Humans Arrived in North America 100000 Years Earlier Than Thought

They were in Siberia around 50,000 years ago. In 1992, a site was uncovered containing mastodon bones, along with stone anvils and hammerstones.

At the time of the find, dating techniques weren't sophisticated enough to reliably assign an age to the bones, and by association, the tool-users who acted upon them.

A concentration of fossil bone and rock at the Cerutti Mastodon site: the unusual positions of the femur heads, one up and one down, broken in the same manner next to each other are unusual; mastodon molars are located in the lower right hand corner next to a large rock comprised of andesite which is in contact with a broken vertebra; upper left is a rib angled upwards resting on a granitic pegmatite rock fragment.

Scientists like to argue over when humans first got to the Americas - and the debate might be heating up again.

"When you put the total package together, there's certainly more evidence to reject [the study] than accept it", said Dillehay. Beyond the need for broader consensus about the nature of the percussion signs on the bones loom much more tantalizing questions-if true, how did those first humans arrive here, well before the appearance of the land bridge, and what happened to them?

The site included clusters of rocks believed to have been used as tools. The researchers also conducted their own experiments smashing elephant bones and saw similar patterns.

The conclusion: the bones were fresh when they were purposefully broken by blows from two stones. "This was significant in and of itself and a "first" in San Diego County". Furthermore, those hominids knew how to use basic tools for extracting bone marrow or processing the materials for production.

Holen called the discovery the biggest shock of his scientific career. "This, Holen [and his colleagues] have most certainly not done, making this a very easy claim to dismiss".

"I know people will be skeptical of this because this is so surprising", Holen said. "It was quite shocking". So these humans either crossed earlier, or made some portion of the journey by boat.

A USA geologist, James Paces, starting in 2014 used a uranium-linked dating method that has helped the scientists determine that the activity on the mastodon bones took place about 130,000 years ago.

"It's been a long, hard process", he said.

The authors said that nothing in the tools leaned toward one species hypothesis over another.

The authors of the Nature paper, in addition to Holen, Deméré, Fisher, Paces, Cerutti and Rountrey are: Richard Fullagar, professorial research fellow at the Centre for Archaeological Science at the University of Wollongong, Australia; Kathleen Maule Holen, administrative director at the Center for American Paleolithic Research; Jared Beeton, professor of physical geography at Adams State University; George T. Jefferson, district staff paleontologist at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park; and Lawrence Vescera, volunteer paleontologist at the California State Parks Colorado Desert District Stout Research Center in Borrego Springs. "It is one thing to show that broken bones and modified rocks could have been produced by people, which [this paper does]", says Don Grayson, an archaeologist at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Richard Potts of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, said he doesn't reject the paper's claims outright, but he finds the evidence "not yet solid".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)

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