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DNA Study Tackles Caribbean Migration History

Monday, June 8, 2020

Caribbean Early ExplorersJENA, GERMANY—Cosmos Magazine reports that an international team of scientists analyzed DNA samples from 93 people who lived on islands in the Caribbean Sea between 400 and 3,200 years ago, and found evidence for at least three waves of migrants. The first two waves included people from North America who traveled to the western Caribbean. They were then followed by a more recent wave of people from South America some 2,800 years ago. Hannes Schroeder of the University of Copenhagen explained that this genetic evidence supports archaeological data from the islands. The Caribbean Sea, rather than acting as an obstacle to migrants, as had been previously thought, appears to have served as an “aquatic motorway” for repeated interaction between people living on the islands and on the mainland, according to Kathrin Nägele of the University of Copenhagen. Researcher Cosimo Posth of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History added that the genetic study also supported archaeological evidence suggesting that there had been little mixture between the different groups once they arrived on the islands. To read about how researchers used DNA to trace the origins of three enslaved individuals buried in the Caribbean, go to "Finding Lost African Homelands."

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