Siberians came to North American Arctic in two waves | Science News

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Siberians came to North American Arctic in two waves

DNA recasts an ancient mystery of how one far northern culture replaced another

2:31pm, August 28, 2014

SECOND COMING  Inhabitants of an Alaskan island made wooden dolls such as this between 400 and 500 years ago. These people may have been part of a second wave of migration to the North American Arctic. 

North America’s Arctic regions were first settled around 5,000 years ago by people from Siberia who eventually created a New World culture that lasted for nearly 4,000 years before suddenly disappearing, a new genetic study suggests.

This founding Arctic culture vanished either shortly before or after the arrival of a second, genetically distinct crowd of Siberians. That later band of immigrants spread their Thule culture across Alaska, northern Canada and Greenland and served as the ancestors of present-day Inuits, says a team led by paleogeneticists Maanasa Raghavan and Eske Willerslev, both of the University of Copenhagen.

Neither the Thule nor the earlier Arctic colonists, who created tools and figurines typical of what’s known as Dorset culture by around 3,000 years ago, display a genetic connection to current Native American groups to the south, the scientists report in the Aug.

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