Composite image of earliest humans and wooly mammoths
New Evidence Complicates the Story of the Peopling of the Americas
New techniques have shown that people reached the New World far earlier than the long-standing estimate of 13,000 years ago, but scientists still debate exactly when humans arrived on the continent—and how.
ABOVE: composite from: © istock.com, Homunkulus28 ; © alamy.com, MARK GARLICK, SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
New Evidence Complicates the Story of the Peopling of the Americas
New Evidence Complicates the Story of the Peopling of the Americas

New techniques have shown that people reached the New World far earlier than the long-standing estimate of 13,000 years ago, but scientists still debate exactly when humans arrived on the continent—and how.

New techniques have shown that people reached the New World far earlier than the long-standing estimate of 13,000 years ago, but scientists still debate exactly when humans arrived on the continent—and how.

ABOVE: composite from: © istock.com, Homunkulus28 ; © alamy.com, MARK GARLICK, SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

North America

Illustrated map showing where evidence was found of the earliest humans
Infographic: Mixed Evidence on Human Occupation of the Americas
Emma Yasinski | May 2, 2022
Diverse lines of evidence point to humans’ presence in the New World long before the dawn of Clovis culture. But rewriting this chapter of human history raises many questions about how these early people came to inhabit these continents.
a trench with footprints tagged
Ancient Human Footprints in New Mexico Dated to Ice Age
Rachael Moeller Gorman | Sep 23, 2021
Researchers excavated human footprints out of a small bluff next to a dried-up playa lake and radiocarbon-dated embedded seeds to around 23,000 years ago. Their results suggest that people entered the Americas thousands of years earlier than the accepted estimate.
a large, mossy cedar tree in a forest
Book Excerpt from Finding the Mother Tree
Suzanne Simard | May 1, 2021
In the book’s introduction, “Connections,” Suzanne Simard relates how her “perception of the woods has been turned upside down.”
ixchel chan hol cenote cave skulls skeletons human remains ancient north american settlers mexico speleology
Skulls from the Yucatán Peninsula a Clue to Early American Settlers
Alejandra Manjarrez | Apr 7, 2020
The crania of individuals who lived in the Yucatán Peninsula during the late Pleistocene show a high degree of anatomical diversity among them, and their skull shapes differ from that of other North American populations of the time.
Climate Change Linked to Shrinking Bird Sizes: Study
Emily Makowski | Dec 5, 2019
The animals have a smaller body mass, shorter legs, and longer wings than they did four decades ago.
North America Has 3 Billion Fewer Birds Than it Did in 1970
Catherine Offord | Sep 19, 2019
Population reductions in species such as sparrows and blackbirds reflect a concerning pattern of declining biodiversity across the continent, researchers find.
Saving the Hellbender, a Giant Salamander Under Threat
Mary Bates | Sep 1, 2019
Populations of the two-foot-long amphibians are declining across North America. Scientists are struggling to find out why, before it’s too late.
cooper's ferry excavation site humans migration from Asia oldest artifacts charcoal animal bones carbon dated
Artifacts Found in North America Suggest Humans Came By Sea
Chia-Yi Hou | Aug 29, 2019
Dating back to 16,000 years, items from a dig site in Idaho point to the first settlers arriving by a Pacific coastal route rather than by an ice-free land bridge from Siberia.
Measles Outbreak Worsens in Washington State
Catherine Offord | Jan 28, 2019
Most of the 34 patients are under 10 years old, and almost all have been confirmed as unvaccinated against the virus.
Ancient DNA Maps Early American Migrations in New Detail
Ashley Yeager | Nov 8, 2018
Genetic information from dozens of individuals living 700 to 10,000 years ago reveals connections between Clovis and Native Americans and South Americans.