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Ancient DNA lifted the veil on the colonization of South America

The people settled in South America in a single migration wave, soon after their ancestors first came from Siberia to the Western hemisphere.

Settlement in South America was discussed in a paper presented at the annual conference of the society of American archaeology in San Francisco. The work is based on DNA extracted from the remains of five ancient people who lived in the Peruvian Andes.

The most ancient Parking in South America – Monte Verde – has an age of about 14,6 thousand years. This date suggests that people quickly crossed two continents, through one or two thousand years after Beringovuy passed under the bridge. It is possible that the ancestors of the Americans were moving along the Pacific coast.

But some scientists believe that was the second wave of migration. They note that the elongated, narrow skull, which were the inhabitants of South America about five thousand years ago, too different from the round heads later the natives and modern native Americans. According to some researchers, the differences suggest that the waves of migration were more.

In 50-ies and 60-ies of XX century Peruvian archaeologist Cardich Augusto ( Augusto Cardich ) found ancient human remains high in the Andes mountains, in the area Lauricocha. The radiocarbon method to date the find to approximately nine thousand years. Later, other researchers perestrelyayut, “omologia” bones to five thousand years, making them less attractive to researchers. “People just forgot about them. No one else was not interested in them,” says Lars föhren forest-Schmitz ( Lars Fehren-Schmitz ), an anthropologist from the University of California (USA).

Fifty years after the discovery of the remains of a group of scientists under the leadership of Lars föhren forest-Smica received permission to inspect the five skeletons from Lauricocha. The remains were stored at the National Museum of archaeology, anthropology and history of Peru in Lima. Researchers have predatorial bones, re-measured the skulls and extracted DNA.

New analyses showed that the history Lauricocha more complicated than previously thought. Two skeletons, two women and a child, dated to approximately nine millennia ago. The third skeleton belonged to a man, for 2.5 thousand years “younger” than their “neighbors”. Another man died Lauricocha 2.3 thousand years later, his “predecessor”. The remains of a fifth person to date has failed because of poor preservation. Only women’s skull had elongated, narrow shape.

To test whether the ancient inhabitants Lauricocha representatives of the same migratory wave or not, a team of researchers extracted mitochondrial DNA, transmitted through the maternal line. It turned out that all five people back to the same maternal line, common to modern and ancient indigenous inhabitants of North and South America. On the other hand, genetic material from the Y chromosome shows the paternal line of the ancient inhabitants of Lauricocha goes back to the people living in the Bering Strait area about 17 thousand years ago. It is now considered the most likely period when people settled in America. Thus, DNA analysis leads us to the conclusion that people from Lauricocha were descendants of the first people in America as a result of one wave of migration.

However, the conclusions of researchers do not support all their colleagues. One cannot make such a broad generalization based only out of a handful of remains found in the same burial, said Dillehay ( Tom Dillehay ), an archaeologist from Vanderbilt University (USA). He notes that a gap with a duration of five thousand years between the earliest Parking lot of Monte Verde and the remains of Lauricocha leaves the possibility of other waves of migration, earlier.

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