Mammoth Remains Place Humans in Arctic 45,000 Years AgoBy Russell Westerholm
A team of researchers examined ancient mammoth remains dating back tens of thousands of years ago that place humans in the Arctic earlier than believed.
According to The Associated Press, the researchers detailed mammoth bones that showed signs it was hunted by humans. The bones are about 45,000 years old and represent the earliest evidence yet of man's presence in the Arctic.
The findings were published in the journal Science.
"Mammoth tusks were the main target for them, providing raw materials to produce long points and full-size spears, becoming a substitute for wood that equipped spears with shafts," study lead author Vladimir Pitulko, of the Russian Academy of Sciences' Institute for the History of Material Culture, told Discovery News. "This is especially important for questions related to the peopling of the New World, because now we know that eastern Siberia up to its Arctic limits was populated starting at roughly 50,000 years ago."
Not only were there humans in the Arctic earlier than previously thought, but the study indicated they were not Neanderthals, but modern humans. The researchers did consider there was a chance humans were not responsible for the mammoth's death, but noted the signs seem to be clear.
"This is a very remarkable find of a frozen mammoth with clear evidence of weapon impacts and partial butchery," William Fitzhugh, director of the Smithsonian's Arctic Studies Center, told Discovery News. It demonstrates human occupations in Arctic Eurasia 10,000 years earlier than previously known. A spectacular find and an exceptional case of archaeological sleuthing!"