BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — On a bluff overlooking a sweep of Southern California beach, scientists in 1976 unearthed what were among the oldest skeletal remains ever found in the Western Hemisphere.
Researchers would come to herald the bones — dating back nearly 10,000 years — as a potential treasure trove for understanding the earliest human history of the continental United States. But a local tribal group called the Kumeyaay Nation claimed that the bones, representing at least two people, were their ancestors and demanded them back several years ago.
For decades, fights like this over the provenance and treatment of human bones have played out across the nation. Yet new federal protections could mean that the vast majority of the remains of an estimated 160,000 Native Americans held by universities, museums and federal government agencies, including those sought by the Kumeyaay, may soon be transferred to tribes.
First out of Africa, first into Asia and Australia…
The first major genome analysis of Australian Aboriginal people reveals that their ancestors took part in the first human migration out of Africa.
They were the first to arrive in Asia some 70,000 years ago, roaming the area at least 24,000 years before the ancestors of present-day Europeans and Asians appeared. They were also the first to live in Australia, according to DNA results of a 90-year-old hair sample of a young man that link Aborigines to the first inhabitants of the region about 50,000 years ago.