OMG! This is the best thing I have read about in ages.
A 130,000-year-old archaeological site in southern California, USA Steven R. Holen Thomas A. Deméré Daniel C. Fisher Richard Fullagar James B. Paces George T. Jefferson Jared M. Beeton Richard A. Cerutti Adam N. Rountrey Lawrence Vescera Kathleen A. Holen. Nature 544, 479–483 (27 April 2017) doi:10.1038/nature22065
The earliest dispersal of humans into North America is a contentious subject, and proposed early sites are required to meet the following criteria for acceptance: (1) archaeological evidence is found in a clearly defined and undisturbed geologic context; (2) age is determined by reliable radiometric dating; (3) multiple lines of evidence from interdisciplinary studies provide consistent results; and (4) unquestionable artefacts are found in primary context1, 2. Here we describe the Cerutti Mastodon (CM) site, an archaeological site from the early late Pleistocene epoch, where in situ hammerstones and stone anvils occur in spatio-temporal association with fragmentary remains of a single mastodon (Mammut americanum). The CM site contains spiral-fractured bone and molar fragments, indicating that breakage occured while fresh. Several of these fragments also preserve evidence of percussion. The occurrence and distribution of bone, molar and stone refits suggest that breakage occurred at the site of burial. Five large cobbles (hammerstones and anvils) in the CM bone bed display use-wear and impact marks, and are hydraulically anomalous relative to the low-energy context of the enclosing sandy silt stratum. 230Th/U radiometric analysis of multiple bone specimens using diffusion–adsorption–decay dating models indicates a burial date of 130.7 ± 9.4 thousand years ago. These findings confirm the presence of an unidentified species of Homo at the CM site during the last interglacial period (MIS 5e; early late Pleistocene), indicating that humans with manual dexterity and the experiential knowledge to use hammerstones and anvils processed mastodon limb bones for marrow extraction and/or raw material for tool production. Systematic proboscidean bone reduction, evident at the CM site, fits within a broader pattern of Palaeolithic bone percussion technology in Africa3, 4, 5, 6, Eurasia7, 8, 9 and North America10, 11, 12. The CM site is, to our knowledge, the oldest in situ, well-documented archaeological site in North America and, as such, substantially revises the timing of arrival of Homo into the Americas.
Oo, this sets new standards for “right up my alley,” since there is actual consensus amongst the boffins. That in itself is much more uncommon than the proverbial hen’s teeth. You dig? The hard core skeptiks are all up in arms, of course, but hey, you know…there it is. Their minds…it is sad.
… great archaeological find: news.nationalgeographic.com…
A new study has dropped a bombshell on archaeology, claiming signs of human activity in the Americas far earlier than thought. Picture of two mastodon femur balls View Images Two mastodon femur balls, one face up and one face down, are among the remains found at the Cerutti site in San Diego. Photograph by San Diego Natural History Museum By Michael Greshko PUBLISHED April 26, 2017 In an announcement sure to spark a firestorm of controversy, researchers say they’ve found signs of ancient humans in California between 120,000 and 140,000 years ago—more than a hundred thousand years before humans were thought to exist anywhere in the Americas. If the researchers are right, the so-called Cerutti mastodon site could force a rewrite of the story of humankind. “I realize that 130,000 years is a really old date and makes our site the oldest archaeological site in the Americas,” says study leader Tom Deméré, the paleontologist at the San Diego Natural History Museum, whose team describes their analysis today in Nature. “Of course, extraordinary claims like this require extraordinary evidence, and we feel like the Cerutti mastodon site presents this evidence.” To be clear, the team has not found human bones at the site. But as Deméré and their colleagues tell it, their evidence—a mastodon skeleton, bone flakes, and several large stones—shows that the area was a “bone quarry,” where an unknown hominin allegedly smashed fresh mastodon bones with stone hammers, perhaps to extract marrow or to mine the skeleton for raw materials.
It is going all over the net!
Jaw-Dropping Study Says Some Human Relative Was in California 130,000 Years Ago The evidence points to humans — or some relative — invading North America long before we thought.Here’s what we know: About 130,000 years ago, near modern-day San Diego, something or someone killed a mastodon. Whatever it was bludgeoned the creature’s spine and jaw in a calculated fashion and harvested the bones for marrow and tool use. It sure looks like the kind of thing early humans would do. There’s a problem, though. At this time, humans had not left Africa—at least according to today’s dominant narrative of human migration. And the earliest migration into North America that we know about occurred around 12,000 to 13,000 years ago. Yet in a paper published today in Nature, scientists put forth the idea that a mastodon was killed and its bone marrow harvested in a matter only possible by humans, in the broad sense of Homo erectus on up to Homo sapiens.
I hope further study provides even more confirmation.
Were humans in the Americas 100,000 years earlier than scientists thought?
What broke the 130,000-year-old mastodon bones in California? Most archaeologists would tell you it couldn’t have been humans, who didn’t leave conclusive evidence of their presence in the Americas until about 14,000 years ago. But a small group of experts now says that the fracture patterns on the bones, found during highway construction near San Diego, California, must have been left by humans pounding them with stones found nearby. If correct, the paper, published this week in Nature, would push back the presence of people in the Americas by more than 100,000 years—to a time when modern humans supposedly had not even expanded out of Africa to Europe or Asia.
“The claims made are extraordinary and the potential implications staggering,” says Jon Erlandson, an archaeologist at the University of Oregon in Eugene who studies the peopling of the Americas. “But broken bones and stones alone do not make a credible archaeological site in my view.” He and many other archaeologists say it will take much stronger evidence to convince them that the bones were fractured by ancient people.
Archaeologists first excavated the Cerutti Mastodon site in 1992, after the construction exposed bones. Over time they found more splintered bones and a smattering of large round rocks embedded in otherwise fine-grained sediment. More recently, Daniel Fisher, a respected paleontologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, took a close look at the fractures and found patterns he says are consistent with blows from a rounded stone, which leave a characteristic notch at the point of impact. Other chips of bone show what he calls unmistakable signs of being popped off by the impact. “Nobody has ever explained those [characteristic bone flakes] satisfactorily in any way not involving human activity,” Fisher says. He says humans were probably breaking the bones to reach the marrow, or to turn the bone itself into a sharper tool. The nearby stones, hefty and round, show wear patterns consistent with being smashed against bone, the authors say. In experiments, they used that method to break elephant bones and produced identical fracture patterns.
Keep an eye out.
Progress is being made!