For decades, researchers believed early humans first settled in the Western Hemisphere around 13,500 years ago.
However, the discovery of 150,000 ‘unique’ stone tools northwest of Austin, Texas, now suggests humans were living on the continent as far back as 20,000 years ago.
The latest research pushes back the earliest human habitation of North America back by almost 6,500 years.
It also suggests the previously-discovered ‘Clovis artefacts’ were not the first prehistoric tools on the continent.
The Clovis people were a prehistoric Native American group of hunter-gatherers.
Clovis artefacts are distinctive prehistoric stone tools so named because they were initially found near Clovis, New Mexico, back in the 1920s.
These tools have since been identified throughout North and South America.
These early humans were distinguished by the fine-fluted stone points they made for their weapons.
In recent years however, archaeological evidence has increasingly called into question the idea that these people were the first to populate the Americas, a theory known as ‘Clovis First.’
Now, in the latest research to question this long-held theory, researchers led by Thomas Williams from the Department of Anthropology at Texas State University excavated the Gault Site northwest of Austin.
They found an assemblage of artefacts between 16,000 and 20,000 years of age.
‘These projectile points are unique. We haven’t found anything else like them,’ Dr Williams said.
‘Combine that with the ages and the fact that it underlies a Clovis component and the Gault site provides a fantastic opportunity to study the earliest human occupants in the Americas.’
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Source: Daily Mail