This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

You can download an iPhone app for the 13th edition from the App Store (search for Weeks Population).

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Peopling the Planet

Nature magazine has a special on-line issue this month on "Peopling the Planet," which brings together new data on the timing of humans out of Africa into the rest of the planet. As a check on up-to-dateness (if that's a word), I noted that they did indeed include the research reported in the New York Times a few days ago about the evidence that North America was likely inhabited by humans earlier than had been previously estimated.

We now know people were in the Americas earlier than 14,000 years ago. But how much earlier, and how did they get to a continent sealed off by thick sheets of ice?
Working theories vary. Some scholars hypothesize that people migrated from Asia down the west coast of North America in boats. Others suggest variations on the overland route. One theory even argues that some early Americans might have come by boat from Europe via the North Atlantic, despite the fact that the DNA of modern American Indians does not suggest European origins.
The Nature special issue isn't necessarily controversial, but it is highly informative, and I encourage you to explore it.

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