‘Surprise’ DNA profile linking 24,000-year-old Siberian skeleton to modern Native Americans could rewrite First Nations’ story, experts say
The surprise discovery of traces of European ancestry in the 24,000-year-old bones of a boy unearthed in the heart of Siberia has caught the attention of Canadian experts, who say the find could rewrite the story of the people who first populated ancient Canada and the rest of the Americas.
A study published in the journal Nature by a team of 31 researchers from the U.S. and Europe details how the four-year-old’s skeletal remains — excavated at the Mal’ta archeological site in south-central Siberia in the 1920s and kept since then at Russia’s Hermitage State Museum — yielded a DNA signature shared by modern European populations but also by many present-day aboriginal people in the Western Hemisphere.
The ancient boy’s DNA profile may help explain why a “European” strain of genetic material can be found among today’s New World indigenous communities, a mystery that many scientists had assumed was the result of contact in recent centuries with successive waves of colonizers from Europe. (Hermitage State Museum)