A new research has explored the DNA of current and former people of Greenland, Alaska, Arctic Canada, Siberia and the Aleutian Islands showing that a variety of cultures survived the harsh climate for thousands of years.
The study conducted by an international team headed by the Centre for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, showed that the Paleo-Eskimo, who lived in the Arctic from about 5,000 years ago until about 700 years ago, represented a distinct wave of migration, separate from both Native Americans.
Lundbeck Foundation Professor Eske Willerslev from Centre for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum, University of Copenhagen, said that the Paleo-Eskimos were the first people in the Arctic, and they survived without outside contact for over 4,000 years.
Dr. Maanasa Raghavan of Centre for GeoGenetics and lead author of the article, asserted that the Paleo-Eskimos, after surviving in near-isolation in the harsh Arctic environment for more than 4,000 years, disappeared around 700 years ago about the same time when the ancestors of modern-day Inuit spread eastward from Alaska.
Co-author Dr. William Fitzhugh from the Arctic Studies Centre at the Smithsonian Institution said that ever since the discovery of a Paleo-Eskimo culture in the North American Arctic in 1925, archaeologists had been mystified by their relationship with the 'Thule' culture ancestors of the modern Inuit.
The study is published in scientific journal Science.