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Groundbreaking Discovery About Ancient Humans

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Arrival in North America

New archaeological and genetic findings are sparking debates about the timing of human arrival in North America.

Archaeological debate

Shared at the American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting in San Francisco on December 15, this research addresses a significant archaeological debate.

Human migration

Historically, archaeologists believed the first human migration to North America happened approximately 13,000 years ago through an ice-free corridor between ice sheets.

Much earlier

However, recent findings challenge this notion, suggesting that humans may have reached the continent much earlier.

Human footprints

For instance, the unearthing of human footprints in New Mexico, dated back approximately 23,000 years, provides compelling evidence.

Coastal settlements

Additionally, evidence of coastal settlements in western Canada dating as far back as 14,000 years ago adds another layer to this ongoing exploration of early human presence in North America.

North America

The insights shared at the AGU23 conference add another piece to the puzzle of early human migration in North America.

Kelp highway

The conventional idea of an ice-free corridor not being available during the speculated time of early human arrival led scientists to suggest an alternative theory known as the ‘kelp highway.’

Climate studies

The hypothesis suggests early settlers reached North America by boat, attracted by coastal resources. Climate studies in the Pacific Northwest indicate that sea ice may have aided movement along the Pacific coast from Beringia, a land bridge between Asia and North America.

Ocean currents

Challenges arise regarding coastal boat travel feasibility due to stronger ocean currents 20,000 years ago. Summer Praetorius from the U.S. Geological

Harsh environments

Survey highlighted the difficulties of seafaring in harsh environments, prompting exploration of alternative migration methods without relying on boats.

Adaptability

Given the adaptability of these individuals to cold climates, the idea of utilizing sea ice as a potential pathway is being considered.

Strong currents

Praetorius suggested that if navigating against strong currents was challenging, perhaps they utilized the sea ice as a stable platform for their journey.

Fossilized plankton

Utilizing data derived from fossilized plankton, Praetorius and her colleagues constructed climate models to gain deeper insights into ocean conditions during critical periods of human migration.

Environmental factors

This approach provides a more comprehensive understanding of the environmental factors that may have influenced the movements of early inhabitants in North America.

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