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Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2010-03 > 1268911008


From: Vincent Vizachero <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] OT How many races are there?
Date: Thu, 18 Mar 2010 07:16:48 -0400
References: <4234a.6a12e693.38d2b71c@aol.com><BLU126-DS1116FCD0C524B9A8699569922C0@phx.gbl><FD550D35-E1A4-4B9E-B994-C97C9736DF91@vizachero.com><REME20100317205305@alum.mit.edu><BLU126-DS78BB86EB03D28062DDCC5922B0@phx.gbl>
In-Reply-To: <BLU126-DS78BB86EB03D28062DDCC5922B0@phx.gbl>


The point I took away from John's post is that the definitions and
accepted boundaries of continents are a social construct, much like
the definitions and boundaries of genetic clusters. People draw the
boundaries where they think they should be. You think there are five
or six "races", so that's how you draw up the system. You think
Greenland should be a continent but not Cuba, so that's how you draw
up the system.

Wikipedia illustrates this, showing the different number of continents
as a function of political necessity.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continent#Number_of_continents

In the end, when people are drawing up definitions to suit their
preconceptions the definitions are scientifically arbitrary. That's
the DNA-related lesson to take away from this, I think.

VV


On Mar 17, 2010, at 9:39 PM, Raymond Whritenour wrote:

> Someone might wonder whether or not Greenland is a continent. But,
> who would wonder the same thing about Cuba? When you get past the
> five major biogeographical groups which have been distinguished, you
> don't find any sixth subdivision analagous, in size, to a Greenland!


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