The history of the peoples of America has just been interpreted again. The largest and fuller study ever conducted on the basis of mineral DNA extracted from ancient human remains found on the continent has confirmed the existence of a single ancestral population for all American ethnic groups, past and present.
Over 17,000 years ago, this prototype contingent crossed the Strait Bering from Siberia to Alaska and began to animate the New World. The mineral DNA shows an affinity between this migratory stream and the populations of Siberia and northern China. Unlike traditional theory, it had nothing to do with Africa or Australasia.
The new study also reveals that since they were settled in North America, the descendants of this migratory flow of ancestors diversified into two generations about 16,000 years ago.
The members of a line crossed the Panama Isthmus and lived in South America in three separate consecutive waves.
The first wave occurred between 15,000 and 11,000 years ago. The second took place at most 9,000 years ago. There are fossilized DNA files from both migrations throughout South America. The third wave is much more recent, but its influence is limited as it happened 4,200 years ago. Its members settled in central Andes.
An article about the study has just been published in the journal Cell a group of 72 researchers from eight countries linked to the University of Sao Paulo (USP) in Brazil, Harvard University in the United States, and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Anthropological History in Germany, among others.
According to the findings of the researchers, the genealogy that made the north-south journey between 16,000 and 15,000 years belonged to the Clovis culture, named for a group of archaeological sites excavated in the western US and dating from 13,500-11,000 years ago.
The Clovis culture was named so when silicon boxing was found in the 1930s on a digging in Clovis, New Mexico. Clovis sites have been identified throughout the US and in Mexico and Central America. In North America, the Clovis people chased the Pleistocene megafaunas, such as the giant shadow and the mammoth. With the decline of the megapan and its disappearance 11,000 years ago, the civilization of Clovis finally disappeared. Earlier, however, hunter-collector bands had traveled south to explore new hunting grounds. They end up settling in Central America, as evidenced by the 9,400-year human human DNA found in Belize and analyzed in the new study.
At a later date, perhaps in pursuit of herd-haunches, Clovis hunters-collectors cross the Panama Canal and spread to South America, as evidenced by genetic records from burial centers in Brazil and Chile. This genetic documentation confirms well-known archaeological finds, such as the Monte Verde area in southern Chile, where people have massacred 14,800 years ago.
Among the many known Clovis sites, the only burial site associated with Clovis' tools is in Montana, where the remains of a child (Anzick-1) were found 12,600 years ago. The DNA extracted from these bones has DNA links from skeletons of people who lived 10,000 to 9,000 years ago in caves near Lagoa Santa, Brazil's Minas Gerais. In other words, the people of Lagoa Santa were some descendants of Clovis immigrants from North America.
"From the genetic point of view, the people of Lagoa Santa are descendants of the first Americans," said archaeologist André Menezes Strauss, who co-ordinated the Brazilian part of the study. Straus is linked to the Museum of Archeology and Ethnology of the University of Sao Paulo (MAE-USP).
"Surprisingly, members of this first line of South Americans have left no recognizable descendants to today's Americans," he said. "9,000 years ago their DNA completely disappears from the fossilized samples and is replaced by DNA from the first wave of migration before the Clovis culture. All those living Amerindians are descendants of this first wave. We do not know why the genetic stock of its people Lagoa Santa disappeared. "
One possible reason for the disappearance of DNA from the second migration is that it was diluted in the DNA of Amerindians who are descendants of the first wave and can not identify with existing methods of genetic analysis.
According to Tábita Hünemeier, geneticist at the Institute of Biological Sciences of the University of Sao Paulo (IB-USP) who participated in the research, "one of the main results of the study was the identification of Luzia's people as genetically related to the culture of Clovis, which dissolves the idea of two biological components and the possibility of two migrations in America, one with African characteristics and the other with Asian features. "
"The people of Lusia must have originated from a migratory wave originating from Beringia," he said, referring to the already sunken Bering Bridge that joined Siberia in Alaska during the glaciers when the sea levels were lower.
"Molecular evidence suggests substitution of the population in South America since 9,000 years ago." The people of Lusia disappeared and were replaced by Americans living alive, although both had a common origin in Beringia, "said Hünemeier.
