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Did Paleoamericans Reach South America First?

Did Paleoamericans Reach South America First?


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In “ Textbook Story of How Humans Populated America is Biologically Unviable, Study Finds , recently published in Ancient Origins, it was noted that DNA studies indicate that people could not have crossed the Beringia land bridge to enter the Americas 13,000 years ago because the “entry route was biologically unviable”. Although this finding by geneticists is surprising, it adds even more mystery to the archaeological evidence that anatomically modern humans were in South America tens of thousands of years before Ice Age people could have crossed a viable land bridge between Alaska and Siberia.

Bering land bridge.

The earliest dates for habitation of the American continent to occur below Canada in South America are highly suggestive that the earliest settlers on the American continents came from Africa before the Ice melted at the Bering Strait and moved northward as the ice melted. An African origin for these people is a good fit because Ocean Currents would have carried migrants from Africa to the Americas, since there were no Ice Age sheets of ice to block passage across the southern Atlantic.

Important Archeological Sites

Dr. Bryan, in Natural History has noted many sites where PaleoAmericans have left us evidence of human habitation, including the pebble tools at Monte Verde in Chile (c.32,000 Before Present), rock paintings at Pedra Furada in Brazil (c.22,000 BP), and mastodon hunting in Venezuela and Colombia (c.13,000 BP). These discoveries have led some researchers to believe that the Americas were first settled from South America.

The main evidence from the ancient Americans are prehistoric tools and rock art, like those found by Dr. Nieda Guidon. Today archaeologists have found sites of human occupation from Canada to Chile that range between 20,000 and 100,000 years old. Guidon, in numerous articles claims that Africans were in Brazil between 65,000-100,000 years ago. Guidon also claims that man was at the Brazilian sites 65,000 years ago. She told the New York Times that her dating of human populations in Brazil 100,000 years ago was based on the presence of ancient fire and tools of human craftsmanship at habitation sites.

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Martin and R. G. Klein, after discussing the evidence of mastodon hunting in Venezuela 13,000 years ago, observed that: "The thought that the fossil record of South America is much richer in evidence of early archaeological associations than many believed is indeed provocative.... Have the earliest hunters been overlooked in North America? “

Warwick Bray has pointed out that there are numerous sites in North and South America which are over 35,000 years old. A.L. Bryan noted that these sites include, the Old Crow Basin (c.38,000 BC) in Canada; Orogrande Cave (c.36,000 BC) in the United States; and Pedra Furada (c.45,000 BC) in Brazil.

Stone arch at Pedra Furada, Brazil.

Using craniometric quantitative analysis and multivariate methods, Dr. Neves determined that Paleo Americans were either Australian, African or Melanesians. The research of Neves indicated that the ancient Americans represent two populations, PaleoAmericans who were phenotypically African, Australian or Melanesian and an Asiatic population that appears to have arrived in the Americas after 6000 BC.

Melanesian Blond girl from Vanuatu. ( CC BY-SA 2.0 )

Archaeologist have reconstructed the faces of ancient Americans from Brazil and Mexico. These faces are based on the skeletal remains dating back to 12,000BC. The PaleoAmericans resemble the first Europeans.

PaleoAmericans and First European

Researchers working on the prehistoric cultures of these ancient people note that they resemble the Black Variety of humanity, instead of contemporary Native Americans. The Black Variety include the Blacks of Africa, Australia, and the South Pacific.

Dr. Chatters, who found Naia's skeleton, told Smithsonian Magazine that: “The small number of early American specimens discovered so far have smaller and shorter faces and longer and narrower skulls than later Native Americans, more closely resembling the modern people of Africa, Australia, and the South Pacific. "This has led to speculation that perhaps the first Americans and Native Americans came from different homelands," Chatters continues, "or migrated from Asia at different stages in their evolution."

A cast of Luzia's skull at the National Museum of Natural History. (CC BY-SA 2.0 )

Although Dr. Chatters believes the PaleoAmericans came from Asia, this seems unlikely, because of the Ice sheet that blocked migration from Asia into the Americas. C. Vance Haynes noted that: "If people have been in South America for over 30,000 years, or even 20,000 years, why are there so few sites? [....]One possible answer is that they were so few in number; another is that South America was somehow initially populated from directions other than north until Clovis appeared".

The fact that the Beringia land bridge was unviable 15,000 years ago make it unlikely that during the Ice Age man would have been able to walk or to sail from Asia to South America at this time. As a result, these people were probably from Africa, as suggested by Dr. Guidon.

Prehistoric Sea Travel

In summary, the land bridge between Siberia and Alaska was unviable before 13,000 BC. Even though man could not enter the Americas until after 14,000 years ago, man was probably in South America as early 100,000 years ago, according to Dr. Guidon’s research in Brazil.

The first people in the Americas are called PaleoAmericans. The research of Chatters and Neves indicate that the PaleoAmericans were not Asiatic. These researchers claim the PaleoAmericans, “more closely resembl[ed] the modern people of Africa, Australia, and the South Pacific.”

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The first Americans probably came to the Americas by sea, due to the unviable land route to the Americas before 13,000 BC. As a result, we must agree with Guidon that man probably traveled from Africa to settle prehistoric America.

The archaeological evidence indicates that PaleoAmericans settled South America before North America, and that these Americans did not belong to the Clovis culture. Africa is the most likely origin of the PaleoAmericans, because the Ice sheet along the Pacific shoreline of North America, Siberia and Alaska, would have made the sea route from Asia or Europe unviable 65,000 years ago. The Dufuna boat dating back to 8,000 BC, shows that Africans had boats at this early date. The culture associated with the Dufuna boat dates back to 20,000 years ago.

