Mammoth hunting scene

First humans in Florida lived alongside giant animals

(Read the article on one page)

Recent research has confirmed an old theory that the first humans in Florida lived alongside giant animals that have since become extinct. A geologist made the proposal a century ago following the discovery of numerous fossils at Vero Beach in the early 1900s, but this theory was met with resistance until it was recently proven by bone analysis.

Findings in 2014 at the most extensive prehistoric excavation in North America, the Old Man Vero site, show that humans and late Pleistocene animals, some of them gigantic, lived contemporaneously in the same vicinity. The latest evidence confirms a 2012 study of bones at the Vero site.

Archaeologists from Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute didn’t find actual human remains in the dig’s first round in 2014. However, they did find artifacts they identified as burned fragments of bone, some with cut marks, which could only be the work of human beings, the institute’s director, James Adovasio, told PastHorizons: Adventures in Archaeology .

Illustration of mammoth or mastodon tusk with marks presumed to have been made by humans found by E. H. Sellard at Vero man site in 1916

Illustration of mammoth or mastodon tusk with marks presumed to have been made by humans found by E. H. Sellard at Vero man site in 1916 ( Wikimedia Commons )

E.H. Sellards, Florida’s geologist in the early 1900s theorized the giant animals, now extinct, and humans lived there at the same time. His theory met resistance until it was confirmed by bone analysis in 2012. Workers found human skull bones there in 1915, which have come to be known as ‘Vero Man’.

It’s taken more than 100 years, but we now know that Sellards was right,” Advovasio said. He added that new technology and rigorous excavation protocols enabled investigators to proceed with a precise understanding of the site’s geology. Sellards did not have such technology.

National Geographic published a report showing humans first settled the Americas beginning 15,500 years ago and were in Florida 14,400 years ago. National Geographic says archaeological evidence and a genome sequencing of an ancient Native American show humans were here earlier than 13,000 years ago, which had been theorized relatively recently.

When people finally arrived in the Americas, they co-existed with what are called megafauna and megaflora, huge plants and animals that died out 10,000 to 13,000 years ago. Some people have speculated the first people here hunted them to extinction, but this has not been confirmed. Other scientists say climate change, a disease carried to the Americas by humans or a comet may have killed the megafauna.

Artist's conception of Pleistocene Vero man and cave bear Arctodus. In Fossil Mammals of Florida by Stanley J. Olsen, Florida Geological Survey Special Publication No. 6, 1959

Artist's conception of Pleistocene Vero man and cave bear Arctodus. In Fossil Mammals of Florida by Stanley J. Olsen, Florida Geological Survey Special Publication No. 6, 1959 ( Wikimedia Commons )

Pleistocene animals in North America then, though not all necessarily present in Florida, included giant sloths; short-faced bears up to 12 feet (3.66 meters) tall; dire wolves 25 percent heavier than modern wolves; 9-foot (2.75-meter) saber-tooth salmon; the American lion; 1,000-pound (454 kilograms) saber-tooth cats; tapirs; peccaries; giant condors and other birds now extinct; at least two species of bison, one of which could weigh more than 4,400 pounds (2,000 kilograms); oxen; llamas; horses; mastodons; giant armadillos; giant tortoises; Miracinonyx, or American cheetahs that are not true cheetahs; and 14 species of pronghorn, of which 13 are extinct.

“In 1913,” Discovery.com said , “construction of a drainage canal turned up fossils in Vero Beach, Fla., about 90 miles north of West Palm Beach. When geologists followed up, they unearthed the bones of all sorts of ancient animals that lived during the last Ice Age, including jaguars, capybaras, bison, peccaries, mastodons and other creatures, large and small. Alongside the animal bones in the same layer of soil lay human skeletons.”

There had been controversy about whether people in Florida and Pleistocene animals lived at the same time, but analysis of bones by a University of Florida paleontologist in 2012 showed they did indeed live contemporaneously there, Discovery.com said.

Studies have shown that in Montana, New Mexico, Arizona, Ohio and elsewhere, people also lived alongside mammoths, mastodons, and other massive mammals more than 10,000 years ago, Kenneth Tankersley, an archaeological geologist at the University of Cincinnati, told Discovery.com.

Stone Age man and saber-tooth cat

Stone Age man and saber-tooth cat. Source: BigStockPhoto

The Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute dug at Vero Beach from January to May 2014 at the invitation of the Old Vero Man Ice Age Sites Committee. They began just in time because the local government is planning to build a stormwater treatment facility on the site, using 200 tons of concrete. New archaeological excavations will start in early 2015.

Archaeologists and students will concentrate their second round in a buried soil layer dating back 19,000 years. Adovasio said if they find evidence of humans in that layer, it would be the earliest in the Americas yet.

Comments

rbflooringinstall's picture

It makes sense to me. The bible talks about man walking along side behemoth and laviathan, which I believe are a Mastadon and a Pleisiasaur (sp?).

Peace and Love,

Ricky.

Of course people were here with the dinosaurs!
The Bering Strait theory is just that, a theory. Not fact.

The Bering land bridge as a mode of migration is scientific fact, not theory. This is derived using the scientific method within an archaeological framework. If you don't understand this, then stop watching television or using your smartphone; technology that was developed and perfected using the scientific method within their respective disciplines. How the hell do you end up talking about dinosaurs when this article is strictly about megafauna? Your alien mommies must have dropped you on your Paracas skulls. lol

Steve Byrd's picture

If the theory of Pangea is ever proven to be so the they may have already been here. I’m no archeologist nor do I know the date Pangea supposidly broke apart but it makes sense if ther dates line up. It’s hard for me to buy all these dates I hear of over fifty or one hundred thousand years. Even those dates are hard for me to buy. All I know is             that it would be hard to prove anything so old, or so I heard anyway.

oh, the religious dogma of current high-church anthropology. Gotta love the faux-scientists that genuflect to this decade's THEORIES. What actual HARD evidence is there for the Bering strait migration from Asia to Alaska? NONE. don't cite DNA as that means only that some Asians are related to or DESCENDED from American natives. makes more sense going west, not east.

Pages

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Top New Stories

Myths & Legends

Open Book Photo
A legend is a tale regarded as historical even though it has not been proven, and the term “myth” can refer to common yet false ideas. Many myths and legends describe our history, but they are often treated skeptically. This is because many of them, while explaining a phenomenon, involve divine or supernatural beings.

Human Origins

Noah's Sacrifice - watercolor circa 1896–1902 by James Tissot
The imperfect state of archaeological researches in the Near East impedes any definite identification of the original race or races that created the earliest civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt. According to Gordon Childe, however, the predominant racial element in the earliest graves in the region from Elam to the Danube is the ‘Mediterranean’.

Ancient Technology

Invention of Wheel - Sumer
In today’s world, technology is developing at an unprecedented rate. The latest gadget today is tomorrow’s antique. As a result of this rapid development of technology, we often take things for...

Ancient Places

Google Earth image of manmade stone structures in Saudi Arabia
Deep in the heart of Saudi Arabia, 400 peculiar stone structures have been found, dating back thousands of years ago. These stone features were discovered by archaeologists with the use of satellite imagery, identifying what they call stone "gates" in an extremely unwelcome and harsh area of the Arabian Peninsula.

Opinion

The ancient and mysterious Sphinx, Giza, Egypt.
In 1995, NBC televised a prime-time documentary hosted by actor Charlton Heston and directed by Bill Cote, called Mystery of the Sphinx. The program centered on the research and writings of John Anthony West, a (non-academic) Egyptologist, who, along with Dr. Robert Schoch, a professor of Geology at Boston University, made an astounding discovery on the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article