Genetic data refute studies suggesting the ancient Pacific Northwesterner was Polynesian
CHIP CLARK/SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION
Native Americans can claim Kennewick Man as one of their own, an analysis of DNA from one of the ancient individual’s bones finds. But the investigation’s suggestion that Kennewick Man had especially close genetic ties to northern Native American tribes that want to rebury his bones is controversial.
DNA extracted from a man’s 8,500-year-old skeleton, which was found in Washington State in 1996, is more closely related to that of modern Native Americans than of populations elsewhere in the world. A team led by paleogeneticist Morten Rasmussen of the University of Copenhagen reports the findings online June 18 in Nature.
Kennewick Man displays the greatest genetic similarity to northern Native Americans, especially the Colville, Ojibwa and Algonquin, the scientists say.
In 2004, a federal judge denied a request by five Northwest tribes, including the Colville, to bury