Models of migration to the New World: Wikis

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There have been several models of migration to the New World (Human migration into the Americas) proposed by various academic communities. The question of how, when and why humans (Paleo-Indians) first entered the Americas is of intense interest to archaeologists and anthropologists, and has been a subject of heated debate for centuries. Current understanding of human migration into the Americas derives from advances in four integrated disciplines: archeology, physical anthropology, DNA analysis and linguistics.

While there is general agreement that America was first settled from Asia by people who migrated across Beringia, the pattern of migration, its timing, and the place of origin in Asia of the peoples who migrated to the Americas remains unclear.[2] In recent years researchers have sought to use familiar tools to validate or reject established theories like Clovis first. As new discoveries come to light, past hypotheses are reevaluated and new theories constructed. The archeological evidence suggest that Paleo-Indians' first "widespread" habitation of the Americas occurred during the end of the last glacial period, or more specifically what is known as the late glacial maximum, around 16,500–13,000 years ago.[3]

Contents

Understanding the debate

Time line of important events associated with Paleoindians

The chronology of migration models is currently divided into two general approaches. The first is the short chronology theory with the first movement beyond Alaska into the New World occurring no earlier than 15,000 – 17,000 years ago, followed by successive waves of immigrants.[4][5] The second belief is the long chronology theory, which proposes that the first group of people entered the hemisphere at a much earlier date, possibly 21,000–40,000 years ago,[6][7] with a much later mass secondary wave of immigrants.[8][9][10] However, other theories propose early migration from Europe, while supporting evidence for separate origins for "now-extinct" populations may exist.[11]

One factor fueling the debate is the discontinuity of archaeological evidence between North and South America Paleo-Indian sites. A roughly uniform techno-complex pattern known as Clovis appears in North and Central American sites from at least 13,500 years ago onwards.[12] South American sites of equal antiquity do not share the same consistency and exhibit more diverse cultural patterns. Thus, archaeologists conclude that the "Clovis-first", and Paleo-Indian time frame do not adequately explain complex lithic stage tools appearing in South America. Some theorists seek to develop a colonization model that integrates both North and South American archaeological records.

Indigenous Amerindian genetic studies have concluded that the "colonizing founders" of the Americas emerged from a single-source ancestral population that evolved in isolation, likely in Beringia.[13][14] The isolation in Beringia might have lasted 10,000–20,000 years.[15][16][17] Age estimates based on Y-chromosome micro-satellite place diversity of the American Haplogroup Q1a3a (Y-DNA) at around 10,000 to 15,000 years ago.[18][19] This does not address if there were any previous failed colonization attempts by other genetic groups, as genetic testing can only address current population ancestral heritage.[19]

Ice cap and vegetation types at time of last glacial maximum.

Migrants from northeastern Asia could have walked to Alaska with relative ease when Beringia was above sea level. But traveling south from Alaska to the rest of North America may have posed significant challenges. The two main possible routes proposed south for human migration are: down the Pacific coast or by way of an interior passage along the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains.[16] When the Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets were at their maximum extent, both routes were likely impassable. The Cordilleran sheet reached across to the Pacific shore in the west, and its eastern edge abutted the Laurentide, near the present border between British Columbia and Alberta. Geological evidence suggests the Pacific coastal route was open for overland travel before 23,000 years ago and after 15,000 years ago. During the coldest millennia of the last ice age, roughly 23,000 to 19,000 years ago, lobes of glaciers hundreds of kilometers wide flowed down to the sea.[14] Deep crevasses scarred their surfaces, making travel across them dangerous. Even if people traveled by boat—a claim for which there is currently no direct archaeological evidence as sea level rise has hidden the old coast line — the journey would have been difficult with abundant icebergs in the water. Around 15,000 to 13,000 years ago the coast was presumed ice-free. Additionally, by this time the climate had warmed, and lands were covered in grass and trees. Early Paleo-Indian groups could have readily replenished their food supplies, repaired clothing and tents, and replaced broken or lost tools.[14]

Coastal or watercraft theories have broad implications; one being that Paleo-Indians in North America may not have been purely terrestrial "big-game hunters", but instead were already adapted to maritime or semi-maritime lifestyles.[10] Additionally, it is possible that "Beringian" (western Alaskan) or European groups migrated into the northern interior and coastlines only to meet their demise during the last glacial maximum, approximately 20,000 years ago,[20] leaving evidence of occupation in specific localized areas. However they would not be considered a founding population, unless they had managed to migrate south, populate and survive the coldest part of the last ice-age.[21]

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Timeline of archeological, geological and genetic evidence

40,000 B.C. – 25,000 B.C.
  • Paleolithic people move into Beringia across the Bering Land Bridge into western Alaska.[8][22]
  • Bison (buffalo), mammoths, and mastodons are thought to have migrated from Asia to America about this time. This would imply a land bridge between the continents and would have been a food supply.[23]
30,000–20,000 years ago:

(Note: The dates given for the Old Crow and Topper digs have not been completely accepted by the archaeology community.)[10][28]

  • Geneticists have variously estimated that peoples of Asia and the Americas were part of the same population from 21,000 to 42,000 years ago.[9]
  • Ice-free corridor running north and south through Alberta and the continental glacier called Laurentide ice sheet. Introduced by geologists in the 1950s when stone tools were found in the Grimshaw, Bow River and in Lethbridge Alberta, under glacial sand and gravel are believed to be pre-glacial and therefore may indicate nomadic humans occupied the area.[29] A child's skull found in 1961 near Taber, Alberta is believed to be one of the oldest inhabitants discovered in Alberta.[30]

(Note: The conclusions reached in Alberta on dates have not been accepted by the entire archaeology community.)[31]

