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The site where Upward Sun River infants were discovered. Photo: Ben Potter / University of Alaska Fairbanks

A team of international scientists announced Wednesday that the remains of a six-week-old girl found in Alaska in 2010 yielded "the second-oldest human genome ever found in North America" — and one corresponding to a previously unknown lineage of humans, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: The finding gives researchers some of the first archaeological evidence for how people came from Asia to the Western Hemisphere and supports the idea that Siberian migrants settled the Americas, per the Times.

  • The girl, given the name Xach'itee'aanenh T'eede Gaay (which means "sunrise girl child" in the local dialect), was more closely related to Native Americans than other people living today, NYT reports, though she "belonged to neither the northern or southern branch of Native Americans."
  • She is a descendent of the Ancient Beringians, named after the land bridge across the Bering Strait during the most recent ice age. The researchers suggest Ancient Beringians split from Native Americans' ancestors about 20,000 years ago.

But, but, but: There's debate among scientists on when Native Americans' ancestors split into different branches, per the Atlantic.

  • One possibility is that they split into two lineages in Beringia, where the Ancient Beringians stayed, and the other side eventually "gave rise to the other Native Americans." This would mean there was only one migration.
  • Others argue that the Ancient Beringians diverged from other Native Americans while still in Asia, and that both groups "independently traveled into Beringia and subsequently into the Americas," the Atlantic reports.

Go deeper

Ohio sues Biden admin over reversal of Trump-era abortion referral ban

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. Photo: Justin Merriman/Getty Images

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration Monday over a Trump-era ban on abortion referrals that President Biden overturned earlier this month.

The big picture: The lawsuit aims to reinstate two measures included in the 2019 legislation that required federally funded family planning clinics to be "financially independent of abortion clinics," and refrain from referring patients for abortions.

Oklahoma Supreme Court temporarily blocks abortion restrictions

A pro-choice activist demonstrates outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 4, 2021. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Oklahoma Supreme Court on Monday temporarily blocked three abortion restrictions set to take effect on Nov. 1.

Why it matters: The laws would place new limits on medication-induced abortions and require doctors who perform abortions to attain board certification in obstetrics and gynecology.

U.S. freezes aid to Sudan over military coup

Protesting the coup in Khartoum. Photo: AFP via Getty

The Biden administration has frozen a $700 million aid package to Sudan after a military coup on Monday threatened to end the country's transition toward democracy.

Driving the news: At least three protesters have been killed and dozens wounded in the chaotic scenes that followed the announcements from Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan's ruling council, dissolving the government and declaring a state of emergency.