The contribution of Brazilian researchers to the study was fundamental. Among the 49 people from which DNA was extracted, seven skeletons dating from 10,100 to 9,100 years ago came from Lapa do Santo, a rock shelter at Lagoa Santa.
The seven skeletons, along with dozens of others, were found and expropriated in successive archaeological campaigns in the area, originally led by Walter Alves Neves, a natural anthropologist at IB-USP and by Strauss in 2011. Archaeological campaigns headed by Neves between 2002 and 2008 were funded by the São Paulo Research Foundation – FAPESP.
In total, the new study investigated the mineral DNA from 49 people found in 15 archaeological sites in Argentina (two sites, 11 individuals between 8,900 and 6,600 years ago), Belize (one site, three people dating from 9,400 to 7,300 (four locations, 15 people dating from 10,100 to 1,000 years ago), Chile (three locations, five individuals dating from 11,100 to 540 years ago) and Peru (seven sites, 15 people dated between 10,100 and 730 years ago).
The Brazilian skeletons come from the Lapa do Santo archaeological sites (seven people about 9600 years ago), Jabuticabeira II in the state of Santa Catarina (a sambaqui or shell with five people dating about 2,000 years ago) and two 2 people dated about 6,700 years ago) and Moraes (a person dating back some 5,800 years ago).
Paulo Antônio Dantas de Blasis, an archaeologist associated with the MAE-USP, led the excavation to Jabuticabeira II, which was also supported by FAPESP through a Thematic Project.
Excavations in the middle areas of the river in Sao Paulo were led by Levy Figuti, also an archaeologist at MAE-USP, and were also supported by FAPESP.
"The Moraes skeleton (5,800 years old) and the Laranjal skeleton (6,700 years old) are among the oldest in South and South East Brazil," said Figuti. "These sites are strategically unique because they are among the mountainous areas of the Atlantic plateau and the coastal plain, contributing significantly to understanding how Southeast Brazil lived."
These skeletons were found between 2000 and 2005. From the beginning, a complex mixture of coastal and terrestrial cultural features was presented, and the results of their analysis generally vary except in the case of a skeleton diagnosed as Paleoidanus (DNA analysis is not complete) .
"The study just published is an important step in the direction of archaeological research, exponentially increasing what we knew only a few years ago about the archaeogenetics of the peoples of America," Figuti said.
Hünemeier has also recently contributed significantly to the reconstruction of human history in South America using paleogenetics.
Not all human remains found in some of the most ancient archaeological monuments in Central and South America belonged to genetic descendants of the Clovis culture. Multiple area residents were not linked to Clovis DNA.
"This shows that, in addition to its genetic contribution, the second wave of immigration to South America, which was linked to Clovis, may also have brought with it technological principles that will be expressed in the famous fish found in many parts of South America "Strauss said.
How many human movements from Asia came to America at the end of the Ice Age more than 16,000 years ago have so far been unknown. The traditional theory, formed in the 1980s by Neves and other researchers, was that the first wave had African features or features similar to those of the Australian Aborigines.
The well-known forensic reconstruction of Luzia's face was conducted in accordance with this theory. Luzia is the name given to the petrified skull of a woman who lived in Santa Lagoa 12,500 years ago and is sometimes referred to as the "first Brazilian."
The bust of Lusia with African features was built on the morphology of the skull by the British anatomical artist Richard Neave in the 1990s.
"However, the shape of the skull is not a reliable indicator of ancestry or geographical origin. Genetics is the best basis for this type of conclusion," Strauss explained.
"The genetic results of the new study clearly show that there was no significant link between the people of Lagoa Santa and the groups from Africa or Australia, so the hypothesis that the Lusian people derive from a migratory wave before the ancestors of today's Americans the DNA shows that the Lusian people were entirely American. "
A new bust replaced Lujia in the Brazilian pantheon. Caroline Wilkinson, a forensic anthropologist at Liverpool at John Moores University in the United Kingdom and a student of Neave, has created a reconstruction of a person from one of the exiled people in Lapa do Santo. Reconstruction was based on a retrospective digital model of the skull.