  • Siberian mammoth hunters believed to have penetrated far into the Arctic where ice-free corridors north during the time are believed found. Theory first introduced by geologist in the late 1970s when core samples indicate ice is no older than 17,000 year old.[14]
23,000–16,500 years ago:
  • The Ice Age entombs the northern hemisphere in glaciers, cutting off routes from Siberia to the south.[32]
  • 2002 the presence of the X haplogroup was found in a small percentage of modern indigenous Americans that is known to exist in a few locations in Europe and the Middle East. Subsequent research indicated that the European DNA was not the result of genetic mixing after Columbus. However the time estimates on haplogroup X entering Americas is around 15,000 to 20,000 years ago.[33]
  • Genetic evidence (2007-2009) suggests the Beringia population first genetic diversification from Asian populations occurred.[34] An article in the American Journal of Human Genetics states "Here we show, by using 86 complete mitochondrial genomes, that all Native American haplogroups, including haplogroup X, were part of a single founding population.[9][35][36]
16,500–13,000 years ago:
  • Geologists report this is when receding glaciers reopened an ice-free corridor through Canada between Alaska and the rest of the Americas. Massive flooding would have created large lakes covering vast areas of north America with glacial waters.[37]
  • Age estimates based on Y-chromosome micro-satellite place diversity of the American Q-Haplo at around 10,000 to 15,000 years ago.[19]
  • Mass extinction of large fauna begins due to climate change and perhaps hunting. The Dire Wolf, Smilodon, Cave Lion, Giant beaver, Ground sloth, Mammoth, American Mastodon, American Camel, American Equine, and American lion all become extinct by 11,000 years ago.[38]
  • Pre-Clovis sites uncovered from 1973-1978 Meadowcroft Rockshelter in Pennsylvania site indicated occupancy as early as 16,000 years ago and possibly as long as 19,000 years ago. Dates in excess of 19,000 years have been claimed for the deepest occupation layer uncovered.[39]
  • pre-Clovis sites found in Monte Verde, located along Chinchihuapi Creek, in Chile. A crew of eighty people, led by Tom Dillehay of the University of Kentucky, excavated the site from 1977-1985.[40] A coastal migration could explain how people arrived in Monte Verde.[40]
  • 2000, archaeologists say people were living at Cactus Hill, Virginia where stone tools and charcoal from a fire pit are found.[41]
15,000–13,000 years ago:
  • The Taima Taima mastodon kill/butchering site in Falcon, Venezuela was first excavated by J.M. Cruxent in the 1960s and 1970s. It is one of the earliest archaeological sites that is pre-Clovis. In l976 a broken El Jobo point (red arrow) was found inside the pubic cavity of a partially disarticulated and butchered young mastodon whose bones had been cut, with a jasper flake found near the left ulna of the animal.[42]
  • Peñon women found by an ancient lake bed near Mexico City in 1959. Mention is made of the possibility of Solutrean peoples migrating to the area 15,000 to 20,000 years ago.[43][44]
  • El Abra sites located in the valley east of the city of Zipaquirá, Colombia. First excavated by Gonzalo Correal and associates in the late 1970s and early 1980s. 3,072 pieces found indicate it was inhabited continuously for over 7,000 years.[45]
  • At Paisley Caves in the Cascade Range of Oregon, archaeologists find a scattering of human coprolites, or fossil feces in 2003.[46] The mitochondrial DNA extracted from coprolites linked the cave dwellers to two genetic groups of early Americans that arose 14,000 to 18,000 years ago.[46] This two genetic groups were the founding Paleo-Indians and later Na-Dené migration.[47][48]
13,500 – 12,000 years ago:
  • The Ice Age is ending, melting glaciers have raised sea levels 120 meters and submerged the land bridge between Alaska and Siberia. Geologic evidence indicates that by 11,500 years ago, the Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets had retreated far enough to open a habitable ice-free corridor between them. The exposed land was dry and probably restored enough to support plants and animals, which the migrating hunter-gatherer followed.[49]
  • Clovis theory – People were living near Clovis, New Mexico where tools from this era were found in the 1930s. This find gave rise to the widely held "Clovis First" theory that people spread through the Americas only after the Ice Age.[50] The Clovis culture was believed replaced by several more localized regional cultures, such as the Folsom tradition, from the time of the Younger Dryas cold climate period.[9]
  • Peru coastal region inhabitants fished with nets and bone hooks, collecting seafood such as crabs and sea urchins.[51]
12,000–10,000 years ago:
  • Ice age over, climate similar to present temperatures. Old migration theories believe first widespread migration in South America and subsequently a dramatic rise in population all over the Americas, introduced in the 1930s.[52]
  • The Maritimes of Canada are settled by Paleo-Indians. Sites in and around Belmont, Nova Scotia have evidence indicating small seasonal hunting camps, perhaps re-visited over many generations.[53]
  • Luzia Woman's skull and other bones excavated in the Lagoa Santa, Brazil area by French archaeologist Annette Laming-Emperaire in the 1970s.[54] By 2006, Lagoa Santa sites had produced no fewer than 75 well-preserved ancient skulls.[54]
  • 1994, University of California, Riverside anthropologist R. Erv Taylor examined seventeen of the Spirit Cave artifacts near Fallon, Nevada from the 1940s using mass spectrometry. The results indicated that a mummy was approximately 9,400–10,200 years old — older than any previously known North American mummy.[55]
  • Unique markers found in DNA recovered from an Alaskan tooth were found in specific coastal tribes, and were rare in any of the other indigenous peoples in the Americas. This finding lends substantial credence to a migration theory that at least one set of early peoples moved south along the west coast of the Americas in boats.[56]
9,000–8,000 years ago:
  • Remains, known as Kennewick Man, are found in 1996 on the Columbia River near Kennewick, Washington. A skull and more than 300 bones and bone fragments were found at the site, making up among the oldest, best preserved, and most complete human remains ever found in North America. Initial radiocarbon dating indicated the remains were between 7,000 and 9,500 years old.[57] A leaf-shaped projectile found on the body was long, broad and had serrated edges, all fitting the definition of a Cascade point. This type of point is a feature of the Cascade phase, occurring in the archaeological record from roughly 6000 to over 8500 years ago.
  • 1930s-1990s no major Central American archaeological sites that go back more than 9,000 years have been found. Isolated finds of stone tools in Belize, Nicaragua and Costa Rica indicates that such sites almost certainly exist. Lack of funding for exploration in the areas has postponed likely finds.[54]
  • Tehuacan Valley of Mexico – people are living in rock shelters and using stone cooking pots, which were left in the center of the hearth. Maize was to be used in the same valley between 7,000–6,000 years ago.[58]

Genetics

Schematic illustration of maternal geneflow in and out of Beringia.Colours of the arrows correspond to approximate timing of the events and are decoded in the coloured time-bar. The initial peopling of Berinigia (depicted in light yellow) was followed by a standstill after which the ancestors of indigenous Americans spread swiftly all over the New World while some of the Beringian maternal lineages–C1a-spread westwards. More recent (shown in green) genetic exchange is manifested by back-migration of A2a into Siberia and the spread of D2a into north-eastern America that post-dated the initial peopling of the New World.
Schematic illustration of maternal (mtDNA) gene-flow in and out of Beringia.

Indigenous Amerindian genetics primarily focus on Human Y-chromosome DNA haplogroups and Human mitochondrial DNA haplogroups. "Y-DNA" is passed solely along the patrilineal line, from father to son, while "mtDNA" is passed down the matrilineal line, from mother to offspring of both sexes. Neither recombines, and thus Y-DNA and mtDNA change only by chance mutation at each generation with no intermixture between parents' genetic material.[59] Autosomal "atDNA" markers are also used, but differ from mtDNA or Y-DNA in that they overlap significantly.[60] AtDNA is generally used to measure the average continent-of-ancestry genetic admixture in the entire human genome and related isolated populations.[60]

The genetic pattern indicates Indigenous Amerindians experienced two very distinctive genetic episodes; first with the initial-peopling of the Americas, and secondly with European colonization of the Americas.[61][19][62] The former is the determinant factor for the number of gene lineages, zygosity mutations and founding haplotypes present in today's Indigenous Amerindian populations.[61]

Human settlement of the New World occurred in stages from the Bering sea coast line, with an initial 15, 000 to 20,000-year layover on Beringia for the small founding population.[19][21][48] The micro-satellite diversity and distributions of the Y lineage specific to South America indicates that certain Amerindian populations have been isolated since the initial colonization of the region.[63] The Na-Dené, Inuit and Indigenous Alaskan populations exhibit haplogroup Q (Y-DNA) mutations, however are distinct from other indigenous Amerindians with various mtDNA and atDNA mutations.[47][64][65] This suggests that the earliest migrants into the northern extremes of North America and Greenland derived from later migrant populations.[66][67]

Land bridge theory

Berengia -Wisconsin glaciation

Also known as the Bering Strait Theory or Beringia theory, the Land Bridge theory has been widely accepted since the 1930s. This model of migration into the New World proposes that people migrated from Siberia into Alaska, tracking big game animal herds. They were able to cross between the two continents by a land bridge called the Bering Land Bridge, which spanned what is now the Bering Strait, during the Wisconsin glaciation, the last major stage of the Pleistocene beginning 50,000 years ago and ending some 10,000 years ago, when ocean levels were 60 metres (200 ft) lower than today. This information is gathered using oxygen isotope records from deep-sea cores. An exposed land bridge that was at least 1,000 miles wide existed between Siberia and the western coast of Alaska. In the "short chronology" version, from the archaeological evidence gathered, it was concluded that this culture of big game hunters crossed the Bering Strait at least 12,000 years ago and could have eventually reached the southern tip of South America by 11,000 years ago.

