Public Release: 

EARTH: A long layover on the Bering Land Bridge

American Geosciences Institute

Alexandria, VA - In 2013, researchers uncovered the graves of two infants laid to rest about 11,500 years ago outside of what is now Fairbanks, Alaska. Researchers understood that these graves represented some of the earliest human migrants to North America, but were they more closely related to their Asian ancestors, or the modern-day residents of North and South America? Using mitochondrial DNA analysis of the infants, what could we learn about our own human history?

Humans arrived in North America because massive terrestrial glaciers had lowered sea level so much that a land bridge existed between Asia and North America. But when people migrated, where they stayed and for how long before moving southward is mysterious. Now, because the infants' bodies were well preserved, scientists were able to use genetic analysis to tease out how they relate to modern Americans. Find out what the infants' DNA tells us about early migration patterns in EARTH Magazine: http://bit.ly/1o6yW1X.

EARTH Magazine brings you the most exciting discoveries about our planet and beyond. The April 2016 issue takes readers to space, where scientists have just calculated the mass for the smallest known exoplanet; underground into a study conducted on how an ant colony will handle the heat of Earth's changing climate; and out on the oceans, where scientists are untangling clues about deadly rogue waves. All this and more is available at http://www.earthmagazine.org.

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Keep up to date with the latest happenings in Earth, energy and environment news with EARTH Magazine online at: http://www.earthmagazine.org/. Published by the American Geosciences Institute, EARTH is your source for the science behind the headlines.

The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 250,000 geologists, geophysicists and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society's use of resources, resiliency to natural hazards, and interaction with the environment.

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