An archaeological find in North America suggests humans were hunting large mammals, mastodons in particular, about 800 years earlier than previously thought. This find consists in a mastodon rib with an embedded bone projectile tip, which belongs to a human group that inhabited North America before than the “Clovis culture”, which was considered the first human culture in that area.
The mastodon was found in 1977 by a farmer and it was excavated and first interpreted by the archaeologist Carl Gustafson. His analysis concluded that the object in the rib was a projectile point made of bone or antler and also, through dating organic matter, he estimated that it was about 14.000 years old. However his interpretation was questioned.
Those results were reevaluated using modern technology by Professor Michael Waters from Texas A&M University. With an industrial-grade CT scanner he took slices every 0.06 mm and as Waters said: the image clearly showed that the object was sharpened to a tip. This new analysis confirmed that the mastodon died about 13.800 years ago and also it showed that the rib and the spear point belonged to the same species.
There are two other sites in North America beside this one that provide strong evidence for pre-Clovis hunting and it modifies the Clovis paradigm as the first human group in America. However, Waters’s interpretation about the site is still stoking debate.
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