Monday, February 24, 2014

Genome of America's Only Clovis Skeleton Reveals Origins of Native Americans and Stirs Ethics Debate

Recent studies of the remains of a Clovis culture associated 1 year-old boy, from a site within present-day Montana, reinforces the status of Native Americans as descendants of the First Americans. The Clovis culture is named for its distinctive spear heads and has been dated to around 11,000- 13,000 years ago.
For more information about the Clovis culture, visit a Smithsonian article by Charles C. Mann, "The Clovis Point and the Discovery of America's First Culture" here, or Texas Beyond History, The University of Texas at Austin's article "The Gault Site- Clovis Reconsidered" here.

Genome of American's Only Clovis Skeleton Reveals Origins of Native Americans
February, 12, 2014. 
"The remains of a one-year-old boy who died 12,600 years ago in what’s now Montana are giving up exceptional information about the place his people held in American history, and the origins of Native Americans on both continents of the New World.
First discovered in 1968 on the Anzick family ranch near Wilsall, Montana, amid the distinctive biface blades and other tools identified with the Clovis culture, the boy’s remains comprise the only known skeleton to be definitively associated with the Clovis, who lived as much as 13,000 years ago.
To read the full article, click here.

February 13, 2014.
"Rasmussen and colleagues' analysis of the Anzick-1 genome highlights some such questions. They find support for the proposal that Native Americans are descended from three 'streams' of gene flow from Asia, with some North Americans tracing their ancestry to multiple independent migrations from Siberia5. Intriguingly, their study reveals additional genetic substructure in North America — some Native North American populations are genetically differentiated from Central and South Americans and from Anzick-1, indicating ancient divergences between Native American populations."
To read the full article, click here.

February , 2014.
"After Willerslev’s team confirmed the link by sequencing the boy’s nuclear genome (a more detailed indicator of ancestry), Willerslev sought advice from an agency that handles reburial issues. He was told that, because the remains were found on private land, NAGPRA did not apply and no consultation was needed. Despite this, Willerslev made his own attempt to consult local tribes. This led to a meeting in September at the burial site, with Anzick, Willerslev and their co-author Shane Doyle, who works in Native American studies at Montana State University in Bozeman, and is a member of the Crow tribe.....Doyle and Willerslev then set off on a 1,500-kilometre road trip to meet representatives of four Montana tribes; Doyle later consulted another five. Many of the people they talked to had few problems with the research, Doyle says, but some would have preferred to have been consulted before the study started, and not years after."
-Ewen Callaway, Nature
To read the full article, click here.

February 13, 2014.
"The find offers the first genetic evidence for what Native Americans have claimed all along: that they are directly descended from the first Americans. It also confirms that those first Americans can be traced back at least 24,000 years..."The Clovis population seems to be more closely related to South Americans than to native North Americans," says David Reich of Harvard Medical School in Boston. "That's telling you that the Clovis sample seems to have occurred after the initial split of the lineages that gave rise to native South Americans and native North Americans." "
-Catherine Brahic, New Scientist
To read the full article, click here.

More articles and videos about the Anzick child can be found through

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