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Palaeontology

Humans lived in America earlier than thought

May 16, 2016 | Comment icon 25 comments



Who were the first people to arrive in the Americas ? Image Credit: Charles R. Knight
New evidence has pushed the arrival of the first humans in the Americas back more than 1,500 years.
The discovery was made following an archaeological investigation of the Page-Ladson sinkhole which is situated on the Aucilla River near Tallahassee in Florida.

Divers retrieved a number of artifacts from the bottom of the water-filled hole including a "biface" stone knife and several animal bones which appeared to have been marked by human tools.

The Americas were believed to have been originally populated by the "Clovis" people 13,000 years ago but now it looks like humans were actually living on the continent 1,500 years earlier.

"We have clear artefacts, they were excavated meticulously, and they were in place," said senior researcher Dr Michael Waters of Texas A&M University.
"They were in a solid geological context, covered by four meters of sediment, and covered by a shell layer that sealed the complete deposit, and itself dated to 14,400 years ago."

"If people donít believe this site, theyíre not going to believe anything."

The discovery not only places doubt upon existing theories about the first humans in America but also suggests that there is still much we don't know about the first settlers on the continent.

"Fifteen years ago, if you proposed a pre-Clovis site, you had to expect that everybody thought you were a quack," said Dr Jessi Halligan, an anthropology professor at Florida State University.

Source: Independent | Comments (25)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #16 Posted by Gingitsune 6 years ago
So it took humans roughly 180,000 years to migrate from ethopia to the americas? This seems very plausible and not sure why it seems implausible. Thats plenty of time for smart monkeys to walk over the next hill. I woke up this morning thinking of an article I read a few months ago about the Inuit paradox, which may explain why sapiens, who have been spreading East, West and South like wildfire, didn't move North before 50,000 years. http://discovermagazine.com/2004/oct/inuit-paradox Sapiens were tropical animals used to eat a lot of plants. As they moved North in Ice Age Eurasia, they had to ... [More]
Comment icon #17 Posted by Hawkin 6 years ago
The dates keep getting pushed back. We are currently at 14,500 years ago. I'm sure there will be more discoveries that could will rewrite the books.
Comment icon #18 Posted by Gingitsune 6 years ago
Monte Verde is now said to have been inhabited 19,000 years ago, no bone though. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2015/11/oldest-stone-tools-americas-claimed-chile?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=twitter
Comment icon #19 Posted by Podo 6 years ago
I like the idea of early human migration, and the last decade of discoveries keep pushing those dates earlier and earlier. We need to keep digging!
Comment icon #20 Posted by Harte 6 years ago
Older thread with a ton of info: Link Harte
Comment icon #21 Posted by Leonardo 6 years ago
When was the land brigde in the bering straight first available for travel for humans? Further to the post Gingitsune made indicating the dates when a Bering Sea land-bridge existed, it is not just the existence of the land bridge which is important, but also whether there existed any passage across or between the ice sheets that covered the far north. The Clovis-first hypothesis is predicated on the knowledge that such a passage did exist from around 13,000 ybp, however it is known that a passage between the Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets also existed approx 10,000 years before that - ... [More]
Comment icon #22 Posted by Harte 6 years ago
Further to the post Gingitsune made indicating the dates when a Bering Sea land-bridge existed, it is not just the existence of the land bridge which is important, but also whether there existed any passage across or between the ice sheets that covered the far north. The Clovis-first hypothesis is predicated on the knowledge that such a passage did exist from around 13,000 ybp, however it is known that a passage between the Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets also existed approx 10,000 years before that - meaning a separate migration from northeast Asia was possible some 21 - 23,000 ybp. The... [More]
Comment icon #23 Posted by Leonardo 6 years ago
I think coastal is likely to have happened, but not in the numbers of the land migration. Besides, we'd probably never find evidence given the sea level rise since that time. I'd still guess it was probably both. Harte I know there is evidence of ancient occupation of some islands off the north-west of North America and in the Aleutians, but I don't know they necessarily support a migration from Asia. They could instead be evidence of a back migration of people who immigrated into the North American heartland by land, then expanded to the western coast and travelled north and west from there. ... [More]
Comment icon #24 Posted by Harte 6 years ago
Could be. I just like the idea of fishing and sealing along the ice like the Solutrean Hypothesis involves, only in the Pacific. Probably because I like to fish. So far, the antiquity of proposed sites in South America is greater than those in the north. Or has that changed? Harte
Comment icon #25 Posted by Leonardo 6 years ago
Could be. I just like the idea of fishing and sealing along the ice like the Solutrean Hypothesis involves, only in the Pacific. Probably because I like to fish. So far, the antiquity of proposed sites in South America is greater than those in the north. Or has that changed? Harte No, hasn't changed. Monte Verde is claimed to be approx. 18,000 years old, which would make it at least as old as the oldest claimed North American site, and some of the sites claimed to show ancient human habitation in Brazil are dated to near or even over 50,000 years old. The Brazil sites are very contentious and ... [More]


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