Scientists at Ohio State University in the United States have uncovered the mystery of the first people to arrive in North America, who turned out to be more biologically diverse than previously thought. For a long time, experts believed that Native Americans were a homogeneous group. This was announced in a press release on Phys.org.
Experts using computed tomography analyzed four ancient skulls found in underwater caves in the state of Quintana Roo (Mexico). They belonged to people who lived 9-13 thousand years ago, at the end of the Pleistocene and early Holocene, when the caves were above sea level. The researchers managed to combine the X-rays into a three-dimensional image.
The oldest skull showed similarities with the Arctic populations of North America, and the younger one with the inhabitants of modern Europe. The third skull bore signs of the Asian and Native American groups, and the fourth had the Arctic population, complemented by modern South American features.
According to the results, people who migrated from Asia to North America initially had high genetic diversity. For some reason, this diversity diminished as they scattered across South America.