Were there people in North America 130 thousand years ago?

The videos below describe the discovery of bones, including those of a mastodon, near San Diego. The bones themselves are not controversial but the researcher's claim that the bones had been worked by human tools raises many questions.

The site has been dated to 130,700 years ago which is more than 115,000 years older than the oldest known human archeological sites in North America. Not only would the discovery radically alter the timeline of humans in North America, it would alter what we know about the spread of humans generally. According to the archeological record to date, humans only began to spread out of Africa about 70,000 years ago. However, there is some evidence of earlier migrations, with hominid teeth found in China that could be 120,000 years old.

The humans at the Cerutti Mastadon site would have had to have travelled out of Africa, across Asia and into North America prior to the known migrations which took humans out of Africa and populated the world.

Needless to say, the study has it's skeptics [see National Geographic and Scientific American].

For the moment the find remains an anomaly. It will take more discoveries from the same period before most archeologists are ready to rewrite the history books. The discovery however, provides fresh information on where such evidence might be found.

The original paper can be found in the journal Nature.

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