San Francisco, CA – A new discovery of ancient DNA may overturn the idea that the Native Americans were the first to have populated the American continent. Instead, a new group known as the ancient Beringians, who are more closely related to modern white Europeans has been discovered by researchers. Genetic analysis of a baby girl who died at the end of the last ice age shows she belonged to this previously unknown ancient group of Beringians.
David Reich, a geneticist at Harvard University, said the work boosted the case for a single migration into Alaska and then onward to North and South America, but he did not rule out alternatives involving multiple waves of migration. He added that he was unconvinced that the ancient Beringian group split from the ancestors of other Native Americans 20,000 years ago, because even tiny errors in scientists’ data can lead to radically different split times for evolutionary lineages.
“While the 19,000-21,000 year date would have important implications if true and may very well be right, I am not convinced that there is compelling evidence that the initial split date is that old.”
“It’s entirely possible that they were ancient Europeans through and through.”