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

Did Paleoamericans Reach South America First?


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 )


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

By Clyde Winters


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 :

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: 

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: 

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:

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


And now you begin to back pedal on your claims and accuse me of not providing any evidence? LOL. I have provided you with multiple lines of evidence. You have insisted upon outmoded lines of evidence (crainometry) and less than accepted "facts". Genetic analysis has confirmed the NE Asian origin of Native Americans and this trumps morphometrics. Your arguments ignore this entire line of evidence and the possibility of convergence as a reason for the craniometric data you present. You insist upon an African origin foe Native Americans without presenting any evidence other than "well, they look alike so, they must be related" in spite of the evidence to the contrary. I challenge you to find a single paper or study that demonstrates a direct genetic mother-daughter relationship between African populations and Native Americans, Pacific Islanders or Melanesians and Native Americans. Further, I challenge you to present any empirical evidence that backs up the humans in the Americas before 30,000 years bp claims other that the original papers. Surely a claim as earth shattering as that has been independently confirmed by a number of investigators!

Clyde Winters's picture

First of all, I am not claiming Africans were in Brazil 100,000 years ago. This date assigned to early man in the Americas is the finding of Dr.Nieda Guidon. Nor did I personally claim the PaleoAmericans and contemporary Mongoloid Native Americans belonged to different populations; this is based on the research of Neves and Chatters discussed above.

There is abundant evidence for an African origin of the Native Americans.  Yet, you have not presented any facts from a number of disciplines supporting your view that Native Americans are a monophyletic group descended from a common East Asian ancestor.

 Please stop trying to make it appear that I made up the idea that PaleoAmericans and contemporary Native Americans belonged to two different populations. Let’s examine the evidence in support of the reality that the first Native Americans were Africans, I have presented 1) the archaeological evidence of Africans in America found by Dr. Guidon, 2) the  Craniometric quantitative analysis and multivariate research that indicates PaleoAmericans were not mongoloid published by Neves, Chatters and etc.,  3) the archaeological evidence of Chan, Sanz and Weidenreich that the first AMH in East Asia were Melanesians—not mongoloids; and 4) the first EAST Asians who were Melanesians date to 24kya, while AMH had been in the Americas 66ky before AMH were in East Asia.

You have presented no evidence disputing Dr. Guidon, Neves or Weidenreich. You are asking us to reject the primary research of these established scholars simply on the basis of your personal belief.

You exaggerated the difference between contemporary Africans and Africans 100,000 years ago. Anatomically  modern Africans today look little different from how Africans looked 100,000 years ago, <b>except that differences between these Black populations include Negro/ Melanoid brows being vertical and without eyebrow ridges, whereas the first AMHs had brows,  that were sloping and with prominent ridges like the Australian aborigines.</b>

 The fact that the first AMH Africans looked just like contemporary African populations, is why Chatters and Neves classified the PaleoAmericans as  Africans/Melanesian/Australian.

You say that you have read all the literature and that Dr. Guidon’s work is a factoid . This is false, her research is supported by careful archealogical excavation in Brazil. Moreover, no researchers have been able to prove that the PaleoAmericans and contemporary Native Americans belonged to the same populations, because the craniometrics of these populations differ.

I have not cherry picked anything. I have discussed the literature on the PaleoAmericansand AMH in East Asia , but you have presented no evidence that contemporary mongoloid Native Americans are related to the PaleoAmericans. You claim that your arguments are based on science, but, when the science negates your arguments you fall back to a position of conjecture and personal opinions. 

