February 24th, 2014 Last Updated on: February 24th, 2014
DNA from the remains of a toddler buried 12,600 years ago in southwestern Montana confirm that the prehistoric Clovis people were the ancestors of American Indians, researchers said.
About 80 percent of all present-day indigenous people in North and South America are direct descendants of the family of the child, a 1-year-old boy, according to a paper published today in the journal Nature. The other 20 percent are more closely related to the Clovis than any other people on earth.
Debate about the origin of America’s native people has persisted for decades. Some scientists suggested the Clovis people were a migration of Europeans who used similar-looking tools about 21,000 to 17,000 years ago. Today’s finding shows this notion “can no longer be treated as a credible alternative for Clovis (or Native American) origins,” said Jennifer Raff, a research fellow in anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin, in an editorial published with the study.
“The neat part is that it confirms so many hypotheses, including the Native American understanding of where they came from,” Raff said.
While the study suggests the Clovis were the first native people to establish themselves in the Americas, they weren’t the first humans to set foot on the continents. The Clovis arose after people arrived in America by way of the Siberian land bridge in the last ice age, which started 25,000 years ago, though they didn’t descend from Europeans, Asians, or Melanesians, the scientists said.
Read more on the story and how tribal consultants are involved with the research from Bloomberg news.
Photo by Bill Whittaker, Wikipedia
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