Definitive proof: North America’s original settlers came from Asia

The first genome sequencing of the Ice Age skeletal remains of a 1-year-old boy has given scientists definitive proof that the first human settlers in North America were from Asia and not Europe, and that these people were the direct ancestors of modern Native Americans, according to research that includes a Texas A&M University professor.

Michael Waters, director of the Center for the Study of First Americans at Texas A&M, is part of an international team of researchers who had their work published in the current issue of Nature magazine.

In 1968, the skeletal remains of a Clovis child were found near a rock cliff in central Montana, along with more than 100 burial artifacts found with the boy such as spear points and antler tools. The remains are 12,600 years old, the oldest such remains fully sequenced. It is the oldest known human burial from North America and it is the only Clovis-era burial site ever found.

“We were able to extract DNA from the bones and show that the ancestors of this boy originated from Asia. These people eventually migrated to North America, settled the continent, and gave rise to Clovis,” Waters explains.

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