Current evidence allows multiple models for the peopling of the Americas

Ben A. Potter, James F. Baichtal, Alwynne B. Beaudoin, Lars Fehren-Schmitz, C. Vance Haynes, Vance T. Holliday, Charles E. Holmes, John W. Ives, Robert L. Kelly, Bastien Llamas, Ripan S. Malhi, D. Shane Miller, David Reich, Joshua D. Reuther, Stephan Schiffels, Todd A. Surovell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Some recent academic and popular literature implies that the problem of the colonization of the Americas has been largely resolved in favor of one specific model: a Pacific coastal migration, dependent on high marine productivity, from the Bering Strait to South America, thousands of years before Clovis, the earliest widespread cultural manifestation south of the glacial ice. Speculations on maritime adaptations and typological links (stemmed points) across thousands of kilometers have also been advanced. A review of the current genetic, archeological, and paleoecological evidence indicates that ancestral Native American population expansion occurred after 16,000 years ago, consistent with the archeological record, particularly with the earliest securely dated sites after ~15,000 years ago. These data are largely consistent with either an inland (ice-free corridor) or Pacific coastal routes (or both), but neither can be rejected at present. Systematic archeological and paleoecological investigations, informed by geomorphology, are required to test each hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereaat5473
JournalScience Advances
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 8 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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