Montana Man Found to Possess Oldest DNA Present in the Americas
Blackfeet, DNA, Genealogy, Mitochondrial DNA, Montana
[Dusty] Crawford had his DNA tested through CRI Genetics, which aims to provide customers with a “biogeographical ancestry,” a description of where their genes fit into the overall story of the species.
For Crawford, the company traced his line back 55 generations with a 99 percent accuracy rate. That’s rare because the ancestry often is clouded that far back, according to the company.
It was, they told him, like finding Bigfoot, it was so unlikely.
The company has never been able to trace anyone’s ancestry in the Americas as far back as Crawford’s DNA, they told him.
Crawford understood from school that his Blackfeet ancestors must have come to the new world on the Bering Land Bridge during the Ice Age. Perhaps that’s true for some Blackfeet.
But Crawford’s DNA story suggests his ancestors came from the Pacific, traveled to the coast of South America and traveled north, according to CRI. That’s a theory anyway.
He’s part of MtDNA Haplogroup B2, which has a low frequency in Alaska and Canada and originated in Arizona about 17,000 years ago.
That group is one of four major Native American groups that spread across the continent. They’re called clans and traced back to four female ancestors, Ai, Ina, Chie and Sachi. Crawford’s DNA says he’s a descendant of Ina.
The DNA groupâ€™s closest relatives outside the Americas are in Southeast Asia.
Ina’s name comes from a Polynesian mythological figure, a representative of the “first woman.” She’s riding a shark on a $20 bill in the Cook Islands.
â€œIts path from the Americas is somewhat of a mystery as there are no frequencies of the haplogroup in either Alaska or Canada. Today this Native American line is found only in the Americas, with a strong frequency peak on the eastern coast of North America,â€ according to the DNA testing company.
The DNA test focused on mitochondria DNA and Crawford’s line of female ancestors.
Shelly Eli, a Piikani culture instructor at the Blackfeet Community College, said oral stories say â€œWeâ€™ve always been here, since time immemorial.â€
â€œThereâ€™s no oral stories that say we crossed a bridge or anything else,â€ she said.
She cited 2017 research from a mastodon site in California that scientists say puts humans in North America at least 100,000 years earlier than previously believed. Previous estimates suggested humans arrived 15,000 years ago.
Crawford also had an unusually high percent of Native American ancestry in his results, 83 percent. Some of that was a mix of Native threads, but, unusually, 73 percent was from the same heritage.
Besides his Native heritage, Crawfordâ€™s DNA was a remarkable global melting pot. His DNA was 9.8 percent European, 5.3 percent East Asian (mostly Japanese and Southern Han Chinese), 2 percent South Asian (Sri Lankan Tamil, Punjabi, Gujarati Indian and Bengali) and .2 percent African (Mende in Sierra Leone and African Caribbean).