New evidence shifts the timeline back for human arrival in the Americas
Ancient artifacts found at an archaeological site in Argentina suggest that humans occupied South America earlier than previously thought.
|Sample of the lithic artifacts found in the levels associated with extinct fauna |
[Credit: Politis et al (2016)]
The evidence for earlier human arrival in the Americas comes from a rich archaeological site in southeastern South America called Arroyo Seco 2. A group of scientists led by Gustavo Politis from CONICET and the Universidad Nacional del Centro de la Provincia de Buenos Aires present the research in a new PLOS ONE study.
The analysis revealed the presence of limb bones from extinct mammals at the site, which may indicate human activities of transporting and depositing animal carcasses for consumption at a temporary camp. The bones of some mammal species were concentrated in a specific part of the site, which could indicate designated areas for butchering activities. Microscopic examination also revealed that some bones contained fractures most likely caused by stone tools. The remains were dated between 14,064 and 13,068 years ago, and the authors hypothesize that Arroyo Seco 2 may have been occupied by humans during that time.
|The evidence for earlier human arrival in the Americas comes from a rich
in southeastern South America called Arroyo Seco 2 [Credit: Politis et al (2016)]
While the characteristics of some of these archaeological materials could be explained without human intervention, the combination of evidence strongly suggests human involvement. Humans' arrival in southern South America 14,000 years ago may represent the last step in the expansion of Homo sapiens throughout the world and the final continental colonization.
Source: PLOS [September 29, 2016]