Jenkins: He said ‘well, how old do you think these are?’ And I said ‘well, they could be over 12,000 years, radio carbon years, why?’. ‘We’re getting native American DNA.’ And I said ‘wait a minute, how do you know that it’s Native American?’.”
The geneticist pointed to specific Native American markers in the samples. But it took Jenkins years to rule out the possibility that the samples were contaminated more recently than 12,000 radio carbon years ago - or 14,000 calendar years ago. The U-of-O scientist says the DNA evidence should help understand how people came to North America, thousands of years ago. But he says details about the Oregon cave dweller beyond the genetic evidence are still sketchy.