Humans Enter the South American Continent (Great Events from History: The Ancient World, Prehistory-476)
Article abstract: Evidence is increasing that the human population of South America may have arrived before the population of North America and may have migrated by a route other than the Bering Strait. The issue is contentious because it raises many questions about the relationships between the various early native cultures on both continents.
Summary of Event
South America generally and eastern Brazil in particular, are areas in which evidence of the oldest human inhabitants in the Western Hemisphere have been unearthed. Remains from various sites in western and southern regions also indicate that the first peoples of South America may have had several points of origin and may well have arrived before the first inhabitants of North America.
Archaeology indicates that the first peoples entered South America by around 13,000 b.c.e. They came most probably by sea, from the east, across the Atlantic Ocean. By 7000 b.c.e. there were at least three clearly defined migrant groups, with as many as a dozen related subdivisions indicated by genetic, biological, and linguistic studies. Genetic evidence indicates that the oldest skeleton ever found in South America, that of a female unearthed in eastern Brazil at the end of the twentieth century, originated in Africa. Other early sites of similar age have been found in Argentina and Chile. Estimates regarding how long people have lived in South America continue to be...
(The entire section is 1189 words.)
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