Dugout canoes hewn from wood at Lake Malawi, East African Rift system. ( CC BY-SA 2.0 )

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Did Pacific Islanders reach South America before Columbus?

A genetic analysis of an indigenous Brazilian tribe called the Botocudos has revealed traces of Polynesian DNA. But while the finding adds some credence to the suggestion that Pacific Islanders may have reached South America hundreds or even thousands of years ago, a simpler explanation is more likely the case.

Anthropologists pretty much agree that modern humans colonized North and South America 15,000 to 20,000 years ago during the Late Pleistocene. These settlers most likely arrived from northeast Asia, traveling across the Beringia land bridge.

But debate still exists as to the timing and location of subsequent migration waves. Many of these disagreements are driven by variations in genetics and the physical characteristics of Paleoamerican peoples.

This new discovery threatens to complicate matters even further.

According to Sergio D. J. Pena, a molecular geneticist at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil, Polynesian mitochondrial DNA sequences have been identified in the remains of Brazilian Botocudo Amerindians. Pena linked these haplogroups to people originating from Polynesia, Easter Island and other Pacific island archipelagos. And to make sure the data was reliable and not contaminated, he had the identification confirmed independently in Brazil and Denmark.

The genetic data was extracted from the teeth of 14 Botocudo skulls which were being kept in a museum collection in Rio.

The Botocudos were nomadic hunter-gatherers who once roamed inland areas of southeastern Brazil. At the end of the 19th century they numbered between 13,000 and 14,000 individuals. Today there are only about 350 remaining (called the Krenak people).

Two theories have emerged to explain the apparent presence of Polynesian mtDNA.

Writing in Nature, Sid Perkins explains :

The researchers say that it is possible — but unlikely — that the DNA could have come from Polynesians who voyaged from remote islands to the western coast of South America. Those traders or their progeny would then have made their way to southeastern Brazil and settled or interbred with natives. But that, too, is improbable, says Pena, because the Andes are a formidable barrier that west coast residents typically did not climb or cross. Although researchers have suggested that ancestors of some species of chickens made their way to Chile through trade with pre-Columbian seafarers from Polynesia2, a subsequent study poked holes in that conclusion.

The researchers also entertain scenarios in which the haplogroup arrived in South America via the slave trade. Around 2,000 Polynesians were brought to Peru in the 1860s, and some could have ended up in Brazil, although the researchers say that they are not aware of any evidence that this occurred. And between 1817 and 1843, approximately 120,000 slaves were shipped from Madagascar to Brazil — and some of them were probably transported to areas where the Botocudo also lived. Although the researchers consider the latter scenario to be the most probable, Pena says: “We currently don’t have enough evidence to definitively reject any of these scenarios.”

It’s an intriguing discovery. The challenge now will be to prove one of the theories correct — and that the haplogroups did in fact originate from Polynesian peoples (which is not a given).


Chicken DNA Challenges Theory That Polynesians Beat Europeans to Americas

New finding casts doubt on the theory that Polynesians made it to South America.

So why did the chicken cross the Pacific? Well, apparently it didn't. At least not all the way.

Scientists looking into the DNA of ancient and modern chicken breeds found throughout Micronesia and Polynesia have determined that they are genetically distinct from those found in South America. The research runs counter to a popular theory that Polynesian seafarers might have reached the coast of South America hundreds of years ago, before European explorers.

Among the intriguing indications that contact might have been made between Polynesians and the native peoples of South America was the supposed pre-Columbian presence of non-native chickens, allegedly introduced to the continent by seafarers from South Pacific islands. More evidence comes from the ubiquity of the sweet potato, a South American native, in the South Pacific—it was already widespread throughout the islands by the time James Cook sailed into the region in 1770. (See National Geographic's South Pacific photos.)

Researchers sequenced mitochondrial DNA from 22 chicken bones found at Polynesian archaeological sites and 122 feathers from modern chickens living on islands across the South Pacific. They used an enzyme to remove any contamination by modern DNA that may have clouded the results of earlier studies. When the team compared the "cleaned-up" DNA of Polynesian chickens with that of ancient and modern South American chickens, they found the two groups were genetically distinct.

The chicken DNA does not support a connection between the peoples separated by the Pacific, Cooper said. "Indeed, the lack of the Polynesian sequences [of DNA] in modern South American chickens . would argue against any trading contact as far as chickens go."

Cooper and his colleagues were able to trace the origins of Polynesian chickens back in time and across the Pacific, following the lines of what must rank as one of the boldest, most romantic, and least understood human migrations of all time—the peopling of the tropical islands of the South Seas.

"We can show [from chicken DNA] that the trail heads back into the Philippines," Cooper said. "We're currently working on tracing it farther northward from there. However, we're following a proxy, rather than the actual humans themselves."

Colonizing the South Pacific

The peopling of the South Pacific happened in two stages, the first of which took place more than 3,000 years ago when mysterious seafarers known as the Lapita set off from Papua New Guinea's Bismarck Archipelago into the great blue void of the Pacific. Within a startlingly few generations they managed to find and colonize hundreds of hidden tropical paradises: Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, New Caledonia.

They sailed as pioneers, not explorers, bringing their families and everything they might need to build new homes on the lands they clearly expected to find: flints for toolmaking, pottery, and foodstuffs—including their chickens.

A second, much later phase, beginning around the year A.D. 800, saw them expand into the vastness of the eastern Pacific—to Tahiti, Bora Bora, the Marquesas, Easter Island, and Hawaii. Precisely how these people accomplished such astonishing voyages, and why they attempted them, remains an intriguing mystery, for they left behind no writings and very few artifacts. (Read "Beyond the Blue Horizon" in National Geographic magazine.)

