Kurt Rademaker’s work on the peopling of the Americas featured in the New York Times

December 11, 2018

An international research team, including MSU Dept. of Anthropology Assistant Professor Kurt Rademaker and five team members, contributed some of the key ancient human remains that documented population dynamics in the Andean region. The results of this research were revealed in a recent article published in the journal Cell.

In 2015 Rademaker’s team excavated several ancient individuals from Cuncaicha rockshelter, in the high-elevation Peruvian Andes. Rademaker hand-carried the three rare, ancient individuals which included a 9000-year-old female and two males dating from 4200 and 3300 years ago from Peru to labs in the US and Germany for radiocarbon dating, CT scanning, stable isotope and paleogenetic analyses and then returned them to Peru.

This work lead to the first high quality ancient DNA data from Central and South America, shedding light on a distinctive DNA type associated with the first widespread archaeological culture of North America (Clovis). This work has also been highlighted in the New York Times this past weekend. Rademaker says, “As an archaeologist, it is incredibly rewarding to collaborate with physical anthropologists and paleogeneticists to unravel the complex story of early Americans. Interdisciplinary efforts like this are the future of our fields.”

The original version of this story can be found on the MSU Department of Anthropology’s website.