is also found in various groups in Southern Europe but those who call themselves scientists persist in the mythical domain that it is a European haplogroup and it seems to be workling to the extent that very few even dare to acknowledge its true origin.

  9. It should have been obvious that the information was false. It was blatantly false, Western Eurasians are the newest racial group, it is stupid to put out information that blatantly contradicts known, historical and archaeological history.

    In their own history they have the newest history with their modern populations only reaching the whole of Europe during the AD period, that’s less than 2000 years ago. The Germanics only overrun Western Europe from Germany/Holland/Scandinavia after the end of the Roman Empire the year 476. The Slavs who make up a lion share of modern Eastern European ancestors 5th century too. Claiming that blacks are in Eastern Afrika and Southern Afrika, this is foolish, this defies all archaeology, this also defies common sense as Eurasians referred to Afrika as the dark continent into the 1900’s because much of the inland areas were extremely scantly visited and known about by Eurasians. They keep taking information about certain groups from the Horn of Afrika who have known, historically recorded admixture and trying to find a way to apply it to the whole of the Rift Valley where humans are known to have originated. Places where admixture took since ancient times, place such as parts of the Mediterranean Afrika, the Horn of Afrika, Zanzibar, Arabia and Madagascar have people with obvious phenotypical differences in their population which could be deduced visually.

    Europeans have a known history of lying and hiding evidences, same with Arabic-speaking non-blacks, the information posted by DNA tribes, correlates with bio-anthropology on skulls (notably dental history), genetic linguistics and culture., but was unreleased by Zahi Hawass. One thing you must be aware of is most genes claimed by Eurasians are not originally theirs, Afrikans have had those gene markers from before the genetic mutation for alleles for unrelated genes occurred which produced other physical features as norms instead of genetic quirks and random one-off genetic mutations.

    It is of interest that European geneticists consistently admit that they can not accurately trace their own ancestors using any historical individuals or groups (ethnicities) without HISTORICAL records, so don’t believe everything they put out. Scientists are funded by the same rich white philanthropists who are setting Western governments agendas, politics is always close by when it comes to results time but never admitted when the hypothesis is given.

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