With so few clues to work from—not a single example of an early Polynesian voyaging canoe survives today—archaeologists have been forced to tease out the story of this great migration from the evidence of scattered bones and pottery shards on far-flung islands, and strands of DNA from the plants and livestock the South Seas pioneers brought with them and whose descendants live on today.

Using these bits and pieces, archaeologists have been able to put together a rough time line of the Polynesians' eastward expansion across the Pacific, and the legendary bit of southerly backtracking that led them to discover New Zealand around the year A.D. 1300. But one of the great questions remains: Did they make it all the way across the Pacific to the coast of South America? Did they beat Columbus to the New World? It is a matter of heated debate among South Pacific scholars and one unlikely to be put to rest by the latest findings on chicken DNA.

David Burley, an archaeologist at Simon Fraser University in Canada who has been working in the South Pacific for more than 25 years, has no doubt the Polynesians reached the New World, whatever the evidence from chicken DNA. "The evidence for Polynesian contact with the New World prior to Columbus is substantial," he said. "We have the sweet potato, the bottle gourd, all this New World stuff that has been firmly documented as being out here pre-Columbian. If the Polynesians could find Easter Island, which is just this tiny speck, don't you think they could have found an entire continent?"

The idea that Polynesians might have introduced the chicken to South America and thus left behind evidence of their seagoing feat is a fairly new one. For many years, scholars assumed that early European explorers from Portugal and Spain brought the birds to South America, along with horses, pigs, and cattle.

A 2007 study, however, announced the discovery of chicken bones found at an archaeological site near Santiago, Chile, that yielded radiocarbon dates between 1321 and 1407—long before the arrival of Europeans. The early dates, the location along the Pacific coast, and the presence in the bones of what appeared to have been a unique genetic mutation common to Polynesian chickens raised the tantalizing prospect that the meaty birds may have been introduced by South Pacific seafarers.

"It is the most likely explanation," said Alice Storey, an archaeologist with the consulting firm Archer CRM, who led the 2007 study in Chile. "I have investigated many other potential routes of introduction, and none of them are as likely as a Polynesian introduction."

Within a year, though, those results were called into question by other researchers. A subsequent analysis by Cooper and his colleagues of the DNA from the Chilean finds challenged the dates and suggested that the genetic mutation originally thought to have come from Polynesian forebears was in fact a fairly common mutation found in chickens throughout the world. That study formed the basis of the most recent research into the DNA of Polynesian chickens that appeared this week.

For her part, Storey stands by the pre-Columbian dates she and her team obtained for the chicken bones in Chile. She argues that the DNA results in the study released this week are far from conclusive.

"Indeed, the bulk of their research focuses on modern DNA," she said. "Using modern DNA to understand what people were doing in the past is like sampling a group of commuters at a London Tube station at rush hour. The DNA you get is unlikely to provide much useful information on the pre-Roman population of London."

As humans moved around the world, they brought chickens along with them. So modern chicken populations aren't necessarily representative of past populations, Storey said. "We know from his journals [that] Cook moved chickens all over the Pacific, as did other Europeans, so DNA from chickens living on Pacific islands today has little to tell us about what people were doing in Polynesia, the Pacific, and in Southeast Asia before A.D. 1600."

The new research appears to have laid these old bones to rest, but questions remain. One thing is certain: If the dates of the 2007 study are correct and there were indeed chickens in pre-Columbian South America, they had to come from somewhere. There is also the matter of the sweet potato, a definite South American native, which had spread throughout the Pacific by the time Europeans arrived on the scene.

"The sweet potato is a good question," conceded Cooper. "The bottle gourd was recently shown to have probably crossed to South America by marine currents, not human trade, as previously assumed, so I also wonder about the potato's ability to be dispersed in that fashion."

If the presence of pre-Columbian chickens is a good indicator that Polynesians succeeded in crossing the Pacific, the absence of one of their old shipmates—Rattus exulans, the Pacific rat—makes an equally compelling case against it. The Pacific rat is known to have traveled everywhere with their Polynesian hosts, and wherever they landed they invariably established thriving local rat populations that live on to this day. There are no Pacific rats in South America.


Did Paleoamericans Reach South America First? - History

And yet again, what we thought we knew about humanity’s past in the Americas has been shown to be either wrong or inadequate because a new chapter has opened. Very exciting stuff.

A new genetic study of ancient individuals in the Americas and their contemporary descendants finds that two populations that diverged from one another 18,000 to 15,000 years ago remained apart for millennia before mixing again. This historic “re-convergence” occurred before or during their expansion to the southern continent.

The study, reported in the journal Science, challenges previous research suggesting that the first people in the Americas split into northern and southern branches, and that the southern branch alone gave rise to all ancient populations in Central and South America.

Ancient individuals, population genetic analyses and modeling. ( A) Sites of newly sequenced ancient individuals are designated by colored triangles. Comparative modern populations and ancient individuals are designated by black circles and triangles, respectively. (Image: C. L. Scheib et al, Sciencemag)

The study shows for the first time that, deep in their genetic history, many Indigenous people in the southern continent retain at least some DNA from the “northerners” who are the direct ancestors of many Native communities living &hellip


The Rise and Fall of Smallpox

Smallpox is believed to have first infected humans around the time of the earliest agricultural settlements some 12,000 years ago. No surviving evidence of it, however, predates the so-called New Kingdom of Egypt, which lasted from about 1570 B.C. to 1085 B.C. 

A few mummies from that era contain familiar-looking skin lesions. Ramses V, for example, who ruled for roughly four years in the 12th century B.C., looks to have had the raised bumps on his face and body for which smallpox is named (it’s derived from the Latin word for “spotted”). 

