Late Pleistocene human skeleton and mtDNA link Paleoamericans and modern Native Americans.

Bibliographic Collection: 
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Chatters, James C; Kennett, Douglas J; Asmerom, Yemane; Kemp, Brian M; Polyak, Victor; Blank, Alberto Nava; Beddows, Patricia A; Reinhardt, Eduard; Arroyo-Cabrales, Joaquin; Bolnick, Deborah A; Malhi, Ripan S; Culleton, Brendan J; Erreguerena, Pilar Luna; Rissolo, Dominique; Morell-Hart, Shanti; Stafford, Thomas W
Year of Publication: 2014
Journal: Science
Volume: 344
Issue: 6185
Pagination: 750-4
Date Published: 2014 May 16
Publication Language: eng
ISSN: 1095-9203
Keywords: Base Sequence, Biological Evolution, DNA, Mitochondrial, Haplotypes, Humans, Indians, North American, Mexico, Molecular Sequence Data, Paleontology, Radiometric Dating, Skeleton, Skull

Because of differences in craniofacial morphology and dentition between the earliest American skeletons and modern Native Americans, separate origins have been postulated for them, despite genetic evidence to the contrary. We describe a near-complete human skeleton with an intact cranium and preserved DNA found with extinct fauna in a submerged cave on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. This skeleton dates to between 13,000 and 12,000 calendar years ago and has Paleoamerican craniofacial characteristics and a Beringian-derived mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroup (D1). Thus, the differences between Paleoamericans and Native Americans probably resulted from in situ evolution rather than separate ancestry.

DOI: 10.1126/science.1252619
Alternate Journal: Science