Humans may have Inhabited Central Plains of the USA much earlier than Currently Proven
Archaeologists have uncovered stone flakes accumulated from tool-making activities in the same shallow layer of sediment as 15,500-year-old mammoth bones in Scott City, Kansas, which may reveal the fact that ancient humans inhabited the Central Plains of the United States much earlier than currently believed.
Researchers at the University of Kansas have been digging for further clues that would link the remains of the mammoth with the prehistoric human artefacts found just 50 yards away.
“If we can determine that the people who created the flakes also killed the mammoth, it will prove that humans were in the Central Plains much earlier than currently proven” said Rolfe Mandel, geoarchaeologist at the Kansas Geological Survey and professor in the KU anthropology department.
Although radiocarbon dating can fairly accurately place the mammoth bones at an age of 15,500, the difficulty researchers face is that stone flakes, called, knapping, are impossible to date with current methods. Therefore, archaeologists must find other evidence linking the two together such as butcher marks on the bones, or artefacts among the animal’s remains.
So far, since the excavation began in 2011, only 7 per cent of the mammoth has been found (25 bones). The skull, teeth and other bones have not yet been recovered and these may provide vital evidence needed to prove a link.
The earliest known association between people and mammoths in the Central Plains occurred 13,000 years ago. Therefore, if the research time discover a link between the bones and human artefacts, that would make human habitation in the area at least 2,500 years old than currently believed.