The genome of a young boy buried at Mal’ta near Lake Baikal in eastern Siberia some 24,000 years ago has turned out to hold two surprises for anthropologists.
The first is that the boy’s DNA matches that of Western Europeans, showing that during the last Ice Age people from Europe had reached farther east across Eurasia than previously supposed. Though none of the Mal’ta boy’s skin or hair survive, his genes suggest he would have had brown hair, brown eyes and freckled skin.
The second surprise is that his DNA also matches a large proportion — some 25 percent — of the DNA of living Native Americans.
“The first thing people say to me, infuriatingly, is ‘Why do you think people think you’re so manly?’ So I start the chapter by saying, ‘Look, I understand why on the surface you might think a Snickers bar is a meal — it’s packed with peanuts, it really satisfies, it’s got a nice thick dimension — but when you break it down, it’s actually a candy bar.’ And by the same token, I see the mustache, I use tools, I don’t suffer fools gladly, I don’t mince about in the public eye as frequently, so I understand why people would say, ‘Oh, that guy seems like he’s very manly.’ I’m quick to remind the audience that I’m, of my family and my community, I’m the one who went away to theater school to find a career in the arts. I have studied ballet, I have worn tights, I wear makeup every day at work, I love to cry openly at a Pixar film. So I don’t think I’m as manly as you think.”—Nick Offerman — a.k.a. Ron Swanson — lays down the law in an interview about his new book. (via entertainmentweekly)