Human history in the U.S. is 100000 years longer than we thought

Human history in the U.S. is 100000 years longer than we thought

Researchers with the San Diego Natural History Museum have said in a newly released paper that the remains of a Mastodon that were found in 1992 during a freeway excavation in San Diego show signs of human activity in North America 120,000 to 140,000 years ago, according to National Geographic.

Advanced radiometric dating technology allowed scientists to determine the mastodon bones belong to the Late Pleistocene period, or 130,000 years old, with a margin of error of plus or minus 9,400 years.

In prehistoric times, a species of humans - probably Neanderthals or some other kind of hominids - were present in what is today the State of California.

"Using femur bones of recently deceased elephants, Holen had conducted two separate experiments in which he demonstrated that a stone used as a hammer causes fresh limb bones to fracture in a distinctive way", the museum said.

If this is true, then the Cerutti Mastodon site is the oldest archaeological site in North America, altering theories of when the Homo arrived at the continent. These push-and-pull forces crush bone, hack apart human and animal remains, and turn solids to dust.

Many scientists are skeptical of the study, saying the findings don't prove something else didn't smash the bones, only that humans might have done it, the NYT reported.

The first humans to set foot in the Americas arrived some 25,000 years ago - or so we thought.

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"I think they've done their homework", he said, noting that Holen is one of the world's leading experts on what mastodon bones look like when they are broken naturally versus when they are smashed open by humans. The location is now called the Cerutti Mastodon Site, after discoverer Richard Cerutti of the San Diego Natural History Museum. Also found buried at the site were large stones which appeared to be used as hammers and anvils.

San Diego Natural History Museum palaeontologist Tom Deméré said until now the oldest widely accepted date for human presence in the New World was 14,000 to 15,000 years ago, making the San Diego site almost 10 times older.

Attempts to establish the age of the site using radiocarbon dating failed, because there was no collagen preserved in the bones, the scientists said.

The finding poses a lot more questions than answers: Who were these people? Are they part of an early - but failed - colonisation attempt? Here's the rub. nearly all previous evidence points to humans arriving in the Americas approximately 20,000 years ago.

Not everyone agrees that the evidence points to a human presence, however. Shortly, researchers found stone tools and bones.

"The models were immensely helpful in interpreting and illustrating these objects", he said. The 3-D models helped us understand what we were looking at and to communicate the information much more effectively. "It went against everything I'd ever been taught and everything that I ever thought I knew. That's what we're trying to encourage by making these models available". "It's hard to argue with the clear and remarkable evidence that we can see in all of this material", said archaeologist Richard Fullagar of Australia's University of Wollongong, calling the conclusions "truly incontrovertible".

San Diego Natural History Museum Paleontologist Don Swanson pointing at rock fragment near a large horizontal mastodon tusk fragment. Founded in 1874 by a small group of citizen scientists, the museum's mission is to interpret the natural world through research, education and exhibits; to promote understanding of the evolution and diversity of southern California and the peninsula of Baja California, Mexico; and to inspire in all people respect for the environment.

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