DNA of Baby Boy Buried in Montana 12,600 Years Ago Reveals Most Modern Native Americans Are Descended from Clovis Man

Mark Prigg, Daily Mail (London), February 12, 2014

Native Americans are descended from Clovis man and may have originally travelled from Asia by way of a land bridge that disappeared long ago, it has been revealed.

The DNA of a baby boy who was buried in Montana 12,600 years ago has given scientists new insights into the ancient roots of today’s American Indians and other native peoples of the Americas.

It is  the oldest genome ever recovered from the New World, and artifacts found with the body show the boy was part of the Clovis culture, which existed in North America from about 13,000 years ago to about 12,600 years ago and is named for an archaeological site near Clovis, N.M.

The boy’s genome showed his people were direct ancestors of many of today’s native peoples in the Americas, researchers said.

The so-called Anzick skeleton was found with about 125 artifacts, including Clovis fluted spear points and tools made from antlers, and covered in red ochre, a type of mineral.

‘It is almost like finding the ‘missing link’ to the common ancestor of the Native Americans,’ said  Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, who led the study.

The Clovis boy’s family is the direct ancestor to roughly estimated 80% of all present day Native Americans.

‘Although the Clovis culture disappeared its people are living today.

‘Put simply it is a sensation that we succeeded in finding an approximately 12,600 year old boy whose closest relatives can be regarded as the direct ancestor to so many people.’

‘This also means that Clovis did not descend from Europeans, Asians or Melanesians, a theory that a number of scientists have advocated.

‘They were Native Americans—and the Native American ancestors were the first people in America. This is now a fact.’

The boy was more closely related to those in Central and South America than to those in Canada.

The reason for that difference isn’t clear, scientists said.

The researchers said they had no Native American DNA from the United States available for comparison, but that they assume the results would be same, with some Native Americans being direct descendants and others also closely related.

The DNA also indicates the boy’s ancestors came from Asia, supporting the standard idea of ancient migration to the Americas by way of a land bridge that disappeared long ago.

The burial site, northeast of Livingston, Mont., is the only burial known from the Clovis culture.

The boy was between 1 year and 18 months old when he died of an unknown cause.

He was buried with 125 artifacts, including spear points and elk antler tools.

Some were evidently ritual objects or heirlooms.

The artifacts and the skeleton were covered with powdered red ochre, a natural pigment, indicating a burial ceremony.

The skeleton was discovered in 1968 next to a rock cliff, but it is only in recent years that scientists have been able to recover and analyze complete genomes from such ancient samples.

The DNA analysis was reported online Wednesday in the journal Nature by scientists including Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark , Michael Waters of Texas A&M University and Shane Doyle of Montana State University in Bozeman.

The burial site lies on the property of the parents of another author, Sarah Anzick of Livingston. It is known as the Anzick site.

Doyle, a member of the Crow tribe, said the indication of such ancient roots for American Indians fits with what many tribal people already believed.

He also said the boy’s remains may be reburied at the site by late spring or early summer.

‘This discovery by Eske and his team proves something that tribal people have never doubted—we’ve been here since time immemorial and all the ancient artifacts located within our homelands are remnants from our direct ancestors.

‘But the discovery is only part of the importance of this study.

‘The other part being Eske and his team’s respectful commitment to interacting face to face with tribal communities and listening to Native American leaders, which has lead directly to the reburial of this little boy.’

In a telephone conference with reporters, the researchers said that once they discovered the link between the boy and today’s Native Americans, they sought out American Indian groups to discuss the results.

Now an international team headed by Danish researcher Eske Willerslev has mapped his genome thereby reviving the scientific debate about the colonization of the Americas.

Roughly estimated some 80% of all present-day Native American populations on the two American continents are direct descendants of the Clovis boy’s family.

The remaining 20% are more closely related with the Clovis family than any other people on Earth, says Lundbeck Professor Eske Willerslev from the Centre for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen.

Willerslev, an expert in deciphering ancient DNA, called for scientists to work closely with native peoples on such research.

‘Then who were the first immigrants?

‘We don’t know. Yet.

‘Maybe a Native American, maybe an ancestor related to the Mal’ta boy from Siberia and another one who was East Asian.

‘We don’t know. But our results eliminate all other theories about the origins of the first people in America.

‘The first people in America were the direct ancestors of Native Americans,” says Professor Willerslev

The results are ‘going to raise a whole host of new ideas and hypotheses’ about the early colonization of the Americas, said Dennis O’Rourke, an ancient DNA expert at the University of Utah who wasn’t involved in the work.

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  • MekongDelta69

    “Native Americans are descended from Clovis man and may have originally travelled from Asia by way of a land bridge that disappeared long ago, it has been revealed.”

