Peru’s plenty brought ancient human migration to a crawl | Science News


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Peru’s plenty brought ancient human migration to a crawl

Abundant food let early Americans stay put

7:00am, May 31, 2017
mound and excavation

STOP SPOT  From around 15,000 to 8,000 years ago, New World settlers intermittently camped along Peru’s coast and exploited the region’s marine and inland food sources rather than continuing to trek southward, excavations (right) of an earthen mound called Huaca Prieta (left) show.

Some of the earliest settlers of the Americas curtailed their coastal migration to hunker down in what’s now northwestern Peru, new finds suggest. Although researchers have often assumed that shoreline colonizers of the New World kept heading south from Alaska in search of marine foods, staying put in some spots made sense: Hunter-gatherers needed only simple tools to exploit rich coastal and inland food sources for thousands of years.

Excavations at two seaside sites in Peru find that people intermittently camped there from about 15,000 to 8,000 years ago, say anthropologist Tom Dillehay of Vanderbilt University in Nashville and his colleagues. Ancient people along Peru’s Pacific coast didn’t leave behind fishhooks, harpoons, nets or boats that could have been used to capture fish, sharks and sea lions, the scientists report May 24 in Science Advances. Yet remains of those sea

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