Science

DNA reveals ancient Siberians who set the stage for the first Americans

Northeastern Siberia hosted migrations of three consecutive ancient populations that created a genetic framework for Siberians and Native Americans today, scientists say.

While each incoming population largely replaced people already living there, mating between newcomers and old-timers also occurred, conclude evolutionary geneticist Martin Sikora of the University of Copenhagen and colleagues. These findings provide a closer look at how complex interactions among different groups of people in Asia led to the colonization of North America.

Sikoras group analyzed DNA extracted from the remains of 34 people buried in northeastern Siberia, northern East Asia and southwestern Finland between about 31,600 and 600 years ago. Comparisons were made with DNA previously obtained from ancient and modern individuals across Eurasia and North America.

Teeth from two children unearthed at Russias 31,600-year-old Yana Rhinoceros Horn site yielded DNA representing a previously unknown population that the team calls Ancient North Siberians. Those people migrated from western Eurasia to Siberia around 38,000 years ago, quickly adapting to the regions especially frigid Ice Age conditions, the team reports online June 5 in Nature.

Some Ancient North Siberians journeyed onto the Bering land bridge that connected Asia to North America around 30,000 years ago. Mating with East Asians who had also moved to the land bridge produced a genetically distinct population, dubbed Ancient Palaeo-Siberians by the researchers. As the climate became milder after 20,000 years ago, some of the AnciRead More – Source
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