Ars Technica sums up research that kills the idea that the first Americans walked over Arctic ice from Russia. Instead, it really looks like humans had already been arriving by boat – via “the kelp highway” – for centuries:
No one disputes that the Clovis peoples came through Beringia and the ice free corridor. But the Clovis would have formed a second wave of immigrants to the continent.
The pre-Clovis people traveled along a now-drowned coastline, submerged after the last of the ice-age glaciers melted. New techniques in marine archaeology, ranging from ROVs to underwater lasers, are helping scientists explore ancient submerged villages. A team even turned up a 14,500-year-old campsite in Florida in a blackwater sinkhole last year.
[Smithsonian anthropologist Torben C.] Rick and his colleagues write that the big question now is when pre-Clovis people actually arrived in the Americas. They suggest the arrival could be as early as 20,000 years ago on the verdant kelp highway. Other researchers, however, say people could have arrived during a temperate period about 130,000 years ago.
[via Mme O’Brien]