Ancient human DNA is shedding more light on how the Arctic regions of America have been populated and it has been revealed that first people there did not leave any genetic descendants in America, unlike previously thought. The Paleo-Eskimos had lived through thousands of years in near total isolation and did not pass on the genes to Neo- Eskimos or Native Indians. The modern Inuit cultures have evolved from Neo-Eskimos whale-hunters.
The study suggests that the first settlers in the New World Arctic could have lived in total isolation for more than 4000 years. The inhabitants were not amenable to change and the mystery has never been solved.
The first inhabitants of Arctic could have arrived some 6000 years ago and came to the new world from Siberia by crossing the Bering Strait. The area was the last region of the New World that humans populated due to its harsh and frigid nature.
However the details of the population which inhabited the Arctic New World remain sparse and the vastness and the remoteness of the region have frustrated any research efforts in this direction. It is not clear if the present inhabitants of the region, the Inuit people are genetically the same people, or independent groups.
The researchers analyzed DNA obtained from the bones, teeth and hair samples which were collected from the remains of 169 primeval humans from Arctic Siberia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland. The researchers sequenced the complete genomes of seven modern-day people from the region for comparison.
Earlier studies had divided the New World Arctic into two groups, the Paleo-Eskimos, who showed up first, and the Neo-Eskimos, who got there nearly 4,000 years later.
The Paleo-Eskimos included the Pre-Dorset and Saqqaq cultures. These groups mainly subsisted by hunting reindeer and musk ox. The Dorset culture emerged at the start of a particularly cold period which began about 800 BC. The Dorset people where sea farers and led a more marine lifestyle. They subsisted on whaling and seal hunting.
The Dorset culture is divided into three phases, altogether lasting about 2,100 years and ended between 1150 and 1350 A.D. and was rapidly replaced Neo-Eskimo whale-hunters known as the Thule culture. These people brought with them new technology which included complex weapons such as sinew-backed bows and more effective means of transportation such as dog sledges