October 20, 2011

Pre-Clovis Mastodon hunters from Manis, Washington

A related podcast. From the NY Times:
The study, in the journal Science, finds that a mastodon rib with a bone point lodged in it dates back 13,800 years.

“It’s the first hunting weapon found pre-Clovis,” said the lead author, Michael R. Waters, an archaeologist at Texas A&M University. “These people were hunting mastodons.”

The fossils had been discovered in the late 1970s near Manis, Wash., by Carl Gustafson, an archaeologist at Washington State University. At the time, Dr. Gustafson proposed that the skeleton was about 14,000 years old and that hunters had killed the mastodon with a bone point.

His theory was questioned by other scientists. But carbon dating technology has improved since then, and Dr. Waters and his colleagues were able to use mass spectrometry to date the rib, the bone point and tusks that were found at the site.
On an unrelated note, since Science missed out on the opportunity to publish Otzi's genome in conjunction with tomorrow's talk, all indications point towards Nature being the venue in conjunction with next Wednesday's (Oct 26) TV special. I don't know how much media there will be over the weekend, but any Italian readers or Mummy congress attendees are encouraged to send me an e-mail/leave a comment with any additional info.

Science 21 October 2011:
Vol. 334 no. 6054 pp. 351-353

Pre-Clovis Mastodon Hunting 13,800 Years Ago at the Manis Site, Washington

Michael R. Waters et al.

The tip of a projectile point made of mastodon bone is embedded in a rib of a single disarticulated mastodon at the Manis site in the state of Washington. Radiocarbon dating and DNA analysis show that the rib is associated with the other remains and dates to 13,800 years ago. Thus, osseous projectile points, common to the Beringian Upper Paleolithic and Clovis, were made and used during pre-Clovis times in North America. The Manis site, combined with evidence of mammoth hunting at sites in Wisconsin, provides evidence that people were hunting proboscideans at least two millennia before Clovis.


1 comment:

  1. "in the late 1970's... Dr. Gustafson proposed that the skeleton was about 14,000 years old and that hunters had killed the mastodon with a bone point."

    Well done Dr. Gustafson! (How many today would have crawled out on that breezy tree limb?)


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