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First settlers reached Americas 130,000 years ago, study claims

Mastodon bones, stone tools place unknown Homo species in California surprisingly early

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1:00pm, April 26, 2017
mastodon bones

HERE FIRST  An unidentified Homo species pounded apart mastodon bones with large stones in southern California around 130,700 years ago, a controversial study concludes. Finds at what’s proposed as the oldest archaeological site in the Americas include this mastodon leg bone with a notch possibly produced by a pounding stone.

The New World was a surprisingly old destination for humans or our evolutionary relatives, say investigators of a controversial set of bones and stones.

An unidentified Homo species used stone tools to crack apart mastodon bones, teeth and tusks approximately 130,700 years ago at a site near what’s now San Diego. This unsettling claim upending the scientific debate over the settling of the Americas comes from a team led by archaeologist Steven Holen of the Center for American Paleolithic Research in Hot Springs, South Dakota, and paleontologist Thomas Deméré of the San Diego Natural History Museum. If true, it means the Cerutti Mastodon site contains the oldest known evidence, by more than 100,000 years, of human or humanlike colonists in the New World, the researchers report online April 26 in Nature.

Around 130,000 years ago, the researchers say, a relatively warm and wet climate

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