by Christopher Joyce
New genetic evidence suggests that Kennewick Man, an 8,500-year-old skeleton found in Washington state, is related to members of a nearby Native American tribe.
The DNA may help resolve a long-running scientific mystery, while at the same time reigniting a debate over who should have custody of the remains.
Kennewick Man was discovered accidentally in the mud flat along the Columbia River in 1996. He’s caused a ruckus ever since.
Physical anthropologists said his facial features and cranium didn’t look Native American. Researchers suspected he might have come from Asia or Polynesia.
But Native American groups insisted he was their ancestor and deserved a proper burial. The federal government agreed and locked up the skeleton. Scientists then sued to “release” it. And they won. Kennewick Man has been studied since then, and his remains are kept in a museum in Washington.
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