Rare Bones and DNA of tiny children surprise scientists, support ideas about migration into the Americas 11,000 years ago
It’s now probable that the B2 lineage came across the land bridge, and the remaining ancestral populations in Siberia died out.
It’s not known how the children died, or how the two children from different mothers came to be buried together. Perhaps they had the same father, or maybe two or more different families lost children at the same time, researchers speculate.
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Co-author of the study, Dr. Dennis O’Rourke of the University of Utah pointed out the fact that the two children had died and were buried at the same time in a settlement that did not seemingly share genetic makeup is consistent with the idea that the prehistoric people were prevented from moving deeper into the Americans for many thousands of years. Rourke, who analyzed the DNA, also noted the genetics may only be representative of the remnants of the original Beringian group.
Life and Death at Prehistoric Settlement
Ceremonially buried under a circular hearth in an early hut, the pair had been laid to rest on top of a bed of red ocher (sandy clay mineral prehistorically used as pigments), and with animal-bone hunting darts.
The Upward Sun River site was discovered in 2010. University of Alaska Fairbanks anthropologist Ben Potter and his team discovered the charred remains of a cremated three year old child, but DNA could not be recovered. In 2013 the two infant skeletons were found under the burial of the three year old.
Digs at the site revealed that people fished salmon and hunted hares, and built structures housing fires and sleeping quarters between 13,200 and 8,000 years ago, reports The New York Times.
The Lithic peoples or Paleo-Indians are the earliest known settlers of the Americas. ( Public Domain )
These rare finds bring many revelations into the routes and time frames in which prehistoric people might have colonized the Americas, resolving long held mysteries.
Featured Image: The tiny remains were found at the ancient Upward Sun River site in Alaska, USA. Credit: Ben A. Potter/University of Alaska Fairbanks
By: Liz Leafloor