Synopsis

At some point during the last Ice Age, about 17,000 years ago, as the ice sheets advanced and sea levels fell, people first migrated from the Eurasian landmass to the Americas. These nomadic hunters were following game herds from Siberia across what is today the Bering Strait into Alaska, and then gradually spread southward. Based upon the distribution of Amerind languages and language families, a movement of tribes along the Rocky Mountain foothills and eastward across the Great Plains to the Atlantic seaboard is assumed to have occurred at least some 13,000 to 10,000 years ago.

Clovis culture

Map showing the approximate location of the ice-free corridor and specific Paleoindian sites (Clovis theory).

This big game-hunting culture has been labeled the Clovis culture, and is primarily identified with fluted projectile points. The culture received its name from artifacts found near Clovis, New Mexico, the first evidence of this tool complex, excavated in 1932. The Clovis culture ranged over much of North America and appeared in South America. The culture is identified by distinctive "Clovis point", a flaked flint spear-point with a notched flute by which it was inserted into a shaft; it could then be removed from the shaft for traveling. This flute is one characteristic that defines the Clovis point complex.

Dating of Clovis materials has been by association with animal bones and by the use of carbon dating methods. Recent reexaminations of Clovis materials using improved carbon-dating methods produced results of 11,050 and 10,800 radiocarbon years B.P. (before present). This evidence suggests that the culture flowered somewhat later and for a shorter period of time than previously believed. Michael R. Waters of Texas A&M University in College Station and Thomas W. Stafford Jr., proprietor of a private-sector laboratory in Lafayette, Colorado and an expert in radiocarbon dating attempted to determine the dates of the Clovis period. The heyday of Clovis technology has typically been set between 11,500 and 10,900 radiocarbon years B.P. (The radiocarbon calibration is disputed for this period, but the widely used IntCal04 calibration puts the dates at 13,300 to 12,800 calendar years B.P.). In a controversial move, Waters and Stafford conclude that no fewer than 11 of the 22 Clovis sites with radiocarbon dates are "problematic" and should be disregarded—including the type site in Clovis, New Mexico. They argue that the datable samples could have been contaminated by earlier material. This contention was received as highly controversial by many in the archaeological community.

Clovis-type artifacts seem to disappear from the archaeological record after the hypothesized Younger Dryas impact event roughly 12,900 years before the present. The effects of the event possibly caused a decline in post-Clovis human populations and shifts in culture and behavior patterns.[68]

Problems with Clovis migration models

Significant problems arise with the Clovis migration model. If Clovis people radiated south after entering the New World and eventually reached the southern tip of South America by 11,000 years ago, this leaves only a short time span to populate the entire hemisphere.[citation needed] Another complication for the Clovis-only theory arose in 1997, when a panel of authorities inspected the Monte Verde site in Chile, concluding that the radiocarbon evidence predates Clovis sites in the North American Midwest by at least 1,000 years. This supports the theory of a primary coastal migration route that moved south along the coastline faster than those that migrated inland into the central areas of the Americas. Many excavations have uncovered evidence that subsistence patterns of early Americans included foods such as turtles, shellfish, and tubers. This is quite a change of diet from the big game mammoths, long-horn bison, horse, and camels that early Clovis hunters apparently followed east into the New World.

At the Topper archaeological site (located along the banks of the Savannah River near Allendale, South Carolina) investigated by University of South Carolina archaeologist Dr. Albert Goodyear, charcoal material recovered in association with purported human artifacts returned radiocarbon dates of up to 50,000 years BP. This would indicate the presence of humans well before the last glacial period. Nevertheless, considerable doubt over the validity of these findings has been raised by many other researchers, and the pre-Clovis Topper dates remain controversial.

Pre-Clovis dates have been claimed for several sites in South America, but these early dates have yet to be verified unequivocally.

Recent discoveries of human coprolites (desiccated feces) found deeply buried in an Oregon cave indicate the presence of humans in North America as much as 1,200 years prior to the Clovis culture.[69]

Watercraft migration theories

Earlier finds have led to a pre-Clovis culture theory encompassing different migration models with an expanded chronology to supersede the "Clovis-first" theory.

Pacific coastal models

Pacific models propose that people reached the Americas via water travel, following coastlines from northeast Asia into the Americas. Coastlines are unusually productive environments because they provide humans with access to a diverse array of plants and animals from both terrestrial and marine ecosystems. While not exclusive of land-based migrations, the Pacific 'coastal migration theory' helps explain how early colonists reached areas extremely distant from the Bering Strait region, including sites such as Monte Verde in southern Chile and Taima-Taima in western Venezuela. Two cultural components were discovered at Monte Verde near the Pacific Coast of Chile. The youngest layer is radiocarbon dated at 12,500 radiocarbon years (~14,000 cal BP) and has produced the remains of several types of seaweeds collected from coastal habitats. The older and more controversial component may date back as far as 33,000 years, but few scholars currently accept this very early component.

Other coastal models, dealing specifically with the peopling of the Pacific Northwest and California coasts, have been advocated by archaeologists Knut Fladmark, Roy Carlson, James Dixon, Jon Erlandson, Ruth Gruhn, and Daryl Fedje. In a 2007 article in the Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology, Erlandson and his colleagues proposed a corollary to the coastal migration theory—the kelp highway hypothesis—arguing that productive kelp forests supporting similar suites of plants and animals would have existed near the end of the Pleistocene around much of the Pacific Rim from Japan to Beringia, the Pacific Northwest, and California, as well as the Andean Coast of South America. Once the coastlines of Alaska and British Columbia had deglaciated about 16,000 years ago, these kelp forest (along with estuarine, mangrove, and coral reef) habitats would have provided an ecologically similar migration corridor, entirely at sea level, and essentially unobstructed.

Australia/Oceania model

As early as 1787 Chilean naturalist Juan Ignacio Molina mentioned the possibility of South America being populated from south Asia through the "infinite island chains" of the Pacific while north America could have been populated from Siberia.[70] Some anthropologists such as Paul Rivet have proposed that peoples of Oceania or southeast Asia crossed the Pacific Ocean and arrived in South America long before the Siberian hunter-gatherers. These hypothetical Pre-Siberian American Aborigines populated much of South America before being nearly exterminated and/or absorbed by the Siberian migrants coming from the north. Some of the theories involve a southward migration from or through Australia and Tasmania, hopping Subantarctic islands and then proceeding along the coast of Antarctica and/or southern ice sheets to the tip of South America sometime during the last glacial maximum.

There have been well-dated stratigraphic studies that point to people entering Australia some 40,000 years ago. At this period Australia was not connected to another continent, which leads to the assumption that it was reached by watercraft. If Australia was reached in this fashion, some reason that the New World could have been reached in the same way. Proponents of this model have pointed to cultural and phenotypical similarities between the Aboriginals of Australia and the Selknam and Yaghan tribes of southern Patagonia. The theory of Australoid migration to the Americas has earned little scientific support as there is no genetic evidence matching indigenous Australians with South American populations. This model is taught in Chilean schools together with the land bridge model[citation needed].

A recent study claimed that the Mapuche pre-Columbian Araucana chicken came from Polynesia by analysing their DNA; [3] [4] [5] [6] this suggests a more recent contact between the Mapuche and Polynesia. Another recent study has contradicted this claim stating that the DNA found in the chicken bone was closer to post colonial European chickens. [7][8]

One of the earliest known sites of human occupation in the Americas, Monte Verde, lies within what was later to become Huilliche territory, although there is currently no demonstrated link between the Monte Verde people and the Mapuche.

