How did early humans get to the Americas?

Published May 31, 2018

The New York Times reported that UB research is shedding light on how early humans may have first populated the Americas. The study, led by geology professor Jason Briner, with geology PhD candidate Alia Lesnek as first author, found that ancient glaciers receded along southern Alaska’s Pacific coast some 17,000 years ago, opening a potential path for migration around the time that the first people are thought to have entered the Americas. The research contributes to an ongoing debate about whether early settlers used a coastal or inland route. “We’re not definitively saying they took the coastal route,” Lesnek told the New York Times, but, “We have some of the first direct evidence that that was something that could be done.” Briner said the study looked at about 10 percent of the proposed coastal corridor, and that future work will aim to apply the same methods on other parts of the route. UB biologist Charlotte Lindqvist was also a co-author on the research.

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