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To establish how old the DNA is, the archeologists had to extract a fibre of hair, bone or fibrous plant material that survived the digestive process and apply radiocarbon dating methods to that — since the genetic material itself cannot be carbon dated.When testing the carbon in the fossilized exrement at the Paisley Caves, Jenkins and his colleagues found that in most cases, it was older than the materials it was found in, indicating it came from the surrounding environment and not from later material that filtered down into the lower soil."We've completed more than 141 new radiocarbon measurements on materials ranging from coprolites to wood and plant artifacts, fossil plants and mummified animals, to unique, water-soluble chemical fractions from sediments and the coprolites themselves," said Thomas Stafford of the Centre for Geo Genetics in the news release."We have used carbon-14 dating to physically and temporally dissect the Paisley Caves strata at the millimetre level."At present, we see no evidence that geologically younger, water-borne molecules — DNA in particular — have moved downward and contaminated deeper, older coprolites."Jenkins is cautious to point out that he and his colleagues were unable to link the Western Stemmed spears directly to specific genetic or cultural differences and that, ultimately, what spear points can tell us about a people is limited."What we have are really techno-cultures, if you will," he said.They are believed to have arrived from Asia via a land bridge over the Bering Strait at the end of the last Ice Age and then spread throughout the continent.
The sediment contains layers and layers of dust, twigs, sand, soil, bones and other plant and animal matter, including chunks of fossilized excrement from different periods.
In 2008, the two managed to date a series of coprolites (fossilized excrement) found at the Paisley Caves to 14,340 years ago, and to show through DNA analysis that they came from people who originated in Asia and were likely predecessors of modern indigenous North Americans.
The new discovery provides further evidence of the presence of people in that pre-Clovis period, and although it does not provide DNA evidence that these people were genetically different from the Clovis, in Jenkins's view, it does support the idea that there were two separate migrations to North America — one that came by way of a Pacific coastal route and another that came from the north via an ice-free corridor in the middle of the continent."What it does is raise the spectre further that glaciers blocked the way through the middle portion of the northern part of the continent — in other words, Canada was under ice," Jenkins said."And even if the ice-free corridor was open, we are not certain that it was a pleasant or habitable environment to be, so there's a lot of questions about the feasibility of bringing somebody through the middle portion of the continent and into the northern plains of the United States through Canada.…"Western Stemmed points are so common in the western United States and much less common in the eastern United States, and Clovis is just exactly the opposite ...
S.] is Western points that are regional derivatives of that form."The spear points Jenkins and his team found are the earliest examples of Western Stemmed points found in the U. to date, Jenkins said Thursday in an interview with "These two approaches to making projectile points were really quite different," said study co-author Loren Davis of Oregon State in a news release.
"And the fact that Western Stemmed point-makers fully overlap, or even pre-date, Clovis point-makers likely means that Clovis peoples were not the sole founding population of the Americas."To date, there has been doubt that enough evidence exists that a separate group of hunter-gatherers lived in North America at the same time as or earlier than the Clovis."The point about Clovis First has been: if there is somebody else on the landscape, why haven't we found them? "For 70 years or more, we have been capable of finding Clovis points and associating them with mastodons and mammoths and other extinct animals, but we haven't been able to do the same thing with any other projectile points."Dennis Jenkins, a University of Oregon archeologist, with some of the artifacts he and his team found at the Paisley Caves in 2008.