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DNA, land bridge, Beringia, Ice Age, Americas, genetics, South America, humans, Paleoamerican, Naia, Luzia, skeletons, archaeology

Did Paleoamericans Reach South America First?

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In “ Textbook Story of How Humans Populated America is Biologically Unviable, Study Finds , recently published in Ancient Origins, it was noted that DNA studies indicate that people could not have crossed the Beringia land bridge to enter the Americas 13,000 years ago because the “entry route was biologically unviable”. Although this finding by geneticists is surprising, it adds even more mystery to the archaeological evidence that anatomically modern humans were in South America tens of thousands of years before Ice Age people could have crossed a viable land bridge between Alaska and Siberia.

Bering land bridge.

Bering land bridge. ( Public Domain )

The earliest dates for habitation of the American continent to occur below Canada in South America are highly suggestive that the earliest settlers on the American continents came from Africa before the Ice melted at the Bering Strait and moved northward as the ice melted. An African origin for these people is a good fit because Ocean Currents would have carried migrants from Africa to the Americas, since there were no Ice Age sheets of ice to block passage across the southern Atlantic.

Important Archeological Sites

Dr. Bryan, in Natural History has noted many sites where PaleoAmericans have left us evidence of human habitation, including the pebble tools at Monte Verde in Chile (c.32,000 Before Present), rock paintings at Pedra Furada in Brazil (c.22,000 BP), and mastodon hunting in Venezuela and Colombia (c.13,000 BP). These discoveries have led some researchers to believe that the Americas were first settled from South America.

The main evidence from the ancient Americans are prehistoric tools and rock art, like those found by Dr. Nieda Guidon. Today archaeologists have found sites of human occupation from Canada to Chile that range between 20,000 and 100,000 years old. Guidon, in numerous articles claims that Africans were in Brazil between 65,000-100,000 years ago. Guidon also claims that man was at the Brazilian sites 65,000 years ago. She told the New York Times that her dating of human populations in Brazil 100,000 years ago was based on the presence of ancient fire and tools of human craftsmanship at habitation sites.

Martin and R. G. Klein, after discussing the evidence of mastodon hunting in Venezuela 13,000 years ago, observed that: "The thought that the fossil record of South America is much richer in evidence of early archaeological associations than many believed is indeed provocative.... Have the earliest hunters been overlooked in North America? “

Warwick Bray has pointed out that there are numerous sites in North and South America which are over 35,000 years old.  A.L. Bryan noted that these sites include, the Old Crow Basin (c.38,000 BC) in Canada; Orogrande Cave (c.36,000 BC) in the United States; and Pedra Furada (c.45,000 BC) in Brazil.

Stone arch at Pedra Furada, Brazil.

Stone arch at Pedra Furada, Brazil. ( Public Domain )

Using craniometric quantitative analysis and multivariate methods, Dr. Neves determined that Paleo Americans were either Australian, African or Melanesians. The research of Neves indicated that the ancient Americans represent two populations, PaleoAmericans who were phenotypically African, Australian or Melanesian and an Asiatic population that appears to have arrived in the Americas after 6000 BC. 

Melanesian Blond girl from Vanuatu.

Melanesian Blond girl from Vanuatu. ( CC BY-SA 2.0 )

Archaeologist have reconstructed the faces of ancient Americans from Brazil and Mexico. These faces are based on the skeletal remains dating back to 12,000BC. The PaleoAmericans resemble the first Europeans.

PaleoAmericans and First European

PaleoAmericans and First European

Researchers working on the prehistoric cultures of these ancient people note that they resemble the Black Variety of humanity, instead of contemporary Native Americans. The Black Variety include the Blacks of Africa, Australia, and the South Pacific.

Dr. Chatters, who found Naia's skeleton, told Smithsonian Magazine that: “The small number of early American specimens discovered so far have smaller and shorter faces and longer and narrower skulls than later Native Americans, more closely resembling the modern people of Africa, Australia, and the South Pacific. "This has led to speculation that perhaps the first Americans and Native Americans came from different homelands," Chatters continues, "or migrated from Asia at different stages in their evolution."

A cast of Luzia's skull at the National Museum of Natural History.

A cast of Luzia's skull at the National Museum of Natural History. (CC BY-SA 2.0 )

Although Dr. Chatters believes the PaleoAmericans came from Asia, this seems unlikely, because of the Ice sheet that blocked migration from Asia into the Americas. C. Vance Haynes noted that: "If people have been in South America for over 30,000 years, or even 20,000 years, why are there so few sites? [....]One possible answer is that they were so few in number; another is that South America was somehow initially populated from directions other than north until Clovis appeared".

The fact that the Beringia land bridge was unviable 15,000 years ago make it unlikely that during the Ice Age man would have been able to walk or to sail from Asia to South America at this time. As a result, these people were probably from Africa, as suggested by Dr. Guidon.

