The researchers have made an interesting discovery about the Bering Land Bridge. They say the ancestors of Native Americans have spent over 10,000 years on and around it before streaming into the Americas.
The land bridge is now buried about 50 to 60 meters (160-200 feet) under Bering and Chukchi Seas.
The research has been published on February 27 in the journal Science under the name Beringia standstill hypothesis.
The research is a landmark as it provides answers to a long-running mystery about where the people who first set foot on the New World survived the last Ice Age after splitting from their Asian relatives 25,000 years ago.
Scott Elias from the Department of Geography at Royal Holloway college in London says, “This work fills in a 10,000-year missing link in the story of the peopling of the New World.”
Researchers have argued that the fossils of living organisms like insects and plants found in the ancient Bering Land Bridge’s sediment cores supports the fact that hundreds or thousands of people spent 5,000 years or more there.
The researchers have been studying Beringia since a long time. The “Beringia Standstill” theory was first proposed by two Latin American geneticists in 1997, which was later refined by a team of researchers at University of Tartu in Estonia. They sampled mitrochondrial DNA from more than 600 Native Americans to study Beringia.