Sunrise girl-child ("Xach'itee'aanenh T'eede Gaay") lived some 11,500 years ago in what is now called Alaska, and her ancient DNA reveals not only the origins of Native American society, but reminds the world of a whole population of people forgotten by history millennia ago.When I was in graduate school, the common understanding was that Meadowcroft Rockshelter was occupied as early as 23ky. Although this date was disputed, on the basis of presumed groundwater contamination, a paper by Paul Goldberg and Trina Arpin, from 1999, seems to confirm the early date. Meadowcroft is in Pennsylvania and likely was within 50 miles of the maximum edge of the Cordilleran Ice sheet.
"We didn't know this population existed," says anthropologist Ben Potter from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
"It would be difficult to overstate the importance of this newly revealed people to our understanding of how ancient populations came to inhabit the Americas."
Still, this is a neat find.