Skulls show New World was settled twice: study

Jun 14, 2010
Representation of the geographic dispersion models tested for the occupation of the Americas. (see scientific paper for details).

Two distinct groups from Asia settled in the New World and not one single migration as suggested by previous genetic studies, experts said Monday after comparing the skulls of early Americans.

Paleoanthropologists from Brazil, Chile and Germany compared the skulls of several dozen Paleoamericans, dating back to the early days of migration 11,000 years ago, with the more recent remains of more than 300 Amerindians.

"We found that the differences between Early and Late Native American groups match the predictions of a two-migration scenario far better than they do those of any other hypothesis," they said.

"In other words, these differences are so large that it is highly improbable that the earliest inhabitants of the New World were the direct ancestors of recent Native American populations."

Their landmark research found differences in the cranial morphology that could only be explained by the fact that the last of the Early and Late Native American groups came from outside the continent.

The experts agreed the differences were best explained by a scenario in which a first wave of settlers came across the Bering Strait from Northeast Asia followed by a second group from East Asia much later via the same route.

"We conclude that the morphological diversity documented through time in the New World is best accounted for by a model postulating two waves of human expansion into the continent originating in East Asia and entering through Beringia," they said.

"This disparity between our results and those of most points to a large gap in our understanding of the peopling of the New World."

Explore further: Ancient clay seals may shed light on biblical era

More information: PloS ONE paper: www.plosone.org/article/info:d… journal.pone.0011105

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sao Paulo scientists study skulls

Dec 14, 2005

A Brazilian study involving a large collection of South American skulls suggests at least two distinct groups of early humans colonized the Americas.

Recommended for you

Ancient clay seals may shed light on biblical era

4 hours ago

Impressions from ancient clay seals found at a small site in Israel east of Gaza are signs of government in an area thought to be entirely rural during the 10th century B.C., says Mississippi State University archaeologist ...

Digging up the 'Spanish Vikings'

Dec 19, 2014

The fearsome reputation of the Vikings has made them the subject of countless exhibitions, books and films - however, surprisingly little is known about their more southerly exploits in Spain.

Short-necked Triassic marine reptile discovered in China

Dec 17, 2014

A new species of short-necked marine reptile from the Triassic period has been discovered in China, according to a study published December 17, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xiao-hong Chen f ...

Gothic cathedrals blend iron and stone

Dec 17, 2014

Using radiocarbon dating on metal found in Gothic cathedrals, an interdisciplinary team has shown, for the first time through absolute dating, that iron was used to reinforce stone from the construction phase. ...

User comments : 10

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Caliban
2.6 / 5 (5) Jun 14, 2010
Yes, and there was very likely also an admixture of european peoples along the atlantic coast seaway(and probably even further south) during the last ice age, as well.

Unfortunately, the collapse of native populations in the new world with the arrival of modern europeans due to(principally) the ravages of disease, has left very little available to us by way of intact DNA in amounts statistically significant to properly map distribution of haplotypes, et c in those populations.

Since there are very few people-especially in N. America- of pure Amerind stock we will never have more than at best a very limited and incomplete picture of the genetic composition of the New World's population, and therefor its ultimate origins.
deatopmg
2 / 5 (2) Jun 14, 2010
And what of the ca 9500 yr old Kenwick skeletons that are clearly occidental?? Were these occidentals from the orient (Ainu or similar occidentals on Taiwan) or Europe??
SumGuy
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 15, 2010
Just don't tell native american/canadian indians that they are descended from asia. They believe in a mystical ancestry completely separate from human evolution. The idea that they too came to north america just like others from europe did centuries later rubs them the wrong way.
SumGuy
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 15, 2010

Unfortunately, the collapse of native populations in the new world with the arrival of modern europeans due to(principally) the ravages of disease, has left very little available to us by way of intact DNA in amounts statistically significant to properly map distribution of haplotypes, et c in those populations.

It doesn't help that so-called "native" amerindians thwart all attempts for science to study their old bones and DNA to help establish their true historical past, because it erodes their popular mythology that some mystical creator brought them into existance directly onto the north american continent.

LuckyBrandon
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 15, 2010
sumguy--actually a lot of native religions have a similar story to the bible...for instance the blackfeet tribe (whom have a reservation in montana THROUGH british columbia) says napi (old man) made man from the mud of the river if I remember right (its been many many years since my grandmother told me the story). And another story on how death came into existence being the choice of a mother whose child was hurt and death resulted because she believed a stone would float in the river....
in other words, native beliefs are, for the most part, no different than the many many other religions in the world.
But, these are ancient beliefs...don't apply ancient beliefs to today's day and age.

also, it is NOT a matter of keeping some ancient belief...its a matter of respect. There was a day (not long ago) where all bodies were burned 6 feet above the ground on a platform so the spirit had less distance to travel, so to speak, so the bodies you are talking about were burned long long ago
fmfbrestel
3 / 5 (2) Jun 15, 2010
im pretty sure "we" have taken enough from them to leave their ancestors properly resting in the ground. Some curious white men have been taking from them for the last 400 years.
LRW
not rated yet Jun 15, 2010
The earliest immigrants to the Americas left the now submerged Sundaland during the same epoch that populated Australia.
We are talking more than 40,000 years ago---the 15000 year old Clovis migration was a bunch of Johny-Come-Latelys.
LRW
not rated yet Jun 15, 2010
See Schoch book "Voyages of the Pyramid Builders". Sundaland is the source of the earliest population of America---contemporary withthe populating of Australia--40,000 years ago. Clovis was like yesterday.
The evidence is in caves in South America.
Shootist
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 20, 2010
The earliest immigrants to the Americas left the now submerged Sundaland during the same epoch that populated Australia.
We are talking more than 40,000 years ago---the 15000 year old Clovis migration was a bunch of Johny-Come-Latelys.


Louis Leakey, the old man, not the son Richard, believe humans arrived in the New World much earlier than commonly supposed.

I don't think Clovis was a migration, just a common point technology.
croghan27
not rated yet Jun 21, 2010
im pretty sure "we" have taken enough from them to leave their ancestors properly resting in the ground. Some curious white men have been taking from them for the last 400 years.


Good point fmf - I have often wonder how the Egyptians feel about the messing about with the bones of their pharaohs.

Does the fact that they are seen by some as artifacts negate the fact that they were people too?

Certainly arrogance on the part of investigators must play a part in the Amerindian reluctance to allow mucking about with their ancestors.

Occasionally you see a story of how some European great light, saint or otherwise, is reverentially moved to another burial site - is the same respect accorded to 'the lesser races'?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.