Southeast Asians: Paleoindians of the Coast

The boat-builders from Southeast Asia may have been one of the earliest groups to reach the shores of North America. One theory suggests people in boats followed the coastline from the Kurile Islands to Alaska down the coasts of North and South America as far as Chile [2 62; 7 54, 57]. The Haida nation on the Queen Charlotte Islands off the coast of British Columbia may have originated from these early Asian mariners between 25,000 and 12,000. Early watercraft migration would also explain the habitation of coastal sites in South America such as Pikimachay Cave in Peru by 20,000 years ago and Monte Verde in Chile by 13,000 years ago [6 30; 8 383].

"'There was boat use in Japan 20,000 years ago,' says Jon Erlandson, a University of Oregon anthropologist. 'The Kurile Islands (north of Japan) are like stepping stones to Beringia,' the then continuous land bridging the Bering Strait. Migrants, he said, could have then skirted the tidewater glaciers in Canada right on down the coast." [7 64]'

Atlantic coastal model

Archaeologists Dennis Stanford and Bruce Bradley champion the coastal Atlantic route. Their Solutrean Hypothesis is also based on evidence from the Clovis complex, but instead traces the origins of the Clovis toolmaking style to the Solutrean culture of Ice Age Western Europe. They have hypothesized that Solutrean hunters and fishers, living like Eskimos, may have worked their way along the southern margins of the Atlantic sea ice to North America, getting food, and blubber-oil for heating, by killing fish and seals, hauling out on ice each night. Their argument is based on technological analysis of the similarities between Solutrean and Clovis flint-knapping techniques, and that Clovis sites are generally found in eastern North America and seem to have radiated westward[71]. Stanford and Bradley are currently working on publishing a book on the Solutrean hypothesis.

Other Atlantic migration proponents include the French archaeologist Remy Cottevieille-Giraudet, who in the 1930s suggested a European Cro-Magnon origin of the Algonquian peoples. In 1963, Emerson Greenman proposed a hypothetical Atlantic migration during the Upper Paleolithic, also citing New World similarities with Solutrean tools as well as art. He suggested that the Beothuk people of Newfoundland, among others, may have been at least partial descendants of that migration. According to a research report on Beothuk DNA published in 2007, "the data do not lend credence to the proposed idea that the Beothuk (specifically, Nonosabasut) were of admixed (European-Native American) descent."[72]

Problems with evaluating coastal migration models

The coastal migration models provide a different perspective on migration to the New World, but they are not without their own problems. One of the biggest problems is that global sea levels have risen over 100 metres since the end of the last glacial period, and this has submerged the ancient coastlines which maritime people would have followed into the Americas. Finding sites associated with early coastal migrations is extremely difficult—and systematic excavation of any sites found in deeper waters is challenging and expensive. If there was an early pre-Clovis coastal migration, there is always the possibility of a “failed colonization.” Another problem that arises is the lack of hard evidence found for a “long chronology” theory. No sites have yet produced a consistent chronology older than about 12,500 radiocarbon years (~14,500 calendar years)[citation needed], but South America has still seen only limited research on the possibility of early coastal migrations.

The Dyukhtai of Northeast Asia

Archaeological sites found in Dyukhtai Cave and other sites in the Aldan River valley have yielded remains of a culture that may be a potential Paleoindian ancestor. This culture occupied the region from 35,000-12,000 years ago. The Dyukhtai or similar Northeast Asian cultures may have entered the New World through Beringia and spread into British Columbia [1 140]. It is thought that they pursued Pleistocene mammals such as the giant beaver, goats, elk, ancient reindeer (early caribou), horses, Yukon camels, steppe bison, musk ox, mastodons, and woolly mammoths.

The chief characteristic of the Dyukhtai was their manufacture of microliths or microblades. Microblades are small flakes less than 1 1/4 inches long, with a sharp edge and a "backed" or blunted edge that could be guided with the index finger to sever meat from a carcass. Microblades could also be incorporated into composite tools such as an arrow or sickle. Thousands of microblades have been found at upper Paleolithic Stone Age sites. They have been found north of Mongolia together with projectile points and hand-carved ivory statuettes. The earliest of several sites there has been dated at 45,000 years ago. Microblades appeared in Japan by 20,000 during the LGM when the island was still a peninsula and reachable by land [1 144, 202; 3 189-191].

Microblade manufacture was an important event in human history and its appearance corresponds roughly to the end of the Middle Paleolithic 60,000 years ago. Over 98% of all human history is encompassed by the period of time that began with the appearance of Australopithecus afarensis [e.g. "Lucy] and ended with the manufacture of microblades by lower-upper Stone Age cultures such as the "Dyukhtai".

