The indigenous people of North and South America are collectively known as Native Americans. Despite the European invasion occurring several centuries ago, Native Americans are still subjugated and are yet to find a voice of their own.
One of the reasons for that is a lack of scientific evidence that manages to bring forth their cultural heritage and upbringing in front of the world. While previous anthropologic studies have focused on the timing and number of initial migrations, the subsequent spread of people within the two continents have garnered lesser attention.
As scientists could only describe the peopling of the Americas in broad strokes, plenty of mysteries regarding when and how they spread across still remains a mystery – and is critical to understand their historical lineage.
Two independent studies, one being published in the journal Science and the other in Cell, have sequenced 15 and 49 ancient human genomes, dating back around 10,000 years. Prior to these studies, only six genomes older than 6000 years from the Americas had been sequenced, leading to oversimplification of genetic models that were used to explain the peopling of the Americas.
The genomes of the current study spanned from Alaska in North America to Patagonia in South America. The teams worked with government agencies and indigenous people to identify the samples, extract powder from skeletal material, and extract the DNA necessary to create double-stranded DNA libraries.
The results from the genome sequencing have spawned some very interesting results. The study published in Science, called “Early Humans dispersals within the Americas”, provides evidence of rapid dispersal and early diversification as people moved south, as early as 13,000 years ago. The study sequenced an “Ancient Beringian,” a 9000-year-old remains from Alaska’s Seward peninsula to come to the conclusion that first migrants that entered the Americas from the Bearing strait split into two groups – “Southern Native Americans” and “Northern Native Americans” (also sometimes called Ancestral A and B lineages), who went on to populate the continents . . .
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