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Beringian Civilization

March 3, 2014

Humans may have inhabited the Bering Land Bridge for 10,000 years.



The lost civilization of Beringia. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Beringia_-_late_wisconsin_glaciation USGS public domain

The Bering Land Bridge during the late Wisconsin glaciation period. (USGS)

About twenty thousand years ago, humans reached the Americas from Asia by crossing Beringia, a land bridge that once connected present-day Russia and Alaska. But according to University of Utah anthropological geneticist Dennis O’Rourke, Beringia may have been more than just a thruway. In the latest issue of the journal Science, O’Rourke and his colleagues piece together recent evidence that suggests that Beringia’s mostly rugged environment was more diverse than previously thought, with areas of shrubs, trees, and surprisingly mild climates. O’Rourke’s team suspects people settled there for long periods.

DENNIS O’ROURKE (University of Utah):

They didn’t cover vast amounts of the territory, but they were sort of little isolated, ecological zones and very congenial to human habitation.

He says that genetic evidence suggests people stayed in Beringia for up to ten thousand years before moving south. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.