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Continental Roots and Coastal Routes? Merging Archaeological, Bio-Geographic and Genomic Evidence of the Peopling of the Americas

Author(s): Christopher Gillam ; Andrei Tabarev ; Masami Izuho

Year: 2016

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Summary

Genetic evidence suggests that the Amerind haplogroups A-D coalesce in north-central East Asia (CEA), around Mongolia. How, then, do we have a late Pleistocene coastal migration to the Americas when ancestral populations are centrally-located in the heart of the continent? One answer is offered by bio-geographic and archaeological evidence and an (in)convenient gap in our genetic knowledge of Upper Paleolithic Japan. Japan’s mainland, Honshu, is proposed as the genetic refugia of the first Americans, in contrast to the Beringia hypothesis. These populations, established by a southeastern migration (ca. 40k-35k BP) from CEA/Mongolia to Kyushu/Honshu, via China/Korea, were themselves subsequently displaced, physically and genetically, by a southern migration (ca. 18k-16k BP) of northern Siberian hunters from Sakhalin/Hokkaido, progenitors of the later Jomon. Genetic isolation and subsequent displacement/migration are more likely from a large island setting with low population density, nearly 20k years of prior occupation and diverse cultural adaptations, than a continental-linked landmass with little archaeological evidence dating prior to 15k BP. A southeastern migration around 35k BP from CEA to Japan set the stage, with northern Siberian migrants around 16k BP displacing Honshu’s established Paleolithic cultures, driving some maritime-adapted populations northward along the opening coastline and onward to the Americas.


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Continental Roots and Coastal Routes? Merging Archaeological, Bio-Geographic and Genomic Evidence of the Peopling of the Americas. Christopher Gillam, Andrei Tabarev, Masami Izuho. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404140)


Keywords


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