Populating America

When did people first reach North America (NA)? How did they get there? Where did they come from? Scientists continue to gather bits of evidence in hopes of putting the whole puzzle together. So far, genetic analysis shows that all the indigenous Americans came from a single, south Siberian population, living between the Altai Mountains and the Amur Valley. The ancient people probably came across the Bering Strait, but may have spent time living on the very wide “land bridge,” — Beringia — that once connected NA to Asia. Maybe they were stranded there between glacial advances. (See the Wikipedia entry on Beringia to see how big the connection used to be.) 14,100 year old human coprolites (i.e. fossilized poop) have been found in Oregon.

Grooved mastodon tusks date to 14,400 years ago. “Lanceolate biface” spear points, made by Clovis peoples, turn up in layers that might be 15,200 years old. Some evidence indicates occupation as far back as 22,000 years ago, but it is less solid than other evidence.

Science, 14 March 2008, pp. 1497 - 1501.
The Late Pleistocene Dispersal of Modern Humans in the Americas.

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