“Man Ahead of Us” May Be Key to Past

Matt Miller, KTOO – Juneau

There’s no apparent relationship between a man who lived on Prince of Wales Island 10,300 years ago and present day Southeast Alaska natives. But the connection may still be there – waiting to be discovered.

The remains of the man, know as Shuka Kaa or “Man ahead of us,” was found in “On Your Knees Cave.”

Doctor Brian Kemp is a molecular anthropologist at Washington State University who uses genetics to research relationships of indigenous American populations. He returned to Juneau during Celebration 2010 last week to explain his findings. Kemp says they were able to extract from Shuka Kaa’s tooth a sample of mitochondrial DNA. That’s a smaller genetic sequence located outside of a cell’s nucleus that’s only passed on maternally.

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