Philosophical Society of Washington

Changing Concepts of New World Origins

Putting a New Face on the First Americans

Dennis Stanford
Smithsonian Institution

2097th Meeting Abstract
Friday, December 11, 1998 at 8:15 PM


Studies of several 9,000 year old human remains from the northwest region of the United States have identified a high incidence of Caucasoid physical traits that appear to distinguish the Pleistocene and Early Holocene populations from modern northern Asians and American Indians. New data from a genetic marker called lineage X suggest a possible ancient link between Eurasians and Native Americans. Furthermore, studies of early archaeological sites recently discovered in southeastern North American suggest strong technological ties between the First Americans and the Upper Paleolithic of Europe.

About the Author:

Dennis Stanford directs the Smithsonian Institution's Paleoindian/Paleoecology Program and is Chairman of the Department of Anthropology at the Museum of Natural History. He received a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of New Mexico in 1972. He was appointed Associate Curator of Archaeology at the Smithsonian in 1972 and since has developed a program of international collaboration among interdisciplinary scientists focusing on the origins of New World human populations and environmental changes at the end of the Pleistocene and early Holocene time periods. Mr. Stanford has led excavations at Paleoindian sites in Colorado and New Mexico and is now directing a multidisciplinary research team working in Northwest Alaska to discover evidence of the earliest human occupation of North America. Mr. Stanford has authored or co-authored over 100 research articles and five books covering various topics relative to the peopling of the Americas.

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