PlayGround uses cookies to give you the best browsing experience. If you continue browsing we understand that you accept our cookies policy.

C
left
left

News

DNA from baby skeleton reveals fascinating discovery about 'first Native Americans'

H

 

The findings shed light on the first group of settlers to arrive in the US

Anna Freeman

04 Enero 2018 15:16

Remains dating back 11,500 of an infant girl from Alaska have made landmark discoveries about how and when people first travelled to the Americas.

Genetic analysis of the child, as well as other data, indicates she belonged to a previously unknown ancient group.

Scientists say her DNA strongly supports the idea that a single wave of migrants moved into the continent from Siberia just over 20,000 years ago.

The settlers became the ancestors of all today's Native Americans, say Prof Eske Willerslev and his colleagues, who carried out the research. His team has published its genetics assessment in the journal Nature.

The skeleton of the six-week-old infant was unearthed at the Upward Sun River archaeological site in 2013. The local indigenous community have named her ‘Xach'itee'aanenh t'eede gay’, or ‘sunrise girl-child’.

‘These are the oldest human remains ever found in Alaska, but what is particularly interesting here is that this individual belonged to a population of humans that we have never seen before,’ explained Prof Willerslev, who is affiliated to the universities of Copenhagen and Cambridge, to BBC News.

‘It's a population that is most closely related to modern Native Americans but is still distantly related to them. So, you can say she comes from the earliest, or most original, Native American group - the first Native American group that diversified.

‘And that means she can tell us about the ancestors of all Native Americans.’

share