Monuments in Idaho include stone tools and fragments of animal bones dating back 16,600 years ago, which may be the earliest evidence of human presence in the Americas, and shed light on the ways humans have traveled in the New World.
Scientists said on Thursday, they used radiocarbon dating to determine the age of those traces found at the Coopers Ferry site in western Idaho, near Cottonwood.
Humans were present at a time when large ice sheets covered vast areas of North America and lived in the era of huge mammals such as mammoths, swordfish ferries, small-faced bears, bison bulls and ice age camels.
“The Coopers Ferry site contains the oldest archaeological evidence of radiocarbon history in the Americas”, said Lauren Davis, an anthropologist at the University of Oregon who led the study published on Monuments in Idaho in the journal Science.
Based on the evidence, Lauren said, people first lived on the site south of the continent’s ice sheets between 15,300 and 16,600 years ago, and then returned several times, even 13,300 years ago.
Humans first appeared in Africa about 300,000 years ago and later spread around the world. There has been a scientific debate over when humans first entered the Americas by crossing the former land bridge linking Siberia to Alaska and their routes.
“Those who lived at the Coopers Ferry site were relied on hunting and gathering food”, Davis said. “They probably lived in small groups of less than 25 people and moved several times a year to access resources where they were available”. he said