Did Columbus discover early Caribs in 15th century Caribbean? Jury continues to be out

Enlarge / Earlier this yr, researchers analyzed the skulls of early Caribbean inhabitants, utilizing 3D facial “landmarks” as a genetic proxy for figuring out how carefully folks teams have been associated to at least one one other. A follow-up research this month added historical DNA evaluation into the combo, with conflicting outcomes. (credit score: Ann Ross/North Carolina State College) There’s not often time to write down about each cool science-y story that comes our manner. So this yr, we’re as soon as once more operating a particular Twelve Days of Christmas sequence of posts, highlighting one science story that fell by the cracks in 2020, every day from December 25 by January 5. As we speak: how facial attribute evaluation and DNA evaluation, mixed with archaeological work, are serving to make clear the historical past of the Caribbean’s authentic islanders.

In his accounts of encounters with the inhabitants of the Caribbean Islands within the 15th century, Christopher Columbus made a number of allusions to Carib raids upon peaceable Arawak villages, together with sensational claims of the invaders consuming the lads and taking the ladies as wives. “I noticed some who had marks of wounds on their our bodies and I made indicators to them asking what they have been,” Columbus wrote in a single account from his first voyage, upon arriving on the Bahamian island of Guanahani. “They confirmed me how folks from different islands close by got here there and tried to take them, and the way they defended themselves; and I believed and consider that they arrive Tierra Firme to take them captive.”
Most archaeologists have lengthy dismissed these accounts as myths, however new scientific instruments are serving to make clear the reality of the Caribbean’s authentic islanders. And the conflicting outcomes of two separate research, revealed 11 months aside, are elevating contemporary questions. The outcomes of an evaluation of facial traits from historical human skulls from the area appeared to point Columbus’ account was correct, in line with a January paper revealed in Scientific Experiences. However a follow-up paper revealed final week in Nature yields a distinct image with its mixture of genetic evaluation with many years of archaeological analysis.Learn 22 remaining paragraphs | Feedback

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