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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Kennewick Man

Washington State Map Showing Kennewick Near the Snake and Columbia RiversNational Museum of Natural History Physicalanthropologist Doug Owsley is featured in NOVA’s Mystery of the First Americans, airing February 15 at 9:00 pm ET. The program is about some of archaeology’s perennial questions: Who were the first people to visit the American continents? Where and when did they arrive? How and why they might have come? Were there several migrations, some that failed to secure a permanent foothold in the Americas and others that settled successfully, eventually to become the prehistoric ancestors of modern populations?

After 25 years of studying these questions, Dr. Owsley explains how an unusual turn of events has now cast him in the role of research advocate rather than research scientist. It involves the 9,000 year old Kennewick Man, a controversial new discovery that is one of the oldest human skeletons in North America. It involves a lawsuit against the federal government to keep Kennewick Man from being reburied without adequate study. The suit was filed reluctantly by Owsley and his colleagues in order to preserve the opportunity for researchers, now and in the future, to study potentially important scientific evidence before decisions are made to remove them from public access.

To learn more about the Kennewick Man visit these links:

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