Bones of an adult mammoth and her calf have been found at a 37,000-year-old slaughter site in New Mexico, suggesting that humans settled in North America 17,000 years earlier than previously thought.
A team of scientists led by the University of Texas at Austin has extracted collagen from bones, allowing them to date a settled age between 36,250 and 38,900 years old.
The bones were found in a three-foot-tall pile, 95 percent of which belonged to an adult, and showed signs of carnage and blunt force fractures.
The discovery adds to a growing body of evidence that societies existed before humans crossed the Bering Strait land bridge about 20,000 years ago. The bridge, also called Beringia, connected Siberia and Alaska during the last ice age and allowed people to come from Asia to North America.
Timothy Rowe, lead author of the study, told DailyMail.com that early humans likely came from Asia, but it remains an open question whether they chose a coastal or land route to the Americas. A separate 2021 study found that some of the first Americans crossed the Bering Sea by kayak, stopping along a chain of islands that were above the surface during the last ice age.
Previous research has unearthed ancient human remains dating back 20,000 years and other artifacts that suggest humans lived in the area before Clovis – those who crossed the land bridge. However, mammoth bones are the earliest evidence found to date.
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Scientists have discovered a three-foot pile of mammoth bones that belonged to an adult female and her cub. However, 95 percent of the bones belong to an adult.
Rowe said in statement: “This is not a charismatic site with a beautiful skeleton lying on its side. It’s all destroyed. But such is the story.
The discovery was also made in Rowe’s backyard. His neighbor noticed a tusk sticking out of the ground and quickly called in a team to help with the excavation.
After most of the dirt had been removed, the open-air butchering site was found to include various areas separated by walls of stone and clay.
Mammoth bones, both adult and calf, were found in a heap with an adult head and tusks lying on top.
The bones were found at an open-air cutting site, consisting of separate sections fenced off by walls.
On the bones of the mammoth, traces of massacre and fractures from a blow with a blunt object were visible.
Most of the remains in the heap belonged to an adult, including 44 broken skull fragments, as well as an intact upper right second molar and 12 separate dental plates, 25 ribs broken into 52 fragments, 3 vertebrae and 15 vertebral fragments, 32 impact-impact bone flakes . , 9 “butterfly fragments”, 20 unidentifiable bone fragments, and 267 bags of small “bone fragments”.
The photo shows what an adult mammoth looked like.
“The adult face (tusks, premaxilla and part of the upper jaw) is the largest and heaviest element, and it was located on top of a pile of bones,” says a study published in the journal. Frontiers of ecology and evolution.
“He was cut off from the skull at the nostrils, and his maxillary alveoli were broken and empty.
“The lower leg is represented in part by the left maxilla and dentary with complete dentition, three isolated dental plates, left tibial shaft, and 10 rib fragments.”
The study also notes that the separation of the facial bones of an adult from the skull was caused by the “deepest fracture of the skull”.
Before mammoth bones were found, the oldest evidence of human settlement in North America was a 20,000-year-old burial site in Montana.
The discovery adds to a growing body of evidence that societies existed before humans crossed the Bering Strait land bridge about 20,000 years ago. Pictured is a map showing how a land bridge once connected two continents.
The study also notes that the separation of the facial bones of an adult from the skull was caused by the “deepest fracture of the skull”. The picture shows the bones of the face of an animal with fractures from a blow with a blunt object.
In 1968, builders discovered ancient tools and the remains of a small child at this site.
It is the oldest genome ever discovered in the New World, and artifacts found with the body show that the boy was part of the Clovis culture that crossed the Bering Strait land bridge.
About 125 artifacts were found in the so-called Anzic skeleton, including fluted spearheads of Clovis and tools made from horns and coated with red ocher, a type of mineral.
Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, who led the study, said in a statement: “The family of the Clovis boy is the direct ancestor of approximately 80% of all modern Native Americans.
“Although the Clovis culture has disappeared, its people live on today.”