Archeologists offer some thoughts:
Humans may have been in North America much earlier than previously thought. Here’s the evidence: chipped rocks, crushed mastodon bones, and reliable dates showing the remains are 130,000 years old. Is that enough to rewrite the history? SAPIENS co-hosts Chip Colwell and Jen Shannon talk to Steven and Kathleen Holen, archaeologists and co-authors of a controversial discovery. And they further evaluate the claims with the help of anthropologist Todd Braje. podcast, “The Mastodon in the Room” at SAPIENS
Last year, SAPIENS covered the mastodon find:
In the fall of 1992, a construction crew made an unusual discovery during a freeway expansion in a coastal area of San Diego County. Buried deep within the silty soil were the bones, tusks, and molars of a mastodon, an elephant-like mammal that once lived in North America. When archaeologists took a closer look, they found signs that humans had battered the animal shortly after its death with the large stones buried alongside it.
But the real surprise came when geologists determined the age of the bones. Radiometric dates showed the mastodon had been buried for about 130,000 years. If correct, this means that ancient humans were in coastal California many tens of thousands of years before they were thought to be in the Americas. The details of the finding, which took 25 years to unravel, were published in Nature today, raising questions about when humans first migrated to North America.
Hannah Hoag, “Broken Bones Could Rewrite Story of the First Americans” at SAPIENS, 26 April 2017
Raises questions, all right. That’s 115,000 years earlier than usually given. The podcast brings listeners up to date on the evaluation of the evidence of the rock chips-and-mastodon find in the intervening eighteen months.
Note: The topic sometimes gets political, in relation to a form of native American creationism that seems to flirt with separate creation of native Americans. It is not to be confused with the better known religious “we are all one people” creationism.
See also: Bret Weinstein, the Evergreen prof who got SJW-d? It’s partly the fault of creationists!