Moreover, an ancient Egyptian papyrus scroll briefly describes what could be smallpox, as do Hittite clay tablets. The Hittites, who lived in the Middle East, even accused the Egyptians of infecting them during a war between the two empires.

Many historians speculate that smallpox likewise brought about the devastating Plague of Athens in 430 B.C. and the Antonine Plague of A.D. 165 to 180, the later of which killed an estimated 3.5 million to 7 million people, including Emperor Marcus Aurelius, and hastened the decline of the Roman Empire. 

At any rate, it reached Europe no later than the 6th century, when a bishop in France unmistakably described its symptoms𠅊 violent fever followed by the appearance of pustules, which, if the patient survived, eventually scabbed over and broke off. By that time, the contagious disease, caused by the variola virus, had spread all across Africa and Asia as well, prompting some cultures to worship special smallpox deities.

In the Old World, the most common form of smallpox killed perhaps 30 percent of its victims while blinding and disfiguring many others. But the effects were even worse in the Americas, which had no exposure to the virus prior to the arrival of Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors. 

Tearing through the Incas before Francisco Pizarro even got there, it made the empire unstable and ripe for conquest. It also devastated the Aztecs, killing, among others, the second-to-last of their rulers. In fact, historians believe that smallpox and other European diseases reduced the indigenous population of North and South America by up to 90 percent, a blow far greater than any defeat in battle. 

Recognizing its potency as a biological weapon, Lord Jeffrey Amherst, the commander-in-chief of British forces in North America during the French and Indian War, even advocated handing out smallpox-infected blankets to his Native American foes in 1763.

English doctor Edward Jennerꃞveloped the first smallpox vaccine in 1796.

DEA Picture Library/Getty Images

Knowing that no one can contract smallpox twice, survivors of the disease were often called upon to try and nurse victims back to health. Throughout much of the last millennium, this involved herbal remedies, bloodletting and exposing them to red objects. 

One prominent 17th-century English doctor realized that those who could afford care actually seemed to be dying at a higher rate than those who couldn’t. Yet that didn’t stop him from telling a smallpox-infected pupil to leave the windows open, to draw the bed sheets no higher than his waist and to drink profuse quantities of beer.

Far more effective was inoculation, also called variolation, which involved taking pus or powdered scabs from patients with a mild case of the disease and inserting them into the skin or nose of susceptible, healthy people. Ideally, the healthy people would suffer only a slight infection this way and, in so doing, would develop immunity to future outbreaks. 

Some people did die, but at a much lower rate than those who contracted smallpox naturally. Practiced first in Asia and Africa, variolation spread to the Ottoman Empire around 1670 and then to the rest of Europe within a few decades. Its first proponent in the present-day United States was Cotton Mather, a Puritan minister best known for vigorously supporting the Salem witch trials. Benjamin Franklin, who lost a son to smallpox, was another early American supporter.

Variolation notwithstanding, smallpox continued wreaking havoc on princes and paupers alike. In the 17th and 18th centuries, it killed several reigning European monarchs, including Habsburg Emperor Joseph I, Queen Mary II of England, Czar Peter II of Russia and King Louis XV of France, as well as an Ethiopian king, a Chinese emperor and two Japanese emperors. 

Queen Elizabeth I of England and U.S. President Abraham Lincoln also apparently contracted smallpox during their time in office, though they fortuitously lived to tell the tale. Meanwhile, in Europe alone, an estimated 400,000 commoners were succumbing to smallpox annually.

Finally, in 1796, English doctor Edward Jenner performed an experiment that would, in good time, cause the virus’ downfall. By inserting pus from a milkmaid with cowpox, a disease closely related to smallpox, into the arms of a healthy 8-year-old boy and then variolating him to no effect, Jenner was able to conclude that a person could be protected from smallpox without having to be directly exposed to it. This was the world’s first successful vaccine, a term that Jenner himself coined. He tried to get his results published by the prestigious Royal Society, only to be told not to “promulgate such a wild idea if he valued his reputation.” 

A free smallpox vaccination clinic in France, circa 1905.

Ann Ronan Pictures/Print Collector/Getty Images

Persisting anyway, his vaccine gradually started catching on. The advantages over variolation were many. Unlike a variolated person, a vaccinated person could not spread smallpox to others. Moreover, the vaccine seldom left a rash and proved fatal in only the rarest of circumstances. 

𠇏uture generations will know by history only that the loathsome smallpox existed and by you has been extirpated,” U.S. President Thomas Jefferson wrote to Jenner in 1806. The following year, Bavaria declared vaccination mandatory, and Denmark did the same in 1810.

Because the vaccine originally had to be transferred from arm to arm, its use spread slowly. It was also much less effective in tropical countries, where the heat caused it to quickly deteriorate. Nonetheless, one country after another managed to rid itself of the disease. The last reported U.S. case came in 1949. 

Spurred by two new technological advances𠅊 heat-stable, freeze-dried vaccine and the bifurcated needle—the World Health Organization then launched a global immunization campaign in 1967 with the goal of wiping out smallpox once and for all. That year, there were 10 million to 15 million cases of smallpox and 2 million deaths, according to WHO estimates. Yet just a decade later, the number was down to zero. No one has naturally contracted the virus since a Somali hospital worker in 1977 (though a laboratory accident in England did kill someone in 1978).

After searching far and wide for any remaining trace of smallpox, the WHO’s member states passed a resolution on May 8, 1980, declaring it eradicated. “The world and all its peoples have won freedom from smallpox,” the resolution stated, adding that this “unprecedented achievement in the history of public health … demonstrated how nations working together in a common cause may further human progress.” 

Today, guarded laboratories in Atlanta and Moscow hold the only known stores of the virus. Some experts say these should be destroyed, whereas others believe they should be kept around for research purposes just in case smallpox somehow remerges.


