domingo, 31 de enero de 2016

Tribes’ Win in Fight for La Jolla Bones Clouds Hopes for DNA Studies


Skeletons discovered in 1976 in La Jolla, Calif., that date back 9,500 years. Jan Austin/Santa Monica College

The San Diego Archaeology Center holds a pair of extraordinary skeletons. Dating back about 9,500 years, they are among the oldest human remains ever found in the Americas.

A number of scientists would love to study the bones, using powerful new techniques to extract any surviving DNA.

“These skeletons of such antiquity are so important for helping us understand what happened in the past in North America,” said Brian Kemp, a molecular anthropologist at Washington State University.

But for years the remains have been out of reach, the subject of a legal struggle that pitted three University of California scientists against their own administration and the Kumeyaay, a group of Native American tribes.

The skeletons were found in San Diego’s La Jolla community in 1976 by an archaeology class digging on land owned by the University of California, San Diego. In 2006, a group of tribes laid claim to the skeletons, and the university later agreed to transfer custody. To block the transfer, the scientists went to court. [...] The New York Times