See also

References

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  38. ^ # Martin, Paul S. (2005): Twilight of the mammoths: Ice Age extinctions and the rewilding of America. University of California Press, Berkeley. ISBN 0-520-23141-4
  39. ^ "Meadowcroft Rockshelter, Pennsylvania.". Bradshaw Foundation. http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/journey/meadowcroft.html. 
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  41. ^ "Cactus Hill Update". Archaeological Institute of America. http://www.archaeology.org/online/news/cactus.html. 
  42. ^ "Taimataima site". Dr. José R. Oliver. http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/journey/taima-taima-text.html. 
  43. ^ "Does skull prove that the first Americans came from Europe?". The University of Texas at Austin - Web Central. http://www.utexas.edu/courses/stross/ant322m_files/1stpersons.htm. 
  44. ^ "Penon Woman (Distrito Federal, Mexico)". The Andaman Association. http://www.andaman.org/BOOK/chapter54/text-Penon/text-Penon.htm. 
  45. ^ George Weber. "Tibito and El Abra sites (Colombia )". The Andaman Association. http://www.andaman.org/BOOK/chapter54/text-Tibito/text-Tibito.htm. 
  46. ^ a b "Evidence Supports Earlier Date for People in North America". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/04/science/04fossil.html?_r=2&scp=3&sq=&st=nyt&oref=slogin. 
  47. ^ a b Ruhlen M (November 1998). "The origin of the Na-Dene". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 95 (23): 13994–6. PMID 9811914. PMC 25007. http://www.pnas.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=9811914. 
  48. ^ a b Than, Ker (2008). "New World Settlers Took 20,000-Year Pit Stop". National Geographic Society. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/02/080214-america-layover.html. Retrieved 2010-01-23. "Over time descendants developed a unique culture—one that was different from the original migrants' way of life in Asia but which contained seeds of the new cultures that would eventually appear throughout the Americas" 
  49. ^ "Worldwide glacier retreat". RealClimate. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/03/worldwide-glacier-retreat/. 
  50. ^ "First Americans". National Geographic society. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/02/070223-first-americans.htmll. 
  51. ^ "Jaguay and Tacahuay sites (Arequipa and Tacna, Peru)". Vantage World Travel. http://www.andaman.org/BOOK/chapter54/text-Tacahuay/text-Tacahuay.htm. 
  52. ^ "Early North American Cultures". Minnesota State University. http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/prehistory/northamerica/culture/index.html. 
  53. ^ "Debert Palaeo-Indian Site". Nova Scotia Museum. http://museum.gov.ns.ca/arch/sites/debert/debert.htm. 
  54. ^ a b c "Lagoa Santa sites (Minas Gerais, Brazil)". Andaman Association. http://www.andaman.org/BOOK/chapter54/text-LagoaSanta/text-LagoaSanta.htm. 
  55. ^ "Oldest North American Mummy". Archaeological Institute of America. http://www.archaeology.org/9609/newsbriefs/nevada.htm. 
  56. ^ "On Your Knees Cave". Timothy H. Heaton. The University of South Dakota. 2002. http://orgs.usd.edu/esci/alaska/oykc.html. Retrieved 2009-11-21. "The American Journal of Physical Anthropolog reports new DNA-based research that links the DNA retrieved from a 10,000-year-old fossilized tooth from an Alaskan island, with specific coastal tribes in Tierra del Fuego, Ecuador, Mexico and California. Unique markers found in DNA recovered from the Alaskan tooth were found in these specific coastal tribes, and were rare in any of the other indigenous peoples in the Americas. This finding lends substantial credence to a migration theory that at least one set of early peoples moved south along the west coast of the Americas in boats. A previous study showed that mtDNA (human mitochondrial DNA) from indigenous populations in coastal British Columbia showed similarities to coastal populations in Southern California, while inland populations in both localities differed markedly. Dates of 9,730 and 9,880 years BP were obtained on the human remains, making them the oldest ever found in Alaska or Canada. The associated bone tool was dated to 10,300 years old" 
  57. ^ Custred, Glynn (2000). "The Forbidden Discovery of Kennewick Man". Academic Questions 13 (3): 12–30. doi:10.1007/s12129-000-1034-8. 
  58. ^ "America: 8000 to 5000 B.C.". Rice University. http://cnx.org/content/m17783/latest/. 
  59. ^ "A Nomenclature System for the Tree of Human Y-Chromosomal Binary Haplogroups". Genome Research. 2002. pp. Vol. 12(2), 339-348. doi:10.1101/gr.217602. http://www.genome.org/cgi/content/full/12/2/339. Retrieved 2010-01-19. (Detailed hierarchical chart)
  60. ^ a b Griffiths, Anthony J. F. (1999). An Introduction to genetic analysis. New York: W.H. Freeman. ISBN 071673771X. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/bv.fcgi?highlight=autosome&rid=iga.section.222. Retrieved 2010-02-03. 
  61. ^ a b "Learn about Y-DNA Haplogroup Q. Genebase Tutorials" (Verbal tutorial possible). Genebase Systems. 2008. http://www.genebase.com/tutorial/item.php?tuId=16. Retrieved 2009-11-21. 
  62. ^ Orgel L (2004). "Prebiotic chemistry and the origin of the RNA world" (pdf). Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol 39 (2): 99–123. doi:10.1080/10409230490460765. PMID 15217990. http://www.d.umn.edu/~pschoff/documents/OrgelRNAWorld.pdf. Retrieved 2010-01-19. 
  63. ^ "Summary of knowledge on the subclades of Haplogroup Q". Genebase Systems. 2009. http://64.40.115.138/file/lu/6/52235/NTIyMzV9K3szNTc2Nzc=.jpg?download=1. Retrieved 2009-11-22. 
  64. ^ Zegura SL, Karafet TM, Zhivotovsky LA, Hammer MF (January 2004). "High-resolution SNPs and microsatellite haplotypes point to a single, recent entry of Native American Y chromosomes into the Americas". Molecular Biology and Evolution 21 (1): 164–75. doi:10.1093/molbev/msh009. PMID 14595095. 
  65. ^ "mtDNA Variation among Greenland Eskimos. The Edge of the Beringian Expansion". Laboratory of Biological Anthropology, Institute of Forensic Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research,University of Cambridge, Cambridge, University of Hamburg, Hamburg. 2000. doi:10.1086/303038. http://www.cell.com/AJHG/abstract/S0002-9297%2807%2963257-1. Retrieved 2009-11-22. 
  66. ^ "The peopling of the New World - Perspectives from Molecular Anthropology". Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania. Annual Review of Anthropology. 2004. doi:10.1146/annurev.anthro.33.070203.143932. http://arjournals.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.anthro.33.070203.143932?journalCode=anthro. Retrieved 2010-02-03. 
  67. ^ "Native American Mitochondrial DNA Analysis Indicates That the Amerind and the Nadene Populations Were Founded by Two Independent Migrations". Center for Genetics and Molecular Medicine and Departments of Biochemistry and Anthropology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia. Genetics Society of America. Vol 130, 153-162. http://www.genetics.org/cgi/reprint/130/1/153. Retrieved 2009-11-28. 
  68. ^ Evidence for an extraterrestrial impact 12,900 years ago that contributed to the megafaunal extinctions and the Younger Dryas cooling - Firestone et al. 104 (41): 16016 - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  69. ^ Fossilized human feces rewrite ancient history
  70. ^ The Geographical, Natural and Civil History of Chili, Volume II
  71. ^ Stanford, Dennis, 2008, Lecture at Gustavus Adolphus College: "The Ice-Age Discovery of the Americas: Constructing an Iberian Solution" [1]
  72. ^ Melanie Kuch, Darren R. Gröcke, Martin C. Knyf, M. Thomas P. Gilbert, Ban Younghusband, Terry Young, Ingeborg Marshall, Eske Willerslev , Mark Stoneking , Hendrik Poinar, "A preliminary analysis of the DNA and diet of the extinct Beothuk: A systematic approach to ancient human DNA" American Journal of Physical Anthropology Volume 132 Issue 4, Pages 594–604 [2]

Sources

  • Dixon, E. James. Quest for the Origins of the First Americans. University of New Mexico Press. 1993.
  • Dixon, E. James. Bones, Boats, and Bison: the Early Archeology of Western North America. University of New Mexico Press. 1993.
  • Erlandson, Jon M. Early Hunter-Gatherers of the California Coast. Plenum Press. 1994.
  • Erlandson, Jon M. The Archaeology of Aquatic Adaptations: Paradigms for a New Millennium. Journal of Archaeological Research, Vo. 9, 2001. Pp. 287-350.
  • Erlandson, Jon M. Anatomically Modern Humans, Maritime Migrations, and the Peopling of the New World. In The First Americans: The Pleistocene Colonization of the New World, edited by N. Jablonski, 2002. Pp. 59-92. Memoirs of the California Academy of Sciences. San Francisco.
  • Erlandson, Jon. M., M. H. Graham, Bruce J. Bourque, Debra Corbett, James A. Estes, & R. S. Steneck. The Kelp Highway Hypothesis: Marine Ecology, The Coastal Migration Theory, and the Peopling of the Americas. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology, Vo. 2, 2007. Pp. 161-174.
  • Jason A. Eshleman, Ripan S. Malhi, and David Glenn Smith, "Mitochondrial DNA Studies of Native Americans: Conceptions and Misconceptions of the Population Prehistory of the Americas", Evolutionary Anthropology, 12:7–18 (2003)
  • Fedje, & Christensen. Modeling Paleoshorelines and Locating Early Holocene Coastal Sites in Haida Gwaii. American Antiquity, Vol. 64, #4, 1999. Pp. 635-652.
  • E. F. Greenman, "The Upper Palaeolithic and the New World", Current Anthropology, 4: 41–66 (1963)
  • Jody Hey, "On the Number of New World Founders: A Population Genetic Portrait of the Peopling of the Americas", Public Library of Science Biology, 3(6):e193 (2005).
  • Jacobs, James Q. (2001). "The Paleoamericans: Issues and Evidence Relating to the Peopling of the New World". Anthropology and Archaeology Pages. jqjacobs.net. http://www.jqjacobs.net/anthro/paleoamericans.html. Retrieved 2007-06-17. 
  • Jacobs, James Q. (2002). "Paleoamerican Origins: A Review of Hypotheses and Evidence Relating to the Origins of the First Americans". Anthropology and Archaeology Pages. jqjacobs.net. http://www.jqjacobs.net/anthro/paleoamerican_origins.html. Retrieved 2006-06-17. 
  • Jones, Peter N. Respect for the Ancestors: American Indian Cultural Affiliation in the American West. Bauu Institute Press. 2005.
  • Matson and Coupland. The Prehistory of the Northwest Coast. Academic Press. New York. 1995.
  • Bradley, Michael, "The Black Discovery Of America: Amazing evidence of daring voyages by ancient West African mariners" Toronto, Canada: Personal Library Publishers, 1981 ISBN 0-920510-36-1.
  • Adovasio, J. M., with Jake Page. The First Americans: In Pursuit of Archaeology’s Greatest Mystery. New York: Random House, 2002.
  • Bradley, B. and Stanford, D. "The North Atlantic ice-edge corridor: a possible Palaeolithic route to the New World." World Archaeology 34, 2004.
  • Bradley, B. and Stanford, D. "The Solutrean-Clovis connection: reply to Straus, Meltzer and Goebel." World Archaeology 38, 2006.
  • Lauber, Patricia. Who Came First? New Clues to Prehistoric Americans. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 2003.
  • Snow, Dean R. “The First Americans and the Differentiation of Hunter-Gatherer Cultures.” In Bruce G. Trigger and Wilcomb *E. Washburn, eds., The Cambridge History of the Native Peoples of the Americas, Volume I: North America (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 125-199.
  • Jones, Peter N. "Respect for the Ancestors: American Indian Cultural Affiliation in the American West." Boulder, CO: Bauu Press. 2004
  • Dixon, E. James. Bones, Boats and Bison: the Early Archeology of Western North America. University of New Mexico Press. 1999.
  • Evidence Supports Earlier Date for People in North America, April 4, 2008

