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Evidence for humans in North America during the Last Glacial Maximum

September 23, 2021

Archaeologists and researchers in allied fields have long sought to understand human colonization of North America. When, how, and from where did people migrate, and what were the consequences of their arrival for the established fauna and landscape are enduring questions. Here, we present evidence from excavated surfaces of in situ human footprints from White Sands National Park (New Mexico, USA), where multiple human footprints are stratigraphically constrained and bracketed by seed layers that yield calibrated ages between ~23 and 21 ka. These findings confirm the presence of humans in North America during the Last Glacial Maximum, adding evidence to the antiquity of human colonization of the Americas, and provide a temporal range extension for the co-existence of early inhabitants and Pleistocene megafauna.

Publication Year 2021
Title Evidence for humans in North America during the Last Glacial Maximum
DOI 10.1126/science.abg7586
Authors Matthew R. Bennett, David Bustos, Jeffrey S. Pigati, Kathleen B. Springer, Thomas. M. Urban, Vance T. Holliday, Sally C. Reynolds, Marcin Budka, Jeffrey S. Honke, Adam M. Hudson, Brendan Fenerty, Clare Connelly, Patrick J. Martinez, Vincent L. Santucci, Daniel Odess
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Science
Index ID 70224529
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center