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Lauricocha v2.0: Ancient highlanders grant new insights into the pre-Columbian population history of South America

Author(s): Lars Fehren-Schmitz

Year: 2015

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The Lauricocha caves in Peru were the first known evidence for an Early Holocene presence of humans in the high altitude Andes. However, critical examination of the excavation reports cast doubts on the status and significance of Lauricocha in the archaeological record of South America. Here, we present a thorough revision of site including new radiocarbon dates, as well as morphological, craniometric, and genome-wide genetic data obtained from the human remains found at the site. Our results not only challenge suggestions that Lauricocha was occupied no earlier than 7000 BP, but also prove the site to be a valuable archive with regards to the population history of the Andes and South America. We show that the earliest Palaeoindians and later inhabitants of the high Andes shared the same genetic history despite pronounced variation in their cranial features. Our observations support the hypothesis of a single-wave expansion/colonization scenario for South America, in which both early and later pre-Columbian populations derived from a continuous, single source population.

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Lauricocha v2.0: Ancient highlanders grant new insights into the pre-Columbian population history of South America. Lars Fehren-Schmitz. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397668)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.691; min lat: -56.945 ; max long: -31.113; max lat: 18.48 ;

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