Tanana Valley Dig Site Helps Answer Questions About Earliest Alaskans

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska - A recent discovery by scientists has revealed new theories about some previously unknown ancient North Americans.
A 6-year-old child and an infant were discovered at the Upward Sun River site here in the Tanana Valley.
According to UAF professor of anthropology, Ben Potter, genetic analysis of ancient DNA from the two children, who lived about 11- thousand- 500 years ago, shows they were related.
The scientific journal "Nature" first published the findings.
Researchers have named the new group of ancient Americans "Beringians."
With the help of genetic analysis and demographic modeling, anthropologists now believe the original ancestral Native Americans split from the East Asians about 35,000 years ago.
From there, the founding population divided into two other groups - the ancient Beringians, and other Native Americans.
Ben Potter; Anthropology Professor, UAF>> "The most important and salient scientific point about this is that it allows us to ask better questions. We can now frame hypotheses that include these ancient Beringians in ways that prior research just couldn't do because we didn't know they existed. So understanding the splits, the divergences, why did it happen, where did it happen? What does this say about human adaptation in both northeast Asia and North America? All of these are important avenues for research as we progress."