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Humans arrived in South America 22,000 years ago

Stone tools found at a rock-shelter in Brazil suggest that people inhabited South America 22,000 years ago, long before the Clovis hunters spread through North America 13,000 years ago.

“We have new, strong evidence that the Clovis-first model is out of date,” Lahaye says.

Among other South American locations proposed as human settlements well before North America’s Clovis culture, the most controversial is Brazil’s Pedra Furada rock-shelter. There, archaeologists unearthed burned wood and sharp-edged stones and dated them to more than 50,000 years ago. Pedra Furada’s excavators regard the finds as evidence of ancient human hearths and stone tools. Critics, and especially many Clovis investigators, say the Brazilian discoveries could have resulted from natural fires and rock slides.

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Story: Bruce Bower, ScienceNews | Photo: C. Lahaye, IRAMAT-CRP2A, U. Bordeaux 3

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