The First Steps

Eske Villadsen is a bit of scientific rock-star.

He’s not just an internationally acclaimed Scientist but his speciality is paleobiology. A what? I hear you say. Eske is a global leader in tracking DNA many thousands of years old, and this is exciting stuff, as his latest research shows.

It has long been assumed that the modern Inuit or Eskimos as they are also known, were related to the stone age arctic peoples. But not so! Archeologists analyzed remains found in the Arctic and compared them with DNA of ancient and present-day Inuit.

There was no match.

The Paleo-Eskimos came from Siberia about 5,000 years ago and spread all the way from Alaska to Greenland before dying out around 700 years ago. Willerslev says the extinction seemed to happen about the same time that Inuit were moving into the Arctic.

Why the Paleo-Eskimos didn’t intermix with Inuit remains a mystery, and an anomaly.

“Almost in all other cases where we look back in the past and we see people meeting each other, they might be fighting with each other but normally they actually have sex with each other as well. For some reason, this just didn’t happen.”

This seems also to confirm the ancient tales of the Vikings, who colonised parts of Greenland in around the year 1000 and disappeared 400 years later, who told of  an ancient people who disappeared everytime they tried to approach them.

It’s difficult to imagine the universe in which the paleoeskimos lived in, but Nuka Gotfredsen has created a wonderful and very dramatic  comic book, that with proper scientific approach gives us a great insight of a life on the edge 400 years ago.

Buy the comic book here

The First Steps