British scientists from Newcastle and Bristol University, together with colleagues from the University of Oregon, managed to find evidence of the presence of ancient people who lived here more than 12 thousand years ago, before the appearance of the Clovis culture in the Paisley caves in the western United States. The results of the study were published Wednesday, July 15, in the journal Science Advances.
Until the second half of the twentieth century, it was believed that representatives of the Clovis culture were the first people who appeared on the American continent. Later, the dates of appearance of people in America were corrected, and the theory of “Clovis – the first” was refuted. Since then, archaeologists have been searching for material evidence of Clovis predecessors.
The first artifacts of presence of the most ancient person in America have been found in 1930th in caves Paisley in Oregon, but bone remains could not be found, therefore unequivocally to date finds it did not turn out.
This time, British and American scientists analyzed mtDNA and lipid biomarkers – sterols and bile acids – in 21 samples of fossilized excreta from the Paisley caves.
Specialists compared lipids from coprolites – petrified excreta – with lipids from surrounding sediments, this method eliminates the contamination of samples with animal faeces and later cave dwellers. Eventually, by analyzing faecal biomarkers, the researchers confirmed the identity of human faeces for 13 coprolite samples previously analyzed on mtDNA. The oldest of them is 12.2 thousand years old.
Thus, it proves that people lived in the Paisley caves even before the Clovis culture, which was long considered the ancestors of the American Indians.
According to the researchers, analysis of lipid biomarkers and mtDNA analysis can be used in tandem to study the traces of ancient man, especially in cases where there are no skeletal remains.
Earlier in July in the American state of South Carolina, archaeologists found the remains of an extinct prehistoric dolphin.