A team of researchers may have found the oldest evidence of human existence in Florida’s Aucilla River.
The team reported Friday in the journal Science Advances that they found the remains of stone tools apparently used to butcher mastodons. They also found animal bones and mastodon tusks.
Archeologists from Florida State University went into the river located in northern Florida. The river is known for having plenty of evidence that humans and mastodons were there at the same time. It is known because previous investigations could not come up with definitive evidence.
The river is located in a place known as the Page-Ladson site. It is about 30 feet underwater in a sinkhole in the Aucilla River southeast of Tallahassee. It’s located about seven miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico.
The pond and the shore around it, which is under the Aucilla, are known as black water rivers because of its dark color. The darkness of the pond made it more difficult for archeologists to research. Furthermore, they had to use scuba gear and helmet-mounted caver’s lights to cope.
Ancient stone tools are ‘best’ evidence yet for early peopling of the Americas https://t.co/qflJXHTF0m
— Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. (@TomHoltzPaleo) May 13, 2016
The new discovery
Researchers said the ancient stone tools and butchered mastodon bones are 14,550 years old. Which is more than 1500 years before scientists once thought humans first came to America.
The archeologists carefully excavated the area to find the remains and then determine how old they were. This new finding helps prove that Paleoindians, as archeologists call the first humans to come to North America, were in northern Florida earlier than thought.
The team said that when the Paleoindians arrived, found a different weather than the one people in Florida are experiencing right now. The area was drier and more open, and the seas were lower. The coast was probably 125 miles from the site, which means it was a spring-fed pond, and it was not part of a river.
The study says that mastodons probably used to walk around the pond, as other extinct animals, like ancient bison and rhinoceroses.
Before this study, scientists thought that the first humans were hunters who made stone tools. They were called the Clovis people, due to the place of where the remains of these humans were found, near Clovis, N.M. The scientist said that the Clovis people came to America around 13,500 years ago. This means that the Paleoindians came a lot earlier than the Clovis.
Source: Science Advances