Genetic study of ancient teeth debunks theory that Native Americans originated in Japan
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The scientific community has long wondered how, when, and who first traveled to the Americas many years ago. The long-accepted theory, based on tool similarities, was that the earliest inhabitants of Japan, known as the Jomon, arrived on the continent 15,000 years ago. However, a recent study now contradicts this theory.
Richard Scott, lead author of the study and professor at the Center for the Study of the First Americans at Texas A&M University, examined the teeth of Jomon and ancient Native Americans. He found few connections in the genetics of their teeth. In fact, only seven percent of the samples showed a connection to non-Arctic Native Americans.
“These people (the Jomons) who lived in Japan 15,000 years ago are an unlikely source for Native Americans. Neither skeletal biology nor genetics indicate a link between Japan and the Americas. The most likely source of the Native American population appears to be Siberia, ”Professor Scott said in a press release.
Scott is a respected researcher in the field of ancient human teeth with over half a century of experience.
“We don’t dispute the idea that ancient Native Americans arrived via the Pacific Northwest, only the theory that they originated from the Jomon people in Japan,” Scott adds.
Scott and his team found little overlap of the maternal and paternal lines, which led them to their conclusion. Along with their research, recent studies have come to similar conclusions, finding footprints dating back 23,000 years. This reinforces Scott’s conclusions that the Jomons were not the most likely ancestors of the early Native Americans.
The results of this study provide yet another reason for researchers to continue looking for clues about early Native Americans. As of yet, scientists still don’t know when and who first traveled to the North American continent.
The study is published in the journal PaleoAmerica.