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Clovis people were hunters in Mexico

Nature volume 511, page 387 (24 July 2014) | Download Citation


Elephant-like animals called gomphotheres (Cuvieronius sp.), thought to have gone extinct long before humans arrived in the Americas, might have stuck around long enough to be hunted by prehistoric people.

Image: Ivan Alarcón-Duran

At a site called El Fin del Mundo in Sonora, Mexico, a team led by Guadalupe Sanchez of the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Sonora discovered gomphothere bones (jawbone pictured) intermingled with stone spear points from 13,400 years ago. These stone tools were made by some of the earliest people to inhabit North America, a group known as the Clovis people. Archaeologists knew that Clovis hunters pursued mammoths and mastodons, but this discovery adds gomphotheres to their diet.

The finding simultaneously extends the period during which these animals were alive and makes the Mexican site one of the oldest and southernmost Clovis sites known.

Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA (2014)

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