179 | David Reich on Genetics and Ancient Humanity


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Human beings like to divide themselves into groups, and then cooperate, socialize, and reproduce with members of their own group. But they’re not very absolutist about it; groups tend to gradually (or suddenly) intermingle, as people explore, intermarry, or conquer each other. David Reich has pioneered the use of genetic data in uncovering the history of ancient humanity: what groups existed where and when, and how they interacted. The result is a picture of churning populations in constant flux, including “ghost populations” that no longer exist today.

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David Reich received his Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Oxford. He is currently a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School. Among his awards are the Dan David Prize, the National Academy of Sciences Award in Molecular Biology, the Wiley Prize, the Darwin-Wallace Medal, and the Massry Prize. He is the author of Who We Are and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past.

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