Humans Arrived In North America A Lot Earlier Than Thought

Posted: Jan 17 2017, 11:45am CST | by , Updated: Jan 17 2017, 11:54am CST, in News | Latest Science News

Humans Arrived in North America a Lot Earlier than We Thought
This horse mandible from Bluefish Caves shows a number of cut marks. Credit: University of Montreal

New evidences pushes back the date of human existence in North America by 10,000 years

The analysis of animal bones pushes back the history of humans in North America by 10,000 years.

For decades, human existence in North America is dated from 14,000 years Before Present (BP). But radiocarbon dating of animal bones recovered from Bluefish Caves indicates that humans settled there around 24,000 BP, some 1,000 years earlier than previously thought.

Bluefish Caves are located in northern Yukon and they are considered the oldest known archeological site in Canada. The site was excavated by an archaeologist Jacques Cinq-Mars between 1977-87 and initial radiocarbon dating of animals suggested that humans existed on the site as far back as 30,000 BP. The statement was considered highly controversial as it was contradicting the widely prevalent theory which says that first human arrived in North America around 13,000 BP.

Since no other archeological evidence in the region is as old as Bluefish Caves, it is difficult to prove the theory. Moreover, the bones of horse, mammoth and bison found in the caves do not necessary means that those animals were brought at the site by humans.

To test this hypothesis, researchers reexamined the massive collection of bones obtained from the site. These thousands of bone fragments are stored at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau and it took around two years to complete the analysis. The comprehensive analysis revealed undeniable traces of human activity on 15 bones. For instance, a horse jawbone is showing clear marks of a stone tool apparently used to remove the tongue of the animal and radiocarbon dating suggest that it had been butchered by a human 24,000 calendar years ago, adding weight to the Cinq-Mars theory.

Earth was going through last ice age or Last Glacial Maximum during that time. The new date means there was human activity in Ireland in the last glacial period.

“Series of straight, V-shaped lines on the surface of the bones were made by stone tools used to skin animals. These are indisputable cut-marks created by humans,” said co-author Ariane Burke, a professor in Université de Montréal's Department of Anthropology.

“Our discovery confirms previous analysis and demonstrates that this is the earliest known site of human settlement in Canada.”

The discovery leads to re-writing human history in North America.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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