Archaeologists and geneticists have discovered a previously unidentified Andean lineage, revealing genetic diversity in South America in pre-Columbian times.

Aconagua mountain.

Aconagua mountain. Image by Nicolas Solop / CC BY-SA 2.0

Researchers sequenced the genome of a seven-year-old boy who was sacrificed 500 years ago during an Incan ritual in the Andes. His mummy was discovered on Aconcagua mountain, the tallest mountain outside of Asia, near the border of Argentina and Chile. After extracting the mummy’s DNA, researchers ran it through a database of genetic code and found only four people with a corresponding trace – three modern people from Peru and Bolivia, and one ancient person from the Wari empire, a Peruvian civilization predating the Inca by several hundred years. The study, which was published in the journal of Scientific Reports, suggests that the gene pool was dramatically transformed due to the consequences of colonization. Read more: