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What are facial characteristics of Native Americans?

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Quick Answer

Native Americans have facial characteristics of Mongolian people including light brown skin, brown eyes and dark straight hair. The ancestors of Native Americans migrated to the American continent from northeast Asia via the Bering land bridge approximately 30,000 years ago.

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Full Answer

Native Americans are indigenous inhabitants of North, Central and South America. Christopher Columbus called them "Indians" as he mistakenly believed that he had discovered the sea route to India. It is estimated that there were 90 million people living in the Americas before the Europeans arrived. This population was severely reduced by epidemic diseases, which had been unknown to Native Americans, and by war, forced labor and famine.

Although Native Americans share facial characteristics with their Asian ancestors, they have different blood types. In addition, the Native American population now includes people of mixed origins, such as European and African. As a result, skin tone varies among Native Americans and some non-Mongolian facial characteristics exist.

Furthermore, variation in physical characteristics among Native Americans can be attributed to different climates they have lived in. For instance, Native Americans of the Great Plains tend to be tall, while Native Americans in the Andes are shorter. Native Guatemalans might be short due to their low-protein diet. Native Andeans seem to have developed a larger lung capacity as they adapted to low quantities of oxygen in the mountains.

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