    This dunce is just catching up? This has been known for DECADES.

    • Zimriel

      It’s been known but the “Solutrean Hypothesis” bunch had challenged it; they said that Clovis Man was descended from Solutrean Man (ie, Europe).

      Now we know that Clovis Man was just an Amerind.

      • dd121

        You’ve got the story a little garbled but, yeah.

    • Michiganman6

      I have always wondered….if Asians are so smart, why are Indians so dumb?
      Asians are known for high IQ and accomplishments in arts and science. Meanwhile, American Indians never came up with the wheel or a written language. I guess some groups of Asians are a bit smarter than others?

      • IstvanIN

        Just look at Asia, or just East Asia, and you can see by way of their societies who is more advanced and who isn’t.

      • John Ambrose

        I think it’s because the ancestors of Amerindians managed to escape the harsh climate of Siberia by migrating to the Americas while Asians stayed there longer, which further sharpened their brains. Average Native American IQ-90
        Average Asian IQ-105

    • NeanderthalDNA

      So…Native Americans are descendants of…Native Americans?

      Wha?

    • Brian

      Some have said there may have been an earlier entry through another route (boat to California?) about 30k YA as well as the main Bering Strait 13k YA entry, among other hypotheses.

      • Edruezzi

        Yeah, through the landbridge to Atlantis.

  • So CAL Snowman

    “Native Americans are descended from Clovis man and may have originally
    traveled from Asia by way of a land bridge that disappeared long ago,
    it has been revealed.”

    “It is the oldest genome ever recovered from the New World, and
    artifacts found with the body show the boy was part of the Clovis
    culture, which existed in North America from about 13,000 years ago to
    about 12,600 years ago and is named for an archaeological site near
    Clovis, N.M.”

    “The boy was more closely related to those in Central and South America than to those in Canada.”

    So this boy is supposedly proof that the original inhabitants of North America were non – White people from Asia, yet his DNA indicates he is more closely related to Central and South American Indians? This is why Hollywood movies hire continuity editors.

  • BonV.Vant

    Crickets…..Crickets…….Crickets

  • bigone4u

    These scientists are jumping to a lot of conclusions based on ONE specimen. I may be misremembering but I thought that ancient Indian DNA in the Eastern part of the US showed Euro genes present. Did one of the Indian tribes skim some casino money to buy the outlandish conclusions uttered in this case?

  • connorhus

    Honestly the article is rather confusing. It keeps saying Native Americans are descendants of Native Americans but they still don’t know from who? Also the burial is 12,600 years old and I thought Clovis culture died out over 13000 years ago. Four hundred years is more than enough time for the South American tribes to expand Northward.

    As I said the entire article is confusing and seems written badly on purpose. I will wait for the experts to chime in.

    • AndrewInterrupted

      And even when you can decipher it–it offers nothing new.

    • tetrapod

      My thoughts exactly. It seems to say the Clovis people were self-originating, then goes on to mention their Asiatic forebears.

      Many journalists seem to lack the necessary understanding for writing cogently about science. Of course, many of their readers don’t know the difference anyway.

      • IstvanIN

        I thought it was me who couldn’t make hide nor tail of this.

      • Anna Tree

        “Maybe a Native American, maybe an ancestor related to the Mal’ta boy from Siberia and another one who was East Asian.”

        Very confusing article indeed and nothing new. It seems the article is to contradict Balter but it really doesn’t do it, as Siberia is still an option. See
        amren(dot)com/news/2013/10/ancient-dna-links-native-americans-with-europe/

        Davidski is trying to argument between Balter and Willerslev:
        eurogenes(dot)blogspot(dot)ca/2013/10/ancient-european-admixture-in-americas.html

  • dd121

    The discoveries at Monte Verde in South America overturned the “Clovis first” theory a few years back. Google it for an interesting read.

    • Zimriel

      This article isn’t about whether Clovis was first. This article is about *who was at Clovis*.

      And we have our answer. Amerinds were at Clovis. Solutrean Europeans weren’t.

      • dd121

        Thanks Zim. I know what the article’s about. I just thought I throw a little light on the larger question of one of the major questions in American Anthropology that’s bubbled for years.

  • CaptainCroMag

    The researchers said they had no Native American DNA from the United States available for comparison, but that they assume the results would be same, with some Native Americans being direct descendants and others also closely related.

    Sure, this is how science is done, by making assumptions. Then the article goes onto explain how they worked so closely with Amerindian tribes to give the boy a proper reburial. Seems like a poorly done, highly politicized study. I’ll take the findings with a grain of salt.

