Interviewee: Douglas Wallace.
Mitochondrial DNA pioneer Douglas Wallace speaks about a possible migration of people from Europe to the Americas, 15,000 years ago.
(DNAi Location: Applications > Human origins > Migrations >Videos > From Europe to the Americas)
Finally, it appears that there might have been even a European ancient migration into the Americas. And the way we found that is we were studying a Native American tribe up in this area of central North America. And there we found a particular mitochondrial DNA lineage which looked like a European lineage over here, which we had defined as lineage X. So it was only found in Europe. It's never found in Asia. But in fact, when we looked at this population of Native Americans, we found that fully 25% of all of the people in this area had X. Now you could argue, oh well, X is just because, since Columbus, some women came over from Europe, happened to marry with these Native Americans, and that's why European X is there. However, again, we use the molecular clock to find out when that X came. We compared the sequence of X from Europe with X from this population, and they came together 15,000 years ago. So therefore, this did not come to this region since Columbus; it came after one of the most recent glacial maxima. And so it's been proposed that, in fact when the ice covered the area between Newfoundland, Greenland, Iceland, and Europe, that in fact some hunters actually crossed the ice sheet and colonized this part of the Americas. And Dennis Swofford of the Smithsonian has even speculated that it was this migration from Europe, from the Iberian peninsula that brought the unique stone culture that we know as the Clovis culture; that is the culture that's been associated with the killing of the woolly mammoths, and the other large animals, and that is just the time that the Clovis culture appears in North America. And the appearance of the Clovis culture in fact heralded the decimation of all the large mammalian fauna.
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