This is a huge game changer – archaeologists found a trove of prehistoric human fossils in California. After they found a new archeological site in Southern California, researchers now believe prehistoric humans lived in the Americas 130,000 ago, nearly 100,000 years earlier than they previously thought. It was formerly believed that humans arrived in North America no earlier than 24,000 years ago, but this new discovery is turning that on its head.
Researchers from various universities and public trusts found a deeply buried site in San Diego, CA, while looking for mastodon bones. But what they found was so much more. Based on the grooves of the bones – and the things found in the ground nearby – scientists believe some ancestor of the modern human occupied parts of North America. If this is true, it could radically alter the things scientists believe happened in the evolution of humans as well as how they came to be in the Western Hemisphere.
Researchers Found Evidence In And Around The Mastodon's Bones
Researchers from various institutions, including the San Diego Natural History Museum, were studying mastodons when they came across a set of bones just south of San Diego. The remains were actually found in the 1990s by a construction crew and sent for further research. The first red flag that something was unique about this particular excavation site was the five boulders found circling the remains.
While they were inspecting said bones, researchers discovered strange markings. They also found what appeared to be tools next to the mastodon's body. The tools and the markings perfectly matched up, which led scientists to believe some sort of human (or ancestral human like a Neanderthal) were hunting the animal.
Using uranium dating techniques, they determined the bones were around 131,000 years old. No other known creature living at that time could've made any comparable marks on a mastodon's body.
These Reported New Humans Probably Didn't Look Anything Like Us
Even though researchers believe the fossils are evidence of humans, these people more than likely looked nothing like us. Modern humans are believed to have started expanding out of Africa between 50,000 and 80,000 years ago. And genetic research shows that Native Americans derived from a lineage that came over from Asia around 15,000 years ago.
If there were humans in Southern California 130,000 years ago, they were probably Neanderthals or some other type of prehistoric human. Neanderthals are one of many subspecies of humans who went extinct about 40,000 years ago. Fossil evidence shows prehistoric human subspecies existed around some 600,000 years ago – meaning it's possible there was a subset of human species we have yet to discover living in the Western Hemisphere.
Some Scientists Aren't So Sure About This Study
While many in the archeological research field find these results fascinating, some scientists are calling shenanigans. Gary Haynes, an archaeologist at the University of Nevada, said he thought the researchers should have done more testing to see whether overlying sediment could've caused the strange marks on the animal's bones. Others, like Vance T. Holliday of the University of Arizona, said he didn't think the team included enough evidence to thoroughly conclude these marks could've only been made by humans.
Either way, experts in the field say this discovery could mean huge things for the scientific community. Or it might just mean a mastodon mysteriously died 130,000 years ago.