Friday, March 14, 2008

Native Americans arrival dated earlier

“Clovis-only” theory of Indians gets death blow

A new review in Science strongly confirms that the first “Native Americans” got to the New World at least 16,000 years ago. It would seem that nobody but old-school crabbed anthropologists could still defend the Clovis theory
A new review published in the research journal Science contends that that the first Americans had their roots in southern Siberia, ventured across the Bering land bridge probably around 22,000 years ago, and migrated down into the Americas as early as 16,000 years ago.

In the paper, Ted Goebel of Texas A&M University and colleagues argue that the latter date is when an ice-free corridor in Canada opened and enabled the migration.

The new account is bolstered by genetic evidence and the discovery of new archaeological sites and more accurate dates for old sites, according to the researchers.

Genetic evidence, they wrote, points to a founding population of less than 5,000 people at the beginning of the second migration in Canada.

Moreover, they added, archaeological evidence suggests the Clovis culture may have been relative latecomers to the Americas or descendants of earlier Paleo-Indian populations represented at archaeological sites such as Monte Verde in Chile. That site is thought to have been occupied 14,600 years ago.

This squares with my belief that a multiple-migrations theory of population of the Americas is more likely than a one-movement theory, with the likely exception of Inuit/Aleut, and perhaps Na-Dene. Along with that, this would seem to favor “splitters” rather than “lumpers” among linguists.

Anybody who has looked carefully at the phenotypic variety among Native Americans, trying to focus on those with little admixture from Caucasian or African backgrounds, and the phenotypic variety among east Asians, probably has an instinctual leaning toward multiple migrations, too, IMO.

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