America’s first settlers came via Alaska This February 2012 provided by researcher Mikkel Winther Pedersen shows a southward view down Cline River in Alberta, Canada, where retreating ice sheets created an ice-free corridor more than 13,000 years ago. (Mikkel Winther Pedersen via AP/Wiki Commons)
America’s first settlers came via Alaska
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Researchers have found evidence that the first Americans migrated south from Alaska via the Pacific coast. This is instead of a route hundreds of miles inland along the Rocky Mountains.
 
The colonization of the Americas began after people arrived from Siberia. They crossed an ancient land bridge called Beringia. It took them into Alaska. Huge ice sheets largely blocked the way south. But a gap in western Canada was long thought to provide an ice-free corridor for migration into the continent.
 
That idea ran into a problem, however. Archaeologists documented human presence in the Americas at earlier and earlier times. The corridor appeared some 15,000 to 14,000 years ago. This was as the ice sheets retreated. Now studies suggest that people had reached South America by at least 14,700 years ago. Even if one accepts the earliest date for the corridor, it's hard to believe the migration could have gone so far south, so fast.
 
So in recent years, many scientists have concluded that the first southward migrants traveled along the Pacific coast instead. They came either in boats or on land.
 
The new research was released by the journal Nature. It casts further doubt on the inland corridor. It suggests that even after the corridor appeared, it wasn't suitable for migration until about 12,600 years ago.
 
That's because it lacked plants and game. People would need these to sustain themselves on the long journey, researchers concluded.
 
The paper was produced by Eske Willerslev of Cambridge University and the University of Copenhagen in Denmark and coauthors. The paper analyzed pollen and traces of animal DNA from ancient sediments of two lakes near Fort St. John in northeastern British Columbia. That general area is where the corridor last opened.
 
The paper follows another recent study of the corridor. It also concluded that it became habitable too late for the first migration south.
 
The earlier paper used a different method to assess habitability. One of its authors, Beth Shapiro of the University of California, Santa Cruz, said in an email "it's great when two different (approaches) agree on an issue that has been unresolved for such a long time."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why did people arrive via Alaska instead of Greenland?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (12)
  • eharlan-dav
    8/25/2016 - 04:51 p.m.

    In response to "America's first settlers came via Alaska" I agree that early Americans came from Alaska down the west or Pacific coast instead of traveling many miles down the Rocky mountains. One reason I agree is that it states in the article "The corridor appeared some 15,000 to 14,000 years ago. This was as the ice sheets retreated." This sentence pretty much says that the giant glacier on America opened up a path though the ice. Another reason is that in the article it says "That's because it lacked plants and game. People would need these to sustain themselves on the long journey, researchers concluded." Which is saying that the animals the natives were following moved further south. A third reason that proves that would not of gone that far to the east is"Huge ice sheets largely blocked the way south. But a gap in western Canada was long thought to provide an ice-free corridor for migration into the continent." In conclusion I think this article about natives going on the east coast instead of the rocky mountains is true and has viable proof that that happened.

  • victoria1-fer
    9/08/2016 - 03:39 p.m.

    Because it lacked plants

  • jenna3-fer
    9/08/2016 - 03:52 p.m.

    People traveled via Alaska instead of Greenland because there were very big ice sheets that blocked the way south. They crossed a huge and amazing land bridge to get to Alaska.

  • nya1-fer
    9/08/2016 - 03:54 p.m.

    Because of they were coming from South America or Siberia, then Greenland would be farther than Alaska. And they would be able to eat and sustain themselves quicker.

  • jarod1-fer
    9/08/2016 - 03:56 p.m.

    Because Alaska was closest to them

  • elise1-fer
    9/08/2016 - 04:11 p.m.

    People arrived via Alaska instead of Greenland because arriving via Greenland would have took a long time. There also was an ice sheet in western Canada that let them through, and who knows if there would've been something like that on the way from Greenland?

  • kayden-fer
    9/08/2016 - 04:48 p.m.

    Because there were sheets of ice preventing the settlers from coming into South America. Had there not been sheets of ice then they could have gone the way they wanted to.

  • seth-fer
    9/08/2016 - 05:38 p.m.

    People arrived via Alaska because the path lead to Alaska, not to Greenland. So that means that the only way they could have gone is towards Alaska on the Beringia land bridge.

  • isabel2-fer
    9/08/2016 - 05:51 p.m.

    Because the ice sheets began to retreat.

  • anthony3-war
    9/16/2016 - 12:32 p.m.

    Its cool how scientists found out that Alaska was uninhabitable. It was also cool how they wouldn't of been able to survive the walk because of lack of food. I didn't know that the traveled by boat along the coast. Everything I learned from social studies have been proven wrong.

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