One small tribe founded America, according to reports in news@nature and ScienceNOW 24 May 2005, and Science News, 28 May 2005. Most anthropologists agree that the American continents were originally colonised by people from north-eastern Asia migrating across the Bering Strait. Jody Hey, a population geneticist at Rutgers University, New Jersey compared DNA sequences from people from north eastern Asia and native Americans in order to estimate the size of the original population, based on the amount of genetic diversity between the two populations. He came to the conclusion that as few as “70 breeding individuals”, which would mean somewhere between 250 to 300 individuals, were in the original group. Hey commented: “It looks like a group that was about the size of a single tribe made the initial trip from Asia to the New World.” Some scientists are sceptical of the conclusions. Rebecca Cann of the University of Hawaii believes Hey’s population estimate is “unlikely be such a small group would be in danger of dying off”.

Editorial Comment: Hey’s results are not so unlikely if you take Biblical history seriously. Human populations spread out all over the globe after the judgement at Babel. The people who left the Tower of Babel were not primitive, ignorant people. God Himself says they were clever, resourceful, albeit rebellious people (Genesis 11:6). Even after they were scattered into unfamiliar environments they would have had a good chance of survival. We know from the genealogies given in Genesis 10 and 11 that people were still living quite long lifespans in the centuries after Babel, so 70 fertile adults had plenty of time to reproduce. Although the world was rapidly degenerating during this period due to the massive climate changes in the wake of Noah’s Flood, genetic defects had not yet built up sufficiently to prevent close family marriages, e.g. Abraham married a half-sister and God introduced no rules against incestuous marriage until Moses’ time more than 1000 years after the flood. Therefore, a small isolated population could still reproduce healthy individuals to build up the population after the initial crossing into the new continent. (Ref. races, populations, migration)