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Using a number of new techniques and data, we could date that relatively precisely to be about 23,000 years ago.”Given this approximation, a Beringian standstill would have been impossible.“The first people appear in the Americas 14,000 or 15,000 years ago,” Nielsen says.

“That doesn’t leave time for a Beringian standstill.

“We don’t think that it’s likely that there was a population much more closely related to Australasians than to the Native Americans of today.

But perhaps this is one step toward an explanation.”A genetic link between Amazonian Native Americans and Australasians, Skoglund says, was previously unknown, and could have serious implications.“I think almost no geneticists would have expected this,” Skoglund says.

But it also challenges the Beringian standstill hypothesis in the process.“We wanted to test it by dating the divergence time – that is, the split time between populations that now live in Siberia and East Asia, and the Native Americans,” Nielsen says.

“How long since they had a common population that lived in Siberia or somewhere in Asia?

We see evidence of unique culture on the continent over 10,000 years ago, but exactly how these populations arrived on the continent, and from where, has been debated for decades.

Last modified 04-May-2016 19:33