Ancient DNA Explains How Chickens Got To The Americas

On Thanksgiving, as many as 88% of American households put turkey, a bird native to North America that was first domesticated by the Mayans, on their table. But a small fraction of us choose to serve something else -- most often, chicken. Although the chicken is incredibly popular in the U.S., with Americans eating close to 100 lbs per person per year, the origins of the bird and its importation to the New World are somewhat murky.

The chickens that we eat today appear to have all descended from the red junglefowl (Gallus gallus). Prior to the advent of fast, inexpensive DNA analysis, the origins of chickens were traced using archaeology, history, linguistics, and the morphology or physical appearance of the birds. But a 2012 article published in PLoS One by Australian anthropologist Alice Storey and her colleagues used mitochondrial DNA to figure out where chickens came from and how they made their way around the world.

A Ceylon junglefowl (Gallus lafayetii) is pictured at the Yala National Park. (Ishara . [+] S.KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images)

Unlike animals such as monkeys, which are known to have migrated from the Old to the New Worlds, chickens are not naturally migratory. They have a small home range and can't fly or swim well. Their distribution throughout the world, then, is directly related to humans' interest in the creatures.

Chickens were likely first domesticated about 5,400 years ago in Southeast Asia, although archaeological evidence of wild chickens goes back even further, to a 12,000-year-old site in northern China. Once domesticated, though, chickens were brought westward to Europe and east-southeast into Oceania. One of the main chicken-related research questions, however, remains: how did they get to the Americas?

According to Storey and colleagues, the domestic chicken came to the Americas by multiple routes. One of those routes was from Europe, when Dutch and Portuguese slave traders brought chickens over from Africa in the 16th century. The researchers' DNA investigation of archaeological chicken bones from eastern New World sites in Haiti and Florida, for example, suggests that the introduction of chickens in this area of North America came in the 1500s and 1600s, and that these animals share genetic similarities with chickens from archaeological sites in Spain dating to the same period.

However, the oldest route for importation of chickens to the Americas appears to be through Polynesia prior to Columbus. At the archaeological site of El Arenal in coastal Chile, excavators found 50 chicken bones that represented at least five different chickens. As Storey and colleagues report in another article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the site has been confidently dated to 700-1390 AD, meaning these bones are the earliest evidence of chickens in the Americas, having arrived at least a century before Columbus. Radiocarbon dates, isotope information, and mitochondrial DNA all agree with the archaeological evidence of a pre-Columbian introduction of domesticated chicken to South America.

Free-range chicken look at an egg. (Victoria Bonn-Meuser/AFP/Getty Images)

The question of the date of importation of chickens to the New World, though, is not completely settled. According to Storey and colleagues, "perhaps the most striking result reported" in their PLoS study "is the evidence that the haplogroup E chickens were taken in opposite directions out of Asia, and their histories and dispersal pathways finally converged in the Americas after A.D. 1500." That is, from southern Asia, chickens were brought east and west, eventually ending up in the same place in the Americas around the same time.

Two major problems affect our current understanding of the origin and spread of chickens, however. First, as Storey and colleagues note, the low genetic diversity in chickens means difficulty tracing their genetics, and additional studies of variability across the chicken genome are needed. Second, chickens are difficult to find archaeologically. Zooarchaeologist Tanya Peres of Florida State University explains that "chicken bones are thin, prone to breakage, and don't survive as whole elements." This means that many archaeological specimens that might be chicken are currently categorized as generic birds. "Added to the fragmentary nature of the bones," Peres notes, "are eggshells. They're not easy to identify to a genus or species. It may be that chickens were especially important as egg layers versus as a meat resource."

Skillet glazed spicy sweet potatoes. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

Although we don't know which was eaten first -- the chicken or the egg -- tracing the origins of chickens actually gives us insight into another Thanksgiving staple. That is, the Pacific chicken route was not one-way. There is additional evidence that sweet potatoes - a native food of the Americas - made their way west into Oceania around the same time as chickens were moving east. Contact between Polynesian peoples and natives of South America appears to have been purposeful and long-lasting.

So this Thanksgiving as you chow down on roast chicken and sweet potato pie, be sure to thank the intrepid Pacific explorers who, thousands of years ago, braved the ocean to bring birds and tubers to your dinner table!


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10 Best Foods to Eat in South America—Best Authentic South

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  • Dulce de Leche (Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil) The lusciously sweet dulce de leche is a popular confection that’s incorporated into many South American desserts
  • The milky caramel is made by simmering milk, sugar, and sometimes with vanilla, and served with everything from donuts and muffins to toast.

Top 20 Biggest Landmarks in South America (2021)

  • One of the most famous landmarks in South America and a globally recognized symbol of Brazil, Christ the Redeemer, is an Art Deco sculpture of Jesus Christ that overlooks the city of Rio de Janeiro
  • Completed in 1931, today the statue welcomes more than 2 million tourists per year.

What is South America famous for

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“What is South America famous for?” South America is famous for strawberries, cocaine, crime, wind, potatoes, fernet, corruption, earthquakes, ice fields, palta

Top 10 South American Travel Destinations

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  • South America tourism is heating up
  • Travelers are flocking towards the equator for a glimpse at a stunning patchwork of beautiful landscapes with snow-capped mountains, spectacular jungles, and awe-inspiring deserts
  • Whatever you plan on embarking on an adventure, or taking a more relaxing vacation, South America will not disappoint.

Famous People From South Africa

  • Resilient, gritty, and hardworking are some of the words that describe the people of South Africa
  • For a country that has been plagued by political turmoil and unrest for the major part of the 20th century, her inhabitants have always managed to bounce back with even higher determination than before.

