When the crew of the Virginia scallop trawler Cinmar hauled a mastodon tusk onto the deck in 1970, another oddity dropped out of the net: a dark, tapered stone blade, nearly eight inches long and still sharp.
Forty years later, this rediscovered prehistoric slasher has reopened debate on a radical theory about who the first Americans were and when they got here.
Archaeologists have long held that North America remained unpopulated until about 15,000 years ago, when Siberian people walked or boated into Alaska and then moved down the West Coast.
But the mastodon relic found near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay turned out to be 22,000 years old, suggesting that the blade was just as ancient.
Whoever fashioned that blade was not supposed to be here. Read more.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Michael Waters said evidence already found in Kansas might shake up archaeology soon.
"Kansas is right in the bulls-eye for activity by the Paleo Indians," said Waters, a professor of anthropology and geography at Texas A&M and director of Center for the Study of the First Americans.
Two sites worked by Rolfe Mandel, a geoarchaeologist with the Kansas Geological Survey, and others near Kanorado and at Lovewell Reservoir in Jewell County might roll back the time by thousands of years.
At Lovewell years ago, fossil hunters found broken-up bones of mammoths; the site has been dated to 22,000 years ago, 6,000 years older than what Waters found. A colleague of Waters and Mandel, Steven Holen, has shown through experiments that the only way those bones could have been broken was by people smacking them with large stones, to get at the marrow or to break the bone to make tools. Read more