The debate continues to rage over just how the first humans came to the Americas. After all, every continent on the face of this planet was populated by humans EXCEPT the Americas according to conventional theory (what a crock!). Now come a new biological study to inflame the debate even further asserting that the conventional theory about how humans came to the Americas is unviable.
Conventional wisdom says the first peoples came to the Americas via the land bridge between Siberia and Alaska but they had to wait until two huge ice sheets that covered Canada started to melt, thus, creating the alleged “Ice-free corridor” through which these early peoples could pass down into the rest of North and South America. These were “Ice Age peoples.”
Using ancient DNA researchers have been able to create of better picture of prehistoric migration route and show how this route evolved over thousands of years. What it shows is that these ancient Ice Age peoples could NOT have used the conventionally conceived route to enter the Americas as conventional wisdom holds. In fact, the new findings attest to the fact that this supposed entry route was biologically unviable!
The results have been published in Nature magazine. A team of researchers were able to extract DNA to investigate the ecosystem and determined how it evolved as the ice sheets began to recede. They were then able to construct a comprehensive picture of how flora and fauna evolved as a viable passageway opened. No prehistoric reconstruction project has been attempted like this before.
The team’s conclusions are rather interesting. They concluded that ancient peoples may have traveled this ice-free corridor after about 12,600 years ago but it would have been impassible before that time and the corridor lacked crucial resources such as wood for heat and tool making materials. Game animals (food) were also lacking and all of these things were vital to Ice Age peoples who were hunter-gatherers. So what would they have eaten? How would they have kept themselves warm? Out of what would they have constructed shelters? Basically, prior to 12.6 kya this corridor was a “dead zone.” It would have been impossible for these early Ice Age peoples to survive in a harsh climate such as existed at the time.
So, what this means is that the First Americans (Ice Age hunter-gatherers) who were living south of the ice sheets prior to 12.6 kya got there by some other route and the researchers in this study postulate that they got there by migrating along the Pacific Coast. Keep in mind that during the last Ice Age sea levels were significantly lower as much of the planet’s water was frozen in the ice. As this last Ice Age began to end the ice began to melt, thus, raising sea levels. The coastal migration route(s) likely are under water today for the most part.
If what the researchers postulate then ancient Ice Age people could well have migrated across the Bering Land Bridge and come down the ancient coastline 14.7 kya and into North America. Then as the last Ice Age began to end around 12.6 kya and the two ice sheets in Canada began to recede an inland migration route opened up providing a second route for migration into North America.
But the migration route into North America by these people is not the only thing hotly contested today. Debate also rages around just who these people were! Most researchers do believe that some of them were the Clovis People who appeared in the archaeological record over 13 kya well before the inland migration route opened up. That means that the Clovis People must have come into North America via the land bridge and down the ancient coastline and NOT via the inland route which was still locked in ice at the time of their migration!
This new research project was headed by Professor Eske Willerslev who is an Evolutionary Geneticist at the Dept of Zoology and Fellow of St John’s College at the University of Cambridge. He also hosts positions with the Center for GeoGenetics at the University of Copenhagen and the the Wellcome Sanger Institute in Cambridge. “The bottom line is that even though the physical corridor was open by 13 kya it was several hundred years before it was possible to use it,” he says. “That means that the First People entering what is now the US, Central, and South America must have taken a different route. Whether you believe these people were Clovis or someone else they simply COULD NOT have come through the [inland] corridor as long claimed.”
The inland ice-free corridor is estimated to have been about 1500 kilometers (about 933 miles) long and it is believed to have been east of the Rocky Mountains 13 kya in what is today Western Canada. This corridor opened up as the two great ice sheets receded (the Cordilieran & Laurenfide ice sheets).
These findings fit well with the assertion that the Clovis people were the first people to immigrate across the Americas. The first evidence of Clovis Culture in the Americas was found near Clovis, New Mexico and their distinctive stone tools date from about that time. However, some researchers believe other non-Clovis peoples may have arrived earlier.
Up until now no one has really considered if the inland route was viable and contained the resources for these early peoples to survive on as they migrated southward. Such a journey would have been IMPOSSIBLE prior to 12.6 kya but the coastal route WAS open before then. Further, the researchers focused on a bottleneck in the inland route which today is partially covered by Charlie Lake in British Columbia and Spring Lake, Alberta. Both of these lakes are part of Canada’s Peace River drainage basin.
The team took DNA samples and collected and analyzed pollens and macrofossils and gathered DNA from the frozen lake surfaces during winter. It is possible to extract ancient plant and mammal DNA from sediments and Professor Willerslev proved this 13 years ago as he was researching his dissertation for his PhD. The sediments contain preserved molecular fossils that come from substances like tissue, urine, and feces.
Once this DNA was collected and extracted it was submitted to “shotgun sequencing.” Instead of looking at specific pieces of the DNA from individual species everything is sequenced from bacteria to animals collectively. The team found fossils of fish, eagles, mammals, and plants in the sediments and this approach has proven to be remarkable in terms of reconstructing paleo-environments. It allows us to understand how past ecosystems evolved and in this case this method showed prior to 12.6 kya the inland corridor, although the ice was retreating, had no plants and no animals yet and that means any ancient people passing through the area prior to 12.6 kya could NOT have survived!
We also know that around 12.6 kya the first vegetation to appear in the area was Steppe vegetation which was followed quickly by animals like bison, woolly mammoths, wolves, jackrabbits, and other animals. Researchers also found that about 11.5 kya the ecosystem transitioned into a “parkland” ecosystem which is a landscape densely populated by trees and megafauna such as Elk, Moose, Bald Eagles et al. All of these would have made it very possible for Ice Age humans to migrate through the inland corridor, then. Fish also began to appear in the lakes around the same time and by about 10 kya the area changed again into a Boreal Forest with the growth of Spruce and Pine trees.
As for the Clovis Culture, many researchers now think that another peoples came into the Americas BEFORE them and they were not the first as was once thought. And it is believed these early people came into the Americas via the coastal route as the inland route was impassable and biologically unviable prior to 12.6 kya.
In the end my analysis is that most likely prior to 12.6 kya ancient human ancestors followed the coastline southwards and down into the Americas. However, some of the oldest human remains are to be found in South America and that strongly suggests that perhaps there were not one but at least two migration routes! Type “O” blood originated in South America and spread northward in the opposite direction! There is also evidence of Polynesians and Oriental peoples arriving in South America long before the Spanish Conquistadors arrived. And they came by boats, apparently. There is a relatively short and simple read concerning blood types at the below link which is interesting to say the least.
World Blood Types Article —