Top 10 famous South Africans Persons Briefly SA

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  • Famous people from South Africa
  • Nelson Mandela was an international icon and a role model to many
  • He was born in Mvezo South Africa on the 18th of July,, 1918, and he passed away on the 5th of December, 2013
  • He was a South African nationalist and socialist who fought the apartheid regime.

Peru famous people South america, Famous people, Famous

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  • See our list of famous people from Bolivia and Bolivian celebrities or add your own information on a famous person from Bolivia

What is South America famous for

  • South America is famous to many outside of the continent for it's amazingly diverse culture, as well as being the home to Patagonia, The Amazon Rainforest, and probably most famously Machu Picchu
  • Click to see full answer Also question is, what is an interesting fact about South America?

A Guide to South America’s Most Iconic Dances

  • Music, dance and poetry form the backbone of South American culture
  • Often, traditional musical styles or dances can tell you so much about the history of the continent and its people, and South America is very aware of maintaining these traditions and making sure they remain a part of contemporary culture.

Top 10 Life-Changing, Famous Inventions from South America

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Top 10 Life-Changing, Famous Inventions from South America The author Tim O’Reilly once said, “an invention has to make sense in the world it finishes in, not in the world it started.” As we all know, in the history of humankind, there have been plenty of inventions that have changed the quality of our lives forever.


The Pacific Aborigine Connection

Luthia Skull

In 1975 the skeleton of a woman nicknamed Luthia dating back 11, 500 years to the Upper Paleolithic period was discovered in Brazil.

Luthia is regarded as the oldest inhabitant of Brazil and some archaeologists believe that she is evidence of the first wave of Pacific Aborigine immigrants who came to South America by sailing on the Pacific.

Luthia’s face was reconstructed and the conclusion drawn is that she was of Pacific Aborigine descent, suggesting that the first Americans may have been Black Pacific Aborigines before they were replaced by Mongoloid Native American Indians who arrived later on the Continent and made them extinct through violent conquest and intermarriage.


Three New DNA Studies Are Shaking Up the History of Humans in the Americas

It’s a huge day for archaeologists and anyone interested in the history of America’s first settlers. Findings from three new genetics studies—all released today—are presenting a fascinating, yet complex, picture of the first people in North and South America, and how they spread and diversified across two continents.

Our understanding of how the Americas were first settled used to be simple. Today, it’s not.

North America’s first migrants, we’ve been told, spilled into the continent at the tail end of the last Ice Age some 15,000 years ago, either by trekking along the West Coast and/or through an interior land route. Eventually, this population found itself south of a massive ice sheet covering North America from coast to coast. From here, scientists assumed that, as populations moved southward, some groups split off, never to meet again. Gradually, this pattern of southward migration and dispersal resulted in the peopling of the Americas.

But as the new research released today suggests, it’s considerably more complicated than that. Humans, as we’re all too aware, aren’t so predictable.

A pair of closely related genetics papers, one published in Science and one in Cell, chronicles the movement of the first humans as they spread across the Americas, venturing both southward and northward and sometimes mixing in with the local populations. The third paper, published in Science Advances, shows what happened to one group of migrants who decided to make the high-altitude Andes their home—a decision that sent them down a unique evolutionary path.

The Science paper , led by David Meltzer from the Department of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and archaeologist Eske Willerslev, who holds positions at the University of Cambridge and the University of Copenhagen, tracks the spread of humans from the top of Alaska to the tip of South America, a region known as Patagonia. Their analysis presents a complex picture of expansion and diversification across the two continents.

By sequencing and analyzing 15 ancient genomes found throughout the Americas—six of which were older than 10,000 years—these researchers determined that, around 8,000 years ago, the ancestors of Native Americans were still on the move, migrating away from Mesoamerica (what is today Mexico and Central America) toward both North and South America. These groups moved rapidly and unevenly, sometimes interbreeding with local populations, complicating the genetic—and historical—picture even further.

The close genetic similarity observed between some of the groups studied suggests rapid migratory speed through North and South America.

“That’s something we’ve suspected due to the archaeological findings, but it’s fascinating to have it confirmed by the genetics,” said Meltzer in a statement. “These findings imply that the first peoples were highly skilled at moving rapidly across an utterly unfamiliar and empty landscape. They had a whole continent to themselves and they were travelling great distances at breathtaking speed.”

The Meltzer and Willerslev team, which included dozens of researchers from institutions around the globe, also identified a previously unknown population with a distinctly Australasian genetic marker—a very surprising discovery. Found at the Lagoa Santa archaeological site, this individual lived around 10,400 years ago in what is now Brazil. The researchers were not able to detect the Australasian genetic marker in any of the other samples studied, including those found in North America.

It’s highly unlikely that this population sailed from Australia or Indonesia to South America. Rather, this group likely trekked northward from their point of origin, venturing through China and Siberia. This population likely didn’t spend too much time in North America, eventually finding their way into South America, while leaving no genetic trace of their journey—aside from this lone specimen in Lagoa Santa. Meltzer and Willerslev don’t know if this population arrived before or after the ancestors of Native Americans. This discovery now presents a very intriguing mystery, because this group could conceivably be the first humans to reach South America.

“If we assume that the migratory route that brought this Australasian ancestry to South America went through North America, either the carriers of the genetic signal came in as a structured population and went straight to South America where they later mixed with new incoming groups, or they entered later,” said Peter de Barros Damgaard, a geneticist from the University of Copenhagen, in a statement. “At the moment we cannot resolve which of these might be correct, leaving us facing extraordinary evidence of an extraordinary chapter in human history! But we will solve this puzzle.”


The horse survives. in South America?

