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The Genetic Prehistory of the New World Arctic

Author(s): Maanasa Raghavan ; Eske Willerslev

Year: 2015

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Summary

The New World Arctic, the last region of the Americas to be populated by humans, has a relatively well-researched archaeology. However, there is no consensus on how the different Arctic traditions were genetically related to one another. We present genome-wide sequence data from ancient and present-day humans from Greenland, Arctic Canada, Alaska, Aleutian Islands, and Siberia, contributing new perspectives to the debate of cultural versus genetic replacement in the New World Arctic. We show that Paleo-Eskimos (~3000 BCE to 1300 CE) represent a migration pulse into the Americas independent of both Native American and Inuit expansions. Furthermore, the genetic continuity characterizing the Paleo-Eskimo period was interrupted by the arrival of a new population from western Arctic, representing the ancestors of present-day Inuit, with evidence of past gene flow between these lineages. Despite periodic abandonment of major Arctic regions, a single Paleo-Eskimo metapopulation likely survived in near-isolation for more than 4000 years, only to vanish around 700 years ago.

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The Genetic Prehistory of the New World Arctic. Maanasa Raghavan, Eske Willerslev. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395831)


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Spatial Coverage

min long: -178.41; min lat: 62.104 ; max long: 178.77; max lat: 83.52 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America