Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. Photo: Jerry and Pat Donaho

DNA links present-day Pueblo populations to ancestral homeland at Mesa Verde

A DNA study confirms some of the ancestors of today's Pueblo populations in New Mexico migrated from Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, according to researchers.

The study was based on the DNA of turkey bones. Researchers said bones from Mesa Verde match those found near present-day Pueblos in northern New Mexico.

“What we found was good evidence of a substantial influx of turkeys into the northern Rio Grande region that had the same genetic composition as turkeys from the Mesa Verde region,”assistant professor Scott Ortman of the University of Colorado Boulder, one of the lead authors of the study, said in a press release.

Mesa Verde was home to a large population up until around 1280, according to researchers. Residents migrated to other areas of the Southwest, bringing turkeys and other items with them.

“These places have been a part of our narrative and a part of our history and a part of our present-day life for as long as we can remember,” Theresa Pasqual, a citizen of Acoma Pueblo, told the Associated Press.

Read More on the Story:
Turkey bones may help trace fate of ancient cliff dwellers (AP August 18, 2017)
‘Vanished’ people may live on in the U.S. Southwest (Science Magazine August 8, 2017)