Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Sunday, January 07, 2018

The story of how Homo sapiens spread from Africa to the rest of the world is a tangled epic, full of false starts and dead ends. Yet perhaps nowhere is the puzzle more difficult than in the Americas, two landmasses divided from the rest of the world by two huge oceans. Zoom out, though, and you'll see that isolation has only been imposed for the last 11,000 years; before then, a narrow land bridge called Beringia stretched between Siberia and Alaska, providing an icy highway for travelers. This week, scientists reported explosive new findings on the genetic story of one of those ancient travelers: an infant girl named Xach'itee'aanenh T'eede Gaay by the local indigenous people, who lived for a brief time 11,500 years ago in an Alaskan community now called Upward Sun River. The infant's genome has the power to rewrite what we know about the human journey into North America -- and in doing so, points to the larger genetic revolution that is reshaping the field of archaeology.

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For decades, archaeologists have hypothesized that humans entered the Americas from Asia using Beringia. But even as more sites of occupation were discovered in Siberia and Alaska, pointing to human occupation and the movement from west to east, questions remained. When exactly did the migration happen, and how did it happen? In one wave, or many?

In January 2017, researchers at the Canadian Museum of History concluded that a horse jawbone found in the Bluefish Caves of the Yukon bore human markings from 24,000 years ago, meaning that early Americans had settled here by 22,000 BC. That would push back the date of human occupation in North America by 10,000 years. But those findings -- like so many in this field -- proved controversial, and haven't been universally accepted by the archaeology community. The new report on Xach'itee'aanenh T'eede Gaay complicates this narrative further. While she may be "just" 11,500 years old, she provides incontrovertible evidence for the timing of human migration.

Within her genome is the story of a newly discovered population of early Americans whose ultimate fate remains a mystery, as their genes are no longer visible in modern populations. "This individual represents a previously unknown population, which is also the earliest known population of Native Americans," Prior to sequencing her genome, scientists had identified two main groups of Native Americans: Northern Native Americans and Southern Native Americans, who split off sometime after entering the continent. This infant child belongs to neither of those two groups.Using demographic modeling, the researchers concluded that the founding population of Native Americans began splitting from their ancestors in East Asia around 36,000 years ago.

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Yes multiple waves came same with every populated area.

The first wave was likely boat people who came along the coast of Beringia pursuing whatever they ate.

#1 | Posted by Tor at 2018-01-07 10:26 PM | Reply

Thor Heyerdahl demonstrated that a papyrus raft can migrate successfully from Africa to South America. The vikings populated North America hundreds of years before Columbus. So there can be many population paths and gene types.

#2 | Posted by bayviking at 2018-01-08 07:30 AM | Reply

I've posted it here before, 1491, a book by Charles Mann advanced this scenario when it was published in 2005.
I find it interesting that facts are beginning to support him.
Peoples being in the Americas 30 or 40 thousand years ago explains archaeological finds and timelines better.

#3 | Posted by Whizzo at 2018-01-08 11:15 AM | Reply

Just had a similar discussion with my gf after watching "Pilgrims" on Netflix. How much of the Americas had China already charted before 1492?

#4 | Posted by gavaster at 2018-01-08 12:46 PM | Reply

IIRC the Chinese map turned out to be a fake.

#5 | Posted by Tor at 2018-01-08 02:00 PM | Reply

Can't we work a disparaging joke about Elizabeth 'Pocohontas' Warren into this thread already? Slackers.

#6 | Posted by moder8 at 2018-01-08 03:21 PM | Reply

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