The main problem I see here is how horses would reach South America from North America without changing in the process.

North American horses were animals adapted to the grand prairies and open grasslands. They were not woodland animals, so they would never venture south of Central Mexico. It can't be compared to South American camelids, because they evolved from minor camelid forms that roamed the forests (North American camels were a different branch that vanished as well as horses) but once they reached South America, they adapted to the new habitat and changed again. And the same goes for other South American ungulates. Only the mammals which could adapt to different habitats including jungle can spread through both Americas, but not those not adapted to woodland. That's why South American camels did not recolonize North America, for example.

I mean that it is posible that an equid would reach South America, but would be a different species that would later evolve in a different form. It could resemble back to a horse in some way, but it would never be a true horse.

I will admit that the examples I used were fauna not really comparable to horses. I used such diverse taxa to show that there would be many different strategies and opportunities for survival that the horse may stumble upon in an ATL.

I would say that the ability for a species to spread geographically isn't entirely dependent on adapting completely to a different habitat. The distribution of vegetation has fluctuated over the course of thousands of years, the wet periods of the Sahara being an extreme example. The horse (or any open habitat species) did not need to become a tiny rainforest creature to reach South America. The time periods characterized by more aridity would spread open habitats favorable to horses and they would simply make their home in the newly opened landscape.

Here is a vegetation map of South America 11,000 years ago. The savanna/scrub/forest mosaic would be easy enough for a surviving horse population to penetrate. No need to struggle in the jungle when it moves out of your way. The horse already inhabited as far south as Bolivia on its own either way.

Is your point that the horse would change so much from it's time in South America that it would prove impossible to domesticate? I hope I'm not misunderstanding your concerns.

Understand the horse can be used for milk, meat, hide, as well as transportation. The thing is you are assuming the peoples of the Pampas do not treat them like zebras. The fact that an animal exists and is domesticated else where does not necessarily mean that they will be domesticated. People have farmed bison in the US and reindeer in Europe, but they have not succeeded with caribou in North America and wisent in Europe. The aurochs did not go extinct because people tamed them all. The przewalski horse has never been tamed there is no reason why hunter-gatherers with no real means of capturing these animals.

Also there would be competition from the native predators there, not just pumas and jaguars, with what you are suggesting other predators might survive. The horse is a large animal that is a lot of meat for a predatory animal that can catch it.

I will admit that the examples I used were fauna not really comparable to horses. I used such diverse taxa to show that there would be many different strategies and opportunities for survival that the horse may stumble upon in an ATL.

I would say that the ability for a species to spread geographically isn't entirely dependent on adapting completely to a different habitat. The distribution of vegetation has fluctuated over the course of thousands of years, the wet periods of the Sahara being an extreme example. The horse (or any open habitat species) did not need to become a tiny rainforest creature to reach South America. The time periods characterized by more aridity would spread open habitats favorable to horses and they would simply make their home in the newly opened landscape.

Here is a vegetation map of South America 11,000 years ago. The savanna/scrub/forest mosaic would be easy enough for a surviving horse population to penetrate. No need to struggle in the jungle when it moves out of your way. The horse already inhabited as far south as Bolivia on its own either way.

Is your point that the horse would change so much from it's time in South America that it would prove impossible to domesticate? I hope I'm not misunderstanding your concerns.


This is why I mentioned the DNA study that shows that the South American Equids could infact be Equus ferus caballus, the same species as the domestic horse. I'm not hostile to the idea of the horse not being domesticated and hunted only, which is why I said they could be analogous to the bison in North America near the end of my first post. Whatever the inhabitants do with the horse or the predators that may follow them, I'm open to seeing how they develop regardless.

Twovultures

Technically it's not an evolutionary POD because no evolutionary changes have been made. A population has survived but has not been genetically altered. But thank you for your helpful comment

The main problem I see here is how horses would reach South America from North America without changing in the process.

I mean that it is posible that an equid would reach South America, but would be a different species that would later evolve in a different form. It could resemble back to a horse in some way, but it would never be a true horse.

Twovultures

I should preface this reply by saying that you're absolutely correct that the domestication of the horse is not at all inevitable. But it is still possible, and since the domestication of horses has already occurred IOTL I'd even posit that it is likely.

A fully-grown horse they probably couldn't catch without killing, which is why I suggested foals in my domestication scenario. If the Ainu could do it with grizzly bears, Pampas Indians could do it with horses. As for the why, once again it's size. Horses are big, and ITTL would be the largest or second-largest South American animal after the tapir-and the tapir is not going to live in the same environments as the horse. When the next-biggest animal (marsh deer or white-tailed deer, depending on on where you are) is half the size of an adult horse when fully grown, horses are going to appear very impressive. Even if you only keep a horse around long enough for it to become the horse equivalent of a teenager, you have as much or more meat as the next biggest prey item on hand, and you don't need to bother to hunt it.

Once again, this is not inevitable. One possible scenario is that there are multiple surviving herds in South America-on the Altiplano, tropical pampas, temperate pampas, the llanos, and the cerrado-but people in only one of those areas successfully domesticates horses, even after near or pseudo-domestication in other areas. Just as it seems to have happened IOTL in Eurasia.

Jon the Numbat

I should preface this reply by saying that you're absolutely correct that the domestication of the horse is not at all inevitable. But it is still possible, and since the domestication of horses has already occurred IOTL I'd even posit that it is likely.