  • Bossman

    That should put to rest the idea that Clovis man was some kind of European. It is also good to know that all the natives of the Americas are of the same race. So Mexican Indians can proudly claim that America is their continent.

    • Andy

      That’s equivalent to the Russians claiming ownership of the Turkic-speaking Middle East because it used to be filled with other Indo-Europeans.

  • Bossman

    No! they can’t. The twenty thousand year residency in the Americas has made the natives genetically different from East Asians. The natives of the Americas definitely do not identify with East Asia.

  • Fr. John+

    ‘They were Native Americans—and the Native American ancestors were the first people in America. This is now a fact.’

    Bull- shirt.

    Two words will forever mark this mindset as a lie
    Kennewick Man.
    And the complicit FEDGOV as well as the ‘Pseudo-Americans’ that buried the evidence and destroyed it, are forever guilty.
    Custer died for YOUR sins, Tonto.

  • wildfirexx

    I’d like to whole hardly believe this recent study of the origins of Native America, but to state that somehow ” this eliminates all other theories about the origins of the first people of America”, makes me suspicious of a possible Political Correct cover up. What about the other ancient artifacts, like the arrow heads and skulls found in North America, that suggest that these could directly be related to the first people of Europe.
    Do we just pass that off as myth!

    • Edruezzi

      It’s only logical that in a world without Boeing jets or even sailing ships the first humans to get to the Americas would be the people whose homeland was closest to it. I mean, these people had to walk. So, it shouldn’t be surprising that the Siberians got there first.

  • itdoesnotmatter

    What a circumloquacious, garbled mess of badly written journalism, this article. An embarrassment to the scientific community.
    “They were Native Americans—and the Native American ancestors were the first people in America. This is now a fact.”
    Uhh, yeah.
    If any of you advanced genetic scientists aboard Amren have the slightest notion of what is being said, please clarify for poor little old me. Help! I want to keep up.
    My takeaway is that multiple assumptions have been declared <i scientific fact .
    To wit: spontaneously appearing from who knows where, possibly nowhere “Native Americans” descended from other “Native Americans,” or maybe traveled from Central and South American, or maybe Southeast Asia across the land bridge, but are definitely related to the Solutreans [who did not originate in Europe], but maybe they are not, or are or possibly……..
    We are back to the “fact,” that they just appeared. No N/A DNA exists to test against Montana boy. Whaaat? See how confused I am?
    One thing is certain: I smell an oversized PC anti-White Euro rat.
    Kennewick man, anyone? Where are that poor man’s remains at this point?

    • Edruezzi

      The absurdity here is amazing. So, just like apparently all of modern human genetics, archeology is part of the liberal lie too, right? Right? A recent poll showed that a quarter of Americans don’t know that the Earth orbits the Sun. I bet some of them would write off modern astronomy as a liberal hoax as well, maybe one geared toward making us believe we and aliens are the same.

      • itdoesnotmatter

        Anthropology, archeology and genetics are all hindered by the liberal lie.

        To find out what is being discovered here, one must visit European scientific websites.

        It is vexing that our U.S.A. scientific sites are forced to either withhold or obfuscate their findings to perpetuate the big lie.

  • http://www.amren.com/ Michael Christopher Scott

    They got around a little bit. I was suprised to discover in federal prison that Navajo and Apache speak the same dialect as Inuit.

  • gregCall

    “The skeleton was discovered in 1968 next to a rock cliff, but it is only
    in recent years that scientists have been able to recover and analyze
    complete genomes from such ancient samples.”

    “Willerslev, an expert in deciphering ancient DNA, called for scientists to work closely with native peoples on such research.”

    Seems to me since 1968 there has been way to much time for genetic contamination from “native americans”. We all know that DNA samples must be kept isolated to give a true reading and we also know so called “native americans” always sue for possession of any remains found. I would be willing to bet many “native americans” have had their grubby fingers on those remains since 1968 thereby nullifying any positive results. Of course, scientists with agendas will ignore such trifling details.

  • Tarczan

    Oh come on, the first Americans were Africans. They came over in a Swahilli sailing vessel.

    • Edruezzi

      Since Africans have a genetic tendency to be herded together in ships and float over to the New World the first Americans were Africans who got pushed by some kind of force to squeeze themselves into canoes. A force in their DNA then made the wind and the waves push the canoes over toward the Americas. I mean, DNA is destiny.

  • Le Fox

    “‘They were Native Americans—and the Native American ancestors were the first people in America. This is now a fact.’’ – And less than a paragraph later they say the opposite.

    “The other part being Eske and his team’s respectful commitment to interacting face to face with tribal communities and listening to Native American leaders, which has lead directly to the reburial of this little boy.’” – Well if it’s a fact, why do you want to rebury him so quickly? Let them do more genetic tests!

