Thursday, 10 May 2012

Early Americans lived alongside extinct giant beasts

Early Americans lived alongside giant beasts, including mammoths, mastodons and giant ground sloths, in the last Ice Age, say researchers.
A team at the University of Florida determined the age of skeletal remains and claimed to have gathered evidence that humans reached the Western Hemisphere during the last ice age and lived alongside the giant mammals, now extinct.
The findings, published in the ‘Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology’, address the century-long debate about whether human and mammal remains found at Vero Beach in the early 1900s date to the same time period.
Using rare earth element analysis to measure the concentration of naturally occurring metals absorbed during fossilisation, the researchers showed modern North Americans co-existed with large extinct mammals about 13,000 years ago.
“The Vero site is still the only site where there was an abundance of actual human bones, not just artifacts, associated with the animals,” said co-author Barbara Purdy.
She added: “Scientists who disputed the age of the human remains in the early 20th century just did not want to believe that people were in the Western Hemisphere that early. And 100 years later, every single book written about the prehistory of North America includes this site and the controversy that still exists.”

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