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The First Americans: Shocking New Study Reveals Humans Lived in the Americas 130,000 Years Ago

Apr 27, 2017 03:32 PM EDT
Neanderthal Man
The site didn’t feature human fossils, so the scientists couldn’t determine who these humans who first populated the country were. Two possibilities are Neanderthals or Denisovans.
(Photo : General Photographic Agency/Getty Images)

Shattered bones found on a construction site in California uncovers new possibilities of human history in the Americas. This discovery suggests that the first humans actually arrived 130,000 years ago, which is a whopping 100,000 years earlier than widely believed.

According to a report from New Scientist, mastodon fossils were discovered along a coastal site in San Diego, California in the 1990s. When scientists analyzed the findings, they found that a big chunk of the collection were fragmented and fractured, possibly the effect of humans breaking open fresh bones. There were also stone cobbles found in the site, which had signs of impact marks.

Team member Steven Holen from the Center for American Paleolithic Research in South Dakota explained that the clues paint a clear picture of what possibly happened. Early humans may have came across a fresh mastodon carcass, then used stones as tools to break the bones open. The bones could have been used by the early humans for tools or food (bone marrow).

But the most extraordinary discovery of this particular site is when James Paces of the United States Geological Survey in Colorado used uranium-thorium isotope dating and found that the fossils are about 131,000 years old. Many believe that humans made it to the Americas just 15,000 years ago; so if proven, this newly dated fossils could pave the way to a rewritten history.

The site didn't feature human fossils, so the scientists couldn't determine who first populated the country were. Two possibilities are Neanderthals or Denisovans, according to team member Richard Fullagar.

"We often hear statements in the media that a new study changes everything we knew," says Chris Stringer at the Natural History Museum in London. "If this result stands up to scrutiny, it does indeed change everything we thought we knew about the earliest human occupation of the Americas."

The findings are published in the journal Nature.

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