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All the evidence indicates that the Americas were populated by people who migrated across the Bering Sea at a time when the ice age lowered ocean levels enough to do it. Well,almost all the evidence. Some of the oldest skeletons found in the new world have features that look somewhat European, a link supported by a few pieces of DNA found in some Native American populations. Now, a 20,000-year-old skeleton from Siberia may help clear up the confusion.The skeleton indicates that the confusion may be caused by a combination of migration and population structure within Asia at the time. The end result is that some exchanges of DNA only went in one direction—and the donors then moved on to other locations.Genetically, Native Americans share a strong affinity with East Asian peoples. There are a couple of exceptions, however, such as a somewhat European-looking mitochondrial DNA sequence found in some Native American populations. But that could be viewed as a product of later contamination by European visitors. What’s harder to understand is the presence of features in skeletons such asKennewick Man, who died over 7,000 years ago in what’s now Washington state. Kennewick Man didn’t look very much like modern Native American populations, raising questions about how he ended up in the Pacific Northwest at that time.

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