Thursday, February 13, 2014

13,000-year-old baby may hold key to past

It's easy to think of America as a "young" country. After all, the Declaration of Independence was signed two and a half centuries ago. But people were living and loving and moving around this country many centuries before Europeans ever even THOUGHT of a new world. Think of it; before the countries of Europe solidified into their current forms, before Charlemagne, before kings and Crusades and castles, there was an active and vibrant population here in North America.

An 18-month-old baby, buried by his family nearly 13,000 years ago, may hold a key to the origin of this country's first residents.
The Clovis Baby was discovered at the base of this Montana cliff.
The baby grave site, discovered near Livingston, Mt. in 1968, is the only burial site that has been linked to the Clovis era. Though he was just an infant - not an important warrior or chief - the child was buried surrounded by 125 artifacts. He also was covered with a kind of red ochre, which experts believe was part of some kind of burial ritual. The burial site shows that the baby was loved, and he was valued. What is important to us as humans hasn't changed so much.
New advances in DNA testing have allowed scientists to sequence the infant's genome and discover the origin of his people. The genetic markers were similar to those of Native Americans, indicating that American Indian tribes did indeed descend from this country's first residents. In addition, the DNA test reinforces the theory that those first residents made their way into North America from Asia, and not (as some have postulated) from European origin.
Of course, if you go back far enough, we are ALL related. I think it would do us good to remember that. No matter what differences we have, we have much, much more in common. We share a common ancestry. Beyond that, we all want what that baby had 12,600 years ago; we all want to be loved and valued.

To read more about the Clovis baby and DNA testing, see the article here:

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