    “‘Then who were the first immigrants?

    ‘We don’t know. Yet.” – You said this one fact proved that ‘Native Americans were here since time immemorial’. I can just see the smugness on their faces.

    ‘Maybe a Native American, maybe an ancestor related to the Mal’ta boy from Siberia and another one who was East Asian.’ – But…you just said that they were here since forever, so why bring immigration into this?

    ‘We don’t know. But our results eliminate all other theories about the origins of the first people in America.” – We don’t know, so we’re just going to say we do know even though we don’t know. It makes us look like we know something!

    Native American lore mentions ‘red-haired giants’ that they killed. None of that here. Plus I agree with other commentators that this ‘study’ offers nothing. They’re just re-iterating things we’ve known for a few decades.

    And dude, this guy messed up his writing BADLY. ‘Descended from Asia’ doesn’t mean you were here since ‘time immemorial’. Jesus, how do these people get hired?

    • Edruezzi

      Germanic lore mentions a thunder god. Climatologists do not consult that lore when studying the earth’s weather systems.
      As for the writing, it’s pretty clear to me.

  • DonReynolds

    Do a search and read about “Windover” bog people, near the northeast coast of Florida. Only 138 bodies were found, well-preserved in a bog. Some were so well preserved, even the soft tissue and stomach contents were recovered.
    I do not know why it matters to anyone who was first and definitely reject the idea that the prehistoric inhabitants of North American could ONLY come from one direction or one origin. The “Solutrean” people are not imaginary. (Yeah, search on that term too.) Genetic studies show they were originally from the ethnic Spanish-French western coasts, like the Welsh, very likely now under hundreds of feet of sea water. Some of the artifacts found were made of stone not available in North American but common to certain areas of western Europe. Yeah, either the artifacts were brought to North America or the natives went shopping there, while on vacation.
    The truth is…..the vast majority of Americans are native Americans, which only means they were born here. Nativity. Land of your birth, and says nothing about where your ancestors were living eons before.

    • Edruezzi

      If you guys replace solid archeology with myths, why should anybody take your understanding of human genetics and the genetics of “race” seriously. Creationists, after decades of trauma from arguing with scientists, have a list of arguments they tell their people to never use. Race realists should write up such a list.

      • DonReynolds

        No, sonny. The mythology is favored by those “solid archeologists”.
        To them, Homer was just a fiction writer and the city of Troy was a myth…..until someone bothered to find the ruins……and then we get the debate for decades, between “scientists”. So GFY. You don’t like my post, take it up with the Smithsonian…..that is where I got the info.

        • Edruezzi

          Yeah, and I’m sure they’re going to find Atlantis, the Garden of Eden, Jack’s beanstalk, and the Area 51 crash site very soon. They found Troy, therefore they’ll find those other ones.
          Give me a break. The likeliest people to get to the Americas were the people with the greatest geographic proximity to it. The ancestors of the Indians only had to cross the Bering Strait. For Nordics to get to America they would have had to cross the Eurasian Steppe, then Siberia, through thousands of miles of territory full of hostile people. Of course, extraterrestrials could have given them a lift. If the logic I’ve encountered here is anything to go by I wouldn’t be surprised if some people believe that.
          No, poppy, just because America is white today doesn’t mean that it’s always been white.
          As for whether I don’t like your post or not, what I have to say is that my reaction to your post and a lot of the others here is surprise. Anybody who says something people here don’t like is a communist and a liberal, and science is subjected to calumny. We live in an objective reality and in a world governed by logic. It is far more logical that Asiatic hunter gatherers got to America before people on the far Western tip of the Eurasian continent. They didn’t have planes or even horses. They had to walk.
          But then for saying people didn’t have horses or jetliners in 35,000 BC I could be called a deluded libtard who flees from the facts. So be it.

  • Edruezzi

    If you people can’t accept the evidence of even archaeology, one of the least abstract and counterintuitive of the sciences, why bother listening to scientists at all? Form a religion and declare all science to be the work of the devil. Some fundamentalist Christians do it. It works for them. This stuff about Florida bogs and how the first Americans were European is exactly on the same level as the Creationist argument that not only life but the entire solar system is less than 10,000 years old and that Noah had dinosaurs on his ship.
    You deny science and then insult scientists .

  • Edruezzi

    So how did Europeans, who would have had to cross thousands of miles of Siberian wasteland, get to America before Asians for whom America was just next door? Hell, like the Eskimos, the Asian ancestors of American Indians could have been going back and forth between the continents while hunting.
    So even commonsense is under assault in your circles.