Coprolites date human presence in Oregon as 12,300 years old.

DNA from Pre-Clovis Human Coprolites in Oregon, North America

The timing of the first human migration into the Americas and its relation to the appearance of the Clovis technological complex in North America at about 11,000 to 10,800 radiocarbon years before the present (14C years B.P.) remains contentious. We establish that humans were present at Paisley 5 Mile Point Caves, in south-central Oregon, by 12,300 14C years B.P., through the recovery of human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from coprolites, directly dated by accelerator mass spectrometry. The mtDNA corresponds to Native American founding haplogroups A2 and B2. The dates of the coprolites are >1000 14C years earlier than currently accepted dates for the Clovis complex.

I believe the oldest Clovis site in America is the Blackwater Draw well, dated to 13,000 BP. This makes the humans present 1,200 years earlier than thought. However, the Clovis people reached New Mexico about the same era, so you have to allow some lead time before that. So probably closer to 15,000 years (about the same time as the Great Lakes comet is thought to have hit). However, habitations show up all over America much older than this date, about 50,000 years old at the Topper site.

This DNA would suggest that the Paisley cave poop came from Clovis Americans. I keep seeing 14,300 years ago all over the place. It said BP not BC people!

Coprolite DNA studies are an excellent idea, as they totally avoid Native American’s cultural sensitivity to strangers digging up their ancestors, but you access the DNA. No hurt feelings anywhere.

2 responses to “Coprolites date human presence in Oregon as 12,300 years old.

  1. Excellent points, using coprolites is a great way to acquire DNA for testing. What it tells us is still up in the air, but we are learning all the time. However, I don’t think it is valid to keep using the Clovis technology to refer to a group of people – there is evidence that it was simply one of several technologies used by the early peoples of the Americas.

  2. Hey, it was the archaeologist that called them Clovis people, not me.

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