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A Journey to a New Land

Berry Picking
Post secondary Level Resources

Other Evidence

The question of where exactly the first settlers came from, and when they moved from Asia to the North and South America, has inspired a vast amount of research, not all of it archaeological. Evidence from physical anthropology, genetic data and linguistic studies has all been used in an attempt to understand these questions.

The analysis of biological similarities between modern Siberian and North American Indigenous groups has supported a movement of people out of Siberia at the end of the last ice age. Distinct shapes of certain teeth- called Sinodonty- have been found in much higher frequencies in both Native American and Northern Asia populations. Analysis of the distribution of this trait has lead physical anthropologist Christy Turner to suggest a migration from eastern Siberia, along the Bering Strait and into North America.

Support for this study comes from the analysis of genetic markers of modern Indigenous populations. The distribution of distinct ‘haplotypes’ suggests an origin point in eastern Siberia, though the direction of movement, or the time frame of migration remains unclear.

Evidence from the study of language groups in the New World is even less clear. By most accounts, there were three distinct language groups in the New World. Analysis of the differences between these groups suggests that a single language group entered North America first, spreading into South America. Two more groups appear to have entered at later times, and only settled in various areas of North America. However, this type of analysis is hindered by the lack of information on how long it takes languages to change.

The use of linguistic, biological or genetic data has yet to conclusively answer any questions; however research attempting to combine non-archaeological evidence with the physical evidence provided by solid archaeological data has the potential to answer these questions in greater detail.

Other Evidence
Archaeology in Siberia
Beringia
Bering Land Bridge