"The usual facial reconstruction, familiar with the traditional reconstruction of Lusia's face with strong African features, more accurately reflects the physiognomy of the first Brazilian inhabitants, presenting the generalized and unambiguous features that created the great American diversity in thousands of years, "said Straus.
The study published in Cell, he added, also presenting the first genetic data for the Brazilian coastal sambaquis.
These monumental shell shells were constructed 2,000 years ago by numerous societies that lived on the coast of Brazil. The analysis of fossil DNA from the coral burials in Santa Catarina and Sao Paulo shows that these groups were genetically similar to the American alive today in the South of Brazil, especially the Kaingang teams, "he said.
According to Strauss, DNA extraction from fossils is technically very difficult, especially if the material was found in a tropical climate. For nearly two decades, excessive fragmentation and significant contamination have prevented different research teams from successfully exporting bone genetic material found in Lagoa Santa.
This was done thanks to the methodological developments developed by the Max Planck Institute. As Strauss has excitedly explained, much more has to be discovered.
"The construction of Brazil's first archaeogenetic workshop is scheduled to start in 2019, thanks to a collaboration between the University of the Archeology and Ethnology Museum of the University of Sao Paulo and the Institute of Biological Sciences (IB) funded by FAPESP to give new impetus in research into the popular mentality of South America and Brazil, "said Straus.
"To some extent, this study not only changes what we know about the way the area inhabited, but it also significantly changes the way we study human skeletal remains," Figuti said.
Human remains were first found in Lagoa Santa in 1844 when the Danish naturalist Peter Wilhelm Lutz (1801-1880) discovered about 30 skeletons deep in a flooded cave. Almost all of these fossils are now in the Danish Natural History Museum in Copenhagen. One single skull is left in Brazil. He was donated by Lund at the Institute of History and Geography of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro.
Colonization with crap and limits
The same day with Cell the article was published (November 8, 2018), an article in the journal Science also reported new findings on mineral DNA from the first immigrants to America. André Strauss is one of the writers.
Among the 15 ancient skeletons from which genetic material has been taken, five belong to the Lund collection in Copenhagen. They date from 10,400 to 9,800 years ago. It is the oldest in the sample, while a person from Nevada is estimated to be 10,700 years old.
The sample contained fossilized human ruins from Alaska, Canada, Brazil, Chile and Argentina. The results of his molecular analysis have shown that the grassroots society of the first groups of people from Alaska did not come merely from the gradual occupation of the soil at the same time as population growth.
According to investigators who are responsible for the study, molecular data suggest that the first people invading Alaska or the neighboring Yukon are divided into two groups. This happened between 17,500 and 14,600 years ago. A group colonized North and Central America, the other South America.
Folk folks of America followed leapwardly, as small hunter-collector belts traveled across the globe to settle in new areas until they reached the Tierra del Fuego in a move lasting one or two millennia.
Among the 15 individuals whose DNA was analyzed, three of the Lagoa Santa Five were found to have some genetic material from Australasia, as suggested by Neves' theory of South American possession. Researchers can not explain the origin of this Australian DNA or how they ended up in just a few of the people of Lagoa Santa.
"The fact that the Australasian genomic signature was present for 10,400 years in Brazil but is absent from all the genomes that have been detected or found to be northerly is a challenge because of its presence in Lagoa Santa," they said .
Other fossils that were collected in the twentieth century include the Luzia skull found in the 1970s. Almost 100 skulls excavated by Neves and Strauss over the past 15 years are now being conducted at the USP. A similar number of fossils is carried out at the Catholic University of Minas Gerais (PUC-MG).
But the vast majority of these osteological and archaeological treasures, perhaps more than 100 people, were deposited at the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro and were probably destroyed by the fire that struck this historic building on 2 September 2018.
Lousia's skull was screened at the National Museum alongside the reconstruction of Neave's face. Scientists were afraid they were lost by the fire, but fortunately it was one of the first objects recovered from the ruins. He had broken, but he survived. The fire destroyed the original person reconstruction (of which there are many copies).