Science

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Early American Fecal Matter a Great Discovery

April 05, 2008 06:54 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
New fossil evidence suggests that the first humans came to North America 14,000 years ago, more than 1,000 years before previously estimated.

30-Second Summary

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The first humans in North America were thought to have crossed from Asia via the Bering land bridge, which joined Siberia to Alaska, about 13,000 years ago. But findings recently published have cast doubt on that hypothesis.

A Danish researcher experimenting with DNA extraction tested fossilized human feces found in caves in Oregon and found they were 14,000 years old.

The people who have long been thought of as the original North Americans formed the Clovis culture, named after the town of Clovis, New Mexico, near which their artifacts were first discovered in the 1930s. Clovis artifacts have been found throughout the United States and Canada, but other archaeological sites in South America have stirred a debate about when people first came to the continent.

Other archaeologists, such as David Meltzer at Southern Methodist University, call the Oregon cave findings convincing.

“It's a much more compelling case than this odd-looking rock found next to that piece of charcoal. We know a human made this turd, whereas we don't know if that was a campfire,” he told the Archaeology journal.

Headline Links: ‘Human Traces Found to be Oldest in N. America’

Reference: Pre-Clovis people, Bering land bridge and the Clovis culture

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