New Discoveries Challenge Our Understanding of When The First People Arrived in North America


Archaeologist Ciprian Ardelean, one of the foremost experts on the first peoples of the Americas, has made groundbreaking discoveries deep in the heart of Mexico. In the summer of 2020, his discovery of ancient lithic tools at Chiquihuite Cave in the state of Zacatecas is published in Nature and makes headlines around the world. Ardelean’s findings suggest human presence in North America almost 30,000 years ago. But challenging convention is not easy. Critics are skeptical of Ardelean’s findings, and proving the tools were human-made is a challenge.

Unbeknownst to him, other scientists have the very proof that Ardelean needs to support the hypothesis that humans arrived in the Americas much earlier than 13,000 years ago — just 1,100 kilometres northwest in the supernatural landscape of the New Mexico desert.

David Bustos and Matthew Bennett at White Sands National Park have made an astonishing discovery: ancient fossilized footprints from as far back as 23,000 years ago that clearly show human adults and children walking alongside mammoths and other megafauna. This discovery sends shockwaves throughout the archaeological world. Ardelean travels to the site of the ancient footprints to see them for himself.

Further north in the Yukon, archaeologist Lauriane Bourgeon reopens evidence from the renowned Bluefish Caves site. In the 1970s, French-Canadian archaeologist Jacques Cinq-Mars unearthed bones from an extinct species of horse with cuts that appeared to have been made by humans. He dated them to 24,000 years ago, but archaeologists at the time refused to accept his discovery. Bourgeon revisits these samples with modern technology and ends up confirming Cinq-Mars’s results. 

As these and other new discoveries are unearthed, from the Canadian Arctic all the way down to the mountains of Central Mexico, the date of human arrival in the Americas could be pushed back to 30,000 years before the present era — and possibly even earlier.

What critics once wrote off as preposterous must now be not only considered, but accepted.

History is being rewritten as new discoveries place human beings in the Americas during the Last Glacial Maximum. It’s a complete rewrite of the story of ancient human migration, and with it comes a whole new set of questions: Who were these people? When and how did they arrive in the Americas? And how did they survive an ice age?

This is the biggest story in archaeology today. It’s an incredible new tale of ancient people, of the resilience of the human species and the dedicated scientists determined to uncover the truth.

Source: CBC