An investigation in a cave in northern Mexico found evidence that humans inhabited the area 30,000 years ago.
Research in a cave in northern Mexico found evidence that humans inhabited the area 30,000 years ago, suggesting that they arrived in North America 15,000 years earlier than previously thought, the journal Nature published on Wednesday.
According to the publication, since 2012 a team from the Autonomous University of Zacatecas has been excavating the Chiquihuite cave (located in Concepción del Oro, Zacatecaas) at 2,740 meters above sea level, in the Astillero mountains, where they found almost two thousand tools, of which 239 had layers of gravel between 25,000 and 32,000 years old.
The “general opinion” up to this finding is that the population in America arrived 15,000 or 16,000 years ago from Asia.
This data was based on findings found in Monte Verde II of Chile, dated to 14 thousand years.
According to Nature, the director of the new research, Ciprian Ardelean, believes the cave was “occasionally” visited, as few ancient tools were found.
“Perhaps used as a refuge every few decades, during particularly severe winters,” says the publication, recalling that 26,000 years ago North America had been a “dangerous place” for the last ice age.
According to the researchers, the Chiquihuite cave is “well insulated and could have provided shelter for any human” from snow storms. However, this research is not without controversy.
A team of geneticists led by Eske Willerslev at the University of Copenhagen searched ancient human DNA in the cave soil, but found nothing.
In addition, Nature contrasted the results with François Lanoë, archaeologist and anthropologist at the University of Arizona, who warned that the tools found “could have moved to deeper layers due to geological activity” and therefore have gravel layers greater than 25 thousand years.
For his part, Ardelean admitted that some of the tools may have moved to lower layers, although he argued that the oldest 239 are “under an impenetrable layer of mud formed during the height of the last ice age.”