Next Article in Journal
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Quaternary in 2018
Previous Article in Journal / Special Issue
Two Thousand Years of Land-Use and Vegetation Evolution in the Andean Highlands of Northern Chile Inferred from Pollen and Charcoal Analyses
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessReview
Quaternary 2019, 2(1), 1;

Setting the Stage: The Late Pleistocene Colonization of North America

Department of Arts and Humanities, Texas A&M University—San Antonio, San Antonio, TX 78224, USA
Academic Editors: Bronwen Whitney, Encarni Montoya and Valentí Rull
Received: 25 August 2018 / Revised: 26 November 2018 / Accepted: 26 November 2018 / Published: 21 December 2018
Full-Text   |   PDF [12986 KB, uploaded 21 December 2018]   |  


The timing of human entrance into North America has been a topic of debate that dates back to the late 19th century. Central to the modern discussion is not whether late Pleistocene-age populations were present on the continent, but the timing of their arrival. Key to the debate is the age of tools—bone rods, large prismatic stone blades, and bifacially chipped and fluted stone weapon tips—often found associated with the remains of late Pleistocene fauna. For decades, it was assumed that this techno-complex—termed “Clovis”—was left by the first humans in North America, who, by 11,000–12,000 years ago, made their way eastward across the Bering Land Bridge, or Beringia, and then turned south through a corridor that ran between the Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets, which blanketed the northern half of the continent. That scenario has been challenged by more-recent archaeological and archaeogenetic data that suggest populations entered North America as much as 15,300–14,300 years ago and moved south along the Pacific Coast and/or through the ice-free corridor, which apparently was open several thousand years earlier than initially thought. Evidence indicates that Clovis might date as early as 13,400 years ago, which means that it was not the first technology in North America. Given the lack of fluted projectile points in the Old World, it appears certain that the Clovis techno-complex, or at least major components of it, emerged in the New World. View Full-Text
Keywords: Clovis; drift; Folsom; late Pleistocene; learning; selection; transmission Clovis; drift; Folsom; late Pleistocene; learning; selection; transmission

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

O’Brien, M.J. Setting the Stage: The Late Pleistocene Colonization of North America. Quaternary 2019, 2, 1.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Quaternary EISSN 2571-550X Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top