New Mexico mammoth site shows early human presence.
Humans may have lived in North America 36,000 years ago, 20,000 years earlier than expected. A huge battleground on New Mexico’s Colorado Plateau offers proof. There, researchers found campfire ashes and bones with impact marks, abrasions, and holes. This suggests that people populated America before the last Ice Age.
According to current understanding, the first humans crossed the Bering Strait between Asia and North America roughly 15,000 years ago. According to a long-held theory, they advanced south along the shoreline and via a channel in the interior ice that had melted 13,000 years ago.
Archaeologists have unearthed evidence of an older human presence throughout the Americas. 23,000-year-old footprints in the south, 30,000-year-old stone tools in Mexico, and animal bone scrapes from Alaska and Uruguay.
Timothy Rowe of UT Austin and his colleagues in New Mexico have found further evidence of early American habitation. Rowe found two mammoth fossils on his farm by accident. Several bone pieces and a smashed cranium were uncovered. Rowe believes the site is “not charismatic with a beautifully planned out skeleton.”
This intrigued him. Because the vast amount of fractured bones and their chaotic placement suggests corpse disruption by early humans. Rowe and his colleagues suggest that the site was considered a suspected Clovis combat site. They dated the mammoth bones using five types of radiocarbon. Collagen and other organic fossil components were studied.
Depending on the approach, the mammoth bones are 31,000 to 38,000 years old. The most credible date, according to the experts, is 36,000 to 38,000 years. The bones date back 15,000 years before Clovis.
Who or what mangled these bone fragments? The researchers used micro-CT, spectroscopy, SEM, and chemical analyses to examine the discoveries. Many bone pieces had circular perforations that resembled predatory teeth.
“Predator bite marks are biggest on the exterior and point inward,” the team says. “These holes were smallest at the bone’s surface and grew inward.” Such markings are indicative of a pointed instrument bored into the bone and pushed back and forth to harvest fat and marrow.
A considerable amount of bone chips, flat bits of limb bones, was also rare. Rowe and his colleagues claim that geological processes or animal eating can’t explain the pattern. Because 80% of these bone pieces were parallel or perpendicular to the bones. These were also secondary blows.
The team has never seen such clear alignment with non-cultural bone findings. “We examined scavenging, trampling, and other non-human variables, but it proved implausible,” the experts said. She believes people produced bone flakes as tools.
Microparticle analyses also showed human effect. Ashes, coal, bone powder, and burnt fish scales, bones, and other tiny creatures. The researchers indicate that the fish remains are 70 meters from the closest waterway. Many archaeological furnaces burn bones and bone meal.
This shows that humanity murdered mammoths and burned campfires more than 36,000 years ago. Rowe and his colleagues say these discoveries establish a new precedent for American settlement. The findings suggest that immigrants arrived before the end of the Ice Age and the emergence of the Clovis people. When and how they reached the continent is unknown.