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Clovis people may have hunted elephant-like prey, not just mammoths

Traces of ancient American culture also discovered farther south than expected

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3:00pm, July 14, 2014

POINTING SOUTH  New finds, including this crystal quartz spear point, indicate that North America’s Clovis people hunted in what’s now northwestern Mexico around 13,390 years ago.

Ancient North America’s Clovis people, known as mammoth and mastodon hunters of the Great Plains, may have started out as gomphothere hunters of northwestern Mexico.

New finds indicate for the first time that Clovis people killed these now-extinct elephant-like creatures. What’s more, Clovis people did so from the culture’s early days in a region well south of the best-known Clovis sites. Clovis culture peaked between 13,000 and 12,600 years ago and its members may have been ancestors of today’s Native Americans (SN: 3/22/14, p. 6).

“The southern Plains and northern Mexico may be where Clovis culture rapidly evolved out of the flexible culture of North America’s first explorers,” says anthropologist Gary Haynes of the University of Nevada, Reno, who was not involved with the research.

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