Saturday, April 05, 2008

And now for something completely different Researchers, Led by Archaeologist, Find Pre-Clovis Human DNA
Human DNA from dried excrement recovered from Oregon's Paisley Caves is the oldest found yet in the New World -- dating to 14,300 years ago, some 1,200 years before Clovis culture -- and provides apparent genetic ties to Siberia or Asia, according to an international team of 13 scientists.

. . .

A lengthy analysis, including the collection of DNA samples from 55 UO students, supervisors, and site visitors and 12 Danish DNA researchers, was done to screen for modern DNA contamination. From that analysis, six coprolites containing the ancient DNA were radiocarbon dated using accelerator mass spectrometry and calendar calibrated to between 1,300 and 14,300 years ago.

“Of these, half date from the early arrival time,” Jenkins said. “All six coprolites containing ancient DNA underwent additional testing at two independent labs. Three of the six also contained DNA similar to red fox, coyote or wolf.” The researchers suggest that these early Americans ate the animals or that the animals urinated on the human feces during times of non-human habitation.

Excellent study. It's kinda too bad this wasn't done ten years ago or it would have been as widely known as Monte Verde. Interesting -- odd is more like it -- how there are apparently no stone tools present; apparently, pre-Clovis people either didn't use them or could barely knock a couple of rocks together to make an Oldowan flake.