Coprolites prove that humans were in North America 12,000 years ago

Hyperaxion Jul 21, 2020

A biological analysis revealed that coprolites found in Paisley Caves in the northwestern United States came from Homo sapiens.

Fossilized fecal matter (coprolites) found in Paisley Caves, in the northwestern United States, revealed that Homo sapiens were in North America 12,000 years ago.

Coprolites prove that humans were in North America 12,000 years ago
(Credit: John Blong, Newcastle University).

The conclusion is the result of a study led by the Newcastle University, UK, published in the journal Science Advances last week.

In the article, the scientists explain that the result confirms the hypothesis that the first humans in the Americas were of a pre-Clovis culture.

Clovis was a population that lived in northern Mexico, leaving marks and tools as archaeological records. They arrived on the continent around 13,000 years ago.

Although historians have already found other evidence that the first humans arrived in North America in the pre-Clovis era, none of them were as convincing as the human feces recently discovered.

Researchers analyzed the material for genetic markers, more specifically lipids, to identify whether the material came from humans, dogs, or other animals.

“The question of when and how people first settled the Americas has been a subject of intense debate,” explained Lisa-Marie Shillito, co-author of the study. “By using a different approach, we have been able to demonstrate that there were pre-Clovis populations present in the area of the Great Basin and resolve this debate once and for all.”

The scientists also found the presence of canine lipids in the sample, suggesting that the dogs were consuming human feces – and living together with the ancient Homo sapiens.

“We want to know more about the people themselves. This was a time when the environment was very different and changing rapidly. We want to know how they adapted to this change, what they were eating and how this changed over time,” Shillito said.


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