Study finds human presence at 130,000-year-old site in California

Excavation of the Cerutti mastodon in San Diego, California. Photo: San Diego Natural History Museum

Humans were living in California some 130,000 years ago, according to a new study.

An analysis of the bones and teeth of a mastodon showed they were manipulated by humans, researchers reported last week. The claim pushes back the presence of the first Americans by more than 100,000 years.

"This discovery is rewriting our understanding of when humans reached the New World," Judy Gradwohl, the president and CEO of the San Diego Natural History Museum, said in a press release. "The evidence we found at this site indicates that some hominin species was living in North America 115,000 years earlier than previously thought,"

The so-called Cerutti mastodon was uncovered at a construction site in San Diego in 1992. The remains are on display at the museum, whose paleontology team published the results of their study in Nature.

Other scientists remain skeptical of the study. Many believe the first Americans made their presence known about 15,000 years ago.

Read More on the Story:
The Key to Evidence of Extremely Ancient Humans in San Diego? Mastodon Bones (KQED 5/1)
A 130,000-Year-Old Mastodon Threatens to Upend Human History (Wired 4/26)
Mastodon bones place humans in America 130,000 years ago (The San Diego Union-Tribune 4/26)
130,000-year-old mastodon bones could rewrite story of how humans first appeared in the Americas (The Los Angeles Times 4/26)
Humans Lived in North America 130,000 Years Ago, Study Claims (The New York Times 4/26)

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