Already 30,000 years ago, people in America lived

The first people to set foot on the American continent came from Asia, such as DNA comparisons show. These first immigrants moved in at the time, probably acros

Already 30,000 years ago, people in America lived

The first people to set foot on the American continent came from Asia, such as DNA comparisons show. These first immigrants moved in at the time, probably across the Bering Strait to the new continent. Because during the last ice age, a 1600 km wide and nearly 5000-Kilometer-long land bridge, Asia, and North America Association there. But when this first colonization of the New world took place, is a mystery to this day – and hotly debated. For a long time, the hunters of the Clovis culture, which will leave around 13,000 years ago, traces in many Places in North America, behind were, as the origin of all native people of this continent. According to this theory, their immigration was only possible when an ice-free corridor between the Eastern Laurentide ice sheet and the West of North America, the opposite of the Cordillera ice sheet opened. First, this passage made the Clovis hunters of the way to the colonization of the continent, this long dominant view.

Fund in a mountain cave in Mexico

But since then, archaeologists have in many places in the North, but also in South America, traces of human presence are discovered, of which are several thousand years older than the Clovis culture. A total of 14,500-year-old mammoth place of slaughter in Florida, but also up to 18,000-year-old relics of the southern tip of South America, among others. In view of the enormous distance of these settlements from the probable point of arrival of the first "native Americans" leads to longer doubts about the Clovis hunters as the first comers and also the Timing of their arrival. Accordingly, the first humans should have come much earlier to America, possibly even at the peak of the last ice age or shortly afterwards. Because of the way through the ice-free corridor was still closed, must be moved, these first comers, instead, along the Pacific coast to the South. In spite of the discoveries of pre-Clovis relics, this theory of the previous arrival, however, remained controversial.

Now, a discovery supplies in the highlands of Mexico new evidence for a far earlier colonization of America by the people. You've tracked down the cave Ciprian Ardelean of the Autonomous University of Zacatecas, and his colleagues in the excavations of the to 2,740 meters above sea level on the mountain slope opposite Chiquihuite -. There, the archaeologists had discovered in 2012 in the case of a test excavation first evidence of early presence of the people. In 2016 and 2017, they carried out a comprehensive excavation. In several layers of the cave floor, the researchers discovered in addition to animal bones and plant residues on the hand of man stone tools edited. To determine the age of these findings, the researchers for 59 samples, radiocarbon Dating and dated in addition, samples of Rock from the archaeological layer using the optically stimulated luminescence.

More than 30,000 years old

showed that the oldest remains could be in this cave, a good 30,000 years old. "According to our findings, the beginning of the reference layer C is 33.150 up 31.400 years – and before the last glacial Maximum", reports Ardelean and his Team. Therefore, people must have been before the peak of the last ice age in America and to Mexico to be penetrated. Who these people were, however, remains open. Because it is not succeeded by the scientists to isolate DNA of the former cave-dwellers. The style of the stone tools suggests that it may have to a own, yet unknown culture traded. Because they differ significantly from the so far from America, known as the archaeologists explain.

The stone tools include various shaped Blades, spikes, and wedges, which have been prepared in part complex ways. The biggest part of this tools is also not out of the everywhere, lying around, the rough, gray limestone, but from greenish, and blackish-colored, a particularly dense and uniform variants of this rock. These were in the environment of the cave, scattered and must be searched for, therefore targeted together. "The systematic geological selectivity, which occurs in the manufacture of these tools is evident, speaks for a conscious choice and for a more in-depth knowledge of the available stone raw materials", say wood and his colleagues. Combined with the particular construction of animals representative of this Fund collection, a stone culture that none of the so far from America well-known same.

According to the researchers, their findings provide further evidence for the early presence of man on this continent, and illustrate at the same time, already in the beginning of the prevailing cultural diversity. Similarly, it also sees Ruth Gruhn of the University of Alberta. In an accompanying comment, they wrote: "This Mexican site join now to sites about half a dozen other documented archaeological evidence for human habitation in front of 30,000 to 20,000 years ago suggest." Thus, it is clear that the theory of the Clovis culture was overtaken as the starting point of all the early cultures of this continent. "It is clear that people were long before the development of the Clovis technology in North America," says Gruhn. Who these people were, when and where you put the first foot on the continent and how they moved on from there, but it is still a mystery.

source: Ciprian Ardelean (Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas, Mexico) et al., Nature, doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2509-0

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Updated Date: 22 July 2020, 11:26

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