Further Reading

  1. Gowlett, John. Ascent To Civilization. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1984.
  2. Petit, Charles W. "Rediscovering America." U. S. News & World Report, October 12, 1998.
  3. Fagan, Brian M. The Journey from Eden. London: Thames and Hudson, 1990.
  4. Gilsen, Leland. "Pleistocene Adaptations." May 29, 1999. Oregon Archaeology: Prehistory. June 2, 2000 [1].
  5. Beringia Research. Yukon Beringia Interpretative Centre. Dec. 7, 2000 [2].
  6. Coe, Michael, Dean Snow, and Elizabeth Benson. Atlas of Ancient America. New York: Facts On File Publications, 1986.
  7. Begley. Sharon and Andrew Murr. "The First Americans." Newsweek, April 26, 1999.
  8. Roosevelt, A. C. et al. "Paleoindian Cave Dwellers in the Amazon: The Peopling of the Americas." Science, April 19, 1996.
  9. Price, Douglas and Gary Feinmen, editors. "Monte Verde Early Hunter-Gatherers in South America." Images of the Past. 1997.
  10. Surovell, Todd A. "Early Paleoindian Women, Children, Mobility, and Fertility." American Antiquity, 65 (3), 2000

External links



Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

There are several popular models of migration to the New World proposed by the anthropological community. The question of how, when and why humans first entered the Americas is of serious interest to anthropologists and has been a subject of heated debate for centuries. As new discoveries come to light, past hypotheses are reevaluated and new theories constructed.

Contents

Understanding the Debate

The chronology of migration models is divided into two general schools of thought. One school believes in a “short chronology,” with the first movement into the New World occurring no earlier than 14,000 – 16,000 years ago. The “long chronology” camp posits that the first group of people entered the hemisphere at a much earlier date, possibly 20,000 years ago or earlier, and may have been followed by successive waves of immigrants.[1]

One factor fueling the debate is the discontinuity of archaeological evidence between North and South America. North American sites tend to reflect a more or less uniform techno-complex pattern known as Clovis from at least 13,500 years ago onwards, evidence of which has been found throughout North America and Central America.

Their South American counterparts, on the other hand, do not share the same consistency and exhibit more diverse cultural patterns. Thus, many archaeologists conclude that the Clovis model is not valid for the Southern Hemisphere, calling for new theories to explain prehistoric sites that do not fit into the Clovis tool techno-complex in South America. Some theorists are seeking to develop a Pan-American colonization model that integrates both North and South American archaeological records.

Land bridge theory

Also known as The Bering Strait Theory or “short chronology” theory, Land Bridge theory has been widely accepted since the 1930s. This model of migration into the New World proposes that people wandered from Siberia into Alaska, tracking big game animal herds. They were able to cross between the two continents by a land bridge called the Bering Land Bridge, which spanned what is now the Bering Strait, during the Wisconsin glaciation, the last major stage of the Pleistocene beginning 50,000 years ago and ending some 10,000 years ago, when ocean levels were 60 metres (200 ft) lower than today. This information is gathered using oxygen isotope records from deep-sea cores. An exposed land bridge that was at least 1,000 miles wide existed between Siberia and the western coast of Alaska. From the archaeological evidence gathered, it was concluded that this culture of big game hunters crossed the Bering Strait at least 12,000 years ago and could have eventually reached the southern tip of South America by 11,000 years ago.

A recent molecular genetics study suggests that the Amerindian population in the Americas may be derived from a theoretical founding population with an effective size of as small as 70.[2] The Hey study is restricted to 9 genomic regions (or loci) in the Americas and Asia, and excludes speakers of Na-Dene and Eskimo-Aleut languages. The study does not address the question of separate migrations for these groups, and excludes other DNA datasets not sampled in the source literature.

It has been noted that Amerindian groups in the Arctic exhibit perhaps the strongest DNA or mitochondrial DNA relations to Siberian peoples. Amerindian groups in other geographical locations (such as in the Southwestern and Northeastern U.S., Mesoamerica, and South America) share fewer genetic traits with Arctic Amerindians and Siberians.

An October 2007 study suggested "that the initial founders of the Americas emerged from a single source ancestral population that evolved in isolation, likely in Beringia....the isolation in Beringia might have lasted up to 15,000 years. Following this isolation, the initial founders of the Americas began rapidly populating the New World from North to South America." [3]

Synopsis

At the height of the last Ice Age, about 17,000 years ago, as the ice sheets advanced and sea levels fell, people first migrated from the Eurasian landmass to the Americas. These nomadic hunters were following game herds from Siberia across what is today the Bering Strait into Alaska, and then gradually spread southward. Based upon the distribution of Amerind languages and language families, a movement of tribes along the Rocky Mountain foothills and eastward across the Great Plains to the Atlantic seaboard is assumed to have occurred some 10,000 years ago.

Clovis culture

This big game hunting culture has been labeled as the Clovis culture, and is primarily identified with fluted projectile points. The culture received its name from artifacts found near Clovis, the first evidence of this tool complex, excavated in 1932. The Clovis culture ranged over much of North America and even appeared in South America. The culture is identified by distinctive "Clovis point", a notched flute in flint spear-points where a shaft was inserted. This flute is one characteristic that defines the Clovis point complex.

