First Americans' Arrival and Spread Pinpointed by Genome Analysis
A recent study, which will be reported in the July 24th issue of Science, confirms the most popular theory of the habitation of the Americas; that the original Americans arrived from Siberia in a single wave during the height of the last ice age, no later than 23,000 years ago. This population separated into two distinct groups and settled in North and South America.
The study disproves another theory that an earlier, multiple migrations formed the present subgroups of Native Americans. This large wave is distinct from the smaller wave of Inuit and Eskimo groups who arrived 5,500 years ago and settled in the Arctic. The genome analysis also undermines the theory that the First Americans had Polynesian or European heritage.
The data collected comprised of 31 sequenced genomes of living Native Americans, Siberians, and people from the Pacific Ocean region, and 23 genomes from ancient remains of people who lived 200-6,000 years ago in North and South America.
Northern and Southern populations became distinct somewhere from 11,500 to 14,500 years ago. Interestingly enough, both Native American populations had genes from East Asians, Paupans, Solomon Islanders, and Southeast Asian hunter-gatherers implying that there was not total isolation after their initial arrival.
The statistical methods devised for the purpose of this study have been made available to lend insight into complex genetic histories of other regions and groups.
Source: Phys.org h/t to Matthijs le Loux for sending me the article.