Prehistoric Sea Travel

In summary, the land bridge between Siberia and Alaska was unviable before 13,000 BC. Even though man could not enter the Americas until after 14,000 years ago, man was probably in South America as early 100,000 years ago, according to Dr. Guidon’s research in Brazil.

The first people in the Americas are called PaleoAmericans. The research of Chatters and Neves indicate that the PaleoAmericans were not Asiatic. These researchers claim the PaleoAmericans, “more closely resembl[ed] the modern people of Africa, Australia, and the South Pacific.”

The first Americans probably came to the Americas by sea, due to the unviable land route to the Americas before 13,000 BC. As a result, we must agree with Guidon that man probably traveled from Africa to settle prehistoric America.

The archaeological evidence indicates that PaleoAmericans settled South America before North America, and that these Americans did not belong to the Clovis culture. Africa is the most likely origin of the PaleoAmericans, because the Ice sheet along the Pacific shoreline of North America, Siberia and Alaska, would have made the sea route from Asia or Europe unviable 65,000 years ago. The Dufuna boat dating back to 8,000 BC, shows that Africans had boats at this early date. The culture associated with the Dufuna boat dates back to 20,000 years ago.

Dugout canoes hewn from wood at Lake Malawi, East African Rift system.

Dugout canoes hewn from wood at Lake Malawi, East African Rift system. ( CC BY-SA 2.0 )

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Top Image: Rock paintings at Pedra Furada, Brazil ( CC BY-SA 4.0 )

By Clyde Winters

References

Bray, Warwick. 1988. "The Paleoindian debate". Nature 332, (10 March), p.107.

Bryan, A. L. 1987. "Points of Order". Natural History , pp.7-11.

Guidon, N. and Delibrias, G. 1986. “Carbon-14 dates point to man in the Americas 32,000 years ago.” Nature 321:769-771.

Guidon, N., and B. Arnaud. 1991. “The chronology of the New World: Two faces of one reality.” World Arch. 23(2):167-178.

Guidon, N., et al.1996.  "Nature and Age of the Deposits in Pedra Furada, Brazil: Reply to Meltzer, Adovasio & Dillehay," Antiquity, 70:408.

Haynes,Jr., C.V. 1988. "Geofacts and Fanny". Natural History ,(February)pp.4-12.

Kumar, Mohi. 2014. DNA From 12,000-Year-Old Skeleton Helps Answer the Question: Who Were the First Americans? [Online] Retrieved  16 August 2016 at : http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/dna-12000-year-old-skeleton-helps-answer-question-who-were-first-americans-180951469/?no-ist

Martin, P. S. and R.G.Klein (eds.), Quarternary Extinctions: A Prehistoric Revolution , (Tucson:University of Arizona Press,1989) p.111.

Neves, W. A. and Pucciarelli, H. M. 1989. Extra-continental biological relationships of early South American human remains: a multivariate analysis. Cieˆncia e Cultura, 41: 566–75

Neves, W. A. and Pucciarelli, H. M. 1990. The origins of the first Americans: an analysis based onthe cranial morphology of early South American human remains. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 81: 247.

Neves, W. A. and Pucciarelli, H. M. 1991. Morphological affinities of the first Americans: an exploratory analysis based on early South American human remains. Journal of Human Evolution, 21: 261–73.

Neves, W. A. and Meyer, D. 1993. The contribution of the morphology of early South and Northamerican skeletal remains to the understanding of the peopling of the Americas. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 16 (Suppl): 150–1.

Neves, W. A., Powell, J. F., Prous, A. and Ozolins, E. G. 1998. Lapa Vermelha IV Hominid 1: morphologial affinities or the earliest known American. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 26(Suppl): 169.

Neves, W. A., Powell, J. F. and Ozolins, E. G. 1999a. Extra-continental morphological affinities of Palli Aike, southern Chile. Intercieˆncia, 24: 258–63.

Neves, W. A., Powell, J. F. and Ozolins, E. G. 1999b. Modern human origins as seen from the peripheries. Journal of Human Evolution, 37: 129–33.

Neves W.A . and Pucciarelli H.M. 1991. "Morphological Affinities of the First Americans: an exploratory analysis based on early South American human remains". Journal of Human Evolution 21:261-273. 

