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Ervin Taylor, chairman of the anthropology department at UC Riverside, another respected expert in the carbon dating of skeletons. That test isolated a protein common to bones and analyzed the remaining amino acids, which indicated an age of about 13,000 years.
Additional tests on a lump of charcoal and a mouse jawbone, found beside the leg bones in the same stratum of soil, confirmed that age, Stafford said.
Taylor said he hopes to double-check the older date by testing the same portion of femur that Stafford used. “He has a very good track record, he has scientific credibility and he does a lot of work on bones from the New World. Either way, the bones from Santa Rosa Island join an exclusive group of skeletons from the very earliest people to arrive in the Western Hemisphere.
In those days, the colonizers would have seen continent-sized glaciers and woolly mammoths. The northern Channel Islands near Ventura and Santa Barbara counties were joined in a contiguous land mass that scientists refer to as Santa Rosae.
Researchers at the museum and Channel Islands National Park recently decided to subject the bones to sophisticated DNA and radiocarbon testing methods that were not available when the bones were discovered.At the Cactus Hill site in Virginia, scientists found stone tools and charcoal that may date back 15,500 years, said archeologist Rob Bonnichsen, director of the Center for the Study of First Americans at Oregon State University in Corvallis.“What we are starting to realize is the earliest people in the New World came in thousands of years earlier in time.The peopling of the Americas is looking much more complicated,” said Douglas W.The bones were found in a canyon on the island that ancient peoples have inhabited on and off for thousands of years.A short distance from the site is Daisy Cave on San Miguel Island, where a handful of flints, stone chips and charcoal--some nearly as old as the woman’s bones--have been found.
Owsley, head of the physical anthropology department at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.“We used to feel very confident that Clovis was the first peoples, but other new finds coming to light are documenting that there were people in the Americas before Clovis.