Our Northwest

Study: Kennewick Man not Native American

Tuesday, August 26, 2014by  Jon Osterberg

Newly published scientific findings argue that Kennewick Man, whose skull and bones were found in 1996, was a foreigner who likely came from the ancient, mysterious land we call Beringia.
   That flies in the face of dissenting opinion that contends Kennewick Man was a Native American.
   “Two teenagers sneaking into a boat race originally saw the bones and notified authorities,” says a Washington Post story that ran in the Aug. 25 Tri-City Herald. That reference denotes my own interest in this story. Aside from Kennewick Man being a fascinating scientific riddle, I was there the day he was found – we were watching the Columbia Cup hydroplane race. The two teens found the 9,500-year-old skeleton on the riverbank near the west turn of the racecourse.
   The authors of the 688-page “Kennewick Man” assert he was a long-distance traveler. A University of Texas geneticist said that mitochondrial DNA show it’s reasonable to believe Kennewick Man was descended from people who lived in Beringia.
   Most of us know of Beringia as the “Bering land bridge,” which scientists say connected Siberia with Alaska during Pleistocene ice ages roughly 16,000 to 22,000 years ago. So much of Earth’s water became locked up in great continental ice sheets that ocean levels dropped significantly, exposing shallow sea floors. Beringia was one such place. Read the Post article, and learn more about Berinigia from National Geographic.

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