The Science of San Diego Mastodon Bones, Time and Human Habitation


Previous estimates showed the earliest humans in North America only 14,000 years ago.

"The "real mystery" is how the report was published in the scientific journal" Nature," he added.

SAN DIEGO, Calif- A new discovery is shaking up the science world.

Palaeontologist Don Swanson points at rock fragments near a large horizontal mastodon tusk fragment at the San Diego Natural History Museum in San Diego, California, US, in this handout photo received April 26, 2017.

The generally accepted timetable for human migration says homo sapiens did not come onto North America until 13,000 to 15,000 years ago, Ars Technica reported.

It's going to take more evidence at more sites before the archeological community buys in completely to this new story, but if that happens, the story of the first North Americans will look very different. "Since the original discovery, dating technology has advanced to enable us to confirm with further certainty that early humans were here significantly earlier than commonly accepted". (Paleontology is the study of past geological periods through fossils; archaeology is the study of past human life though material remains.) Since its initial discovery, this site has been the subject of research by top scientists to date the fossils accurately and evaluate microscopic damage on bones and rocks that authors now consider indicative of human activity.

"The distributions of natural uranium and its decay products both within and among these bone specimens show remarkably reliable behavior, allowing us to derive an age that is well within the wheelhouse of the dating system", said Paces, a co-author of the paper.

The finding poses a lot more questions than answers. The site where they were found also contained unambiguous human artifacts, namely hammerstones and anvils.

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"Modern humans shared the planet with other hominin species that are now extinct (such as Neanderthals) until about 40,000 years ago".

"How did these early hominins get here?"

The prehistoric butchery, he determined, took place 130,000 years ago, give or take 9,400 years, and was may have sought to extract nutritious marrow. They did, however, propose that the ancient humans might have crossed the Bering Strait or traveled in a watercraft from Asia.

"I realize that 130,000 years is a really old date and makes our site the oldest archaeological site in the Americas", said paleontologist Tom Demere of the team that analyzed the remains.

They soon realized that the Cerutti mastodon did not just mark a paleontological site, but an archaeological one. Scale bars - 5cm (a), 2cm (b, g, h), 1mm (c, i), 2mm (d), 10cm (e, f). If they were of another species, it could reshape the way we think about the abilities and history of our long-gone close cousins, said study co-author Richard Fullagar, an archaeologist at the University of Wollongong in Australia.

During their press conference on Tuesday, they invited other researchers to examine the evidence, some of which will be on display at the San Diego Natural History Museum next week.

"The bones and several teeth show clear signs of having been deliberately broken by humans with manual dexterity and experiential knowledge", he said. Attempts to establish the age of the site using radiocarbon dating failed, because there was no collagen preserved in the bones, the scientists said.

"They're going to think, 'This is insane; this is outrageous, '" said paleontologist and research author Thomas Deméré.