It might surprise you to find that I have in fact read ALL of these articles before. I am well versed in the reading of the scientific literature and the scientific method as well. There are many reasons why C14 dating can give erroneous dates. Until there is corroborating evidence from other sites these examples mean very little. Are they interesting? Certainly. Are they factual? Not yet. Until then we have to go where the Provable evidence leads us and avoid wishful thinking. Look, as a person of Native American decent, nothing would make me happier than proof that NAs have been here for 100,000 years or more but, the proof is simply not there and these claims fly into the face of the known facts. It's not that I have anything against Africans. I am proud to say that I am descended from the first 20 Africans that came to America in 1619. Further, Homo sapiens IS an African species. We are ALL Africans. It's just that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. Proof that does not contradict the established facts of the case. There is no such proof here. You are making an extraordinary claim, i.e. that Native Americans are descended from Africans who arrived in the Americas 100,000 years bp. Your proof consists of a few tenuously dated sites which may or may not indicate a human presence in America between 34,000 and 100,000 years bp. You base the claim that these people were from Africa on another extraordinary claim. To wit, that because all northern avenues of terrestrial entry into the Americas were blocked by ice NAs "MUST HAVE" come from Africa and refuse to acknowledge any other possibilities. This again ignores the contradicting genetic evidence as well as firmly dated archaeological data and completely dismisses the fact that there were other avenues open via oceanic travel. Your basic premise is that because early Americans "look like" modern Africans (a people who did not even exist 100,000 years bp) one must be ancestral to the other. Morphology can only take us so far and changes so rapidly that it can often take us down the wrong road. However, the genetic trail is unmistakable. I am not attempting to steal anybody's history. You are taking a bunch of tenuous factoids and attempting to weave a narrative that supports your preconceived notions from them. That is simply not how science works. We do not begin with a conclusion and cherry pick the facts that support our supposition while disregarding those that do not. We gather the facts (all of them) and follow them where they lead. In this case the facts from a number of disciplines lead us to the inescapable conclusion that Native Americans are a monophyletic group descended from an East Asian ancestor that was also the common ancestor of the Chukchi and other NE Asian populations. There is no more evidence for an African origin of Native Americans than there is for a European one.

Clyde Winters's picture

I am not going around in circles, my comments are consistent. I understand your hesitation in  accepting the reality that the Native Americans represented two diverse populations. But I can’t understand why  you continue to make uninformed comments when I have provided you numerous sources supporting my comments. It is obvious that you have read much of the popular literature but you did not critically read my article. Granted, researchers believe that there was a refuge in Beringa, but while people may have been waiting in Beringa to migrate into the Americas when the Ice melted , I have pointed out in this article that there were already Native Americans at  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 while Asian people lived in the Beringa refuge.  These people had to have come from Africa because the Ice Age prevented anyone from walking across Beringa into the Americas, or sailing from Asia to the Americas.

The New York Times, reported that Dr. Nieda Guidon claimed humans from Africa, were in Brazil 100,000 years ago . Dr.Nieda Guidon supports her dating of human population in Brazil 100,000 years ago to ancient fire and tool making. Look at the New York Times video: Human’s First Appearance in the Americas @:

Dr. Guidon who conducted excavation at the site notes at 2:09 of the New York Times Video the site is 100,000 years old. At 3:17 in the video scientists proved that the tools are the result of human craftsmanship . You can reject this evidence but it proves that Africans were here before the mongoloids. Stop trying to steal the history of the Black Native Americans.

Neves et al argues that the Paleoamericans came from East Asia because of the amh remains found at the Zhoukoudian  Cave. Weidenreich (1939) found hominid fossils in the Upper and Lower Cave at Zhoukoudian. The individual in the Lower Cave was a Homo Erectus hominid (Sinanthropus pekinensis ) , and in the Upper Cave he found  Oceanic or Melanesoid skeletons (Chang, 1977; Weidenreich, 1939). The Melanesoid skeletons are dated between 24-27kya (Sanz, 2014).

There are two major problems with the East Asia theory. First, the Ice shelf was too thick to make an overland trek into North America 27kya (See: Figure 1). Secondly, the Melanesoid people do not expand out of China until the expansion of the Lapita culture onto the Pacific Islands between 1600-500 BC (Winters,2014b).

The Paleoamericans were in South America  at least between 65-48kya (Guidon and Arnoud,1991; Guidon and Delibris, 1986, Guidon et al,1996; NYT,2015). This placed Paleoamericans almost 20,000 year in South America before they appear in East Asia. The archaeological evidence and Ice shelf in East Asia forces us to reject the Neves  hypothesis.

It is not strongly indicated that both waves of Native Americans were from the same ancestral stock in NE Asia, because Sanz and Weidenreich have shown that the first anatomically modern humans in East Asia 24kya were Melanoid (i.e., Negroes), not mongoloids . 

In conclusion, there were two diverse Native American populations one African/Melanesian, and the other Mongoloid. According to Dr. Guidon Africans have been in Brazil for 100,000 years.



Chang. K (1977). The archaeology of ancient China. New Haven, Yale University Press .

