Scientists formulated a new theory on the early humans migration in America by analyzing bison fossils and traces of their hunters. The conclusion of this study is that ancient people lived south of Alaska and along the Pacific coast.
The hypothesis is that the first humans in North America passed through the mountains on their way to Siberia. The Rocky Mountains could have provided them with an ice-free corridor that would have offered protection.
Scientists have not yet figured out how the passing corridor was created, or how the ancient people started to spread across America.
It was long believed that people came in a single wave 13,500 years ago. However, archeologists found evidence of communities from 14,500 years ago and in the south, from 15,000 years ago.
Moreover, the Rocky Mountain corridor was open until 21,000 ago, when the two ice sheets came together and completely separated the east and west populations.
Researchers from the University of California have studied 78 bison fossils in order to trace the animals’ movements and to extrapolate the findings to hunter migrations.
The techniques used were DNA analysis and radiocarbon dating.
The results showed that in the ancient times, there were two distinct bison breeds, one in the north and one in the south. The two populations started to mingle around 13,000 years ago.
For that to be possible, the mountains had to be cleared of ice only after the southern human colonization. This conclusion led scientists to believe that early humans lived along the Pacific Ocean.
As the humans were hunters, they had to follow the bison who was heading north. In order to do so, it was necessary to go around the vast ice surface that covered the mountains. Thus, the coastal route was the most logical path.
Scientists believe that the Rocky Mountains corridor was involved only in later migrations.
The authors of the study say that the lack of evidence on the Pacific coast is due to tidal erosion. In their effort to fill in the missing information, scientists used the bison fossils.
The bison was one of the animals that survived mass extinction events and therefore is a reliable source of information for what happened in the early ages. The steppe bison was over 6 foot tall. Its fossils were found during mining operations and were later offered to science study.
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