You probably already know that many historical facts we have been taught in school are nothing but a distorted version of real events.
As time passes by, it becomes more and more difficult to find evidence of something that took place centuries and millennia ago. So most of the times, we have no other choice but to view the historical reality through the prism of conventional thinking. At the same time, with the increasing advances in technology, archaeologists obtain new, better tools for the research, which sometimes brings unexpected results and leads to thought-provoking discoveries.
Thus, recent archaeological research challenges the theory that the first settlers arrived in the Americas around 25,000 years ago.
24 years ago, construction workers unearthed a skeleton while building a new highway in San Diego, Southern California. Since then, archaeologists have been working at the site and it seems that their research has finally brought some exciting results. They uncovered limb bones and teeth from mastodon, a huge extinct species related to the elephant.
In their paper, which was published in the scientific journal Nature, the researchers write that the bones they found date back to 130,000 years ago. And the most important part is that the mastodon bones could have been processed by humans. According to the authors of the study, this discovery suggests that the first humans set foot in North America 100,000 years earlier than previously thought.
“It was unusual to say the least … and suggested this was a not a typical paleontological site and we should consider the possibility that we had association of extinct megafauna with humans, or at least early human activity,” paleontologist Thomas Deméré told the Washington Post.
If you ask, the age of the bones was established using the method called uranium-series disequilibrium, which is proven to be accurate for calcium carbonate materials that are up to 500,000-year-old. So there is no doubt that the bones are that old.
According to the archaeological team, what is the most remarkable about these mastodon bones is the way they were broken. Instead of having only the signs of natural decay, which typically show in the bones that have been in the soil for hundreds of thousands of years, the fragments look as if they have been deliberately fractured.
The authors of the study believe that some fragments of the bones were made into human-made tools such as hammer stones and anvils. These kinds of tools were used by early humans in Africa 1.7 million years ago and were typically made of animal bones.
These findings suggest that humans could have been there when this mastodon lived and died. This discovery is exciting as it challenges the version supported by mainstream history, but according to some experts, the evidence provided by the study is indirect and far from being conclusive. In any case, the results are intriguing and let’s be open-minded and wait for further research.
As archaeologist Erella Hovers wrote,
“Time will tell whether this evidence will bring a paradigm change in our understanding of processes of hominin dispersal and colonization throughout the world, including in what now seems to be a not-so-new New World.”
Image credits: Tom Deméré, San Diego Natural History Museum