Humans could have taken a coastal route into the Americas | Science News

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The first Americans could have taken a coastal route into the New World

Glacial retreat had cleared a path along Alaska’s shores by 17,000 years ago

2:00pm, May 30, 2018
Geologist Alia Lesnek

DEICED PASSAGE  Rocks on an Alaskan island display smooth surfaces covered by cracks created when ice once moved over them. Alia Lesnek (shown) and colleagues have determined that ice on this and three nearby islands retreated about 17,000 years ago, just before ancient humans colonized the Americas.

Ancient colonizers of the Americas could have traveled down Alaska’s Pacific coast in canoes or other sea vessels around 17,000 years ago, a new study finds.

At that time, toward the end of the last ice age, glaciers had just receded from a cluster of southern Alaskan islands, say geologist Alia Lesnek of the University at Buffalo in New York and colleagues. Life-supporting habitats appeared soon after the ice melted, the scientists report May 30 in Science Advances.

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