Sunday, July 14

New genomic evidence suggests Ice Age people moved from China to Americas 2023

Our predecessors took great trips thousands of years ago, establishing communities around the globe.

Early human migration is a huge, complicated mystery. Ancient people left artifacts, communities, and genetic evidence as they went, which scientists are using to solve this riddle.

A recent study found that some ancient Americans were Chinese.

Native Americans have a more convoluted Asian heritage. “We show that northern coastal China also contributed to the gene pool of Native Americans,” said Yu-Chun Li, a molecular anthropologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the study’s first author.

Tracking origins

Siberians who crossed the Bering Strait were the only ancestors of Native Americans, according to prior findings. However, current studies suggest that additional groups may have entered the Americas.

This study traced a female genetic lineage (D4h) from northern coastal China to the Americas using mitochondrial DNA. Researchers “followed the trail of an ancestral lineage that might link East Asian Paleolithic-age populations to founding populations in Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, and California.”

A comprehensive genomic dataset revealed this lineage. 100,000 present and 15,000 ancient Eurasia DNA samples were investigated. This unusual lineage has 216 modern and 39 ancient samples.

To determine the lineage’s branching route, they analyzed these individuals’ mutations, geographic locations, and carbon-dated dates.

Ice Age migration

This concluded two migratory episodes by Chinese ancestors—one during and one after the last Ice Age.

Lineage radiation revealed the initial migration occurred between 19,500 and 26,000 years ago during the Last Glacial Maximum. A large ice sheet enveloped northern China during this time. Prehistoric people may have left because of the cold. During the melting era, the second migration occurred.

The study also found that some northern coastal Chinese migrated to Japan during the second migration. This migration presumably enriched Japanese Ainus’ genes.

Arrowheads and spears from the Americas, China, and Japan have similar designs, indicating migration.

“This suggests that the Pleistocene connection among the Americas, China, and Japan was not confined to culture but also to genetics,” said senior scientist Qing-Peng Kong, a Chinese Academy of Sciences evolutionary geneticist.

New Native American ancestry research raises several issues. Connecting the links on early human migration looks to require additional research.

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