The debate on how North America was really colonized did not exist until fairly recently. Most of us learned in school that when the first people colonized America, they crossed a strip of land between Alaska and Siberia and advanced south amid melting glaciers at the end of the last ice age.
Science and popular conception agreed on that one, that is until recently. New research suggests that the ice-free corridor could not be passed by anyone, as it became a viable route only 12,600 years. Until that date, people found it too cold to pass. Not to mention there weren’t enough large animals to hunt.
These findings suggest that the first inhabitants of the New World, people from the Clovis Civilization used a different way of getting in.
This is what makes this study completely new, according to Stephen Jackson – paleoecologist. It looked at both DNA from the environment, but also it had some traditional resources as well, which allowed scientists to interpret the records to the best of their ability.
It has long been estimated that humans went across the region of Beringia, which is now under the Bering Sea. The course of action humans took next was not known. Many scientists believed that there was an ice-free corridor which they used for passing through, about 14,000 to 15,000 years ago.
However, scientists recently discovered even earlier remains of settlements, which point to the idea that humans made the journey earlier than 15,000 years ago.
It was unclear whether the corridor was fit for human living. It probably had no large animals for humans to hunt, and such a long journey wouldn’t have been possible without a large game.
Scientists analyzed plants, human DNA from fossils and pollen from sediment samples taken from two lakes which were close to the corridor.
The data suggest that the area became warmer around 12,600 years ago. But this was too late for humans migrating towards the Americas, around 15,000 years ago. It may have even been to late for the Clovis people, who came to the lands about 13,000 years before.
Scientists now believe that both peoples have migrated through the coast route, which brought them along the west coast of Northern America.