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.

Sanz, Nuria . (2014). Human origin sites and the World Heritage Convention in Asia. UNESCO.

Weidenreich. F. 1939. On the earliest representative of modern mankind recovered on the soil of East Asia( in BC.ull. Nat. Hist. Soc. Peiping 13:161-173.

Winters,C. (2014b). AFRICAN AND DRAVIDIAN ORIGINS OF THE MELANESIANS. Indian Journal of Fundamental and Applied Life Sciences , 4(3):694-704.


I don't understand why you insist upon talking in circles. Again, there is no distinction between "Mongoloid Americans" and "Paleo Americans". These terms are referring to one and the same people. ALL Native Americans whether Mongoloid in appearance or not share a common genetic ancestry. You can post all the crainometric data you what but you can not disregard this fact. Even today there are many phenotypes found among Native Americans. All Native Americans share a common ancestry from an incredibly small founder population perhaps as small as 2 or 3 males and 10-20 females. Given that the Americas were uninhabited when they arrived it is not at all surprising that daughter population genetics would drift in many directions. Add in 20,000 years of environmental and sexual selection and it would be amazing if there were no variation. Skin color, the possession of epicanthic folds, stature, tooth structure and hair texture are all traits directly affected by natural selective pressures. There is simply no need for admixture with Africans, Australians or Pacific Islanders to develop these traits. The entire Native American genome is consistent and distinct from all other lineages and haplogroups. Were there 2 waves of migration? More than likely however, it is strongly indicated that both waves were from the same ancestral stock in NE Asia. The first group probably crossed the Bering Straits into Beringia where they were stopped for a few thousand years by glaciers. There they developed a unique Haplogroup and various physical features. The second group more than likely traveled eastward and southward along the ice bound coast, hunting as they went until they settled in So California or Northern Mexico. One of these groups happened to develop features reminiscent of the Ainu people of Japan (Joman Culture) but, this is simply a case of convergence and there is no genetic evidence suggesting a close relationship between the Ainu and Native Americans. Yes, the Spanish did indeed call Native Americans "Indians" but, this had little to do with their skin color. Columbus used the term because he thought he had discovered a new route to India. He had absolutely no idea that he was anywhere else. Blacks have been in America 94,000 years? Mongoloids arrived in America 6,000 bc? Where do you get these ridiculous ideas? First of all, there is no evidence of Anatomically Modern Humans (AMH) ANYWHERE outside of Africa before about 70,000-80,000 years bp. Secondly, while there were AMH in Africa 94,000 years ago they were not "Africans" in the sense we use the word today. These people are called Archaic Homo sapiens and looked quite different from modern Africans. We can take it one step further. All modern Africans show genetic evidence of hybridizing with another, as yet, unidentified species of Homo, perhaps Homo heidelbergensis after 70,000 bp. This lineage is not found ANYWHERE outside of Africa prior to historical times. All non African people also show evidence of hybridization with H. neanderthalensis. Tibetans, Negritos, Andaman Islanders, Australians, Papuans and Melanesians all have Denisovan genes. These have been passed on to the Polynesians in the last 3,000 years. Native Americans and northern and northeastern Asian genetics show further evidence of admixture with another unknown species of Homo (perhaps the Red Deer Cave people). Denisovans also contributed to the Native American genome but, only a tiny amount (0.2%) when compared to Papuans (5.0%). Papuans et all have little or none of that Asian mystery DNA. So what does this tell us about gene flow between these peoples? As the African hybridization event occurred AFTER all other peoples had left Africa and there is no evidence of humans in the Americas or anywhere else prior to 70,000-80,000 years ago it is simply not possible for Native Americans to have had an African origin. If Africans had settled in the Americas first that hybrid DNA would have to be present in ALL Native American populations today. It is not. As Papuans and their decedents, the Polynesians have a strong Denosivan component in their DNA, had they been the ancestors of Native Americans we would expect to see a similar Denisovan component in their DNA. We do not. What do we see? We see a genome that matches up quite nicely with Northeastern Asians. A healthy dose of Neanderthal DNA with a small dose of Denisovan and, most importantly, the admixture of unknown Homo that is nowhere to be found in Australoid populations. Ipso Facto, The ONLY possibility for a Native American ancestral population is NE Asians.


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