37,000-year-old mammoth butchering site may be oldest evidence of humans in North America

An artist’s interpretation of an early human hunting a woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius). (Image credit: Shutterstock)

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A 37,000-year-old mammoth butchering site, uncovered in New Mexico, might be the earliest evidence of humans in North America, controversial research finds. Some of the bones at the site show signs of being handled by humans or even being used as tools, which is “some of the most conclusive evidence” yet that humans settled in North America much earlier than experts previously thought, according to the new study .

If the team is correct about human activity at the site, it would almost double the amount of time humans have occupied North America. However, determining the exact date that people first appeared in North America has been a controversial subject over the past few decades, and similar studies have been dismissed as inconclusive. Some experts are similarly skeptical of the conclusions the team has drawn from the mammoths’ remains.

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