Dating of Clovis materials has been by association with animal bones and by the use of carbon dating methods. Recent reexaminations of Clovis materials using improved carbon dating methods produced results of 11,050 and 10,800 radiocarbon years B.P. (before present). This evidence suggests that the flowering of this culture was both somewhat later and considerably shorter than previously believed. Michael R. Waters of Texas A&M University in College Station and Thomas W. Stafford Jr., proprietor of a private-sector laboratory in Lafayette and an expert in the complex art of radiocarbon dating, set out to answer "when was Clovis?" The heyday of Clovis technology has typically been set between 11,500 and 10,900 radiocarbon years B.P. (The radiocarbon calibration is disputed for this period, but the widely used IntCal04 calibration puts the dates at 13,300 to 12,800 calendar years B.P.). In a controversial move, Waters and Stafford argue that no fewer than 11 of the 22 Clovis sites with radiocarbon dates are "problematic" and should be disregarded--including the type site in Clovis, New Mexico. They argue that the datable samples could have been contaminated by earlier material. However, this contention was considered by many in the archaeological community to be spurious and prompted a letter, penned by Bruce Huckell, to the journal Science for even publishing the paper.

Problems with Clovis migration models

Significant problems arise with the Clovis migration model. If Clovis people radiated south after entering the New World and eventually reached the southern tip of South America by 11,000 years ago, this leaves only a short time span to populate the entire hemisphere. Another complication for the Clovis-only theory arose in 1997, when a panel of authorities inspected the Monte Verde site in Chile, concluding that the radiocarbon evidence predates Clovis by at least 1,000 years. This makes it difficult to defend the theory of a singular north-to-south population movement. Many excavations have uncovered evidence that subsistence patterns of early Americans included foods such as turtles, shellfish, and tubers. This is quite a change of diet from the big game mammoths, long-horn bison, horse, and camels that early Clovis hunters apparently followed east into the New World.

At the Topper archaeological site (located along the banks of the Savannah River near Allendale) investigated by University of South Carolina archaeologist Dr. Albert Goodyear, charcoal material recovered in association with purported human artifacts returned radiocarbon dates of up to 50,000 years BP. This would indicate the presence of humans well before the last glacial period; however, considerable doubt over the validity of these findings has been raised by other researchers, and the pre-Clovis Topper dates remain controversial.

Pre-Clovis dates have been claimed for several sites in South America, but these early dates have yet to be verified unequivocally.

Watercraft migration theories

Earlier finds have led to a pre-Clovis culture theory encompassing different migration models with an expanded chronology to supersede the "Clovis-first" theory.

A study by Brian Kemp and colleagues published in The American Journal of Physical Anthropology reports new DNA-based research that uniquely links the DNA retrieved from a 10,000-year-old fossilized tooth from an Alaskan island, with specific coastal tribes in Tierra del Fuego, Ecuador, Mexico and California.[4] Unique markers found in DNA recovered from the Alaskan tooth were found in these specific coastal tribes, and were rare in any of the other indigenous peoples in the Americas. This finding lends substantial credence to a migration theory that at least one set of early peoples moved south along the west coast of the Americas in boats. A previous study (Eshleman et al. 2004) showed that mtDNA (human mitochondrial DNA) from indigenous populations in coastal British Columbia showed similarities to coastal populations in Southern California, while inland populations in both localities differed markedly.

Pacific coastal model

The Pacific model proposes that people reached South America before North America following a Pacific route of water travel. Support for this argument is based on sites such as Monte Verde in southern Chile and Taima-Taima in western Venezuela. Two cultural components were discovered at Monte Verde. The youngest layer is radiocarbon dated at 12,500 years, while the older component possibly dates back as far as 33,000 B.P. However, the older dates associated with the site are still debated.


Other coastal models deal specifically with the peopling of the Pacific Northwest coast and have been advocated by archaeologists Knut Fladmark, Roy Carlson, Ruth Gruhn, James Dixon, and Daryl Fedje. Carlson,[5] and the others argue for a coastal migration from Alaska pre-10,000 B.P. that predates the migration of Clovis people moving south through an ice-free corridor located near the continental divide.[6] These people were followed by the Clovis culture, which some archaeologists believe moved south from Alaska through an ice-free corridor located between modern British Columbia and Alberta. However, recent dating of Clovis and similar paleoindian sites in Alaska suggest that Clovis technology actually moved from the south into Alaska following the melting of the continental glaciers about 10,500 years ago.[7]

As the ice sheets began to melt, it became possible for riverine-adapted people who made and used microblades to move west to the Northwest coast. A second migration of the Denali culture at around 10,700 b.p. brought peoples down the coast from Alaska. Carlson hypothesizes that a population with a maritime adaptation could have travelled south from Alaska down the coastal islands by watercraft, settling as the ice receded, then moving up rivers to the interior. This would account for early finds at Ground Hog Bay in SE Alaska and Namu, about 800 km south of Ground Hog Bay near modern Bella Colla dating to 10,180 +/- 800 b.p. and 9700 b.p., respectively. According to the Matson and Coupland dual migration hypothesis, Namu and Ground Hog Bay represent a second migration while the initial migration route south was through the ice free corridor. Part of the difficulty is the lack of site data prior to 10,000 b.p. as well as the limited number of archaeological investigations into the coastal migration model. Other factors affecting migration models are sea level changes and the question of available land mass to support migrating groups of people.

Evidence from Southeast Alaska and Queen Charlotte Islands in British Columbia, provides some data about food and land resources during the last glacial maximum. Fedje and Christensen (1999) have identified several sites on Haida Gwaii that date to post 9000 b.p. (642). The oldest human remains known from Alaska or Canada are from On Your Knees Cave in Southeast Alaska. The individual, a young man in his early twenties when he died, has been dated to 10,300 years ago and isotopic analyses indicates the individual was raised on a diet primarily of marine foods.[8] These data suggest that there are a number of submerged sites just beyond the shorelines of Haida Gwaii (Fedje & Christensen, 1999) and along the coast of Southeast Alaska. Paleoecological evidence suggests that travel along the coast would have been possible between 13,000 and 11,000 b.p. as the ice sheets began retreating.[9] Between 13,000 and 10,500 b.p. Haida Gwaii had more than double its current land mass (Fedje & Christensen, 1999:638). This area was flooded as the ice sheets began to melt between 11,000 and 9,000 b.p. (Ibid). Therefore any evidence of human occupation would now be below sea level. Conversely, older sites that are located near modern shorelines would have been approximately 15m from the coast (Ibid). The antiquity of the lithic scatters that Fedje and Christensen (1999) have reported finding in intertidal zones along the Haida Gwaii coast is suggestive of early human occupation of the area.

Fedje and Christensen (1999) support Carlson (1990), and Fladmark's (1975, 1979 & 1989) initial coastal migration model rather than the ice free corridor model proposed by Matson and Coupland (1995) through their investigations of intertidal zones on Haida Gwaii.[10] The coastal region was quite hospitable by 13,000 b.p. to peoples with watercraft and a maritime adaptation.[11] Furthermore, Fedje and Christensen (1999) argue that the coast was likely colonized before 13,000 b.p. (648). This assertion is based largely on watercraft evidence from Japan and Australia before 13000 b.p.[12] It is speculated that if peoples elsewhere at 13,000 b.p. could build boats then the possibility exists that migrating human groups could have produced watercraft to travel south from Beringia. There have been no water vessels recovered along the Northwest coast from this time. This may be due to poor preservation of organic materials, the inundation of coastal areas mentioned above, or that boats were not common 13,000 years ago. We can only infer water travel based on the presence of stone tools manufactured by humans found on island sites.

Other evidence comes from zooarchaeological finds along the Northwest coast. Goat remains as old as 12,000 b.p. have been found on Vancouver Island, British Columbia as well as bear remains dating to 12,500 b.p. in the Prince of Wales Archipelago, British Columbia.[13] Even older remains of black and brown bear, caribou, sea birds, fish, and ringed seal have been dated from a number of caves in Southeast Alaska by paleontologist Timothy Heaton. This means that there were enough land and floral resources to support large land mammals and theoretically, humans. Further intertidal and underwater investigations may produce sites older than 11,000 b.p.. Coastal occupation prior to 13,000 b.p. would allow for people to migrate further south and account for the early South American sites.

