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Thread: Genes, Language and Culture: an Example from the Tarim Basin

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    Lightbulb Genes, Language and Culture: an Example from the Tarim Basin

    By Christopher P. Thornton and Theodore G. Schurr

    Summary - The Tarim Basin 'mummies' of western China continue to fascinate scholars and the general public alike due to their 'Caucasoid' features, well-preserved material culture, and putative 'European' origins. However, there have been some uncritical efforts to link these archaeological cultures to those of other ancient Eurasian groups (e.g. the Celts) by applying syllogistic reasoning to multi-disciplinary evidence.

    In an attempt to provide a more cautious synthesis of the prehistory of the Tarim Basin, this paper will briefly summarize the archaeological, physical, and linguistic evidence that has been used to model human settlement of this region. These data will then be related to recent molecular anthropology research on modern populations of Central Asia, focusing especially on the Uighur in relation to their neighbours.

    While the genetic history of the modern peoples of a particular region is not necessarily related to their prehistoric antecedents, it is argued that the Tarim Basin experienced a surprising cultural and biological continuity despite immigration from both east and west into Xinjiang Province. This conclusion has a number of possible political ramifications in the present day that must be addressed in future literature on the subject.

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    Post Re: Tarim - Oxford Journal of Archaeology

    A good study and in general nice to read and informative but awful how this authors try to stay "politically correct" and on constructivistic ground.


    In this regard, we recognize that patterns of craniometric variation may reflect the influences of cultural, biological, and/or environmental
    factors, and do not represent evidence supporting racial typologies of human groups.
    Every point of the study is a proof for the old assumptions made by Mair and Mallory.
    If you ever saw the mummies you even understand their impression better and the newest data speak for such theories as well but at least doesnt contradict them.

    So here we can see the true reason to satisfy liberal dummies and do as follows:

    This is especially
    true when introducing molecular studies to the equation, as it requires a ‘self-critical awareness
    of the world both of and beyond genetics’ (Pluciennik 1996, 14), particularly in a politically
    sensitive area such as Xinjiang Province (cf. Light 1999).
    To be cautious is always good and such data shouldnt be published without, but it should be possible to speak out the truth if even Chinese are able to do so!
    So its more for the domestic auditory than for the region, although its reasonable to be cautious (to work on free there and dont provoke further ethnich tensions in the region) it has an already ideological touch to avoid like a manic racial terms at least if they werent used from others if its about new data.
    They dont use them any more...

    I see why and thats a shame because it has nothing to do with science. But on the other hand I'm just glad to read such a summary of the recent developments about the Tarim Basin.
    Thanks Euclides!
    Magna Europa est patria nostra

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