– Who were the first humans to occupy South America? Where did they come from and how long have they been there?These are questions we still have difficulties to answer. New discoveries force scientists to re-write the ancient history of South America over and over again.
Now, a group of researchers, led by Gustavo Politis from CONICET and the Universidad Nacional del Centro de la Provincia de Buenos Aires have unearthed ancient artifacts in Argentina. These prehistoric objects suggest humans occupied South America earlier than previously thought.
The artifacts were found at Arroyo Seco 2, a rich archaeological site in southeastern South America. The ancient artifacts include ancient tools, bone remains from a variety of extinct species, and broken animal bones containing fractures caused by human tools. Scientists used radiocarbon dating to determine the age of the mammal bones and analyzed the specimens under a microscope.
More Archaeology NewsThe analysis revealed the presence of limb bones from extinct mammals at the site, which may indicate human activities of transporting and depositing animal carcasses for consumption at a temporary camp. The remains were dated between 14,064 and 13,068 years ago, and the authors hypothesize that Arroyo Seco 2 may have been occupied by humans during that time.
It has been assumed that about 13,000 years ago, a prehistoric group of hunter-gathers known as the Clovis people lived in Northern America. Previous research suggests that the Clovis culture was one of the earliest cultures in the Americas.
The artifacts unearthed at Arroyo Seco 2 indicate that humans may have arrived in southern South America prior to the Clovis people inhabiting the Americas, but after the onset of the Last Glacial Maximum, the last glacial period, which took place 19,000 to 20,000 years ago.
While the characteristics of some of these archaeological materials could be explained without human intervention, the combination of evidence strongly suggests human involvement. Humans’ arrival in southern South America 14,000 years ago may represent the last step in the expansion of Homo sapiens throughout the world and the final continental colonization.