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Humans settled in North America 17,000 years EARLIER than previously believed, study finds

Bones from an adult mammoth and her calf have been discovered at a 37,000-year-old butcher shop in New Mexico, suggesting humans settled in North America for 17,000 years than previously believed.

A team of scientists led by the University of Texas at Austin extracted collagen from the bones, allowing them to date the solid age from 36,250 to 38,900 years old.

The bones were discovered in a three-meter pile, 95 percent of which were adult, and showed butcher marks and fractures from a blunt force impact.

The discovery adds to the growing evidence that societies existed before humans crossed the Bering Strait land bridge some 20,000 years ago. The bridge, also known as Beringia, connected Siberia and Alaska during the last ice age, and allowed people to enter North America from Asia.

Timothy Rowe, lead author of the study, told DailyMail.com that the ancient humans probably came from Asia, but whether they took a coastal or land route to the Americas remains an open question. A separate study in 2021 found that some of the first Americans crossed the Bering Sea in paddle boats, stopping along a chain of islands that lay above the surface during the last ice age.

Previous studies have turned up remains of ancient humans from 20,000 years ago and other artifacts that suggest there were humans in the area before Clovis — those who crossed the land bridge. However, the mammoth bones are the earliest evidence found to date.

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Scientists discovered a three-meter pile of mammoth bones that belonged to an adult female and her calf.  However, 95 percent of the bones belonged to the adult

Scientists discovered a three-meter pile of mammoth bones that belonged to an adult female and her calf. However, 95 percent of the bones belonged to the adult

Rowe said in a pronunciation: ‘It’s not a charismatic site with a beautiful skeleton on its side. It’s all broken. But that’s the story.’

The discovery was also made in Rowe’s backyard. His neighbor saw a tusk sticking out of the ground and he quickly called in a team to help with the dig.

After most of the dirt was removed, the open-air slaughterhouse was revealed which includes several areas separated by stone and clay walls.

The mammoth bones, both the adult and the calf, were found in a pile with the adult head and tusks on them.

The bones were discovered in an open-air slaughterhouse with separate rooms enclosed by walls.

The bones were discovered in an open-air slaughterhouse with separate rooms enclosed by walls.

The bones were discovered in an open-air slaughterhouse with separate rooms enclosed by walls.

The mammoth bones showed slaughter marks and fractures due to blunt force impact

The mammoth bones showed slaughter marks and fractures due to blunt force impact

The mammoth bones showed slaughter marks and fractures due to blunt force impact

Most of the remains in the heap belonged to the adult, including 44 fractured skull fragments and intact upper right second molar and 12 isolated tooth plates, 25 ribs broken into 52 fragments, 3 vertebrae and 15 vertebral fragments, 32 percussion flakes, 9 ‘butterfly fragments’ , 20 unidentifiable bone fragments and 267 bags of small ‘bone remnants’.

Pictured is an illustration of what the adult mammoth looked like

Pictured is an illustration of what the adult mammoth looked like

Pictured is an illustration of what the adult mammoth looked like

“The adult’s face (tusks, premaxillae and partial maxillae) is the largest, heaviest element present and was placed on top of the bone stack,” reads the study published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.

‘It was torn from the skull at the nostrils, and the maxillary alveoli are broken and empty.

‘The calf is represented by a partial left maxilla and dentary with intact teeth, three isolated dental plates, left tibial diaphysis and 10 rib fragments.’

The study also notes that the separation of the adult’s facial bones from the skull was caused by “the most profound skull fracture.”

Before the mammoth bones were found, it was a 20,000-year-old burial in Montana, the oldest evidence of humans settling in North America.

The discovery adds to the growing evidence that societies existed before humans crossed the Bering Strait land bridge some 20,000 years ago.  Pictured is a map showing how the land bridge once connected the two continents

The discovery adds to the growing evidence that societies existed before humans crossed the Bering Strait land bridge some 20,000 years ago.  Pictured is a map showing how the land bridge once connected the two continents

The discovery adds to the growing evidence that societies existed before humans crossed the Bering Strait land bridge some 20,000 years ago. Pictured is a map showing how the land bridge once connected the two continents

1659769422 133 Humans settled in North America 17000 years EARLIER than previously

1659769422 133 Humans settled in North America 17000 years EARLIER than previously

The study also notes that the separation of the adult’s facial bones from the skull was caused by “the most profound skull fracture.” Pictured are the animal’s facial bones with fractures from blunt force impact

In 1968, construction workers discovered old tools and the remains of a young child at the site.

It’s the oldest genome ever recovered from the New World, and artifacts found with the body show the boy was part of the Clovis culture that came across the Bering Strait land bridge.

The so-called Anzick skeleton was found containing about 125 artifacts, including Clovis fluted spearheads and tools made from antler, and covered in red ocher, a type of mineral.

Eske Willerslev of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, who led the study, said in a statement: “The Clovis boy family is the direct ancestor of an estimated 80% of all Indians today.

“Although the Clovis culture has disappeared, people are still alive today.”

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