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Ancient DNA gives new insights into 'lost' Indigenous people of Uruguay

© Photo by Maximasu via Wikimedia Commons
A sculpture commemorates the Indigenous people of Uruguay in the capital of Montevideo. Archeological evidence for human settlement of the area goes back 10,000 years.

The first whole genome sequences of the ancient people of Uruguay provide a genetic snapshot of Indigenous populations of the region before they were decimated by a series of European military campaigns. PNAS Nexus published the research, led by anthropologists at Emory University and the University of the Republic, Montevideo, Uruguay.

“Our work shows that the Indigenous people of ancient Uruguay exhibit an ancestry that has not been previously detected in South America,” says John Lindo, co-corresponding author and an Emory assistant professor of anthropology specializing in ancient DNA. “This contributes to the idea of South America being a place where multi-regional diversity existed, instead of the monolithic idea of a single Native American race across North and South

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