A fully-grown horse they probably couldn't catch without killing, which is why I suggested foals in my domestication scenario. If the Ainu could do it with grizzly bears, Pampas Indians could do it with horses. As for the why, once again it's size. Horses are big, and ITTL would be the largest or second-largest South American animal after the tapir-and the tapir is not going to live in the same environments as the horse. When the next-biggest animal (marsh deer or white-tailed deer, depending on on where you are) is half the size of an adult horse when fully grown, horses are going to appear very impressive. Even if you only keep a horse around long enough for it to become the horse equivalent of a teenager, you have as much or more meat as the next biggest prey item on hand, and you don't need to bother to hunt it.

Once again, this is not inevitable. One possible scenario is that there are multiple surviving herds in South America-on the Altiplano, tropical pampas, temperate pampas, the llanos, and the cerrado-but people in only one of those areas successfully domesticates horses, even after near or pseudo-domestication in other areas. Just as it seems to have happened IOTL in Eurasia.

Jon the Numbat

I would have to agree with the jaguar and to a lesser extent the puma. Pumas are more adaptive and tolerant to a degree than the jaguar, you would need human densities of Uruguay where neither felines are but once where to have complete extinction. Honestly in the Northern range of the jaguar I think it would require firearms to truly make it go extinct. I think it would go something like this:

Pre-domestication 2-5 times the population for both felines, with pumas being better breeders being the higher number of the two.
Post-domestication Jaguars reduced to pre-European numbers and pumas cut back down to half of the number.
European arrival with in 500 years Extinction of both cats in Uruguay and massive population losses and localized extinctions in and around major livestock centers and populations.

The problem is with Latin America we know so little about both felines there. Jaguars being particularly difficult due to where they currently live. What we do know is that pumas if given enough space and prey will adapt better than a jaguar will. There are places where both existed for along time and now only pumas remain.

Jon the Numbat

I would have to agree with the jaguar and to a lesser extent the puma. Pumas are more adaptive and tolerant to a degree than the jaguar, you would need human densities of Uruguay where neither felines are but once where to have complete extinction. Honestly in the Northern range of the jaguar I think it would require firearms to truly make it go extinct. I think it would go something like this:

Pre-domestication 2-5 times the population for both felines, with pumas being better breeders being the higher number of the two.
Post-domestication Jaguars reduced to pre-European numbers and pumas cut back down to half of the number.
European arrival with in 500 years Extinction of both cats in Uruguay and massive population losses and localized extinctions in and around major livestock centers and populations.

The problem is with Latin America we know so little about both felines there. Jaguars being particularly difficult due to where they currently live. What we do know is that pumas if given enough space and prey will adapt better than a jaguar will. There are places where both existed for along time and now only pumas remain.

Hmm..with domesticated horses and potato and quinoa growing farming societies in the Southern Cone, the indigenous population could get fairly large, though probably not at Mesoamerican densities. Any OTL style colonial establishment (i.e. Portuguese Brazil/Spanish Rio Plata) wouldn't get far inland for a long time (I'm thinking Comanche style raids from a longer established pastoral population) and such society would probably resemble Peru or Guatemala in terms of % indigenous population. The jaguar could still remain more common in the region than OTL, with a reduced Native population that's capable of halting settlers for a greater length of time.

The puma would, if anything, do much better in this scenario for the reasons you mentioned.

Even if the horse isn't domesticated, introduced horses would still find eager riders and even they probably won't have an extensive need to extirpate the puma or jaguar like the European settlers would. I would be interested in finding out how these predators fared during the colonial period, though the studies are probably few and far between.

Hmm..with domesticated horses and potato and quinoa growing farming societies in the Southern Cone, the indigenous population could get fairly large, though probably not at Mesoamerican densities. Any OTL style colonial establishment (i.e. Portuguese Brazil/Spanish Rio Plata) wouldn't get far inland for a long time (I'm thinking Comanche style raids from a longer established pastoral population) and such society would probably resemble Peru or Guatemala in terms of % indigenous population. The jaguar could still remain more common in the region than OTL, with a reduced Native population that's capable of halting settlers for a greater length of time.

The puma would, if anything, do much better in this scenario for the reasons you mentioned.

Even if the horse isn't domesticated, introduced horses would still find eager riders and even they probably won't have an extensive need to extirpate the puma or jaguar like the European settlers would. I would be interested in finding out how these predators fared during the colonial period, though the studies are probably few and far between.

You are correct we do know that jaguars outside of forests, swamps and terrain areas have been completely wiped out, they are a threatened species. The fact is the Amazon and the other places mentioned are extremely difficult and quite frankly dangerous for researchers due reasons both natural and man-made. That goes for all animals in Latin America for that matter.

I would like to give you a comparison, think of jaguars being like tigers, they both by and large live in the same general environment and have much of the same characteristics other than the obvious ( coat coloration, maximum size 350 pounds vs 800 plus for tigers and jaguars quite frankly climb better than tigers will ever do). They also average 3-4 cubs. They are solitary, as far as we know, and that in the wild it is common to lose at least half of the young due to natural causes.

Pumas on the other hand are a cross between African lions and leopards. They care for the young with mothers and fathers and sisters being friendly and at times helping one another. They do wander but we know that they are very family oriented. They also will breed at higher rates and much more quickly than that of the jaguar, with up to 6 cubs, they will take advantage of the prey increase, they do that for two reasons, a long term source of prey items and when there is severe pressure on the population numbers. It takes a lot to make cougars extinct. Generally the destruction of both game and habitat and then severe hunting pressure that no native American tribe ever did. In North America the great plains had the lowest historical population of pumas, they by and large stuck to the forested river areas due to competition from wolves and there being no way to escape or fight them off otherwise. In order to make the cougar extinct you need to have firearms and large amounts of people clearing the land of animal and plant life they do not want. Jaguars on the other hand don't need as much pressure in comparison.


Watch the video: Ο Έλληνας Γκουρού των LASER που Διαπρέπει στην Αμερική (June 2022).


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