When and where did humans first enter the Americas—and what routes did they travel to colonize the continents? These are big questions for scientists studying human evolution, and scientific consensus is still a ways off. Evidence from various fields points to first entry along the Bering land bridge. This stretch of land between Siberia and Alaska was exposed during the last glacial period, when more seawater was locked up in ice than is now. Geological research suggests the Bering land bridge was available for passage as late as 12,000 years ago. After humans entered North America, archaeological and paleontological finds suggest, they successively migrated south to South America.
A new line of genomic evidence supports a significant migration across the Bering land bridge. A team of international researchers analyzed the genetic makeup of 530 indigenous people from 29 populations in North and South America to trace their origins. This Human Bulletin highlights some of the team’s findings.