Eden’s greatest attraction is that it was a time before guilt; before hatred, greed and lust took over the world. But as Philip Ross’s article in the International Business Times suggests, Eden must have been a long time ago. The University of Copenhagen, using DNA technology identified a group called the “Paleo-Eskimos, the ancestors of modern-day Inuit and Native Americans and the earliest people to settle the North American Arctic”. They were the last remnant of the Dorset people who disappeared without a trace. The curious thing about these recently extinguished “ancestors” of Native Americans is they shared no genetic similarities to their descendants.
Exactly who first populated the Arctic has long been debated. Scientists know three broadly grouped cultures all occupied the northernmost parts of North America in the past few thousand years. They were the Saqqaq, who occupied the region until about 2,500 years ago, followed by several Dorset culture and then the Thule, the ancestors of modern-day Inuit, from about 1,000 years ago, the BBC said.
Because the Dorsets do not share any genetic similarities with people in the Arctic today, researchers concluded the population disappeared rather suddenly. Climate change could have something to do with it, scientists say. Regional temperature shifts could have strained the Dorsets food sources — ox, seal and reindeer.
These last holdouts appeared to be hiding. They were a remnant, small in numbers and inbred. And although we are assured they died of climate change, another, more disturbing possibility exists.
“The Dorsets were the Hobbits of the eastern Arctic — a very strange and very conservative people who we’re only just getting to know a little bit,” anthropologist William Fitzhugh, director of the Arctic Studies Center at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and a co-author of the study, told the Washington Post. Because the Dorset people lacked sophisticated weaponry like bows and arrows, “they were, in a sense, sitting ducks,” he said.
Maybe the First Peoples killed them. But who knows. After all Eden was a long time ago.