Stone Tools Found in Mexico Indicate Humans Could Have Lived There About 33,000 Years Ago


According to Science News, stone tools found in a cave in Mexico indicate humans could have lived in the area as early as 33,000 years ago. ~

For decades, archaeologists thought the Americas’ first residents were the Clovis people — big game hunters known for their well-crafted spearpoints who crossed a land bridge from Asia to Alaska about 13,000 years ago. Recent discoveries, however, suggest that North America’s first settlers actually arrived about 16,000 years before the rise of the Clovis culture, says Vance Holliday, an archaeologist at the University of Arizona in Tucson. ~

The archeologists who found these tools unearthed over 1,900 stone tools in the Chiquihuite Cave in central Mexico. The archeologists used radiocarbon dating to determine the ages of charcoal, bone, and other detritus surrounding the artifacts and determined that over two hundred tools were embedded in an earth layer as old as 31,000 to 33,000 years according to Inside Science. Due to the distance in which the Chiquihuite Cave is from the coast, the researchers suggest humans could have reached the Americas during a period of 29,000 to 57,000 years ago. ~

Although these new findings seemingly suggest earlier human occupation of the Americas, there are many who do not believe that to be the case. Ben Potter, an archaeologist in Fairbanks, Alaska, affiliated with the Arctic Studies Center at Liaocheng University in China, is “intrigued but unconvinced” that Chiquihuite Cave was an ancient human abode (Science News). He notes the absence of evidence other than the stone tools, such as butchered animal remains or human DNA, questioning the assumption made by these researchers. Others believe these findings to be a stepping stone to a future in which archeologists fully understand human history in the Americas. “[These findings] change our comprehension of the settlement of the Americas considerably,” said bioanthropologist Mark Hubbe at the Ohio State University in Columbus. “It is nice to see that we are broadening our perspective and allowing for the possibility that the Americas may have been occupied significantly longer than we ever thought possible” (Inside Science). ~

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