Among news about the coronavirus and the development of a vaccine, there is a discovery related to the past of humanity – specifically with the American continent. Mexican researchers found “lithic tool of unknown technological tradition” in the Cueva del Chiquihuite Zacatecas, indicating that America was populated approximately between 30 thousand and 13 thousand years ago.

In other words, the settlement of North America was older than it was supposed to be. How was this conclusion reached? A group of experts worked on the multidisciplinary investigation of the tool found in the Chiquihuite Cave —Located in the municipality Concepción del Oro, Zacatecas.

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Photo: Dark Quarter.

And by analyzing this tool as well as the fragments of animal bone, plant debris and DNA environmental of the sediment collected in the cave; The researchers concluded that this site was occupied by a group of people approximately 30,000 and 13,000 years ago.

The discovery in the Cueva del Chiquihuite

The details of this research were published in the scientific journal Nature, where the group of experts led by Dr. Ciprian Ardelan —Archaeologist from the Autonomous University of Zacatecas— puts on the table the hypothesis that North America was populated before Last Glacial Maximum, which occurred between 18 thousand and 27 thousand years ago!

And this theory leads us to think that in the north of the American continent there were human populations previous to the Clovis —That were considered the first settlers in America, 13,500 years old.

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Photo: INAH.

For international agencies and even National Geographic, it was an unexpected discovery that could “rewrite” the history of mankind.

In search of ancient human evidence

One of the things that has caught the most attention has been the tool found. Why? The remains give a chance to advance in the study of the cultural diversity of the groups that populated North America in the Pleistocene —Period that includes the last ice ages.

According to archeologist Ciprian Ardelan there is a very interesting theory that each group followed their routes and he faced the environment with his own style. In other words, there was no standardized behavior or rules for the first settlers in America.

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Photo: Dark Quarter.

How did the researchers get to the Cueva del Chiquihuite?

It all started with a walking tour of the mountains in the area of Concepción de Oro. Ardelan’s team was looking for ancient human evidence — having the shape of the terrain as a guide and even help from the locals of this Zacatecas municipality.

In 2010, Ardelan reached the Chiquihuite Cave, which is located two thousand 740 meters above sea level and almost one thousand meters above the valley floor.

And started the job. The first findings were in 2012 through a borehole that was the first sign to indicate that the Cueva del Chiquihuite had archaeological potential.

Then in 2016 started the first field season until reaching the fourth — stages where archaeologists have found invoice stone artifacts identified as cross flakes.

It is worth saying that the stages of this great chamba are part of the Archaeological Project of the Hunters of the Pleistocene of the Northern Altiplano of the Autonomous University of Zacatecas and financed by the mere grouper Conacyt.

The DNA

Another of the very important things about this project is to highlight what was analyzed. According to INAH (National Institute of Anthropology and History) experts recovered environmental DNA.

In other words, “the DNA molecules dissolved in the earth from pollen, urine, hair, and dead cells”, since any element is essential to know the past that developed in the Cueva del Chiquihuite or another area studied.

Phytoliths of a species of palm were also identified that could be of any artifact or food taken to the Cueva del Chiquihuite by its inhabitants.

In all the strata he ran into charcoal, possibly resulting from forest fires or man-made chimneys. Similarly, DNA from a bat was identified in all layers. Rodent, groundhog, goat, sheep, bird, condor, black bear and otter DNA was also found.