July 15, 2022
Researchers have found that half of the Maya genome is from populations arriving 5,600-4,700 years ago from Chibchan speaking peoples living between Costa Rica and northern Columbia.
The researchers analyzed DNA from two rick shelters in southern Belize. They re-introduced maize into Mexico in this area, and evidence shows that maize consumption jumped 4.700 years ago. The new migrants introduced new agricultural knowledge that led to intensive agriculture by the Maya.
According to a new study, more than half of the modern Maya genome is derived from ancient populations who migrated to the Yucatán Peninsula from southern Central America and South America at least 5,600 years ago. A team led by archaeologist Keith Prufer of the University of New Mexico, geneticist David Reich of Harvard University, and archaeologist Douglas Kennett of the University of California, Santa Barbara, analyzed DNA from human remains recovered from two rock shelters in southern Belize. They discovered that a group of the individuals whose remains were radiocarbon dated to between 5,600 and 4,000 years ago are ancestors of present-day Chibchan-speaking populations that live between Costa Rica and northern Colombia. “These people moved into the area in fairly small numbers over a period of perhaps five hundred to one thousand years and mixed with local populations,” Kennett says.