Doubt cast on Bering Strait route


The journal Science reports that an archaeological site in Siberia that was thought to be the original jumping off point for North America’s first residents heading to Alaska is actually much younger than previously believed.

This new information shakes the theory that the first North Americans migrated over the Bering Strait during the final cold snap of the last great ice age some 17,000 year ago.

Using radiocarbon dating, scientists found that the Ushki site in northeastern Russia, appears to be about 13,000 years old – 4,000 years younger than originally thought.

The new date places the Ushki settlement in the same time period as the Clovis site, an ancient community found in New Mexico. This means it’s highly unlikely that people could have travelled the thousands of miles from Siberia in such a short period.

Most scientists have accepted the idea that the first North Americans came across the Bering land bridge, a strip of land that is believed to have linked Russia to the United States between 10,000 to 18,000 years ago.

A relatively new idea is that these first arrivals may have used boats to cross from Europe, entering North America or even from across the Pacific Ocean to North America around 20,000 years ago.

New genetic research also shows that humans have been in America for at least 20,000 years.

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