An international research team has located the ancient genome of a two-year-old boy who died in Montana 12,600 years ago.
DNA analysis confirms the theory that Native Americans in North and South America descend from Asians who crossed the Bering Sea from Siberia.
The discovery is the missing piece in the puzzle to how the American continent was populated, according to Eske Willerslev, a head researcher and professor of geogenetics at the University of Copenhagen.
"I've never seen anything like this," Willerslev told online science magazine Videnskab.dk. "The boy's father, mother and brother are almost like a missing link."
Willerslev’s study was published in Nature science journal yesterday, only a week after his last discovery revealing new details about Ice Age extinction.
The infant boy was one of the first Americans, the Clovis people, whose stone tools have been found all over the US and Mexico.
Scientists have for a long time disagreed over the origins of the first Americans. While most archaeologists think the Clovis people were descended from Asians, others suggest their ancestors emigrated from southwestern Europe more than 15,000 years ago.
The new findings refute that idea and the genetic results also revealed that 80 percent of the Native Americans living today are related to the two-year-old Clovis boy's immediate family.