The Face of Prehistoric America

For all of those nerds intellectual types out there who love to see news about the pre-Columbian history of the Americas, or who simply love learning more about humans before the advent of civilization, new research at the University of Copenhagen will prove irresistible to the imagination.

Scientists have sequenced DNA from the hair of a 4,000-year-old man locked in the Greenland permafrost long before the ancestors of modern Inuit moved into the region, and from the genetic coding have reconstructed the face of this archaic American.

The closest modern relatives to this ancient explorer, braving the edges of human habitation in the frozen wastes of North America, are Siberians in northeast Asia.

What was happening in the rest of the world when this unfortunate soul met his Maker in the wintry conditions of Greenland?  This was the era of the very first dynasty of Chinese history, the Xia, and the Middle Kingdom of Egypt. The Olmec civilization had yet to appear in Mesoamerica, and the ancestors of the Latins who would later found Rome were just migrating to Italy, while the Minoans were building their first palaces in Crete.

This man, known as Inuk from the Kalaallisut word for “human,” was as historically distant from Jesus and Julius Caesar as we are.

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