Mal’ta Boy Controversial Link between Europeans and Native Americans

Mal’ta Boy| Russia | Siberia | 33,000-21,000 BCE (ICE AGE)

Malta-Boy-dna-testThe individual in this sample caused a furor when ancient DNA analysis confirmed he was equally related to Europeans and Native Americans but not close at all to East Asians or modern-day inhabitants of Mongolia and Siberia. The Mal’ta site lies near Lake Baikal in the Eastern Siberian part of present-day Russia. It had been studied over a long period beginning in the 1920s. Mal’ta Boy’s remains were originally labeled MA-1 and stored together with others in St. Petersburg museums. In the 2000s, Eske Willerslev’s team was able to recover genetic material, but they thought the European haplogroups they observed (U and R rather than A, B, C, D or X) indicated contamination from excessive handling by museum and laboratory personnel. Only later, after noticing similar lineages in a nearby burial did they return to their task and publish it. At that point, headlines around the world announced, America’s Natives Have European Roots.

Mal’ta Boy’s remains were carbon dated to between 22,570 and 22,140 years old, placing them in a transitional period between the Middle and Late Upper Paleolithic. A cross-section of an upper arm bone was used to recover his genomic sequences. He was about 3-4 years old and had brown eyes, dark hair and freckled skin. He was buried wearing an ivory crown and bead necklace with a bird-shaped carved pendant.

Mal’ta Boy’s community lived in family units in half-underground houses constructed of animal bones, antlers and skins to protect them from the harsh Siberian climate.

Genetic analysis of Mal’ta Boy and his culture has contributed to a long debate about the origins of Native North Americans. It was found that these Ice Age Siberians had deep ancestry that connected them to Western Eurasians, while they were also ancestors of Native North Americans. More surprisingly, the Mal’ta people appeared to have no direct ancestry connecting them to present-day East Asians. That was unexpected, as it has long been assumed that Native North Americans were of direct East Asian descent. Mal’ta Boy’s Y chromosome haplogroup R is a very ancient lineage thought to have arisen in Southeast Asia during the Paleolithic. It is widespread throughout the world today. His mitochondrial lineage was part of the U haplogroup common worldwide today and also thought to be of very ancient origin.


More Information on Importance of Mal’ta Boy

A Question Mark Looms Over Origin of American Indians

Basic American Indian DNA Test Explodes Old, Tired Theories


You may be interested in these present-day populations available in the DNA Fingerprint Plus:

North American – Native Americans (n=533)

Russia – Evenk (n=14)

Russia – Buryat Mongols (n=78)

Russia – Chukchi (n=15) Italian (n=1,541)

Finland (n = 230)

You may be interested in the following potential matches from the Rare Genes from History test:

Lake Baikal Gene

The Amerind Gene

The Shaman Gene

Rare Genes from History



  Comments: 19

  1. Thank you for always keeping us on the cutting edge, Dr. Yates!

  2. How is this controversial, it’s a known fact that Native Americans descend from the Ancient North Eurasians that Malta-1 Child belonged to. This was 30,000 ybp, it is also known that Europeans descend from Ancient North Eurasians from Siberia also, but from a more recent time period of around 4,500 ybp, in the late Bronze Age. This is the only link between the two population, and NAs and European have no direct link directly from each other.

    • To me it’s not really controversial, though no one has decided how the gene flow occurred and whether it came over the Bering Strait/Land Bridge or by water across the Atlantic from Scandinavia perhaps. Or was it circumpolar?

      • Lol… the Mal’ta boy did in fact have some East Eurasian admixture. This article makes it sound like the ANE were some “pure European”/Viking type. The ANE themselves were mixed race. So this also means that west eurasians have East Eurasian admixture. But I bet the white supremacists and regular storefront goers won’t want to hear that.

        • You’re right. All populations are mixed, especially ancient ones, which were very mobile and subject to a lot of traumas and transformations. The Mal’ta Buret Culture (24000 to 15000 BCE) seems to have bifurcated and expanded mostly west and north; it seems also to have been part of a circumpolar movement of peoples at one point. It accounts for why Indians like the Creek, Cherokee, Lumbee and Shawnee get high matches to Finland and Estonia and people of pure Baltic background match Huichols, Cherokee, Maya and others. Remember Mal’ta Boy had haplogroups R and U, otherwise recognized as European. My top matches are Finland, Cherokee Tribal and Highlands Scottish.

          • Haplogroup R is Mongolian, not European. It originated in central asia and derived from P which is south east asian.

        • Haplogroup R is East Eurasian, It originated from P(southeast asia) Haplogroups are classified racially by their geographical location. Further more Central Asia would be Mongoliod territory, not West Eurasian.

        • No Malta boy was proven NOT to have ANY East Asian DNA. Where did you see that he did? Western Asian in the research paper defined it as Anatolian Greek and he also had Western European DNA. Not necessarily Nordic but not East Asian either. Most of Northern Europe was covered in ICE lol therefore not livable. Mostly White Supremacists like to tout that the Viking got to the Americas first ahead of “the Catholics” or “the Latins” and point to the questionable theory that they settled Nova Scotia. This isn’t really on their radar. Malta boy’s ancestors were also the ancestors of Native Americans meaning they established themselves in the Americas FIRST then the East Asians came later and intermixed with SOME Native Americans not all as was previously thought. Malta boy’s haplogroup Identify is DNA markers as European not East Asian.

      • It’s disturbing to see that comment on a genetics board. The DNA is crystal clear that all Native American migrations originated in Asia. There were only two routes of migration: 1. across the Aleutians by boat, and 2. around the rim of the Arctic Ocean by boat (later migrations). This question has long been settled. There were no early Atlantic crossings.

        • This view is far from unanimous. A lot hinges on Clovis points, which appear in North America fully realized and are more perfect the farther east you go. A classic work is Across Atlantic Ice: The Origin of America’s Clovis Culture (2013) First Edition by Dennis J. Stanford and Bruce A. Bradley, Michael Collins (Foreword). For a later period, there’s also Farley Mowat’s The Farfarers. Almost no American Indian origin story mentions an Asian homeland. Most origins are sea-borne (Hopi, Aztec, Maya etc.) but do not go through Alaska. Some specifically speak of coming from where the sun rises (across the Atlantic).

        • Research comparing thousands of “basic” words like mother, father, sister, tree, knife, cloud, blue, water, meat… etc from languages all around the world, have shown how languages have spread and evolved over the earth. Interestingly, this research have found two languages related to each other that means that humans along the ice rim had contact and migrated. What languages…? Well one is the Basque language spoken by the Basque people in northern Spain along the Atlantic ocean. The other group wit closest language are inuits living in northern Canada. The theory (last I read about this) is that people living along the ice rim that during the last ice age was stretching between Europe and Americas travelled extensively in their hunt for seals and other large mammals.

          • Very astute. Another example is the Yenisean group of languages, of which there are only several thousand speakers left in Central Siberia. Once widespread, Yenisean has been postulated to be one of the oldest linguistic substrates detectable in place-names in Britain, for instance, Thames and Cam (bridge) and related to the Na-Dene group of American languages that includes Navajo. Nahuatl (spoken by Aztecan peoples) has many Indo-European or proto-Indo-European cognates, like teo- meaning god (compare Latin deus, Spanish dio, Greek theo-)

  3. This is very confused. First the post suggests that R was his mitochondrial haplogroup, which it wasn’t. It’s Y-chomosome. Then it says that R haplogroup originated in southeast Asia, which is totally wrong — R is nearly absent in southeast Asia. Y-chromosome R originated in or near the Caspian Basin as R1b is found concentrated southeast of the Caspian and R1a originated northwest of the Caspian where it remains concentrated.

    • Sorry we should have made it clear that Mal’ta Boy was Y chromosomal haplogroup basal R*, the only instance of it so far, and that Haplogroup P1 (P-M45), the immediate ancestor of Haplogroup R, likely emerged in Southeast Asia, though there are several competing theories. The usual Native American Y chromosome haplogroup is Q, not R.

      • Haplogroup paternal R is mongoloid/ East Eurasian. It derived from P1(south east asia) which is east eurasian. Central asia was originally occupied by an East Eurasian female approximate 30,000-35,000 years before present. Maternal C to be precise which derived from M8 in East Asia. This female lineage predates the arrival of the Tocharians , Scythians ,etc in central asia. Central asia is originally mongoloid / east eurasian region. Malta boy looks mongoloid in the pic, most likely from R haplogroup.

      • All white people that have R haplogroup are carry mongolian male lineage. Deny it all you want.

  4. Haplogroup R is East Eurasian. Saying because “it’s almost absent in Southeast asia, is similar to saying because Amerindians are almost absent in North America, therefore white europeans originate there. You are reasoning like a 10 year old. Haplogroup R derived from P from South East Asia which is East Eurasian or Mongoloid. Further more clearly as depicted by the pic Malta boy was part mongoloid by his phenotype, most likely influenced by R. R and Q are mongoloid/ east eurasian. Haplogroups J,I ,H, G are conventionaly Caucasian. J is rarely in Europe, does that make it not Caicasian? Cleary it doesn’t.

    •  In human genetics, Haplogroup R is a Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup, a subgroup of haplogroup P, associated with the M207 mutation. It is believed to have occurred somewhere in Northwest Asia between 30,000 and 35,000 years ago. However, most of the rare forms of Haplogroup R chromosomes, as well as most cases of the closely related Haplogroup Q, are found among populations of Central Asia, South Asia, Australia, Siberia, Native Americans, Egypt and Cameroon.

      The majority of members of haplogroup R belong to the Haplogroup R1, defined by marker M173. R1 is very common throughout Europe and western Eurasia. Its distribution is believed to be associated with the re-settlement of Eurasia following the last glacial maximum. Its main subgroups are R1a (SRY1532) and R1b (M343).

      One isolated clade (or clades) of Y chromosomes that appear to belong to Haplogroup R1* (M173-derived) is found at high frequency among the native populations of northern Cameroon in west-central Africa, which is believed to reflect a prehistoric back-migration of an ancient proto-Eurasian population into Africa; some researchers have reported having also detected Haplogroup K2 Y-chromosomes at a low frequency among some of these Cameroonian populations, which also suggests a Eurasian affinity.[1] Some Y-chromosomes that appear to be closely related to the northern Cameroonian R1b1* are found at a substantial frequency among the modern population of Egypt. Many modern populations of northern Cameroon speak Chadic languages, which are classified as an ancient branch of the Afro-Asiatic superfamily of languages; the now extinct language of the Ancient Egyptians also belonged to the same superfamily.

      Individuals whose Y-chromosomes possess all the mutations on internal nodes of the Y-DNA tree down to and including M207 (which defines Haplogroup R) but which display neither the M173 mutation that defines Haplogroup R1 nor the M124 mutation that defines Haplogroup R2 are categorised as belonging to group R*. Some instances of Haplogroup R* have been reported from samples of Australian aboriginal populations

      • According to P. Hallast’s article, most non- african paternal lineages originated in Southeast/ east asia. According to her published article, compelling evidence has suggested thar haplogroup C,D and F-t lineages originated from east/southeast asia. Check out her article and respond please…I would like to her your thoughts about her work.

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