According to two studies that I and my colleagues depths published today, humans lived in Mexico until 33,000 years ago. They may have arrived in Americas via the Pacific coast.

Many believe that the first people to reach the Americas were Asian big-game hunters who arrived in the Americas after the last Ice Age, around 13,000 years ago. This theory is call the Clovis first theory. It is based on the Clovis culture, which archaeologists have identified as having unique stone tools.

This theory accept for most of the 20th Century. Recent archaeological evidence shows that humans existed in the Americas long before Clovis. However, it is not clear how long ago this was and remains a subject of intense academic debate.

What We Discovered In Depths Chiquihuite Cave

Chiquihuite Cave, an archaeological site located at 2,740m above the sea level in Zacatecas (Mexico), is Chiquihuite Cave. The University of Zacatecas Ciprian Ardelean has been leading excavations at the site for seven years. Nearly 2,000 pieces and tools made from stone have been discover.

These tools belong to a new type of material culture that has never seen before in the Americas. There are no obvious similarities to other cultural complexes. More than 200 specimens were discover below the archaeological layer, which corresponds to the peak period of the last Ice Age. This peak is call the Last Glacial Maximum by archaeologists.

The greatest extent of ice sheets was at this time between 26,000- 19,000 years ago. The evidence from Chiquihuite Cave strongly suggests that humans existed in North America long before Clovis.

Due to the importance of the discovery, I joined a group of international researchers in studying Chiquihuite Cave. After a four-hour journey on foot, some of us were able to visit the site and witness the evidence firsthand. Our goals were to reconstruct the human environment and determine when the site was occupied.

My research at Chiquihuite Cave was primarily focus on the former. I was able to help build a chronology that included more than 50 optical and radiocarbon dates. The results, when combined with archaeological evidence, showed that humans lived in Chiquihuite as far back as 33,000 years ago. This was before the Pleistocene period end (around 12,000 years) and the cave was seal off.

Settlement Depths Patterns

In a second paper I examine the larger Depths pattern of human occupation in North America and Beringia (the ancient landbridge connecting America and Asia). This required me to analyse hundreds of dates from 42 archeological sites in North America, Beringia, and Chiquihuite Cave using a statistical tool called Bayesian-age modelling.

Analysis showed that there were people in North America prior to, during, and immediately after the peak Ice Age. It wasn’t until much later, however, that the continent saw significant population growth. This happened during the Greenland Interstadial 1 period of climate warmth at the end the Ice Age. It was trigger by a sudden increase in global temperature, which occurred around 14,700 years ago.

The three main stone tool traditions in the region were also discover to have originate around the same time. This is in line with an increase of radiocarbon dates and archaeological sites at those sites as well as genetic data that points to a marked increase in population

Dramatic Decline Of Megafauna

The dramatic decline of megafauna large and small, including horses, camels, and mammoths, may have been caused by the rapid expansion of humans in a warmer time. We plotted the dates when the megafauna disappeared and discovered that they vanished in a colder period.

The contribution of climate change to faunal extinctions (represented by rapid warming and cooling) cannot be completely excluded. Although the first human arrivals to the continent came from eastern Eurasia it appears that there was an early movement.

The coast is where we believe the route of the earlier arrivals to these new lands was. The possibility of inland travel being blocked would be due to Beringia’s partial submersion or the impassibility of the ice sheets that covered modern-day Canada.

The results of both studies and the combined study are different from previous models and reveal a new story about the origins of American settlement. This is a fascinating and controversial journey that marks one of the largest expansions of modern humankind across the globe.

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