Recent archaeological findings propose the possibility of a prehistoric human species having once thrived in the region now known as California. If the analyses of this study hold true, it would imply the presence of human beings in North America during a period when the climate starkly differed from the present conditions.
The unearthing of mastodon bones near San Diego suggests that ancient humans might have settled in what is today California as early as 130,000 years ago. The basis for this assertion lies in the discovery of mastodon remains exhibiting human-like butchering marks.
The fractured mastodon bones exhibit characteristics consistent with the usage of stone tools, and the site also yielded hammer stones and anvils that potentially served in the breaking process.
While some scientists remain skeptical about these findings, arguing that the evidence lacks conclusive certainty, the researchers responsible for the study assert their confidence in the validity of their results, deeming them robust enough to warrant further investigation.
One cannot help but ponder how early humans managed to survive in such demanding conditions. The researchers posit the possibility that these humans might have sustained themselves by hunting large mammals such as the mastodon.
Though still in the preliminary stages, the implications of this study could significantly reshape our understanding of human history. Substantiation of the evidence would indicate that human presence in North America predates previous estimations, inevitably leading to new inquiries regarding their arrival and survival in the harsh environmental conditions of that era.
The site where the mastodon remains were discovered is dubbed the Cerutti Mastodon site. A team of researchers from the San Diego Natural History Museum, alongside the assistance of the University of California, played a pivotal role in these excavations.
While this information is not entirely novel, its initial publication dates back to April 26, 2017, when it appeared in the journal Nature. However, it should be noted that no human remains have been uncovered amongst the ancient bones at the site.
As is often the case with such discoveries, the study and its findings have been met with substantial skepticism from other scientists. Nonetheless, as far as current understanding goes, the researchers involved in the project maintain their confidence in the veracity of their conclusions. With time, one hopes that the truth will emerge, and if indeed validated, it would signify that humans inhabited North America much earlier than previously believed.
Among the most compelling evidence are the modifications observed, particularly the early human’s extraction of bone marrow from the mastodon bones. To estimate the timeframe of this discovery, a thorium-uranium method was employed.
Steve Holen, speaking at a press conference, stated, “People were breaking up the limb bones of a mastodon, removing some of the big, thick pieces. They were extracting marrow for food. And they were using old technology. We have evidence of people in Africa 1.5 million years ago breaking up elephant limb bones with this same [stone] technology.”
Richard Fullagar, another author of the study and an archaeologist from the University of Wollongong, is an expert in identifying the microdamage that humans leave behind on stone tools. He praised the remarkable evidence found at the site, emphasizing the presence of pounded stones and the fragments of hammers and anvils that fit seamlessly into the stones. “It’s rare that you get all that evidence at one site. It really does show humans have been there.”
The prospect of early humans traveling vast distances to settle in North America, if validated, presents a fascinating consideration. Such a revelation would undoubtedly reshape our understanding of history as we knew it.
It would have been an extraordinary achievement to traverse the long distances during a period when the Earth underwent significant warming, with vast ice sheets covering most of Canada and a substantial portion of Northern America. These ancient people must have been remarkably resilient and adaptive to endure the challenges they faced merely to survive.