To archaeologist Jim Chatters, co-leader of the Hoyo Negro research team, these are all indications that the earliest Americans were what he calls “Northern Hemisphere wild-type” populations: bold and aggressive, with hypermasculine males and diminutive, subordinate females.
Instead it appears that these men fought among themselves—often and violently.
The women don’t have these kinds of injuries, but they’re much smaller than the men, with signs of malnourishment and domestic abuse.
Together these remnants may help explain an enduring mystery about the peopling of the Americas: If Native Americans are descendants of Asian trailblazers who migrated into the Americas toward the end of the last ice age, why don’t they look like their ancient ancestors?
By all appearances, the earliest Americans were a rough bunch.
If you look at the skeletal remains of Paleo-Americans, more than half the men have injuries caused by violence, and four out of ten have skull fractures.
The wounds don’t appear to have been the result of hunting mishaps, and they don’t bear telltale signs of warfare, like blows suffered while fleeing an attacker.