Native Americans Have a Common Ancestry
New genetic data suggests that Native Americans from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska across to Greenland and down to the southern tip of Chile all share a common ancestry. In a genealogical debate that has been ranging back and forth for decades, the latest DNA data painstakingly collected from 41 diverse Native American groups has identified a common genetic marker that is unique to all the groups.
A team led by Kari Britt Schroeder of the University of California studied the genetic profile of 908 people in 41 Native American groups in North and South America as well as three groups on the Asian side of the Bering Strait across from Alaska. About 1/3 of the Native Americans had a unique genetic marker not found in other Eurasian, African and Oceania groups that were studied. The genetic marker was found, however, in the Chukchiad and Karyak people on the Asian side of the Bering Strait.
The researchers have concluded that the most logical outcome from this result is that the genealogy of Native Americans all originates from a single ancestry on the Asian side of the Bering Strait. “While earlier studies have already supported this conclusion, what’s different about our work is that it provides the first solid data that simply cannot be reconciled with multiple ancestral populations” said Schroeder.
Not all researchers are likely to agree with this conclusion. A single ancestor implies that the original migrants across the Bering Strait shared a single culture, language and technology. Anthropologists and linguists have long argued that Native American groups exhibit too much diversity of cultures, languages and technologies that cannot easily be explained by the theory of a single common ancestor for all of the Americas (see First Native Americans Arrived in Two Separate Migrations). This latest study, however, appears to tip the argument in favor of a common ancestry.