Friday, April 04, 2008

Earliest Evidence of New World Settlement

NG has a story of surprising new evidence off pre-Clovis human settlement in the Western Hemisphere. Surprising given the source material: fossilized human feces (called coprolites) found in an Oregon cave.

"Since the summer of 2002, University of Oregon archaeologist Dennis Jenkins and his research team have uncovered about 700 coprolite samples from a group of bone-dry caves in the desert of central Oregon, including several from humans.

After repeated radiocarbon dating and DNA analyses, the scientists concluded that the oldest of the human-produced material was deposited at least a thousand years before the so-called Clovis culture, according to a paper appearing in this week's issue of the journal Science. "

This evidence supports that found around 15 years ago from Monte Verde, Chile, showing human settlement in the New World pre-dating the Clovis culture as well. While the Oregon site had been previously explored in the 1930s, the studies done at that time utilized flawed methodologies that confused the evidence discovered there. The recent team led by Jenkins re-examined the caves and found solid evidence that they meticulously documented. The analysis of DNA from the samples showed the humans were from genetic haplogroups A2 and B2, two of the same groups from which many Native Americans descend from today. This evidence appears to support the idea that earlier pre-Clovis coastal migrations were undertaken by migrant hunters long before that technology group established itself in the Americas.

1 comment:

ptg said...

This will make the Red Indians happy, but I detect a whiff of PC in this finding. Scientists wouldn't let Political Correctness influence their work, would they?