An international team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, have analyzed the DNA extracted from the leg of an early modern human and discovered that the specimen shared a common origin with the ancestors of many present day Asians and Native Americans.
The bone from which the DNA was extracted was discovered in the Tianyuan Cave near Beijing, China and the ancestral link that it shares with Asians and Native Americans further fuels the theory that the Asians colonized the Americas before the Europeans did.
The specimen is more than 40,000 years-old and during the time that the individual was alive, modern humans were believed to co-exist with Neanderthals and Denisovans (2 groups of early humans that split from Homo sapiens about 300-400 thousand years ago).
The evidence discovered by the research team seems to suggest that modern humans in Asia were quite similar to those in Asia today. The sharing of DNA with Native Americas is seen as confirmation that Asians travelled to the Americas before the Europeans, probably making the long journey in reed boats from China’s shoreline over to the Pacific side of the Americas.
Read the full scientific paper on PNAS