Reconstructing the Deep Population History of Central and South America

Map of ancient ancestry in the Americas

Based on previous genome research, all central/south American’s stemmed from a single homogenous population – with Anzick-1 (one of the few skeletons known that is associated to the Clovis-culture) being their common ancestor. Yet, as new DNA¬† is recovered from prehistoric remains, this does not seem to be the case. This new article presents ancient DNA data recovered from 49 individuals from different corners of South America and from different ages. The analysis of this new data shows that there was at least four genetic dispersion waves that gave rise to the current genetic diversity found among Central and South Native Americans.

This research also shed some light on exactly how much ancestral DNA could be found in present day people. Individuals who lived prior to 6000 years ago showed significantly more ancestral DNA (similar to Anzick-1) than those who lived after that time.Could this be due to a replacement event that occurred around that time and erased the early genetic signal? Could it be something else? Time will tell. Until more data is collected, we will not be able to solve the puzzle of when these events really happened or which Native American groups were involved.