First Americans

Skulls show who got here first.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Photo courtesy Neves et Hubbe, PNAS 

Skull of a young Paleoindian woman, named "Luzia," dated 11,000-11,500 years old bears more similarity to early Australians and Sub-Saharan Africans than to Siberian derived Native Americans .


A study by Brazilian genetic evolutionists Walter Neves and Mark Hubbe of the University of San Paulo reveals that some of the earliest Americans might have been...Australian.


Morphological studies on 81 7,500 to 11,000-year-old South American paleoindian skulls  shows that they are more similar to paleo Australians, Melanesians, and Sub-Saharan Africans than to ancient or modern populations of American Indians, who are descendants of early Siberian settlers, lending strong evidence that two distinct populations colonized the New World.  Neves and Hubbe looked primarily at projecting lower jaws and broad noses and eye sockets when they drew their conclusions.


 They suggest that since South American paleoindian-like humans were present in Asia around 20,000 years ago, it's plausible both groups crossed the Bering Strait and settled in the New World.  But the paleoindians likely arrived at least a couple thousand years before the Siberians. More from pnas.org

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