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Rush for iron spurred Inuit ancestors to sprint across Arctic

February 12, 2010

One of Canada’s top archeologists argues in a new book that the prehistoric ancestors of this country’s 55,000 Inuit probably migrated rapidly from Alaska clear across the Canadian North in just a few years — not gradually over centuries as traditionally assumed — after they learned about a rich supply of iron from a massive meteorite strike on Greenland’s west coast.

The startling theory, tentatively floated two decades ago by Canadian Museum of Civilization curator emeritus Robert McGhee, has been bolstered by recent research indicating a later and faster migration of the ancient Thule Inuit across North America’s polar frontier than previously believed.

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