Ancient DNA analysis sheds light on the early peopling of South America

The Americas were the last continent to be inhabited by humans. An increasing body of archaeological and genomic evidence has hinted to a complex settlement process. This is especially true for South America, where unexpected ancestral signals have raised perplexing scenarios for the early migrations into different regions of the continent.

Many unanswered questions still persist, such as whether the first humans migrated south along the Pacific coast or by some other route. While there is archaeological evidence for a north-to-south migration during the initial peopling of the Americas by ancient Indigenous peoples, where these ancient humans went after they arrived has remained elusive.

Using DNA from two ancient human individuals unearthed in two different archaeological sites in northeast Brazil—Pedra do Tubarão and Alcobaça—and powerful algorithms and genomic analyses, Florida Atlantic University researchers in collaboration with Emory University have unraveled the deep demographic history of South America at the regional level with some unexpected and surprising results.

Not only do researchers provide new genetic evidence supporting existing archaeological data of the north-to-south migration toward South America, they also have discovered migrations in the opposite direction along the Atlantic coast—for the first time. The work provides the most complete genetic evidence to date for complex ancient Central and South American migration routes.

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Author: HP McLovincraft

Seeker of rabbit holes. Pessimist. Libertine. Contrarian. Your huckleberry. Possibly true tales of sanity-blasting horror also known as abject reality. Prepare yourself. Veteran of a thousand psychic wars. I have seen the fnords. Deplatformed on Tumblr and Twitter.

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