|20 October 2010
Australian aborigines may have reached Americas first
Hundreds of skulls discovered in Central and South America exhibit features common today in Australian Aborigines. They date back to approximately 11,000 years BPE. If the heritage and dates were to be confirmed, it would require a major rewriting of the history of human migration to the New World.
The current theory is that Native Americans are related to Asians who migrated during the last Ice Age, 10,000 years ago, across the land bridge over the Behring Sea. The 'Clovis people' are thought to have followed the mammoths and other large animals who they hunted for food.
But, Dr. Walter Neves from the University of Sao Paulo belives that there were two different populations colonizing the Americas. In 1991, he resumed his research on a female skeleton found in the Lapa Vermelha cave system in Brazil. The original find had occured in the 1970's, but disputes among the scientists had prevented examination of the remains at that time. The skelton was dated to between 11,000 and 11,400 years old. The age was derived from organic material in the soil found above and below the bones, as the actual remains were too degraded for dating. Neves maintains that her features are similar to those uniquely found in Australian native populations. She has a projecting chin, elongated brain case and narrow nose.
Neves heads a team of scientists from Brazil, Germany, Chile and the United States.
Edited from Cosmos (30 September 2010)
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