AP

Stone tools suggest earlier human presence in North America

Jul 23, 2020, 5:47 AM

This undated photo provided by Ciprian Ardelean in July 2020 shows a stone tool found below the Las...

This undated photo provided by Ciprian Ardelean in July 2020 shows a stone tool found below the Last Glacial Maximum layer from a cave in Zacatecas, central Mexico. Artifacts from the cave suggest people were living in North America much earlier than most scientists think. Researchers reported Wednesday, July 22, 2020, that the tools date to as early as 26,500 years ago, about 10,000 years before the generally accepted date for the earliest human presence in North America. (Ciprian Ardelean via AP)

(Ciprian Ardelean via AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Stone tools found in a Mexican cave suggest that people were living in North America as early as about 26,500 years ago, much earlier than most scientists accept, a new study says.

It’s a new step in the difficult and contentious process of establishing when people arrived in North America from Asia. Presently, the most widely accepted dates for the earliest known North American archaeological sites date to before 15,000 years ago and extend maybe to 17,000 years ago, says anthropology professor Tom Dillehay of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He was not involved in the cave study.

In Wednesday’s issue of the journal Nature, scientists reported on artifacts found in a mountain cave in the state of Zacatecas in north-central Mexico. Ciprian Ardelean of the Autonomous University of Zacatecas and others say they found stone tools and debris from tool-making that they dated back as far as 26,500 years ago. There’s some indication that some artifacts go back beyond 30,000 years, but so far the evidence isn’t strong enough to make a firm claim, Ardelean said.

Ardelean said he believed people probably used the cave as a winter shelter for short periods of time. His team was unable to recover any human DNA from the cave.

Dillehay said the proposed date for the artifacts may be valid if it stands up to further scrutiny. But he suspects they aren’t more than 20,000 years old and most likely fall in the range of 15,000 to 18,000 years old. He doesn’t question that some of the artifacts are probably man-made, but said he’d like to see other evidence of human occupation of the cave, like hearths, butchered bones and burned edible plant remains.

In a Nature commentary, Ruth Gruhn, a professor emerita of anthropology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, said the results should bring fresh consideration of six Brazilian sites proposed to be older than 20,000 years. Those age estimates are now “commonly disputed or simply ignored by most archaeologists as being much too old to be real,” she wrote.

__

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

AP

Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) throws during the first half of an NFL football game ...

ARNIE STAPLETON AP Pro Football Writer

Denver Broncos inform QB Russell Wilson they’ll release him when new league year begins

Two years ago, Russell Wilson declared he intended to play a dozen years in Denver, now, it doesn't seem that plan is going to work out.

23 minutes ago

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, center, sits with her attorney Jason Bowles, left, during testimony in the t...

MORGAN LEE Associated Press

Ammo supplier says he provided no live rounds in fatal shooting of cinematographer by Alec Baldwin

Ammo supplier testified that he provided dummy rounds to the "Rust" set where Alex Baldwin fatally shot a cinematographer.

53 minutes ago

Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks at a Republican campaign ...

WILL WEISSERT Associated Press

Haley says she raised $12M in February, can’t point to long-term plan to beat Trump

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley said Friday that she raised $12 million in February, a haul that will likely allow her to remain in the Republican primary against former President Donald Trump past next week's Super Tuesday — even though she can't point to an upcoming state where she expects to beat him.

4 days ago

February, 29, otherwise know as leap year day, is shown on a calendar Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024, in Ove...

LEANNE ITALIE AP Lifestyles Writer

What would happen without a Leap Day? More than you might think

Leap year. It's a delight for the calendar and math nerds among us. So how did it all begin and why?

5 days ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a primary election night ...

MEG KINNARD and WILL WEISSERT Associated Press

Trump wins South Carolina, easily beating Haley in her home state and closing in on GOP nomination

Donald Trump won South Carolina's Republican primary on Saturday further consolidating his path to a third straight GOP nomination.

10 days ago

Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, center, sits with her attorney Jason Bowles, left, during the first day of t...

MORGAN LEE Associate Press

Negligence or scapegoating? Trial of ‘Rust’ armorer begins in fatal shooting by Alec Baldwin

Prosecutors sought to pin blame on a movie weapons supervisor for bringing live ammunition on set that contributed to the fatal shooting of a cinematographer by Alec Baldwin during production of the film "Rust."

11 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Stone tools suggest earlier human presence in North America