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North America

Three new studies “shake up” study of human migrants to North America

We used to think the picture was pretty simple but not any more: By sequencing and analyzing 15 ancient genomes found throughout the Americas—six of which were older than 10,000 years—these researchers determined that, around 8,000 years ago, the ancestors of Native Americans were still on the move, migrating away from Mesoamerica (what is today Mexico and Central America) toward both North and South America. These groups moved rapidly and unevenly, sometimes interbreeding with local populations, complicating the genetic—and historical—picture even further. George Dvorsky, “Three New DNA Studies Are Shaking Up the History of Humans in the Americas” at Gizmodo Apparently, they traveled “great distances at breathtaking speed.” Potter said genetic data is wonderful, but it doesn’t tell us the Read More ›

New find extends back our knowledge of earliest identified North Americans

Artifacts have been found from a group that may have contributed to the later and better known Clovis culture: “We have discovered two previously unknown spearpoint styles that predate Clovis,” says study coauthor and archaeologist Michael Waters of Texas A&M University in College Station. Finding these artifacts in sediment showing a clear progression from stemmed points to a triangular point to Clovis points over a roughly 2,000-year period raises the likelihood that one spearpoint style led to the next, Waters holds. Similar stemmed spearpoints dating to as early as around 14,000 years ago have been found in parts of the western United States (SN: 8/11/12, p. 15). Several spearpoints found at the Gault site in Central Texas, dating to 16,700 Read More ›

Were humans in North America 130,000 years ago? Some evidence considered

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 Read More ›