49: Coprolites Shed New Light On Past

1 05 2008

by Ashlee Dotson

New evidence pushes the time frame of human habitation of North America back by at least 1,000 years. A team, led by Dennis L. Jenkins, an archaeologist at the University of Oregon, working in the Paisley Caves in the Cascade Range in Oregon found coprolites, also known as fossilized feces, that contains human DNA and dates to around 14,000 years old. This evidence supports the findings of other parts of the Americas.

The caves had some artifacts, including baskets, animal hides and bone, and a few projectile points, but there was not a large quantity and nothing that links the inhabitants to Clovis technology. The limited number of artifacts suggests that the caves were used for a short stay.

Because of the new evidence that pre-dates the Clovis complex it is clear that the previous migration theory must be reevaluated. The theory had been that humans crossed the land bridge after the glaciers that had blocked their way melted. With the new dates the melting would not have occurred and the Bering land bridge would have been an insurmountable obstacle.

For more information go to http://www.latimes.com and search coprolites.



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2 05 2008

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