A study of DNA identifies the origins of the mummies american

The man of the Cave of the Spirit returns home and is buried by a tribe in Nevada (USA)

in the footsteps of the first american man

Since 20 years ago, the north american tribe of the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone in Nevada (USA) has fought for the return to the house of the Man of the Cave of the Spirit, a mummy found in 1940 in his territory. The remains match those of a man between 45 and 55 years of age.

Since their discovery, they have rested in the State Museum of Nevada and have been claimed by her village to be buried. Did so in virtue of a law for the protection and repatriation of graves that can be applied only if it shows that it is a native american. In the absence of this test, and given that the analysis of dating ensures that inhabited the area makes 10.600 years, while it has lasted the judicial process, nor the indians have been able to take as its ancestor, nor the scientists have had access to him for more studies.

In 2015, a group of scientists led by geneticist Danish Eske Willerslev, of the University Copenhagen (Denmark) and in collaboration with the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom), managed to analyze his DNA. In the study of which is the mummy oldest in the world, it has been confirmed that this is a native american. It has not been proven that the man of the Cave of the Spirit to be an ancestor of the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone, but the standard requires that the remains be delivered to the tribe nearest to you. So have won a battle of two decades and have been able to finally buried, in a ceremony full of rituals, that they claim to be their ancestor. “The remains are part of the cultural identity of the indigenous population and therefore have the right to say the last word”, has stated to THE WORLD, Jose Victor Moreno-Mayar, the main author of the research.

“It has tried to listen to the voices of the indigenous communities and I hope that this will contribute to the research groups in various fields is taken into account. In our study, we kept the community informed and involved throughout the project and this contributed to develop a relationship of trust that is rare among researchers and indigenous peoples,” he added.

Eske Willerslev with two members of a tribe

The science has continued its journey and has used these results to know how is populated the american continent. A team of 54 researchers, coordinated by Eske Willerslev, has presented this Thursday in the journal Science, a work which analysed the ancient DNA of 15 people of the Ice Age in a study that spans from Alaska to the chilean Patagonia. It contained the mummy of the Cave of the Spirit and the skeleton of Lovelock (Nevada, USA), Lagoa Santa (Brazil), an inca mummy (Argentina), the oldest remains of the Patagonia (Chile) and a milk tooth of a child 9,000 years old, found in the cave Trail Creek Alaska (USA).

The scientists explain that both the remains of the Cave of the Spirit in the united States as of Lagoa Santa in Brazil, despite the fact that their skulls are different to those of the native americans today, their genetics, yes, about the native american contemporaries. They would be more closely related even than with any other ancient group. This demolished a theory that claims that these remains are paleoamericanos. In addition, the researchers have been able to verify that these groups moved up the american continent, traveling long distances at great speed.

Among the findings most surprising collected in this work is the discovery of genetic fingerprints of upward of Australasia in the ancient native americans of South America, but not in North America, a conclusion that complicates what is known of these populations, and opens new questions. “We have identified this signal in remains of individuals that lived in Brazil makes 10.400 years, we know that this signal has been present in America since at least that time,” said Moreno-Mayar, the main author of the research.

But how they got there and why we have not found these traces in the populations of the north? This is something new that arises in this research and who do not know, even, resolve. “One possibility is that the carriers of this sign have come to America a little before or in parallel with the first native americans, following a similar route from Alaska to South america. However, we do not have evidence nor genetic, nor archaeological, of a public as well or in Alaska, or North, or Central america; in Brazil alone,” explained Moreno-Mayar.

“Surely, its origin is mesoamerican, but to say this is still a bit speculative,” he explained to this half, Antonio Salas Ellacuriaga, a researcher at the Institute Of Forensic Sciences of the University of Santiago de Compostela and only a co-author of the Spanish study. The scientist has reminded us that there were three great movements on the continent. One from the Bering Strait into north America, a second migration to the south “which probably brought with it a component austral-asian in their genomes,” and a third movement that began in Mesoamerica, about 8700 years ago, towards the north, in what is known as the Great Basin, located in the northwest of North America.

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