Neves W.A ., Powell J.F. and Ozolins E.G. 1999. "Extra-continental morphological affinities of Lapa Vermelha IV Hominid 1: A multivariate analysis with progressive numbers of variables. Homo 50:263-268

Neves W.A ., Powell J.F. and Ozolins E.G. 1999. "Extra-continental morphological affinities of Palli-Aike, Southern Chile". Interciencia 24:258-263. [Online] Available at:   http://www.interciencia.org/v24_04/neves.pdf 

Neves, W.A., Gonza´ lez-Jose´ , R., Hubbe, M., Kipnis, R., Araujo, A.G.M., Blasi, O., 2004. Early Holocene Human Skeletal Remains form Cerca Grande, Lagoa Santa, Central Brazil, and the origins of the first Americans. World Archaeology 36, 479-501

Neves, W. A., and M. Hubbe. 2005. Cranial morphology of early Americans from Lagoa Santa, Brazil: Implications for the settlement of the New World. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 102:18,309–18,314.

NYT (New York Times). (2015) Human’s First Appearance in the Americas  [Online] Available at:   http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/28/world/americas/discoveries-challenge-beliefs-on-humans-arrival-in-the-americas.html?hp&_r=4 

Powell,J.F. (2005). First Americans:Races, Evolution  and the Origin of Native Americans. Cambridge University Press.

Winters,C. (2013). African Empires in Ancient America. [Online] Available at:   https://www.amazon.com/African-Empires-Ancient-America-Winters/dp/0615796583

Winters,C. (2015). THE PALEOAMERICANS CAME FROM AFRICA, jirr. Vol. 3 (3) July-September, pp.71-83/Winter. [Online] Available at:   https://www.academia.edu/17137182/THE_PALEOAMERICANS_CAME_FROM_AFRICA

Comments

Sooo...I'm racist against myself? I do love it when someone loses an argument and resorts to an Ad Hominem attack. Had you read my replies carefully, you may have noted that I am a multiracial person with white, Native American AND African ancestry. You would also note that I said nothing would make me happier that an ancient African heritage for Native Americans. The problem here is not my "implicit racism" but rather, your confirmation bias. You are so invested in the idea of an African origin for Native Americans that you are welling to ignore a huge body of factual evidence that disproves your hypothesis. H have not ignored your archaeological or crainiometric evidence. Rather, I have dismissed it as it flies into the face of the well established genetic evidence. As I suggested earlier, you need to start broadening your horizons on this subject by reading different authors rather than selecting only those that reinforce your own preconceptions. Science starts with the facts and follows them where they lead. You choose to begin with a conclusion and cherry pick the data to back it up. Very Kent Hovend of you. And...just so you know, an Ad Honinem attack is generally a good sign that you've lost an argument.

Clyde Winters's picture

I don’t know if Willy is a troll. I think his views reflect implicit racism.Implicit racism, broadly defined, refers to an individual's utilization of unconscious biases when making judgments about people from different racial and ethnic groups. According to a number of observers, implicit racism is an automatic negative reaction to someone of a different race or ethnicity than one's own. Willy has ignored all the archaeological, crainiometric evidence discussed in this comments section ,simply because he can not believe Africans could have sailed to America, because He   personally feels Africans lack this ability due to the implicit racism He is directing at Black and African people.

I'm pretty sure that Willy is a Troll. I have seen such people in different forums many times.

Clyde Winters's picture

The DNA and proposal that Naia was Austronesian does not contradict this article. Controversy surrounds the identification of Naia’s  ancient DNA (aDNA). Prufer and Mayer (2015) believe that due to post mortem damage Naia’s DNA was contaminated and does not represent ancient DNA. See: Prufer K, and Meyer M.(2015). Comment on Late Pleistocene human skeletons and mtDNA link Paleoamericans and modern Native Americans. Science  Feb.20 :835.

Also, you have to remember that Dr. Chatters in the Smithsonian Magazine, noted that “The small number of early American specimens discovered so far have smaller and shorter faces and longer and narrower skulls than later Native Americans, more closely resembling the modern people of Africa, Australia, and the South Pacific. "This has led to speculation that perhaps the first Americans and Native Americans came from different homelands," Chatters continues, "or migrated from Asia at different stages in their evolution." The statement of Chatters makes it clear that Naia was” resembling the modern people of Africa, Australia, and the South Pacific” As you can see Naia was not identified positively as an Austronesian. she could have also been from Africa. See:   http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/dna-12000-year-old-skeleton-helps-answer-question-who-were-first-americans-180951469/#hexUIhxcwDxMkCAz.99

 

Dr. Winters, I love your work, I've followed on some of it on egyptsearch, etc.. however, I'm not sure you realize that you've included references that debunk your own article, claiming Naia's origins. Was she or wasn't she Austronesian? I remember when I first read about her around 2014, there was no indication she was anything but Austronesian due to her morphology, much like her fellow Paleo American contemporary "Luzia". Now suddenly I'm seeing articles (like the one your referenced by Mohi Kumar/Smithsonian) stating they extracted DNA from her tooth, indicating her Beringian heritage. I find that very suspect b/c back in 2014 there were no such findings -- no DNA was available. Now there is (hmmm?) and it supposedly contradicts your own article. I'd like to get your perspective on this....

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