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Nature. 2015 Jul 23;523(7561):455-458. doi: 10.1038/nature14625.

The ancestry and affiliations of Kennewick Man.

Author information

1
Centre for GeoGenetics, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Øster Voldgade 5-7, DK-1350 Copenhagen K, Denmark.
2
Department of Genetics, School of Medicine, Stanford University, Littlefield Center, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
3
The Bioinformatics Centre, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Ole Maaloes Vej 5, DK-2200 Copenhagen N, Denmark.
4
Program in Biomedical Informatics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
5
Anthropological Institute, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland.
6
Department of Archaeology and History, La Trobe University, Melbourne, VIC 3086, Australia.
7
Department of Anthropology and Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, 209F Davenport Hall, 607 Matthews Avenue, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.
8
Center for Evolutionary and Human Genomics, Stanford University, Littlefield Center, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
9
AMS 14C Dating Centre, Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Aarhus, Ny Munkegade 120, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark.
10
Department of Anthropology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX 75275, USA.
11
Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, 4134 Valley Life Sciences Building, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.
#
Contributed equally

Abstract

Kennewick Man, referred to as the Ancient One by Native Americans, is a male human skeleton discovered in Washington state (USA) in 1996 and initially radiocarbon dated to 8,340-9,200 calibrated years before present (BP). His population affinities have been the subject of scientific debate and legal controversy. Based on an initial study of cranial morphology it was asserted that Kennewick Man was neither Native American nor closely related to the claimant Plateau tribes of the Pacific Northwest, who claimed ancestral relationship and requested repatriation under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). The morphological analysis was important to judicial decisions that Kennewick Man was not Native American and that therefore NAGPRA did not apply. Instead of repatriation, additional studies of the remains were permitted. Subsequent craniometric analysis affirmed Kennewick Man to be more closely related to circumpacific groups such as the Ainu and Polynesians than he is to modern Native Americans. In order to resolve Kennewick Man's ancestry and affiliations, we have sequenced his genome to ∼1× coverage and compared it to worldwide genomic data including for the Ainu and Polynesians. We find that Kennewick Man is closer to modern Native Americans than to any other population worldwide. Among the Native American groups for whom genome-wide data are available for comparison, several seem to be descended from a population closely related to that of Kennewick Man, including the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation (Colville), one of the five tribes claiming Kennewick Man. We revisit the cranial analyses and find that, as opposed to genome-wide comparisons, it is not possible on that basis to affiliate Kennewick Man to specific contemporary groups. We therefore conclude based on genetic comparisons that Kennewick Man shows continuity with Native North Americans over at least the last eight millennia.

Comment in

PMID:
26087396
PMCID:
PMC4878456
DOI:
10.1038/nature14625
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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