Idaho artifacts suggest Pacific entry for first Americans

ABC News | 8/29/2019 | Staff
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Scientists say they've found artifacts in Idaho that indicate people were living there around 16,000 years ago, providing new evidence that the first Americans entered their new home by following the Pacific coast.

The discovery also points to Japan as a possible origin or influence for the migration, said study leader Loren Davis of Oregon State University.

Experts - Findings - Mean - Reaction - Topic

Other experts were split on what the findings mean and how old they are, not an unusual reaction in the contentious topic of early humans in the New World.

Davis and colleagues reported Thursday in the journal Science on their excavation of the Cooper's Ferry site in western Idaho.

Part - Site - Flakes - Stones - Process

In the oldest part of the site, they found 43 flakes that had evidently been chipped off of stones in the process of making tools like those found in younger areas of the site. They also found four such flakes that had been modified to be used for a task like cutting or scraping, and pieces of bone that indicate discarded food, Davis said.

The site is between 15,280 and 16,560 years old, for an approximate age of 16,000 years, analysis indicated. It was occupied repeatedly over time, researchers said.

Thing - Researchers - Age - Side - Debate

What does it all mean? For one thing, the researchers said, the calculated age argues for one side of a debate about just how the first Americans arrived.

The traditional narrative is that the peopling of the Americas began after a migration crossed a now-submerged land bridge called Beringia that used to extend from Siberia to Alaska. The migration's progress south from there was blocked for a while by massive ice sheets in Canada, but eventually a gap in the ice opened and people moved through this so-called "ice-free corridor."

Years - Scientists - Signs - Humans - Americas

But in recent years, as scientists have found earlier and earlier signs of humans living in the Americas, some have argued that...
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