In an article in this week’s Science magazine (246/6213:1113-18), the origin of American Indians is linked to that of archaic Europeans rather than Asians. The title of the article is “Genomic Structure in Europeans Dating Back at Least 36,200 Years,” and the lead author is Andaine Sequin-Orlando, with Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen as the corresponding author. The team sequenced the DNA from one of the oldest fossils of anatomically modern humans from Europe and found “that Kostenki 14 (the name of the fossil) shares a close ancestry with the 24,000-year-old Mal’ta boy from central Siberia, European Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, some contemporary western Siberians, and many Europeans, but not eastern Asians.”
“Our findings,” the authors went on to say, “reveal the timing of divergence of western Eurasians and East Asians to be more than 36,200 years ago and that European genomic structure today dates back to the Upper Paleolithic and derives from a metapopulation that at times stretched from Europe to Central Asia.”
The study also showed that the the Kostenki and Mal’ta genomes contained more Neanderthal DNA than modern Europeans and shared roots with the Middle Eastern population that would much later become European Neolithic farmers.
It would seem that the simplistic “Peopling of the Americas” theory taught in American schools has encountered a surprising death blow from Russia.
Native Americans Have Deep Ancestry in Europe: Yes, It’s Official (blog post)
Ancient DNA shows earliest European genomes weathered the ice age, and shines new light on Neanderthal interbreeding and a mystery human lineage (research news from University of Cambridge)