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Quaternary 2019, 2(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/quat2010001

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
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Abstract

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

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