Anecdotal evidence comes from the surviving Bella Bella oral tradition as recorded by Franz Boas in 1898. "In the beginning there was nothing but water and ice and a narrow strip of shoreline".[14] Some believe this story describes the Northwest coast during the last glacial maximum and that the story suggests that the Northwest coast colonization occurred during the last ice age.

Australia/Oceania model

Some anthropologists propose that peoples of Oceania or southeast Asia crossed the Pacific Ocean and arrived in South America long before the Siberian hunter-gatherers. These hypothetical Pre-Siberian American Aborigines populated much of South America before being nearly exterminated and/or absorbed by the Siberian migrants coming from the north. Some of the theories involve a southward migration from or through Australia and Tasmania, hopping Subantarctic islands and then proceeding along the coast of Antarctica and/or southern ice sheets to the tip of South America sometime during the last glacial maximum.

There have been well-dated stratigraphic studies that point to people entering Australia some 40,000 years ago. At this period Australia was not connected to another continent, which leads to the assumption that it was reached by watercraft. If Australia was reached in this fashion, some reason that the New World could have been reached in the same way. Proponents of this model point to cultural and phenotypical similarities between the Aboriginals of Australia and the Selknam and Yaghan tribes of southern Patagonia. However, the theory of Australoid migration to the Americas has earned little scientific support as there is no genetic evidence matching indigenous Australians with South American populations. This model is taught in Chilean schools together with the landbridge model.

Atlantic coastal model

Archaeologists Dennis Stanford and Bruce Bradley champion the coastal Atlantic route. Their Solutrean Hypothesis is also based on evidence from the Clovis complex, but instead traces the origins of the Clovis toolmaking style to the Solutrean culture of ice age Western Europe. They have hypothesized that Solutrean hunters and fishers may have worked their way along the southern margins of the Atlantic sea ice into the New World. Their argument is based on similarities between Solutrean and Clovis flint-knapping techniques, and is indirectly supported by the pre-Columbian presence of the European mitochondrial DNA Haplogroup X in North America.

Other Atlantic migration proponents include the French archaeologist Remy Cottevieille-Giraudet, who in the 1930s suggested a European Cro-Magnon origin of the Algonquian peoples. In 1963, Emerson Greenman proposed a hypothetical Atlantic migration during the Upper Paleolithic, also citing New World similarities with Solutrean tools as well as art. He suggested that the Beothuk people of Newfoundland, among others, may have been at least partial descendants of that migration. According to McMaster University anthropologist Hendrik Poinar, dental samples from a Beothuk chief yielded positive results for mtDNA Haplogroup X.[15]

Problems with coastal migration models

The coastal migration models have provided a new look at migration in the New World, but they are not without their own problems. One of the biggest problems is collecting data for these theories. The coastline of the Pleistocene is now under 60 meters of water. This makes excavation rather difficult and probably unreachable until the utilization of underwater technology advances. If there was an early pre-Clovis coastal migration, there is always the possibility of a “failed colonization.” Of course as mentioned, evidence of this would be under 60 meters of water. Another problem that arises is the lack of hard evidence found for a “long chronology” theory. No sites have been able to produce a consistent date that is older than 12,500 years, but the entirety of South America is gravely undersampled for early periods. There is also the possibility that archaeologists are not identifying the tool technology of pre-Clovis sites. Early tools might have been crude stone flakes, edge-trimmed cobble tools, and tools of perishable bone that North and South American archaeologists could easily overlook.

Other theories

In his 1976 book "America B.C.: Ancient Settlers in the New World", marine biologist and epigraphy specialist Barry Fell examines evidence of European visitors to North America centuries before Columbus. Fell's claims of visits from Irish monks, Celts, Phoenicians (see : Pedra da Gávea, Brazil), and others, are based on his comparisons of similarities in written text, man-made rock structures, and 'graffiti' left behind by the ancient New World travelers. Theories of migration to the New World are presented for many ancient cultures in a clearinghouse form, but are all largely rejected by the academic community.

Menhir Stone Circle at Burnt Hill, Massachusetts, USA

In his 2004 book "Columbus Came Last", Hans-Joachim Zillmer discusses the presence of Celtic peoples since the 3rd millennium B.P. in North America, i.e. the Celts-in-America theory. Zillmer identifies purported Celtic menhirs and dolmen sites as well as discoveries of Roman and Celtic coins in America. During this period, according to Zillmer, there was a land connection between North America’s East coast via Greenland and Iceland all the way to Europe, the so-called "Greenland bridge". This land bridge allowed the Celts to travel to both Europe and North America from their Arctic homeland, the "Land of Eternal Spring." Zillmer's theory is not taken seriously by most scholars.

Some writers claim that the Olmecs of Mexico were related to peoples of Africa, citing their interpretation of certain skeletal, linguistic, epigraphic, religious and anthropological data. Some researchers specifically identify the Olmecs with the Mandé people of West Africa. The idea that the Olmecs are related to Africans is not new; José Melgar, who discovered the first colossal head at Hueyapan (now Tres Zapotes) in 1862, subsequently published two papers that attributed this head to a "Negro race".[16]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ National Genographic. "Atlas of the Human Journey." 2005. May 2, 2007. [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1952074 Beringian Standstill and Spread of Native American Founders]
  4. ^ "DNA Ties Together Scattered Peoples," Los Angeles Times (accessed Sept. 11, 2006);
  5. ^ 1990 in Matson and Coupland, 1995:61-61
  6. ^ Matson & Coupland, 1995:64
  7. ^ Dixon 1999
  8. ^ Dixon 1999
  9. ^ Dixon 1993, 1999; Matson & Coupland, 1995:64
  10. ^ In Fedje & Christensen, 1999:648
  11. ^ Fedje & Christensen, 1999:648
  12. ^ Fedje & Christensen, 1999:648
  13. ^ Ibid.
  14. ^ Boas, 1898:883 in Fedje & Christensen, 1999:635
  15. ^ http://www.science.mcmaster.ca/geo/news/beothuk.pdf
  16. ^ Stirling, p. 2, who cites Melgar (1869) and Melgar (1871).

References

Further reading

  • Adovasio, J. M., with Jake Page. The First Americans: In Pursuit of Archaeology’s Greatest Mystery. New York: Random House, 2002.
  • Lauber, Patricia. Who Came First? New Clues to Prehistoric Americans. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society, 2003.
  • Snow, Dean R. “The First Americans and the Differentiation of Hunter-Gatherer Cultures.” In Bruce G. Trigger and Wilcomb *E. Washburn, eds., The Cambridge History of the Native Peoples of the Americas, Volume I: North America (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 125-199.
  • Jones, Peter N. "Respect for the Ancestors: American Indian Cultural Affiliation in the American West." Boulder, CO: Bauu Press. 2004
  • Sorenson, John L. and Johannessen, Carl L. (2006) "Biological Evidence for Pre-Columbian Transoceanic Voyages." In: Contact and Exchange in the Ancient World. Ed. Victor H. Mair. University of Hawai'i Press. Pp. 238-297. ISBN-13: ISBN 978-0-8248-2884-4; ISBN-10: ISBN 0-8248-2884-4
  • Dixon, E. James. Bones, Boats and Bison: the Early Archeology of Western North America. University of New Mexico Press. 1999.



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