The first settlement of the Americas began when Paleolithic hunter-gatherers first entered North America from the North Asian Mammoth steppe via the Beringia land bridge , which had formed between northeastern Siberia and western Alaska due to the lowering of sea level during the Last Glacial Maximum. These populations expanded south of the Laurentide Ice Sheet and rapidly throughout both North and South America , by 14, years ago. The peopling of the Americas is a long-standing open question, and while advances in archaeology , Pleistocene geology , physical anthropology , and DNA analysis have shed progressively more light on the subject, significant questions remain unresolved. The prevalent migration models outline different time frames for the Asian migration from the Bering Straits and subsequent dispersal of the founding population throughout the continent. The "Clovis first theory" refers to the s hypothesis that the Clovis culture represents the earliest human presence in the Americas, beginning about 13, years ago; evidence of pre-Clovis cultures has accumulated since , pushing back the possible date of the first peopling of the Americas to about 13,—15, years ago. For an introduction to the radiocarbon dating techniques used by archaeologists and geologists, see radiocarbon dating.
Settlement of the Americas
Humans May Have Been Stuck on Bering Strait for 10, Years | Live Science
Inhabited since the Paleolithic, the region is barely larger than Maine but served as a vital gateway to Siberia and the cradle of widespread human lineages found across northern Eurasia. According to one prevailing theory, it is also the area where ancestral Native Americans lived before peopling the New World. Schurr and his team took blood samples from Altai residents and examined their mitochondrial DNA, which is maternally inherited, and Y-chromosome DNA, which passes from father to son. Their analysis showed genetic distinctions between northern and southern Altaians, who also differ from one another both linguistically and culturally. The results revealed genetic ties linking Native Americans to all Altaians, with a significantly stronger relationship connecting the migrants to residents of southern Altai. In the past, archaeological evidence seemed to indicate that people arrived roughly 13, years ago, bringing the so-called Clovis culture—known for its signature spear points and associated with various sites in North America—with them. Recent discoveries together with genetic research have made the case for an earlier wave of immigrants, Schurr said.
History of the Bering Land Bridge Theory
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that humans migrated to the North American continent via Beringia, a land mass that once bridged the sea between what is now Siberia and Alaska. Two new DNA studies sourced from rare fossils on both sides of the Bering Strait help write new chapters in the stories of these prehistoric peoples. The first study delves into the genetics of North American peoples, the Paleo-Eskimos some of the earliest people to populate the Arctic and their descendants.
The mastodon was old, its teeth worn to nubs. It was perfect prey for a band of hunters, wielding spears tipped with needle-sharp points made from bone. Sensing an easy target, they closed in for the kill.