News / Science & Technology

24,000 Year-old Skeleton Reveals Clues about Native American Origins

24,000-year-old remains of the Mal'ta Boy (State Hermitage Museum in Russia)
24,000-year-old remains of the Mal'ta Boy (State Hermitage Museum in Russia)

Related Articles

Herpes Virus Follows Human Migration Patterns

Genetic sequencing of the HSV-1 virus confirms the 'out-of-Africa' theory of human migration

Video Native American Campaign Keeps Redskins Name Controversy Alive

American Indian communities have called on US football team to change its name, which they say is based on a racial slur
VOA News
Results from DNA testing of a 24,000 year-old skeleton of a young boy reinforces the theory that the first Americans came from Siberia.

The testing showed that nearly 30 percent of modern Native Americans’ ancestry comes from the so-called Mal’ta child’s gene pool. The remains were discovered in the late 1920s near the village of Mal’ta in south central Siberia.

“Our study proves that Native Americans ancestors migrated to the Americas from Siberia and not directly from Europe as some have recently suggested,” said Kelly Graf, assistant professor in the Center for the Study of First Americans and Department of Anthropology at Texas A&M, who was part of an international team studying the skeleton.

Graf noted that the Mal’ta child, whose skeleton is at the Hermitage Museum in Russia, had close genetic ties to today’s Native Americans and some western Eurasians, specifically some groups living in central Asia, South Asia, and Europe.

“Also, he shared close genetic ties with other Ice-Age western Eurasians living in European Russia, Czech Republic and even Germany,” she said.  “We think these Ice-Age people were quite mobile and capable of maintaining a far-reaching gene pool that extended from central Siberia all the way west to central Europe.”

This, Graf said, could explain why some early Native American skeletons such as Kennewick Man were interpreted to have some European traits, an interpretation that led some to believe Native Americans may have come from Europe instead.

The DNA work performed on the boy is the oldest complete genome of a human sequenced so far, the study shows.  Also found near the boy’s remains were flint tools, a beaded necklace and what appears to be pendant-like items, all apparently placed in the burial as grave goods.

The discovery raises new questions about the timing of human entry in Alaska and ultimately North America, a topic hotly debated in First Americans studies.

“Though our results cannot speak directly to this debate, they do indicate Native American ancestors could have been in Beringia—extreme northeastern Russia and Alaska—any time after 24,000 years ago and therefore could have colonized Alaska and the Americas much earlier than 14,500 years ago, the age suggested by the archaeological record.”

The study was published in the current issue of Nature magazine.

Here's a short video about the study:

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Shinoda Marikoh from: TKO
November 22, 2013 6:48 PM
The Earth was born 4.5 billion years ago, I think.
And human kind of animals appeared on the earth about 500,000 years asgo, it depends on the definition of human.

by: W8 WUT
November 21, 2013 3:37 PM
I thought the earth was 6,000 years old!? This is blasphemous
In Response

by: Lolzzz
November 23, 2013 1:59 PM
Oh well, I guess you're wrong.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs