Ancient Skeleton Genome Sequencing Proves Native Americans are of Asian Descent [VIDEO]

First Posted: Feb 13, 2014 06:54 AM EST

The first whole genome sequencing of an ancient Montana boy reveals that first human settlers in North America were of Asian descent and not of Western Europe Origin.

After conducting a whole genome sequencing of an Ice Age skeleton of a one-year-old Clovis boy, scientists at Texas A&M University say they are confident that they have successfully traced the genetic ancestry of Native Americans. This finding offers new evidence that the American Indians are direct descendants of ancient Clovis people. This also supports a long- held theory that the first human settlers entered the New World by traversing through the bridge across the Bering Strait from Siberia.

This study was led by Michael Waters, director of the Center for the Study of First Americans at Texas A&M.

In the year 1968, the skeletal remains of a little boy were recovered by construction workers on a private property near a rock cliff in Central Montana. The site belonged to the Anzick family. The one-year-old infant  was named Anzick-1. His skeletal remains were found along with over 100 burial artifacts such as spear points and antler tools. The boy was identified as a member of the ancient Clovis people that lived between 13,000-12,600 years ago. The body of the boy as well as the artifacts were wrapped in red ochre. This mineral was mostly used during prehistoric times in burials. The Anzick site from where the body was retrieved is the only Clovis-era burial site discovered till date.

According to Reuters, this new finding shows that the boy was a part of a group that was the direct ancestor of 80 percent of the Native American tribes' existing today. The Montanan boy is the missing link between the first human settlers and the tribes living today.

"We hope that this study leads to more cooperation between Native Americans and scientists. This is just one human genome. We need to know the genetic story of modern Native peoples and derive more genetic data from ancient remains to fully understand the origins and movements of the First Americans and their descendants," Waters adds.

The DNA of the ancient Anzick boy was compared with DNA samples of 43 modern non-African populations that consisted of 43 South American, Central American and Canadian tribes. Analysis proved that the infant was closely related to the modern tribes of South and Central America.

"The genetic information provided by the Anzick boy is also part of the larger story of modern humans. We know that modern humans originated in Africa and then around 50,000 years ago spread rapidly over Europe and Asia. The last continent explored and settled by modern humans were the Americas. In essence, the Anzick boy tells us about the epic journey of our species," he adds.

Clovis people are not the first inhabitants of America and they originated south of the large Ice sheets that covered Canada in the past. They invented the Clovis point, a spear shaped weapon, and are the direct descendants of the earliest people who came to the New World.

The finding was published in the Nature Magazine.


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