Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ancient American DNA

Major archaeology news!  A team of researchers have sequenced DNA from a young boy from the Clovis era (~12,000 years ago).  The major result: genetically, most contemporary American Indians are directly related to the Clovis people.

Ancient DNA Ties Native Americans from Two Continents to Clovis (Richard Harris, NPR, 13 February 2014)

Here is a link to the original article: The genome of a Late Pleistocene human from a Clovis burial site in western Montana (Rasmussen et al. 2014) 

The remains, which were found on private land, were not subject to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).  The researchers have consulted with local tribes in Montana, though, and a reburial is planned for later this spring.

Ancient Genome Stirs Ethics Debate (Ewen Calloway, Nature, 12 February 2014)

To learn more about the Clovis culture, check out the Center for the Studies of the First Americans at Texas A&M and the Wikipedia article.

Clovis point (In the workplace) Example of a Clovis fluted blade that is 11,000 years old Image courtesy of the Virginia Dept. of Historic Resources.