Mexican cave artifacts show earlier arrival of humans in North America

WASHINGTON: Stone tools unearthed in a cave in central Mexico and other evidence from 42 far-flung archaeological sites indicate people arrived in North America – a milestone in human history – earlier than previously known, upwards of 30,000 years ago.

Scientists said on Wednesday they had found 1,930 limestone tools, including small flakes and fine blades that may have been used for cutting meat and small points that may have been used as spear tips, indicating human presence at the Chiquihuite Cave in a mountainous region of Mexico's Zacatecas state.

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The tools spanned from 31,000 to 12,500 years old, said archaeologist Ciprian Ardelean of Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas in Mexico, lead author of one of two studies published in the journal Nature. The site was occupied periodically for millennia by nomadic hunter-gatherers.

In the second study, evidence from 42 sites around North America and the location of a land bridge that connected Siberia to Alaska during the last Ice Age indicated human presence dating to at least a time called the Last Glacial Maximum, when ice sheets blanketed much of the continent, about 26,000 to 19,000 years ago and immediately thereafter.

The research also implicated humans in the extinctions of many large Ice Age mammals such as mammoths and camels.

Our species first appeared about 300,000 years ago in Africa, later spreading worldwide. The new findings contradict the conventional view that the first people arrived in the Americas around 13,000 years ago, crossing the land bridge, and were associated with the "Clovis culture," known for distinctive stone tools.

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The findings suggest low numbers of people entered the continent earlier than previoRead More – Source