The recently identified genomes of prehistoric hunter-gatherers in the Lake Baikal region have shown their connection with the first people on the American continent.
This study also demonstrates human mobility and, therefore, the possibility of moving throughout Eurasia at the beginning of the Bronze Age, the authors of the work note.
Modern people have lived near Lake Baikal since the Upper Paleolithic and left rich archaeological data. Ancient genomes indicate that the transition from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age contributed to human mobility and complex cultural interactions. The nature and time of these interactions, however, remain largely unknown.
A new study by German scientists from the Max Planck Institute reports on the finds of 19 ancient human genomes from the Lake Baikal region, including one of the oldest recorded in this region.
“This study shows the deepest connection between the Upper Paleolithic Siberians and the first Americans. We believe this could shed light on future research on the history of Native American populations, ”says Hye Yu, lead author of the study.
Past studies have shown a connection between the Siberian and American populations, but a 14,000-year-old tooth analyzed in this study is the oldest evidence of mixed origin in Native Americans.
It was the tooth of a man from southern Siberia who had the same genetic mixture of an ancient North Eurasian (ANE) and Northeast Asian (NEA) ancestor found in Native Americans. The same components are found in the genomes of people who lived several thousand years later in northeastern Siberia.
“The Upper Paleolithic genome will provide a legacy to study human genetic history in the future,” says Cosimo Post, one of the authors of the article.
Further genetic data from the Upper Paleolithic Siberian groups are necessary to determine when and where the hereditary gene pool of Native Americans was formed.
We add that hitherto north-eastern Siberia (in particular, the Kolyma basin) was considered to be the ancestral home of Native Americans, from where they moved to Alaska by land before the formation of the Bering Strait, which divided America and Eurasia about 10 thousand years ago.
For example, near the Kolyma River, scientists discovered the remains of people about 10 thousand years old, who were probably the direct ancestors of Native Americans. DNA analysis revealed that the group was genetically different from both Eurasians and East Asians.
The key remains were fragments of tiny milk teeth that belonged to two men, which were found on the site of the ancient Jansky site. It was first discovered in 2001, and now the parking is the earliest direct evidence of a person living in northeastern Siberia. Indirect data on the human population in this region date back to 40 millennium BC. e.
Although it was previously believed that the remains of the Yana site might belong to the ancestors of the indigenous inhabitants of North America, DNA data suggest the opposite. Test results show that these people were part of a previously unknown but widespread group that was genetically different from Western Eurasians and East Asians.
But a fragment of a human skull about 10 thousand years old, which was found in the Kolyma region, pointed to the ancestors of ancient Americans.
“It is obvious that the Indians are not pure Mongoloids; they combine about 60% of the genome of eastern Eurasians and about 40% of the western ones. The data obtained in the course of our research shed light on a riddle that anthropologists could not solve: why the most ancient Paleo-Americans who lived 12-13 thousand years ago have such unusual tall skulls, similar to the skulls of European peoples, ”the authors of the work note.