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A team of paleoanthropologists report in PLoS One analyzed the skulls of several dozen 11,000 year old Paleoamericans and compared them to the skulls of more than 300 1,000 year old Amerindians. They concluded that based on the morphology, there were two distinct waves of colonizers from Asia.

11,000 Year Old Lagoa Santa Brazil Paleoamerican Skull

11,000 Year Old Lagoa Santa Brazil Paleoamerican Skull

While we know from a couple genetic studies there are at least two, if not 3 or more waves of colonizers, the morphological evidence is now beginning to make a lot more sense along with the genetic evidence. There’s some concern why the authors didn’t have more North American and Asian samples for comparison, but that’s almost always a critique in any anatomical study.

Two comments in the Science Now news article are particularly entertaining regarding this topic:

“Very interesting–don’t tell some of the tribes in california–they won’t be able to handle real information like this.”

“Exactly. It sounds like the Amerindians stole the land from the Paleoindians? I guess they should pay restitution, right?”

    Hubbe, M., Neves, W., & Harvati, K. (2010). Testing Evolutionary and Dispersion Scenarios for the Settlement of the New World PLoS ONE, 5 (6) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011105