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Bone may display oldest art in Americas

Mammoth engraved on fossil may date from at least 13,000 year ago

An engraving of an Ice Age mammoth on a fossil bone possibly represents the oldest drawing in the Americas. Mammoths disappeared from eastern North America 13,000 years ago, so the etching must be at least that old, says a team led by anthropologist Robert Speakman of the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum Conservation Institute in Suitland, Md. Replacement of the original bone by minerals prevents DNA extraction or radiocarbon dating, the scientists explain in a paper published online June 12 in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

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