Research Backs New Theory on How First Americans Entered 17,000 Years Ago
A new theory on how the earliest American settlers arrived thousands of years ago has gained traction, with researchers showing a possible migration route along Alaska’s Pacific border.
Archaeologists recently cast doubt on the conventional theory that the earliest settlers came via Siberia, crossing Bering land bridge, as a gap between ice sheets opened up a passage.
One alternative theory is that early humans took a coastal route through Alaska; proving that theory, however, means demonstrating that the route was free of ice sheets.
A research team lead by the University at Buffalo analyzed the rocks and boulders along the Alaska coast, showing that part of a coastal migration route became accessible to humans 17,000 years ago.
“During this period, ancient glaciers receded, exposing islands of southern Alaska’s Alexander Archipelago to air and sun—and, possibly, to human migration,” stated the university in a press release.
“Our study provides some of the first geologic evidence that a coastal migration route was available for early humans as they colonized the New World,” said Alia Lesnek, the study’s first author. “There was a coastal route available, and the appearance of this newly ice-free terrain may have spurred early humans to migrate southward.”
The project examined just one section of the coast, the researchers pointed out, saying they would need to study multiple locations up and down the coastline to draw firmer conclusions.