The DNA of a baby boy who was buried in Montana 12,600 years ago has been recovered, and it provides new indications of the ancient roots of today's American Indians and other native peoples of the Americas.

It's the oldest genome ever recovered from the New World. Artifacts found with the body show the boy was part of the Clovis culture, which existed in North America from about 13,000 years ago to about 12,600 years ago and is named for an archaeological site near Clovis, N.M.

The boy's genome showed his people were direct ancestors of many of today's native peoples in the Americas, researchers said. He was more closely related to those in Central and South America than to those in Canada. The reason for that difference isn't clear, scientists said.

The researchers said they had no Native American DNA from the United States available for comparison, but that they assume the results would be same, with some Native Americans being direct descendants and others also closely related.

The DNA also indicates the boy's ancestors came from Asia, supporting the standard idea of ancient migration to the Americas by way of a land bridge that disappeared long ago.

The burial site, northeast of Livingston, Mont., is the only burial known from the Clovis culture. The boy was between 1 year and 18 months old when he died of an unknown cause.

He was buried with 125 artifacts, including spear points and elk antler tools. Some were evidently ritual objects or heirlooms. The artifacts and the skeleton were covered with powdered red ochre, a natural pigment, indicating a burial ceremony.

The skeleton was discovered in 1968 next to a rock cliff, but it's only in recent years that scientists have been able to recover and analyze complete genomes from such ancient samples.

The DNA analysis was reported online Wednesday in the journal Nature by scientists including Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark , Michael Waters of Texas A&M University and Shane Doyle of Montana State University in Bozeman. The burial site lies on the property of the parents of another author, Sarah Anzick of Livingston. It is known as the Anzick site.

Doyle, a member of the Crow tribe, said the indication of such ancient roots for American Indians fits with what many tribal people already believed. He also said plans are underway to rebury the boy's remains at the site after the winter.

The boy "was not a chief or a great hunter," but his burial showed love and respect, Doyle said at the Montana Historical Society in Helena on Wednesday.

Next will be a memorial at the site, he said, "Something small, so that the state of Montana, people around the world will know the importance of that place."

In a telephone conference with reporters this week, the researchers said that once they discovered the link between the boy and today's Native Americans, they sought out American Indian groups to discuss the results. Willerslev, an expert in deciphering ancient DNA, called for scientists to work closely with native peoples on such research.

On Wednesday, he noted there were Native American groups who said their oral history showed that they were descendants of the first people in the Americas.

"Well, they turned out to be right," Willerslev said at the Montana museum, where artifacts from the site are on display.

The results are "going to raise a whole host of new ideas and hypotheses" about the early colonization of the Americas, said Dennis O'Rourke, an ancient DNA expert at the University of Utah who wasn't involved in the work.
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Responses to "Ancient Baby DNA Suggests Tie to Native Americans"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Science is finally catching up to God??!

  2. Anonymous says:
    Book Of Mormon

  3. Little Feather says:

    Quite interesting. And, yes, DNA DOES prove that American Indian are from the Asian area. However, American Indian were the FIRST to land in what is now America.

  4. Ajijaak says:


  5. Anonymous says:

    Great! What we've always known.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I read a paper years ago that stated a DNA study of Native Americans revealed that the Athabascan tribes (Navajo in U.S. is considered part of the Athabascan family) are the only Native Americans thought to have arrived via the land bridge . . . that the other tribes in N and S America are considered to be move closely related.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I think it just shows that people from across the land bridge were coming over here and we obviously had welcomed them as our culture does just as they came over from Europe and welcomed them as well.

  8. Anonymous says:

    And one oher thing theyve carbon dated items from our territories to be about 30 to 40000 yrs old :) scientifially proven.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I agree , try have found pottery in Brazil depicting jaguars that date to 60,000 years as well , people from south America could have migrated and established cultures in the north just as much as those who migrated south

  10. Unknown says:

    So where does this leave this child's people. Their has been theories that native Americans came from the Asia continent, this does confirms this theory.

  11. Anonymous says:

    les découvertes que nous faisons depuis quelques années sont faites pour réveiller nos consciences et pour nous remettre sur le chemin de la spiritualité. On découvre des pyramides un peu partout dans le monde et qui n'ont rien à voir avec les significations que l'on nous raconte depuis des décennies. Il y avait ds peuples bien plus supérieurs à nous avec des connaissances extraordinaires....La découverte la plus extraordinaire aujourd'hui est la vallée de Visoko en Bosnie avec ses 5 pyramides....Il y aurait des datations qui remontent à plus de 25000 ans....

  12. Unknown says:

    The tribes went out to Asia and other places from here, North America. There was more land than oceans then. Oral history in native languages have all the clues.

  13. Anonymous says:

    this is evident - I thought - they have allways been living here - 2000 or 20.000 - it is the same

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