PerspectiveAnthropology

Out of Beringia?

Science  28 Feb 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6174, pp. 979-980
DOI: 10.1126/science.1250768

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Via your Institution

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Summary

Based on the distribution of tundra plants around the Bering Strait region, Eric Hultén proposed in the 1930s that the now-submerged plain between Chukotka and Alaska—the Bering land bridge—became a refugium for shrub tundra vegetation during cold periods (1), which include the last glacial maximum (LGM) between ∼28,000 and 18,000 cal BP (calibrated radiocarbon years before the present). Adjoining areas to the west and east supported drier plant communities with a higher percentage of grasses during glacial periods. According to Hultén, when warmer and wetter conditions returned to these areas, the land bridge, which he named Beringia, became a center of dispersal for tundra plants. Now it appears that it also may have been a glacial refugium and postglacial center of dispersal for the people who first settled the Americas.